Happiness, laughter, joy and glee were all words that I would use to describe the second day of our Nashville Elder Vacation. The day couldn’t be any more perfect as we climbed aboard our buses for a three hour town of the downtown area. The Elders had the opportunity to visit many historical sites such as “the mother church of country music, The Ryman Auditorium! They also visited The Parthenon, Bicentennial Park and the TN State Capitol building. Everyone loved learning the history of the city!
Stopping only for a quick lunch at Opry Mills Mall, this group of travelers walked across the street to the Grand Ole Opry for a private backstage tour! We were all star struck as we walked through the “artist’s entrance” and saw where the giants in country music got their start. It was hard to believe that we saw dressing rooms where musicians of the past such as Roy Acuff, who joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1938 and was the first living inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1962 got ready to perform!
Then our Elders had the opportunity to walk across the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and sing or talk into the microphone! Their excitement of looking out across the huge auditorium spurred many to creativity! Jenny, who lives at Signature HealthCare of Erin, sung an original song to her heart’s content from the stage! Betty, from Pine Ridge in Elizabethon, TN, exclaimed, “Can you imagine seeing a show here?”. She was amazed when she learned she was getting to attend one that evening!
Next it was time for dinner at Santa Fe Cattle Company, where our Elders chose from steak, catfish, ribs or chicken! There was no time to waste as we boarded the buses to go back for the evening show at the Grand Ole Opry!
Excitement filled the air as everyone chattered about the lineup of guests performing at the Grand Ole Opry! This evening our Elders would be treated to The Swon Brothers, Del McCoury Band, Easton Corbin, The Willis Clan, Connie Smith, David Nail and Rascal Flatts! The entire experience was almost surreal, from shaking hands with a Hank Williams impersonator to watching our Elders who were so determined to transfer from their wheelchairs into the church pews of the Grand Ole Opry. The expressions on their faces as they looked around the Opry house and felt the history of the auditorium seep in. We were only a few seats from the stage where history would once again take place. Only this time, we would be part of that history!
To some, we are only on vacation with our Elders. But to those who joined in the trip, they saw that something magical took place. We saw doors open for Elders like Joe, who had never left his town before. We saw happiness in the many faces of our Elders who showed all of Nashville the warmth of their smile. But most importantly we learned that dreams are supposed to be big!
We also feel that Rascal Flatts sang this song just for us on Tuesday night:
I hope the days come easy and the moments pass slow,
And each road leads you where you wanna go,
And if you’re faced with a choice, and you have to choose,
I hope you choose the one that means the most to you.
And if one door opens to another door closed,
I hope you keep on walkin’ till you find the window,
If it’s cold outside, show the world the warmth of your smile.
But more than anything, more than anything
My wish, for you, is that this life becomes all that you want it to,
Your dreams stay big, your worries stay small,
You never need to carry more than you can hold,
And while you’re out there getting where you’re getting to,
I hope you know somebody loves you, and wants the same things too,
Yeah, this, is my wish……..