I had so much fun! Matthew was determined to go to IBMA in Nashville, Tennessee for the second year in a row. He just couldn't decide how to get there. He wanted to fly, yet more of them could go if they got together and drove. The trip was on, then off several times. Finally, him and two of his Bluegrassin' buddies got together and made concrete plans to drive. That's where I come in.
A few weeks ago, my aunt and uncle stopped by Lillie Mae Acres for a short little visit on their way back home to north Alabama. They invited me to stay with them if Matthew and his friends decided to drive instead of fly, the guys could just drop me off on the way. I knew it would be a wonderful visit with two wonderful people that I really did want to spend some quality time with. So, that's exactly what we did. Such a GREAT visit, but way too short. I missed that sweet hubby of mine so much, but I sure was having a good time.
One day we spent almost a whole day driving around Amish country in Tennessee. Beautiful land speckled with Amish families among English families (that's us). Beautiful homes and barns, beautiful farms, and such sweet simple beautiful people. It was nothing like I thought. I don't know why I expected it to be more commercialized. There were no stores, no large showrooms filled with beautiful handmade items. These folks have no electricity, no running water, and there are no large quantities of anything. Large items like outdoor furniture are ordered unless he already has something made up and not sold yet. They tell you when it will be ready and you can come back for it. They will mail you a postcard, no phone call. They do not have phones!
We actually went to their homes. As we drove the beautiful winding roads we would come across wooden signs at the end of a family's driveway. Little white signs with black painted letters. These signs told us what that man and his family made and sold. Lumber, outdoor furniture, jams, pepper sauce, fresh produce, etc. Cash only!
Nothing fancy, nothing flashy. We even came across a selection of Kudzu Jelly. YUM, it tasted almost like Plum Jelly. KUDZU, that wild vine that smothers hills, buildings and anything else in it's path if it sits there long enough. Who knew it bloomed and was even edible? Everything on the Kudzu plant is edible except the stalk. The root is even cooked like potatoes. I sort of want to try one of those.
I only took a few pictures. We would have been stopping EVERYWHERE if I took pictures of everything that I wanted to.
My uncle told me that they do not want their picture taken. I suppose it was alright that I took a few of the buildings, and did sneak a distant picture of one of the girls. Then I felt almost ashamed, because I was intruding on their life and going against their wishes so I stopped.
In the above picture, my uncle is asking her where her husband is. They speak German inside their homes so their English has a very strong German accent. Especially the children. I can't remember what they sold here, I think it was supposed to be wooden outdoor play sets for kids. We found the family that builds those and they are such good quality. It doesn't take an expert to tell the difference right away between their products and those you see in stores.
Above, tabacco hung to dry out in the shop where the lumber is cut.
Above is just one of their schoolhouse - church buildings. No indoor bathrooms in any of their homes or buildings.
I was just fascinated with their homemade clothes. Pants worn by the boys and men with no placks, no back pockets. Most of the women and children were barefoot. The straw hats with the thin black band. How simple and plain, and it makes you wonder what they are thinking about us and the way we dress.
No curtains in their simple yet beautiful homes. All of them are painted white with black trim. None of their windows have curtains. The weather was so pretty that some of the windows were open. I would love to see inside but was told that never happens. Except, my creative, talkative uncle did get invited in a few years ago by the man that he ordered a lot of beautiful furniture from. We went to his home and was told that him and his family moved on about two years ago. What a shame.
One family grew pumpkins. I wish I had taken a picture of them, they were so bright and pretty they almost looked fake. Just piles of them. At that same home we were able to go to the building where a few pieces of furniture was. Her husband made beautiful hickory furniture and left the bark on. I purchased the quilt ladder in the picture below.
Not a nail, screw, or sign of glue on it anywhere. Just beautiful.
My aunt already had plans at her church so she invited me along. It was a sit down dinner with a guest speaker talking to us about the high number of children in foster care in Alabama. Each table was decorated in a different theme, all beautiful. We chose to sit at this beautiful PINK table, decorated in honor of Breast cancer Awareness. The food was yummy, the fellowship was so fun, and the cause was very touching.
My beautiful Aunt Vegie and me at her church. I met some really sweet and talented ladies that night.
See the above picture? How cute! One morning we went to a very small little country cafe for breakfast. It actually used to be the family's garage. So delicious, so friendly. I love places like that and sadly they are too few and far between.
I came home with some wonderful new recipes and you all know how I love those. More important is that I came home with new and old memories to treasure and share.
Below are pictures of those CRAZY Bluegrassers that can't even wait until they get to Tennessee to pick.
A good CD is always nice to have for a long trip, but live music is even better.
Of course they all had fun, met a lot of their favorite famous pickers, a lot of new pickers and fand, and that banjo pickin' son of ours called us wanting to buy a new/old banjo. He called me and I said call your dad. He called his dad and he said talk to your mama. His plea was that he got to pick it and HAS TO HAVE IT!!! Oh yes, the guy shipped it overnight yesterday and it arrives today! It's a very old Gibson and I've recently been educated (in the past two days) on these things by Matthew. If the banjo is quality, the older it gets the better it sounds and this new/old Banjo that is on it's way is the best.
Below are some more IBMA pictures of Matt's.
I guess they ran off and left Jeff in charge of most of their instruments.
J.D. Crowe and one of his biggest fans Matthew!
Doyle Lawson and one of his biggest fans Matthew!
That beautiful famous Ryman!
Kenny Smith picking Jeff's guitar. He complimented it too!
Someone made this Bass. Not the usual look!
I hope you enjoyed all of these pictures from our trips last week. Come back real soon.