Lawson writes . . . sharing thoughts and memories

August 22, 2010

Senior Trip

Filed under: Uncategorized — lawsonjolly @ 5:00 am

Senior trips are a celebration of high school years and graduation.  My senior trip was considered exotic — foreign!  We not only went out of the county —  we went out of the state! 

We worked hard to finance the trip.  We were gone almost a week!  Almost the entire class of 37 graduates traveled to the places we had voted to visit.  We even made the trip on a bus!

The majority of the class voted that our primary destination would be the Grand Ole Opry!  So on Saturday night we went to downtown Nashville, TN.  What a place!  None of us had ever been exposed to such excitement and large production.

The Grand Ole Opry started as the WSM Barn Dance.  It was a simple radio broadcast in 1925 in a studio in an insurance building.  People packed the small studio week after week until a new place was found for the gathering.  After several locations, the Grand Ole Opry found a permanent location in The Ryman Auditorium.

The Ryman Auditorium looked like a church to me.  As we sat in the center, it was very obvious this had been a church.  And it had been!  Thomas Ryman, the owner of a fleet of steamboats was converted under the preaching of evangelist Sam Jones.  Mr. Ryman sold all his saloons and built the building in 1892 as Union Grand Tabernacle.  He wanted it to be a place for evangelists to preach! After his death, the name was changed to The Ryman Auditorium.  The building was later abandoned, and the Grand Ole Opry obtained it in 1943 as its permanent home until a larger facility was built at Opryland in 1974. It was often referred to as the “Mother Church of Country Music.”

The interior of this “church” now looked much like the inside of a fancy barn!  It was the perfect decor for the greatest show of country music!  I cannot recall all the performers that night, but I do know some of the best known country singers were there — Ernest Tubb, Red Foley, and Roy Acuff.  The one I wanted to see — and she was all I expected her to be — was Minnie Pearl!  I had heard her on radio, but I had never seen her!  In person, she was even funnier because of her dress — and of course, her hat with the price tag still attached!

For our class, this was an experience beyond spectacular.  It was all we had wished for.  Even those who did not choose this in the voting, expressed it was the number one!

Country music is not everyone’s choice in music.  Country music gained popularity in the 1940s when the earlier term hillbilly music came to be seen as denigrating.  But for this old boy, “a rose by any other name . . .”   So just get the fiddle out . . . and start the clapping and foot tapping! 

It may be that we hear more of the real world and life from the lyrics of country music than we want to admit!  Music can give us an honest reflection of life!

Of course, so can the hillbilly and country Gospel that was written in Palestine hundreds of years ago!  Turn on some thoughtful music of your choice and read the lyrics of life from the Bible!  There is no better message and experience!



1 Comment »

  1. I got to thinking about what we talked about at my job,and I remembered the tv show was the Louisiana Hay Ride on sat nite. We always watched this show. I would sit in front of the tv with my dad,mom and my brothers. We always enjoyed this and had a good time. I really enjoy your blog.

    Comment by Darlene — September 12, 2010 @ 1:33 pm | Reply

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