I arrived in Gallatin, TN on a late Saturday afternoon. Gallatin, for those who don't know, is the birthplace of my idol, Huell Howser.
Unfortunately, many of the shops were closed at that time, as was the visitor's center. I wanted to inquire about Huell-related celebrations, or suggest they hold some if none were currently planned. The 'Welcome to Gallatin' sign on the highway advertises this as the home of football champions; I'd also like to suggest they include 'Birthplace of Huell Howser.' Kansas has several highway signs 'Blank-blank, birthplace of astronaut so-and-so' and, while Huell's never to my knowledge been to space, I'm sure he'd draw at least a few people.
I wandered around a bit asking people if they'd ever heard of Huell; a few had, but most hadn't. I didn't have a video camera with me, but I did have a tape recorder; I briefly considered conducting a Huell-style interview there in Gallatin, but I decided against it. Maybe next trip.
Pictured above is Laura, who owns Antiques and Uniques on Main Street in downtown Gallatin. Despite being a native, she had never heard of Huell. The ladies at Antiques on Main down the street had heard of Huell, but didn't have any juicy Huell gossip to report. They did, however, thankfully provide me with the names of two residents who had known the young Huell. I spoke with Walter Durham, who is the author of Volunteer Forty-Niners: Tennesseans and the California Gold Rush and other books. Unfortunately, he was headed out of town so I wasn't able to interview him.
It was bad timing on my part not to arrive there earlier in the day on a weekday, but, now that I have a few local contacts, my next trip should be a lot easier.
As mentioned in the previous entry, I bought and had later donned a polo shirt, and I was trying to acquire a cheap hand-held microphone. Why, you ask? Well, I was considering making something for the L.A. Cacophony Society's upcoming tribute to Huell. They went to the Gold Line and conducted interviews in Huell-style. I really should have done something more here, but, you know, I'm a bit road-weary, South-weary, knackered, impoverished, tired, and all the rest.