“Only you,” a friend texted me. Yep, only me. I use Hotwire and Priceline to find deals on hotels. I go by reviews but never know what hotel I’ll get until I pay for it. I ended up in a very nice, but very pinkish, Dolly Parton themed hotel, the Graduate, right by Vanderbilt University. It’s actually pretty cool. The entire hotel tells her story: a young girl making her way to Nashville, hoping to hit it big. The first floor is filled with sofa’s and fast food signs, representing her couch surfing and early trials. There is a karaoke/recording studio, coffee bar, and did I mention how pink everything is? I think the rooms could have decorated by Dolly herself, more like a home than a hotel. The top floor is a rooftop bar/restaurant/pool: the White Limozine.

A mile and a half walk brought me to storied “Broadway” and the Alley. There were a few live bands here and there, but most everything is closed due to Covid. It’s not what it used to be/will be. I did find a nice little place to have dinner and listen to some live music. I was talking to a group of people in the table next to me, with all of the tables spaced out. They are in Nashville a lot. I ended up doing my mentoring thing with a young lady fresh out of college considering the military. She wants to travel, and with everything going on, sees the military as an option. I think it’s a pretty good option these days.

She was telling me about Nashville before Covid, and told me New Orleans is the same way. It’s usually packed with crowds with an energy pulsing through it. They both just are not the same. That’s both good and bad, though. I don’t see the things most would, but there is a certain intimacy of seeing things slower and, let’s be honest, I hate crowds. I’m now very curious to see New Orleans.

I would say the city has a different feel, but I’m only making assumptions.

The following day was the long walk. About 10 miles and 18,000 steps. I wanted to see music row and find a coffee shop. I found one. The coffee was…well, not mine. But I loved the place itself. Another young lady was there as I sipped my bad coffee and had some breakfast. She just lost her job due to Covid and was applying for one at the coffee shop. She had been a personal assistant.

Nashville reminds me a lot of Miami. It’s where the young and beautiful people come with dreams and struggle to carve out a piece of the place for themselves. The young woman was telling me how she has tons of contacts in Denver, but with a new life an boyfriend here after four months, and how much she loves the place, she wants to try to make things happen. I wished her the best and headed on my way.

I walked back down to the river and then turned around and walked towards Centennial Park, where they have a full sized Parthenon. I had been to the original but, well, I like walking and wanted to see the park.

“Only you” is a common text I get from many many friends. It happened at Centennial Park as well. I’m used to things being closed. There, it wasn’t closed but the entrance I was trying to use was closed. Under construction. I was standing at 6 o’clock to the park. I walked up to 7 o’clock. There, I decided to go counter clockwise. My luck held: I’d later walk out of the park at 9 o’clock. Figures.

Walking the wrong way turned out to be not a bad thing at all. I ran into Jeff and Pee Wee, his tiny Frenchie. I can see why Steinbeck made it a point to take his dog with him. It really is a great way to make introductions. Pee Wee took care of it for me, being the clown that Frenchies are known to be. Then Jeff and I got to talking.

Jeff is not one of those young people trying to find their big break. He’s a cosmetic dentist here in Nashville (Smile On for the shout out, Dr. Jeff Trembley). Of course we talked shop. He’s doing some amazing work with the new technology and I’ll be trying to hunt down the right people as some of his projects align with mine. I’m still just mystified and dumbfounded by the whole thing. There are so many opportunities for the right companies, so many possibilities. But nobody is looking outside of the box, still trying to jam square pegs into round holes. Jeff is way outside of the box. I don’t think the box even exists anymore. I can’t even get a friggin’ company to sign a NDA just to talk to me.

Our conversation also turned to Nashville, while Pee Wee was happy playing with me or chasing after other people in the park to make friends. There’s a battle going on, Jeff told me, between the mayor and the bars. The mayor is making it harder for bars to reopen than other places, while he puts millions of dollars into public works projects like two new helicopters for the police and adding a 25% tax (or something like that) on businesses.

But Jeff likes Nashville, the energy that I’m missing.

But then it was back to the mundane. I do enjoy walking in the heat, but it crushes me. I went to the White Limozine and looked out over the city. When they brough me my drink and water, I told them to leave the pitcher. I had to make a stop at Best Buy for stuff I needed but didn’t know I needed before I left and now I need to go find a laundry mat. That’s one of the differences between the nicer hotels and the cheaper ones. I got a great deal on the Graduate, but everything is far more expensive. In the cheaper ones, they can have a laundry room. Just five bucks or so do a load. Here at the graduate, I think it would cost about $100. $3.50 for a pair of underwear? C’mon.

Tomorrow I leave for my appointment in Memphis to get my service done on my car (Covid makes things like that harder and the earliest appointment here in Nashville was Saturday). But then I’ll be in the home of the blues, where B.B. King, Elvis, and Johnny Cash got their start. And I get to see the Mississippi River. I might even cross it just to do it before heading back east towards some people I need to see and a place I have to go.