Cemetery trees, north Nashville
of living in a neighborhood where three organic apples cost $9.14 (Inglewood Kroger) I’ve decided to plant an apple tree in my backyard and encourage everyone I know to plant one also.
Yesterday I took our old friend Walter Burns over to Wayne’s Unisex Salon on Gallatin Road, for a haircut. He likes going there because the people are nice and Mike does great haircut. I like it because part of the year, they have fresh honey and it is impossible to predict who’s going to walk through the door next.
Walter’s been hounding me to get a haircut for a couple of weeks now. It is no surprise that he’s managed to charm a woman at Fifty Forward into something of a courtship. He’d die if he knew I told it but the two of them hold hands on the bus every morning. They talk all day and play bingo together on Thursdays. They sing church hymns and God Bless America around a piano. I told him I was going to write about it because people need to know there’s hope.
He said: “Hope for what? Improved personal hygiene?”
Well yeah, that too.
Between the bank and the home improvement store.
In 2005, Christine Kreyling wrote a piece in the Nashville Scene about Evergreen, a historic Nashville property built around 1790, at the corner of Gallatin Rd. and Briley Parkway. It was bulldozed by developer Robert N. Moore after 5pm on the same day he applied for the permit to tear it down. Despite an affidavit to the contrary, Mr. Moore claimed he didn’t know there was a stop work order on the property. To be clear, in the story the words: “willful ignorance” and “bureaucratic malfeasance” are used in the same sentence.
The point of bringing it up now eight years later, is based on a portion of the story whereupon Mr. Moore escapes legal responsibility after cutting a deal with the city. Ms. Kreyling wrote:
"Metro is now negotiating an agreement with White (Mr. Moore’s attorney) that would absolve Moore of legal liability for the violation. What Metro gets in exchange is $3,000 to cover the cost of three days of archaeological investigation of the site. The agreement also requires Moore to preserve two log outbuildings that escaped the carnage, and to use some of the ancient timbers of the main house as an historical marker.”
It is not clear if this became the (official) agreement but one thing is undeniable. What’s left of this sad piece of Nashville history is today imprisoned behind a chain link fence, wedged between a Home Depot, and a Region’s bank. For those who see it regularly, the irony is nauseating. An indirect followup to Ms. Kreyling’s story by Stephen George, may provide some insight as to why the property is all but buried. An internet search however, yielded no explanation for why Nashville continues to tolerate such things.
Ruby Chapman – that’s her son Ed sitting on the left there, is about to turn a hundred years old. She says “a life of hard work on the farm” was the secret. Her kids finally insisted she leave the farm and move to Nashville. I asked her if she liked it and she made a face that said: not so much, though she does like going to the senior center. She’s invited her doctor to the birthday party.
Thursday night dance.
Recently I was missing all the nice people I used to meet at my old Walmart. They’re a neighborhood of immigrants, just south of downtown Nashville. I didn’t shop there all the time but nearly every time I did, a shopper who spoke very little or no English would approach me to ask for help with some product label. Each time I could see full-on fear manifested in that split second our eyes met, the fear of not knowing for sure what my response would be, of reaching out to catch my attention and silently praying to God or Allah, or whatever spirit brought them here — to the United States, to Walmart, to ask a perfect stranger why there might be sunflowers on a bottle of laundry detergent. I could see their shy spouses and children in the background collectively hoping they had made the right decision asking me. And I felt blessed to see the relief in those same eyes when they realized they were right, that I wasn’t the sort of person who might lecture them on the importance of learning English or worse, tell them to go back where they came from. As a fellow human being, it was often the bright spot in my day. As an American, I was sorry they ever had to wonder. (more)
Over the years I answered questions about dish soap, body lotion, canned potatoes, diapers and vacuum cleaner bags; questions asked by brave people who came all the way from Guatemala, Cuba, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia, Russia and Mexico, to make a better life for themselves and their families.
My new Walmart is less diverse. Everyone there seems angry and put upon. It’s doubtful they ever saw the sunflowers printed on their laundry detergent, let alone considered their significance.
Riders in the Sky for lunch today @nowatNPL #courtyardconcerts @HarmonyRanch Delicious, as expected - Thanks!
The short story is this. Some years back, I went over to the Parthenon to pick up some contact sheets and film that someone else shot of sculptor Alan LeQuire’s Athena. The guy in the office (thank God for that guy) couldn’t find the file.
I had an FE2 Nikon with about four frames left on it strapped around my neck and he said: “Would you like to go up and shoot some of your own?”
We walked up a long narrow staircase in the framework of the building to the ceiling of the Parthenon. Once there, the glass paneled ceiling became our floor (some seventy feet above the marble below). There were paths of plywood and two by fours to walk on. He turned to me and asked what exactly I wanted to photograph. For lack of a better answer I said, “Nike”. He walked out into the space with me following (tiptoeing) some twenty feet and took out a pocket knife. He zipped it around the edge of the glass ceiling tile and when he lifted it, this is what was there.
Athena has (long ago) had a makeover of Italian gold leaf. With respect to all of the artists involved, I liked her better without the bling (I know, tell it to the Greeks).