Thursday, August 15, 2013

i'll be your dixie chicken

Tennessee visit, 3rd and final installment, in which we visit with Ann Shayne. Who, in the knit world, is aka  Ann of Kay & Ann,  the MasonDixon Knitting gals. Seeing as how we were at SSK , practically in her backyard, Ann had Amy Cristoffers, Susan Anderson and me over for one of the loveliest/chattiest/knittiest screen porch dinner evenings ever.
Nashville Author Lounges Incognito in Parking Lot..oh! look? what does that bumper sticker say?*
Then came the rest of my trip, Chez Ann. Starting in Nashville and then in Monteagle. Ann's a fabulous hostess. After staying up late surfing Ravelry, tsk tsking or applauding design trends (knit nerds! alert! ) , Ann knew  how to show this Yankee a good time.  She took me to lunch at Arnold's, a cafeteria downtown in Nashville. Meat and 3 sides. The real deal.
Lining up for lunch at Arnold's. I'd never have found it alone.
Though obviously it's no secret, the place was jumping inside. Love love love the photo wall decor.
You choose your protein, you choose three sides, you keep moving that tray along or you'll hold up the line!  Blink and you miss that sweet potato casserole. Not for the indecisive!

Fried chicken headed to a Shayne plate.
I fully intended to request the peach pie listed on the blackboard but the little meringue peaks turned my head.

My lunch: trout, mac n cheese, collard greens, cole slaw, corn cake, the pie, iced tea.
And, really nice people.
Impressive fact #1: Ann's 14 year old son was with us, and he couldn't finish his lunch. He was full. Have you spent any time eating with 14 year old boys?  Can we have a moment of silence and awe?
Even more impressive fact #2: Ann's a regular, they know her personally. (I would be too. Why don't we have cafeterias in New England? )

After that we waddled into the car and headed south, to Ann's summer community, Monteagle, where I'd been invited to give a talk. I'd been describing it as "like a Chautauqua" but it turns out, it actually IS a Chautauqua.   

Random view. It's a magical summer community, with victorian cottages, and lots of big trees and slow afternoons.

 Ann's porch.
You'd think she'd spend her summer lazing right there, knitting & reading, and sipping Southern Comfort. But no. She's involved in governance, and organizing speakers, and planning the future.....working!  While she toiled for the good of the community, I wandered around taking photos (um, duh?, what else would I do?) and swam in the First InGround Pool in Tennessee. I am considering making visits to first pools in every state as a lifetime project.

On the surface, Monteagle Assembly is the most genteel and gracious and..normal...of summer communities. But you don't have to look too far to see some quirk...I think there might beTwin Peaks potential.

detail of a mosaic-ed garden. It's Fat Ima!

and fairy gardens all over the place
Goldsworthy-esque art happening. Nature pinned to the wall outdoors. We never finished the conversation about this installation, it's larger and very cool looking.

I must really like this shot--not only did I shoot it two days in a row without realizing it, but I made the same photo (less rusty) when I was in Monteagle in 2007, shooting the book with Ann & Kay. Consistency! Gotta hand it to me. (I wanted to link to a post from then..but I'll be daaay-ummed if I can find one on either of our blogs, although I recall we all covered it).

Turns out Ann & I are very compatible in this environment.  We share deeply held belief in strong coffee to start the day, and equally strong conviction that drinking your weight in white wine, with some healthy-ish appetizers, makes an excellent dinner.  As long as there are no family members needing square meals in sight. We missed Kay though. A lot. We took her name in vain.

In 36 hours, we attended at least 3 cocktail parties (one sort of....flowed..into another).  The first was here, an official Porch Party. It was all so very relaxing, and fun, and funny.I have such good fortune to end up in a place like this as a guest speaker! One of these days I'll get caught out, surely.
Till then, I'm ready to go back. Any time. •••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••
 * Bowling Avenue, Ann's novel, is now available in audio book form. She narrated it herself. That'll be some good listening ahead. I can personally testify that she uses handknits to soundproof her recording studio, so you can feel the stitches in her voice.

While you're at it, go pre-order this  Knitting Yarns, Writers on Knitting. I got to read Ann's entry in this collection and it is fabulous. She had to wrestle the book away from me I had to politely return the proof copy to her, but I am dying to get the whole volume, some of my other favorite authors are in there, too: Patchett, Kingsolver, Proulx.

ps I still knit all the time. One of these posts, I'll share. Although it seems I rip out almost as much as I create this summer.


Ellen Bloom said...

Wow! What a great trip, Gale! LOVE that mosaic garden sculpture. My mouth is watering at the thought of Arnold's Cafeteria. Must put that place on my list of places to go!!! Happy Summer!!

Lee said...

Sooo jealous! Was the iced tea sweet? Was there chess pie? What a wonderful trip you had.

Jan said...

Those greens, Lord, those greens!

Clara said...

Sigh... this all looks like heaven. Thank you for writing it all down and keeping the camera rolling. Lovely!

Gerri said...

Lovely. And those sandles! I' ve read and enjoyed the book but what about the Author's sandles?

twinsetellen said...

Come visit me. I can offer you a cat to pet. Oh, and white wine. I can equal the white wine part. Everything else, sigh, not so much.