As I had occasion to travel to another city last week, this time Nashville, Tennessee, I also had occasion to live out what is becoming a thesis of my life here lately: e. g., “A country boy can survive.” (To read an account of the initial episode, click here to view the Hollywood Memoir blog for November 1).
Admittedly, Nashville is not nearly the citified, concrete waste-land of freaks and weirdoh’s that I found in Hollywood (at least the citizens of Nashville know how to speak American English with a proper accent!). But like any metropolis, Nashville struggles with the issues of large populations living in close quarters. More specifically to the point of the present illustration, like any metropolis that hosts conventions and conferences for a livelihood, Nashville has big-city hotels that exploit citified conventioneers and conference-goers who don’t know any better.
But not this country lad! No-siree. My Mama raised me with common sense. Here’s how this episode of the ongoing saga unfolded.
I noticed in the conference schedule weeks in advance that we would have some meetings-on-the-go with rushed lunch breaks. On Friday particularly, we had to change venues right at midday, not affording time to look for a decent lunch. So the conference announced that the Marriot would provide boxed lunches at a cost of $10.00.
Ten dollars for a boxed lunch? A dry sandwich with a bag of chips, a bruised apple or banana, a stale cookie, and a canned soft drink? And you’re going to charge me $10? Like we say in Cajun country (the home of some of the noblest country boys in the Deep South!), “Mais, je crois pas!” (Translated, “But, I don’t think so!” The Cajun idiom loses a little in translation, especially the pungent sarcasm in the Cajun’s tone when he spits out this sassy quip, but you get the idea of the Cajun country boy’s resolve.)
As it turns out, this country boy has an Italian friend named “Chef Boyardee,” and before I left Louisiana for Nashville, I headed on over to the local Winn Dixie and bought a few cans of mini-ravioli bites, the kind with the pull-top lid. I also picked up a few other miscellaneous canned goods and a bag of golden delicious apples. I packed the foodstuffs in my bags and caught the plane the next day.
On Friday of the conference, the day we were supposed to shell out $10 for the boxed lunch, I was wise. I packed my lunch before I left, stuffing the can of Chef Boyardee and a couple of those apples in one of the Winn Dixie baggies, and I struck out for the conference.
When lunch time came, all of those city folk conventioneers lined up, clutching their ten dollar bills. How willingly they sacrificed that money! But not me. I went straight past the line to a table where I opened my “picnic,” popped the top of the ravioli, and enjoyed my meal. I ate one of the apples for dessert and the other apple later in the afternoon for a snack.
I reason that not only did I save $10, but I also ate healthier than the city slickers who ate those chips and all that mayonnaise on their sandwiches. Plus, I didn’t have to hang around waiting in line.
Ten dollars richer I am, and a living testimony to my theme: A country boy can survive!
If I keep this up, I may become a legend?
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