Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nashville: Part Two (Endangered Newts)

Saturday: The Race

The cornerstone of this trip was joining our good friend, Jack, at the IRL's Firestone 200 at the Nashville Superspeedway. If you are interested in Indy racing and want details about the race, you can bail out now. The race was rained out.

We arrived at the track at 2:00. It was a bit later than Jack had wanted because Patti and I had to get a cooler and fill it with food, drink, and ice for the long day ahead. Our cooler is M.I.A. It was left at one of the in-laws' shindigs or was mis-taken at a pot luck affair. Who knows? Who cares? We wind up at Wal-Mart.

This is not your typical Wal-Mart. It sits on the edge of the affluent town of Bentwood, TN. It's far fancier than the Wal-Mart in my neighborhood with a facade that makes it look like a medical arts building. It's a big sucker too. The drive up to the parking lot reminded me of the entrance to the Biltmore House in Asheville, N.C. We cross a satellite parking area, go over a bridge and pull up next to the store only to find that the small lot next to the building is almost exclusively handicapped parking. We have to turn around and place our car deep in the satellite lot. It is hot. Southern hot. They should have shuttle service, but don't. We transverse the parking lot, trudge across the bridge and weave through the disabled peoples' vehicles. Finally - We enter.

The coolers are maybe 5 football fields or more away from the food. We split up. I grab the first cooler I see and hurry back to help gather the food. Patti is auditioning fresh peaches and has yet to make a selection. ( No comment. ) We are still many minutes away from the lengthy walk back to the car and the rendevous at Jack's house. It's astonishing, but we're only about 15 minutes late.

Jack tells us that the Wal-Mart is set up that way because:

1. Bentwood didn't want the Wal-Mart there to begin with.
2. To halt the move, some of the citizens claimed that there was some kind of endangered newt that lived in the trickle of a stream that runs right through the property. It was ruled that this habitat could not be destroyed.
3. Wal-Mart simply throws a few zeros on the contruction cost and builds a bridge across Newt Land.

Our newt-related tardiness was only the beginning of an unusual day.

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