July 5, 2014
Late last year, my brother and I met in Nashville, a perfect reunion location between Arkansas and Maryland. We focused our trip around tickets to see Michael McDonald in concert with the Nashville Symphony at the new Schermerhorn Symphony Hall. Great choice! The Hall's orchestra seats and seats above the stage were not the most expensive, but delivered great sound and clear views. Nashville is truly Music City USA, with a diverse menu of high quality music and entertainment...indoors and out. In addition to the Grand Ole Opry and other landmarks, city streets are bustling with great stores and restaurants. After the concert, we retreated to a rented home, a quiet B&B in the nearby neighborhood of Inglewood. It was very close to a popular, beautifully maintained park that offers running and biking and walking trails along the lovely, meandering Cumberland River. We toured Belmont Mansion, a beautiful antebellum home circa 1849, now on Belmont College campus. It was used for US Army preparations in the Civil War, Battle of Nashville, in 1864. Our docent-led tour was excellent. It covered nearly 10,000 square feet of the home and the life and legacy of its mistress: Adelicia Acklen, and her life before, during, and after the War. This tour reminded me of relatives from Jackson County, Tennessee. Soldiers were lost and families stayed or migrated to Texas and may have stopped in Nashville on their journeys.
My most recent visit inspired this poem:
Ode to Nashville!
Warm and welcoming capital of Tennessee, where we met in harmony
Heard great talent in Music City USA, Schemerhorn Hall and Nashville Symphony
At Ryman Auditorium and Grand Ole Opry, enjoyed the soul of music country
Belmont Mansion, inspired by a Civil War woman's amazing story
What makes Nashville fascinating through its history?
Cradled in the Cumberland River called Wasioto in Shawnee
Nashville Central Basin rimmed by highlands and trees
Part of ancient mountains blanketing Alabama to Maine
Former inland seas fossils uplifted, the "Appalachia" chain
First Mississippian culture built mounds and hunted game
With immigrants, a trading post, fort, then river port came
First settlers raised cotton to sell by barge or by rail to sea
During wartime, Nashville's commerce thrived on diversity
Leaders conducting smartly in times of vast adversity
Where people gather, there are stories to tell
And great venues needed to celebrate them well
We are all pioneers with plans to achieve
Inheriting ancestors' spirits to create and be free
And risk, learn, and do what we love and believe
Nashville's leaders, infrastructure, and talent galore
Unite families, states, and nations around a musical score
Becoming a beautiful place to be free and in harmony
With hopes for new music venues and family reunions to be
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