The last few
months have found me in faraway places a few times. The worst part is they
all have been business trips. The best I could do was muster some hours to
see one attraction before I had to head back home to more work.
discovery? That's not a half bad way to make a business trip tolerable. I
landed in Nashville the end of July for a convention. That in itself is a
bad way to end a month. Peggi was with me as she had business at the same
It was based
at Gaylord Opryland Hotel, the world's largest labyrinth. Might I suggest
that unless you are a walking-talking GPS, the only true means of survival
in this place is to leave a trail of bread crumbs back to your room? Don't
even think about finding your way "home" after a drink or two. You could end
up in Atlanta.
But, after an
hour or so of griping about being lost in the hotel wilderness, we got busy.
So busy, that Peggi momentarily forget about the outlet mall across the
street that she proclaimed "has my name on it" when driving in from the
airport. We had a dinner meeting, and it ran so late there wasn't much point
in heading for downtown nightclubs.
The days were
packed, so sneaking out to the Country Music Hall of Fame wasn't likely
either. Peggi kept eyeing the mall, but it got farther and farther away.
Then, there was salvation. A block away from the hotel entrance (if you
could find the entrance) sat Opryland itself. You know, home of the Grand
We found a
couple of friends who were equally trapped at the convention, bought some
Opryland tickets, and ended up in the second row. Aha, no work for at least
The show fits
the radio format and is performed in four 30-minute segments with a country
star (whoever is in Nashville, it seems) hosting each one.
So, if you're
in Nashville and have only time to do one thing, I say it ought to be
A couple of
weeks later I was in San Diego. More business. I was alone this time. I
suppose I could have gone to the zoo. It is, after all, world-class, but I'd
been there and done that many moons ago. A zoo is a zoo. Then, there's Sea
World. But, I've been splashed by killer whales before.
discovered there's a new kid in town. It's right downtown, at the historic
Navy Pier. The USS Midway has found her final deployment and it's not in
mothballs. The Midway is a marvelous story in itself.
It took San
Diego civic leaders and naval officials about a dozen years after
decommission to get the gigantic aircraft carrier into San Diego Harbor, and
in shape for visitors to come aboard.
This isn't a
foo-foo, Disney-style attraction. This is the real McCoy. More than 225,000
young sailors responded to every call for 47 years aboard the USS Midway.
They sailed at the “tip of the sword” and created a legacy that spanned the
surrender of Japan in World War II, the Cold War, Vietnam, détente, and her
last service as the flagship of Operation Desert Storm.
carrier served as long or set more standards of naval aviation and
humanitarian accomplishment (the helicopters that brought thousands out of
Vietnam when it fell were brought to the ship's deck) than the USS Midway.
Midway’s crew stood ready when other carriers broke down and headed for
port. Some say it was literally magical – "Midway Magic" they called it –
how this carrier and its crew were always "on point, on deck, or alongside,"
whether the mission was military or humanitarian.
Take a few
hours and go see for yourself. The zoo and Sea World can wait for when the
kids make you do it.
One thing at
a time isn't such a bad idea.
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