DAY RIDE 8/19/2011

Taking Care Of Business

August 19, 2011
  Today will be my last ride before I have my left knee replaced on the 25th. So this is the last bit of saddle time I will have for probably 2 months. I promised my momma, who is recovering from a hip replacement, that I would take care of some business today. But I figure since I'm on my own time, why not work in a little bit of riding in with the business? Having the roads in between my ears, I head out toward the Trace, formulating a leisurely, backroad route as I go along. I take my favorite shortcut to the Trace through Newsom Station which is usually pretty traffic free.  
  Once I make the Trace, it is blissfully deserted. I actually crank up the wick a bit more than usual, just for the fun of it.

My reserve light comes on, so I figure I'd better pull off at Leiper's Fork and gas up. I was hoping to make it a bit further down the line, but this will do. It's a neat local grocery and this morning it has it's own resident whittler.

"How's it going?" I ask as I limp by on my cane.

"Pretty well. I'm whittling something I hope I can sell to get me a bottle of water" he tells me.

I go on in, pick me up a bottle of water and decide I'd just be neighborly and get one for the whittler too. I notice on the side counter they have a stash of those lovely Armstrong Fried Pies. So I get me a pack of eater snacks and a lovely peach pie to chase it with. After settling up with the lady behind the counter, I make my way back out to an empty rocking chair beside the whittler.

"Here's you a bottle of water" I tell him.

"Well, that's mighty nice of you. I really appreciate it" he tells me.

"What you making there?" I ask him and then the stories begin.

We talk about his life and the hard times he's seen and whittling and how good the Lord has been to both of us. Turns out he's making a rolling pin for lady that's supposed to stop back by. He's a regular, as lots of folks stop by and talk to him by name (Mr. Osburne) as we sit there together. He tells me of how he sold a feller a goat one time. The buyer had a pretty large herd, and Mr. Osburne knew he had him when the feller said "I'll give you $40 for that goat". He upped the price to $50, but the buyer passed. When the buyer came back, Mr. Osburne told him would let him have it for $40. The buyer let the goat out to run wild with his other goats, but this goat had always been fenced in. Seems as if the new goat didn't know better, ate a belly full of acorns, foundered himself and died. Then the goat buyer wanted his money back - which he didn't get. If I had more time, I would stay longer and hear more tales, but I've got to get on with it. So I bid him a fond adieu, fire up the Redbird, and head down the road.

  I pass through one of my favorite roads out of Leipers Fork, and I can't help but figure that this feller's got more money in his fences that I have in my house. But it's a nice set of turns so I come this way when I can.
  It also takes me beside an old plantation house that's been restored. And while they were at it, they put in a nice fountain in the pond behind the house.
  As I near Burwood, I can see that they are making good progress on connecting the two ends of I840. Hopefully when it's open, a lot of west headed truck traffic will bypass Nashville using this route.
  In 'downtown' Burwood, this reminds me a lot of the old grocery store that I worked in when I was a teenager - old gas pump and all.
  I follow 246 on down to Columbia and wonder how many truckers have gotten themselves in trouble with this 10'10" bridge height.
  Columbia, the Derryberry ancestral home, has grown up some from the GM Saturn Plant invasion, but I still recognize my way around.
  Out of Columbia, I take what used to be the New Columbia Highway 50 back to Lewisburg. When I was a kid, highway 50 was the 'quick' way, old highway 50 was the slow way - unless you were on a motorcycle and knew how to ride the curves. Now old highway 50 is highway 50 with the curves taken out, and highway 50 has become highway 373 which takes you through the sharp left hand curve at Culleoka. As I near Lewisburg, it appears that stimulus money is going to make highway 373 into a four lane all the way to I65. After all, nothing is too good for the taxpayers to pay for, since everybody uses the new highway 50 now and the traffic on highway 373 you can count on your toes on a busy day and not disturb but one or two of them.
  I make a stop by my momma's house to make sure her 1968 Pontiac Catalina does not have any oil, antifreeze or fuel leaks. The battery is deader than Saturday night at a funeral home, but I coax it back to life with a quick charge. Much to my surprise, the old car fires up and runs quite well, having been covered up and not run in a couple of years. I find no leaks at all, which will be good news to my dear mother. On my way out of town, I stop by a local market to rehydrate and fuel my internal beast.
  Next stop is Shelbyville, pronounced 'Shovel' by the locals. Lewisburg, my home town, used to host the Tennessee Walking Horse Celebration. It still has the headquarters, but because the 'controlling interests' of the town at that time would not build a new stadium for the Celebration, they moved it to Shelbyville. Now the road between the two towns is lined with walking horse stable after stable.  
  I tend to the business I need to in Shelbyville, then make my way out some backroads that are pretty pleasant. Nothing like good curves, good asphalt, and no traffic.  
  It's back toward the Holler as I head north through Henry Horton State Park. Henry Horton was the governor of Tennessee from 1927 to 1933, through the thick of the Great Depression. The Hortons donated their property to the state and the park now occupies what was once their farm. His lovely wife taught my sister in the fifth grade. I am always a little sad when I go through this park. Plain looking motel rooms now stand where their beautiful ante-bellum home once stood. The house was full of legends like the River Dick and secret passages that led down to the nearby Duck River. It was also used during the Civil War as a hospital and still had blood stains on some of the hardwood floors. But a wrecker's ball took all of that away, and that is a shame.  
  Chapel Hill, the birthplace of my favorite Confederate General - Nathan Bedford Forrest - is still about the same. For all of the controversy that swirls around Forrest, especially about the Fort Pillow incident, he was a real man's man and one of the brightest generals that the South had. A fellow officer, in a fit of jealousy, once entered his quarters and shot him. Forrest rose up from his chair, pulled out his pocket knife, and sent the officer to his 'final destination'. After the war, he was traveling up north by train on business when a loud mouthed bully at a train stop proclaimed that he was 'gonna whip old Forrest'. The conductor asked Forrest to stay on the train, and he did out of respect. But the bully made the mistake of coming on board after Forrest. Forrest proceeded to whip the bully off the train, through the crowds, and out of town, to the cheering of the townfolks. Then he got back on the train and proceeded to his destination. But near the end of his life, he realized that his brilliance and his strength would not gain him entrance to Heaven, and he came to know the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords - the best part of the story.  
  At Allisona, I take a little turn off that will take me north into Franklin with a few good bends in the process - and no traffic to speak of.  
  It's such a pleasure to have roads like these in the 'catalog' of my CPS - 'Cerebral Positioning System'.  
  Franklin is a train wreck of traffic as I supposed it would be, since it's about quitting time for most folks. It's pretty warm, so I have the audacity to interrupt some folk's conversations in their mobile phone booths as I try to work me and RedBird around their little inattentive hearts and cars.  

Soon I am back in Bellevue and on my way to see Momma at the rehab center. She is glad to hear that 'business is taken care of'. She offers to pay me for my trouble, but I just ask her -

"Momma, I don't reckon I ever paid you for when you hauled my big behind around when I was at home. Do you?"

She just laughs, and we tell each other "I love you" and I'm off to fuel my hungry inner beast.

  Cracker Barrel is on the way - sort of - so that works out just fine.
  It's been a good day of riding and other stuff, and I am thankful that I have been allowed to participate. When I get back to the Holler, I hang up my gear, knowing it will be quite a few weeks before I'll be using it again.