Tuesday, May 27, 2008

What, and who, used to be in Nashville

During my long weekend in Nashville, my friend, Dan, and I stayed in a Holiday Inn Express close to downtown. It took me a day to realize that the hotel was across the street from the Union Station Hotel, where I stayed back in 2000 during my first trip to Nashville. It was early on in my first theatre tour - a production of Sunset Boulevard. 

Dan I took a stroll over there yesterday afternoon. In the Union Station, I had my first of many meals that I would have with Petula Clark, the star of the tour. I was seated down in the lobby having breakfast and she asked if she could join me. And of course I said yes. To this day, she's the greatest person I've ever worked with. The magnificent stained glass ceiling is the same, as are the rooms around the atrium, but the breakfast bar is gone. Even though I can clearly remember that breakfast with Petula as if it happened yesterday.

Next door to Union Station is a restaurant called the Flying Saucer. In that space, I met Susan Schulman, the director of the Sunset tour, and the first well-known director I had ever met up to that point. It was also the place where I first talked to a man that I would eventually fall in love with and be involved with, off and on, for several years. 5 years ago, that man was in a motorcycle accident that would cause him to become a quadriplegic, though in truth he was lucky to survive at all. And that first conversation with him is so vivid to me that it could have just happened.  

It's a funny thing about places - they serve as the backdrop of the events that comprise our lives and yet they often don't retain any of the physical evidence that we were there or that anything significant happened to us in their walls. What's amazing about Nashville is that every place seems to house a story, or many stories. That city lives, and breathes, and of course, sings.

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