Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Locked Out!

I've been locked down, locked up and, most recently, locked out--again!

The John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge over the Cumberland River with Nissan Stadium in the background

Lockdown drills became a fact of life during my tenure as a school librarian.  Tragically schools these days must prepare for horrific massacres.  However, the only times my Tucson school were truly locked down was when bobcats wandered onto our campus from nearby Sabino Canyon.

I was locked up in jail back in 1980.  My incarceration in the county jail was the sentence I received during a mock trial of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  I, unfortunately, was Goldilocks.

I’ve been locked out of my home or my car several times, most notably when I failed to grab the house keys before Tim & I left on our honeymoon.  My new husband was not pleased to call a locksmith when we returned. 

View of downtown Nashville from the pedestrian bridge
But the most recent locked out experience I’ve had happened this Thanksgiving weekend.

Honky tonk bars and juke joints along Nashville's Broadway

Thanksgiving, for us, was celebrated in Nashville, the Music City with its honky tonk bars and Hall of Music fame.   That’s where our daughter Jillian lives and our son Richard flew in to the Nashville International Airport to join us.

Jillian & I with Elvis

Jillian was our tour guide, showing us several reasons why she loves her adopted city and state.   But our tour was curtailed Friday morning when Tim realized that he—thank, goodness, not me!—had left the key to the condo where we were staying on the console inside our accommodations.  Yikes!

Not only were we locked out of the condo, our car was also locked in the parking garage since the gate would not open without the presence of the key fob. 

No easy solution presented itself.

A front desk with a friendly, helpful concierge was not an amenity of this particular condominium.  We didn’t know the contact information for the property manager either.  Jillian’s roommate Sarah had made the arrangements for us to stay in this condo owned by her employer, the Tennessee Disability Coalition.  That office was closed on Friday and Sarah was in Chicago visiting her family for the holiday.

Compounding the problem was the fact that Jillian had left her keys to her apartment inside the condo.  Spending the rest of the weekend at her place was not an option.  And then there was the worry of putting Richard on the plane early Sunday morning sans his suitcase.

Still, all hope was not lost.  When Jillian telephoned Sarah, she promised to contact someone—anyone!--from her work, but she warned that it could be hours before she could locate someone who could bring us a key.

That morning Jillian had hoped to show us the Jack Daniels Distillery, just an hour or so south of the city.  But without access to our vehicles, that trip was no longer feasible.  So Jillian reorganized her itinerary to visit places downtown and within walking distance.

Johnny Cash Museum

First stop was the Johnny Cash Museum.  I swear that man must have been a hoarder.  The museum was filled with letters, report cards, music contracts and album jackets.  Also on display were the clothes he wore on various stages as well as those of his wife, June Carter.  Video clips of his many movie and TV roles played on monitors throughout the museum.  Unexpectedly, there were also original charcoal and crayon drawings he had created.  I had no idea he was so talented! 

Tim & I with Johnny Cash

I'd forgotten the his activist role in helping prisoners and Native Americans secure their rights. And did you know that he had a degree in theology?  I didn’t!

Frist Center for the Visual Arts

Although the Frist Art Museum was not on Jillian’s original list, I was happy to see its collection.  An exhibit of Michelangelo’s drawings, drawn on scraps of paper which due to paper's scarcity, he also used to jot down notes and even letters, was currently on display.  The collages of Shinique Smith also caught my attention, especially the one that encompassed a black beanbag chair.

Union Station Hotel

Nearby was the Union Station Hotel, a restoration of what had once been Nashville’s railroad station.  Its 65-feet tall stained glass ceiling was striking.

late lunch at the Burger Republic gave us a chance to rest our weary feet.  It was while we were there that Sarah called.  She was able to contact her boss who could meet Jillian shortly at the condo.  We were a couple miles away, but ever-resourceful Jillian called Uber, a service that provides rides for a fee less than a taxi would cost.  Jillian signed us up!

Soon we were in possession of the key and back on track with Jillian’s original itinerary.  Next stop--Carnton Plantation.

Carlton Plantation in Franklin, TN

During the Civil War, Nashville was an important transportation hub, built as it is on the Cumberland River.  Union forces occupied Nashville, but the Confederates tried to oust them in the Battle of Franklin, a town situated just a few miles south of the city.   

Carnton Plantation, smack dab in the middle of the battlefield, became a field hospital for the thousands of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.  Carrie McGavock, mistress of the plantation, nursed the wounded and the floors of the home are still stained with the blood of the men treated there.  

McGavock Confederate Cemetery

Near the house is the McGavock Confederate Cemetery, the final resting place of 1,481 Confederate soldiers.

Yab-a-dab-a-doo, to you, too, Yogi!

As dusk fell, we drove back to the city for a visit to Jellystone RV Campground.  How odd to visit a campground without our RV!  

But the owners have created a winter wonderland of lights synchronized to Christmas music available on your car’s radio.  The light show was pretty spectacular!

A statue of Jack Daniels

Saturday morning found us on the road to Lynchburg, TN and the Jack Daniels Distillery.  Hard liquor has never been on my list of favorite beverages but a tour of this distillery was highly entertaining.  Jack Daniels was a budding entrepreneur.  At the age of sixteen, he purchased with hollow, set up his still and the rest is history. 

Miss Mary's Boarding House

Part of the distillery’s appeal is dinner served at Miss Mary Bobo’s Boarding House .  The restaurant is owned by the distillery and serves Southern food with all the charm of our Southern hostess, Miz Rena.

Olive & Sinclair Candy Factory

You would think that after all the feasting of the past three days, we would vow to eschew all food.  But Jillian had signed us up for the tour at Olive & Sinclair’s Candy Factory that afternoon.  Of course, we couldn’t say no to the free samples that were offered at the end of the tour.

By late Saturday we had covered as much of Jillian’s itinerary as we possibly could.  Falling into bed, Tim & I set the alarm for 5 a.m. so we could get Richard to the airport in time to catch his early flight back to Washington, D.C.

Nashville's skyline at dusk

Sunday morning we attended Jillian’s church.  Afterwards, we gassed up her car, accompanied her to the grocery store and spent the rest of the afternoon helping her decorate her apartment for Christmas. 

Fortunately, she had her keys!


  1. We loved visiting Nashville when Jill was at Vanderbilt doing her 9-month dietetics internship. We went to some of the places you mentioned. If you visit next spring or summer, check out the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens. It is a beautiful spot!

    I'm glad your key issues got resolved. Sounds like you made productive use of the time anyway.

    1. The holiday lights at Cheekwood Gardens were on Jillian's list. We just pooped out before she could lead us there. I didn't realize that Jill studied at Vanderbilt. Both your children got a taste of Southern life in their post-graduate days, didn't they?

  2. I am enjoying your diaries! Safe travels and happy holidays.

    Karla Kisner

  3. It sounds like you were in a jam with locking the keys inside your condo. It also sounds like it was resolved within a few hours, and you got to see the sights while you waiting for the spare key. You were able to check out areas you may have missed if you had gone to the Jack Daniels Distillery.