Sunday, May 29, 2016
In about 1972, John and I bought a piece of land at Canoe Branch Landing in Castalian Springs, TN. It was on a creek that ran into the Cumberland River at an area called Seven Mile Bluff. We designed and built a small cabin (about 12 x 20'). When I say built, I mean that literally. We had professionals pour the footings for the concrete block piers and we had the septic tank professionally installed. Other than that, we did it all. I don't remember how long it took - probably a year or more. We used raw oak boards. Did you know fresh-cut oak lumber smells like sour milk? Or that when it dries, it gets so hard that you have to drill holes in it to get nails in it? We didn't know these things, but we certainly learned.
The first floor was one big room, with a kitchen and bathroom at one end. We found hanging globe light fixtures that had come out of an old school in Sumner County. The upstairs was reached by pull-down attic stairs. We had two rooms upstairs - just for sleeping. The ceiling was sloped - 8' on the creek side, 4' on the road side - so no beds, just mattresses.
John was a supervisor at duPont at the time and was not happy with his job. He got a lot of therapy from all the hammering and manual labor. He said every nail had somebody's name on it. But the work got done, with our working only on weekends.
We just used the cabin on weekends, but even planted a large garden a couple of years. The girls learned to drive John's old straight-shift 1959 Chevrolet around the circle at the end of the road. In 1979, the rehearsal dinner for Margaret and Bobby's wedding was there.
In about 1982 or so, Pink had moved to Hendersonville, the girls were gone, and we had started traveling some. And our weekends at the cabin all but stopped. It was a traumatic decision, but we decided to sell. As I remember, a young Metro Nashville policeman bought it. We never went back, and subsequently moved to Chattanooga in 1986.
I recent read an article about Indian Mounds in Castalian Springs, and it brought back memories about the cabin. I skyped with Jean today and she told me that she had gone to find the cabin a few days ago. She found it without difficulty and talked to another property owner -a man who is the son of the man we bought the property from. He told her that it's owned by a retired policeman, so it must be the same family. She says it's obviously well loved and well taken care of. She'll take me up there the next time I go to Hendersonville.
And I've had a lovely evening wallowing in nostalgia.