An ex-coworker, now retired, the same as I went to Nashville last weekend. He and his wife are country music fans. I heard on the news that last weekend Nashville had a big snow, so, today I called to see if the weather had ruined their trip.
It didn’t. They had a good time. They went to the Grand Ole’ Opry at Ryman’s Auditorium. He said that night was the last night until, I think he said, Fall, that they would be having the Grand Old Opry in the Ryman Auditorium – I think for the next several months the performances will be held at the concert hall at Opryland or wherever.
Their visit to the Ryman reminded me of my visit to the Ryman back 1963. By coincidence, my retired co-worker friend’s wife’s uncle was a friend of mine. Small world. He, I, and a couple of other boys went to Nashville, in my used PV544 Volvo.
I have an earlier post about that purchasing that used Volvo. It may have possibly played a part in the U.S. history.
When I bought the Volvo it had bad brakes. My friends and I thought we could replace the brakes with no problem and little cost. Which we did for little cost and no problem that we knew of.
On the way to Nashville going down a very long hill my brake petal went to the floor board. We sailed down with some of us screaming. Luckily, they had a truck runaway ramp which accommodated us to a coasting up a hill stop.
Somehow my friends made some adjustments and the brakes were fixed for a while, so onward to Nashville we went.
We got a room in a tall hotel next door to the Ryman Auditorium, I think the name of it was the Andrew Jackson Hotel.
We went on a walking tour of downtown Nashville, before the Grand Ole’ Opry. This wasn’t what you would think a walking tour is. At that time in our lives we could care less about the local history. We wanted to scout out some bars and a cheap place to eat.
So, we decided to eat at Woolworth’s. They had a sign of some kind of special dinner in the window. We went in, got a table by the window, and ordered. We got our food and were eating when I looked up and a tall man in dirty clothes and carrying a guitar was watching us eat – like he was appreciating every bite. After covering our mouths, we discussed what should we do – it appears he was homeless and hungry. So, we motioned for him to come in, which he did, and joined us. We bought him a meal.
He really appreciated it. He gobbled it down. We thought he was drunk. He told us that he grew up with Cowboy Copus and Cowboy told him if he was ever in town, come on down to the Opry and he would line it up so he could play to the audience and maybe become famous. He said he taught Cowboy how to play and he really was appreciative. Before I typed this I ran a search on Cowboy Copus and see that he is from Adams County, Ohio, so I assumed his the man who claimed to his friend would claim to be from Adams County also.
We went on the Ryman. We got our seats, which were very high up, what now days is called the “nose-bleed section”. The seating looked like rows of church pews.
The Opry was really enjoyable it was interesting how they change the setup from one performance to the next. There were so many house-hold name stars singing, after a while they are seem to blend in. Cowboy Copus was more or less the M.C., doing about the same thing Ed Sullivan did, introduce acts. The only performer that stood out was Patsy Cline that I remember.
Between one of the acts Cowboy played a song. While he was singing, and on the lowest level aisle I saw movement. Somebody was walking up towards the stage. He had a guitar. I recognized his old brown coat. It was Cowboy Copus’s friend! I punch my friends and directed with my finger the man marching up. We were all laughing, not believing it.
The man got to the stage and put his guitar on it and started to climb up. Suddenly, ushers appeared from nowhere and jerked him away from the stage. He hollowed at Cowboy to tell them who he was.
Cowboy kept on singing, not missing a beat.
After the show, we went to Ernie’s Record Mark, and a few bars where amateurs who wanted to be discovered sung, probably for free.
We finally settled in a bar called “The Jungle”. A waitress there was named Bonnie. A big tall gal that tried to talk us into taking her back to Marietta with us. She had a cruel lazy husband and nine children. She wanted a change of scenery. She gave us her home number.
The next morning we called her and explained we were in a little Volvo with 4 passengers already. She said that was OK, she changed her mind anyway.
Which is just as well, because at that time each of us still lived with our parents. But we didn’t tell her that.
Cowboy copus and Patsey Cline were killed in an airplane accident the next week.