Saturday In Nashville

 

It’s 6:00 on a Saturday night in Nashville, and I am poolside. It’s a hotel pool, and it is teeming with squealing, splashing children, including one of my own, Jack. As soon as I can get him out of the pool, we’ll figure out dinner, but already it has been a full day.

 

Today was our country day. After something of a late start, we made it to the Old Zion Cemetery in White County, Tennessee just after noon. Today was decoration day at the cemetery, and there were flowers on most the graves. Jack and I brought potted mums for my father, grandfather and grandmother. Their graves were our first stop.

 

 

My grandparents and father are buried in the Old Zion Cemetery.
My grandparents and father are buried in the Old Zion Cemetery.

 

 

 

It had been eight years since I had visited my father’s grave, and honestly, it was the true purpose of our trip. On Monday, I will turn 50 years old. I wanted to do something special to celebrate the occasion, and eventually I decided I would share my milestone birthday with my dad, who never got to celebrate his.

 

Not surprisingly, I got a little choked up when I greeted my dad and his parents. He’s been dead for 27 years, and I think about him every day. I miss him like crazy, and often ask him for advice, which I believe, on some level or another, he provides.

 

Jack and I walked over to the picnic area, where about 60 or 70 people were gathered for lunch. There were two massive picnic tables, each 50 feet long, filled with a home-cooked dishes of every variety. This was southern, country cooking at its absolute purest, and it was wonderful. I tasted pork bar-be-que, chicken and dumplings, country ham, fresh green bean casserole, creamed corn, potato salad and more. Then came dessert. Pecan pie, caramel pie, chess pie, coconut cream pie and fried apple fritters–each one better than the last.

 

 

The picnic shelter at Old Zion Cemetery. Home to some seriously good southern country cooking.
The picnic shelter at Old Zion Cemetery. Home to some seriously good southern country cooking.

 

 

 

Throughout the meal, I kept meeting (more accurately, re-meeting) a panoply of cousins, aunts and uncles. About half the people there were Stewarts. Most of them I had met as a child, and it was good to introduce Jack to everyone, and let him hear some of the old stories about his ancestors.

 

Afterwards, Jack and I visited with a great aunt and uncle, whose failing health kept them from attending the decoration day lunch. They live on the farm my grandfather Stewart grew up on, and their daughter Ginny gave us a nice tour of the still functioning barn my great grandfather built over 100 years ago.

 

 

The barn built by my great grandfather Frances Alexander Warren Stewart is still in use today.
The barn built by my great grandfather Frances Alexander Warren Stewart is still in use today.

 

 

Ginny and Jack.
Ginny and Jack.

 

 

"The Homestead," where my grandfather grew up. Still a working farmhouse, and still in the Stewart family.
“The Homestead,” where my grandfather grew up. Still a working farmhouse, and still in the Stewart family.

 

 

 

 

 

PART 2

 

Jack and I are back at the hotel after a delicious dinner at Jack’s Bar-B-Que in downtown Nashville. My pork shoulder was delicious, but Jack’s ribs were some of the best I’ve ever tasted. The restaurant is simple and was perfect for our needs. Afterwards, we wandered up and down Broadway, and the strip that has now become known as Nash Vegas. I can see why.

 

The joint was jumping! The sidewalks were crowded with people. We passed one jumping country music bar after another, each one packed with rowdy revelers. Most wouldn’t let Jack in, but we found one (Rippy’s), where we were welcome. There was a nice, two-man band playing (Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Pride And Joy” when we walked in), and a group of high-spirited vacationers at the bar. I drank one beer, Jack watched the X-Games on one of the TV’s, and we called it a night.

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2 Responses to “Saturday In Nashville”

  1. Hugh Hough Says:

    Very cool Hnak – sure it was a very special moment for you – getting choked up just thinking about – thanks for sharing Buddy

  2. Not Cranky Stan Says:

    This is great. Very well written. All of your posts give great insight to your soul. Your dad would be very proud.

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