Monday, October 15, 2007

So, I am in Nashville right now trying to digest a bigger breakfast than I should've given in to and wondering how in the world my husband, simple country boy from Clyde, ended up at the party we attended last night.

Here's a little background. The whole reason we planned this trip was to attend the ASCAP Awards dinner. Elliott's publisher's have been talking about it all year. They always reserve a table and ride together and hang out together and it's a lot of fun. That's happening tonight, by the way. Anyway, a few weeks ago, Elliott tells me there is another thing he's been invited to that's for song writers and they really hoped he could come because he would be getting an award. He told me I didn't really have to go if I didn't want to because he knew that I'd have to find another dress and all that stuff that goes with it. It wasn't black tie so I wasn't worried about finding a dress, I just didn't know what to expect. Sometimes those are the hardest ones to prepare for. I borrowed a dress from Francesca and decided I'd go and stand around with Elliott and keep him company.

The event was called the NSAI Hall of Fame dinner. Elliott was getting an award for "The 10 songs I wish I'd written." Because Elliott was getting an award, we were supposed to be there at 5 and the thing would start at 6. We got all "gussied up" and drove to the Renaissance Hotel and decided to use the valet since it requires no thought and is the safest bet if you're from the country and don't want to look like it. When we got inside, we went directly to the registration table to get our table assignment. The woman behind the table looked up and smiled and said, "Wow, your dress really rocks!" [thank you again, Fran!] The lady told us that we needed to be seated at our table by 5:40 since the show would start promptly at 6.

We walked around the lobby for a while and watched people drink and schmooze. Elliott ran into a couple of people he knew and had a little small talk and then we went back to feeling awkward. I told Elliott that I hate standing around looking like I don't know anyone. He said, "Have you ever noticed someone standing around by themselves and wondered why they weren't talking to anyone?" I said, "No." He said, "Well then no one is thinking that about us." [ So that's how he does it!]
Elliott asked me if I wanted a drink and I said no. He decided to get a water, so he walked up to the cash bar and picked up a water out of the cooler, started to open it and walk away. The bartender said, "Excuse me sir, I need your ticket." So Elliott confidently opens his wallet and hands him the table assignment ticket we had just been given. The bartender then looked at me because he really didn't know what else to do. I whispered to Elliott that he needed to pay for the water at the table behind us. He turned around and went up to the lady with all the tickets. She asked him what he would like and he said he just wanted a water. She said it would be $4.50 and handed him a ticket and his change. He turned around and went back to the bar where he started to open the water and walk away. The guy said, "Uh, sir, I need your ticket." I took the ticket from Elliott and handed it to the bartender and just smiled. I hadn't ever bought a drink at a cash bar, but I knew vaguely how it worked. I started to explain it to Elliott but the whole thing just sounded so silly, I didn't bother.

At 5:40, we went in to the main ballroom and it was fixed up just like all the awards shows you see on tv only on a little bit smaller scale. It was nice! We walked around looking at table numbers and finally found our table at the very front near the stage. We sat down and I took some pictures of the table set up and the room and stuff. [Don't worry Erica, I had a little camera that fit in my evening bag and I wasn't at all obnoxious!] After a few minutes, a couple came and sat down next to us. He had written "Before He Cheats" for Carrie Underwood and his wife was some independant artist that's more popular in Europe than here. They were very nice and fun to chat with the whole evening.

At 6 they started the awards presentation, just as they said they would and along with the others, Elliott went up with Walt and received his award and had his picture taken. The whole thing was pretty simple. He didn't have to give a speech or anything and he was only on the stage for a couple of minutes max. I knew that the second half of this dinner was devoted to inducting people into the songwriter's hall of fame, I just didn't know who the people were that would be inducted.

Let me just say, Elliott and I just sat in amazement for the next 2 hours or so wondering how in the world they let us in! They started off with Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs. They are basically responsible for the bluegrass movement we have today. There was a band of old timers that played some of his stuff and it was really good. Next was Dottie Rambo, introduced by Barbara Mandrell. She's written over 2500 songs and some of her stuff is just getting recorded because she started at a time when women had a hard time breaking into the music business and the "church" didn't like the sound of some of her stuff. I don't know how old she is, but she's pretty old and she had this entourage and she was this little spitfire. I wanted to sit down with her and just listen to her stories for hours! Her granddaughter sang some of her songs and it was like I was in church. I kind of forgot where I was when she started singing "Come Holy Spirit!" I got tears in my eyes at the way she sang it and then Dottie went up to receive her award and started thanking Jesus Christ for all that he's placed in her and talking about how proud she was of her granddaughter, whose name is Destiny, and how she has a destiny for the Kingdom. Wow. Everyone else was just kind of fiddling with their napkins and nervously smiling. Then they introduced and woman named Holly Williams and she came out and started talking about how proud she was of her dad, Hank Williams, Jr. What a shift. I almost got whiplash going from "Come Holy Spirit" to "All my rowdy friends are comin' over tonight!" I had heard the mc say earlier, "Bocephus is in the house" but I didn't know what that meant!

Gretchen Williams sang a Hank song and then "The Hitmen of Music Row did some songs honoring another writer. Keith Urban was there, but I just saw him on the big screen, he was sitting on the other side of the room from us. Taylor Swift got an award and I was surprised at how tall she is. All in all, the night was amazing. We got to hear great music and see a lot of neat people. Elliott had more friends after the show than he did before it started. [apparently, only the winners knew they would be getting an award, no one else knew. So after the thing was over, people he had met several years ago only one time suddenly remembered him!]

Elliott is a little confused right now. Pray for him. He hates all the vanity he sees around him and doesn't really want to be a part of it, but he's doesn't really know what his purpose is here. He's not sure he should continue making trips here or if he should just start doing the coffee house thing around Abilene. All I know for sure is that Elliott has greatness inside of him and it's not there for him to be able to tell stories of all the famous people he's met. It's there to further the kingdom. I told him to just be patient and God would show him what to do. He didn't like that answer.

Anyway, we're going to relax today and start getting ready for tonight's party a little later. I know we'll have fun at this one because we'll have a bunch of people we know to hang out with. I'll post pics when I get back, I've got my sister's camera and I can't get the pictures off of it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007


I have a question for all of you. When someone sneezes, do you say "Bless You?"

I don't know when it started for me, but I feel a strange conviction not to say it. Years ago, I came across some information somewhere about the origins of this phrase. I don't remember everything I heard back then so I did a little wiki search and found that it's origins could date back as far as the 6th century. There are several theories, from the belief that a sneeze was the onset of the bubonic plague to the belief that when you sneeze, it's your body's effort to force out an evil spirit. Saying "God bless you" was basically an attempt to halt a disease or sheild someone against those evil spirits being expelled. Doesn't that sound silly? I love to bless people, but not in ways that are socially obligatory. I have this thing about doing things that have always been done for reasons that no one seems to be able to pinpoint.

If sneezing really were the first signal that you had the bubonic plague, wouldn't it be more helpful to just pray for that person? There are people out there, you know who you are, who will say "Bless You" to anyone, anywhere. My mom will say it from the other side of the house if she hears anything that even remotely sounded like a sneeze. The other day, I was in a store and a man who was shopping right next to me sneezed. I was the only one around him and I felt this incredible pressure to bless him. I felt like he was thinking, "What kind of an insensitive jerk are you? Didn't you just hear me sneeze? Now bless me, dangit!"

If you say it, you are somehow equated with being a kind and thoughtful person. If you don't, you are self-absorbed and you secretly wish that all sneezers would just die, already. I've seen people look up in a panic and say it really fast in an attempt to be the first one to say it. Thereby making that person the nicest in the room, I guess. It's kind of like that episode of Seinfeld where Kramer refuses to "wear the ribbon." Everyone acts annoyed with him that he won't do it until the end when everyone is chasing him down the street with red ribbons.

One day in church, Erica was sitting next to me and she sneezed. I just sat there. She looked over at me and gave me a look, you know the one, and said, "I just sneezed. Aren't you going to bless me?" I said, "Oh yeah, I don't do that." I got another look and then, "Well what do you say when your kids sneeze?" I said, "Goodness!" She just rolled her eyes.

So.....if you happen to be around me and you sneeze, I might say "Goodness!" or I might say, "Good luck with that." or I might just smile. But you probably will not hear "Bless you."

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Breath mint, please!

Yesterday, Elliott was telling Autie a story to try to get her to take a nap. [Mainly because he wanted to take one!] They laid down and Elliott started telling her about the three little pigs. Now this was a classic Elliott story with the names changed to make it more interesting and all the voices to make it a little scarier. When it came to the wolf's part, Elliott used his deepest, scariest, wolf voice and when he finished that part, he looked over at Autie and she had her hands covering her whole face. Elliott said, "What's wrong, Autie?"

Autie uncovered her face and said, "I don't like the way that wolf smells."