Skip to content

We’ll Go Honkey-Tonkin’

You hafta go to the bathroom in this place. Not a standard greeting from an aged Southern gentleman, or any man desiring the chivalric title for that matter. He was slight. Abundant white hair, still arrayed in a flattened pompadour. Feisty. A force.

He forced me to go to the bathroom.

My job gives me a burst of color here and there. Yesterday, I witnessed an explosion with a side of lunch.

Tandy Rice is still a Nashville institution, meaning I dined with an institution on Wednesday. Readers may not recognize his name, but his client history might ring some bells. Porter Wagoner. Jerry Clower. George Jones. Dolly Parton. He particularly relished telling me how he arranged for a full-size, anatomically correct cut-out of Miss Parton, autographed by her personally, to be delivered with balloons streaming to a former college classmate of his. My husband’s boss. Charleston’s Mayor Joseph P. Riley Jr. likes him some Dolly.

Who knew?

A former President of the Country Music Association, Rice is responsible for building the country music business into what it is today. Naturally, he’s proud of himself. But, yesterday, he was prouder of the bathroom.

Go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW. GO.

It was weird, but I obeyed, wandering into an Elvis-encrusted mecca, his likeness everywhere, his signature scrawled on various surfaces, his voice crooning in the background while I did what I went in there to do.

Did you know Elvis, Mr. Rice?

I did. A nonchalant tone betrayed only by those piercing eyes. Isn’t it the eyes that usually reveal what we really think? Things we miss? Who we wish we could see again?

We talked about Elvis. About his multiple pilgrimages to Graceland. About our crazy Elvis-themed vows renewal in Vegas. He made me share a leaning tower of a hot fudge sundae with him – and probably decided I wouldn’t give him cooties – because of our mutual admiration of Elvis Presley.

Sometimes, if we’re really lucky, we can step back in time, witness history, see things from the inside. Maybe all it takes is a character and some gooey hot fudge.

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. Very cool, great back story.

    “Tandy never knew a stranger in his life. He was always a show-off, and full of himself, and always “got what he wanted. He could sell you a billy goat whether you needed it or not.” The description of Tandy Rice, huckster extraordinaire, comes from the person who has known him longest and best, his mother. Fanny Rice’s appraisal of her son fits him like the Brooks Bros, suits that cover his 5’9″ frame.”

    February 23, 2012
    • Having lunch with him was surreal, but he was just a normal person. Well, a normal person with the personality of 10 normal people, but still. :)

      February 23, 2012
  2. “Are you loathsome tonight…” I hear that in my head now.

    So how come a large portion of my friends, all female, are all in Nashville the end of this week? Is there some gigantic plot being hatched there? Are you all returning to the mother ship or something?

    February 23, 2012
    • I am working, Carnell. That is pretty much all I have time for here this trip. No hatching plots on my end.

      February 23, 2012
  3. Andra, what an interesting lunch. No doubt, the conversation was beneficial. If for nothing more than discussions of Elvis! It’s amazing that your work is helping you meet all these interesting folks!

    This alone should give you some material for a very interesting article!

    February 23, 2012
    • Much of what we talked about was client related and thus cannot be printed. But, this little slice cut beyond business, and it was nice.

      February 23, 2012
  4. Oh wow! Those are the people that I would love to just sit with and visit for days with a digital recorder so I could do homage to them by typing up their memoirs and sharing them with the rest of the world. In fact, that gives me an idea, wouldn’t it be great to take a recorder into a retirement center and get a hodge podge of stories from all the residents there? So much is lost when a generation is ushered out.

    Love your story, but mostly I’m thinking that you could go to lunch with even the most mundane person and come out of that lunch with a wonderfully descriptive and entertaining blog. It’s the way you “see” people, things, places and then your talent in putting it all into such beautifull, poignant, heartfelt, wrenching, painfull, uplifting, joyous (in other words – descriptive) tomes.

    You have a gift.

    February 23, 2012
    • Lori, thank you. I didn’t feel very gifted yesterday, but it was an experience I won’t forget.

      February 23, 2012
  5. A Guess #

    It is great to have conversations like the one you describe. It just proves we have so much to learn from those around us at any age.

    February 23, 2012
  6. Wait- what is your job that you get to do something this cool? This guy sounds completely fascinating. You probably just need to sit down with a tape recorder and get him to start talking!

    February 23, 2012
    • I own a management consulting firm. I am doing research for a client, and he has a connection to the client.

      February 23, 2012
      • Pretty damned cool!!

        February 23, 2012
      • I feel like I am doing a Who’s Who of Nashville tour today. Cannot believe where I am right now:

        February 23, 2012
  7. I think I don’t know what management consulting is, unless they’re asking you how to manage? Hey! That sounds right! Your lunch must have been fun and congenial.

    Roxanne
    The Good Luck Duck

    February 23, 2012
    • I tell people what to do. Sometimes, they listen. :)

      February 23, 2012
      • If they are really, really wise, they listen closely. It pays off.

        February 23, 2012
  8. How fantastic! Nashville is a treasure, and the personalities that can tell the stories are indeed special. I’m glad you had such a wonderful exposure to a fascnating person…and in the line of work, even more delicious! Debra

    February 23, 2012
    • It was a treat for me. Met several more characters today, but none as legendary.

      February 23, 2012
  9. Oh, now I’m envious: what an amazing sundae that must have been :-) I never knew about this guy but now I wish I had been sitting with you at that table. Thanks, Andra: I learned something new today….

    February 23, 2012
    • You would’ve loved him, Kate. I barely had to ask a question, and we were off to the races.

      February 23, 2012
  10. How FUN! Glad you had a chance to share a leaning tower of Sundae! :D

    February 23, 2012
    • I left more for him than I had. He also started eating off my plate, which was funny in a familiar kind of way.

      February 23, 2012
  11. Shamus #

    Tandy is a dear friend of mine. Barbara’s also as sweet as can be. Have him show you some pictures of him when he was a big shot in his late 20’s & 30’s… :)

    He’s a member of The Citadel’s class of 1961.

    February 23, 2012
    • I do hope I get to meet with him again. He was a dear. Very passionate about his alma mater.

      February 23, 2012
  12. I’ll share a hot fudge sundae. I’ll even try really hard to keep my cooties to myself!

    February 23, 2012
    • How can a person go wrong sharing a hot fudge sundae? Especially when cooties are not involved…….

      February 23, 2012
  13. Wow, what a great lunch. Elvis is one of my absolute favorites. I love meeting interesting people – actually all people, now that I think about it! You must get that book: Make Your Own Luck. You keep making me think of it for you and now you must buy it, or I will send you a copy.

    I will never forget one of the kids saying, “Elvis was JUST a singer.” WHAT?? JUST a singer?? I couldn’t believe my ears. Oh, the youth. He knows better now.

    February 24, 2012
  14. That lunch sounds amazing, and you didn’t even tell us about the entree! ;) Seriously, though, what a fantastic character!

    February 26, 2012
    • Getting to meet him was a lucky stroke for me. The food really was secondary.

      February 26, 2012
  15. Ken Payne #

    I met Tandy Rice in 1979 in Athens Ga @ the Southern Finals Rodeo they have for the University of Georgia Block & Bridle Club. I worked for the local Dodge dealer, Ivy Coile Motors & we furnished the trucks for the Rodeo. Afterwards we all wind up in the bar of the Ramada Inn where I meet Tandy Rice, & when he tells me he manages Jerry Clower, I tell him he’s full of it. Long story short, he takes me up to Jerry’s room where he greets us @ the door in his pajamas. Well that’s been 35 yrs ago & I still stay in touch with Tandy Rice because he’s just a fun, friendly guy to remain friends with. Keep brightening up Nashville Tandy & you’re living proof that being nice to one person a day will leave you with lots of admirers in your old age. Ken Payne- Toccoa, Ga -

    February 16, 2014

Talk Amongst Ourselves

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,349 other followers

%d bloggers like this: