I am a great tour guide. While in any other country, I have everything completely mapped out, have researched the history behind the places to visit, and grab a brochure to read aloud from to educate the rest of my travel companions.
So I assumed that having 25 years experience in Nashville, the process of osmosis would make it a breeze to show my friends around. Unfortunately for my visitors, I was wrong. Apparently I know I nothing about this place I call home.
While walking through downtown Franklin, I mentioned things like “this is an old historic place, and there was a battle fought here, and something about slaves building a wall.” What I should have mentioned is that Franklin was named for Benjamin Franklin (who knew?!). If I had remembered correctly from Tennessee History in 8th grade, I could have explained that The Battle of Franklin was fought here as part of the Civil War and it was a disaster for the Confederate Army when 10,000 people were killed.
Driving through Nashville, I pointed out Vanderbilt Plaza where Al Gore, the former presidential candidate’s office was. My friend said “you mean the guy who was also Vice President?” Yup, that’s the one. Then we continued to have a discussion on politics and things we know nothing about.
We also walked down Broadway, into all the touristy cowboy boots stores, peaking through the windows of the honky tonk bars and Wildhorse Saloon. We stopped at The Parthenon where the only fact I knew was “this is the Parthenon, the only exact, full-size replica of the original.” My friend questioned “Why is it here?”
“I have no idea.”
Good thing I always have my trusty smartphone on hand, and could proceed to give her the real history, including that it was built for the Centennial Exposition in 1897 out of plaster, wood and brick. The Parthenon chosen because we are “the Athens of the South”. When the centennial was over, it cost to much to tear it down and the people of Nashville had grown fond of it, so it stayed. Twenty years later, after weather and people damaged it, it was rebuilt using concrete – and has been there ever since.
Also handy that I have the insider scoop on the Bluebird Cafe, and an insider to get us a reservation, to make up for my lack of knowledge in all other areas of Nashville. (I’m also pretty good at knowing where all the best shopping places are).
That was basically the extent of my historical information, besides where I went to school and other random tidbits of information. There was also introducing Liz to Sonic, cause, ya know, that’s a staple in Nashville culture and history. Limeades are the best, ya’ll.
I swear, I’m so much smarter than this. I could on for hours about the difference between a Shinto shrine and Buddhist temple. I know all about the buried city of Pompeii, how they had lunch, why there are crevices down the walls of their spas, and how they chose their prostitutes based on paintings on the walls.
Guess I need to go crack open that Tennessee history book.
I’ll soon be back to regularly scheduled postings of New York whimsyness, but not until I tell you about our adventure on the farm.