After the Lads to Leaders convention had ended at the Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville, Tennessee, it was time to head for home. But first, we had a stop to make, because our car was just about out of gas. However, we did not want to pay the high prices that the stations in the Opryland area wanted, so we drove for a few minutes to find someplace cheaper.
As we were exiting off Briley Parkway, everything suddenly seemed familiar. The gas station we were looking for was on the left, but there was a cemetery on the right, and Laura and I were both almost certain that we had been there before. Because cemeteries can be interesting places to visit even if you have not been there before, we thought we would check it out for a few minutes before heading for home. Right after we finished putting gas in the car, that is.
The sign out front read “Spring Hill Cemetery,” which once again sounded really familiar. As soon as we turned into the cemetery, we knew we were in the right place, because there was a large grave marker with the name “Acuff” underneath a fiddle. We then knew for certain that we had been there before, about eight years earlier. We had gone there for the funeral of the parent of a friend, and we had seen that same marker on our previous visit. On that visit, we had even walked over to check it out, just to see if it happened to be the same Acuff that we were thinking about. Sure enough, it was.
Among the Acuff family members buried there was Roy Claxton Acuff, known to country music fans around the world simply as Roy Acuff. On this recent visit, Jaylin, who probably did not remember our stopping there the first time, said, “Who is Roy Acuff?” What? Who is Roy Acuff? Only the King of Country Music! One of the biggest stars of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, He passed away at the age of 89 almost 10 years before Jaylin was born, and besides that, Jaylin has never been to the Grand Ole Opry, instead only passing by the outside of the building whenever we walk from the Opryland Hotel to the Opry Mills Mall. Yes, we need to expose him to some more culture, I know.
I am not always sure why it is interesting to see where famous people are buried, but it is. Even though they are no longer with us, their names still have a certain value to us, and still bring back certain memories. To me, Roy Acuff’s name brings back memories of seeing him sing “Wabash Cannonball” both in person and on television, or balancing his fiddle bow on his chin, or joking with Minnie Pearl. All of that was pretty much meaningless to Jaylin, as it seems like ancient history to him. But that was my childhood.
Not much had changed with Roy since our previous visit in 2009. Not that I expected it would, of course. But I did notice that he had a relatively new neighbor.
Not too far past the Acuff monument, we saw another, newer monument that read “Scruggs.” Laura and I both said, “Do you think that is Earl Scruggs?” And once again, Jaylin said, “Who?” We walked over for a closer look, and sure enough, it was!
If you are like Jaylin and don’t know, Earl Scruggs was a banjo player. But not just any banjo player. He is credited with creating the three-finger style of playing the five-string banjo that just about every bluegrass banjo player uses these days. They don’t call it the Scruggs Style for nothing, you know. Probably his most famous song is “The Ballad of Jed Clampett,” the theme from The Beverly Hillbillies, performed with Lester Flatt as Flatt and Scruggs, with vocals by Jerry Scoggins. Although that song was actually written by someone else, Earl Scruggs did write the Flatt and Scruggs instrumental song “Foggy Mountain Breakdown,” which is probably the best-known bluegrass song that there is and featuring Earl’s distinctive banjo-playing style.
Buried next to Earl Scruggs is his wife Anne, who was also his business manager and booking agent, and was in fact the first female artist manager in country music.
Obviously, Earl had not been there during our previous visit in 2009, as he was still very much alive and still making music at that time. It was really interesting to see something familiar and also discover something new while we were there.
Because we were wanting to get back home, we did not linger all that long, and we just spent some time in that one portion of the cemetery. We did find where our friend’s parents were buried, and Laura sent along a photo of the grave marker to her. Hopefully that wasn’t to creepy or anything. Our friend didn’t seem to mind. But it was fun to get out and walk a little before our three hour drive home, and it was cool to see some famous names, and to share a little cultural history of the area with Jaylin, too.
Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us. Let us run with endurance the race that lies before us, 2 keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised the shame and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne. - Hebrews 12:1-2
About the photos:
There really isn’t much special about these photos. I grabbed my camera out of the car for some quick shots, changing lenses along the way to get a wider view for some of them. Also, the processing here is not quite as extensive and over the top as some other photos, because I felt that the slightly more subdued look worked better for these.
Photos: Each photo is a single Raw exposure, processed in Photoshop. Read more about photography tips, photo software, camera gear, and more at Steve’s Photography Tips.
Camera: Olympus OM-D E-M10
Lens: Olympus 14-42mm IIR and Rokinon 7.5mm f/3.5 Fisheye Lens
Date: April 16, 2017
Location: Spring Hill Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee