Page 1

WEST NASHVILLE WASHOUT?

Why the Sale of Bass Correctional Complex Matters page 6

Spring Events in West Nashville page 14

McCabe Pub Turns 35 page 26

April–May 2017 VOL. I, ISSUE 3


Editor and Publisher MIRIAM DRENNAN

Creative Consultant EVELYN MARIE PARRISH

Historian YVONNE EAVES

Copy Editor JENNIFER GOODE STEVENS

Contributors: EVELYN ALLEN

JOHN RAY CLEMMONS

KEENA DAVIS

DEANA DECK

YVONNE EAVES

CLARE FERNANDEZ

NAOMI GOLDSTONE

RANDY HORICK

SCOTT MERRICK

STEPHANIE SEFCIK

Art Direction and Design ELLEN PARKER-BIBB

Photographers JASON HOFFMAN/MUSIC CITY AERIAL CLARK THOMAS

Distribution RED HOT EXPRESS

Advertising Account Managers CATHEY CLARK

KIM LANDERS TAYLOR

COVER Jason Hoffman/Music City Aerial

Advertising Inquiries: 615.491.8909 or 372WestNashville@gmail.com.

372WN is a print and digital magazine published every other month by Next Chapter Publishing, LLC. All content presented herein, unless otherwise noted, is the exclusive property of Next Chapter Publishing and cannot be used, reprinted, or posted without permission. 372WN is free for readers; excessive removal of the product or tampering with any of our distribution racks will be considered theft and/or vandalism and subject to prosecution.


CONTENTS VOL. I, ISSUE 3 | April–May 2017

MAIN FEATURE 6

West Nashville Washout? Why the Sale of Bass Correctional Complex Matters

CURRENT HAPPENINGS 10

Commentary: Outsourcing Is a Risky Proposal

14

Spring Showers West Nashville with Food, Festivals and Fun

FEATURES 18

The Colorful Beauty of the Stained Glass Emporium

22

Spring into Outdoor Activities

32

The Belle Meade Theatre: Now, What Becomes a Legend Most?

38

Brian Siskind: Artist with a Mission

42

Backyard Bars Fills a Beautiful, Budget-friendly Niche

46

This Spring, Go Green

50

Boat Safety = Float Safely

54

Top Ten Gardening Mistakes to Avoid

58

Canned Ham Style: Josh and Katie Bronleewe’s Vintage Adventure

IN EVERY ISSUE 26

372WestNosh: Iconic McCabe Pub Celebrates 35 Years

63

Weedeaters

64

372WhokNew?

CORRECTION: On page on page 49 of our February issue, the ferry pilot identified in the photo as Kirk Harris is actually a photo Jack Barnes and James Jennings. Incidentally, Kirk’s son Thomas is standing in the pilot house doorway on page 51. Special thanks to Kirk Harris’ son, Kirk Harris, Jr., bringing this to our attention.

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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372WN.com | April–May 2017

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Randy HORICK

WEST NASHVILLE

WASHOUT? Why the Sale of Bass Correctional Complex Matters

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round 8 o’clock in the morning on May 2, 2010, Joseph Kimok awoke to the sound of water. He looked down and saw it, an inch deep, bubbling up through the floorboards of his bedroom. By the time he threw on some pants and shoes, and grabbed his wallet, the water was knee-high in the living room, where his dog Oscar had retreated atop the sofa. By the time they got out the front door of Kimok’s home on Delray Drive in West Nashville, the rushing floodwaters from Richland Creek were chest-deep. “I tried to get Oscar to swim next to me, but the current was too strong,” recalls Kimok, who now lives in Florida. “I had to pick her up. We made it across and hiked maybe 400 yards up to the top of a hill.” Others were less able and less lucky. Many of the 11 Nashvillians who died in the 2010 floods were overwhelmed by Richland Creek, which crested at almost 20 feet—five feet higher than its previous recorded high. A park now occupies the sites of the inundated homes on Delray. Elsewhere, the flood risk not only remains but increases with new development on the creek’s floodplain. The only question is when—not if—another such deluge will occur. Some fear that the next one could be worse—an unintended yet foreseeable consequence of an event that might seem unrelated: the sale of an abandoned prison.

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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THE SALE Last October, the State of Tennessee announced plans to sell the Charles Bass Correctional Complex on Cockrill Bend Boulevard. The 199-acre property occupies an environmental sweet spot, where Richland Creek enters the Cumberland River. It also includes 77 acres of undeveloped floodplain that are part of the city’s natural defenses against surging waters. To the Haslam administration, selling the abandoned prison, which it closed in 2014, is good stewardship. “In general, it’s not to anyone’s advantage for the state to keep property it doesn’t need,” says David Roberson of the Tennessee Department of General Services, which oversaw the bidding process. “If the property can be sold and the money returned to the taxpayers, that’s good for everybody.” State Representative John Ray Clemmons sees the sale as part of a relentless privatization push by the Haslam administration. “The sale follows a concerning pattern of the state selling off parts of our prison system,” he says. “They transferred inmates from Charles Bass to other prisons, and they’re selling facilities off as fast as they can so they won’t have capacity to put prisoners anywhere except private prisons. They basically create a problem that benefits only the private prison industry.” (Governor Haslam’s press office did not return calls requesting comment).

THE FLOODPLAIN For Clemmons, the problem goes beyond the loss of prison capacity. It also involves degradation of one of Nashville’s last salvageable urban streams—and of remaining floodplain land. “[The Bass site] is a significant ecological location in the watershed,” he says. “That, and not knowing what the land use would be (after the sale) was a big concern.” Monette Rebecca, who arguably

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knows more about the ecology of Richland Creek than anyone alive, shares that concern. She holds a graduate degree in environmental science, with a focus on water resources and biology, and her 54th Avenue home abuts the creek. In 2007, she founded the Richland Creek Watershed Alliance to help preserve the endangered ecosystem of a watershed that extends almost to Radnor Lake. In defending the creek, which she regards as an ecological treasure for Nashville, Rebecca and her shoestring organization frequently find themselves pitted against powerful interests. Recently, they won a round in a fight with St. Thomas Health System over development in a stream buffer. Her prospects of limiting development on the Bass property are dimmer. Floodplains naturally filter water that seeps into the ground and through bedrock, returning cleaner water to the watershed. When floodplains are lost, streams like Richland Creek receive more water that is warm, fast, dirty and damaging. “Stormwater,” says Rebecca, “is our number-one pollutant.” Such damage threatens the life of the stream—and of a diverse array of animals, including herons, beaver

and otters. “We have a complete food web,” says Rebecca. She points to fish that swim up Richland Creek to spawn, aided by the removal of a low-water dam near the McCabe Park golf course. Recently, she says, biologists discovered in the creek what appears to be a previously unknown species of freshwater sponge. Floodplains also are natural sponges. They absorb stormwater when streams leave their banks. Experts like Rebecca call this “flood storage.” When development covers floodplains with “impervious” surfaces, their capacity for flood storage shrinks. According to Rebecca, water runoff on developed land is two to six times greater than on undeveloped floodplain. Where it runs, rather than into the ground, is into overflowing streams—and people’s homes.

WHY IT MATTERS By itself, the potential loss of most of the remaining floodplain on the Bass property won’t turn the next flood into an event of biblical proportions. But the losses add up, parcel by parcel, into higher risk of flood damage. The burden will be borne increasingly by property holders, who, under new FEMA guidelines, must pay rates for flood


insurance that reflect the actual level of risk. The scale runs from 1 (lowest risk) to 9. Nashville’s rating—8—is unlikely to improve with more floodplain development. “[The cost] is a valid concern for any consumer who has to purchase that insurance,” says Clemmons. After the Bass sale was announced, Clemmons and Rebecca approached Metro Council member Mary Carolyn Roberts about the possibility of rezoning the 77 undeveloped acres to permit only uses that would preserve the floodplain. Unfortunately, Roberts says, by that point “[new zoning] wouldn’t have gone through in time for the sale. We missed the deadline by one day.” Once the sale is complete, she adds, retroactive rezoning to preclude a previously allowed land use is not possible. Rezoning to allow a previously prohibited use, however, could be a different matter.

THE BUYER On January 25, state officials opened the six sealed bids they had received for the Bass property. The highest offer—$12.51 million—came from the Nashville-based Rogers Group, a construction aggregate and road building company that operates the Reostone quarry across Richland Creek and slightly upstream from the prison complex. Rogers’ bid far exceeded the next highest offer of $7.6 million on behalf of Chas. Hawkins Co., which owns warehouses adjacent to the Bass parcel. After a recommendation from the General Services Department, the state building commission must approve the cash-only sale. Rogers is mum on its plans for the property. “We are not providing any additional information at this time,” said Tom Kenley, a communications specialist for the company. Given its other property nearby, it’s logical to

615-383-1444

guess that the company aims to dig another quarry, but there’s a snag: Current zoning for the Bass property does not permit mineral extraction. Rogers could seek a zoning change, but that would be difficult, says Jason Holleman, a West Nashville attorney, former Metro Councilman and an expert on zoning regulations. Alternatively, he says, the company could petition the Board of Zoning Appeals to grant a “special exception.” However, “if the neighborhood got active,” Holleman says, “there’s a good chance it wouldn’t succeed.” (Indeed, it appears that assertive lobbying to the BZA might be the only way for residents to block a quarry on the Bass site.) While Rogers’ intentions remain unknown, Councilmember Roberts, whose West Nashville district includes Cockrill Bend, has her own continued on page 45

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COMMENTARY by

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State Representative John Ray CLEMMONS, Special Contributor

utsourcing IS A RISKY PROPOSAL Gov. Bill Haslam appears determined to outsource or sell off anything in state government that is not nailed down, and even some things that are. In

the instance of Fall Creek Falls State Park, he intends to spend upwards of $30 million in taxpayer money for a private company to tear down the existing, serviceable inn and rebuild another in its place, only to then hand over the keys to possibly another private company. While outsourcing services to private vendors may make sense in certain instances and is commonly done for special projects, our governor’s long-running plan to outsource everything from our beloved state parks to the facilities maintenance and groundskeeping services at public colleges and universities is being justified with numbers that just do not add up.

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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f this is the first you have heard about this vast scheme, you are not alone. If I were not a state legislator, I doubt I would have picked up on it. Fortunately, investigative work by local journalists, including NewsChannel5’s Phil Williams and Cari Wade Gervin of the Nashville Post have produced substantive stories on the topic dating back to the summer of 2015, but the issue appears to have gone largely unnoticed by the general public until recently. This appears to have been precisely the governor’s plan. He hired a cast of individuals whose sole purpose for employment with the state is to justify Gov. Haslam’s grand plan. These individuals are working within the Executive Branch in the Office of Customer Focused Government where the director is paid $150,000 per year. This office manages the Transparent Tennessee office and houses the Strategies for Efficiencies in Real Estate Management (SEREM) office, which controls the Facilities Management Steering Committee.

The campus services targeted for outsourcing have already been cut back to the point of understaffing, leaving no room for more efficiency, The latter committee is comprised of some of the highest-paid individuals in state government, earning an average of $158,448 each in taxpayer-financed salaries ranging from $212,777 to $88,524. Another member of the committee charges the state $140 per hour for consulting services. Of notable importance, this committee meets in secret and according to the Nashville Post, it has been doing so “[s]ince Sep-

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tember 2015 . . . about every other month to create the ‘business justification’ for the outsourcing, the details of the [Request for Proposals to outsource services at state colleges and universities], and strategies to sell the public on the plan. None of these meetings have been publicly noticed, and none have been open to the public. Nor have any of them been recorded.” (ref: State Outsourcing Process Moves Forward, Dec. 16, 2016) Since we caught wind of what was taking place behind the closed doors in our Capitol, Sen. Lee Harris and I have attempted to shine some much-needed light on the issue. While the sheer scope of the outsourcing being promoted by the governor and his people raised eyebrows, we wanted and needed to do more research. Improved government efficiency and cost-savings are worthy endeavors, but proof of either was lacking in this instance. So Sen. Harris and I teamed up and set out across the state with an open mind to hear from the individuals and institutions being targeted. After visits to standing-room-only crowds at UT-Knoxville and UT-Chattanooga in Fall 2015—where we heard from state employees, students, faculty members and local vendors—the message was clear. The campus services targeted for outsourcing have already been cut back to the point of understaffing, leaving no room for more efficiency, and the people who would be affected the most, our state employees, are considered to be friends or family members to students and faculty members rather than janitors, plumbers or landscapers. With improved government efficiency disproven as a means to justify the end, our focus

shifted to cost-savings. In March 2016, the governor’s office produced an estimate of $36 million in savings from outsourcing on college campuses. Because this estimate was produced by the same people promoting the outsourcing, Sen. Harris and I, as well as the United Campus Workers and others, pushed for an independent third party to verify these alleged cost savings. To the administration’s credit, they hired one of the most respected accounting firms in the state to perform an audit and verify their numbers. Unfortunately, the accounting firm’s previous work with the state resulted in concerns about the firm’s objectivity and independence, in fact and appearance. And, most notably, the resulting “Independent Accountant’s Report on Applying Agreed Upon Procedures” expressly states: “We were not engaged to, and did not, conduct an audit, the objective of which would be to express an opinion on the Real Estate Cost Review. Accordingly, we do not express such an opinion. Had we performed additional procedures, other matters might have come to our attention that would have been reported to you.” (AUP Report Final, Oct. 27, 2016)

As I write this piece in early February 2017, we still have no evidence of improved government efficiency or cost savings. Without any positives, one must evaluate the negatives. There happens to be ample proof and reason not to outsource these services and privatize our state parks. The most documented and infamous of all outsourcing experiments is privatized prisons. Outsourcing results in great profits for private corporations but less oversight, lower quality and the elimination of accountability for


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family style seating

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details & menu at www.ItalianMarket.biz or call 615 891-1476 Reservations Only

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Park, Montgomery Bell State Park citizens. The recent, tragic school and others will inevitably result in bus accident in Chattanooga is an higher room rates and campground unfortunate illustration of the negafees, and other increased costs. The tive effects of outsourcing. Hamilton current plan to raze and rebuild County Schools contracted with an inn at Fall Creek Falls will result Durham School Services, a private in no less than a doubling of room company, to operate its school busrates, according to the ofes. After 36 injury crashes ficial with the Tennesin Tennessee since see Department 2014, Durham was Outsourcing results in of Environment still transportgreat profits for private and Conservaing children. corporations but less tion. Having When recently questioned oversight, lower quality stayed the about the and the elimination of night in the reckless accountability for citizens. inn at Fall Creek bus drivFalls, I remain at a er’s record, loss as to why the buildings would the schools’ spokeswoman curtly be torn down rather than rehabbed responded: “Legally there is no way and updated. that we could discipline someone Our state parks and colleges who is not our employee. We’ve got and universities are big parts of 192 Durham bus drivers. Obviously, what makes our state great. We, as this is a bad one.” Less oversight, Tennesseans, love our parks and lower quality services and zero achigher education institutions. They countability result from outsourcing. are sources of great pride and add Outsourcing and privatization of character to this great state. Rethe type being advanced by the govmoving them from state control and ernor will also likely result in the loss outsourcing their jobs to out-of-state of jobs and benefits. Every day, thoucompanies would threaten what sands of dedicated men and women makes them special and make them tirelessly work and perform their feel less Tennessean, in a sense. It public duty for Tennessee. While is my hope that our efforts over the Gov. Haslam promised in March 2016 next few months cause Gov. Haslam that, “Nobody will lose their job over to rethink his attack on our state this[,]” there is overwhelming eviparks and colleges, rural communidence to the contrary. With job cuts ties, and working families. and outsourcing looming, many state employees are already searching for John Ray Clemmons was raised on a new jobs, and most of the jobs they farm just outside of Lebanon, Tennessee and find will be at a lower pay rate with graduated from Lebanon High School. He attended Columbia University in New York fewer benefits, further impoverishCity, earning his Bachelor of Arts degree in ing vital parts of our state. Most of History, and later earning his law degree from our state parks are in rural areas of the University of Memphis. the state where the local economy Today, he practices law in his firm, Clemmons and working families rely heavily on & Clemons, as a civil litigator and mediator.  In addition to his law practice, he also serves as a these jobs to support their families state representative for District 55 in the 110th and communities. Session of the Tennessee General Assembly.   Tennessee families rely on our state parks for affordable options for recreation, gatherings and vacation. Outsourcing of the type being proposed for Fall Creek Falls State VI

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Our events sell out fast so Reserve NOW April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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Spring SHOWERS WEST NASHVILLE with Food, Festivals and Fun by

April brings a glorious, albeit fleeting, period of warm weather that sometimes lasts through early June—before Nashville’s bowl-like topography traps the humidity of summer. Before the sticky misery of June ruins your Thoreauvian resolve to escape the indoors, enjoy the respite of these escapes and events, and remember to bring a friend. Events include West Nashville locales and some that may be outside the neighborhood but worth a short trip to experience.

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Stephanie SEFCIK

Bobbie’s Dairy Dip

Community Easter Egg Hunt

11:00 a.m.–8:30 p.m., Monday–Thursday; 11:00 a.m.–9:30 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; closed Sundays 5301 Charlotte Avenue

April 8th, 9:30 a.m.–noon, McCabe Park Community Center

A West Nashville institution, Bobbie’s remains true to its 1950s– and ’60s-era burger hop. Once a seasonal business, Bobbie’s now slings ice cream and burgers to hungry customers all year long in a walk-up, picnic-table seating area. The menu, chock full of burgers, dogs, sandwiches, floats, shakes and dipped ice cream cones, has an almost unlimited number of combinations.

Richland Creek Run April 1st, 8:00 a.m. Cohn Adult Learning Center 4805 Park Avenue

The Richland Creek Run & Walk is a 5-mile stretch that weaves through the Richland Creek Greenway and Sylvan Park. All proceeds from the event benefit the creation, protection, preservation and promotion of Nashville Greenways. There is a 1-mile children’s “Dinky Dash” before the race at 7:30 a.m. For more information, visit greenwaysfornashville.org.

Make it an annual tradition! A brandnew Easter egg hunt launches this year in the Sylvan Park neighborhood, with age-divided hunts, thousands of eggs and loads of family fun.

7th Annual Nashville Outdoor Recreation Festival and Expo April 8th, 9:00 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Bell’s Bend Park, 4187 Old Hickory Boulevard

Co-sponsored by the Friends of Bells Bend Park, this grassroots event features food, a Kids Zone and over 40 vendors. Held in and around the Bells Bend Outdoor Center,

Nashville Outdoor Recreation Festival and Expo Used with permission by Bells Bend Outdoor Center & Beaman Park Nature Center.


outdoors enthusiasts can get an upclose look at the latest equipment and get insider tips, whether they’re testing the latest bicycles from Giant or needing an artifact identified by the Tennessee Division of Archaeology. A great way to spend a lovely spring day—call 615.862.4187 for more information.

Cherry Blossom Festival April 8th 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (FREE) Public Square Park

Celebrate Japanese and American culture at the Cherry Blossom Festival. A schedule of music, dance, martial arts and lectures creates a full day of cultural and educational entertainment. Ginger Byrn, festival director, advises attendees to take in “the dynamic performance of the Kaminari Taiko drumming ensemble” or to participate in the “Cosplay Contest, with local enthusiasts elaborately dressed as their favorite characters from Japanese anime, manga or video games.”

Telescope Nights April 8, May 13, June 10, July 8, August 12, September 9, October 14, November 11 ($6.27) Dyer Observatory, 1000 Oman Drive, Brentwood

Do you have a desire to understand the cosmos? Dyer astronomers will

Used with permission from the Cherry Blossom Festival.

be available to answer questions from both kids and adults and help with use of the telescopes every second Friday of each month. Visit dyer. vanderbilt.edu to purchase tickets up to 30 days before each event.

Rites of Spring April 21–22 ($45 Advance) Vanderbilt University Alumni Lawn

Headlined by Ty Dolla $ign, The Shins, JOHNNYSWIM, Rae Sremmurd and more. Food, nonalcoholic beverages and beer will be available for purchase at the event. Backpacks, coolers, large bags or items,

Used with permission from the Cherry Blossom Festival.

photography/video equipment and pets are not allowed. For a full list of prohibited items, please visit www. vanderbilt.edu/ros/information.

Earth Day Festival April 22 11:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m. (FREE) Centennial Park

A celebration of the outdoors and the local green community, the Earth Day festival features a live music show, green market, beer garden, Goodwill donation drive and children’s educational activities, and is limited to only environmentally friendly items such as locally made clothing and organic food. This “producer-only” market means that those selling are directly involved with production of the items. Nashville Outdoor Recreation Festival and Expo Used with permission by Bells Bend Outdoor Center & Beaman Park Nature Center.

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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The Lights Fest Nashville

Richland Park Farmers Market

Musicians Corner

April 22 ($30–$55, $8 Children 12 and younger) Seven Springs/Jolly Beef Farm 4420 Hopkinsville Road, Cadiz, Kentucky

Saturdays beginning May 6th 9:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. Richland Park (Charlotte Avenue)

Saturdays in May/June noon–5:00 p.m.(FREE) Centennial Park

It’s worth mentioning that The Lights Festival Nashville is actually being held in Cadiz, Kentucky, but imagine capping off a day of music and dancing with the beauty of a night sky filled with lanterns. Ticket prices range from the early-bird $30 to the final call of $55, and your ticket includes a lantern, marker and key chain flashlight. Children 12 and younger receive a special ticket price of $8, but their ticket will not include a lantern. They’ll have food trucks and merch on hand, but bring chairs and blankets to enjoy the music and take in the scene. The Lights Fest has partnered with Rising Star Outreach, an organization that provides assistance for individuals living with leprosy.

The Richland Park Farmers Market features produce from surrounding Nashville farms, locally made home products and freshly baked goods. Local farms include Delvin Farms and their meat-producing sister farm, Tavalin Tails. For a full list of vendors, visit www.richlandparkfarmersmarket.com. Well-behaved dogs on 6-foot leashes (or shorter) are welcome.

Tennessee Craft Fair May 5–6, 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.; May 7, 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m. (FREE) Centennial Park

Artisans from all over Tennessee come together to market their wares in Centennial twice a year, in May and September. Shop for pottery, wooden crafts, furniture, paintings, sculptures, leather goods and more in one of the largest craft fairs in middle Tennessee. Leashed dogs welcome. For a list of vendors and more information, visit tennesseecraft.org.

Country Music Marathon & ½ Marathon Saturday, April 29 Downtown Nashville at Eighth Avenue & Broadway

Find live music and entertainment while you cheer your fellow Nashvillians along the route, and after the marathon, catch the Toyota Rock ’n’ Roll Concert Series headlined by The Wallflowers at 7:00 p.m. in the Bridgestone Arena. The concert is open to the public, and tickets start at $35, available at TicketMaster or the Bridgestone box office.

Spring Tea April 30, 2:00–4:00 p.m. Hillwood Country Club

The Nashville Ballet provides a high tea experience for little ballerinas and cavaliers at the Hillwood Country Club. Parents and grandparents are encouraged to attend with their tiny dancers for an afternoon of crafts, an interactive performance and the opportunity for a professional portrait. See details and reserve online at www.nashvilleballet.com/spring-tea.

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Come one, come all and enjoy free music in Centennial Park! From up-and-coming artists to seasoned veterans, musicians and music-lovers gather together here to celebrate what Music City is all about. Bring Fido along to visit “Dogville” and taste some free treats or snag a $5 nail trim. Kids can head over to “Kidsville” for free activities, crafts and challenges. Food trucks on site make this a onestop shop for fun outdoors.

photo by Clark THOMAS/simplePhotographs.com

Bluebird on the Mountain Concert Series May 20, June 17, July 22, August 26, September 23, October 7 Dyer Observatory

Situated on one of the highest hilltops in Nashville, musicians entertain stargazers once per month outside the observatory. Bring blankets, lawn chairs, food or drinks to enjoy while listening to musicians and singer-songwriters of the Bluebird Café perform. Tickets are available online through Eventbrite only, beginning at 8:00 a.m. the first day of the month prior to each concert. Tickets are good for one carload of people, up to eight people maximum. No pets or RVs allowed. Ticket information and additional inquiries should be directed to info@bluebirdcafe.com.

Historic Rural Life Festival May 11–12 9:00 a.m.–noon ($2) Tennessee Agricultural Museum

Children and adults alike discover life before iPhones and cars at the Tennessee Agricultural Museum’s celebration of farming methods, livestock care and artisan craftsmanship. Witness butter-churning, blacksmithing, spinning, weaving and pottery-making.

Iroquois Steeplechase Saturday, May 13 ($20+) Percy Warner Steeplechase Grounds

Partake in a Nashville institution when you attend the Iroquois Steeplechase horse races. Six-time Steeplechase attendee, Dr. William Hedgecock, enjoys “getting close enough to feel his beard rustle” as the horses race by! There are a variety of ticket options that provide entry to general


admission, tailgating or VIP areas. Food trucks are available in tailgating areas and food/beverages are permitted (no glass). Gates open at 8:00 a.m., first race at 1:00 p.m. For additional information, go to www.iroquoissteeplechase.org.

Full Moon Pickin’ Parties

SPECIAL EVENT

April 13, 2017 | 5pm - 10pm

May 19, June 9 (and also July 7, August 4, September 8, October 13) $ Varies Warner Park Equestrian Center

Warner Parks celebrates the full moon with a bluegrass pickin’ party that also serves as a park fundraiser. Come with lawn blankets and chairs to listen to music, or bring an instrument listed on the website to participate in the picking and save on admission. Tickets are available for purchase online (nowplayingnashville.com) or at the gate.

Tour de Nash May 20

For 12 years, Walk/Bike Nashville has organized this bike tour, designed to encourage peddlers, coasters and racers to explore the city’s bikeways and greenways. Now Nashville’s largest urban bike tour, Tour de Nash offers 8-, 25- and 45mile options and gives two-wheel explorers an opportunity to see some of Nashville’s best neighborhoods (including those west of The Cumberland!). Paid registrants receive a voucher for some free nosh, but all are invited to join the food, music, and fun at the finish line. Visit www.walkbikenashville.org/tourdenash for more information.

Reserva Cigars

Unveil your flavourite

73 White Bridge Road, Suite 1G Nashville, TN 37205 615 - 730 - 8567

Ode to Otha June 6 ($30 ages 13+) 1711 Sweetbriar Lane

Pay tribute to a lifetime of music as Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee pairs up with local attorney Bill Ramsey to host this birthday bash that also pays homage to legendary fife player Otha Turner. From the event organizers: “Although Otha is no longer with us, his spirit and music live on in Shade Thomas, his granddaughter, who continues the centuries-old fife and drum tradition along with other family members in the Rising Star Fife and Drum Band.” Price includes all food and beverages. For a lineup of artists and more information, please visit othaturner.com/party.

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Whether shopping for Nashville-made crafts or learning about the cosmos of space, there’s always something fun to do in and around the neighborhood. No matter your passion of choice, remember to hydrate, load up on sunscreen and bring an umbrella for Nashville’s notoriously changing weather. Have a great time exploring, and don’t forget to share with everyone by using the @372WN anchor and #372WN tags on your posts! We can’t wait to see the fun you have. VI

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Stephanie Sefcik is a resident of the Robertson neighborhood,

along with her dog, Zephyr. She is an avid gardener, and—when she isn’t working on home projects—loves working with her team at Vanderbilt University. April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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by

Naomi GOLDSTONE

photos by Clark THOMAS/simplePhotographs.com

I arrived in Nashville in 2007, so I had no idea that there was ever anything else in the space where Opry Mills Mall now resides. Opened in 1972, Opryland USA (later known as Opryland Theme Park) featured many kinds of entertainment. It was an amusement park with roller coasters, carousels and water rides . . . and it was the place where Cary Freeman, owner of West Nashville’s S.G. Emporium, perfected and showcased his skills as a stained-glass artist.

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orn in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Cary Freeman lived in Texas and Kansas before eventually settling in Tennessee. While he was a student at the University of Kansas, Freeman’s parents moved to Nashville after his father took over a publishing company. “They gave me a car for my birthday, but it had Tennessee license plates on it, so I took the bribe and went to the University of Tennessee,” he said. Freeman graduated from the University of Tennessee with a degree in business administration and a minor in statistics. Shortly thereafter, in the late 1960s, he moved to Nashville. “I was running away from a woman,” Freeman said, half-jokingly. Unemployed and uncertain about what he wanted to do, Freeman decided to live with his parents at their house in Franklin, Tennessee. “They had recently acquired an old flower shop,” Freeman said, “and it had an old greenhouse that was built before the Civil War. In fact, the greenhouse was used as a paying station for the Confederate soldiers.” Freeman said that the greenhouse had a lot of glass, and “since I was unemployed and had lots of free time, I started tinkering around with the glass.” He said he learned how to cut glass and was able to get materials, and he soon “figured out the


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rest of the stained-glass process on his own.” Freeman started making things. His first design was a leaded-glass structure of a flowerpot, and he did a lot of three-dimensional pieces like planter boxes and terrariums. Then Freeman’s mom began showing his work to customers at the family flower shop. “It started selling,” Freeman chuckled with pride. He began doing craft shows, and Freeman’s stained glass soon became a business. “I was a professional in 1975, and I was making a living at it,” he recalls. Freeman got into his van and began selling his stained glass work at craft shows around the state and throughout the South. At a craft show in Gatlinburg—where Freeman spent the month of October showing and demonstrating how to make stained glass at the civic center there—a representative from Opryland who was scouting for new talent noticed him and his work. “Opryland was an amusement park with rides,” Freeman patiently explains to this native Midwesterner. “It was also a music theme park that involved about six different areas,” he continues, explaining that each area represented a different type of music—Broadway,

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New Orleans (Dixieland), rock ’n’ roll, etc. “Eventually, they built The Grand Ole Opry, which still remains on the backside of the Opry Mills parking lot,” he said. Freeman said that in the early 1980s, Opryland had about 25 craft booths, and they also had a couple of 10-day shows in the summer. The man from Opryland asked Freeman if he would be interested in doing a show there, and sensing that this might be his big break, Freeman

enthusiastically—and quickly— said, “YES!” Shortly after arriving at Opryland, they asked Freeman if he wanted to be a permanent craftsman, and again he said yes. He would have a craft booth in the Hill Country area of Opryland for 16 years, from 1981 until they shuttered and then demolished the park in 1997. During that period, in 1985 to be exact, Freeman moved his business—which he had named the Stained Glass Emporium—to Sylvan Park, though his actual workshop was at Opryland. “That’s where I did my demonstrations and stuff. I was like a zoo animal. Visitors to the park would come and watch me work, so we were half live entertainment and half merchandise,” he remembers fondly. Freeman made lots of stained glass goods at Opryland, and he said that many items were “little stuff—it was cash-and-carry items. Little strawberries and apples and angels and butterflies. Little things from $3 to $25, so that visitors could say they bought something that was handcrafted at Opryland.” The Stained Glass Emporium was primarily a warehouse for his materials. During the winter, Freeman would do some advance work to get ready for the Opryland season,


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craftsman and his (or her) product. “Crafts were appreciated, and people wanted things that were handmade,” he reminisced. “I could earn a decent living then.” “Will you ever retire?” I asked. “Um . . . yes, but not right now. I still enjoy making stuff and making people happy.” Call ahead to make sure he’s in—615.385.28.55—but you’ll find Cary making our community more colorful at 320 44th Avenue North. 2W

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him in January 1994. In it, Clinton thanked Freeman for the “wonderful ornament” that “brought great cheer to our home and to the many thousands of visitors who saw the official White House Tree.” Freeman then started smiling. “Notice how it’s addressed to Ms. Freeman,” he said, laughing. Today, Freeman only opens the shop at the Stained Glass Emporium on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m., and he does custom work when asked. “I’m about to finish up a piece that will go above a transom in an older house in Sylvan Park,” he said. Although he will not make much money on that project, Freeman said that he gets “enjoyment out of doing it. I also get a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment and pride. But I ain’t gonna get rich,” he chuckles. As Freeman reflected on his more than 40-year career making stained glass, he laments that he longs for the days when the hordes of folks who came to Opryland valued the

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which usually began in March and ran until October. He taught a few others the craft of making stained glass, and when he was at Opryland, he had apprentices to accommodate the requirement that someone had to be at the booth at all times during operating hours. After Opryland closed, Freeman continued to make stained glass, and he returned to traveling throughout the South to sell his work at craft shows. “I lived out of the step truck (like an old UPS truck) and carried my stuff. In Gatlinburg, I lived on a campground with other craft artists. A lot of shows were in parking lots, and we’d live in the parking lots,” he said. When asked if anyone famous owns a piece of his stained glass, Freeman said he probably has stuff all over the world since the visitors to Opryland came from all over the globe. Then he got up from his stool to show me his framed letter that Hillary Rodham Clinton had sent

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When she’s not being dragged around The Nations by her four dogs, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University. She is the author of Integrating the Forty Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas, and she has a blog she promises to write more often: dwonnaknowwhatithink.com.

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Spring into

by Keena DAVIS

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES IN WEST NASHVILLE As spring forces back winter’s frigid temperatures in favor of sunny warmth, beautiful foliage and a reemergence towards spending time outdoors, it is time to get outside and get active! There is much to do all over West Nashville for everyone! Nashville Sports Leagues Are competitive sports your thing? Lace up those sneakers and cleats and join one of the adult sports leagues. Start your search with the Nashville Sports Leagues, the largest sports social club in Tennessee. Founded in 2002, the Nashville Sports League organizes and hosts leagues, tournaments, happy hours, socials and seasonal productions. Phillip Steen, chief executive officer of the NSL, says spring is the league’s biggest season and that the NSL “attracts a higher demographic of skill level” because their activities

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are concentrated on “fun, community, and open to any skill level.” The leagues they host in the spring include flag football, ultimate Frisbee, kickball, soccer and volleyball. Registration for spring activities opened the first two weeks of March, and some of those leagues began on March 13, but NSL also offers several organized sports leagues that begin this month. And if you missed these registration deadlines for kickball, softball and volleyball you can still make these a spectator sport—check out their co-ed kickball games on Thursday nights in Sylvan Heights, their softball games at West Park on Tuesdays, and the volleyball teams—which also play at West Park. NSL also hosts a co-ed ultimate Frisbee league that began on March 13. After playing games, players have the opportunity to celebrate and unwind at many local bars and restaurants who sponsor and support NSL. Now there’s still time to get moving with NSL’s soccer league, but hurry—the spring season opens April 3 and plays Sundays–Thursdays. The flag football leagues include men’s and co-ed teams, along

with men’s semi-touch, which also meets Sundays–Thursdays. Fees range from $47 to $62 for individuals and $55 per player for teams, and the season opens April 18. In addition to the variety of sporting leagues, Nashville Sports Leagues hosts events “designed to bring the Music City to life through sports and games,” which include happy hours and socials monthly at local bars and larger events. NSL also partners with local organizations to create one-of-a-kind experiences that range from fieldday events and games of tug-of-war throughout the spring. They also host competitive tournaments such as their Fourth Annual “Air It Out”

Used with permission by Nashville Sports Leagues.


Used with permission by Nashville Sports Leagues.

Used with permission by Nashville Sports Leagues.

Used with permission by Nashville Sports Leagues.

Flag Football Tournament being held May 20, 2017. This league will place you in your level of competition and even hosts player appreciation parties at the culmination of each season. You can access all this information and more at their website, www.nashvillesportsleagues.com.

annual participants. They are committed to facilitating cost-efficient leagues that benefit a wide array of levels. Check out www.midstatesportsleagues.com for more information on registration window periods and more!

The Mid State Sports Leagues

FOR KIDS: West Nashville Sporting League

The Mid State Sports Leagues (MSSL) “provides quality adult sport leagues in the greater Nashville area” in softball, sand volleyball, flag football, kickball and soccer. The league also hosts several other tournaments throughout the year as fundraisers for local charities. In the five years since their founding in 2012, they have grown to 20,000

The West Nashville Sporting League (WNSL) offers activities for children ages 4–15 in spring sports such as flag football and spring baseball. Scholarships and financial assistance are available, and the league offers discounts on equipment from Dick’s Sporting Goods. For more information, visit their website www. wnsl.org or call 615.376.4700.

Individual Sports and Activities If competitive sports aren’t your cup of tea, perhaps one of Nashville’s running and hiking clubs may be of interest. The Nashville Hiking Club was founded in 2006 as an “outdoor adventure and eco-volunteer club that plans hiking, backpacking, camping, paddling and biking events throughout the year.” You can find out more on their hiking club at www.nashvillehiking.com. There are also several running clubs in Nashville; the Nashville Striders (walking and running) meet at 8:00 a.m. on Saturdays for a fivemile run behind Steeplechase. You can get more information at www. nashvillestriders.com. The Nashville Running Company meets at Deep April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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Used with permission by Small World Yoga.

Well’s Trailhead in Percy Warner Park several times a week with all skill levels: 7:00 p.m. Tuesdays and 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Thursdays. Interested runners can check out their website at www.nashvillerunningcompany.com. Yoga is a spring outdoor activity that is gaining popularity in Nashville. Thanks to Small World Yoga, a nonprofit organization started in 2014, many people in Nashville, young and old, are experiencing the numerous social, physical and emotional benefits that come from participating in yoga, including the reduction of stress and depression. Small World Yoga serves 50 public locations with 75 instructors who volunteer their time in the community, with a mission to “inspire growth, connection and possibility by increasing access to

Used with permission by Small World Yoga.

yoga.” Founder Liz Veyhl says the purpose of Small World Yoga is to “make yoga accessible to people who may not have that access” and works in conjunction with several organizations who serve the community such as OASIS, Mending Hearts, Preston Taylor Ministries, The Rescue Mission and others. The organization also has a relationship with the Nashville Public Library, working in seven locations across the city, including at the Bordeaux

and Hadley Park branches. Small World Yoga hosts three open-community classes in the general West Nashville area, including at the Global Education Center, 6:00-7:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. The organization hosts outdoor sessions at the Richland Market from May–October, and on June 21 it hosts the “International Day of Yoga” on the first day of summer! To find out more about this organization, including locations for classes, visit the website at www.smallworldyoga.org.

West Nashville, we get a brief, but sweet respite between winter’s cold and summer’s stickiness, so let’s take full advantage of what our

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and freelance writer from Detroit. She loves the arts, having brunch with friends and Facebook.

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April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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372WestNosh:

Iconic McCabe Pub Celebrates 35 Years by Constant EATER

photos by Amanda Scott (unless otherwise noted)

In this special edition of 372WestNosh, we’re devoting the entire space to Sylvan Park’s iconic McCabe Pub, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year. McCabe Pub planted its flag at 4410 Murphy Road back in 1982—long before West Nashville became trendy, before its renaissance, heck, even before I-440. And thankfully, it shows no signs of slowing down.

Chuck Holmes, Billy Baker, Wayne Hester Used with permission by the Dean family.

Neil Gossman and Bud Anderson (managers at the time) and Jo Dean. Used with permission by the Dean family.

Stefanie Dean Brown and Katie Brown, 1987. Used with permission by the Dean family.

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nitially, this was a depressed area,” explains Jo Dean, McCabe Pub’s matriarch. “We opened when I-440 was under construction, and built our business through Music Row and corporations that were located on West End. We still have a lot of the music industry folks who come in.” Her husband John, a Cohn High School alum, wanted a place where he and his friends could hang, drink some beer and watch sports . . . and apparently, so did Music Row’s crème de la crème. “Chet Atkins was the one who really put us on the map,” Jo Murphy Road, 1932. continues. “He came in here almost Used with permission by the Dean family. every day, and always brought people come in and with him. He was one of our best, best watch sports. customers. Garth, Wynonna, Ray Stevens, their We had darts, a managers, their writers . . . they come here because big-screen tv . . . it’s low-key.” then we started Over the past 35 years, countless record and real esoffering meattate deals have been negotiated over McCabe’s beers, loaf, vegetables burgers and fries, primarily because Nashville’s power and wine. Wine brokers had a place where they could be themselves; McCabe’s famous cheeseburger and fries. brought in the though often referenced in various ‘see-and-be-seen’ women, so the menu local media columns, McCabe Pub’s lack of pretension kept evolving. Over among patrons and staff is just as refreshing as one of the years, it’s become more of an upscale family restauveteran bartender James Anderson’s red dazzler cockrant, but the décor is still sports-themed.” tails (he serves ’em up most afternoons). “My great-uncle Richard (Smitha) owned a filling Today, McCabe’s atmosphere is non-smoking, famstation, the Pure station that once stood at the corner ily-friendly and welcoming to its third generation of of Murphy and West End,” adds Stefanie Dean Brown, customers, but the original concept didn’t cater much Jo’s daughter. “His friend Woodie [Miller] ran a filling to families, or even women. “We were actually one of station that was located where Edley’s stands now.” the first sports bars in town,” explains Jo. “In the early Miller owned the property at 4410 Murphy Road, and days, it was just bottled beer and a few appetizers, and our customers were mostly men who wanted to

McCabe Pub is great! It’s like Cheers, where everybody knows your name—that’s why I’m a regular, and by the way, the food is great, also! Congrats to 35 years! —Ray Stevens, artist and entertainer

Sylvan Park, 1932. Used with permission by the Dean family.

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when he agreed to sell it to the Deans, part of their arrangement included two beers for Miller each time he visited, on the house, for the rest of his life. “He’d also sneak a few shots of bourbon every now and then, too,” Jo laughs. “My Dad was very proud to call himself a Cohn boy, and many of his friends are still our customers,” Stef continues. “And now they’re children and grandchildren are also our customers. And that says something.” John passed away in 2012. “Stefanie and I used to sleep underneath these booths,” recalls Katie Dean, Jo and John’s youngest of their four daughters, pointing to their favorite spot. “We used to bring our pillows and blankets from home, and we’d rather do that than sleep in like most kids did in the summer. We were literally raised in this restaurant. It’s our home.” In those early days, the Dairy Dip stood where Local Taco now sits; Woodie Miller’s service station stood alongside Sylvan Park Restaurant, both locations now occupied by Edley’s BBQ. McCabe Pub has witnessed the

L: Ernie Fleming R: James Anderson Used with permission by the Dean family.

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Above: Looking east, Woodie Miller’s station and McCabe Pub, 1980s. The Dairy Dip was located where Local Taco now stands. Right: Woodie Miller. Used with permission by the Dean family.

neighborhood transform, and has even undergone its own additions and renovations—but what hasn’t changed are many of their menu classics. “When we find something that works, we’ll hang on to it. We deliver the same burgers we’ve always had, the same meat,” explains Stef. “Our burgers don’t change; we may add to them, like our Hangover Burger, which we offer on Saturdays, but the core burger—along with some of our other popular staples, like our chicken fingers— we won’t change.” And that sort of commitment has its challenges, particularly when a vendor no longer offers a specific brand or essential ingredient. “Occasionally, we’ve had to go on the hunt, find out who

still offers the item,” adds Jo. “We see a lot about ‘farm-to-table’ these days; we’ve always been farm-totable, but back when we started, it just wasn’t advertised that way. It’s not a gimmick to us, it’s just how we do things. For 35 years, people have been coming in here for our meatloaf, squash casserole, burgers, broccoli casserole, sweet potato casserole, Mexican corn bread . . . you alter any of those items, our customers will let us know.” Each employee is trained to deliver consistent quality and service, too. “We’re not a chef-driven restaurant,” Jo continues. “We’re a recipe restaurant. When we hire a new cook, we make sure they get the recipe right. Our menu staples are all from recipes—a mixture of mine, my husband’s and mother-in-law’s. A lot of the soups are Ernie’s [Fleming].” That’s not to say McCabe Pub is stubbornly set in its ways. “A lot what’s on our specials board are actually test items,” Stef explains. “And if they sell well, they become regular menu items. Our casseroles all started out that way.” Over the years, they switched to non-smoking, installed draft beer, added a patio and put chicken livers to the menu, the latter at John’s insis-


The rest of the world may go up, down, or

sideways - the McCabe Pub just sits there saying welcome home. Thanks for always being there for all of us.

FIFTH ANNUAL MCCABE PUB CRAWFISH BOIL: Great Food, Great Cause

—Bill Purcell, Mayor of Nashville, 1999–2007

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tence. “I resisted as long as I could,” explains Jo. “And the chicken livers are one of our biggest sellers, along with our fried baloney sandwiches.” They also attend events like the National Restaurant Association Convention in Chicago to see what’s trending. Burgers remain the most popular menu item—they’re char-grilled instead of flat-grilled—and Anderson’s aforementioned red dazzler remains the most popular cocktail. (He also makes an excellent hot-buttered rum in the winter and jalepeño margarita in the summer.) Which brings us to another key to McCabe Pub’s success: long-term staff. “We’re very fortunate to have retained a core group of employees,” says Stefanie, pointing out individuals like Anderson [30 years], Ava Pearson [server, 24 years], Ernie Fleming [kitchen, 30 years], and Ken Gray, who retired recently after 27 years as nighttime bar manager. “We’ve created an environment where everyone wants to come work and have a good time while they’re here,” explains Jo. “That enthusiasm is contagious and captures our customers.” “I call it the ‘circle of life’,” Katie says. “And when one part’s missing, the circle isn’t complete. It takes everyone to make it work. Our philosophy has always been to do what we do as best we can; when you have a product you all believe in, and keep it consistent, you have a winning recipe for success.” “We stay true to our roots and continue to evolve in small ways,” Stefanie says. “We’re bringing in the next generation of customers, and tapping into the new Nashvillians who appreciate the establishments that made Nashville Nashville.” Perhaps Jo summarizes it best: “We’re here. We’re keeping up. We have a great patio.” Smiling, she adds, “And plenty of free parking.” VI

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McCabe Pub is open Monday–Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (kitchen closes at 10:00 p.m.), and is closed on Sundays. Constant Eater is dedicated to discovering the West Side’s best

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he fifth annual McCabe Pub Crawfish Boil will crank up at 3:00 p.m. on May 6th to benefit the LAM Foundation, a non-profit global leader in the fight against lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM), a rare lung disease that usually strikes women during the prime of their lives. Currently, there is no cure. Tickets are $35 and include crawfish with all the fixings and three drink tickets. All net proceeds will go to the LAM Foundation, and LAMplify will match all donations. In the past four years, this event has raised a total of $80,000. This rain-or-shine event lasts until 8:00 p.m., and promises great music, great food, and helps a great cause. This disease has a personal connection with the McCabe Pub family. In 2010, Stefanie Dean Brown was diagnosed with LAM when a tumor on one of her kidneys (characteristic of the disease) hemorrhaged. “I was quickly diagnosed, but I was also 32 weeks pregnant,” she recalls. “And it almost killed me and my son.” Her son, who has cerebral palsy, remained in the NICU for 3 months. “He is my guardian angel; without him, I would have never known that I had it.” Join them on May 6th and while you’re there, raise your glass to McCabe Pub—here’s to 35 more great years!

breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktails . . . in the name of fair reporting and satisfied tummies, of course.

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I have been a regular customer of McCabe Pub for over cin g M Pub to t k s l u g a ju ly h ad be twenty years. The food is always consistently good, the service Ca e on n w teed not omin re gl ack. a c b ’ h c t ey an t’s e n exceptional and the family that owns and operates the pub are is you guar tha bee . Th com e e y c e and v o ’ I a n r t l ’ i p you great people. It’s one of my favorite places for a work lunch or y. , e t ou d smile s Da wer or y n a a e’ f state catching up with friends over good food. —Terry Hunter tin kids ad d le I ha had an Valen my s gl ial rea sure grea McC I al of e the p ve e lway merc t r a c b o f w o e l mee a f sin d a t, com ting ys enj Pub s od and njoying eaMcCabe just has great s n re ince oy s beve t new he he ou a adhur eein 1 ones atm y g ol 987. I rages a Bro . comfort food like your mama made e o d i s Tr n d pher t se Dav e w adition friends additio — a i n t l d , h a , i it, with a warm atmosphere that puts you s sapp h McCa oint excepti appy a well a be Pu o m n n e a n b l me d fun s t in is a w Dean right at ease. A dozen made-from-scratch nu all eekly fam thos . Neve i d l s y u t o e r p for ing lu delectable desserts that I have a hard time just year r a your becom me nch. I s. T e s f amil have y. B part of he choosing one! And, the ranch dressing! It’s just for years b been a e for ecause cont st wish loyal having i n the fo c u a true family-owned Nashville tradition that stomer —E ued su es od an the re cces ddy d g ular A. B service s. ly s row m always keeps me coming back for more.

—Nancy West Kennedy

ay I st ’re t, they e s grea u a beca ’s . It ve mily a e ha f . W e like b . to town place n i n fu lars regu t s be t, r the as n, serve earso —Ava P

pecial

enu it n is gre s. Eve ems to at. I rythin e c n hoose joy g is f from resh, a s well and th as the e dess daie —Ha r t s ppy are th Fulk e best in tow n! you,

Thank McCabe Pub. Here’s to another 35 years!

From my time developing beer brands such as St Pauli Girl and Rolling Rock, to my time as President of Capitol Records, Nashville, I’ve always enjoyed finding the bar or pub that not only served good food, but served as the center of the neighborhood as well. While I’ve enjoyed the growth we’ve seen in Nashville over the last 20 years, it’s still important to me to visit McCabe’s for a weekly lunch. For me, when my friends want to experience my Nashville, I always include a stop at McCabe’s, “where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came.” —Pat Quigley

p e & os le’s st i l ex eet vi of co sh e a sw ly on N s d e s m i r les fro an he b m u er P s w sea ing be e e h b c e t t a f a am r ur cC pl ry dra (o I ut eve M ue f t r iq to en no o & ea h t n y s u w for e nt ks ggie t th hat e se an e v f ub , bu t l th pr a h P h n e es ow abe tche s efr . riv d n i C h k I was working at The Continental Club [a bar in pr k c n o d t p s e M a he an ing sp e t t l Austin, Texas], and ran into John Dean. He told me a on in ic w fee ho te n d to stop by his little restaurant he had just opened the w n k n en ro ar n , it’s epe ick t next time I was back in Nashville. I moved back to West a h i m a d c p ic e ad Nashville and the first week I was back, I stopped in for a us ro ays th her m he ot w ting beer. Started talking to the bartender and he said they needed a t al y t i s r n h e help in the kitchen—they got a hold of John and they hired me to A o n ev ca tly e) . r d help out just through the Christmas season. That was in 1987, and I f I o en an e o m me er t t i r haven’t left since. r s e w ho si ca m ng o n s t This place is like home to me, so many good friends. The owners g a erco in aken ng i k s y have been amazing to work with and for; we are a very tight group of em, a t l vis on o m nd Da ployees. Two of my best friends, Ava and James, have also been here for the k c a s tri al d Pa duration. Thirty years of food, family, fun and beer! So many good times. e — t cia th

–Ernie Fleming, chef/kitchen manager, for 30 years

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by Yvonne Eaves

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THE

Belle Meade THEATRE: NOW, WHAT BECOMES A LEGEND MOST? by Yvonne

EAVES

photos courtesy of The Nashville Public Library, Special Collections

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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he Belle Meade Theatre has been sold again. A West End landmark since 1940, the theater was the first “suburban” theater in the area (at that time, the city limit was close to White Bridge Road). This was also before multiplex theaters like Hollywood 27 or Green Hills Cinema; there might be only two or three shows a day. Tony Sudekum owned the property on Harding Road where the remnants of Belle Meade Theatre now stands. He decided to use his own property to build a theater and a small shopping strip center, to make it convenient to residents in the Belle Meade community. Sudekum founded Crescent Amusements in 1907, opening The Dixie Theatre as his first Nashville

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theater. The Dixie was on Fifth Avenue downtown. All told, Crescent Amusements built more than 100 theatres in Alabama, Kentucky and Tennessee, but the Belle Meade may be Crescent’s only theater building in Nashville that’s still standing. In the 1924 Nashville City Directory, Tony Sudekum was mentioned as president of the Hippodrome Motor Company.


Until the Belle Meade’s opening in 1940, theaters had not moved to the “suburbs”; most theaters were located downtown—The Belcourt Theatre in Hillsboro Village being the exception (it opened in 1925). The Belle Meade was different than the rest of the theaters Tony Sudekum built. For one thing, he put it in his side yard—his home was just to the east of the theater. The marquee was most impressive, with more than 1,600 incandescent and neon lights—reminiscent of a billboard— and a 40-foot-tall tower with lights and a lighted ball on top. The tower design was based on a building from the New York Fair, and the architectural design was Art Deco, designed by Marr & Holman, the same architectural firm that designed the old U.S. Post Office on Broadway (we now know it as The Frist Center for the Visual Arts). Nashville by Design: Architectural Treasures notes that the firm received national attention for Belle Meade Theatre, and the 50th anniversary of the 1941 issue of Architectural Record magazine featured the Streamlined Modern complex as one of the nation’s best new shopping centers.

Crescent Amusements also owned The Hippodrome, a large skating rink on West End Avenue across from Centennial Park, until it was demolished in 1965 to make way for the Holiday Inn West End. After Sudekum’s death, his family made a donation in 1946 to Nashville Children’s Museum, now known as the Adventure Science Center. The list of movies shown at the Belle Meade through the years is impressive, but so are some of its guests. Many former and current Nashvillians can recall seeing Jesus Christ Superstar, Top Gun, The Graduate, Days of Thunder, Tommy, Midnight Cowboy, The Hindenburg, Star Wars, Return of the Jedi and Earthquake, but women especially can recall Robert Redford attending a showing of All the President’s July, 1951: Born in Nashville, comedian and bandleader Phil Harris Men. And special screenmakes his mark on the Wall of Fame. ing for military veterans was held for Patton. When asked, many Nashvillians “I remember sneaking in with my were more than willing to share older sister to see The Graduate their fondest Belle Meade Theatre when I was 15.” memories. “I remember going to the And of course, there’s the legendopening day of the Star Trek movie,” ary Belle Meade run of the 1966, recalls John Eldredge. “There were five-time Academy Award winner, probably 300 people in line. The line The Sound of Music. “I remember wrapped around to the rear of the going with my mom, grandmother, building. I have never seen for any aunts and cousins to see [it],” other movie in here in Nashville.” recalls Suzanne Allen Crabtree. “I “First movie I remember was Flash remember being so amazed. We Gordon,” Monica Holzapfel Beach sat in the balcony. I thought it was remembers. “We went most every so elegant.” The Sound of Music Saturday, the Royal Oaks Drive opened on June 23, 1965, and ran neighbor kids. I also remember until October 19, 1966. Showing meeting Fess Parker and watching 10 times each week, The Sound of ‘Davy Crockett.’” Music broke box-office records. Jennifer Hobdy used to pay her The March 4, 1980, red-carpet admission with RC bottlecaps, and, premiere of Coal Miner’s Daughter April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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Final curtain: Sunset falls on The Belle Meade Theatre one last time, 1991.

brought out a host of country music celebrities, including Minnie Pearl, Roy Acuff, Ernest Tubb, Sissy Spacek (who won an Oscar for her role), Tommy Lee Jones and of course, Loretta Lynn herself. The show opened to the public the follow weekend. The final show was Godfather III. Interesting side note: The Belle Meade Theatre is believed to be the first theater in Nashville to have sold concessions.

The Happiness Club In 1940, before television came to Nashville, radio was considered high-tech entertainment. Daily radio broadcasts were very limited, so many of the theatres had Saturday matinee movies for young people, mostly cartoons and westerns. The theaters became very competitive, so there were often very nice door prizes, usually requiring

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you to be present to claim your winnings. For 32 years, Mr. E. J. Jordan was the mastermind behind “The Happiness Club,” which started with 32 kids from the local community coming to the Belle Meade to watch a Saturday matinee. It grew to almost 1,500 kids. Jordan also hosted groups from St. Mary’s Orphanage. Having worked in vaudeville and as a magician, Jordan provided live entertainment for the audience. As the Belle Meade’s manager, he always dressed in a tuxedo; the neighboring Moon Drugs treated children to ice cream for their birthdays. Jordan started a talent show for the young audience that had one rule: No booing. One talent show participant was nicknamed “Little Bing”—but today, most know Little Bing as Pat Boone.

The Wall of Fame On the opening night back in 1940, four international movie stars attended the showing of Charlie McCarthy, Detective: Irene Dunne, Randolph Scott, Hal Roach and Leo McCarthy. Two marble slabs weighing approximately 400 pounds each remained from the theater’s construction. At Jordan’s encouragement, they autographed the slabs, and they hung in the lobby after the theater was converted into a bookstore. Jordan also asked every


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Fame” remained intact and could be seen in the old theater’s lobby and up the staircase. Upstairs, where “The Happiness Club” had convened, became the bookstore’s children section. Bookstar was in the building until 2004, when the property became a Harris Teeter grocery store. By August 2015, the Harris Teeter chain was acquired by Kroger Corporation, which promptly closed the old Belle Meade Theatre location. In November 2016, Bradford Allen Realty Services purchased the old Belle Meade Theatre property, which now consists of 85,130 square foot of retail space and a 54-unit residential community, The Marquee at Belle Meade. Bradford Allen Realty Services is based in Chicago. At press time, the fate of the Belle Meade Theatre is not known. There is an urban design overlay on the property, but this does not prevent a new owner from destroying the structures. We can hope the new

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celebrity, politician and sports dignitary for a photograph to be hung in the lobby on the Wall of Fame. When the bookstore closed, nearly 200 photos were on display in the lobby. Which brings us to the 1990s, when the Belle Meade Theatre was sold to Bookstar, a Texas-based bookstore known for converting old theaters and landmark buildings into bookstores. The theater’s screen remained and was just visible behind the magazine rack. The floor was leveled, with some adjustments, from theatre to a bookstore. The “Wall of

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The Wall of Fame, circa 1991.

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Long considered West Nashville’s historian, Yvonne Eaves spends a lot of time documenting its changes through the lens of her camera. She is the former president of the Cohn High School Alumni Association and author of Nashville’s Sylvan Park (along with co-author Doug Eckert, Arcadia Publishing). Sources used for this story include: Vertical Files at the Nashville Room in the Main Library, Nashville Tennessee; West Nashville—its people and environs, by Sarah Foster Kelley; The Ganier Site: A Prehistoric Indian Village in West Nashville, by John B. Broster (Mini-Histories). SOURCES: Vertical Files Nashville City Room at Nashville Public Library. Lest We Forget by Ridley Wills II When I Was a Kid by Tom Henderson III

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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by Scott MERRICK photos by (obviously) Brian Siskind

BRIAN SISKIND, Artist with a Mission


A fragile leaf flutters at the base of a weathered stone wall. Time-lapsed clouds sweep swiftly across blue skies above abandoned prison walls. The view pans side to side, scrolls up and down, delivering breathtaking images of classic architecture done large. Lens flares, stark contrasts, green weeds fluttering in river-blown breeze—these fill the screen. Moody, synth-heavy and insistently intense and, yes, often droning instrumentals underscore the imagery. Then, we are inside.

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elcome to Tennessee State Prison (1892–1992): On the Inside, a 17-minute media experience composed solely with West Nashvillian Brian Siskind’s drone flight camera footage and his original music. On the Inside was preceded by a body of multimedia work, including his ongoing video series, The Nations Life, much of it archived at http://thosedrones.com, after years of music-making and production. 44.6 year-old Brian (his notation) moved into The Nations in early 2016, relocating from Charlotte Park with his lovely wife, Katie, and beginning to realize his dream to become historian-archivist of The Nations and beyond. His credo may be summarized in four words: “Make something every day.” So, why drones? Why the fascination with derelict architecture? “There’s a huge subculture of people sort of exploring abandoned places,” Siskind explains. “It’s really amazing. I wouldn’t say I’m in the middle of that scene, but there is a scene.” His trajectory started as a teenager in photography and writing; music entered the picture when he started playing drums at 19. “Being an artist and a producer in the music realm has always been my focus, and the photography was what I did when I wanted to go outdoors,” Siskind says. “It was also a way to get tangible, visible results immediately. I think I’ve struggled trying to figure out ways to bring the two together . . . it was just a matter of time that there would be some sort of harmonic convergence between what I do musically and what I do visually.” Siskind purchased his first drone three or four years ago. “I saw what the possibilities were—but they weren’t ‘there’ yet,” he says. “Just within the last year, we’re there.” For nearly 10 years, he freelanced full-time making and producing music under a myriad of aliases, “but the feast and famine of that weighs on the psyche after a while,” he reflects. He moved into full-time IT work while continuing his artistic pursuits. “I would rather just offer a ‘regimented sacrifice’ to have total freedom to do what I like. If you do art for money, in some way, you’re going to have to compromise it. Some people don’t mind, they like it. I don’t like it. I hate it.” Siskind currently serves as a marketing director April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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for a data and software company. While the job comes with its own set of pressures and deadlines, “it affords me the opportunity to do the other things I do without any compromise. If you are fine arts photographer and somebody asks you to take pictures of their school, you could—as an artist—say that that’s beneath you or that it’s not what you want to be doing, but there’s always something you learn in those kinds of situations about your craft, that you can bring back. So you shouldn’t turn down things wholesale, just by definition, but you don’t have to live there, either.”

Inside the Penitentiary “I didn’t want to make a Ken Burnslike documentary about it, especially when I had only a single day to shoot,” Siskind explains. “One day—that’s all I was going to get. ‘Hope the weather’s nice. That’s your day.’ I just decided to leave it open-ended, more of a meditation. I didn’t want to do, ‘This is the whatever building, it was built in . . . ,” you know. I wanted to recreate an experience by looking at it in a way that it has never been seen before.”

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Sure enough, the shot will progress, as though leaving, then pull back. This happens at intervals throughout the film. “All of that was my way of suggesting what might have been the consciousness of some of the people that were there,” Siskind says. “It was in an abstract way of paying homage to what might have been—good, bad and all the in-between. It was a compression of the human experience.” And a remarkably effective device. Siskind sums up his film as “a forced exercise in empathy. If you do watch the whole thing, maybe

you come out of it feeling that, ‘I just went through this car wash,’ or some such, that feels as though you were suspended in time, in some way? That’s really all you can hope for.” While Siskind can think of 20 reasons to save the prison and 20 reasons to demolish it, he’s less philosophical about his own community. “I don’t want to get in an argument about gentrification. It’s happening,” he says. “Everything that is visually rich and interesting about this neighborhood will be gone. All of it will be new shine, new sheen, faux corrugated rusty steel,


facsimiles of aged bullshit. I get it. But I feel a sense of urgency. I want to capture it really well before it’s gone.” And even though he may have captured it with his camera, “It’s still gone. Having another 12South doesn’t satisfy my soul.”

Why West Nashville? Siskind originally migrated to Nashville from Seattle in the late 1990s. He moved around some, always residing in West Nashville, then moved to New York City to study Art and Culture, and also Filmmaking at City College in Harlem and Hunter College on the Upper East Side. He spent his mid-30s as a college student riding a bike everywhere hanging out in art museums and clubs and doing “that whole New York thing. Probably the best time of my life. And I had nothing,” he laughs. “I was so poor.” In 2011 he returned to Nashville, and he explains, “We thought, ‘If we don’t do it right now we’re not going to be able to afford to live anywhere that we want to live.’ The house that we bought in The Nations, the amount that it’s gone up in value is probably out of the range of what we would be able to afford now.”

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His current project is an event that he describes as “a mixture of music, live performance, video, drones, a gallery for installations and photography all happening in one place for a period of time. That’s all I can say about it right now,” he explains, “not because I’m being mysterious, but because that’s where it is right now.” Siskind promises the event will take place this year. So what is the mark Brian Siskind is trying to make? What’s the ultimate effect? “Imagine what it’s going to feel like in five years to go back and look at these videos that were made now,” he says. “You’re going to think about what your life was then. And you’re going to see some dose of your mortality. I want to create pretty benchmarks for that feeling to happen.” Siskind recently upgraded his drone gear— dramatically. His latest piece includes interchangeable glass lenses, so stay tuned for even more exceptionally “pretty benchmarks.” VI

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Scott Merrick is a West Nashville native who currently resides in The Nations and teaches public elementary school students about technology. Connect at http://about.me/scottmerrick.

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Backyard Bars Fills a Beautiful, Budget-friendly Niche by

Naomi GOLDSTONE

photos courtesy of Aaron and Caroline Dale.

Planning an outdoor spring fling and wondering where to get tables, chairs and a canopy for all the people you have invited? Maybe you’re hosting your roommate’s bridal shower at your house and are not sure who can help you with the set-up and tear-down. Or maybe you’re in charge of organizing your church’s annual picnic and are not sure who will set up speakers and a PA system and bring you tablecloths and chairs. Don’t worry— Backyard Bars has your back.

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ounded in 2016, Backyard Bars is the brainchild of Aaron and Caroline Dale. A graduate of Hillsboro High School and James Madison University in Virginia, Aaron is a health care consultant by day who decided to launch the business before his son, Hawkins, was born. Aaron says that he and Caroline came up with the idea after hosting so many engagement and birthday parties at their Sylvan Park home. “We were doing a handful a year,” he says, “and we started to realize very quickly that it took a lot more to hosting a party than just renting tables and chairs.” Aaron also noticed that although there were several companies in Nashville that “do gigantic, custom tents for big companies or parties,” there was no business in Nashville that would help someone just organize a party in their own backyard for less than $1,000, let alone just $250. “One unintended effect of the growth in Nashville is that no one is focusing on the neighbor who just wants to host a wedding for their son or daughter,” Aaron says. “And that’s where Backyard Bars comes in.” With a “simple, easy, and all-inclusive rental package,” Backyard Bars’ goal is to “provide a great value for people. We took tables and chairs to the next level by including everything in the rental package,” Aaron says. “We don’t get into the itemizing of each thing you need—we simplify it.” Backyard Bars offers three main packages: The Backyard Package, the Tailgate Package and the Reserve. The price depends on the number of guests, and each package includes delivery, set-up, tear-down and pickup of all items they bring. “We try to do everything simpler and easier than we’ve experienced when renting from other businesses,” Aaron says. So if you’re hosting a party to watch the Tour de Nash cyclists or need a tailgate set up in the fall, for example, you can call Backyard Bars to help. For $250, you will receive a canopy, serving tables, Mason jars, cocktail tables, chairs, tablecloths, a Yeti® Tank 85 Cooler/Keg Bucket and much more, including a kids’ table and chairs and a cornhole game. They even provide trashcans and bags. Backyard Bars’ very first customer was Matt Griffin. A weekend fisherman, Griffin wanted to host a fish fry so his friends and family could enjoy the crappie he and his father had caught from the Kentucky Lake/ Tennessee River that spring. “It was a come-and-go with 40 people,” Griffin says. “It was a good time with good friends and good weather.” What Griffin liked most about Backyard Bars was the “flexibility, affordability and customization” of the package Aaron offered him. “The little touches,” Griffin says, “whether it was the sound system or the customized cornhole board he brought, made the evening lovely and special.”

Phyllis Dorn also used Backyard Bars for a picnic at her house last summer, and she says that it “turned a backyard picnic into a magical evening.” The magic, she says, was the “convenience of having Aaron come set it all up. He alleviated all the stress for me because he clearly knew what he was doing.” Dorn notes that Aaron was “very particular about the best location for the tent and lights,” which helped to showcase RoseonVibes, the jazz trio that played. Aaron had also set up the bar-height tables in such a way that her guests could “congregate, leisurely listen to music and move about” throughout the evening. “It was unbelievable to have live music in my backyard,” Dorn says. She concluded by saying, “It was perfect; guests couldn’t say enough about the aesthetics.”

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a social need won’t necessarily fix the traffic woes on Charlotte Pike or White Bridge or calm the growth that not everyone in West Nashville embraces, Backyard Bars still “serves a purpose and still serves a need.” And, as Aaron says, “It seems like when you’re serving a purpose, everyone is better off.” ST

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Backyard Bars rented out just their linens to a church that had their own tables and chairs. They have employed a “cheaper option” for neighbors who said they were throwing a party for just 20 people and only wanted to pick up tables, chairs and linens. “If someone’s need is very small, we don’t necessarily want to say no, so we’ll let people come pick up and then drop back off what they need,” Aaron says. Aaron sees what they are doing as a social endeavor that can bring neighbors and communities together. “It’s to help people be social and to interact with people without having to think about the logistics,” Aaron says. Backyard Bars has supported local events in West Nashville, including a block party in the Sylvan Park neighborhood, an event at Sylvan Park Elementary and an event hosted by the Friends of Richland Park Library. Although serving

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Not surprisingly, one of the goals of Backyard Bars is to “not stand out, because we don’t want to be the focus of an event.” Aaron says that they want to “fade into the background” because the events are “not about us. In fact, it’s probably best that the people who hire us don’t ever notice us,” he says. Backyard Bars will even travel outside of Nashville to help people with their event. They have gone to Chapel Hill, Tennessee, to assist with a wedding reception on a farm and to Mill Creek Brewery in Nolensville for a baby shower. “He went out of his way to provide a sound system and even made a music playlist,” Matt Griffin says of the event in Nolensville. Backyard Bars has also assisted with birthday parties, baby showers and Christmas celebrations for local businesses. Hence, they really see themselves catering to the “do-ityourself” crowd. “Even though the bread and butter of what we do is rent a package,” Aaron says, “we’re pretty much willing to do anything with what we have.” For example,

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When she’s not being dragged around The Nations by her four dogs, Naomi Goldstone is a professor of English and coordinator of the African American Studies Minor at Austin Peay State University. She is the author of Integrating the Forty Acres: The Fifty-Year Struggle for Racial Equality at the University of Texas, and she has a blog she promises to write more often: dwonnaknowwhatithink.com.


West Nashville Washout?, continued from page 9

vision. A year before the sale was announced, she conceived of a public-private partnership for a bridge across Richland Creek connecting the industrial sites at the end of Robertson Road with the Bass parcel. Such a thoroughfare, reserved for companies on land with industrial zoning, could reduce the volume of heavy trucks that barrel through the neighborhoods flanking Robertson Road. As the area’s population density swells, another route for trucks is badly needed, Roberts says. “There’s too much traffic on that road that goes to one of those businesses. It’s not fair to the people in the neighborhood. We’re constantly repaving. It’s a nightmare.” Roberts enlisted Metro Public Works to draw up three options for the connector, which she believes could be built for $2 million to $3 million. She also believes her plan is more likely to be adopted with Rogers owning the Bass site.

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Ironically, given its complete alteration of the floodplain, another quarry might be the one form of development that could mitigate against heavier flooding — at least along Richland Creek itself. In 2010, floodwaters breached the wall of the Reostone quarry, diverting into the open pit hundreds of thousands of gallons of water that otherwise would have further swollen the Cumberland River. Surveying the disaster by helicopter, Congressman Jim Cooper noticed the quarry-turned-lake and wondered whether a partnership with the owners might help reduce future floods. Rogers Group, a corporate sponsor of Richland Creek Watershed Alliance, later rebuilt the barrier wall to withstand a 500-year flood. But in other ways, a new quarry could exacerbate damage to the ecosystem. Tons of additional dust and dirt could further choke the stream at one of its most sensitive points. In addition, the 500-year berm would prevent water in the next flood from entering the quarry, sending it either onto the Bass site or, if that property becomes a quarry with its own berm, headlong into a Cumberland River already in flood. As of this magazine’s print deadline, how the old prison property will be developed remains uncertain. One thing is sure. The big rains will come again. When they do, increased development will make what engineers term “500-year events” more frequent, since it will take less rainfall to flood the same areas that were underwater in 2010. VI

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Randy Horick is the owner of Writers Bloc, Inc., and a longtime

REMINDER

NOW’S THE TIME TO FILE YOUR PROPERTY APPRAISAL REVIEW

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n January, Mayor Megan Barry announced there would be no property tax rate increase for 2017, but that doesn’t mean the appraisals should be ignored. Now is still the time to appeal a property appraisal that does not appear to be accurate, as there are several steps that will take place. If you feel your property appraisal is inaccurate, contact the Property Assessor’s office to request a review; based on those findings, you may file an appeal with the Metro Board of Equalization, which meets in June 2017. And if you disagree with Metro’s decision, you may also file an appeal with the State Board of Equalization before August 1, or within 45 days of the date Metro’s notice was sent, whichever is later. The Property Assessor’s office stresses that property owners who are concerned about their appraisals do not need to put this off until the last minute; they need to begin the review and appeal process as soon as they receive their appraisals. You can find information about the appeal process on Metro government website, Nashville.gov, or contact the Property Assessor’s office via telephone (615.862.6080).

West Nashville resident.

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This Spring, Go

GREEN Tucked away from the busy city center, WEST NASHVILLE offers an array of outdoor spaces to cater to almost any nature-related interest.

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Clare FERNANDEZ


GET TO KNOW YOUR METRO PARKS West Nashville alone has 13 Metro Parks, offering ample green spaces for the enjoyment of residents of all ages. Take some time this spring to enjoy what these parks have to offer!

Fishing: Fishing is permitted at Lake Watauga in Centennial Park, Willow Pond at Percy Warner Park and in several fishing holes along the Little Harpeth River in Edwin Warner Park. The minimum license required to fish is the Annual Hunting & Fishing Combination license for $34. More information can be found at the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website.

Rent an outdoor shelter: Interested in planning an office or community picnic or child’s birthday party? Residents can easily reserve park picnic shelters by calling 615.862.8408. Reservations are recommended and can be made year-round for April through October rentals. Fees are based on halfday ($30) and full-day ($60) rentals, and additional permits are required for amplification, inflatables and staging. West Nashville parks with picnic shelters include: Centennial, Charlotte, Edwin Warner, Hadley, Percy Warner and Richland.

Take Fido for a walk: Leashed dogs are welcome in all Metro Parks, but if you want your pup to run around and play, West Nashville offers two Metro Dog Park options: Centennial and Warner Dog Parks. Both parks are open from dawn until 8:00 p.m.

Play time for the little ones: Playgrounds are located at Boyd-Taylor, Centennial, Charlotte, Elmington, England, Hadley, H.G. Hill, Richland and West Parks.

Photos on this page used with permission by Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation

Canoeing and kayaking: Public access points to the Cumberland River can be found at County Hospital Road and Stewarts Lane, Clees Ferry at Old Hickory Boulevard, Clees Ferry at Annex Road, Rock Harbor Marina and there’s also the Commodore Yacht Club, which is by membership only with an annual fee of $150. Hiking and walking: Greenways include Brookmeade (0.4 miles, paved), Richland Creek (McCabe loop, 3.8 miles, paved and England Park, 0.47 miles, paved). Trails within parks include Centennial (2.3 miles, walking), Bells Bend (7.4 miles, hiking), Percy and Edwin Warner (12 miles, hiking and biking), and Radnor Lake State Natural Area (6 miles, walking and hiking). Radnor Lake does not allow jogging, bicycles or pets on the hiking trails.

Park Manager Steve Ward shares: “There are few places in Nashville that provide the same wildlife viewing opportunities available at Radnor Lake. Visitors travel across the country to view migratory birds, get close-up views of native wildlife such as whitetail deer, turkeys and barred owls along our trail system. We love and welcome dogs at Radnor, but domestic animals and wildlife often do not mix in close environments such as our hiking trails. This is why we’ve tried to strike a balance—having two miles of closed roadway on the paved and gravel surfaces, as well as hiking areas for those interested in observing wildlife.” West Nashville residents can attest to the offerings of our parks. West Meade resident Alan Fagen enjoys walking on the Richland Greenway. “I especially enjoy the beautiful creek and seeing wildlife from beavers to snakes to herons! I have walked that greenway since the day the greenway opened when I walked with the mayor many years ago.” he says. Hillwood resident Alan Dooley enjoys the many trail offerings. Alan shares: “My wife and I have loved hiking, cycling, mountain-biking and trail running at Percy Warner Park for years. The park is within a mile of my home, reached by a pedestrian/bike crossing.”

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Metro Parks regularly leads park and greenway revitalization efforts. See below and the opposite page for upcoming upgrades on the West Side! WEST PARK is undergoing significant changes to enhance leisure options, including a new adult softball field, basketball court and a playground. There will also be a new trail within the park that will follow along Richland Creek and a new building with restrooms and a covered picnic shelter. The softball diamond will be renamed in honor of Luis Osvaldo Cisneros, a 4-year-old boy who was killed and dumped in the park on Feb. 23, 2003. Thirteen years later, community members still regularly bring flowers to the park in remembrance. “That story is a huge piece of this community,” says Councilwoman Mary Carolyn Roberts, “and we felt like we should pay homage to that.” The project is scheduled for completion this fall.

Photo by Nathan Morrow.

THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX The warmer weather is also a great time to explore these outdoor West Nashville gems.

Green Door Gourmet: You won’t regret a visit to Green Door Gourmet on River Road. The on-farm market features local and regional specialty goods, produce and more. Purchase a tasty snack, spread out a blanket and enjoy the sunshine on their beautiful, open lawn. Sometimes they even have food trucks on the weekends serving up barbecue and other treats! They also offer both a vegetable and a flower CSA, as well as workshops and events, such as Le Dames d’Escoffier Tour De Farm on April 23rd. Paddle Up Nashville: Get active on the water with paddleboard-

Used with permission by Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation

CENTENNIAL PARK recently finished Phase I upgrades, which have consolidated parking around the Parthenon, improved the water quality of Lake Watauga and added daylighting to Cockrill Springs and a permanent venue for Musicians Corner. Phase I has received positive response from newcomers and longtime visitors. Jackie Jones, Metro Parks and Recreation’s public information officer, shares: “The consolidation of parking around the Parthenon means a more pedestrian-friendly park. The [Cockrill Springs] area also included restoration of the park’s historic perimeter wall and street lights, new paths, interpretive signs and other enhancements, which is a glimpse of the past and a nod to the future.”

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ing, in which the rider stands on a board and propels through the water with a paddle. Lauren Burke and her husband, residents of the Nations, loved their Paddle Up Nashville experience. “Neil took the time to educate us on the paddleboards. It is easy to catch on, a great workout and such a fun activity!” Lauren says. The only requirement is the ability to swim. Reservations are recommendPhoto by Paddle Up staff. ed but not necessary.

Cheekwood: Enjoy a stroll through the botanical gardens at Cheekwood, which offer gorgeous year-round garden displays. Cheekwood’s 12 gardens, featuring views of the surrounding hills and beautiful flowers and trees, offer peaceful settings for walking, relaxing and small-group gatherings and picnics (designated areas only). All this beauty can be enjoyed for a daily admission fee or an annual membership.


A PEACEFUL ESCAPE IN WEST MEADE St. David’s Episcopal Church is tucked away in the West Meade neighborhood on 7.4 acres of beautiful treed land. With the arrival of the new rector, the Rev. Carolyn Coleman, the stewardship of this outdoor space has come to the foreground. Due to circumstances that disturbed the burial grounds at the top of the campus, the church’s response was to reconsecrate the space, which includes an altar and a one-mile trail. Eleven-year-old Cassidy Sullivan, a St. David’s parishioner and a Girl Scout, came to Rev. Carolyn with a plan to revamp the trail for her gold award project. The entire trail system will be geared toward meditation and prayer and will eventually have a circuit for the Stations of the Cross. “My hope is that people will use the trails as a refuge to find a peaceful place apart from the maelstrom of the world and find rest in walking among the trees and especially sitting at the top at the crest,” Rev. Carolyn says. The trails will be open to the public, and a ribbon cutting and blessing will take place at noon on April 23.

CENTENNIAL PARK PHASE II will include a redesign of the band shell area, the great lawn and 18 acres of park. According to Jones, benefits of this phase include a permanent place for the women suffrage monument, more trees and engineering of the great lawn to better handle the park’s many special events. The master plan includes additional phases and is funding-dependent.

Used with permission by Metropolitan Board of Parks and Recreation

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construction on Phase I in February, and remaining phases are in the planning stages. Phase I allows pedestrians to access the greenway from Elmington Park, cross West End Avenue and Murphy Road (following 440), and exit on the outskirts of Centennial Park. This “has the opportunity to connect neighborhoods that are not connected in a pedestrian-friendly way already,” says Councilwoman Kathleen Murphy, who serves on the Greenways Commission of Metro Parks. The 440 Greenway will provide easy access from the Charlotte area to Elmington and Centennial Parks. According to Councilwoman Murphy, this will “lead people on adventures they wouldn’t normally take” and provide more convenient opportunities for West Nashville residents to get outside and enjoy the fresh air.

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A native Nashvillian and current Hillwood Estates resident, Clare Fernandez works as a Data Analyst at a software company and serves as the board president at Poverty & the Arts, a local nonprofit providing creative opportunities for individuals experiencing homelessness. In her free time, Clare enjoys reading, traveling, hiking at Radnor Lake, all things theatre and exploring the growing foodie and culture scene in Nashville. photos by Clark THOMAS/simplePhotographs.com

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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BOAT SAFETY = FLOAT SAFELY by

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Deana DECK


The closest rivers to West Nashville are, of course, the Harpeth and the Cumberland. Another popular and easily accessible place for boating is Percy Priest Lake. All offer opportunities for boating, ranging from standup paddle boarding and kayaking to motor boats and personal watercraft, commonly known as Jet Skis. As we shake off the last bit of winter’s chill to embrace spring’s warm, pre-sticky temps, many of us long to be by the water, on the water . . . but it’s definitely not quite time to be in the water.

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ore people die on flatwater rivers like the Harpeth, the Buffalo and the Duck than all the whitewater rivers throughout the U.S. put together,” says Bill Kelsey. Kelsey is a certified American Canoe Association instructor and past president of the Tennessee Scenic Rivers Association (TSRA). “People do not have any business being on a river without any instruction,” he says. “I hear horror stories all the time.” According to the latest figures available in the 2015 Tennessee Boating Incident Statistical Report, which is published annually by the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, 96 out of 100 incidents involving serious injury or death involved boaters with no boating safety education. So before you put in, paddle up or set sail, there are some common-sense safety measures that you should always be aware of. The most important is the use of lifejackets. Think about that name: lifejacket. It’s not a cushion to sit or kneel on. It’s not an accessory provided by the rental company to comply with the law. It’s meant to be worn to save your life. Statistics provided by Betsy Woods of the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency’s Boating Education division show that there were 15 boating fatalities in 2015. “From looking at the reports, it’s clear that of these fatalities, nine of these people would probably still be with us today if they had been wearing a lifejacket,” she says. And there were even more deaths in 2016—twenty-two, to be exact. “Four of the fatalities were from paddlecraft,” Woods points out. “All involved falls overboard, one from a canoe and three from kayaks. Of the 22 fatalities last year, 13 of these people would be alive today if they had worn a lifejacket. In fact, two of the other fatalities in 2016 were actually wearing lifejackets, but they were not properly fastened. “One lifejacket should be available for each person on a boat, including canoes, kayaks and standup paddleboards,” she says, “along with pontoon and motor boats. It’s required by law, and if the person is 12 years old or younger, he or she must be wearing the lifejacket.”

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turns hotter, but it can happen—and it can be prevented. “The coldest I’ve ever been was in July,” says Kelsey. “It got windy, and it rained and I thought I’d freeze. People tend to go out in cotton T-shirts and jeans, and when those get wet, they don’t dry out. You’ll be wet all day. You need to wear polypropylene. The kind of running gear that wicks water away from your body and dries quickly is usually made of polypro. Nylon is also good because it dries really fast. In fall or early spring, a wool sweater is great because it keeps you warm, even when it gets wet.” Here’s a pop quiz: Do you know what a strainer is? Do you know how to avoid being fatally trapped in a strainer on the Harpeth? Do you know how to avoid recirculating and drowning at a low-head dam? No? Then take some time for some life-saving class work. Obtaining proper instruction can be fun, easy and very affordable. TSRA sponsors beginner level Canoe and Kayak Intro Courses every year on the Duck River. This year’s classes are scheduled for the weekends of April 1, 2017, and May 13, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. For intermediate paddlers wanting to move up to whitewater, there is also a Whitewater Canoe and Kayak school held on the Hiwassee River every year in the second week of June. For details and to register, visit

their website at www.paddletn.org. Local paddleboarding companies like the Nashville Paddle Company, located on Percy Priest Lake, and Paddle Up Tennessee, based at Rock Harbor Marina, also offer introductory classes. You can check their websites for details: www.paddleupnashville.com and www.nashvillepaddle.com. “We won’t rent paddleboards to people who haven’t taken the introductory class,” says Margaret Littman of the Nashville Paddle Company. “We also require the use of a lifejacket, and our paddleboards include a leash for keeping the board close to the paddler in case of a fall.” Vice Commander Chuck Bader of the United States Coast Guard Auxiliary recommends a boating safety course presented in partnership with the U.S. Power Squadrons. Together they offer a course called “BOAT TENNESSEE—A Course on Responsible Boating.” It’s designed for adults and youth operating all types of pleasure boats on Tennessee waters. The local chapter, Flotilla 11-04, conducts boating safety programs for the boating public in the Middle Tennessee area. To find out about future classes, call 615.346.5362. Happy floating! WE

And one major cause of accidents is overloading, whether you’re paddling a canoe downriver or cruising in an open motor boat. “Canoes are typically tandem or solo,” Kelsey says. “Some have three seats, so the most you’d want to put in that boat would be two adults and two small children. Carrying too much stuff is another problem; a canoe is very tippy. If folks go on a river and load the boat up with a heavy cooler, big bags full of food, cameras and other gear, there’s a good chance it will swamp in a swift current.” Now you’d be hard-put to find a boat on Tennessee waters in that doesn’t have a cooler of beer on board. So we’ll go ahead and make an unpopular statement: It’s against the law. On waterways in all Tennessee state parks, rangers cannot only confiscate your coolers, they can take your boat. As Kelsey points out, “Gear at the top, beer at the bottom” is a TSRA mantra. Statistics bear out the wisdom of that approach: There were 99 arrests and 1,732 warning citations issued by TWRA in 2015 for boating under the influence (BUI). On local lakes, overcrowding (especially coupled with alcohol use) on motorboats, pontoons and houseboats often results in falls overboard—which was the leading cause of boating deaths in 2015. Sitting on the bow, gunwales or swim platform can result in a boater being ejected from the boat when it hits a wave. On a calm, Class I river like the Harpeth, capsizing and falling out of the boat often results when two inexperienced paddlers paddle on the same side of the canoe. A solo boater can switch sides while paddling; tandem paddlers are just asking for trouble when they do it. Hypothermia isn’t exactly on the forefront of someone’s mind when boating, particularly as the weather

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Sylvan Park resident Deana Deck is a sailing and whitewater paddling enthusiast. A member of TSRA, she taught tandem and solo whitewater canoeing and swift water rescue on the Hiwassee River for 20 years. A member of the Percy Priest Yacht Club, where she also teaches sailing, Deana races her 23-ft. sloop “Gypsy Dancer” on Percy Priest Lake. She has sailed throughout the British Isles, across the Atlantic and down the coast of Chile to Tierra del Fuego.


Americans for Understanding

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FREE FAMILY 10,000 COMMUNITY EVENT EGGS

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EGG HUNTS

10:30 & 11:30

SATURDAY APRIL 8, 2017

9:30 AM - NOON McCabe Park Community Center 101 46th Ave N, Nashville, TN 37209

& INFLATABLE GAMES

SylvanParkChurch.org/Easter

April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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10

Gardening Mistakes to Avoid by

Evelyn ALLEN

photos by Evelyn Allen/The Secret Garden

Like any hobby, gardening is something to be studied and practiced, yet many gardeners fall prey to those first few days of spring’s warming temperatures. They rush to plant and are quickly disappointed when the results are not favorable.

As a professional landscape designer and gardener for 30 years, I will be the first to admit that gardening is an experiment; you’ll find as many “expert” opinions as you’ll find gardeners, and we’re all pretty much at Mother Nature’s mercy. But there are a few basic guidelines that can get you started in the right direction. So before the warmth of spring tempts your impulsiveness, take time to study your yard. Note where the sun falls; neighboring houses and trees can really change the amount of sun you get. And use the following list to avoid some of the most common gardening insecurities and mistakes.

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Thinking you can’t garden because you don’t have a green thumb

There are many great sources of information, including garden centers, garden catalogs, Ellington Agricultural Center, the internet, YouTube videos and experienced gardening neighbors. Ellington dispenses free advice, offers soil testing and insect and disease diagnosis, and each year they offer a Master Gardener certification class that is one of the best in the state.


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Not having a plan

Using a measuring tape and some graph paper, measure and draw your yard. Some people prefer straight lines for their patios and plant beds, while others like curves. Experiment with sitting in different places in your yard. How does it feel? What do you find yourself looking at? What do you want to look at? What do you want to obscure? Make a list of your favorite plants. Make a list of priorities. Define where walkways and patios are going to be. Next, plan where you want trees, especially if you need screening. Then select evergreen or deciduous shrubs. And last, fill in with flowering perennials, herbs, vines and annuals. With plants, it’s OK to make mistakes; don’t be afraid to change things if you end up not liking your plant choices. A written or drawn plan may seem like an unnecessary step, but it will make planting much more efficient. Once you have the big picture, you can play with possible designs.

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Not preparing the soil

Many plants survive in harsh soil conditions, but adding compost, leaves or other organic matter can really improve your chances of success. Many new homes have had their topsoil removed, and the homeowners are left with subsoil, gravel and garbage. Plants may survive in this soil, but they will be susceptible to drought, insects and diseases; this may result in plants not growing to their expected size or shape. In situations where there is only hard clay and gravel, it is necessary to bring in good soil or compost. So, what is good soil? Pick up a handful of soil. Squeeze it in your hand. See if it holds together. Then break it apart with your fingers. If it holds together and then easily crumbles, then you have good soil. And even if you have good soil, consider adding organic matter like mulch, compost or leaves. Nashville Nursery is a great source of bulk soil products, and I usually recommend composted manure, worm castings or mushroom compost. Ellington Agricultural Center offers various types of soil testing; fees range from $10 to $35 depending on your needs. If you’re not sure what needs to be tested, they can make recommendations.

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Watering too much or too little

In our crazy climate where the rainfall is unpredictable, a gardener has to stay aware of how much precipitation has occurred. Most plants need an inch of water per week, and temperatures determine how quickly a plant dries out—in hot weather, for example, you may want to water twice a week. The type of soil you have can also affect how much water your plants need. Loose, sandy soil drains much more quickly than heavy clay. When in doubt, take a trowel and dig down 6–10 inches after watering. If the soil is moist, then you have watered enough. If water is sitting around your plant, then you’ve probably watered too much. It’s also good to let your plants dry out a little; this causes their roots to go in search of water, which results in a healthier plant with a strong root system. My rule of thumb for over- or under-watering: If the leaves turn brown on the tips, it is usually under-watered. If the leaves brown from the inside of the plant, it is usually over-watered. When watering, think in terms of soaking the roots gently, much like a steady rainfall would do. And though many people do this, spraying the leaves actually does very little for the plant. I rarely use a spray nozzle for my plants, preferring to use a slow, gentle stream that soaks into the soil.

Above: Prepping the soil and finishing design, before Below: The after effects! April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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5

Choosing the wrong plants for the wrong place

Just like our clothing, nursery plants almost always come with a tag listing care instructions. These tags are generally accurate in their descriptions of how much sun the plant needs, how big it will grow and how much water it requires. One piece of information often overlooked on these tags is the zoning—and it’s important. Here in middle Tennessee, we are somewhere between zones 6 and 7. The zone describes the coldest temperature the plant can tolerate, so anything tagged as zone 8 or above will generally not survive our winters. And even though you’ve considered how much sunlight is hitting the various points of your garden, it’s always important to look at it again and again, particularly if any significant changes have occurred. In neighborhoods where houses are close together or have a lot of new construction, for example, winter sun can be significantly less than summer sun, because the angle of the sun changes. Most plants that require sun need at least four to six hours of sun. Shade plants can tolerate up to four hours of sun, but not afternoon sun.

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Neglecting the weeds

Regular, proper maintenance can make the difference between hours of weeding and days of weeding. Weeds happen because of birds dropping seeds or weeds from the lawn; do not let them grow and then return to seed. When you pull, be sure to get the root of the weed, or it will be back in a few days. There are millions of seeds in the soil, so every time you turn your soil you expose weed seeds to light and thus to germination. Try to minimize soil disturbance so as not to expose weed seeds to the light. Use mulch to reduce light exposure to the seeds. I personally dislike synthetic cloth weed barriers, because often the weeds will grow over the top of the cloth and root into the fiber and are nearly impossible to remove without pulling up the fabric. So in areas where I have few plants, I often put down layers of newspaper and mulch over the top. If you weed weekly or even monthly for several years, your maintenance can become minimal.

7

Impulse buying

This is every gardener’s weakness. You are at the garden center and this plant is blooming and it looks so gorgeous and you want it—now! You get home, and you have no idea where to put it. The pot sits in your yard next to the water spigot for months, maybe years or until it dies. Know where you are going to put something before you buy it. Prepare the plant beds. I’m not saying to avoid window-shopping—absolutely use the nursery to study plants. Go every season and see what’s blooming . . . but don’t purchase until you are certain where it is going. It’s not unlike buying furniture for your house. Some of these plants will last for years.

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Planting invasive species

Beware of neighbors sharing plants; often they have extras because the plants took over their gardens. How can you know if a plant that you purchase is invasive? Generally, you learn from experience, which can be painful—as in hours and hours of digging it out of your lawn and garden. Most plant descriptions will mention this problem, so do an internet search and look at several websites. Some plants are only invasive in certain areas of the country. Ellington Agricultural Center has a good listing of exotic invasive plants, but they may not include something you might purchase at the garden center.


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Improper pruning

One of the tasks of maintaining your garden is proper pruning of shrubs and trees. We’ve all seen the house where you feel like you are walking through the enchanted forest just to get to the front door. Pruning evergreen shrubs is a once or twice a year task. Pruning flowering shrubs is generally once a year. The general rule of thumb with flowering shrubs is that if it blooms in the spring, prune after blooming. If it blooms in mid to late summer, prune in early spring. If you know the name of your plant, you can generally find pruning instructions on the internet. Many shrubs that become overgrown can be cut to the ground and will grow back. It may take time, but sometimes it is easier than removing it.

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Keeping up with the Joneses

In this day and age where everyone feels overwhelmed with their daily tasks, the last thing you want is for your garden to be a burden. You never want so much garden that you don’t have time to enjoy it. Start small. Pick a plant that gives you pleasure—the flowers, the foliage, the fragrance. Maybe even start with a pot of flowers on your deck, or some herbs.

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Plants offer so much beauty and enjoyment. Once you’ve been through a few seasons with a tree in your yard, it can start to feel like a member of the family. A garden is a place where pleasant memories are made. Some quiet morning you will be mesmerized by a butterfly flitting from flower to flower. Or your patio becomes the place where you shared a family dinner one perfect spring evening. Your garden can become a place where you can once again hear the small voice inside of you that remembers who you are. Enjoy! VI

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Evelyn Allen owns The Secret Garden, a gardening and landscape company that she founded in 1985. She resides in The Nations.

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CANNED HAM STYLE Josh & Katie Bronleewe’s

VINTAGE ADVENTURE

by

Miriam DRENNAN

photos used with permission by Josh and Katie Bronleewe

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O

ne drive through various West Nashville neighborhoods reveals that this is a community of campers. A variety of RVs, pop-ups and travel trailers dot the landscape in the backyards and large garages—some fancy, some humble, some in various stages of repair. In recent years, there’s been a growing trend to revive the beauty of vintage trailers and renovate them for a variety of purposes, including food trucks, mobile retail and yes, even camping. Many find their hidden gems abandoned in fields or old barns while others scour websites like Tempest and Tin Can Tourists. There are countless how-to blogs and forums devoted to the subject, and devotees have any number of organizations and rallies they can join. When Nations residents Josh and Katie Bronleewe decided to embark on their own vintage trailer project,

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they had one objective: To hit the road. What they got instead was an adventure. “We like to hike and swim, and that was probably one of the reasons we wanted a camper,” explains Katie. “I love everything about being outside—I can cook around a fire and all that—but I need a mattress,” she laughs. As a child, Katie’s family used campers to travel and as an adult, Katie rekindled her wanderlust. Eventually, day trips to hike The Smokies weren’t enough. “We’d see these campers . . . and I’ve always thought the vintage ones were so cute. You could buy them for next to nothing and rebuild them the way you want.” Eschewing the newer models and even the “2.0” models that have been revived to meet the market demands for vintage campers, “we decided to take on a project instead.” Thankfully,

Josh loves projects and eventually, they purchased a 1961 Mobile Scout they found on Craigslist. Though they knowingly purchased a trailer that had suffered previous water damage, they’d been told that it had been repaired. “We thought we’d just replace the damaged wall panel and that would be that,” Josh says. “And then we saw where the windows had been painted, there was silicone caulking everywhere. If we’d done more research, I think we would have spotted those things.”


“We knew it needed work, we just didn’t realize the extent,” Katie injects. Searching for answers, Katie found most of her information in an online community that also introduced her to the subculture of vintage trailers: the purists, who insist on renovations that remain true and exact to the year the camper was produced; the glampers, who trick out their trailers in a particular theme; and the industrious campers, who are looking for a seemingly economic way to remedy their vagabond blues. The Bronleewes connected with a few experts who provided video helps and advice to ensure that their repairs didn’t compromise the ‘structural integrity,’ a phrase that they heard time and again throughout the process. It seemed ridiculous to them, for example, that they had to view the frame by peeling back the layers from the outside; realizing that’s how the old campers were built, however, “we lifted the skin back,” Josh recalls. “And what fell out looked like mulch.” Peeling back more and more revealed that the entire frame was rotten. These were not the cosmetic repairs they’d anticipated—instead, they would be rebuilding it. “I wish

I’d counted the number of huge staples, nails and pins we plucked out,” Katie says. “Not to mention the massive colonies of ants and ladybugs that had been living in the walls.” “There was an entire ecosystem living in our trailer,” Josh laughs. After ten months (instead of weeks) of renovation, the Bronleewes took their maiden voyage to Montgomery Bell State Park to test their repairs. When that trip went smoothly, they took a second trip to The Smokies to test their battery power. “They don’t have [water and electric] hook-ups there,” Katie explains. “This would be our first time using our fresh-water tank, and the pipes were brand-new . . . but we’d never tested the system. We got there around 11:30 p.m., there are no lights anywhere, and Josh goes to hook up the hose.” Katie went inside to make sure water wasn’t spraying everywhere and when she flipped on the light, nothing happened. “Everything should have been operating on a battery,” she remembers. “Nothing was working, and nothing worked properly the entire weekend.” Stopping by Katie’s parents’ house on the way home, her father took a look and realized their battery had been hooked up backwards. “I saw that warning in books and videos,” Josh says. “And I remember thinking, ‘who would put the battery on backwards?’ Well apparently, we did,” he laughs. After

making the necessary adjustments and a few other repairs, Katie and Josh were ready to take their act on the road—the Pacific Coast Highway, to be exact. “During the restoration process, we dreamed about places to take it,” Katie recalls. “I was able to get the time off from work, so we knew we needed as many days as possible to make this trip. We decided no stops, no major sight-seeing on the way out, because we really wanted to camp along the coast. . . . We quickly learned that it takes much longer, 25 percent longer, than what Google maps says,” which they explain is due the amount of gas and reduced speeds involved in towing a camper.

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What they thought might take 14 hours that first day actually took closer to 20, which had the potential to create a domino effect on their plans. “We could have skipped Laguna Beach on our itinerary, for example, but we had reservations.” Unable to find a Wal-Mart or Cracker Barrel parking lot—both are known to be camper-friendly for stopovers—they convinced a sympathetic hotel manager to let them sleep for a few hours in the parking lot. They arrived in California the next day, spending several glorious days camping, relaxing and absorbing the beauty that can only be seen by way of camping the coast. “It was the best way to see the coast,” Katie says. “We stayed right on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, or right on the beach. It was beautiful, just incredible. Most money was just spent on was gas, campsites, and food. We’d eat breakfast and lunch at our campsite, and always have a really nice dinner. There was so much to experience out there.” For those who are interested in a similar project, “decide how much time you are willing to invest,” Katie recommends. “You’re going to run into a lot of unknowns.” “Get ready to learn,” Josh injects. “There were times I’d just be standing there, even up to an hour, just staring at something and thinking, ‘how are we going to replace that piece of wood, if that piece of wood is connected to it? And that’s holding this up, and we can’t lose the shape of this.’ So there’s a lot of planning and learning.” And take photos of every step of the process; photos are particularly beneficial for reselling, but he admits that he often referred back to photos that showed how something fit originally, and the process by which it was dismantled. “So document every little step.” Where are the Bronleewes headed next? “We’ll do a lot of weekend trips for now, but one day, I’d really like to travel the east coast,” Katie says. “Maine is definitely on the list.” VI

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FIVE TIPS for TRAVELING with a CAMPER Thinking about hitting the open road in a camper? Josh and Katie offer the following tips: 1. Get the camper checked out before you leave; make sure axles are greased, wheel bearings are packed, etc. 2. Plan extra time for your drive—you have to go slow. 3. Know how big your gas tank is, how many miles it will run, and plan out where you’ll stop for gas well in advance of when you actually need to, even if you have half of a tank. Carry an extra gas can that’s filled, just in case. 4. Find out in advance the kind of shower the bath house the campsite offers (some are coin-operated, for example) and the hours they’re open. 5. Make Plan Bs; just because a rest stop is there doesn’t mean it’s open.


WEEDEATERS

by

only YOU have to know it’s yard clippings

“By the time you cook it and wilt it down, add the eggs to make it last longer; I don’t like it without eggs, because then it’s slimy. Beat ‘em up, scramble them in there. Salt it to your taste.” He adds onions after the fact instead of cooking them in, but encourages others to play with the cooking portion—not the prepping—to suit their taste. “The only time I’ve heard of people getting sick is when they eat too much of it,” he laughs. “Cooking it is easy. The big job is picking it and prepping it to cook. Parboil it until it gets really tender.” And of course, strain, cold rinse, squeeze and repeat. Strong’s poke sallet is award-winning, and he’s taken top honors at the Festival several times. “There are different ways to fix it—there’s even a poke sallet patty, like a salmon patty. It’s really good.” He estimates they’ve had up to 10,000 people attend. “It’s a big thing for this little county.” He also picks enough leaves to freeze and can (remember, spring is the time to harvest!). “It will start coming up late March/early April,” he says. “Just wash it down and par-boil like you’re going to cook it, put you a teaspoon of salt in a quart jar, pack it with the leaves—not too tight—then pour water over it. Pressure it at about five minutes on 10-pound pressure or water bath. You can actually use the stalk, too, if you pick it before it gets tough. Peel it, slice it, bread it and fry it like you would Wayne Strong, fried okra. It’s really good.” pokeweed chef

JACKSON COUNTY’S 2017 POKE SALLET FESTIVAL takes place on MAY 11, 12 and 13. N

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When it comes to cooking weeds, there are certain occasions where one must call in the experts. Such is the case with poke sallet—also known as Polk salad, pokeweed, etc. Now to get technical, pokeweed (the plant) becomes poke sallet (the dish); and it’s risky business if you don’t know what you’re doing. When carefully prepared and cooked, however, poke sallet is high in fiber. Every spring, thousands from all over the world flock to Jackson County, Tennessee, to attend their annual Poke Sallet Festival, where pokeweed chefs have the opportunity to showcase their talents and participants get to sample their fare. We found the king of ’em all, Wayne Strong, who graciously agreed to reveal some of his poke sallet secrets. Originally from Clay County, Wayne comes from a family of 13 children and he began cooking in his teens. “I learned to cook when I was about 17,” he says. “I’d cook it and if I didn’t like it, I’d season it to my taste. It’s a big job to pick pokeweed and prep it to cook.” In 1981, Wayne opened up a meat-and-three restaurant and spent decades cooking pokeweed, among other items. “When I had the restaurant, I would get truckloads,” He remembers. “We’d start with five or six five-gallon buckets of it already cooked down, and that got us through Thursday, Friday and Saturday.” Because pokeweed’s toxicity increases as it matures, early spring is the best time to pick; young plants that are one or two feet high will work. You’ll cook only the leaves, so you could just harvest the leaves themselves, or pull up the entire plant; regardless, I’d personally recommend wearing disposable gloves while handling, as a precaution. For a family of four, you’ll want to fill about two grocery bags, because pokeweed reduces significantly. Keeping the gloves on, “wash it good to clean it, then parboil it,” he instructs. “Strain it off, wash it in cold water, and squeeze all of the water out.” After this point, you should be fine to dispose of your gloves to repeat the entire process— boil, strain, rinse with cold water, then squeeze. After that, the most difficult part is done. Cooking it requires just a few ingredients: Eggs, salt and lard. “You can cook it in oil,” he explains, “but lard will give it a better flavor.” Strong starts with just enough lard to coat the bottom of a cast-iron skillet. After adding the pokeweed leaves and allowing them to wilt, he puts about two dozen eggs.

Miriam DRENNAN

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’S MAG

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Help us start a yard-to-table movement! Send us a recipe or idea for the Weedeaters: 372WestNashville@gmail.com. April–May 2017 | 372WN.com

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372wn vol i issue3  

April–May 2017

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