Other than our little brush with mortality, our trip to Nashville was fantastic last weekend. We went up to see Kylie's cousin get married, and her parents and aunt and uncle came down (or is it over?) from Indiana, so we got to hang out with them for a while, too.
Nashville's a pretty cool town with a little bit of everything. Lots of rolling hills make for a picturesque backdrop, although, compared to Dallas where any mound of dirt three feet high is considered a hill if not a borderline mountain, it's easy to impress us Texans. Its got a little bit of grunge, a little city, lots of countryside, and oh yeah, there's the whole country music thing that's just a small part of city's identity.
Here's a few images from our stay in Music City.
Saturday night we had dinner with a couple of Kylie's college friends. On the left is Missy & Roberto and their little girl, Amelia. And on the right is Greg & Cheri and their baby girl, Sarah.
This was at Journey Church were we went Sunday morning in Franklin. It was in an old factory that had been renovated, and the service was pretty cool. This was near where you walked in and they had a bunch of old windows hanging from the rafters.
Mores textures from the surrounding factory that had been turned into a cool shopping area.
This was the old Marathon Motor Works building that has now been partially converted into a residential building.
Views like this are a dime a dozen in Nashville.
Kylie and her Dad at the wedding.
Kylie's dad, Garry, and (from left to right) his sister Connie (who's son was getting married), Danny and Mick.
I gave the camera to Kylie's dad to take a photo of Kylie and I and he busted out his paparazzi stance and added in the tilt because "it makes it cooler, right?"
Kylie's parents, Garry & Tina.
... and daughter makes 3.
Here comes the bride... wait a minute...
The wedding was at the Carnton Plantation with a historic landscape that was the center of the Battle of Franklin during the Civil War. Beautiful grounds and an amazing garden.
We were able to tour the house after the ceremony. One particularly interesting story was about how soldiers from the battlefield were brought to the house during the battle of Franklin for medical care. What makes this interesting is that there's a room on the second floor where - during a renovation of the house - the carpet was removed and you can see in several spots where blood had soaked through the carpet and stained the original hardwoods.
Poster in a window down near Vanderbilt.
Fountains at Bicentennial Mall near downtown.
A farmer's market in Bicentennial Mall.
The have a loooong wall in Bicentennial Mall where the history of Tennessee and Nashville is carved into granite. Kylie went to college at Trevecca, so she wanted a quick photo. She blinked during this one.
A little while back Kylie and I went to Nicola's for her birthday dinner. I couldn't help thinking their logo looked familiar. And their name... Nicola's. Nicolosi. Tah-may-toe. Tah-mah-toe. If they're going to steal my name and logo, at least they have good food and a cool location. I can live with that.
Rarely in our lives do we experience things that truly cause us to consider our own mortality. Thankfully. We think to ourselves that we're invincible and 'that won't happen to me.' We all know that - in the big picture - we are only here for a short period of time, but we preoccupy our minds with busy-ness and the happenings of life to the point that we forget to slow down and take a look around and enjoy the very life we've been given. Today was a reminder.
Kylie and I were driving back from a wonderful weekend trip to Nashville to attend Kylie's cousin's wedding and to visit with her family & friends, talking about something so every day that I don't even remember the specifics. I think it was something about when and where we were going to stop for lunch in a couple of hours. We had just stopped at a gas station a few miles back, earlier than we normally would have in the trip, but we needed a quick bathroom break, and we seemingly inconsequently changed driving duties before we got back on the road. Kylie was driving, and I was sitting in the passenger seat checking email and Facebook on my iPhone. We were just settling in for another leg on the road before our next stop.
It had just started to rain as we crossed under an overpass on I-40 W going around 70mph (the speed limit) on our way to Memphis when we hit an apparent slick spot on the highway and started to slide. It's one of those sickening moments that you comprehend in a fraction of a second, knowing that something bad is about to happen, and there's not much you can do about it. We started to spin around and caught a glimpse of the cars that - just a second ago - were in our rearview mirror. We continued spinning. In that very moment, my life didn't flash before my eyes or anything like that. I distinctly remember feeling terrified, completely helpless, and thinking with absolute clarity We're going to roll or hit something any moment. This is bad. This might be my time to die. I'm not exaggerating for effect; that's what I was thinking. It's also at this point that I'm sure I was making a noise never heard by mankind before.
More spinning and then I remember seeing mud fly up. We're in the grass! This is good because the grass median between the highway lanes heading different directions is pretty wide. It feels like we're getting ready to roll. How have we not rolled yet?! Hold on! I whipped my head around to see through the back window that we were now headed towards the oncoming traffic lanes. My fear of rolling now turned to a fear of getting hit by another vehicle. Things started to slow down. We had stopped spinning, but the car had stalled out during the spin and we were coasting to a slow descent in front of two trucks followed closely by 2 semis coming right at us on the other side of the highway. They had to have seen us sliding and spinning through the grass and coming their way and started braking. They were able to slow down to almost a complete stop as we finally came to rest on the opposite shoulder.
It was over as quickly as it started, and only by the complete grace of God did we come out physically unscathed. A couple seconds later as the gravity of what just happened sank in, the emotion overcame Kylie and I and we hugged and had a "Thank you, Jesus" moment. We took a few minutes to assess everything, restarted the car, and pulled off onto the closest exit. Kylie was understandably shaken, so we changed seats and I got in the driver's seat. We drove for a few moments in relative silence as I think both of us were reflecting on the incident.
The hand of God was obvious to both of us in this incident. I have no doubt that if I was driving things would've been potentially much worse because where Kylie basically took her hands off the wheel as soon as we started spinning and didn't fight it, I don't think I would've had the wherewithal to do that and, in fact, I'm sure I would've tried to steer out of the spin and over-corrected. Stopping to go to the bathroom early in the trip (something we don't normally do) caused us to change seats. Also, the grass median where we had the spin out was wider than usual and without and trees, signs, or restraining walls intended to - oddly enough - prevent cars from crossing into on-coming traffic. I'm certain if any of those things would've been present - like they were in so many places over the course of the rest of the trip - the results would've been more grim. The fact that we didn't roll while spinning 3 times at 70mph is still a miracle to me. God was working in this situation.
Before we got back on the road, I found my camera in the back seat and took a photo of the car and our path between highway lanes.
God smiled on us today, and we got the message. Life is so very fragile and can be gone in an instant. I know it sounds cliché, but don't take every day for granted thinking you've got 'plenty of time'. Don't let their be any questions with friends and family that you love them.
Slow down. Take a look around. Enjoy the life you've been given today.
Oddly enough, we felt this ranch gate entrance further on down the road in our trip was the Big Guy upstairs showing he's got a sense of humor.