52 States in 8 Months

The Country Music Hall of Fame … and a bit of lock-picking

Posted in East coast trip by Ulf on January 29, 2009

The Americans don’t have something like a “Second Christmas Day”. December 26 is a working day just like any other. For me however, that day did not start like any other day. When I woke up at about 6:30 in the morning, I tried to get into our bathroom. Unfortunately though, it was locked. This is how it must have looked like from the inside:

2008-12-26_09-33-52-christmas-trip-4078The problem with this kind of doors is that you can lock them before you close the door. That is an effective way to lock yourself out :-). So, what could I do? Alex was still sleeping, and I wanted to go to the toilet. I decided to go to the breakfast area (where they had another restroom). Afterwards I did not go to bed again but I stayed where I was and had a nice breakfast. Eating for 2,5 hours is really great, you should also try this one day! Especially if it’s an American hotel breakfast with an infinite number of muffins and doughnuts and some toasts with cream cheese — delicious! :-).

Around 9am Alex finally got up, too. He neither had a clue about why our door was locked. But he had a solution: You could basically put anything into the lock to open it. My room key from Delaware did the job, just as some of the car keys.

2008-12-26_10-04-45-christmas-trip-4084 In fact, Alex turned out to be quite a gifted lock-picker. He did not only open this door but also the doors of two of his room mates back in Atlanta.

After this little adventure came to an end we decided to go the Country Music Hall of Fame. Nashville is the mother of country music. And if Nashville is the mother, a radio show called the “Grand Ole Opry” is its heart. They started to broadcast country music in the 1920s and seemed to be quite popular. Stars like Kitty Wells, Hank Williams, Johnny Wright and Roy Clark got famous after their performances in the Opry. You don’t know any of them? Neither did we. Anyway, they where crazy about those musicians and filled a couple of halls in this museum with a special exhibition about them:

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There was one remarkable story about the Grand Ole Opry which happened in 1963. After a concert three of their musicians wanted to return to Nashville in a plane. Patsy Cline, Hawkshaw Hawkins and Cowboy Copas died when this plane crashed. Just three days later Jack Anglin died in a car accident on his way to Patsy’s funeral. For us it’s easy to believe that Texas Ruby’s death three weeks later is unrelated, but real country fans and conspiracy theorists will see an obvious connection.

As we moved on in the museum, a large screen with a movie about Elvis Presley announced that it might get more interesting now:

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The first real surprise was coming right away: We’ve seen the car of Webb Pierce. If you look at Webb’s Wikipedia entry, you’ll think that he was a pretty boring guy. Maybe someone for the Musikantenstadl. Or really? This is how his “Silver Dollar Convertible” looked like:

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(If you don’t have the bandwidth to open the pictures: There were guns, horseshoes, silver coins and other cowboy equipment all over the place.)

The next car was really boring compared to Webb’s car. It was Elvis Presley’s “Solid Gold Cadillac” (neither this one nor that one). Its equipment wasn’t that bad for a 1960s car, but a TV set and an automatic disc changer can be found it every mid-size car today. Well, the gold foil is not a standard equipment yet ;-).

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The remaining sections covered more recent country music. That basically meant that the musicians were more like hippies and therefore took drugs. Their names, of course, were unknown to us again. But they had many gold records and lots of funny equipment. Look for example at the guitar on the right-hand side picture:

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We also found a magazine from the late 1980s. We decided that getting a copy of it and giving it to our fellow student Franzi in Stuttgart would be a nice way for getting into trouble :-). 2008-12-26_11-48-27-christmas-trip-4109

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One Response

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  1. Pingu said, on January 29, 2009 at 3:29 pm

    Ts, mich hier als Schlossknacker darstellen … geht ja mal garnicht. Nur um das richtigzustellen, in Atlanta hab ich nur eine Türe geöffnet, die anderen waren alle offen bzw. dann offen zugänglich ;-)


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