When I was a younger person than I am right now — like by 10 or so years, actually — I emailed David Berman (author of Actual Air, frontman of the Silver Jews, and graduate of UMass-Amherst’s MFA program that’s way better than Iowa’s dumb MFA program that’s dumb) and asked him where, if I were in Nashville ever, I should make a priority of going. The Gold Rush, is what he responded — if for no other reason than the members of 1980’s hair-band Cinderella were regulars there.
Today, ahead of baseball’s winter meetings (which start Monday at the city’s giant Opryland Resort), I arrived in Nashville and made a priority of slaking my thirst — via a Maker’s Mark and then, alongside a pulled-pork sandwich, a Guinness — at the aforementioned drinking establishment. Because I’m more similar to a real-live adult now — and, as a consequence, less capable of being smitten with bands and writers and everything else in the whole world — the experience didn’t carry quite the gravitas it would have had I made the trip 10 years ago.
Still, I’d suggest that there’s something natural and pleasant to the act of making a pilgrimage. The author’s trip to the Gold Rush isn’t, maybe, on par with setting out and completing El Camino de Santiago. But it appeals to the same instinct, at least. And also is way less sweaty.