My best friend, Tammy, and I hadn’t seen eachother in 2 years!
(Warning: there WILL BE excessive use of capitalization and exclamation points in this article! Lol)
We’ve been trying to get together for a long time now but things kept getting in the way! Everything from family emergencies to a Global Pandemic has been keeping us apart!
Finally, we decided ENOUGH IS ENOUGH! and we set a date and made a plan!
Any travel is dangerous (or at least risky right now) but at home both our families are using the same pandemic precautions. Unfortunately, it’s looking like these precautions are going be a new “normal ” for the foreseeable future. We only go out for essentials, wear masks and social distance when out…
So, we decided to do a Stay-Cation of sorts.
Since we live 20 hours apart, we wanted to find a location at our travel half-way point, rent an Air BnB and have our own little staycation! We decided on October because Tammy’s birthday is in October.
It just happens that our halfway point is Nashville, Tennessee. How COOL is that!?!?
Growing up on Elvis Presley, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Roseanne Cash and the oh-so-beautiful Barbara Mandrell, I always knew I would like to visit the Nashville, Tennessee area at some time in my life…see Memphis and Elvis’s home, The Grand Ole Opry (Aaaaahh), maybe Dollywood…
I knew I’d like to do it “some day” but was never in a hurry.
The drive through parts of Virginia that I’ve never seen before was breathtakingly beautiful! The rolling hills, occasional giant crosses in the distance, the sky was the most beautiful shade of blue, I saw a flag flying- rippling in the early morning light and it was SO beautiful! You know how, usually, the flag is just kinda “hanging there”? To see it actually rippling and blowing in the early morning light was so sweet and a sight that I think I will not forget!
I am proud to be an American but I can honestly say that I’ve never been excited about a flag of any kind, until THAT MOMENT! For the first time in my life, for just a split second, I felt that I FINALLY understood, just the tiniest bit, how Frances Scott Key must have felt when he saw our flag flying in the early morning light…
and then I hit Tennessee!
OMG! I was giggling and ecstatic! As I said, I always knew I’d LIKE to visit Tennessee but I had NO IDEA that I would be THIS happy to cross the state line!
It was so amazing to, first the first time in my life, see road signs and billboards for the Great Smoky Mountains, Dollywood, Lefty’s (I grew up listening and crying to Willie Nelson’s song about Puncho and Lefty! I’ve always been terribly empathetic), Chattanooga, KNOXVILLE and OMG! The first bar I saw with the words “Honky Tonk” in larger than life letters!!! I actually squealed outloud when I saw that sign! I almost turned my car around so I could get a photo but I didn’t. I wish I had!
All I can really say is, Wow. Just WOWWWW!
And then seeing my best friend for the first time in 2 years!! So AMAZING!
Her husband had planned to stay just long enough to unpack our vehicles, have something to eat and then set off on his own adventure but he must have thought we sounded like chattering Magpies or clucking Chickens!
The house is set out in a circle with 2 stairs down and 2 stairs up to the side of the circle and we just went around and around that circle… looking for this, talking about that, doing this and that, talking about multiple topics and switching from topic to topic and back again like some people change languages mid sentence! Lol
Her birthday was the week before, so we had our own little birthday party! I set her prettily wrapped gifts up on the coffee table around her cake, which I brought from my favorite bakery at home. Over the summer we took a fun unicorn painting class with our friend and favorite artist, Mindy Lacefield, so I chose a unicorn cake with an icing mane of pastel flowers. It was beautiful and, happily, it survived being transported without any major problems!
Honestly, I could have thrown all her gifts into one gift bag but I wanted Tammy to have the fun of unwrapping lots of gifts, even if they were tiny!
I wrapped each item and festooned each package with grosgrain ribbon or colored twine and stickers that I had made from my own paintings. Of course, everything was oddly shaped and difficult to wrap but in the brightly colored, coordinated wrapping paper with ribbons and colored twine, it really did look quite pretty and festive.
Once I turned 9 years old, we didn’t celebrate birthdays or Christmas, so my mother used to surprise me with little wrapped gifts when I least expected it. Because of this, I know the joy and importance of unwrapping gifts and I’m so glad that I did take the time to wrap the gifts because Tammy really enjoyed unwrapping everything!
Afterwards, we had hot tea, talked for hours and watched Enola Holmes. Well, when I say “watched”, we got halfway through the movie and I started falling asleep so we’ll finish watching it another time! Lol
Another bonus to being in Nashville was that a dear friend and her daughter lived close by. They had also been being very careful about Covid, so on our last night, we invited them over to sit by the fire pit, eat pizza, drink champagne (for my young friend, chocolate milk from a champagne glass) and roast marshmallows. Unfortunately, there was a misty rain all day long and the fire pit refused to burn but we sat there anyway, had our night time picnic and talked for hours. It was glorious!
The home we rented had AMAZING reviews for being spotlessly clean and immaculate. However, none of this was true and we were sadly disappointed by the house!
But WHATEVS, we had a GREAT time! After all, we were TOGETHER… in NASHVILLE!!