LA Jackson and Henrietta Red | Nashville, Tennessee

Once upon a time (when I was 19 years old), I encountered a person on a dormitory elevator; she was as beautiful as a blooming rose. I was charmed by her energy and warmth.

And it turned out that she was filled with a super power of which I was deplete. She could x-ray my desiderata before I could.

For me… this was a match made in heaven.

I have no doubt of that because we have remained devoted to each other for 44 years. And here is the gorgeous thing about friendship longevity – there are chances to work out individual salvation; the kind that can diminish harm in a tired old world.

Just like the reflective trip she and I recently made to Nashville for attendance at Ian Cron’s The Enneagram at Work. I cannot imagine a better person with which to explore self-awareness other than the mate who knew you when you had a lampshade on your head.

You know the friend I’m talking. The one who would commit decades later to gifting you a silver-plated address book inscribed, “it’s the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter”.

Many laps around the track later, we mutually focused our open minds and hearts on the enneagrams which are magical in their diagnosis of nine distinct personality styles. Mr. Cron explains that, “The enneagram teachings give insight into the differences of how we all see the world and the underlying motivations that influence how we think, feel and behave”.

So much to think about, so little time.

To begin our weekend journey, we opened up the past with a meeting of the minds in The Gulch, on the tippity-top of Thompson Nashville: the LA Jackson rooftop bar The hour mattered not; the clinking of tall glasses filled with Bloody Mary smacked pre-event celebrations of Ole Miss yore and we found ourselves just as we were – excited and clueless.

LA Jackson is the consummate setting for such a caucus, heads literally up in the clouds, amid bartenders who can charm the birds from the tree of which Thompson has somehow supplied way up there on the 12th floor panorama, Nashville stratosphere.

Having collectively previewed Bloody Marys across the country, we agreed that some such cocktails have too much mix and some, too many edible decorations; but LA Jackson’s Bloody Mary is just right and Cathead Vodka might be a key.

The two of us waxed a strong common marker that shaped us – mothers from the Mississippi Delta; and we wanned lifestyle choices of  children who are more discerning than their parents.

Though back when neither one of us collected an academic award, the present day finds that acquiring knowledge has shimmied up our list of shared preoccupations along with an ability to appraise good food of which we partook for Sunday brunch at Henrietta Reds in the Germantown.

Past experiences at HR will never allow me to verve from their salads even during Sunday brunch because of the exotic combinations and sparkling fresh greens they offer. Their concise menu divides into sweet, savory, sides and craft cocktails. Chef Julia Sullivan and partner sommelier Allie Poindexter have staged a beatific setting which also includes private dining and event spaces.

Henrietta Reds was a marvel at rolling out hospitality on a cold and rainy spring day as that rare place where cronies can still can put away some raw oysters of which they offer in diversity, something that was unheard of 40 years ago.

Sigh… but so many things were.

The first course included oysters from North Carolina, Massachusetts, British Columbia, Washington and finally our favorite: the Murder Points from Alabama. Our able bodied waiter pointed out that we are all acclimated to the regional taste of where we grew up. Yes, indeed.

I might add this was the perfect setting for goodbye, but then no doubt, also for hello, because Henrietta Reds’s environment is charmingly one of enlightenment. We appreciated easy parking, friendly hosts, intelligent wait staff and cosy cushions.

While parting, a movie of us at different ages and stages ran through my mind and I thought of the Max Coots blessing of thanksgiving when he prays for, “the loving friends, who wind around as like tendrils”. No doubt those tendrils have deep roots nourished by sentient conversation over uplifting food and drink.

Big Picture. Stage right. Love you, Lynnie.

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