Seeing Stars

25 May

Last night, I was having dinner at a local Mexican restaurant when I looked across the patio and saw someone who I recognized. It wasn’t an old friend or acquaintance. It was Gretchen Wilson, a singer who has gained a modicum of fame. I didn’t think much about it, and it seemed that the other diners didn’t think much about it either. However, it gave me an idea for a blog post.

One of the great aspects of Nashville is that you can see someone famous almost anywhere you go. A greater aspect is that those famous people do not get harassed by fans or paparazzi. They do their thing while non-famous Nashvillians do theirs. For example, if you want to see Vince Gill, then all you have to do is go to a Belmont University basketball game. Kenny Chesney shows up each time the University of Tennessee has a game in town. Once, I sat in front of Reba McEntire at a Nashville Predators game, and, last summer, I sat behind Wynonna Judd at a U2 concert. Although I haven’t seen her, I understand that Carrie Underwood and her fantastic legs spend a lot of time at Whole Foods.

Never fear, country stars are not the only people seen in these parts. Once, I played pool at a table next to Nicole Kidman and her husband, Keith Urban. Also, Reese Witherspoon is a native of Nashville. It seems that artists from all genres and endeavors are attracted to our fair city. Nashville isn’t Los Angeles or New York (thank goodness), but it has its fair share of famous people.

As I chewed my enchiladas, I began to think about this part of the Nashville experience and thought about a couple of encounters of my youth.

When I was a kid, my mom and I spent a lot of time at Opryland, a theme park that used to be here and still should be. One afternoon, we were leaving, and my mom needed to go to the restroom. Being the days when parents could leave children for a few minutes without worrying, my mom left me sitting on a bench and eating an ice cream cone. As I sat, an elderly man perched down beside me with an ice cream cone of his own. He asked a few questions but only got one word answers in reply. It was typical nice old man questions, but I was too shy to say too much.

My mom returned and spoke with him for a few minutes before we went on our way. Once we left hearing range, she asked if I knew who that was. I said that I didn’t, and she told me that it was Roy Acuff. Don’t know who that was? He was known as the “King of Country Music” and was the genre’s first superstar. I had been eating ice cream with a legend.

As a teenager I, like a lot of teenagers in the 80s, hung out at the mall. Unlike  a lot of teenagers in the 80s, I hung out at the bookstore in the mall. One day, I stood in front of a bookshelf, the history section I guess, with my head buried in a book. In the midst of reading, I felt someone walk up behind me and just stand there. It was like they were reading the same book over my shoulder. Honestly, it wasn’t comfortable. I kept reading and hoping they would move when the man behind me yelled for his son. I knew immediately who it was.

I turned my head to say hello, and he replied, “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” Well, he didn’t actually say that. He said something along the lines of how are you. The most interesting thing was that the “Man in Black” was wearing black sweatpants, a black sweatshirt and white tennis shoes.

So, if you are ever in Nashville keep an eye open. You might see a star. Just remember to act like a Nashvillian and not bother them. That’s one of reasons Nashville is great. Although, it’ll probably be alright to say hello or stare at Carrie’s legs.

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17 Responses to “Seeing Stars”

  1. sj May 25, 2012 at 15:25 #

    I had a whole “mmmmm, enchiladas” comment planned, but then you tell me that YOU MET JOHNNY CASH AND I CAN’T REMEMBER ANYTHING ELSE!

    • surroundedbyimbeciles May 25, 2012 at 17:58 #

      Ha. Yeah, it was pretty cool. Later, I saw June Carter dragging him around the makeup counters.

  2. becomingcliche May 25, 2012 at 15:58 #

    I have only twice seen someone famous, both times when I visited LA. One was Eric Balfour, right before his character was killed off on “Buffy.” The other was Judy Tenuta. Yeah, she’s a real person. Look her up.

    • surroundedbyimbeciles May 25, 2012 at 17:59 #

      I will definitely look her up. Don Knotts is my all time favorite celebrity sighting.

  3. paintlater May 26, 2012 at 03:35 #

    That Nicole Kidman gets around – I spotted her and Hugh Jackman together in a little cafe in Kangaroo Valley close to where I live. Seems we have six degrees here. No luck in the Cash department though, that’s legendary. Cheers Sue

    • surroundedbyimbeciles May 26, 2012 at 03:41 #

      Apparently, she does. It must be nice to be a worldwide jet-setter.

      • paintlater May 26, 2012 at 03:51 #

        It’s a bit different over here,not too many stars. They had to close the cafe-Bella’s- it normally sits about 30 people but the whole town (about 200) thought it would be a good day to have lunch out. Word travels as fast as their tractors in the Valley.

  4. jcalberta June 25, 2015 at 18:05 #

    Amazing. I’ve bumped a few Stars here in Calgary over the years – as there have been lost of movies made around here. If I said anything (at all) to them it was usually something stupid due to my nervousness. Hockey players are the big celebrities here and probably can’t go anywhere unnoticed. I have no concept of what it must be like to be a celebrity.

    • Rick June 25, 2015 at 18:59 #

      It would be cool to be a celebrity for a day. It would probably get old after a while. Stars are seen in Nashville a lot, and they are usually not bothered.

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