Jul 192018

Any experienced RVer will tell you that one thing you have to take along with you on every trip is Jell-O. No, not the kind you eat, though that’s pretty good, too. I’m talking about the kind of Jell-O you need when plans change. In the RV lifestyle, nothing is ever set in concrete. You can plan to be someplace at a certain time, lay out your route, make your campground reservations, and at the last minute something can happen that changes everything. It could be a breakdown somewhere along the road, it could be bad weather, it could be an illness, or sometimes you just decide to do something else. That’s why you write your plans in Jell-O. Unlike concrete, you can shake it up and change things around anytime you want to.

We may not be RVing anymore, but Jell-O is still a part of our lives. A good example was a recent road trip. When we left Tuscaloosa, Alabama, we planned to go up to the Cincinnati, Ohio area to do some genealogy research, visit with an author friend of mine, and gather some stories for the blog. But then we learned that our dear friends Tom and Barbara Westerfield were staying in Franklin, Kentucky, just a few miles north of Nashville, so we shook up the Jell-O and went to see them first.

Driving through Nashville is never any fun, whether you are in an RV or an automobile, and we had our share of road construction, traffic slowdowns, and crazy drivers as we made our way through the city. But soon enough, all of that was behind us and we reached our destination.

Back when we were doing our Gypsy Journal rallies, Tom and Barbara were always there to help out with the 1,001 tasks large and small that need to be handled to make for a successful RV rally. Whether it was helping get all the RVs parked upon arrival, assisting with registration, printing out name badges, and even presenting seminars, if it needed done, we knew Tom and Barbara would make short work of it.

They were staying at a place called Dad’s Bluegrass Campground, which was just off the interstate, so we booked a room at the nearby Comfort Inn. It’s been a while since we’ve seen Tom and Barbara, and it sure was nice to get together with them again.

After visiting for a while in their RV, we drove into Franklin to get a bite to eat. Tom and Barbara had recommended the Brickyard Café, which is housed in a beautiful old building on one side of the courthouse square. But when we got there we discovered we were too early for dinner and had an hour to kill. No problem, we decided to walk around town a little bit and then come back.

Incorporated in 1820, Franklin is a charming small town, full of friendly people. The courthouse square is lined with boutiques, small gift shops, restaurants, and an antique mall. I could walk around the place for hours, stopping in at the little businesses and chatting with the owners. And apparently we weren’t the only people who found Franklin a great place. Back in 1968, country music stars Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were married in Franklin.

The original Old Jail and Jailers’ Quarters, built in 1835, is now the home of the Simpson County Museum. Visitors can take a tour and see charcoal drawings and graffiti left on the walls by Confederate soldiers who were held prisoner in the jail during the Civil War. The museum’s archives are a genealogist’s treasure trove, including old court documents, tax records, marriage records, wills, deeds, and family histories for Simpson, Allen, Logan and Warren Counties in Kentucky, as well as Robertson and Sumner Counties in Tennessee. Also available are family Bibles, census records, funeral home records, maps, pictures, an obituary file, and memorabilia from the past.

We wandered around town for a while and got back to the restaurant just as they started serving dinner. The food was delicious, and the company even better. We all agreed that we need to get together again the next time Tom and Barbara take an RV trip through this part of the country.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an audiobook of Ken Rossignol’s The Chesapeake: A Man Born to Hang Can Never Drown. It’s a collection of adventures in prose from around the Chesapeake tidewater region told by an erstwhile and eclectic collection of bards, poets, and tale-tellers. Fans of short stories will enjoy this fourth book in the Chesapeake series and the valuable history shared about the Chesapeake region. To enter, all you have to do is click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening.

Thought For The Day – I don’t play hard to get, I play awkward to want.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  8 Responses to “We’ve Still Got Jell-O”

  1. We stayed there for a few days last (?) summer and went to visit “Octagon Hall,” a Civil War era plantation built unusually as an octagon. It was occupied by Confederate soldiers and carefully scrutinized by the Union on their way through. Very interesting as it wasn’t really restored, but exists pretty much as it did during that era, including all the hiding places for soldiers, etc. It had been used over the years and made into apartments. But when it became part of the historical society’s project, it was changed back to its original configuration. Worth a stop if you ever get there again. http://octagonhall.com/octagon/history.html

  2. Franklin KY, the only time I’ve heard of it was on the cable TV show “Justified”. Looks like a neat place, I’d like to take a look at the old jail & compare it to the others we’ve toured…

  3. How many of us still have a closet full of Gypsy Journal Gathering t-shirts? In honor of your reunion I will wear my green one, too.
    I would have loved to hear the stories told over dinner. (((HUGS)))

  4. Been to Franklin. Interesting town.

  5. I even learned something new about Franklin. Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash were married there? I need to do more research. We had a fun time with you and Terry. We rarely laugh till we cry as we do when we’re together with you guys. Thanks for stopping by.

  6. We had a great tour of that jail. Our docent was excellent.

  7. Boy Nick, living in a house has not been good for you. You’ve sure turned into a porker since you got off the road. Get out and get some exercise man!

  8. No Rob, I was a porker back then too. But thanks for caring. 🙂

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