Gardening Glimpses

By MRS. HERMAN MCKENZIE,

The Monday after an ADS convention is always a special time, as I was explaining to Vicki, It is a chance for overseas visitors, already free from the usual workday schedule, to see whatever else was in the area.

I’d told her how Mary Price and I had always planned to take in extra places, often on either end of the usual schedule, since we didn’t start our serious ADS convention traveling until we were retiring.

But I promised you readers that I would explain why the higher prices and the early deadlines for paying full fees, and that was just Becky Fox Matthews’ exuberance over her dearly beloved adopted home town, Nashville. As it turned out, we got more bang for our buck on seeing Nashville.

I was really into the hat parade, and was disappointed that there were no extras of the convention straw hats. And I’d much wanted a pink curlicue, rather than the traditional yellow. Vicki was still frustrated with the Franklin Hotel’s wheelchair, With no footrests.  

Things have a way of working out, though. In addition to local guides who were enchanted with their adopted hometown, misfortunes added to our good fortune.       

We had been supposed to go to the traditional Ryman Auditorium, as our part of the Grand Old Opry treat. But when we arrived, we were told It had been preempted for the filming of the last episode of “Nashville.” Since we were already unloaded and nearly to the entrance, we were told we could go inside, but “only in the gift shop.” That was fine with me, as I had spotted a genuine Stetson, right at the entrance to the gift shop, and somehow convinced the driver that I had to have it.          

 

Then we were loaded once again, Vicki realizing we were going to get to double dip on history, and she reminded me that we missed the tedious checking in, because my wheelchair wouldn’t fit the slot. But we got to see all the backstage places. Somehow to me there was the most magic in being outside Carrie Underwood’s dressing room and then we were able to wheel outside to the stage where they had the circle of original flooring of the first Grand Old Opry house. Also, they’d take a picture of us in that iconic location.          

“Twenty-five dollars?” for a picture, most of the others asked, but Vicki the usually practical one said “How many times are we going to get to stand there and have our picture taken?”    

My Stetson was wonderful. Made me happy, and kept me occupied me with keeping it on. Once we got home, it has its own spot prominently on the “landing” by the backdoor, and often I decide it is just what I need when going somewhere, like the Mother’s Day evening when I insisted (at 84, who can argue with you) And tonight I knew where I wanted to go.   

“It is going to be to Crechale’s,” I insisted, and had the times and phone number available. “Never heard of it,” son Kevin insisted. “Doesn’t matter - it’s a Jackson legend on Highway 80.” Everybody who is of any age at all knows about it; it’s been right there since the l980s And I’d double checked the Google pages to be sure they had good beef dishes, as no way he could eat seafood.               

So I plopped on my Stetson (took some attention in the wind) and he followed my directions, and was very pleased with his cut of beef. I was charmed to discover scallops, had enough to bring some home, and Vicky’s imaginative cooking has made them a regular on our evening menu.               

 

This was actually by now the mid-week, but I have another bit I must share that really belongs to Sunday or Monday. You remember my telling you that Bonnie McClure, from Arkansas, had told me firmly as we were leaving the hotel on Saturday that, “No, I’m not going to be a judge, no way I’m going to Keith Kridler’s refresher.”     But when we got home, I had an email from Kennon Hampton, saying Molly had gotten a phone call message for me, but was now asleep, and could I call and get the message in person.    Kennon is one of the really “good guys” in the ADS, so of course, tired as I was, I picked up the phone. He said, “Bonnie McClure sent you a message. She said to tell you that she did go to Keith’s Sunday morning seminar, and she is now, for at least three years, an accredited judge.”        

I was delighted, needless to say, that my casual but sincere words about her exhibiting and judging skills had somehow found a home. And perhaps it was something about her granddaughter’s reaction to the daffodils on tour that Saturday. Needless to say, I’m going to see that she knows about the Youth Brooke Ager awards, and the bulbs she needs to win her own blue ribbons over the next few years.  There will be one more of these columns.

To my unexpected delight, Vicki finds her own favorite botanical garden.