Charmed

It seems like just a few years ago that I was making my mind up about college.

This New England boy visited Vanderbilt, and utterly charmed by Nashville and the warm culture of the South, decided that a transplant 1,000 miles away was in order.

After 7 years in this adopted city, it was back to the hurried and harried North. But through major career changes, bringing up 5 boys with my (also Connecticut-born) wife, and many travels, I never forgot Nashville.

This week, I have come back “home” to attend BlissDom (thanks for the invite, Alli!), this time introducing 2 of my older boys to their first taste of the South. Their reaction to the warm smiles, easy converse, friendly service, and open-hearted people?

Charmed. In fact, they’re already threatening to stay behind instead of returning to New Jersey!

Yes, I may feel a bit like a fish out of water as one of the few representatives of male-dom at BlissDom. But this Yankee feels very much at home walking around the Vandy campus, eating southern cooking at Loveless Cafe, and re-learning to relax and smile and say “hi” to strangers for absolutely no reason.

Already, catching up with some dear friends from the past and watching my boys fall in love with the South has made the trip well worth it. Nashville, it’s a delight to be back.

Looking forward to some charming days. Maybe even some bliss!!

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Loveless in Nashville

You’ve probably seen the chick flick Sleepless in Seattle. Today, I want to talk about Loveless in Nashville. No, that’s not an on-line Lonely Hearts Club in Music City.

It’s a none-too-fancy restaurant that has been serving mouth-watering chicken, biscuits, and jam since, oh, the days of the Pony Express. Loveless Cafe.

Yes, the food is wonderful, in that fill-your-belly-to-bursting southern cooking kind of way. But I haven’t been there for, like 28 years. So why write about it now?

Because, a quick web search indicates that it’s still there. And I can tell you one 28-year old reason why.

Newlyweds, and fresh off of a move from Connecticut to Nashville, where we planned to take up residence, my bride and I walked into the famed Loveless Cafe for dinner. We were such newbies to the area, in fact, that we didn’t have a bank account set up yet. I think it was about our first week in town.

I remember the usual friendly Southern service. Very large quantities of wonderful food that I wish I could afford to eat in these days of more restricted caloric intake. The homey atmosphere. And, at the end, the travelers checks (remember those, anybody?), always advertised as “same as cash” – that’s all we had to pay for the meal. Like I said, no bank account yet, and no cash in our pockets.

Loveless’ didn’t take travelers checks. Ooops.

So how did they handle this embarrassing situation? I will paraphrase the waitress’ words: “Now, that’s all right honey, you just take this bill, and once you have your bank account set up, just send us a check for it.”

Huh?????

Needless to say, this native New England couple was blown away. Yes, we sent them a check. And yes, I never forgot. And somehow, almost three decades later, I’m simply not at all surprised to see that they’re still in business.

Treat people like that and it’s hard to lose.

(Apparently, CC Chapman has been there too! If you’ve been to Loveless, leave a comment with your impressions!)

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Twitter: @swoodruff

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