My Much Travelled Red Coat
My red coat has crossed the Atlantic almost as many times as I have, and that’s a good many times. If I’ve counted right, it will be twenty-six times, between 2007 and 2016, counting the outward and return trips. If it could talk, I’m sure it would have some interesting tales to tell. It is my favourite warm coat, with a quilted lining and some fake fur round the collar. As I’ve travelled around, there has been many a time that I’ve been very glad to have it with me.
Extreme temperature variations are common in the States, hot in the day and cold at night, and often surprisingly chilly in summer evenings. During one autumn trip I went to visit my sister flying from Florida up to Boston, MA. I’d left Orlando in the 70s F, arriving in Boston to temperatures just above freezing, with snow threatening and a bitterly cold east wind. Boy, was I glad of my red coat that trip. In fact, it was so cold I had to borrow an extra fleece off my sister to put over my sweaters under my coat.
Braving the Elements
Another time, early May this time, I went to a one-day, open-air, music festival in Livingston, TN. The weather has been quite mild in the days leading up to the festival. But things changed when the day of the festival arrived, when a cold front blew in. It rained all day and a bitterly cold wind was blowing. The bands and singers were playing in an open-sided tent, through which the wind whistled, but at least it gave some shelter from the incessant rain. I wore my thickest sweaters, a sleeveless fleece and a scarf, over which I wore my red coat. I also had my hat and gloves on. Wearing all that, I just about managed to stay warm enough through the day, but I enjoyed the music in spite of the weather.
My red coat’s solo trip
Another year, after again spending a few days with my sister, we were standing at the train station waiting for the train into Boston. My sister was living in a small town about 15 miles out of Boston. That morning, she was going into work at the main hospital and I was heading to the airport to fly down to Nashville. That was when I suddenly realised that I’d left my red coat on the hook in her hallway. I was wearing my lightweight jacket that day, as the weather was very mild, so had clean forgotten about my other coat. If we’d gone back for it, we would have missed the train and we’d have both been late arriving at our destinations.
I had planned to be spending several days in Nashville, so the next morning my sister parcelled my coat up and sent it by express mail to my hotel in Nashville. It was an expensive trip for my coat, but, although I’d asked my sister how she wanted me to pay her, she never did tell me … so I guess I still owe her. So that’s how my coat got to travel on its own, unaccompanied by me, via UPS, on the next leg of its journey. At the end of its solo journey, a couple of days later, I was mighty glad to be reunited with it, not least because my house keys were in one of its pockets.
Houston and Galvaston
During another trip, I’d flown to Houston, TX, to spend the weekend with my cousin and his wife. On the Saturday morning, his youngest grandson was celebrating his first birthday with a party at a local play park. I’d misjudged the weather that morning and I’d left my red coat back at the house. I soon regretted this, as the wind was much cooler than I’d anticipated. However, I did make sure that I had it on the next day when we went on a ferry trip across Galvaston harbour.
Visiting the Opryland Hotel
On one of my early trips to Nashville I met up with my friend, Arlene. I had originally made contact with her in about 2005 through MySpace and we first met face to face in 2007 during my first trip to Nashville. The following year she took me down to see the Opryland Hotel. This is a huge complex and is very grand inside. There are shops, grand hallways with massive, floor-to-ceiling, murals on the walls of some of them, grand staircases and beautiful tiled or carpeted floors. The mural depict scenes of Nashville in times past.
Many of the bedrooms are overlooking their indoor garden, a masive atrium, covered by a glass roof … like a huge conservatory. It has waterfalls and cascades, beautiful flowers and ferns, and there are multi-level walkways throughout. We spent several hours looking round the place, enjoying it.
Just three years later, in 2010, the whole area was badly damaged by the worst floods that Nashville had ever known. When the Cumberland River topped the flood barriers, after cresting at nearly 52 feet above normal, it inundated the hotel and the atrium with ten feet of water. It took about eighteen months for the restoration work to be fully completed, though the hotel did reopen six months later.
My Red Coat is still travelling
These are just some of the highlights that spring to mind about the adventures of my much travelled red coat. There are many more untold tales and I’m sure there will be more to come, but this is all for now. Feel free to add any comments you wish or if you have any questions, please ask.