[NASHVILLE] We crisscrossed downtown again and handed over an arm and a leg at a public lot to check out the Johnny Cash Museum. It’s a low-slung building on a dark-ish side street a few blocks from the garish mayhem of Broadway, somehow fitting for the Man in Black.
Our visit got off to a rough start; though we had little time to tour, we had to spend about 10 minutes standing in a queue behind a velvet rope with several other couples for no apparent reason, until someone who seemed like a manager type walked in behind us, apologized in exasperation and let us through.
And the first things that we saw from Johnny’s early years weren’t Johnny’s, but replicas: a songbook like the one his family used, for example. Was this going to be a waste of one of our Total Access Pass tickets?
It got a lot better from there. We saw clothes and costumes worn in performances; handwritten lyrics; instruments used by some of the other legendary Sun Records artists who performed at the same time, including Jerry Lee Lewis, Roy Orbison, Elvis, Carl Perkins and Sam Phillips; a wall of records and a room of video.
I got a kick out of the medieval-meets-backwoods clothing and furniture of the Johnny and June era. When you’re famous, you can pull off outrageous things…I guess. I learned a whole lot about his TV and movie career—apparently I was too into Sesame Street during those years to notice. And I must have watched the video of Johnny covering Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt” three times through. Having been a Nine Inch Nails fan before a Johnny Cash fan, I had felt protective of the original. But after getting to know the Man in Black a little better, his social justice causes and his devotion to June, it felt newly poignant and appropriate. You can have that one, Johnny.
Our day wasn’t done, of course. It was only 6ish. WE MUST SEE MORE. Conveniently located across the street was a Goo Goo Clusters store. Chocolate? Local? Heck yeah! We wandered in.
The official Goo Goo history begins thus:
“In 1912, in a copper kettle at the Standard Candy Company at Clark & First Avenue in Nashville, TN, the world’s first ever combination candy bar was invented. A roundish mound of caramel, marshmallow nougat, fresh roasted peanuts and real milk chocolate; its renegade shape was more difficult to wrap than the conventional rectangular or square shapes of the day. More importantly, this was the first time multiple elements were being mass-produced in a retail confection. Previous to the advent of the Goo Goo Cluster, candy bar manufacturing consisted of bars solely using chocolate, caramel or taffy. The Goo Goo Cluster represented the first time a bar consisted of more than just one principal ingredient.”
I like my candies with a lot going on. The caramel, I could take it or leave it—I prefer crunchy over chewy. But they make other varieties today. In fact, unique to this location is a kitchen in back where they remix the original with dark chocolate and exotic ingredients. And yes, they have samples!