Right about now, i should be completing packing up my rental car at Berry Field (Nashville International Airport to those who do not remember).
In a few minutes, i should be on the road, I-40 East. The first time i was on that road it was in the late winter 1964. I drove a 1959 Vauxhall i had coerced from my sister for my work car while at The Nashville Banner. My father followed me in the 1955 Pontiac Chieftain, his work car. He had come to usher me home so he could fix some problems with the Vauxhall.
Because of the car problems, Jimmy Jewell directed me to travel on the unfinished I-40, which turned to rock at the Davidson, Wilson County line. It was just about five miles on the rock road when the Vauxhall gave out. We parked it on the side where the next morning Daddy would bring the wrecker to haul it into Hankins, Byars, and Jewell on East Main. He would, as with all things automotive, get it running, and i would drive it back to Nashville. On US 70. Paved.
i planned to try and identify where we left it 53 years ago. It will be tough. i’m not even sure there was a 109 exit. i think there was an exit under construction in Mount Juliet. The only exit in Lebanon was at US 231. Four lanes all the way. Rock.
The problem is i’m not packing the rental car and searching for the spot that Vauxhall died. i will not be sleeping in the Harding’s guest room on Tarver and having a morning coffee out on the backyard patio with a discussion with Henry and Brenda in what has become one of my favorite things about being in Lebanon.
i am sitting in my family room chair watching the Padres and Rockies in a good pitching duel, 1-1 in the bottom of the sixth. i have just had a wonderful chicken, rice, and salad supper Maureen invented in the clutch. i wasn’t supposed to be here. The doctor confirmed i made a good decision. He loaded me up with enough meds to, as my mother would say, choke a horse. It’s mostly preventative, but i am coughing still. i think it will take an unknown number of days, hopefully two or three. But it was the right decision.
i am missing Lebanon and Nashville more than i can remember. The Padres are now leading 6-1 in the bottom of the seventh. i am not real interested and not likely to watch the whole thing, a cardinal sin since i can remember.
Doped up, i will sleep well. Hell, i am a champion sleeper. Been that way all of my life. Father trained. (Several other stories there).
i will wake up, early as usual i suspect, tomorrow morning and realize i will not be talking with Henry and Brenda on the patio. But at least, Henry got the guest bedroom cleaned up and saved some major bucks by not buying some liquor and wine for me (That’s another story in the goofy guy and Harding legends to be told later). i will not be calling my friends and family in Lebanon and from Vandy to solidify my schedule for the next ten days. i’ve got a clean slate…except for that small matter of beating this crap that left me at home.
So Blue Devils of 1962, tell your tales. Vandy and Lebanon friends, enjoy the golf we scheduled (if it doesn’t rain you out).
And Lebanon, don’t change too much more before i get back.
As i said, this sucks.