My alarm sounded at 3:30 this morning, I dragged myself to the shuttle bus, joined my new friends in the Reagan Airport, and boarded the plane at 6:15.
Since almost everyone on the flight had been booted or re-routed from a previous flight, we were all asleep about twelve minutes after take-off. After only three hours of sleep, that nap was both wanted and welcome!
The plane landed in Nashville at 8:40 am, and within minutes I saw my friend's van loop through the arrival line while we waved at each other with vigor, watched her hop out of the van, and hugged her as tightly as possible. Eight years is a long time to wait for a hug!
Before we hit the interstate we had already covered three different topics of conversation and laughed multiple times. It is SO refreshing to spend time with Kelsi!
She took me straight to the middle of town where we walked to the Capitol and then meandered the streets until we came to Broadway - the tourist section of Nashville.
We walked up and down the street, popping into whichever stores struck our fancy (including a Boot Barn that actually had size 12 women's boots!), and laughed at the crazy names of some of the shops. The Honky Tonk Central made me laugh the most, so she told me to take a photo with the sign.
We kept walking and talking and tried doing a John Crist impersonation - coming up with a Bible verse to respond to the name of each shop. We were laughing hysterically by the time we finished - the perfect way to begin or three days together!
(We attempted a selfie but failed dramatically. We will try again tomorrow!)
Kelsi decided we should go out to lunch since we had the rare privilege of being sans children for the afternoon, so we headed to the restaurant that everyone in the south is familiar with -
The Cracker Barrel!
Though I am on a strict food allergy diet and have been vigilant about exercising and eating on this trip, when my friend said, "You HAVE to eat something southern! Nothing healthy, just comfort food!" - I obeyed. When in Rome, right? <huge grin>
I knew I would pay for it later, but I didn't care. I ordered the homemade mac-n-cheese, complete with chicken, ham, bacon and a crusty baked top. DElicious!
And the biscuit? I was comforted by the first bite.
We spent the afternoon rocking on her backyard porch like two old women, talking and watching her children play, and then enjoyed dinner, conversation, and a lot more laughter for the rest of the evening before turning in for a night of much-needed sleep.
There is much more of Tennessee to explore, and a rainstorm is expected on Wednesday. Woohoo!
Let the adventure begin!