Babes in Nashville through the eyes of Snackboy and others...
As I sit here in the terminal at Nashville International Airport, I (SnackBoy) have some time to reflect on what has been another fantastic Babes & Airplanes Fly-in.
By virtue of my late Monday departure time, I have inherited the distinct honor of "Turning out the lights and locking the door" on this fourth semi-annual National Babes Fly-in.
For me, the weekend started early Friday afternoon as I strolled down 2nd Street in search of lunch. I hadn't been on 2nd Street more than a couple of minutes when I ran into Viper and his family, Rudder and his wife Penny, KathyL and Winger.
After the initial hello's, the first order of business was food and drink, so we stopped into the WildHorse Saloon to catch up.
After some sandwiches, ice cream, and drinks, it wa s time to head back to the hotel for the initial Babes gathering in the hotel bar.
A couple of hours later, after lots of warm hugs and greetings, it was time for our group of 30+ Babes to head off to the first major Babe event of the weekend. Naturally, this consisted of fine dining. Rudder had arranged for us to go on a dinner cruise aboard the General Jackson. The General Jackson is Nashville's large showboat that cruises seven miles up the Cumberland River.
As you board the showboat, the staff takes your picture as a potential keepsake of your visit. We took this opportunity to get a group picture for the weekend. The photo staff was somewhat overwhelmed by all of us, but we all managed to squeeze into the shot.
After boarding the boat, we headed to the aft upper deck for cocktails outdoors.
There was a Jazz band playing, so Shelby grabbed Voodoo and dragged him out onto the dance floor to practice her swing dancing.
Meanwhile, Babe Merlot couldn't stand still with her usual abundance of excess energy, so she grabbed a hold of Viper to dance a couple of polkas. Now, I didn't know you could polka to Jazz, but they seemed to manage.
Soon after, the boat pushed off and it was time to head down to the large central dining room for dinner. As we entered the dining room, at the opposite end was a large stage where the evening's entertainment would perform.
Walking towards the stage, we kept looking for our tables, and as we got closer we were surprised to see that Rudder had gotten us tables right up front at the very foot of the stage. I guess when you're buying 28 tickets you can demand the very best seats.
After an excellent prime rib dinner, it was time for the show to start. First, the hostess came out to acknowledge the various special groups and occasions that were being celebrated. When she announced a group of 60 high school students, we didn't hear a peep, but when she announced "Babes & Airplanes" we hooted and hollered louder than anyone else in the place.
Next, the hostess asked the audience if we liked country music. After everyone applauded, we were surprised to hear her say "Good, you're not going to hear any of that here." The show turned out to be an historical medley of swing music that took us all the way from Benny G oodman to Cherry Popp'n Daddies. The performance was excellent and was enjoyed by Babes of all ages. The show also included a Magician whose act combined the magic of art with the art of magic.
As the show was wrapping up, we felt a couple of gentle bumps as the boat tied up to the dock. By the time we got back to the hotel, it was late enough that most of the babes packed it in for the night. A few of us, however, went to the hotel bar for a few more drinks and swapped flying stories. Zman, Winger, Razor, and I packed it in after closing the bar.
The next day, people broke up into smaller groups for breakfast and a day's worth of sightseeing.
It was a major accomplishment to finish off the great "Southern Breakfast" at the Lovelace just outside Nashville.
It took a while but the gentleman at the Arts and Craft Show finally finished our custom built hot tub for the afternoon's duck flying fest!!
At 3pm, most of the group congregated in the pool area of the hotel for some hot-tubbing.
There were many ducks being tossed about, including a duck fight that ensued in the main pool.
What everyone was waiting for, though, was to see if Flash was going to make good on his deal with Sam. It seems that Sam agreed to do her spins in Nashville if Flash would serve her Foo-Foo drinks while wearing a Speedo bathing suit. Well, there were no Foo-Foo drinks to be served, but Flash did strip down to a Speedo for hot tubbing. He even had a button pinned on his Speedo that said "Sam's Place".
All too soon, it was time to get ready to go to dinner. Babes Merlot and Froggie printed up invitations to join them for cocktails and dinner at the Stockyard Restaurant. Naturally, this raised everyone's suspicions as to what they were planning. Sure enough, after a lat e arrival resulting from taking a wrong turn while walking to the restaurant, Merlot and Froggie announced their engagement and invited everyone to their wedding in September. Of course, the ceremony and reception will be held at an airport.
After many hugs and congratulations, we sat down for dinner.
Our host for the evening was a gentleman who called himself "Belly". Belly was quite the comedian and had everyone in good spirits. We were all roaring, though, when Belly pointed to Merlot and commented that since she was paying the bill, he knew whose butt to kiss. Upon hearing this, Merlot stood up on her chair and bent over, offering it up to him. Well, I didn't think a black man could blush, but Merlot had him turning all sorts of shades of red.
After dinner, Moxie and Merlot got up to make some presentations. They had plaques made up to recognize a few individuals for their efforts associated with the Babes.
Hav'nFun and his wife for their phenomenal hospitality in New Orleans,
Rudder and his wife for their efforts in putting together the Nashville trip,
and Viper for his efforts with the website. The plaques stated that all three had been given the honor of being "One of the Girls".
With the awards out of the way, the next order of business was to decide when and where the next national Babes fly-in would be. The first suggestion was somewhere in Arizona, which eventually was narrowed down to Tucson.
The other suggestion provided by a couple of the mid-Atlantic Babes was Charleston, SC, w hich Moxie kept confusing with Charlotte, NC. When it came down to the vote, many of us were surprised when Charleston won out. The date agreed upon was the 5th, 6th, and 7th of November.
Once all the business was out of the way, we were entertained briefly by a solo guitarist that just happened to be a pilot. After a few songs though, it was time for our group to break up. The majority of the group had tickets to the 9:30 show at the Grand Ole Opry, so those people quickly got up and scurried off to the show.
While I personally did not go, I was told that it was quite an enjoyable show. The remaining dozen or so of us proceeded down to the basement bar to socialize and listen to our guitarist and his two partners play.
After a couple of congratulatory bottles of wine for Merlot and Froggie, Boots, Razor, Winger, Zman and I decided to head back to town to check out the famous WildHorse Saloon, which is featured on TNN.
Unfortunately, because Nashville's river festival was going on, the WildHorse wasn't very crowded, but we still had a good time. We danced and listened to the country band that was playing, which was very good (at least by country standards :-)). They had a fiddle player that did a couple of amazing solos. When the band went on break, we were surprised and pleased to here some classic rock and pop dance music. I still have a hard time believing we were dancing to AC/DC in a country bar!
By the time it got to be about 2am, I knew we were feeling no pain when Winger and Zman started talking seriously about going out and getting the Babe's rose with wings emblem tattooed on their shoulders. The Bartender had a tattoo, and he told them of a nearby tattoo parlor that was open all night. I honestly think they would have gone throug h with it, but we first walked Razor back to her hotel, and by the time we got back to the Renaissance, the urge had worn off. At 3am, we asked the valets if there was any place open to get beer or food. Although it didn't seem like it at the time, it wa s a good thing for us that everything was closed.
The next morning, 9am came all too soon as I dragged myself out of bed to meet up with the group for Sunday brunch. Fortunately, it took us an hour and a half to get organized and head out, which gave me some much needed recovery time. The wait was definitely worth it though when we stumbled upon Mere Bulles, this great little restaurant that had a live Jazz brunch. We got there at 10:45, and brunch didn't start until 11am, so we sat down in plush leat h er couches they had up front and waited while the set a table for us and put some coffee on. When they walked us back to our table, there was a cup of coffee already poured at each seat, which we readily enjoyed. We had to wait a few more minutes while t hey finished setting up the buffet, but when we walked back we were all astounded at the incredible spread of food they had laid out. Omelets cooked to order, Eggs Benedict, biscuits with gravy, salmon, sushi, fresh fruit, ham, waffles and just about any thing else you could think of. Everything was excellent, and Merlot made her usual three trips to the buffet. The last one she topped off with some chocolate covered fruit for dessert.
After brunch, we headed back to the hotel. Most of the people filt ered out of the hotel on Sunday to go home, so there were many good-byes said as we ran into people that were leaving.
A handful of us were not leaving until Monday, so Merlot, Froggie and I decided to rent a car and go check out the Opryland Hotel. Since I had stayed there once before, I acted as tour guide as we walked through. The Opryland Hotel has something like 3,000+ rooms in it, with three or four huge atriums in it. The atriums are so large that unless you look up, you really can't tell if you're inside or outside.
Amazingly, in a hotel that large, after we'd been walking around a bit, we ran into Moxie and David. The five of us then decided to check out some of the shops that are in the center of the hotel. Well, it wasn't long before Moxie and Merlot found a jewelry store and headed straight for it. I think Moxie's exact words were "Oooooh, lets go look at engagement rings!" We followed the girls into the store. The minute Froggie walked through the door, he started looking very uneasy and I think he may have even broken out into a cold sweat. Naturally, since I didn't have a girlfriend/fiancee with me, I took great pleasure in teasing Froggie and David, and enjoyed watching them squirm. Luckily for them, this particular jewelry store didn't have bridal sets.
When we were finished window shopping for jewelry, we decided it was time to go back to our hotel. When we got back, we debated about doing some more hot tubbing, but most of us were tired from the previous night's festivities, so we decided an afternoon nap was in order. After catching some Z's, the five of us met up with Dave and Carleen to go get some dinner. We'd been roaming around 2nd and Broadway streets in search of a suitable place for awhile when Merlot spotted a place with a valet parking sign out front. We immediately decided that was more our speed and went in. We tried to get a table in the upstairs restaurant, but were rejected because of the dress code. Instead, we got a table in downstairs bar area, but orde red of the more extravagant upstairs menu. Everything was delicious, and after our meals, we ordered one of each of the desserts. These were circulated around the table so everyone could try each one.
With our bellies full, we strolled back to the hotel to make it an early evening. Both the M&M's and Dave and Carleen had to get to the airport early Monday morning to ensure they would be able to depart before the airport closed to paint the runway. Since I had a late flight out and wanted to sleep in, I said my good-byes for the trip before retiring for the evening. The next morning, after checking out, I walked down to the NASCAR Caf'e to grab a bit of lunch before catching the shuttle out to the airport to wait here for my flight.
As I sit here watching all the activities going on out on the field, I can't help but think what a wonderful group of people the Babes are, and can't wait for the next get together.
Well, it's just about time for my flight to start boarding. Alas, on what would have been a beautiful weekend to make the trip via GA, I've had to relinquish the piloting to the crew that will be taking me home. A broken door hinge on the Archer I was planning on flying down has forced me to accept a back seat ride with Continental. With luck, next time I'll be the one at the controls.
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Last Modified on May 19, 1999
All images and text copyright 1998, Barbara @ Babes & Airplanes