You Are Soooo Ugly!
Yes, that's what AJ said to me in the parking lot of my hotel as he was climbing out of his car at 1:00. I hugged him anyway! Wow, what can I say about Mr. AJ? I had talked to AJ on the phone on more than one occasion so I already knew what his voice sounded like. Appearance wise, he's thinner than the picture on his blog right now. He has just gotten a haircut so he looked especially spiffed up. And... we were wearing the same thing... blue jeans and black turtlenecks... weird. But let me say, that AJ is a very attractive man who doesn't look close to his age. We left and took the five minute or so ride to his house where I met his wife, Michelle, and I was lucky that his daughter Amy was in from college so I got to meet her too. Michelle is a very warm, very, very pretty lady. She was happy to give me the ten cent guided tour around Casa AJ/Michelle and share their decorating schemes and her incredible collection of Longaberger baskets. She and Amy were going to the mall so we said good-bye and AJ showed me his dungeon, I mean loft, where he creates his masterpieces. We were then off to Frist Museum (ahem, that is after AJ realized he had locked his keys in the house and had to, you know, "break in" to retrieve them. THEN, we left for the Frist Museum.) They had lovely photographs on the walls leading around of Holocaust survivors. It would be worth it to just go back for those. I saw a great many quilts and other artwork and beautiful costumes made by clothing designer, Manuel. Naturally, we talked the entire time about everything. Everything. We were both starving and stopped at... uh... that place with the band.. AJ can tell you and I had an INCREDIBLE fried catfish sammich. So good make ya wanna slap yo momma. Half-heartedly went shopping, although we did see some outrageously funny shot glasses. One said, "Give me another, you're still ugly." *Laughs* We walked back to the car and left to tour Opryland Hotel. Wow! What an impressive piece of architecture! We took pictures on the sweeping double staircase (think Gone With The Wind or Titanic). The atrium is incredible. We got Ben & Jerry's and sat on one the multitude of benches in the quiet atmosphere. I'll post pics sometime this week. Then we went to 3rd and Lindsley to see the band Fab, who are a Beatles cover band. Incredible musicians and singers and revealed to me the simplicity and the complexity of the Beatles. AJ and I drank a few beers and sang along with the tunes. That pretty much did me in and we went and checked me into the hotel and agreed to meet in the morning at 8:30 for breakfast. I woke up at my normal time, except it was an hour earlier in Nashville. I was ready when AJ got there, I checked out, and we went to Cracker Barrel for breakfast. The waitress there was kind enough to take pictures of us together and our massive morning spread. We took up a table for quite a while, running over our allotment of 1 1/2 hours. It was close to 10:30 when I hugged him one last time and told him I would be back in May for the Rennaisance Festival. Since then, I realized that I will indeed be back through there on my trip to NOLA and plan on stopping in Nashville on my return trip. AJ and I discussed many personal things and, of course, things about the Blogosphere and especially the perceptions that other bloggers have of us and our perceptions of each other. I thought AJ was a bit more serious than how he came across on the phone but we were discussing fairly serious subject matter. Then we got a few beers in us and we're sitting there singing along with the Beatles. I could say more, and perhaps one day I will when AJ is ready to blog about that serious subject matter. AJ is a great friend; someone I can agree to disagree with and know that will be respected. I look forward to seeing him and his family again. Well, damn. I miss you AJ. ********************************************** Stats: Total mileage: 866 miles/1393km. Gas mileage: 43 mpg. Travel time: 13 hours Time with AJ: 14 1/2 hours Sleep/personal time: 7 hours Cups of Coffee: 10 Beers: 5 Meals: 2 Average speed: (Southbound) 62 mph. (Northbound) 78 mph. # of police spotted: (Southbound) 2 (Northbound) 2 Detours: 1 on I-64 West due to tractor trailer accident.