December 25, 2000

The late John Egerton and I co-edited Nashville: An American Self-Portrait, an “intentional artifact”  documenting the city’s remarkable year 2000 through the work of scores of writers, photographers and other contributors. The book went to press in August 2001 and reached stores in late September. It thus became not just a multi-faceted portrayal of one of the most news-filled years in our history but also a portrait in deep detail of an American city at the moment before terrorism transformed the country.

Jim Ridley, now editor of the Nashville Scene, penned the day-by-day chronicle of the year that ran as a ribbon alongside the book’s essays, photos and art. I am posting some nuggets from that variegated ribbon as time permits.

Dec. 25—At 9:47a.m., a thumbnail of shadow edges onto the sun. Christmas Day begins in Nashville with a partial eclipse, as the passing moon obscures 35 percent of the solar disk visible to Middle Tennesseans. Enjoy it while it lasts, for there will not be another solar eclipse on Christmas Day for 307 more years…. Who needs Christmas Day with the family when the Titans are in town? Any worries that Adelphia Stadium would be left empty on Jesus’ birthday in the buckle of the Bible Belt are groundless, as hard-core fans turn out en masse to watch the Titans trample the Dallas Cowboys in a 31-0 shutout. It is only the third Monday-night game played on Christmas Day in NFL history, and the temperature inside the stadium is a wind-whipped 29 degrees.