A reader suggested I get out of the office, venture out and return with a broader view of things. So I did when Gov. Bill Haslam went to the Copper Kettle restaurant near Maury County's Courthouse in Columbia.
The usual political suspects showed up, including Stan Butt of Columbia, the immediate past executive director of the Tennessee Walking Horse Breeders and Exhibitors Association that's headquartered in Lewisburg.
Butt's wife, Sheila, a state representative since her autumn election, closed the more formal presentation of what was billed as a "meet and greet." Marshall County's state senator, Bill Ketron, introduced the governor, but passed on an opportunity to mimic Ed McMahon, the longtime Johnny Carson sidekick known for the introduction: "Heeeeeeerre's Johnny!" to open the Tonight Show host's monologue.
Ketron could have introduced Haslam by saying, "Heeeeeeerre's Billy!"
He didn't, but Haslam was ready.
"It's good to be back in Columbia," he told a couple hundred in the room.
For the record, it wasn't a comedy show. He opened with some humor, but didn't tell the crowd to tip the waitresses.
"Going through a two-year campaign is not always the most fun thing in the world, but in the process you meet a lot of people and the process teaches you a lot of things."
He was reminded of that when he arrived.
"Let me get to the main question a lot of you have asked, 'Where's Crissy?'"
Mrs. Crissy Haslam was a campaign trooper without a THP hat. Still, people noticed her.
"I'm kind of used to that now," Haslam conceded.
Apparently, he knows editor Walter Burns told reporter Hildy Johnson, "The girl is the story."
Then there's more deception than eyeliner, eyelashes and a wink.
"What you learn: Everybody voted for you. Once you win, it's like 'Oh I voted for you.' I've yet to meet someone who did not.
"Most of those people finish that sentence with: 'I voted for you because I met your wife.'"
So, where was Tennessee's first lady that Thursday afternoon at the Copper Kettle?
"Crissy is home," Big Bill explained. "Our middle daughter is getting married this fall. They're home. That daughter lives in Virginia, but she's in Nashville this week.
"So, they're in the middle of ... wedding planning, and so I just felt it's better for me to leave, and let them make all those hard decisions themselves. But she sends her greetings and is sorry she can't be here."
And so Tennessee's governor decided it was time for a road trip.
Maybe some clothes-horse-diva back in Nash-Vegas will refocus her attention from bangles to bows.
Oh yeah. Time to get out of the house and drive around Tennessee.
Maybe he really did like campaigning.
In south central Tennessee he went to a restaurant with roots in Knoxville where he was mayor.
And as an experienced extemporaneous speaker he, in some sense, got to do stand up comedy, and as it turned out, the Copper Kettle had an easy crowd.
These views are the author's and not necessarily reflective of the Tribune's views.鯨