A putt rolls toward the cup and Kenneth sings out, "Alllll daaaaaaaaay, Bubba!" A drive floats toward the fairway and Curtis shouts, "Whoooo, Bubbayou banged that one!" A slice bends toward the trees and Joe croons sympathetically, "You in a mess over there, Bubba!"
I'm on a lush course late on a warm Saturday afternoon, all full of the previous night's shrimp étouffée and the previous hole's Dixie. I'm in the middle of a round filled with chatter, backslapping and knee-slapping. I'm in Nashville, Bubba, and I'm having a ball.
I'm not from here, not hardly. I live in Westchester County, New York, but I like country music. I like Johnny, Merle, Waylon, Willie, all that. Shoot me. I like Emmylou and Lucinda and the Mavericks a whole lot. I don't much care for Garth, but I can understand why some do. Nice voice, I guess. I like Dwight. I like going to Nashville and would urge you to go. If you do, you'll probably want to go to Opryland, and I'm not going to talk you out of that. For one thing, there's a good golf course there—reason enough to go anywhere.
Opryland really is a land, as in a nation or a planet, with a massive convention center, an enormous hotel, a big, big theater and a humongous parking lot. I had started things off there. After ditching my car somewhere on the lower forty, I had registered with one of eighteen check-in folks and had gotten impossibly lost trying to find my roomone of 2,884which was said to be in the Cascades Conservatory Section, one of five. I had been using the "How to Find Your Room" tips in my welcome brochure, but fat chance. Hank Williams once wrote a song called "I've Been Down That Road Before," and although I'm sure he didn't write it about Oprylandhe was a good ways dead before it was builthe might as well have. I had passed the Jack Daniel's Saloon two times in fifteen minutes, and that wasn't going to happen a third time, so I had stopped in for a pop and some assistance.
Shoulda known that was the trick to the whole thing. In short order, I had bedded down and was dreaming of my golfing adventure to come.