Saturday I got a sunburn. Sunday we had thunderstorms and tornado watches. Today? Chance of snow. It's pretty ridiculous.
This post might get a little lengthy, but for those of you who don't live in TN (or even the south) it just might be something you find interesting. Let me give you a little glimpse into life in the south.
First of all, you should know that this current cold snap is "dogwood winter." As I've gotten older, I've realized that when I say stuff like that more and more people don't have a clue what I'm talking about. Every spring, we have four cold snaps that each happen before something blooms. Each one is called a "winter." The redbuds have already bloomed after our last little cold snap. After this one, the dogwoods will bloom... thus why we're in "dogwood winter." Next will be the locust winter and then finally the blackberry winter. This is something that I believe that farmers figured out a long time ago. I think it's kind of neat.
Saturday, I did a true country thing. I live pretty close to Nashville, and while it's not a big city in the way that places like Chicago and NYC are big cities, the area is still dramatically more "city" than the rest of the state. Outside of Nashville, Knoxville and Memphis, Tennessee is mostly all rural communities. This time of year always brings various festivals in some of the communities, and this weekend I went with a friend of mine to Mule Day in Columbia.
Yes, I said Mule Day. The website will tell you more than you probably care to know.
A side note - when I was in college, I took a trip one spring break to NYC to do some volunteer work at an elementary school in the Bronx. On my first day, I was explaining to my fourth graders that I was from TN. The conversation with one of them went as follows:
Kid: "Tennessee?? Do you have a horse?!" her eyes were huge when she asked.
Kid: "Do your friends have horses?!"
Kid: "Do you know anyone that has a horse?"
Kid: "Have you ridden a horse?!"
Me: "Yes, once or twice."
I got a kick out of how these kids thought that I MUST have a horse since I was from TN.
Anyways, there are a lot of horses in our fine state... and mules. And Mule Day is a big celebration of it.
After getting up at 5:30am and stopping at Starbucks before the hour drive to Columbia, I met up with some fellow Nashville Striders to volunteer at the Mule Day 5K. It's super fun to work at a race, so I encourage you to all check it out sometime when you're not running a local race. Volunteers are super important as we all know from running races, and it's really kind of fun to experience being on the other side.
Next, we hit up the all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast. I had three pancakes, not caring that I didn't run them off beforehand. Around 11, there is a parade. It was seriously the longest parade that I have ever stood and watched. Most of the pictures below are from the parade. Captions highlight the best parts.
Then, we walked to the festival area (which ended up being further away than we thought... as in, we walked a 5K to get there and then walked another 5K later to get back to the car. I guess I burned off those pancakes after all!). We explored some of the booths and such, and then we settled down in the arena to watch the Mule Pull. It's pretty much how it sounds... the mules pull a bunch of weight to see who can pull the most. Mules are strong!
We didn't get home until around 6pm, so I had a quick dinner with my mom and showered before crashing early. I think the sun really zaps energy, and since my face and arms were bright red it was clear I'd gotten plenty.
Sunday I slept in before running some errands and going to a friend's house for a purse party. I bought the cutest bag and am having my name monogrammed on it!
Then, I spent the evening watching the Academy of Country Music Awards. Seriously, I meant it about being a country girl. I don't really let on about being one very much, and I don't really act the part very often... but deep down, I was born and raised in TN so all things country have a special place in my heart.
I once saw Reba McIntire at the Green Hills Mall. I've also seen the guys of Rascal Flatts eating dinner at our Logan's. I met Trace Adkins at MTSU when I was working freshman orientation and he came with his daughter. People spot Keith Urban and Nicole Kidman around town all the time. I think our local famous people loving living here because people tend to respect them and not follow them around, etc. We don't have a lot of paparazzi hanging around Nashville. It's really cool to see some of these people out and about, but we gawk from afar and respect their space.
I always enjoy watching these awards shows because they're one big concert. I'm a big Carrie Underwood fan, so I was excited she won Entertainer of the Year. I also like Brad Paisley (who also lives in Nashville) and thought he acceptance speech about how he stayed home because his wife (Kimberly Williams) was about to have their second baby any day now was really super sweet.
In the end, I really am a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll... but this weekend? I was truly a country girl.
This state trooper laid his bike down... you could tell people wanted to laugh but didn't. His fellow trooper totally drove back and made fun of him.
Former UT Vols football coach Phil Fulmer was the Grand Marshal... people sang Rocky Top. Look that up if you've never heard it - it's catchy.
Ok, so Tennessee is pretty much a republican state. The only counties that went to Obama were the ones around Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville (the non-rural areas if you're keeping up.) Needless to say, when this float went by the crowd got unbelievably quiet compared to how they were when everything else went by. Either everyone was a republican, or the few democrats in the crowd were too afraid to give a cheer. I almost felt bad for these people with the float.
This was amazing! I had never actually seen a sheep dog rounding up sheep! He'd have them going one way, then he'd have them stop, and then they'd go another way. Seriously cool to see.
The Sun Drop bottling company is close by... if you've never had one, you should try it. It's kind of similar to Mellow Yellow.
At the mule pull... and yes, those guys in the background are wearing jail outfits. (Is there a word for that? I have no idea.) They bring inmates from the county jail to do a lot of work around the festival all weekend. These guys were adding the blocks of weight when needed.