Changer l’Aire

Whenever my asthma would get really bad in New Orleans, my Moroccan ex-husband would suggest that we go changer l’aire. That’s what I’m doing this evening.

I like to drive out to the foothills of the Cumberland mountains to Woodbury when I need to get away. There is a drive-in with a double feature where they don’t mind if you switch sides halfway through. They also have the quaint, rustic Arts Center of Cannon County. Several months ago, I bought tickets for The Jakeleg Stompers and The Eggplant Fairy Players, always a variety of delights.

I’m not exceptionally fond of the restaurant they have adjoining the theatre, which is only slightly better than the fast food that Google suggested when I asked for dinner near the arts center in Woodbury. I would have thought “dinner” would have been a hint that I didn’t want junk food, but apparently not. Trip Advisor understood me and suggested the restaurant at Short Mountain Distillery, about 30 minutes further out into the hills along a lovely creek that claimed to be the headwaters if the Stones River. The area reminded me of what Williamson, Maury, and Rutherford Counties, even parts of Nashville, used to be before every valley had to be exalted, every mountain be made low, the crooked straight and the rough places planed, lest any perfect scion strike his or her beemer against a stone. Indeed, there were places where a right turn looked more like an entrance to Hades, a dark descent into a cavern shaded by mountains and thick foliage where one drove by faith, not by sight, even the headlights swallowed in the sudden gloom. After making friends with the manager’s four-year-old Camille who welcomed me at the door, I asked for and received a lovely table on the porch nearest a band across a dell under a grove of trees playing 60s protest songs with updated, progressive lyrics. I was also pleased to see that not all of the patrons were white or heterosexual, but all within earshot were well-bred and Southern, as in not shouting at the top of their lungs even after sampling a flight of hard liquor! The service and food could not have been better. They even had strong coffee which was exquisite with the peach cobbler á la mode–with homemade peach ice cream! Lesson learned: ask Trip Advisor first.

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