Bell Buckle is such an artsy town with quaint shops and antiques an annual RC Cola and Moon Pie Festival. It’s the home of Maggie Vaughn, Tennessee’s Poet Laureate. It’s the home of the lady who ran Nashville’s Americana Sampler every February for years. It’s the home of other craftsy people and poets, too.
To kick off a long Easter weekend, a friend and I drove over there Friday morning. We hit half the shops on the main street — and I bought a metal sunflower for my front door — and got to the Bell Buckle Cafe, where we ate lunch. I had catfish, red beans and rice, and vinegar slaw. As we ate and talked and checked out the decor, the dessert menu caught our eyes. Grits Cake. Grits Cake? I’ve never heard of such. I’ve lived in the South all my life and eaten grits in every form and fashion, but never, I said never, in CAKE. Of all things. Well, of course, we had to try it. Definitely had the texture of grits, and even a corn taste. And it was covered with strawberries and whip cream. A pretty Southern Easter dessert.
We finished touring the shops on Main in an antique mall filled with consignment booths. I saw things that brought tugs to my heart and tears to my eyes. I saw an old stroller like the one I used to have as a baby. I saw kitchen tools like my mama used to have — an egg beater, an orange juice squeezer…and I saw an old yellow Formica-top table like we had when I was growing up.
Then I saw the bins of printers’ blocks. The last time I was in Bell Buckle eight years ago, I bought a case that held the tiny blocks, so these blocks in all sizes caught my eye. I dug through until my hands were coated in black to find my initials: KHR. I thought putting these on my desk would be inspirational, as well as bring back the memory of a lovely spring day with a good friend.
First time on the river this spring…the Harpeth, still ravaged by May 2010 floods. We put in at the Rec Center and planned to take out at the bridge on Cotton Lane. But the river was blocked just before the bridge. We had to pull the boats out of the water and climb a steep embankment and walk around and put in again for the last hundred yards.