By Popular Demand: Bell Buckle!

Ok guys, here’s another in what’s starting to feel like an endless series of small-town Tennessee pictorials. Let me know if I am boring the crap out of you and I will stop immediately.

Aw, who am I kidding– but I WILL cut down on them!

(BTW, Madi took most of these shots– she’s pretty good, isn’t she?)  

Without further ado:


**The little town square. And yes, Madi’s skirt is too short, thanks for noticing.


**Eating is always the first thing we do on a trip. Always. 

One time? We were in this very restaurant on a Saturday and Keith Urban came in and recognized Russ and Madi got to meet him and Russ was Super Hero Dad for a day.

**Check out the cool ceiling. They have a chocolate cobbler on the menu that is a religious experience.

Waaay in the back, there were a couple of guys picking and singing– they sang an old gospel song and Charlotte looked up from her mac and cheese and said, “Wow, Gaither IS everywhere…”

**Isn’t this a beautifully composed shot?

**Madi becomes part of the local art scene.

**I know this really should be a big ol’ RC Cola, but Charlotte is a rugged individualist.


**Creepy or charming? You decide.

**Storming the shops! I kinda look like I’m power-walking. And what’s the deal with that Queen Elizabeth/Golden Girls-type death grip I seem to have on my purse?!

**Depression glass– they look like jewels, don’t they?


**Any of you guys in the market for a couple of friars? Stocking stuffers, maybe?

**This is my favorite shop. It’s like the world’s best grandma’s attic, only much more artfully arranged.

**Basket of buttons. This prompted me to wax eloquent about growing up with Nanno’s button tin, and running my fingers through it when I was a little girl, and the shape and feel of all of the vintage buttons and… yeah, that’s about the point the girls wandered off, too.

**Hey, I’ve made it this far and haven’t used the word “quaint” once! Until now.

**Yep, Phyllis– we DID go around the corner for ice cream! And then, full as ticks, we wedged ourselves in the car and drove home.

But it won’t be long until the wanderlust hits us again and the girls and I will head down another Tennessee road to see what’s around the bend!


14 Responses

  1. CarolynR

    Thanks Tori for the cultural tour of small town southern USA. Very illuminating. It’s just so errrr Driving Miss Daisy. The captions are triff and brill, so I have managed to retain most of my crap!

    Here we do have similar but different! Village life offers such delights as summer fayres and church fêtes where they sell things on rickety tables in the rain that you wouldn’t even look at normally like mouldy home made jam and third hand paperbacks with the last page missing. There are funny shaped vegetable competitions and flower arranging contests. They offer such diverse activities as sheep chucking and ferret racing. And Thelwell type fat little girls in pigtails ride around on fat little ponies trying to jump 6 inch fences to the encouragement of “jolly good show Millicent” from mummy (in tweed skirt and sensible shoes) and daddy (who is “something” in the city). The highlight is when the local Squire is put in the stocks and everyone throws rotten eggs at him. The one time the proletariat
    get a chance to show the bourgeoisie what they really think.

    Ok I am kidding – but not much lol

    Was sorry to hear you were feeling a bit eric and huey. But it is an excellent dietary aid don’t you think!

  2. Phyllis S

    Please do not stop the photos, the enjoyment is immense. I think we have an outstanding photographer in our mist. Great Job Madi!

    These pictures bring so many memories to mind about Bell Buckle, the food, the antique shops (our first love), the food, the people, did I say the food?

    I guess we will have to make a trip that way soon, now that you have stirred up the memories.

  3. auburn60

    OK–although I don’t know what it means, I am going to be very ‘triff and brill’ in my next note to my son’s homeroom teacher.

    ‘Please excuse Matthew’s absence from school last Friday. He was feeling a bit ‘eric and huey’ so I felt it best to keep him home.’

    I can’t wait till the next parent-teacher conference.

  4. tori

    Carolyn R, you DO class up the joint!
    Your description of village life made me laugh out loud- I could absolutely picture every bit of it! If you ever get a chance to take any photos of any of the above-mentioned shenanigans and email them to me… I would love to have you guest-narrate an international version of Small Town Pictorials. Think about it!

  5. tori

    Also– FERRET RACING?????
    My girls would kill to see ferret racing.

  6. gracelynn

    Keep the pictures coming Tori. It reminds me of when this neighborhood actually used to have a country store and the farmers would gather out there for a Coke and a nab and talk about everything from A to Z. Of course, that store is long gone now, almost 20 years. Once the owner died, it closed for good and the big stores like Exxon and all came around and took over. Madi is an excellent photographer. Makes me wish I could take off and go on a short getaway myself. Unfortunately, the only getaway I have is an appointment with an E-N-T in an hour. (Yep, still sick)

    And hey, ferret racing is no worse than rat races LOL. I lived on a farm as a child and you could make bets on the rats around the barn. ROTFL When you live in the country, you have to invent your own games, like rats races and chasing chickens. ;) And horseback riding naturally. Can’t forget my beautiful Frisky.

  7. rcbeth

    Oh wow!!! Thanks, Tori, for the walk down memory lane! I’ve spend many an hour in the shops you showed and loved every minute of it! I remember one time I couldn’t decide what dessert to get at the Cafe, so they brought me a half slice of each cake I wanted. How often do you see something like that happening?

    Keep the small town pictures coming!

  8. rcbeth

    Oh…I just saw the ads at the bottom of the page! Yea, RC!!!

  9. Barbara M. Lloyd

    I love the atmosphere of small towns and one of my favorite things used to be scrounging through antique shops. I remember when my grandfather used to go to a tobacco shop every Saturday night. In the back room a few fellas would play checkers, while others stood around and watched. I would make sure on my way to the movies I would stop in there and ask my grandfather for a quarter. I knew he wouldn’t refuse me in front of his checker-playing friends. I can remember my grandmother’s buttoncan and her corset (thank you Lord, they are no longer popular)….and my grandmother’s egg bucket and butter bucket, in which we took fresh eggs and dainty-decorated rounds of butter to market to trade for flour and sugar. Bartering was big back then.

  10. gracelynn

    That’s kind of how our country store was Momma Lloyd. The men would be sitting around discussing the crops and the weather. My mom used to run up there just to get some fresh cheese from Mr. Cullipher for my grandmother. She’d rather have that cheese than any that you got from a grocery store in a package. lol If dad took me with him up there, I’d always beg him to get me some ice cream or a piece of candy (like a Reese’s cup or some gum). I remember one time (I was about 7) dad didn’t want to buy me the candy and I was so upset. Dad went outside to speak with a few of the neighbors that were there and Mr. Cullipher slipped me a piece of chocolate and winked LOL. It was our secret. The kids would always gather outside the store and play while their dads sat and talked. And the parents didn’t have to worry because the kids were right there where they could see them and they knew what you were doing – you had at least 8 set of eyes on you. LOL The kids I teach today have no idea what communities like that are. They’d be so much better off if they did.

  11. CarolynR

    Well you people certainly are an education. I should have paid more attention to the Waltons! Great stuff :)

    I do have pictures Tori from about 4 years ago when I lived in Devon SW England. However, I am desolate to tell you that although there was ferret racing (there was, really!) I didn’t actually get a picture of it. But if you google “ferret racing UK” you’ll see what I’m going on about. It’s quite the thing amongst the agrarian fraternity. Where I am living now the local fair is more famous for it’s drug dealing than it’s quilt making!

  12. rockin robyn

    No! No! Tori — Don’t stop with the pictorial tours of Tennessee. I haven’t been to TN since the 80’s. This is awesome and what a great way to hide from the stress of the day. Fun stuff. Thanks for sharing!

    Not only does Carolyn class up the joint but I just want to hear her talk. I used to have a pen-pal couple (Caroline & Nigel) from East Sussex. We were Neil Diamond fans and we got to meet each other (after years of writing to each other) at a ND concert in Pittsburgh. Oh how I loved to hear Nigel’s accent. Carolyn – you need to get a “flip video” cam and send the video to Tori so she can share it with us. Ferrett racing?? Go figure.

  13. belinda

    Looks like you girls had a great time! Great pictures! keep them coming. Love going on your little trips with you.

  14. lolagoetz

    My granny had a button tin, too. I thought it was the coolest toy. (So was her miniature cast iron stove.)

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