Holding Down the Fort

A few weeks back, Brody and I and the kids went out to dinner. It was one final meal before he and the girls left for Nicaragua on their mission trip.

They wanted one, last, hot dinner before 7 days of warm bottled water, granola bars and raisins became their staples. They had been before, and they knew what to expect.

My youngest, Neill, would be staying home with me.

He expected this might be his last, hot meal, as well.

Cooking has never been my thing. I can live on cheese, crackers, chocolate chips and coffee and be perfectly happy. A fact my children know well. A fact that caused Neill concern.

“You are going to have to feed me! Real food. Every day!” noted my 14-year-old growing boy.

Got it. Feed Neill.

Yes, I knew I would have to do that because 1) I’m his mother and 2) Brody put it at the top of the list he left for me.

Followed by, 2) feed dogs, 3) feed chickens, 4) gather their eggs, 5) take Neill to football practice, 6) mow the lawn, 7) clean the pool and the list went on and on…..

So for the past week, while Brody and the girls have been sleeping outside, bathing in rivers and building wells, Neill and I have been dealing with our own first-world problems.

  1. The Chickens. Three of our chickens were raised by a sweet young man from baby chicks and are very tame. The other two were purchased at an outdoor flea market, and I’m pretty sure were used in cockfighting. All were fed. All were watered. We even shared their eggs with our neighbors. There was one prison break from the coop. It lasted about an hour. A battle ensued between the dogs and the chickens. I did a lot of screaming. It didn’t help. Those flea market chickens play dirty. Came in handy. Chickens 1. Dogs 0.
  2. The Storm. Neill and I were thankfully home when the storm hit that weekend. The power went out. The alarm then went crazy. Lawn furniture hit our window. A small tree came down. We didn’t know where Brody put the flashlights. I made Neill sleep downstairs. I am now an official storm watcher. Neill probably has PTSD from all the weather updates I made sure to share with him.
  3. The Pool. During the storm, with all the power going in and out, something happened. Loud noises ensued. Burning, smoking pump. Pool pump is no longer running. Call made to have it fixed. Will take a week. Silver lining — no point in cleaning the pool. It will be green by the time Brody gets home. Not my fault.
  4. The Cows. We don’t have any. Now we do. Somehow, they got loose from somewhere. They staged a sit-in on my front lawn. I wasn’t sure who to call. I made Neill and the dogs stay in. The chickens had to fend for themselves. Chickens 2. Cows 0.
  5. Football practice. There is this rule about not missing. Although Brody had limited telephone service, somehow he climbed a mountain just to get service to remind me of this fact. So, yes, Neill made all his practices. All is well with the world.
  6. Feeding Neill. One warm meal was prepared by yours truly, at least once a day. Sometimes even two. I ate crackers and cheese most meals. We shared a bowl of chocolate chips, which made us both happy.

And a few times, we even did things not on the list.

We spent a whole day watching every episode of “The Office” on Netflix and laughed for hours. He walked at the park with me every day just because he didn’t think I should go by myself. I taught him how to bake a cake from scratch. He showed me how to kick a football. And each night, he hugged me goodnight before making sure all the doors were locked before we went to bed.

As memories go, I’ll always remember the week Neill and I didn’t go to Nicaragua.

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Appetite for Destruction

I never fully appreciated the amount of food my parents had to purchase between 1974-1999.

During that time, one or more of their six children were teenagers. This means that on any given month, they were spending more on food than their mortgage, electricity and water combined. No wonder we didn’t have cable! I don’t know those numbers for a fact, but now that we have three teenage boys living at home, I feel this is an accurate assumption.

I don’t know those numbers for a fact, but now that we have three teenage boys living at home, I feel this is an accurate assumption.

Growing up, there were several food items on lockdown: orange juice (on the rare occasion we had any), Chips Ahoy cookies (again, same rule applies) and anything processed with extra sugars and included artificially colored, desiccated marshmallows.

At the time, I couldn’t understand why my mom would come unhinged if we filled a 24-ounce tumbler with orange juice and didn’t drink it. Turns out, they were just sick and tired of buying food for children with endless appetites and no concept of how much work it took to feed a group of little ingrates who were always ready for their next feed cycle.

A few nights ago, everyone had gone to bed. This is the time of day I LOVE. I get to start the latest season of Orange is the New Black without interruption and decompress.

*This is the part of the story where my latest diet sees its tragic end.

This is the time, I like to have something to snack on, something sweet, sometimes chocolatey.

So, I’m getting everything set up. I’ve got the first show of season five ready to play. (Side note: Anyone else still grieving over what happened to Poussey?!) I decide to make a snack before starting. Thanks to a trip to the grocery store the day before, I know exactly what I’m going to have. A scoop or two or three (don’t judge! I’m still grieving, remember?) of Heavenly Hash frozen yogurt.

I open the freezer. At first, I think someone probably accidentally put a package of frozen chicken nuggets on top of it. Nope.

Maybe it’s in the back behind pie crusts that should have been thrown out five years ago. No.

Finally, I pull everything out of the freezer. It’s not there. Did I forget to bring it in after returning from the grocery yesterday? I checked. Not there either.

There’s no way it could be gone, right? 24-hours isn’t enough time for three teenage boys — who don’t like “health food” — to eat an entire half-gallon. They did. All of it. IN 24 HOURS.

The following Sunday, I tried again. This time, my snack was going to include Nutella. I keep it hidden in the back of the pantry. Everything’s ready to start OITNB…again. I find the “Happy Birthday” cookie jar I keep the Nutella in and NOTHING. It was gone. Not completely gone. They left the empty jar.

This is the part I’m not proud of. I came unhinged. I went upstairs and told all three boys that if they eat the last of anything chocolate in this house, they are to replace it or at the very least warn me. They agreed. Liars.

My husband said it was no big deal. They are growing. We are their parents. One day, we will miss them being here and paying a king’s ransom to feed them. Blah, blah, blah.

The next day, I came home and Jay was tearing the pantry apart.

“I just bought an industrial size box of Slim Jim’s, and they are gone. GONE. There’s none left. They ate all of them.”

We found a new hiding place for our snacks. It feels like college again. Only now, we can afford better snacks.

Comments? Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love My Epidural

There was a time when I was the definition of carefree. I would come home from work — just in time to watch Jeopardy (or “Must See TV,” if it was Thursday), nuke a frozen dinner and later curl up with a book. In the morning, I’d wake up in time to hit the gym before work.

When I married, very little changed. We were both too wrapped up in our jobs and each other to think about having children. Not to mention, we lived in different states five days a week for the first nine months of our marriage. But one day, something was missing. No sooner had we decided it might be a good idea to have a baby, a home pregnancy test confirmed that there would be no turning back.

I can’t recall anyone telling me how hard it was going to be. It being the labor, the mood swings, the weight gain, the weight gain and more weight gain. If anyone tried to tell me, I most likely ignored them. I was too busy reading books on the benefits of a drug-free birth, taking Lamaze classes and eating my way through the bakery aisle to pay attention.

I remember daydreaming about life after my little guy arrived. In this daydream, I was super thin. Someone would even whisper, “Don’t lose anymore weight.” Four words that have never been directed to me. Back to the daydream. I’m rocking my chunky little cherub while he nurses. His little dimpled hand is clasping my finger. He looks so alert. Natural childbirth, duh! Did I mention that I’m thin in this daydream? AND my house is immaculate. If my imagined scenario was any indication, this was going to be breeze.

We arrived early for my labor induction and presented the nurses with our birthing plan. For those of you who don’t know, a birthing plan is a handbook the expectant mom puts together that shows the medical staff your expectations for the birth. I wanted a natural experience and no amount of rolled eyes, “just wait until her first contraction” looks or secret bets on how long I’d last drug free would change my mind. After my water broke and my husband’s circulation returned to his hand following a remarkably painful contraction, I declared the medical community needed to rethink the term natural childbirth.

Not long after the much-needed and deeply appreciated drugs wore off, my clueless husband and I were on our way home. I realized this was a bigger deal than those moronic books made it out to be. As soon as my body (now only 7 ½ pounds lighter than the 80 I’d gained) returned to a more recognizable state, I was going to write those authors a strongly worded letter insisting they update their barbaric opinions on the subject. How dare they imply that there’s anything natural about a drug-free birth. How do they know?! Little did I know that the real pain wouldn’t begin until something called “milk letdown” occurred. AND I didn’t want to even think about the day when #2 would happen.

How dare they imply that there’s anything natural about a drug-free birth. How do they know?! Little did I know that the real pain wouldn’t begin until something called “milk letdown” occurred. AND I didn’t want to even think about the day when No. 2 would happen.

The first two weeks were a blur. Middle of the night feedings were the worst. I would peel myself out of bed and nearly fall on my face because of the weight from my breasts, which now looked and felt like I had two deformed spaghetti squash attached to my chest. Eventually, we got the hang of it. At our first appointment with the pediatrician, we found out our little one gained 10 ounces. 10. OUNCES. After 45 million hours of nursing. 10 ounces. When the pediatrician recommended I continue this little song and dance for two more years, we switched to the female partner in the medical group.

So we made it through those rough times as new parents and felt confident enough to give it another try four years later. These days, our worries have shifted from sleepless nights and childproofing to curfews and dorm selections. We aren’t the carefree individuals we were way back when, but we have managed to raise two very carefree boys, one of which will leave for college in a few weeks. Now worrying about late-night feedings seems like a picnic.

Comments? Email Becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Ahead of His Time

Doctor combines unique style and design in family home

Tucked deep in the trees on the west side of town, this mid-century jewel remains solemn, perfectly preserved and seemingly untouched by the outside world.

The approach to the home navigates through it’s wooded expanse toward what most would assume to be the front of the house. But what is seen as the front was intended to be the rear of the structure when it was built.

The main road that now exists in the “front” of this home, although planned, was not constructed at the time. When construction of the road eventually began, the city brought it through at rear of the property, instead of the front, as originally proposed.

Yet because of the architecture and design of this home, guests would probably never realize this. However, this is just one of many intriguing facts and stories about this home.

Built by Dr. Charles Thomas Lowe in the mid-1960s, the home is now owned by his grandson, Chuck Lowe (Charles Thomas Lowe, III) and his wife, Dena. Chuck built his own home directly nextdoor to Dr. Lowe when he returned home from college. Chuck and Dena now lovingly take care of his grandfather’s home, meticulously protecting a piece of their family history and the former home of one of Lebanon’s most innovative and original personalities.

Dr. Lowe was a well-educated man, speaking several languages including German and Spanish. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Vanderbilt in 1932 and his medical degree in 1936. As one of the principal physicians in Lebanon, he delivered babies and took care of patients until he sold his practice to Dr. Robert Bone in the mid-1960s.

But Dr. Lowe’s interests extended far beyond the city limits of Lebanon, Tenn. His daughter, Betsy, relayed he hated the cold, preferring to spend the winter months in Acapulco and other warmer climates.

After marrying his second wife, Ruth, in the early 1960s, they traveled to Israel to visit Ruth’s brother who was stationed there as a missionary. It was on this trip that Dr. Lowe began to formulate the idea for his home. Betsy says he admired the way the houses in Israel were built surrounding an outdoor space. After living in Israel for 18 months, Dr. Lowe and Ruth returned to Lebanon, eager to begin construction.

Dr. Lowe’s son, Tommy (Charles Thomas Lowe Jr.) chuckled when asked about the plans or blueprints of the house.

“Plans?” Tommy asks. “There were no plans! I had to follow Daddy driving on a trip to Florida, and we talked about the house on the citizen’s band radio all the way down and all the way back. When we got home, we staked it off and built it.”

Tommy recounted his father had purchased the property, a total of about 175 acres, on two separate occasions as the parcels of property were originally a bottling plant and dairy farm.

The structure of the home is comparable to few others. All of the exterior walls are built of concrete block and the interior walls and floors of 12-inch-thick, pre-stressed concrete.

The roof is also concrete, which was brought in and set by cranes. Chuck was 12 years old at the time the house was being built, and he says he remembers watching the cranes set the concrete.

Because of the substantial framework and density and girth of the structure, it was recognized as one of the area’s only fallout shelters. The Civil Defense used the basement, which was air-tight, to store food rations in case of emergency.

The basement has a vent that runs many feet out into the property, and Chuck can remember hearing Ruth and her friends playing bridge in the basement when he would be out in the yard.

The atrium that the house surrounds was originally only a porch, but as Betsy relayed, “they don’t get as much rain in Israel as we do in Tennessee, so Daddy started having problems out there on the porch.”

That’s when Dr. Lowe installed the glass roof to enclose it. Although more than 50 years old, the motorized atrium glass roof still opens on the right side. Understanding this installation was made in the late 1960s proves how Dr. Lowe was always just a bit ahead of his time.

Dr. Lowe and Ruth lived in the home until his passing in January of 2003. Upon his passing, his daughter, Betsy, inherited the home. As she has lived out of state most of her adult life, she sold the home to her brother Tommy, who then made the decision to also sell it. The new owner of the home was transferred after living there eight years, and that is when Chuck and Dena purchased the house.

When they acquired it in 2015, the interior of the house had been maintained well by the previous owner, with exception of the basement. But in true Chuck and Dena fashion, they painstakingly restored and repaired every inch of the house. Many of the original interior finishes remain, apart from new carpeting and appliances.

Chuck and Dena are grateful to be able to preserve Dr. Lowe’s legacy and share it with their children and grandchildren, as they use the home for extended family gatherings and entertaining.

And in the front corner of the main room hangs a large portrait of Dr. Lowe, smiling over them all.

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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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