Do all Roads Lead to Texas?

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Sam Houston, that mean‐looking dude with the funky bow tie, remains a revered soul where I live.

He served as president of the Republic of Texas and later, U.S. senator and governor.

Before holding those positions in Texas, Houston served as governor of Tennessee. The only American to be elected governor of two U.S. states.

Who cares? you ask.

Houston popped up, in all places, near Nashville, my most recent road trip.

What I thought was Music City turned out to be horse country. 

As in big league, prized racehorses. 

Belle Meade plantation sits eight miles west of Nashville. Besides raising thoroughbreds, the plantation housed Sam Houston’s horses when the Tennessee governor quit his job and headed west to Texas.

DH and I knew none of this history when we strolled down the lane toward the Big House. We admired the gentle hills and landscape of the perfectly named Belle Meade, meaning beautiful meadow.

We both assumed old cotton fields lay near. Instead, we spied this photo montage near the wide front porch.

Docents confirmed that Belle Meade served as a working stud farm. The only crops grown fattened the horses and fed the family.

The plantation became world famous for its thoroughbred stable. Its horses won races across Europe then sired horses who did the same.

Secretariat, Sea Biscuit, and Barbarro all emerged from what’s called “the foundational line” at Belle Meade. In addition, every Kentucky Derby horse since 2003 is directly related to Belle Meade studs.

I’m not a horse girl but all these factoids fascinate: a southern plantation raising horses, not cotton; boarding a stable‐full of animals owned by my home state’s founding hero, and still producing champion racehorses more than a century later.

The experience reminds me: no telling what the road will deliver.

Final note, racehorses made the Belle Meade owners wealthy and famous. Three U.S. presidents stayed at the Big House.

The family’s children played in the Little House.

But it’s not so little, is it?

It’s big enough for big girls, too.

Oops! When Gadgets Crash Good Intentions

On the flight home from Nashville, I outlined today’s blog post.

It included somber details from a military funeral in Chattanooga followed by a pescaterian adventure with pulled pork, Moon Pies, and Tennessee kale.

A rowdy swing at the Grand Old Opry collapsed in comparison to the quiet intimacy of The Bluebird Café and a Sealy‐bred guitar player named Jamie Lin Wilson.

Touring a Southern plantation presupposed cotton fields and grim living conditions for African‐Americans. But, now it’s a museum honoring its differences: raising thoroughbred horses (as in Secretariat’s dad) and distilling Tennessee whiskey. Another frame of reference blown apart.

Seventy‐two hours in Tennessee ended with more life learnings. But you’ll have to wait to read them.

My iPhone—the brand new one that I bought a week ago today—crashed into blackest black yesterday. Ergo—no pictures to share.

Who in today’s on‐line world wants to read a blog sans images or sound? Our eyes and brains operate differently now, thanks to successful rewiring from small screens. Thank you, techies.

A black screen also means no texting or calling or news‐surfing. Forced LOMO offers opportunity, always a good reframing for antiquated habits.

The hardest learning centers on my encounters with the phone’s creator. Dealing with Apple feels like stumbling around blindfolded at three in the morning. From deep inside the Rocky Mountains.

Between recent RoadBroad excursions to New York City and Nashville, I’ve met Apple staff six times via telephone, online, and in‐person.

It began as my familiar iPhone 6s began to crap out in Manhattan. Constant battery pack offers its only survival. I called Apple from DH’s device.

During the twelve‐hour, H‐Town spend‐over, I bought the new unit. It’s a fancy Xr: “our latest and greatest! ” the millennial teen vowed.

Now, I’m awaiting Tuesday’s Genius Bar appointment. In the dark.

Meantime, I’m drafting a report for Mr. Tim Cook.

A writer always has a Story.