Daily Archives: May 7, 2010

The devastation of Nashville. And the toilet-paper bandit

It’s funny sometimes how a place you only spent a brief time stays with you forever.

I lived in Nashville for three months in the summer of 1996. I was doing an internship at The Tennesessean, the Nashville newspaper, after my junior year of college.

I’d never in my life been anywhere in the South, so the culture shock was pretty intense. For me, and the people I came into contact with (If I had a dollar for every local Nashvillean who told me “Slow down sugar, you’re talking too fast,” that summer, I’d have a lot of dollars.)

But it was a wonderful summer, and a great city. Full of energy, friendly people, and more greasy and delicious food than I’d ever seen in my life, I grew to love a city I never thought I’d like. A friend named Kristen I met that summer  became one of the most important people in my life, and she still is (We were both convinced we’d never find someone who’d want to marry us. Against all odds, we did.)

My strong feelings toward Nashville is why it makes me so sad to see these pictures, of the incredible flood devastation the city and region have suffered the last few days. You’re not hearing a lot about this on the news, unfortunately, because the Times Square bomber and the Gulf oil spill have eaten up all of the media airspace.

But it’s truly tragic. Hearing that Opryland Hotel, which, while it might be the most over-the-top place on Earth (seriously, the flowers in there are more expensive than most houses), will be closed for months is terrible. Learning that historic music venues like the Grand Ole Opry and Tootsie’s suffered major damage is a big blow to the city.

If you’ve never been there, understand this: Music is to Nashville what water is to crops: It feeds the soul. Without music, the city dies a little.

The economic impact of the flooding is beyond comprehension. Please spare a thought for the good people of Nashville today; they need all the support they can get.

And oh yeah, if you ever visit, don’t miss having breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. You’ll have to wait in line, but it’s still the best breakfast you’ll ever have.

**If you know the kind of news I like to put on this blog, then you know hearing about a “toilet-paper bandit” is definitely going to perk up my ears.

A man walked into a convenience store in Nebraska last week with his head covered in toilet paper and proceeded to rob the place. (there’s video at the link, too).

In a related note, the whereabouts of Mr. Whipple from the Charmin commercials are unknown at this time.