Suffragettes And Election Day

This picture is a statue in Nashville’s Centennial Park. It celebrates the ratification of the 19th amendment which gave white women the right to vote. These suffragettes serve as a reminder that our right to take part in the electoral process is as a hard fought win and should not be taken for granted.

We live in a world that likes labels. We have been trained to put people in boxes or, more accurately, to choose sides.

Republican or Democrat.

Caucasian or Hispanic.

Cats or dogs.

Coke or Pepsi.

Every survey wants us to check the box that best describes ourselves. Every politician wants to villainize the other side.

You’re with me or you’re against me is the message I receive loud and clear from many of my Facebook friends.

Civility is a lost art. Tolerance for people who are different than us is no longer important.

People have become so preoccupied with criticizing anyone who looks or believes differently that we have forgotten something important.

Despite what divides us, we all are human and we all are Americans.

So whatever happens on this Election Day, I hope that we all can remember that.

Whether your candidate wins or loses, I hope that we can stop searching for the things that divide, stop giving platforms to liars and begin looking for the truth, for the things that unite us as humans and as citizens of this country.

Be kind to your neighbors. Be kind to people who are different than you. Give us a chance to heal.

To my American friends, if you haven’t done so, please exercise your right to vote. And to my international friends, if you are praying people and see fit, please pray for the soul of this nation.

Ernest Tubb Record Shop

This black and white image of the Ernest Tubb Record Shop was taken from Nashville’s busy Broadway Street. The store (and it’s fabulous sign) is a landmark and something I love to look for when I’m in town.

Founded by Grand Ole Opry star Ernest Tubb in 1947, it feels a bit like a country music time capsule.

They sell music, books and memorabilia. Plus, the service is good and they’re always happy to chat. Go support them if you’re in town.

Scout and the Christmas Tree

Having a rambunctious little cat has changed my life in ways I cannot begin to describe. But one thing I can describe is how it has changed Christmas. Years past saw a tree in nearly every room but that won’t be happening with an eight month old kitten.

He’s a good little cat and doesn’t get into a lot. Yet he’s still a kitten and all those fun things hanging off it would be tempting.

I plotted for weeks to design a tree situation he couldn’t knock down while climbing and swinging. Just when I thought I was ready for anything, he threw a curveball.

Turns out, he’s not interested in climbing so much as chewing on the pine.

He loves to chew on artificial pine. While it seems that he’s just chewing and not eating it, I don’t trust that he won’t try. And this is a chance I’m not prepared to take.

So there’s just one tree in my house this year (behind a closed door) and it’s devoted to my adventures. It’s my travel tree. I wrote all about it last year but, in a nut shell, I collect ornaments from my adventures. Each ornament is hung with a postcard that relates a trip memory.

Most of my ornaments aren’t real Christmas ornaments and I like it that way. There’s a stuffed jackalope bank from Douglas, Wyoming and a small metal airplane to mark my first biplane ride this year.

There’s a vintage snowman found at an Indiana antique store during last year’s antiquing adventures across the National Road. I even have a pennant from the Ernest Tubb Record Store in Nashville and a small handmade quilted piece from Ocracoke Island.

The list goes on and on and each ornament evokes countless memories – both happy and bittersweet. One new ornament represents the daily adventure of having Scout in my life.

The tree is now up and Scout gets supervised playtime in that room. So far he has only tried to chew and has batted at a couple of low hanging ornaments. I’m hoping he will outgrow that chewing thing and that next Christmas will be back to normal.

Meanwhile, if you’re interested, Click here to read last year’s description of the travel tree. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to start a new tradition of your own!

Patsy Cline Historic House


The point of making the five hour trek to Winchester, Virginia was to pay my respects to Patsy Cline. She is buried there and you can visit her home for a modest $8 admission.

People today know her as Patsy Cline, that woman with the smooth voice who is most famous for singing “Crazy.” But she was actually born Virginia “Ginny” Patterson Hensley in Winchester in 1932. Her family moved around a lot throughout her childhood but they lived in this home the longest – for about five years when she was an adolescent and young adult.

They have some items that belonged to Patsy and her family but most things here are simply period appropriate furnishings. They’ve done a fine job creating an atmosphere that feels authentic. In some ways, it feels like you’ve really walked into someone’s home.

I was there for the first tour of the day and that tour consisted of me and two other people so it was an intimate experience. The house was originally a two story log cabin that has been added onto over time. The downstairs tour guide was a delightful British retiree who came to the States as a nanny years ago. She gives off a hippy Mary Poppins vibe and is such a fan of Patsy’s that her enthusiasm is contagious.

The upstairs tour guide is equally delightful and previously ran the local Civil War museum. She is informative, not just about Patsy but about the area as well.

There’s something timeless and sophisticated about Patsy Cline but there’s also something innately vintage and simplistic about her. I think this may be part of the reason she appeals to me so much. That and her silky smooth singing voice that just makes me want to close my eyes and absorb the music.

What I didn’t know was that Patsy really wanted to sing honky tonk music and to yodel. It was Owen Bradley, an architect of the mid-century Nashville sound, who convinced her to embrace the style we know today.

I was also surprised to learn that she played piano by ear. The family owned a piano while they lived in this house and she took some lessons. Her instructor refused to teach her to read music because she didn’t want to ruin the gift that young Ginny so clearly had.

Patsy’s mother was a skilled seamstress who made all of her daughter’s stage costumes. You can see replicas of some costumes and one original on display in the house. Since the house doesn’t have space for proper UV protected display cases, much of the collection is kept in storage while other pieces are displayed at the museum in Nashville.

Truth be told, if you’re interested in the artifacts – the clothes, the handbags, boots and home furnishings – the Nashville museum is the place to be.  If you want to go back to the beginning and to see where her story started to become interesting – in a modest home, square in a middle class neighborhood of a historic town – this place is pretty special.


One of my favorite moments of this tour took place in the living room. They played a recording of Patsy singing “Walking After Midnight” on Arthur Godfrey’s tv show. You get to hear Patsy’s speaking voice as well as a chilling version of this song that I hadn’t heard before.

Patsy’s family sat in this very room and watched her performance on television.  This isn’t an experience you’ll find in a museum.

Following the plane crash that cut short her young life, Patsy was brought home to Winchester for burial in a local cemetery. You can visit her grave if you wish. Sadly, her children were quite young when she passed away. Her son, just two at the time of her death, doesn’t remember her at all and the staff at the house said that he doesn’t understand what the fuss is about. Her daughter, though, has maintained an active role in the telling of her mother’s story, making sure the gifted singer and the music she made are not forgotten.

I’m so glad there are places like this home and the museum in Nashville to keep the music going.

FB6The Winchester-Frederick County Convention and Visitors’ Bureau operates a visitors’ center where they offer a small display about Patsy. The most outstanding piece in this collection is a piano, once owned by the local radio station. Patsy played this piano and posed with it for publicity shots. Someone acquired the piano and donated it to the visitors’ center where you are invited to sit and even play a tune. Had I known, I might have brushed up on a little Patsy tune to play there!

Want to visit the Patsy Cline Historic House? Click here for info!

Check back tomorrow as we continue our road trip through Virginia and Maryland!


Athena And The Parthenon

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Just a couple of miles from the hubbub of downtown Nashville you’ll find Centennial Park. Originally farmland, it was developed as the site of the Tennessee Centennial and International Exhibition in 1897. When the Centennial celebration ended, many of the temporary expo buildings were dismantled but a life size replica of the Parthenon was left.

A few years later, the grounds were transformed into a city park and that temporary replica of the Parthenon was eventually rebuilt using permanent materials.

Today, the Parthenon remains a major attraction and the park is used by both tourists and locals alike, It’s well over a hundred acres with a rec center, walking paths, beautiful landscaping, outdoor recreational activities, a band shell and a beautiful pond.

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A quick stroll around the park revealed all sorts of interesting things – people playing Pokemon, high school kids having prom pictures taken, little kids learning to ride their bikes – I even witnessed a wedding. That’s without mentioning the hordes gathered to take selfies in front of the Parthenon.

Venture inside and you’ll find a very nice art museum as well as something quite unexpected – an enormous statue of the goddess Athena. When I say enormous, I really mean ginormous. It took years to fund and to create and was originally plain white clay. In 2002, part of the statue was gilded while details were also added in paint,

Friends, the word gaudy was created to describe this statue but I had an absolute ball studying and photographing it.

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Want to visit the Parthenon? You can walk around the outside and explore the park for free. If you wish to go inside to tour the gallery or to see the Athena, it’ll cost you $6. Learn more at their website.