Life’s Adventures

He helped America redeem itself in the Space Race, and she’s lived in two countries and six states. But they found a new piece of the good life, and each other, in Wilson County, perhaps when they least expected it.

Charlie Bradshaw, the rocket scientist next door (more on that later), and his charming wife Loyce call Geers Place home now. And if you ask them how they got there, they’ll tell you about one amazing adventure after another, each of which brought them closer to “home,” landing them right where they belong.

Starting another chapter
Married now for two decades, Charlie and Loyce weren’t looking for love after their spouses died. He was considering a move to Florida, where his Lebanon friends feared he was destined to become a drunken beach bum. And after a lifetime spent moving from city to city with her military husband, she was reconnecting with a sister who’d settled in Lebanon.

That sister, Joyce Badger, was the common denominator.

Joyce and her husband, dentist Bob Badger, had come to know and love Charlie as a neighbor and had for months pleaded with him not to move from his farm on Cedar Grove Road. Instead, they, along with a bevy of friends encouraged him to find a companion after his wife died.

Loyce recalls how her sister and brother-in-law were always having Charlie over for dinner, begging him not to move and telling him he needed to find “a nice lady to go out to eat with.”

One night at a dinner party an exasperated Joyce said to Charlie, “well if ever you were going to date someone, what kind of woman would you like her to be?” And just to shut her up, Charlie said, “I’d like her to be just like you.” He didn’t expect her to call his bluff. He didn’t know she had an identical twin.

Naturally, Loyce was invited to the next dinner party, and she says Charlie was willing to see her again because she had ties to somewhere he’d never visited — Alaska.

“He latched on to me because I’d lived in Alaska for nine years. He’d never been there, and he was fascinated by it.” The scientist in him couldn’t resist hearing about continuous daylight and what life was like for this widow who spent nearly a decade there with her late husband of 31 years.  Turns out, he couldn’t resist her either. The rest, as they say, is history. And Charlie finally made it to Alaska, several times in fact. Two of Loyce’s children still live there.

The couple is grateful for the good life they’ve found and the new chapters of life they’ve written together since that dinner party. They’re also thankful their families blended well. Both had grown children when they met, and Loyce remarks, “So many times marriages with grown children are tough, but his children loved me and mine loved him from the very beginning. We’re one of the lucky ones. We’ve been married nearly 22 years, and it’s been a great marriage, even though I didn’t want to get married.”

For two people who didn’t want to get married again, they surely make it look like it’s worth the trouble.

The rocket scientist next door
Before meeting Loyce, Charlie had plenty of adventures of his own.

He had enlisted in the Navy and entered the V-12 program for training and was taking Calculus at Sewanee. In a meeting with a professor, the professor began by going over the details of Charlie’s C average but quickly put his grade book aside. This was not a meeting of condemnation. Rather, it was a meeting of encouragement. He saw Charlie’s talent and encouraged him to think about mathematics as a career.

With that nudge, a lifelong love of mathematics began.

Charlie finished the V-12 program and was shipped to the Pacific Theater of World War II to prepare for the invasion of Japan. He saw action at Okinawa but, like thousands of America’s enlisted men, was spared the dangers of invasion when President Harry Truman ordered the use of two atomic bombs. Six weeks later, Charlie found himself walking through Hiroshima, the first city hit with an atomic bomb. Asked what he thought as he took pictures of the carnage, Charlie recalls, “we can’t have another war with these weapons.”

After the war, Charlie completed school and joined the faculty at Tennessee Polytechnic Institute and settled his family in Cookeville. In 1951, a new opportunity arose in Huntsville, Ala., that took Charlie into the world of Wernher von Braun, the German rocket scientist who surrendered to American forces at the end of World War II — and whom Charlie describes as “the greatest person I ever met.” While von Braun and his German colleagues built rockets, Charlie’s team calculated their flight times and trajectories with a “slide rule and desk calculator.”

In 1953, they launched Redstone, America’s first guided missile, and it followed the path that Charlie’s team had calculated. However, the days of the “slide rule and desk calculator” were coming to an end. The Oak Ridge National Laboratory received the first computer in the South, and Charlie transferred to east Tennessee to oversee its installation.

In 1955, Charlie returned to Huntsville as the Deputy Director of Computation and installed the first computer at that location. By this time, there was an international competition to put something into orbit.

“We had the capability to put the Redstone in orbit before the Russians succeeded, but Eisenhower didn’t want to use a military missile,” he says. “That’s when they (the U.S. Navy) started Vanguard, and it was a tremendous failure. Vanguard never made it. So the Russians beat us. Then 85 days later, we were in orbit. Redstone was ready, and the calculations were all done. We could have beaten them, but we weren’t allowed to.”

With a string of successful launches, the Mercury program was established to take people into space. Now, Charlie’s calculations did more than determine the trajectory of a rocket. They determined where to have ships waiting to pick up returning astronauts.

In 1962, the stakes were raised when John F. Kennedy announced the goal of putting a person on the moon. According to Charlie, this had always been von Braun’s goal, but concerns remained.

“We always knew sending people to space would happen, but we still had questions about whether man could survive on the moon,” he explains.

At one point, President Kennedy toured the Huntsville facility and met the administrative staff. He was introduced to von Braun and other German scientists. After meeting a line of people with German names, he was introduced to someone named Charlie Bradshaw. The president immediately responded, “How did you get in here?” Charlie remembers, “I thought since he was the president I better not laugh, but everyone else did.”

Charlie “got in” there by being one of the best mathematicians in the nation and stayed through the Apollo 11 mission that put the first men on the moon.

In 1970, Charlie left the space program to direct the installation of the first computer at Vanderbilt University and oversee its operation.

Charlie remained at Vanderbilt until his retirement and then he taught classes at Cumberland University. Looking back on his career, Charlie says sending rockets into space made him more interested in the universe, and that interest led him to become a stronger believer in God. In fact, he declares, “I become more of a believer the more I learn.” Without a doubt, Charlie has learned a great deal.

Written By Rick Bell and Jessica Fain

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Say ‘I Do’ to a More Sculpted You

How brides can slim down without surgery and downtime

All eyes are on the bride on her wedding day. So, it’s no surprise most spend months preparing to walk down the aisle. That could include everything from teeth whitening and tanning to focusing on healthy eating habits.

For those looking to get rid of some unwanted abdominal fat before the big day, there’s an option that can get rid of those love handles without surgery or downtime: SculpSure.

Mt. Juliet’s Inspire Medical Weight Loss & Wellness team offers this service as part of their customizable treatment plans. SculpSure’s body contouring technology destroys targeted fat cells in 25 minutes, without damaging the skin.

Patients can expect to feel a cooling sensation, which helps keep their skin comfortable, followed by a deep warming, tingling sensation. The heat raises the temperature of the fat cells, which in return, damages their structural integrity. During the next three months, the damaged fat cells are then eliminated by the body’s lymphatic system, giving patients a leaner look.

Like with their other weight-loss solutions, Inspire performs an initial consultation with patients to figure out their specific goals and challenges. They also perform preliminary tests to figure out the best treatment approach.

In addition to SculpSure, they can also use fat-burning hormones, cleanses, B12 injections and other options to help patients reach their goals. They do weekly counseling with patients to help address the eating habits behind their health problems.

“We literally hold their hand and keep them accountable and keep asking the question of, ‘Why?’” explains Dr. Jason Burchard, president and CEO of Inspire Medical Weight Loss and Wellness. “‘Why do you want to change? Why are you eating?’”

Their programs can help brides or anyone looking to feel better, lose weight and become a healthier version of themselves.

Inspire is located just off of the interstate in Adams Lane Plaza at Providence (behind Cracker Barrel). For more information, visit Weightlossmtjuliet.com.

 

The first 20 callers who mention this article will get a free consultation and $100 off any treatment protocol. Call 615-453-8999 to schedule your consultation today.

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Family Practice

Newman Dental Associates creates a welcoming atmosphere for all ages

When most people think about going to the dentist, they probably imagine a sterile, intimidating environment. But one local dentist is looking to change that mindset with his new dental office — and it’s worth checking out.

Dr. Jim Newman, DDS, opened Newman Dental Associates in Lebanon last October on South Cumberland Street. After several months of renovation and even more of planning, he’s transformed the office into an inviting, modern space that’s sure to catch people’s attention for all the right reasons.

From the moment people walk pass the outdoor water feature and through the double doors, it’s clear it isn’t a typical dentist office.

They’re welcomed by a stunning chandelier, dark flooring, beautifully exposed ceilings and, of course, smiling faces. In the waiting room, they’ll relax in contemporary chairs next to a cozy fireplace and TV. Yes, these really are all things in a dental office.

“We wanted to create a comforting, quiet environment,” Newman says. That’s the theme throughout, including the entrance area, exam rooms, hallways and even the sterilization center. It makes patients feel like they are visiting their friend’s (well-designed) home.

But what really sets this practice apart is the local, family-oriented team — and that starts with Newman, who is a 2008 Lebanon High School graduate. His family has lived here for at least the past five generations, making it even more special for him to have a business here now.

After going away to Lipscomb University for undergrad and the University of Tennessee for his doctoral degree in dental surgery, Newman says he knew he wanted to come back home to open his practice.

“We’re from here, and we’ll always be here. Being able to open a dental office in my hometown is a dream come true,” says Newman, son of Randy and Lisa Newman. He also wanted to open his office in the heart of Lebanon, making it convenient for people to stop by.

His caring, dedicated staff includes Ashlie Johnson Gallaher, RDH; Tammy Pritchett, RDA; Jamie Johnson, his grandmother, and Lisa Newman, his mother. It’s easy to see how much they all enjoy working together, something that patients and anyone who visits are quick to notice.

“We’re a service-oriented family. We love people and what we do,” he says. “We’re just hometown people who focus on family-friendly care at affordable prices.”

He starts out by asking patients what they want from their dental care, instead of pushing services on them.

“He’s really fair and good at going over options with them,” Gallaher says. “I can’t say enough good things about him.”

They offer a full list of dental services like family dentistry, oral surgery, cosmetic dentistry, Botox, whitening and removable and fixed prosthodontics — making them the one-stop family dentistry.

This local practice has a lot to offer residents, from their renovated décor and advanced technologies to their dedicated staff.

“We want people to feel at home,” Newman explains. “Yes, you’re going to the dentist, but you’re also going to see friends.”

Newman Dental Associates is located at 337 South Cumberland in Lebanon. They are open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Friday by request. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 615-470-8550.

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Cooking Up Southwestern Tastes

Food trucks are one of the hottest trends on wheels. They attract crowds of hungry people looking to taste something new in convenient locations — whether it’s at a festival or right outside their office.

Luckily, Wilson County residents don’t have to go far to find fresh, tasty dishes. They just need to look for the red truck run by Mt. Juliet’s Tom Mead and Cheryl Caballero: The Rolling Feast.

The engaged couple cooks up a variety of southwestern meals — which comes from their years spent in Arizona. That’s also where the pair first started their relationship — and rekindled it decades later.

The two met at Denny’s in 1992 in Tucson, Ariz., and dated for a while. But life got in the way, as it often doe: Mead moved to California and married, and Caballero did the same in Tucson.

After going to culinary school in San Francisco, Mead worked as a sous chef and soon moved up to executive chef. He later worked with a four-star mobile restaurant — but he says he always wanted more.

“As a chef, you always have someone holding you back — even in the best restaurants,” Mead explains. “You can’t reach your full potential until you work for yourself.”

He says he knew he wanted to head out on his own, which is how the idea for The Rolling Feast was born. As he was starting a new professional journey, he found himself revisiting an older one with Caballero.

The two reconnected after years apart and a divorce for both of them. It was like they picked up from where they were during college, they say. “We’re back to where we were 23 years ago — but better,” she says.

The couple now lives in Mt. Juliet near family and both work with the food truck. The pair complements each other well: Mead brings his culinary expertise, and Caballero has experience in HR, purchasing, administration and safety.

“I never thought I’d be back in food service,” Caballero says with a laugh.

Mead’s children — Hayden and Cash — also get in on the fun and help with the truck, making it a true family affair.

The Rolling Feast is now celebrating its fourth anniversary of serving the greater Nashville area in May — and May is also Nashville Street Food Month. “It’s been a lot of fun,” Mead says.

The 1973 Ford truck they use was originally a Bunny Bread delivery truck that Mead has since redesigned. Now, patrons lovingly refer to it as the “big red food truck.”

“Tom is so very passionate about providing great food — both in presentation and taste — and it shows in every dish he dreams up and serves,” Caballero says. “The truck really is his baby, and I am here to support him and the business.”

Mead says he enjoys interacting with customers — especially the ones who have supported them from the beginning. “There’s one lady who came to my truck on my fourth day of business, and she still comes by,” he says. And that’s just one of many loyal customer stories.

They bring their truck to local events and businesses, along with special occasions like birthdays, weddings, anniversaries and rehearsal dinners. The couple will even have the truck backstage at the upcoming CMA Music Festival in June.

“It’s a lot of fun being involved with something so big in Nashville,” says Caballero about the upcoming festival.

Their most popular menu item is nachos, which include poblano chile queso, chicken or spicy organic beef chorizo, pinto beans, pico de gallo, poblano crema, shredded melted cheese and homemade chips.

They also offer sonoran dogs, rolled chicken tacos, grilled fresh salmon salad, spinach salad with grilled chicken, roasted vegetable enchilada, nacho burger, eggs benedict, maine lobster tostada and a prosciutto, roasted tomato and goat cheese quesadillas.

While the menu isn’t straight southwest — like his burgers — customers will definitely enjoy the tastes Mead brought from out West. “I spent most of my cooking career being in Tuscon,” he says.

All of their dishes are made with fresh ingredients and prepared on the truck, and the menu changes daily. The Rolling Feast also caters events and lunches — with and without the truck.

“It really is a labor of love,” she says. “We’d love to share that with the people around here. There’s something about the truck pulling up to your event that gets people excited.”

They say they want to focus more on taking the truck to events and locations throughout Wilson County, supporting the chambers and community whenever possible.

“We definitely want the locals to know we are here for them with great food for whatever type of personal or business function or event they have in the works,” Caballero says, “and if it involves giving back to the community, so much the better.”

Whether residents are looking for fresh tastes or to satisfy their southwestern craving, The Rolling Feast has them covered.

For more information or to see their schedule, visit Therollingfeast.com and check them out on Facebook.

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FUNeral Arrangements

I don’t like funerals or visitations or wakes. Who does, right? For this reason, I’ve made a list for my husband for how I’d like things to go leading up to, during and after my memorial service. I hope the need for this is at least a few decades away, but if it’s not, then I hope it’s after I see my boys grow up and settle into adult life AND, after I have the chance to meet Betty White.

  1. Have photos of me at my current age, weight and hair color at the service. When my mom passed away, people kept asking why there were pictures of my sister, Laura, all over the chapel. Dad didn’t bring a single photo of my mom above the age of 23. Please make sure the photo is properly airbrushed. I want it to look like me but the me that’s accented with good lighting.
  2. It’s been my experience that nothing cleanses the soul more than a good belly laugh that follows a tear-filled cry. Don’t worry about what people think. Our boys will thank you for that. Believe it or not, a funeral service can be packed to the rim with wildly funny moments. The last funeral I went to, a visitor decided to Facetime the deceased with a family member that couldn’t be there. Yes, that happened.
  3. Make sure I’m dead. And don’t you dare pull the plug unless you’re positive.
  4. Serve cake. Good cake. Instead of little memorial pamphlets, greet anyone that visits with a slice of delicious cake. I don’t care what kind of cake, just make sure it’s fresh and homemade.
  • Don’t make our kids talk to people. If they don’t want to sit on the front row, don’t make them. Let them grieve in their own way. Just make sure you let them know you will be there.
  • Deactivate my social media accounts.
  • Don’t giveaway any of my handbags before going through them and checking for stray dollar bills. In fact, don’t give anything of mine away! You need something to remember me by. And what better way to remember me than my computer case with typewriter keys embroidered now.
  • I feel like I should address the dating thing even though I’m sure dating is the last thing on your mind after losing the best thing that happened to you! You can date after I’ve been dead for at least six months. If you remarry, please make sure she doesn’t have children of her own and I’d appreciate it if she is barren.
  • I want to be cremated. I also want the urn to sit on the mantle in the living room. I’ve given the undertaker instructions to put a motion sensor on the urn along with a recording of my voice. This may be a little scary at first, but you’ll find comfort in hearing me say, “Does this urn make me look fat” from time to time.
  • This is probably the most important item on this list. I want you to remember how much you are going miss me and why you loved me. This will be VERY IMPORTANT to remember when you open my American Express bill.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Telling Tales: The Baby

My youngest is mad at me…again.

When we pulled out old family movies and started the stroll down memory lane, something (or someone) was missing. We watched my oldest coo, eat solids, laugh, roll over, crawl, walk, “go potty” and fall all for the first time. Halfway through watching his big brother delight at an ape at Animal Kingdom came the first, “Hey! Where am I?”

While the sounds of his big brother jumping in a swimming pool shouting out, “Look daddy, I fimmin (swimming),” Jackson pulled the covers over his head saying with certainty, “You don’t have any tapes of me, do you?” As if I don’t feel guilty enough for not breastfeeding him for very long, now I must live with the fact that we forgot to document this precious little boy’s monumental steps. How could I?

I swore I would not be one of those parents. You know the ones I’m talking about, right? The kind who document every milestone of the 1st child and forget about the second, third and fourth. The kind of parent who completes the My 1st Year baby book for the oldest, but forgets about subsequent children. The kind of parent who can tell you exactly how much the oldest weighed at birth but doesn’t remember the day the other children were born. You know, like my parents.

Being the 4th of 6 children, the only evidence that I even existed was my birth certificate. There was one snapshot of me when I was a baby with my dad’s mother holding me. When I was a senior in high school, my sisters warned me against submitting that photo to be published in the yearbook since the baby in that picture was my oldest sister. It wasn’t until this moment I realized what a genius my mom was.

We almost had Jackson convinced it was him I was holding in a swimming pool. But then my husband-who was operating the camera-started saying, “Good job, Jacob! Show the camera how you can swim to mommy.” Jackson was crushed. But before I could say, “You will be the first to get a car, Jackson” he pointed at the screen and said, “Who’s the fat lady holding Jacob?” I let him have that one.

What were we going to do? I didn’t want this to be one of those stories kids tell their friends (or therapist) when they reach adulthood. As the youngest, he already feels slighted because he doesn’t have the freedom his big brother has. Would we be forced to hire baby actors and shoot pseudo family movies so our oversight wouldn’t confirm Jacksons belief that he was somehow switched at birth?

Luckily, we found one. It wasn’t of his first steps or laugh, but it was still perfect. When it started a little speckled boy of 2 years old sat on a plane with his Lightening McQueen slippers on. I remembered that he insisted on wearing those house shoes everywhere. As the video rolled, we watched that little boy who had the chubby face of a toddler, but eyes that were wise beyond his years. And for the first time since we started this stroll down memory lane Jackson was content as he stepped out from his big brother’s shadow. He was satisfied. When the tape was over he looked at me and I prepared to hear him say how much he loves me and daddy.

“Mom?”

“Yes, honey.”

“Why didn’t you take me to Disney World?”

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Telling Tales: Lessons Learned

Graduation is almost upon us. That said, I’m pulling one of my favorite columns out of the vault. Having written this article almost two years ago, I now know our kids survive when they leave us and so do we. And that is a true lesson learned.  

A feeling of both melancholy and excitement prevails in the Kane household as letter after letter arrives for our oldest, from colleges near and far.  As I watch her open each one, I distinctly remember being her age, knowing very little about life, yet believing I knew everything.

As she readies for her journey into this big, wide open world, there is so much I want to be sure I say to her, teach her, show her before she takes off, while deep down I know the real lessons in life will come from figuring it out on her own.

And yet, if she were to indulge me, I’d write it all down for her, place a copy in her suitcase and hope that when she came to that fork in the road, she’d pull out my map of lessons learned and they’d help guide her home.

  1. SAY YES! This is your time, say yes to it. Say yes, to staying up all night, eating fattening foods and laughing with friends until tears stream down your face. Say yes, to unknown places, unknown people, unknown ways of thinking. Say yes to opportunities that make no sense, jobs you may not think you’ll like, invitations to events you’d rather not attend. Say yes to roller coasters, dancing on tables, foods you can’t pronounce, trips that consist of only a backpack and a map. Take in all the Yes moments, as those are the ones that’ll teach who you are and who you’re not.
  2. SAY NO! Follow your instincts and if you feel the word No deep within your gut, then be sure to shout it out, as loudly as you can! You’ll be amazed how strong that word can make you feel. Never do anything that feels wrong, hurts others or hurts yourself. There is no shame in not joining with the crowd, but there is no greater shame than knowing you did something your parent’s can’t be proud of. The word No can be the loneliest word in the world and yet you will grow to be the person you are meant to be, more so in the No moments, than even in the Yes moments.
  3. MISTAKES HAPPEN. No one is perfect and those who profess to be are usually the most flawed. I’ve made many mistakes in my life, the kind that still make me cringe. Don’t dwell on them though. So you said it, did it, meant it at the time and now know to never do it again. Admit it, accept it and move on. Believe me, there is always someone that will follow, that’ll earn an even bigger headline than you did.
  4. SAY I’M SORRY. I’ve learned this little gem after almost two decades of practicing law. I see it every day. People can save themselves so many headaches and heartaches by saying two simple words – I’m sorry. Say it and mean it. If the person doesn’t accept it, then show them you mean it. If they still can’t forgive you then know that some things can’t be forgiven but forgive yourself and do better next time.
  5. MARRY THE NICE GUY. Boys, boys boys! There are lots out there and you will meet many. Some will have the better cars and country club credentials, others will be cocky and crazed, some will be stupid and mean but look past all of them and find the nice guy sitting back, taking it all in. Your friends will all like him, your Mother will adore him, your Dad will respect him, he’ll love you even on your meanest, fattest, ugliest of days because he only sees the you, you are meant to be. Marrying a nice guy means a life filled with very few worries. He will always treat you as his equal, he will always work just as hard as you will to make your dreams come true, he will always be as kind to you as he is to others.
  6. NEVER SAY THE WORDS – I WANT TO MARRY A DOCTOR OR LAWYER. Instead be the lawyer, doctor, teacher, social worker or x-ray tech! If I’ve taught you anything, I hope it’s been that girls can do anything! You are smart, composed and brave. Education is more than just learning, it’s the power to create your own destiny.
  7. THE ANSWER IS ALWAYS NO, UNLESS YOU ASK. Believe me, I know it’s hard to ask people for a job, a favor, a piece of advice but you’ll be amazed by what you will learn if you just ask. And then never forget to pay it forward. People are going to help you along the way which means that one day you will be tasked with returning those favors, two-fold, to someone less fortunate.
  8. PICK YOUR TEAM. Nothing gets your old Mom more worked up than people who don’t pick their team. Not everyone will be on your team and not everyone will pick you for their team, but don’t ever sit on the fence. Pick your team and then fight for that team. Stay loyal, have their back, stay informed, this is your world and if you don’t take a stand for it, then you can’t complain about it.
  9. BE KIND, WORK HARD, LAUGH OFTEN. If you remember nothing else please remember these three things. Be kind to everyone you meet, even your enemies because that totally wigs them out. Be kind to people from all walks of life, because but for a few wrong choices or a few unlucky breaks, you could be them. Work hard. Nothing in life comes easy. You have to work for it, you have to work sometimes till the words on the paper become blurry and your bones become sore. You will come to find, however, that there is no better feeling than accomplishing a goal you earned on your own. Then Laugh. Enjoy this world, laugh out loud, smile, giggle, be funny and have fun. A good laugh can make even the worst of days, worst of experiences, worst of situations, 1000 times better.
  10. GOOD GUYS FINISH FIRST. I promise you they do! Yes, there are awful, untrustworthy people in this world and sometimes it seems they rule the roost. No doubt, mean girl clicks and good ole’ boy networks do exist. So what? Create your own. There are always more of us than them. Find those others, stand together, and you’ll be amazed what good people can do when they join forces.

And above all else, close your eyes and jump! You may tumble and fall but eventually you’ll stand on your own two feet and those same feet will carry you home.

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They’re Just Not That Into Your Design

Before

The Decision to Sell
This time of year, “for sale” and “open house” signs begin to pop up everywhere. The spring and summer months are always a busy time in the real estate market. Many homeowners are eager to sell and relocate during the summer break. Additionally, properties show better in the natural lighting of longer days and with greener yards.

But often, an important step that should be taken by sellers is overlooked. When listing their home, the homeowner must emotionally detach from the home and view it as a house — a marketable asset to be sold. As such, the most important move a seller can make is to properly stage the house. Unfortunately, what is considered a necessity in most parts of the country is sometimes viewed as an extravagance in our area.

Wait and See
Any real estate agent will tell you the first couple of weeks on the market are the most crucial time for a property. After that, excitement and momentum begin to wane. The initial buzz has passed, and it becomes increasingly difficult to sell. Some sellers believe they can “try it for a while” on the market, and then stage it later if it hasn’t sold. This “wait and see” mindset rarely works. Buyers have already seen the property online, and no one will come back to a property they have already viewed and marked off their list.

After

Why Stage?
Today’s buyers are looking to move up in size, in style and in status. Ninety percent of all real estate searches begin online. Statistics show that by the time a buyer contacts their real estate agent, they typically have a Top 10 list of homes they have selected online to view. And by the time they have reached the sixth home on that list, they have made the first offer. Enlisting the services of a professional real estate stager and a professional photographer will give the property the competitive edge it needs to stand out among the other listings. If the property is not visually appealing online, the buyer will never set foot in the house for a showing.

Staging Is Not Decorating
The stager’s job is to accentuate the positives of the property and deflect from any perceived negatives it may have — as in small room size, an awkward floorplan or poor natural lighting. When selling a property, it is not about the décor in the home. The stager is not trying to sell the homeowner’s taste in design; but to stage the house to appeal to the widest audience possible. Professional real estate stagers have been trained to assess what features should be highlighted, what features need to be minimized and how to accomplish that. Therefore, if the overall decor of the home is very taste-specific, a professional stager will edit it drastically. It’s not about the homeowner’s design preferences, it’s about selling the property. Today’s buyer wants a move-in ready home that appears magazine worthy in online photos. They’re just not that into your design.

The Showing
When a potential buyer views a property, they spend an average of SIX minutes in the house- and form their opinion in the first fifteen seconds! This statistic still gets me every time I read it, but substantiates even further the need for professional staging. First impressions (good of bad) once established are incredibly difficult to adjust to the reality of additional information. In other words, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. Therefore, the exterior, the entrance, and foyer are very important — they frame the buyer’s interpretations of what’s to follow.

The Cost of Professional Staging
Homeowners often have the wrong impression of what professional staging is; assuming it is to only sell the property, and reasoning that staging is not needed because houses are selling faster than they can be listed. But while selling the property is the goal, selling for a higher price point as quickly as possible is the specific goal.

  • Professionally staged homes sell in one-fourth of the time, and staging costs less than the extra mortgage payment(s) incurred due to longer listing time.
  • Staged properties sell for 6-17% more than non-staged properties.
  • Agents are more enthusiastic to show move-in ready property to their clients.
  • Staging reduces issues used for price negotiation.

The two photos above are from a house we speed staged in Lebanon last year. Imagine you are a buyer scrolling through listings online — would you choose to view this property seeing the before photo or the after photo?

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What’s Happening

Kick off summer right with these local events

May 12-14
Vintage Market Days
Wilson County Expo Center, Lebanon
Shop vendors from across the country at this vintage-inspired market. You’ll find antiques, clothing, jewelry, home décor pieces, food and more. It runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. For more information, visit Vintagemarketdays.com.

May 13
Two Rivers Ford Open Bass Tournament
Flippers Landing, Old Hickory Lake
Tournament participants will launch out at 6 a.m. to begin fishing, and the weigh-in will be at 2 p.m. The guaranteed price payout is $2,500, and there will be at least 20 paid positions. The tournament has a $60 entry fee per boat, and an extra $10 will be entered in the Big Bass Pot. All of the money raised goes to sports scholarships. For more information, visit Lebanonwilsonchamber.com.

May 13
Bark in the Park
Wilson County Fairgrounds, Lebanon
Dog lovers can enjoy vendors, games, giveaways, contest, a silent auction and much more from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at this free event. There will also be treats, pet tags, toys, rabies vaccinations and more for dogs. The New Leash on Life event raises funds for the care of animals, to provide education and raise awareness. Visit Newleashonline.org for more information.

May 13, June 10
Fiddlers Grove 2nd Saturday Celebration
Fiddlers Grove, Lebanon
Enjoy live bluegrass music, dancing and activities for the whole family from 6 to 9 p.m. on the second Saturday of the month. There will also be demonstrations on quilting, forging, soap and candle making to represent the different facets of daily life for early Wilson County residents. Visit Fiddlersgrove.org for more information.

May 19-20
Southern Smoke BBQ Championship
Wilson County Expo Center, Lebanon
BBQ competitors from across the country will converge to see who is the best pit master. Attendees will enjoy live music, inflatables, a children’s rock wall, good food and more. It’s being held in conjunction with the 39th Annual F-100 Supernationals, the largest all-Ford product show in the country. Visit Southern Smoke BBQ’s Facebook page for more information. 

June 3
Wine Festival
101 S. Central Ave., Watertown
Taste some of your favorite wines, and enjoy the downtown square at this festival. Tickets can be purchased to the festival for $30 in advance at Uppercumberlandwinetrail.com or $35 at the gate. There will be free parking available with trolley rides to and from the festival. Festival gates open at 1 p.m.

June 8-11
CMA Music Festival
Downtown Nashville
If you’re looking for a true country-music experience just outside of the county, this festival won’t disappoint. The same four days as Bonnaroo, this festival will feature hundreds of artists, meet and greets, autograph signings, vendors and more. Artists include Blake Shelton, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Miranda Lambert and many more. Visit Cmaworld.com for more information.

June 10
Paul Finebaum & Chad Withrow
Victory Baptist Church, Mt. Juliet
Interact with and hear from Paul Finebaum, SEC Network and ESPN Radio personality, and Chad Withrow of 104.5 The Zone — along with several other special guests. The event will go from 5 to 6:30 p.m., and tickets are free. Meet and greet passes are also available for purchase. Find more information and register for free tickets at Eventbrite.com. 

June 10
Big Hill Challenge
Watertown
Want to ride through the sleepy countryside, stunning farmland and historic towns? The event invites riders of all levels to enjoy a variety of routes, ranging from 16 to 100 miles. Hosted by Historic Watertown and the Veloteers Bicycle Club and supported by Biker’s Choice Bicycle Shop, the proceeds benefit the restoration and preservation of historic Watertown. Visit Watertowntn.com for more information.

Sponsored By The Lebanon Wilson County Chamber of Commerce

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Taking the Stage

Centerstage Theatre brings community together with classic plays

Watching a favorite play, book or movie come to life on stage can be a captivating experience that’s not easily forgotten. Now, residents can enjoy that right here in Wilson County thanks to Centerstage Theatre Company.

Created by Mitchell Vantrease and Brady Quisberg, the community theater gives locals a way to participate in and watch plays. Centerstage began its first season with “A Raisin in the Sun” in 2016, and they’ve performed others like “Steel Magnolia,” “Fences” and “The Odd Couple.”

Their next production is sure to be another that people won’t want to miss. They will perform “To Kill a Mockingbird” at Living Word Family Worship Center in Watertown May 12-14 and May 19-21.

Though published in 1960, this classic still rings true with audiences today — which is one of the reasons they decided to perform this play.

“The subject matter is still relevant,” says Vantrease, who will direct the play. “Set in the 1930s, you’d think that things had changed. Believe it or not, it hasn’t changed as much as people want to think.”

The storyline of a black man being wrongly convicted of raping a white woman especially hits home, with Lebanon’s Lawrence McKinney experiencing the same injustice. (McKinney spent more than three decades in jail but was cleared through DNA evidence and released in 2009.) So it seems fitting that Centerstage would dedicate their production of “To Kill a Mockingbird” to McKinney.

This production will feature their largest cast to date, including 20 local — and diverse — performers, says Marilyn Bryant, who is involved with marketing and outreach for the theatre.

“We want to keep the community and inclusive spirit of the company by putting on productions where the cast can represent many ethnicities and include real people who want to perform wherever possible,” Bryant says.

Their cast includes several who have never been on stage before, and people with any experience level are encouraged to join their group.

“For us, our goal is to make theater accessible for anyone. Most of our actors were first timers on stage, which is really fun,” says Quisberg, who enjoys mentoring them on the different aspects of acting and being in theater. “It’s a learning curve for everyone and a really fun process.”

Mitchell Vantrease was one of the stars of their play, “The Odd Couple.”

Quisberg caught the acting bug while living in Arizona, which is how he met Vantrease. The two were both involved in theater while living out West.

Vantrease — a Watertown native — eventually moved back to Wilson County to be closer to family. And in interesting turn of events, so did Quisberg and his wife Samantha, who is the assistant director for their upcoming play.

Back in the same state, the two started looking for ways to get involved with a local theater. When they didn’t find one, they decided to create their own — and that’s how Centerstage was born.

This theater truly is a community project, relying on different residents for help with sets, props, costumes and rehearsal space, says Vantrease, who has even created a few shows of his own.

He encourages people to give theater a try if it’s something they’re interested in. “It’s not just on stage: You can help with costumes, effects or stage-managing,” Vantrease says. “There’s something for everybody.”

“We encourage community members to come out,” Vantrease says. “The arts are really important — not just to those who participate but also for people who watch.”

They will be offering acting workshops and seminars for community members, as well.

After “To Kill a Mockingbird,” they’re excited to produce “Charlottee’s Web” — which will be their first all-children’s production. They’re looking forward to getting more youth involved, Vantrease says.

Whether young or old, they hope everyone will come out to one of their plays.

“For a lot of members of the community, the first time they go to a live theater show is when they come to see us,” Quisberg says. “It’s neat to see a story they know told a little differently and in person.”

“To Kill a Mockingbird” will be at Living Word Family Worship Center, 3633 Popular Hill Road in Watertown. It will be at 7:30 p.m. May 12-13 and May 19-20, and there will be matinees on May 14 and May 21 at 2 p.m.

Tickets are $12 for students and seniors and $15 for adults. Like Centerstage Theatre Company on Facebook for more information, and visit Brownpapertickets.com for ticketing information.

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