Gone with the Whirlwind 11:49 a.m. 2004-10-05

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. I planned for, packed for, and attended the Southeastern TESOL (Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages) Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I brought my husband with me, as he lived in Nashville for 9 years and would have a good time revisiting old sights while I crammed as many classes and seminars into my schedule as I could stand!

We arrived on Tuesday night, since I was registered in a pre-conference workshop on teaching reading. We had a pleasant trip up, and checked into the Holiday Inn Express - our home for 4 days. We made ready to go out to B.B.King's Blues Club to see some singer who used to be in Wet Willy (?).

On our way over, we got a phone call from my husband's brother, telling us that Alfred (who had been married to Wheat's mother until she died last year) had passed away. We had a big health scare with him comatose in the hospital last April, but he came through that and was in therapy. This time, he was just at a homeowner's meeting, complained of not feeling well, put his head on the table, and passed.

We all had the usual regrets - just last week, my husband and I talked about going down to see Alfred. My mother, who was his interior decorator, had said the same thing. Still, the last time I saw him was for my birthday celebration, and it was a happy occasion. We will all miss him.

Wheat left me in Nashville and drove down to Atlanta for the burial and memorial service. I was afraid that I would not be sufficiently re-imbursed by my school if I didn't stay for the whole conference - which was already on my credit card. He drove down on Thursday night, went to the service, and drove back up to take me to the Grand Ol' Opry.

That, in itself, was a comedy of errors. We still were able to see the last hour and 15 minutes of the show. Afterward, we went across to the Opry Mills Mall and ate at the Aquarium restaurant. We had already eaten at the one in Kema, Texas. This one was also very nice.

Saturday, we left the Downtown Nashville hotel and drove to Franklin, a cute town southeast of Nashville. We had a nice afternoon of browsing through shops, and finally found our second Holiday Inn Express, where we stayed for the night. I indulged myself in an orgy of Lifetime Channel shows: One episode of What Not To Wear, and two of Trading Spaces. Then we went to Chili's and split a sandwich.

Sunday morning we went to Wheat's old church in Brentwood, then headed home. I was so tired after returning to school yesterday that I flaked out of my Writer's Workshop class, drove home, and slept.

There is still a lot to do, but I hope to be able to focus on working up recipes for my baking dishes, as well as a packaging concept. My mother has encouraged me to take part in the Urban Market on Means Street in December. I will have to see...

This month, I have reserved a place at the Marietta Treasures from the Attic city-wide yard sale, so I am going to take my house from top to bottom and be ruthless about getting rid of stuff. Wish me luck!

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