Loveless Cafe and Christmas in April

I said goodbye to the South with breakfast at the best place in Nashville. Loveless Cafe has remained unchanged for over 50 years until they expanded the restaurant 5 years ago and added a barbeque pit and a country store for their mail order “hams and jams” program. However, they still have the same secret biscuit recipe and the best country ham and red eye gravy in all of Tennessee. If you want all day breakfast on Highway 100, you go to:

Sadly, Miss Carol Fay “the biscuit lady” died recently.

But she trained her successor well. The biscuits were buttery perfection and their famous homemade preserves tasted like condensed fruit and sunshine. According to Mrs. Wilson, “everyone eats the biscuits just to get at the preserves.”

I LOVE breakfast. It’s my favorite meal of the day and this café is one of my favorites, as much for the scenic qualities as the food. I love the 50’s style neon sign, the red and white tablecloth and the scrambled eggs that I think they cook with bacon fat. Magnifique!

After breakfast and unnecessary purchases, I drove out on the Natchez Trace Parkway, past the double arch concrete bridge:

Down to historic Leiper’s Fork where I hoped to see a friend of mine’s art in a local gallery but the gallery was closed (sorry Clay and Krista!). So I turned around and headed out of Tennessee. Within 2 hours the terrain had substantially flattened and I knew I’d left the South.

I stopped once today, but I made it a good one in Santa Claus, IN where a giant constipated Santa Claus banishes you to the nether realms:

Need a close up of that face? Of course you do.

Puts me somewhat in mind of the troll guarding the bridge in Billy Goat Gruff. Why are characters out of context so disturbing? Santa Claus at Christmas time is great, even a mean Santa like this one who wants to put coal in your stocking. But seeing this giant Santa on a sunny day in April is like seeing a Christmas tree under a pile of boxes and a mattress on an episode of Hoarders. Creepy and a little sad. A decent description of Santa Claus, IN, come to think of it. Of course I had to go buy a Santa ornament:

Note that he’s holding a tire? Because I’m on a road trip! Get it? Get it? Yeah… when you’re in the middle of nowhere looking at an empty Holiday World, signs for Lake Rudolph and a vacant Frosty’s Fun Center, the hysteria mounts and everything seems a bit hilarious.

Then I realized that I lost an hour in Indiana (Time zones. Killing me.), which changed my whole yoga schedule and I had to scramble to find a place in Bloomington Indiana with an appropriately timed class. Fortunately I ended up at Know yoga, Know Peace (say it aloud. Clever right?) with teacher Jean. She’s Bikram certified but the studio isn’t, which gave me my opportunity to talk with a studio owner about this hot yoga choice. I liked Jean’s explanation that she loves Bikram but misses doing other yoga poses so she chooses to teach in a hot room and use Bikram as a base line but incorporate other Hatha poses.

I had a fantastic time in her class and enjoyed doing a different series of poses than what I’m used to. She led with a nice balance of calm and energy and said “Find your breath” after every pose, which made me think about how often we lose our breath or forget to fully utilize it.

The conversation and the class led me to my yoga meditation of the day: Which is more important, the style or the teacher?

I think Bikram (the man) would put the emphasis on the style, thus his choice to train all his teachers with the same patter, phrasing and emphasis to make each teacher/class/studio as much the same as possible.

Advocates of a style above all else believe that their style can work well for everyone, even if it doesn’t work perfectly for some. Advocates of the teacher believe that in any pursuit, the teacher makes the difference in a student’s ability to succeed. My martial arts background leads me to believe that the some styles are more effective than others. But I know that each style’s efficacy is most dependent on the practitioner.

Some students will excel with crappy teachers because they grasp the fundamentals without a lot of guidance. In my own experience as a student, the teacher makes the most difference. Even in pursuits in which I have no skill or talent or ability, I’ve learned the best lessons from good teachers.

I ended the night with a long sushi dinner at Mikado with my high school friend, Laura. We caught up on the last couple decades of our lives and laughed over high school memories over late night drinks at the Irish Lion. It’s so fun to see old friends who are happy and doing well with lives so different from mine.

And now to bed. Tomorrow: Chicago!