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Nash Vegas

We were fortunate enough to have a quick visit with my parents (and Aunt Kace, Uncle Steve, Nate, Zach, and Al!) a few weekends ago. I hopped in Israel’s suitcase for part of his business trip to Nashville, and the ‘rents drove up from Memphis.

One of our rules for the weekend was NO chain restaurants! I used my husband to enforce this, since he’s still new enough to the fam to ask for and receive what he wants; and as Mom pointed out, the father of their first grandchild can do no wrong.

Brunch is my life—at least on the best days—so I have two great Nashville brunch recommendations for you.

Instead of heading straight to Shoney’s when we landed Saturday morning (which may or may not have been KR jr’s suggestion), by stroke of luck, or Providence, I found Marche using the Yelp app on my phone. It was the perfect hip, local, East Nashville spot. Charming—we shared a large farm table with a group of gals probably having their SATC-style week-in-review; a great buzz of energy without being too overwhelming; a stylish but laid back Nash crowd. I would have snapped a picture, but it totally would’ve blown my cover. Who are we kidding though, we were by far the un-hippest people there. Thank goodness we had a hispanic with us for some credibility.

Also, delicious. I ate oatmeal with peaches and cream. And a fried egg. And [shared] a croissant with homemade butter.

John C. Reilly was there. He came in and put his name on the list after us (“It’s John”). We were standing with coffee for a little waiting for our table, when my dad and John C., tall and trendy in some kind of bowler hat, maybe a fedora, found themselves next to each other. I thought my dad was going to explode. Admirably, he kept it together and didn’t embarrass us by making a remark about the Dewey Decimal system. (Don’t ask. And if you understand his joke, that’s really strange.)

The Sunday Brunch spot was Copper Kettle; it’s a buffet with lots of yumminess, but you can also order omelettes and, on this particular Sunday, a peaches and cream waffle! I did. Apparently they also have a great meat-and-three on other days, which is my favorite kind of food. DC and Alexandria have some good international food, and some good fancy southern restaurants, but I just want a nice homestyle place with biscuits and a vegetable of the day.

Also on this trip I started The Help, which I certainly recommend to you. But do you ever get that feeling where you kind of hate sharing an experience with other people? That’s how I feel about this; I know I’m late to the game and the book is really popular and the movie is out (I did buy the book with the regular cover, not the movie cover!), but I feel a little sad about that. Reading can be such an intense personal experience, and isn’t it odd and amazing that the same experience is available to others?

You can read many reviews of the book, but I’ll share a couple thoughts. In what I think is a bold move that she pulls of well, two of the three of Kathryn Stockett’s narrators are black maids. This makes sense and feels natural, which I believe is a great achievement . . . their voices feel accurate, and the reader begins to identify with them, as opposed to my experience of other books where a southern black dialect can emphasize the significant distance between that character and the reader. Both Aibileen’s and Minnie’s voices appear before the young socialite Skeeter’s, which is an early indicator of the book’s point of view.

One question that Aibileen raises has to do with prolonging, or even preventing, the moment that the white children she raises realize that black people are considered inferior to whites. She begins experimenting by telling Mae Mobley, the little white girl that she loves so much, stories with black and white characters, communicating that they’re the same on the inside.

This has more meaning to me with a little girl on the way. It reminds me of a lady I know through Little Lights who always tells her grandson, “Look at how God made you with light brown skin. Isn’t that beautiful! And He gave me darker black skin! I love it! And look at this person with white skin! It’s so beautiful!”

I love that. As a white person it’s difficult, not to mention politically incorrect, to celebrate your whiteness, but I want my kids to be pumped about their European roots, Mexican roots, and whatever color their skin will be!

Here they are in Switzerland, yodel-odeling!

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