Sunday, November 4, 2007

Michael and the Magic Shirt

Michael and the Magic Shirt"
Current mood: chipper
The image of a young man stepping onto Nashville's Lower Broadway sidewalks, guitar in hand, dreams in heart, and not much in the head, is something out of Hollywood, or a good PR firm. But really, there's a lot of sparkle that comes out of just being surrounded by good people doing good things. You don't have to be an aspiring musician. You can be a music fan. You can be a writing fan, a movie fan, a traveler, whatever. Or you can be the host of a weekly radio show.
Whatever you may be, there is something about being there that makes you want one thing, and one thing only: a great country shirt.

The setting: the Country Music Hall of Fame
The scene: two book-writers, two song-writers, discussing, reading, sharing

After being inspired by Silas House, Scott Miller, Chris Knight, and William Gay, our little gang of excitable Kentuckians hit the gift shop. I bought the one Silas House novel i didn't already have (Coal Tattoo) and hit the autograph line. As i sheepishly explained that i didn't already own it because i'd checked it out from the library (is that like illegal downloading is to a musician? ), Mr. House graciously signed my book and asked me when my next record was going to be released. "I've worn out your other one," he said, which made me blush and also made me wonder if I could put that quote on one of those cool stickers you see on the front of a CD package. (By the way, I have a very brief list of people i'd love to write with someday, and Silas House is on that list).

Aside from the novels and CDs and music memorabilia available in the CMHofFame gift shop, there are some most excellent shirts. But not the greatest selection. And one thing was obvious from the glowing sparkle in my pal Michael's eyes: he needed a shirt.

I decided we should head over to Katy K's on 12th Avenue South, where a wider selection of vintage and tailor-made shirts awaited us. At this point, half of our group retreated to the hotel, but Michael and I were on a mission. It might be better to say that I was on a mission to see this man's wardrobe dreams fulfilled. That's what i do, folks. I see that people follow their dreams.

The shirt was found, but at a price. A price much higher than desired.

While Michael fretted and fawned over the variety of brilliant shirts, I found a fabulous green and white polka dot Kitty Wells-type dress.

"This shirt's too much. My wife will kill me," Michael said.

"Well, then, just try it on. It might not fit, then you won't have to worry anymore," I replied. Oh, I am so bad.

"Okay, but you try on the dress."

I did, which fit okay, but i didn't really like that this particular size dress fit as well as it did. Besides that, the dress was $175 and sales tax is more in Tennessee, and that is just absurd. But i did few twirls and successfully got "Honky Tonk Angels" stuck in my head for a good six hours.

And as for Michael? Unfortunately, the shirt fit brilliantly.

"It's a bit much ... a bit louder than I ever wear," he said. But he said it with such a huge grin that it was like a whole other person was creeping out from under his demure exterior.

I should note that the shirt was not loud, by any other standards. It was black, tailored perfectly, with bronze-toned brown threading across the shoulders and chest.

"And it's too much money," he said again, his grin growing with every glance in the mirror.

I agreed, and then pointed out, "But it's got black AND brown in it, so you could wear it with anything. So really, it's like buying two shirts. Or three."

He told me I'm a bad influence, and I told him, "Fine then, don't get the shirt. It's too expensive."

We left the store, pausing to discuss the expensive, but fabulous shirt, with the shopkeeper. We could always come back tomorrow before he head back for Louisville.

"Oh, you're from Louisville," the shopkeeper asked. "I know people in Louisville."

We played that game for about ten minutes, before finally retreating to the car.

Sitting in the car, we once again discussed the shirt's pros and cons, when a car pulled up next to us. A tall, handsome man with a skip in his step, got out and walked towards the store entrance.

"Hey, that's Peter Cooper! I bet he's getting a shirt," I exclaimed. Peter heard this, and walked over to the car window to say hello.

After a brief introduction, I explained to Peter, "We're deciding whether or not to back in and get the shirt."

"Get the shirt," Peter said decidedly.

"Are you getting the shirt," I asked.

"I already bought the shirt. I'm picking up the shirt now. I had rhinestones added to it. Actually, I got two shirts."

And with that, we watched Peter go in the store.

Michael's grin had changed to one of defiance and excitement, and we jumped out of the car, back into the store.

"I'm getting the shirt!" he said, as Peter, the shopkeeper, and I cheered.

* * * * *

perhaps, to be continued (someday)

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