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Nashville Tales
Saturday, Jun. 12, 2004, 1:24 p.m.

QUESTION: Booth Duty?

WHAT I LEARNED: Standing on carpeted cement still kills your feet.

Just back from Tennessee and the city of Nashville. Actually, we never stepped foot out of our hotel – the lush Opryland Resort, - except to walk up the path to the outlet mall and of course, to attend an evening at the Grand Ole Opry: broadcasting live from WSM Nashville, Tennessee.

This Monday morning, at 4 A.M., after 2.5 hours sleep, I gathered up my hastily packed luggage – minus, I will find out in Nashville, my computer cord – and my daughter’s even more hurriedly put together travel gear. It is before 5 in the morning and I am, as almost always, just a smidge late. How I long to be one of those stalwart individuals who is on time, or before time, for everything. As it is, I am one of the motley bunch who rush about – ill prepared for the day as something – that important something – is sure to be at home on the table, by the door, in the refrigerator, in my other purse, on the floor in plain sight. The umbrella, the camera, the CD player, the power cord, the phone, the directions, the phone number, the book, the homework, the keys, the file, the hot cup of coffee I took the time to make… the list is never-ending. Variety is, as they say, the spice of life and at times my life is a veritable riot of spices – often a melody of surprising composition. Sometimes I get to forget things for others - for instance on this trip I evidently forgot my daughter's CD player - go figure.

The oh-no-I’ve-left-something-behind syndrome is endemic in the terminally tardy – a key thread in the fabric of their existence. It’s inevitable for those who long for 5, or 10, or the indulgent 15 extra minutes of extra sleep, more than they long for order and timeliness in their lives, to leave home without IT – whatever that IT is that they will wind up most needing in the course of that particular day. The internal battle between punctuality and exhaustion is an ongoing one for me. Punctuality almost never wins.

That said, a little late but armed with cans of soda and a multiple sets of directions to get me where I was going and back again, I dragged the luggage into the dark morning, threw it all in the back set of my aging Gallant and raced off to pick up my daughter. 5:OO A.M. – that’s when the all night grad party let out. Racing down the road – listening to the syrupy sounds of those 101 Strings, and taking dainty swigs of my Diet Coke – I arrive at the Rec Center just in the knick of time. The all night grad party is an amazingly cool function that we didn’t have when I was a kid. If I hadn’t been so tired, I’d have been jealous. The hope of America streamed out into the night, through the parking lot to their cars and the road home. My daughter and I headed north – to the airport and then for the flight south.

My daughter has never been to a Southern city – unless you count Orlando – which I don’t think you should. Or Atlanta when she was under 2 years old, which I say doesn’t really count. Travel is learning. And getting some rest from the duties and obligations of life at home. It’s sleeping all day while mom irons her conference gear and does her requisite hours of booth duty. It’s going down to the pool and hitting the outlet stores while mom does more hours of booth duty and participates in other conference activities. It’s good to be on travel with your mother. And it’s fun for me – the mom – too.

Conference Hall

I have a built in companion. A partner in retail purchasing and divine dining. We did get to do some shopping together, accomplish some serious country music listening at the Opry, and of course indulge in some good meals. Another business trip with mother-daughter time package included has been successfully accomplished.

Goodbye, Nashville. And thanks for the music and the memories.

Italian Food Southern Style

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