I was telling this story the other week, and something here lately has me wanting to share it with others. It all ties in to the theme of coming to an end of our second year here of living in Nashville. Well, hopefully it does…
My memory is not one of those you would brag about. Just ask Amanda. Most of my days and nights are filled with crazy randomness, with the occasional structured block of time. I like it that way. For me, staying busy has always kept my anxiety down. You know the old saying, “Idle hands are the devils workshop”? You could say it is similar to that for me, but more in a sense of progression rather than sin.
Anyhow… I’d say it was about 5, maybe 6 years ago when, myself, my Uncle Travis, and two of my other good friends took a trip up to Nashville. We (Amanda and I) were still living in Florida at the time. For the longest, I had trouble remembering exactly where we stayed when we visited. Honestly, I had never really thought about it until this past year. Out of nowhere, I just had the thought, “Where did we stay when we came on that trip?” I remembered when we were getting close to the city, as we started seeing “Nashville” exit signs, my eagerness started to grow. Just seeing those exit signs gives you this sense of excitement. It’s a vibe. As a creative, you just feel it the second you get in to Davidson County.
We took the 440 exit from I-65 to loop around on to I-40 West, all to never see the “Batman building” soaring high in the distance. I was bummed, but still in good spirits. A small city “sight window” opens right before you merge on to I-40W though! It’s quick, so if you’re driving, you get the short end of the stick. Luckily, I was in the passenger seat. There it was, and man was it awesome! Nashville! Music City! Then in a blink, it was gone.
We started West on I-40 towards Memphis. I was thinking, “oh cool, we’re not too far from the city” as we took that merge. Then we kept driving. One mile turned in to two, two in to three. All I could think about was how expensive the taxi was going to be from where we’re staying during those late nights. Lol! After a few more miles, Travis turned on the blinker and said “GPS says this is it.” Finally, man!! I was starting to worry. Let it be known, I booked the hotel. I’m cheap. Ask my friends. Anything close to downtown, or even in downtown was WAY out of the picture at this point of my life.
I looked down at the confirmation email. “Hampton Inn Bellevue” I said in an exaggerated manor. Almost as if stating it’s a luxury suite that Don Henley stays in during his off months. Once we parked, we all hopped out to stretch our legs. I noticed across the way what appeared to be a small sports complex. A lot of soccer fields, and I noticed on the other side there was a bridge in the distance crossing a river. At some point during the trip we ended up grabbing a case of beer and walking over there to check it out. It turned in to an adventure. We only brought a handful of brews, when Kendal wanted to get more, Travis offered to walk up and get the case. Jose tossed the keys to Travis, but instead of actually tossing them, it turned in to a throw and the keys went over Travis’ head and down in to the river! Luckily, we were able to find them.
Fast forward many years later, Amanda and I were faced with the task of finding an area of town we wanted to live in when we relocated to Nashville. If I’m being honest, I didn’t have the first clue. I just knew I would be out and about often working, so I wanted to be somewhere safe for Amanda. After speaking with some friends and visiting a few apartments, we found what we felt was the one. The area just felt right. As a matter of fact, we didn’t go look in any other parts of town. We signed a lease on the spot, went back to Florida to pack our stuff up, and got ready for moving day.
I’ve always preferred departing on long trips early in the morning hours. I like to drive in to the day. I feel it wakes me up after about hour 5 or 6. When that sun rises…nothing like it… We left at about 4am. We had a little car trouble in the Hardee’s parking lot of Crawfordville, where we met my dad and his girlfriend. But we eventually got that figured out and were on our way. Three cars, the biggest Penske truck you can rent, every item that made up our life at the time, and faith.
There I was again… I had absolutely no thought of what was happening… I had no idea that I would be making this route for years to come. Eight hours driving, by yourself, with a stupid governor on this moving truck! Many thoughts went through my mind. I’m sure everyone of us in that convoy had some thoughts. I was nervous, scared, excited. Every emotion you can think of.
Exit signs for Nashville started to appear. The GPS had us take 440 West to Memphis from I-65. Right before we merged on to I-40W, there was that spot. The one I mentioned earlier where you can see the city skyline. It’s quick and I was driving, but I looked anyways. We took I-40W for what seemed like many miles. I didn’t care, I was just happy to almost be there. The GPS said to take Exit 199 on to Old Hickory Blvd… One exit before 196.
It’s hard to eliminate my spiritual belief in events like these. I don’t go looking for “aha!” moments, but I’m definitely one to have an open door policy mindset. I try to recognize these occurrences when they happen. For me, it adds to my sanity and happiness. It wasn’t until year two that I thought about where the bridge crossing that river was. Where we almost lost the keys to the rental car. Where a hilarious memory was made! Come to find out…
…It’s just past the Publix we get our groceries at on the left.
Thanks for the memories fellas!