Like I said recently, Karen and I returned from a week visiting my parents in Tennessee. Here's some highlights from the trip:
Tennessee is in The South, and The South is the land of the Bible. In more than a few yards I saw what appeared to be political signs in people's yards, but those signs reported the Ten Commandments. I wonder how they'd react to a sign of the Eightfold Path? Or the Four Noble Truths? Or the Precepts?
One of my favorite signs was a billboard that showed a group of people and, in big, bold letters, "Satan bite the dust!"
Another interesting sign was a T-shirt which showed the Confederate flag, with the caption, "If you're offended, you need a history lesson." Oh yeah?
But not all Southerners wear their spirituality on their sleeves. While in a bookstore in Cookeville, I had a conversation with a young woman who was apparently looking for something. She spent a lot of time in front of the Eastern Philosophy section. She asked me, "What is the difference between Hinduism and Buddhism?" So I gave her a quick rundown, and suggested one or two books on Buddhism. "I hope this works!" she said, but I didn't get a chance to find out what she meant. In any event, I hope she finds whatever it is she is seeking.
We spent two mornings playing golf with my parents. Now this golf thing is really something; my mother was always about as athletic as a Gucci purse, but has somehow become a golf fanatic. So now my parents have something in common, and they play four or five times a week. Even Karen played two rounds of nine holes. She seems to have some natural talent for the game, but I don't see her shopping for clubs anytime soon.
The afternoons mostly saw me with an ice pack around my head, so our exploring was kind of at a minimum.
On the trip back, Karen and I did a tour of Thomas Jefferson's home, Monticello. Sadly, it was raining, so we didn't do a tour of the grounds. It was Karen's first time there; it was my third trip. At the museum shop I found a book by Daniel Boorstin, The Lost World of Thomas Jefferson. Boorstin is my favorite historian, so this was an exciting find for me.
We decided to drive rather than fly. To make the time go by, we listened to The Teaching Company's course How to Listen to and Understand Great Music. We managed to finish the first four parts and started on the fifth part. This turned out to be an amazing course. I have been listening to classical music since my early years in college. Karen is just now getting into this music. The lecturer, Robert Greenberg Ph.D., breathes life into Western music, has some pretty strong opinions, and obviously loves the subject. I am learning a lot from these lectures, not only about musical forms and styles, but also about the composers themselves. I highly recommend this course if you have even the slightest interest in classical music.
So, that was our trip in a nutshell. Our dog Kane is miffed that we left him behind, so we are working to get back in his good graces. My father-in-law finished painting our deck, and repainted one of our bathrooms while we were gone (that was nice to discover when we got home).
My parents live just a stone's throw from the Kentucky border, so I will leave you with this joke:
The owner of a golf course in Kentucky was confused about paying an invoice, so he decided to ask his secretary for some mathematical help.
He called her into his office and said, "You graduated from the University of Kentucky and I need some help. If I were to give you $20,000, minus 14%, how much would you take off?"
The secretary thought a moment, then replied, "Everything but my earrings"
Music in my head: The fourth movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony.