Digital ramblings without my Dixon Ticonderoga...

Great, but Not Perfect

I am currently sitting on the couch watching SEC football, Auburn and LSU on ESPN 2 and #1 Florida playing the Mississippi State Bulldogs on ESPN! We got home from a long day trip just before the end of the Alabama and Tennessee game. That game was a nail biter. SEC football is most definitely a gift from God to the people living in the south!

Today Chris and I traveled to Nashville to a yard sale, yes a yard sale. The sale was held on the grounds of Lipscomb University and hosted by Amy Grant and friends to benefit Project Redesign and Project S.E.E. Both charities are very special. One redesigns rooms in area low income families’ homes and the other is an educational ministry. Last year was the first year for the yard sale and raised over $25,000 dollars. The event is more than just raising money for good causes. It is also about bringing communities together.

We had a friend working the event. Well… we met Allan at an Amy Grant book signing in Birmingham a few years back. Until I met Allan I thought I was a big Amy Grant fan. I had followed her since I watched her “Old Fashioned Christmas” special in 1986 with my Pom Pom. I had all her albums and followed her in the media. As a middle schooler I went to her concert on the “Heart in Motion” tour. As an adult, I volunteered to work during Thanksgiving to help with a TV shoot at Space Camp for Three Wishes on the possibility that Amy Grant would be there. She wasn’t, but that was ok.

Allan, on the other hand, plans his vacation around Amy Grant’s tour schedule. He sends the Gill family fudge on their birthdays. He even knows the brand potato chip she likes to eat when recording. I learned I wasn’t that big of a fan. I was just an average fan. We exchanged business cards, our paths would cross again and a friendship was forged. I get crap all the time from Allan about my schedule not being in sync to the tour schedule. I am just not a fanatic. But I will, however, go to support two really cool charities, see a friend, and bump into Amy Grant.

It was a cold morning, and while Chris and I milled around, a cute kid asked if I wanted some hot chocolate. I asked how much? He stuttered just a little bit and said, “$5 and you get an autograph.” I melted at his business strategy, plus it was for charity. I really wasn’t that interested in the autograph. I am more about the experiences in life, not the stuff I collect in life. We chatted with the friends and families working the event as we drank our hot chocolate.

After the yard sale, we went Barn hopping in Nashville. I could tell at each Barn I visited that it didn’t have a Hudson or Heather Chenille working for them. The phrase, “Were you raised in a barn” comes to mind when I visited. Beds were unmade, towels were scattered, and shelves not stocked. This was all a few minutes after the Barn doors opened for the day. Chris has to remind me that I wasn’t in my home Barn and the standards might be different in that district. (Or maybe it is just better product.)

We traveled to Murfreesboro to catch up with one of my favorite astronauts and friends. We meet Hoot at the airport as he was returning from a business trip. It was a great chance to see his planes and hear a few flying stories. One is an experimental aircraft that holds two world records, really cool! Airplanes and airplane hangers are always fun, but Murfreesboro was only a stop along the way today. Chris and I were headed south to Lynchburg to visit Jack Daniels.

The day started out gray and gloomy! The fall colors were out in all their glory but under gray skies it just isn’t the same. As we drove and made stops along the way the skies cleared. Meandering down small Tennessee roads to the distillery, we were both amazed and awed by the beauty of the golden trees that flanked us. There were colorful hill tops alongside the road. We stopped to visit the Jack Daniels World Championship Invitational Barbecue competition. We visited the Squires tent during our visit. The organizers said that over 1,200 Squires visited during the day. The sights and smells in Lynchburg were just as wonderful as the drive down. Our visit was short, but perfect in length, parking, and refreshments.

The day was great, but not perfect. I got to visit with friends, chat with Amy Grant, hangout at an airport, and shop for the Ducks Unlimited bottle at Jack Daniels. Mostly I enjoyed an adventure with Chris. However, it wasn’t perfect because Mississippi State didn’t beat Florida! They fought hard, but came up short. And thank God for small miracles. The American League playoff game was postponed because of rain. That way I could focus on all the great college football tonight. It was a wonderful adventure!