Sunday, November 24, 2013

Nothing in Common goes South, Day #4 or 5

It is not something I want to stress to heavily but it must be said: my ignorance of American history turns out to be on a par with my ignorance of Middle Chinese kingdoms. With my ignorance of Bulgarian country music. With my ignorance of phrenology, alchemy, and kymatology. Also Nascar, football (professional and college) and leveraged derivatives.
I should not make light of it.
So there we were driving across Tennessee, which, by the way, is not a small state. Driving across Tennessee is not like driving across Massachusetts, even though they share a certain horizontal rectangularity; hence my conflation of the two. In fact Tennessee is FOUR (4) times the size of Massachusetts. And Tennessee was home to Andrew Jackson, our 7th President (1829-1837). I know that now.
Naturally, as we were driving across Tennessee, it seemed like a good idea to visit the Hermitage, his home outside of Nashville.
Not only is Tennessee not the same size as Massachusetts but also Andrew Jackson the President is not the same person as Stonewall Jackson. Also, the Stonewall riots of 1969, in Greenwich Village, had nothing to do with Stonewall Jackson, who was a Confederate general killed by friendly fire at Chancellorsville.
It was definitely Day #4 or 5 of our road trip. We spent the night at an excellent Comfort Inn (cheap, coffee maker in room, indoor pool) in Mt Juliet, Tennessee, where it turns out there are several apiaries. In the morning we went straight to The Hermitage and signed on for the tour. The tours are given by members of the Ladies Hermitage Association who all dress in period attire. (Let’s just say that I have mixed feelings about period attire.)
In the front hall I am especially admiring of the scenic wallpaper by Zuber; the costumed guide tells us that the scenes of Greek mythology were deemed appropriate for a young democracy, even though the scenes depicted Telemachus searching for the errant Odysseus. Then our guide turns to CSB asks him if he has a $20 bill.
Never pleased to be singled out in a group, CSB rather stone-facedly extracts a bill from his wallet. I am guessing this will have something to do with the face on the bill, nut am otherwise unprepared. The guides makes an elaborate show of examining the bill, then holds it up for the assembled tourists and says to CSB, “Sir, you could work here! You look very much like President Jackson! You would however need to use some hair products.”
CSB mumbles something that could have been: Just get on with the tour. Or, I would never use hair products, thank you very much. Or something not very nice at all.
Meanwhile I am delighted by this newfound Presidential resemblance that CSB has acquired. For many years, he dressed as Abe Lincoln (given his height and demeanor, kind of a shoe-in) when absolutely forced to do so. I also think there is much good to be said about Andrew Jackson’s hairdo, which I suspect he achieved without the help of mousse or gel.
Another happily mismatched couple?

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