Busted Flat in Nashville
Busted Flat in Nashville
“Honey, my behind is all in a knot from all this driving. But at least I have this hand-me-down pillow from my Mom to cushion my soft tush. Do you know why I always used gold thread for the patches?”
I reply, “Maybe because it looks shiny like the sunbeams in your eye?”
She says, “My Mama taught me that love made us royal. So she sewed it in gold and when she bequeathed it to me I carried on the tradition. This Natchez Trace sure is purty. But even so, my butt needs a rest stop.”
I say, “The church organ has been silent for a century. The congregation has left the shadowy pews empty for a hundred years.”
Moxie replies, “Night has fallen on our lonely roam through this ghost town. Let’s watch the altar until it is too dark to see.”
Then we board our car for the drive north to a better life. We have nowhere to stay in Nashville and no job prospects. But our oracle points north and so we follow.
We pay our respects to the next segment of the trace by stopping outside Jackson at the welcome center. There is an old lady whom I speak to about Lincoln. She says, “If he were around today he’d be on Prozac.”
She points out that, “He had a genetic predisposition that made his face long and narrow.”
“Lewis of the expedition west had bipolar.”
She gives the perfect answer. “That just shows that people can overcome their disabilities.” And so we bade farewell to the lady and headed north.
We arrive in Tupelo with all its Elvis vibes and set up a tent out of sight in the tall grass park by the trace.
She says, “Thunderbird, it ain’t cold. Let’s spread our sleeping bags out into a mattress so you can rub the kinks out of my buns. But do you think you can put the pressure in the right spots so as not to get me more tangled than before? It is dark.”
I reply, “I know your seat better than the ones in the car.”
“You couldn’t be more romantic if you tried.”
The next morning a slow rain falls and we wander the paths through the pampas.
Moxie says, “This feels like a baptism for two down-on-their-luck folks from the other side of the tracks.”
I reply, “This light shower is cool refreshment for the soul.”
Moxie says, “A liquid sunshine revival.” We are ready to make for the big city. She continues, “Natchez is a dream from another lifetime.”
So our next stop is the Pharr Indian Mound complex. There is still a light rain and we stand at the overlook gazing at the mounds which bode well for our employment search. I tell Moxie, “If the ancients could build such grand architectural wonders surely we can land a job in the big city.”
We cross into Tennessee and I tell Moxie, “Let’s stop at that waterfall down below a slope. Do you feel the lawn sprinkler in the sky? It is holy water to bless our descent to view the cascade.”
I say, “The Natchez Trace holds the key to our success. And the history though including horse thieves and bandits also is a story of brave pioneers. Their courage should give us hope.”
We cross the city limits where lies a flapjack and waffle place for down on their luck country folk.
Finally, we make the night ride downtown.
As luck would have it we both got jobs in the same club. This place serves food, and beverages, and had live music. I feel I have died and gone to heaven. But this place is bustling with loud music and people shooting orders faster than a general on a military maneuver through an ambush. Try as I may I cannot keep up. But Moxie just catches those balls like she is a major league legend. She is a natural-born waitress. Finally, the manager calls us to the side. He says, “Look I know you two are a couple. But Thunderbird just isn’t cutting it. In this business, it is dog-eat-dog. So, Moxie, you can stay but Thunderbird goes.”
Moxie says, “Thunderbird, this place is trashy. This dude doesn’t know high-class labor when he sees it. Let’s split this joint and head somewhere else. Nashville ain’t my kind of town.”
We skip town like bats out of hell. Moxie says, “That joint was too hopping for me too. And ain’t nothing going to split me from my man. We’ll find a nice slow greasy spoon to short order.”
But Moxie’s compass needle points us home, to the land of homemade pralines.
We cross the Mississippi state line into a zone where butter melts on grits like the ice cream cones we licked at the magnolia state fair in June when one was all we could afford.
Her epilogue is “I put my own spin on the pillow mending my Mom started. I sew that fluffy little thing with strands from my tresses. When the time is right I’ll gift it to you.”
“I always loved touching your hair.”
“Just don’t focus on feeling the pillow. I need my man to touch the hair on my head.”
“Can I can shampoo your rug in the tub?”
“Sounds better than leaving the windows open in the carwash.”
“Well, that automated soap and suds thing sure would make a mess of the upholstery. But with the do-it-yourself thing I could give you a better soaping than the beauty parlor lady.”
“Then you’d have to rinse me and use the blow dryer designed for a car.”
“I’ll keep my distance so you won’t get the full effect.”
“The tub at home sounds a lot more fun for us both. Please pull this jalopy over so you won’t have
to work out my knots when we get home.”
“Please don’t think I am avoiding ministering to your keister by parking.”
“Honey, my stretching and you attending to me go hand in hand like café au lait and beignets.”
“Pop Louie Armstrong into the tape deck and we’ll listen to the cautionary tale that is St. James Infirmary.”
“That song is about as morose as me singing ‘My aching butt,’ all the way to Natchez. But Louie could’ve made my fanny into a road anthem.”