Tuesday, July 14, 2009

"THE NASHVILLE HOT SPOON EXPERIENCE"


It seemed surreal but it was all too real.
It was 1982 and I was attending a national tourim convention in Nashville, Tennessee. I was representing "The Captain's Clambake Emporium" restaurant located in Dennis Port on Cape Cod at that time in addition to the Soundings motel, the Colonial Village motel, and the Captain Williams House restaurant at the convention to promote these properties to motor coach tour operators who gather each year at the national convention to learn about various hotels, restaurants, and tourist attractions so that they can plan itineraries to market to their group clients.
I was invited to have dinner one evening during the convention by the Sullivan family who operate Collette Tours from Rhode Island as we hosted many of their groups at the Soundings motel and also at our traditional New England Clambake at The Captain's Clambake Emporium. In addition to myself and the Sullivan family and others employees of Collette Tours; the Sullivan family invited a few other representatives of other motels and attractions along for the dinner at a unique restaurant that was located right at the end of a runway for the Nashville airport. I believe that the restaurant was called something like the 101st Airborne Division or something close to that. This restaurant had large picture windows facing the airport runway and the airplanes would take off right towards the restaurant and then lift off the ground right over the restaurant. Each table had a set of ear phones so that you could hear the pilots talking to the control tower as they built up speed down the runway and took off into the wild blue yonder. The front of the restaurant had a simulated hole in the building as if created by a mortar explosion and we crossed a small bridge on the way to the front of the restaurant where there was an overturned jeep to simulate that this building was in the middle of a war zone.
After the meal Dan Sullivan was putting a spoon over the lit candle on the table and moving this spoon lightly through the flame and then proceeded to hang this spoon on the end of his nose. I had never seen anyone "hang a spoon" before and thought that was an interesting sight. See the picture to the left as an example of someone "hanging a spoon".
The next evening I was invited to join a group of people from primarily the Connecticut area including my friend Cyndi Miller who was representing the Greater Hartford Convention and Visitor's Bureau, and Sue from Friendship Tours of West Hartford among others to eat at the Stock-Yard restaurant in downtown Nashville. There were about twenty people in our group that night and we had a private dining room at this renowned steak restaurant. As our meal was winding down a roving guitar player named "Skip Town" can into our private dining room and started to sing silly songs and tell corny jokes. I got into the mood and said a few funny lines myself and everyone was laughing and having fun. I remembered my dinner from the previous night at the restaurant near the airport and decided that this was a perfect time to try to reprise the "spoon hanging" I had seen that night.
For some reason I thought that heating the spoon over the candle was an essential part of the "spoon hanging experience". So, instead of lightly passing the spoon through the candle flame at the Stock-Yard restaurant I held the spoon steady over the candle flame before I put this spoon on the end of my nose and tried to "hang the spoon". I guess I forgot that metal retains heat for a length of time and I had heated this spoon too much. I hung this hot spoon on the tip of my nose and was successful in balancing this hot spoon.
When I took the hot spoon off of my nose a heat blister about a half an inch long and a little over a quarter inch wide developed on my nose from this hot spoon. This blister rose from my nose and was filled with clear liquid like a bump. I ended up picking this "bump ' off my nose and was left with a red raw looking scar on the tip of my nose.
The next day I was scheduled to have my sales presentations with the various tour operators who were interested in the Cape Cod properties I was representing at the convention. Basically everyone has about ten minutes per appointment to meet the interested tour operators and describe your facilities in the hope of doing future business when the tour operators brought tours into your area. I remember waking up in the middle of the night and going into the hotel room bathroom to look in the mirror at my nose and thinking "I can't believe I did that!'
Morning came and I dressed in my business attire to get ready for the sales marketplace. I can remember one appointment in particular where I was busy showing pictures of the New England Clambake, telling about our player piano, describing our various clambake group menus, and highlighting our personal service when the man across the desk from me started touching his own nose at the end of his nose. I then thought to myself he's thinking about my red burnt nose as I continued on with my presentation. A few of the other appointments I did briefly describe what happened to my nose the night before.
I'm still left with a very slight souvenir to this very day of my first "spoon hanging experience" as there is a faint outline of the area where I burned my nose.
It seemed surreal but was all too real.