Monday, June 20-Wednesday, June 23
It turns out that doing a blog post every day is a bit of a stretch so here is a brief summary of our next three days, all spent in Tennessee.
- Monday, a wonderful visit with Eslick and his wife, Annie, dear friends from high school days on their 200 acre farm about 40 miles south of Nashville in one of the most beautiful parts of Middle Tennessee. Steak dinner that evening with the cousins and sister-in-law, Kathy, at Curt and Val’s house.
- Tuesday, hanging out with Kathy at her house where we are staying. (My brother died of cancer seven years ago in his early sixties.) Afternoon visit with cousin Buck in his law office on floor 29 of a downtown skyscraper, tour of downtown Nashville and the Country Music Hall of Fame, dinner with the cousins at the Firefly, Curt’s restaurant in the Green Hills suburb of Nashville. (Embry had to miss the two dinners to listen to telephone interviews with candidates in the All Souls search process.)
- Wednesday, off to Memphis, via Vanleer, a tiny town about 50 miles northwest of Nashville, where we visit Ashley (friend from Union Seminary days and our housemate in Southwest GA in 1966 when we worked for SNCC in the Civil Rights Movement) and his wife, Susan, on their beautiful 175 acre farm. Arrival in Memphis around eight where we stay at the famous Peabody Hotel. We just pass Mile 1,100 on the trip meter. I wonder again how long we can keep up this pace.
These were three jam packed days mainly spent renewing old and precious friendships and experiencing Nashville, which has changed in many ways (bigger buildings downtown and sprawling suburbs) but still looks pretty much the same in the neighborhood where I grew up, Belle Meade. I marvel at the stately mansions and manicured lawns and wonder where the money comes from to buy these things. It also occurs to me that when I grew up in Belle Meade, all the people owning these homes were in my parents’ generation. Now they are younger than me, some probably in our children’s generation. Of course, you think, that is the way life works. But it is a reminder as to how fast time goes by, how much things change and yet stay the same.
I grew up thinking that the Nashville environs was the most beautiful place on earth with its green hills and fields, winding streams, meadows and farm lands. Now, having traveled to scores of countries around the world, I still think so and suppose this is not all that unusual for people to do, though I will now concede that Middle Tennessee is actually only one of the most beautiful places.
I was sorry not to be able to visit more friends but time was limited. I think how lucky I was to grow up here, to have loving parents, and to have so many friends, many of whom have had distinguished and fulfilling careers and interesting and, I believe, fulfilling lives. I wonder when and if I will see them again.