Nashville’s First Pedestrians

Too hot for pictures in Nashville. Way too hot.

I read Eudora Welty’s “Where Is the Voice Coming From?” just before leaving for Tennessee, and it set up our new landscape perfectly.  Not really for the regional dialects or the social commentary or the geo-racial politics. Simply because of the way she describes the God damn heat. Or maybe it’s the way she just describes everything else in the story that makes you sweat. It’s sort-of a head-first-into-the-deep-fryer type of feeling. Motif of internal punishment…damned to eternal flames and gnashing of teeth? Fine, whatever, please just don’t leave me here to slow roast like this BBQ.

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You can’t win.

And it’s hot.

It looks like the town’s on fire already, wherever you go, on every street, with crape myrtle trees and mimosa trees blooming their heads off. And a thousand cops everywhere you go, almost too young to start shaving, but streaming sweat. I’m tired of cops.

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But we made it to Knoxville, too, and it was a little less hot. I brought Sylvia Townsend Warner and Janet Hobhouse, so I cooled myself with Gothic English countrysides and anxious New Yorker apartments, respectively.

Overall, I really enjoyed our Southern jaunt. The luxurious smell of savory biscuits in the morning, the eerily vacant sidewalks, the gratuitous use of mason jars and second person plural….ya’ll know what I’m talkin’ about. From the day we packed far too many light cardigans in our luggage tagged for BNA to the day we tossed our ‘what would Dolly do?’ tote bag into the overhead compartment of our flight back to SEA, I’d say we were as happy as two stuffed squirrels drinking miniature bottles of bourbon and playing cards.

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