Monday, November 16, 2015

Memorials and Yet Another Sorrow

Another catch up blog from our summer travels

It would have been so easy to spend more time in Nashville.  I would love to spend more time here but I know for sure I would like to be here another time of year rather than summer.  The heat and humidity certainly were oppressive.  

I have been a fan of the TV program Nashville that is filmed here in Nashville.  It was fun to see the sights that I have seen on the program.  One such place was the Bluebird Cafe.  In the TV program it is a destination of song writers and who get together and often an impromptu concert happens at this small little place.  In truth there are many such places in Nashville where the new songwriters and artists come together hoping to find their way to stardom.
Not knowing how these things work,
I got out my trusty Google friend and the GPS brought us to the Bluebird Cafe.  We were hoping for a little lunch.  But that was not to be.  We did find the little place, but the doors didn't open until 6:00.  We arrived at 2:30 and there were people in line hoping for one of the 90 seats at an open mike night.

Many songwriters and artists have come through the doors for an audition or open mike session.  During one of the audition dates on June 6, 1987 a young man by the name of Garth Brooks walked through the door for an addition for a Writer's Night an A&R representative at Capitol Records, saw Brooks.  Brooks was signed to Capitol the very next day.

In 2002 that The Bluebird Cafe received an Academy of Country Music Award for Night Club of the Year.

At fifteen years old, another young singer/songwriter was also discovered at the Bluebird Cafe by music executive Scott Borchetta. You might recognize her name, Taylor Swift.  The Bluebird is definitely a mainstay of Nashville and Country Music.

We didn't wait to go inside and ( ) generally reservations are required, except on Sunday and Monday nights, but it certainly sounds like a fun place to soak up the atmosphere.   But our time in Nashville had come to an end and we were headed out.....
to see Graceland.

 We arrived at Graceland as the sun was dipping low in the western sky.  We had heard that the tickets (which range in price from $40 to $76) to go inside of Graceland were sold out long ago as we were here during the week of the Anniversary of Elvis's death.  I must say there is a bit of a carnival atmosphere around the mansion.   It is in a very run down section of town and the area directly around the mansion is full of  touristy shops and large tents catering to the huge influx of visitors.

Elvis Presley died at the estate on August 16, 1977. Presley, along with his parents Gladys and Vernon Presley, and his grandmother, are buried there in what is called the Meditation Garden. A memorial gravestone for Presley's stillborn twin brother, Jesse Garon, is also at the site.


Graceland lite up at night

We were allowed to walk up the long driveway surrounding Graceland to the side of the house where the meditation Garden is.  It is has beautiful gardens and the lighting makes it look surreal. 

One of the entry gates

 Notes to Elvis left on the wall surrounding Graceland

Sunset as we left Graceland.

The next morning we headed out with plans to .... make some miles.  But you know by now how plans go for me.  We were driving through Little Rock, Arkansas which is the State Capitol.  I love seeing the state Capitols although we always seem to hit State Capitols in the late evening or on Sundays which prevent us from the 'inside tour'.  We arrived in Little Rock on Sunday with plans for a drive by and photo op.   We did drive by, but traffic and impatient drivers prevented a picture of the capitol.  Parking in the area did not allow us to find a parking place big enough for the RoadTrek.  
 (from the internet)

I did enjoy rubber necking as we drove around the historic area of  Little Rock sans the impatient drivers.  As we were preparing to reenter the Interstate heading west, my eye caught a sign pointing to the Clinton Presidential Library.   In all my travels I had never visited a Presidential Library so off we went.  We were fortunate to find a HUGE parking lot so off to another first.

I have never been in the White house, but there were life size rooms that give a glimpse of the grandeur of the white house.  It was easy to imagine the people in high powered meetings in the White House.

Since we are from Washington State we are familiar with The Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum in the Seattle Center, so we recognized this piece and recognized this gift in the Library immediately as made by Dale Chihuly. 

Their were walls and walls of cases of memorabilia from the Clinton Presidential years.  The displays covered the highs and lows of the presidency and those turbulent times.  But it was a changing world and during those eight years we witnessed many changes.


I think permission WAS given ...... Is it too late to rescind that permission?

Our next stop was one of the most memorable stops of the entire visit.  We have visited many Memorials and Museums, some with very difficult subject matter.  I choose our route partly due to my desire to visit Oklahoma City National Memorial.

The Memorial honors the victims, survivors, rescuers, and all who were affected by the Oklahoma City bombing on April 19, 1995. The memorial is located in the downtown area on the former site of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, which was destroyed in the 1995 bombing.

      One Minute





            One Hundred and Sixty Eight lives were lost that day including nineteen children.

                                                       Lone tree that survived the blast
The inscription around the inside of the deck wall around the Survivor Tree reads:
The spirit of this city and this nation will not be defeated; our deeply rooted faith sustains us.
Hundreds of seeds from the Survivor Tree are planted annually and the resulting saplings are distributed each year on the anniversary of the bombing. Thousands of Survivor Trees are growing in public and private places all over the United States.

And Jesus Wept

Unlike many of the Memorials we have witnessed, the power of the memorial was not the details or or our understanding what happened, but rather in our witnessing the sheer raw power of the visual presentation.   It was so powerful in fact, that we decided to forgo the Museum and let the searing power of the Memorial speak to our hearts and souls.

We spent several hours just being there, in the quiet, feeling the stillness, absorbing the loss.
In the face of senseless tragedy, how can we ever be the same.

The resolve of the people of Oklahoma City was remarkable.  They were (are) determined that the events of April 19, 1995 would not crush them.  

The Memorial was dedicated five years to the day later, so that all would remember.

It has been two months since we visited this solemn place and our world faces yet another tragedy
in our world.  In all the efforts in the last twenty years, the war on terrorism seems to have made little progress.

So many sorrows


  1. Very nice blog today. Looking forward to the day we too can RV and visit all these sites. Thanks

  2. thank you for bringing this blog out today. You did see so many interesting places.
    You just wonder will there ever be peace in the World? What makes people so evil?

  3. You have visited so many places, happy and sad. I enjoyed ALL the photos. Thank you for sharing. :)