Wednesday, April 29, 2009

TN Trip Part III

The Sunday adventure began early as my flight was scheduled for a 12:35 take off. The family wanted to grab breakfast before I left and get in some last minute site seeing. We enjoyed a hearty breakfast at one of my dad's favorite places, The Cracker Barrel. Our waiter, Abraham, was a one star newbie that tried his very best at keeping our orders straight. Short of forgetting part of the meal, he did a good job. With our bellies full, gifts bought (a must when I go there), and quick jaunt to the gas station we headed off to see some sites.

Downtown Franklin is an adorable array of shops and old homes. My SIL got us around the downtown chaos as they were having the Main Street Festival. I was able to see some great old homes and take my nostalgic pictures. Due to our lack of time before my flight I took most of the pictures from a moving vehicle. The one stop we made was at The Factory. This place was really interesting.
The Factory was built in 1929 to accommodate Dortch Stove Works, Magic Chef, and Jamison Bedding. Now it is home to many high-end shops and dining facilities. We didn't tour inside, but I met one very interesting fellow. His name is Rusty.

Formal name is Russell T. Mechanism, created by artist Kris Nethercutt out of recycled junk over a six year period, and erected in 2008. Rusty, as he has fondly become known, stands over 20' tall and comes equipped with "Knobby Knees", "A Bug in his ear", "Water Works" (sprinklers between the legs), and numerous other quirks that you really need to see to appreciate. The sign posted on one side gives a nice review of where Rusty came from, what he stand for today, and how he is forging ahead for the future. I like Rusty.

We left the Factory and headed to the airport in Nashville. I made it there by 11:00 which was perfect timing to check my bags (5 minutes if that) and get to my gate. I made a couple of pit stops along the way to window shop and to buy one more gift for my oldest son. He's not as easy to buy for these days as my little guy. I got him a mouth harp and the poor thing nearly chipped his tooth trying to use it!

Sitting at the gate, I heard good news over the loud speaker. "Flight blah, blah, blah to Orlando is 30 minutes early. We have 137 passengers and 135 have checked in. We will begin boarding in the next 10 minutes." Woohoo! Early is great as I dreaded the traffic from OIA back to Melbourne.

I peek at my boarding pass and see that I am in the last group to board again. Okay, no big deal. I see a few faces from the first flight as most of them were in town for the weekend like me. The Music City Marathon was that Saturday so most of them were also fairly "small"--meaning John and Bubba from the first flight were not there to crowd my elbow room.

I was getting ready to board when the loud speaker sounded, "Ladies and Gentlemen of flight blah, blah, blah to Orlando, we have all 137 passengers checked in and will be able to take off ahead of schedule." Fantastic! Then I heard this..."Dude, the run was like balls to the wall awesome!" I cringed. Are you f***ing kidding me? He's back? Yeah, the same guy from the flight there was apparently flying back with me...and was behind me to board in the open seating of Southwest Airlines! I practically ran in front of two other people and made my apologies as I boarded the plane. There was three open seats, two next to each other and one in between a 5-7 year old boy and perhaps his 7-8 year old sister as they were arguing, "Did not," "Did to".

Crap. I took one of the seats with the open spot and crossed my fingers. The "Balls to the wall" guy got stuck with the kids, sort of. The mother traded spots and the dad got stuck sitting with him. I got stuck with a lady that drank too much wine on the flight home and kept falling asleep on my shoulder. It could have been worse. I'll definitely check in online next time when there are not assigned seats.

The flight was a bit rough once we hit Orlando. The turbulence, though not paralyzing, made for a rough landing as we bounced...seriously, we bounced onto the runway and halfway down as we taxied to the terminal. The weather was warm, humidity low, and sun shining. I was home.

After settling in for the night with my boys I asked Bam (my youngest) if I could go "bye-bye" again. This was his response:

That means NO.

No comments: