- This time on Tennessee crossroads, we pay a visit to a multi talented Kingston springs folk artist, known as Bebo. Then head off to Alcoa to sample some hot cars and cold milkshakes. We'll take in a restored one room schoolhouse near Scott's Hill, and flashback to a time when yours truly took on the "chitlin challenge." That's the menu for this time. I'm Joe Elmore. Welcome again to Tennessee crossroads. Our first story highlights an artist, with a style that's guaranteed to brighten your day. In fact he's an old friend of mine, John Paul Daniel. Who uses bold colors and quake characters to create his own fanciful world. Well, Miranda Cohen entered that world recently, and got to know this fantastic artist, known by many, by another name. In the heart of Kingston Springs, you will find all sorts of exotic animals. Fish, turtles, giant snakes, maybe even spot the king. All creations of an eclectic mastermind. You know, one of those artists with only one name. - I had a dream that said, You're Nebo. And I was like, I woke Betty Blair up, I said, Hey, I'm supposed to be Bebo, and that's gonna be my folk art name. And it just fit perfectly and it just took off. It just melted, my art with the name and I wanted one name, you know, like Picasso. - And that's the way it happened in 1993. John Paul Daniel, the Nashville musician, also became the beloved folk artist. Known as Bebo. - There we go. Cool. - Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma to very artistic parents, he developed a love of nature, and an eye for bright color and detail. - When I was a kid in Tulsa, we, my dad would take us to powwows all the time, Indian powwows, the Osage Indians in Tulsa. They're beautiful leather and bead work and so, maybe subconsciously some more is in there. I don't know I love color. - As a musician, John Paul Daniel traveled the world. And he brought his love for Native American, Mexican and Caribbean culture, back to Tennessee. - I am self taught. All self taught. This lady one time she goes, "You don't know what you're doing Do you?" And I said, "No." She goes, "That's why it's beautiful." I fish a lot, you know, down the gulf, so all of the, the aquatic critters and the gators and snakes and fish and, you know squids and just everything and I can think of. Everything that God puts in my mind, I can, I can try to do something. Try to do something interesting, and different and it's, it's challenging, because I would take a hatchet and a hammer and I was cutting all this stuff up, and then a friend of mine in Memphis said, "Hey." She saw it, she goes, "Let's do this. Do a show down here." Well, we sold out. - Carving and sanding pine oak and Poplar, then hand painting in vivid colors. He has a signature style that are his own. And his one of a kind pieces are instantly recognizable. - These pineapple heads, and they sell like crazy. And I want to make big snakes big gators, like that big one up there eight footers. I like to make big stuff but the heads. I don't know, I just have fun making them. They make me laugh. Man I still got it. A lot of people know me and I've been, very blessed in my artwork to meet so many people. Making art is a very peaceful thing for me. - And it is through his art, his faith and his many friends he has met over the years that he is drawing on that piece. After the recent passing of his wife of 33 years. Betty Blair - She was my biggest fan to honor her life, I've got to keep going to honor her life. I've got to keep living mine. I got to heal and the grief has been. Grief has been grief. Trying to make grief your friend is is tough. but It's getting better. - John Paul Bebo says one of his favorite things to paint are the pineapple heads. But more recently, he has been painting straight from his heart. This has become his mantra. - This too shall pass is really selling good right now. I'm living it right now. Grace of God, I'm just keep going, you know, I feel blessed. I feel really, really, really blessed and a life has been, has been colorful. And it's, I've lived a blessed life, you know? - And from all his years as an artist and a musician, of course he's got some pretty famous friends, and he's wise enough not to share their stories. - No, no, Joe Elmore stories. Joe is my buddy man. I Love him. We've known each other. - Nothing? - We've known each other since the 80s. I love him. And he's my brother. He's a hell of a bass player too. - He'll be happy. You wouldn't tell us a story. - Yeah. Well, I don't want him telling on me either. - Okay, fair enough. - You know. Yeah. Here's to Joe. And to Tennessee Crossroads. - Oh, that's cool. Here's to you, John Paul, and let's get together and jam sometime. You know, a few time periods to bring back sentimental feelings like the 1950s. The birth of rock and roll, classic cars, sock hops, malt shops. Well, if you'd like to take that trip down memory lane once more, there's a place in Alcoa where you can do just that. Gretchen Bates has taken us to the Hot Rods 50s diner. - I'm just looking for the step back in time feel with chrome, neon signs, Elvis records, just trying to give you a more of a retro, true 50s diner feel. - Move over H.G Wells Ray Schwartz built a real time machine. From the jukebox to burgers and fries. Everything about hot rods 50s diner, is designed to whisk you back to the days of malt shops and Marilyn Monroe. But Ray didn't always have it made in the shade. His first gig was working with amphibians. - I was a dishwasher and I breaded frog legs. And that's because nobody else wanted to bring them, I guess I was the lowest man on the totem pole. - Ray finally forgot the frog legs, leaped out of squaresville, and into his dreams. - I always loved cars. You know I always love neon and you know the retro you know, look. - Every inch of real estate at Hot Rods is jam packed with 50s memorabilia. - I just really want to do something that was fun. And I went to a lot of the local little antique shops and stuff like that and picked up Wherever I could find that would fit the, you know, the retro feel that I was looking for. - That you don't just run across authentic booths and chairs in an antique shop. Those babies are custom made. They're actually modeled out there. Yeah, Chevy. You know, I think it's more like a Bel Air type backseat is what. the look they were going for. - Muscle car memories are nice, but it's the menu that's guaranteed to get your motor running. And believe me when I say there's a whole lot of shaking going on. - We make our shakes the old fashioned way where we, you know we hand spin and they are now from soft serve ice cream. They're actually handed by ice cream 16 flavors of hard dip ice cream, we have a lot of desserts. - And I'll be honest with you, I've not had many other desserts because usually after the hamburger you don't really have much room for anything after that. - Hamburgers. Yeah, different styles. Hot Rods might have one or two, or 80 - We have over 80 burgers. We have pork burgers. We have Black Bean burgers, we do have chicken burgers. - Among the 80 burgers you can sink your teeth into and hot rods. This monster is the most famous. It might even be your ticket to the wall of fame. - We have a challenge called The Chubby, and that's why all the pictures are on the wall. It's three patties that are 11 ounces each, for a total of 33 ounces and either with a pound of fries, within 30 minutes and they get their picture on the wall, and they get a free shirt. That says "I GOT A CHUBBY Hot Rods 50s Diner." - Now as you can imagine the chubby challenge isn't for everyone. But every once in a while are rare breed of dietary Desperado moseys into town looking for a beef with the chubby. A valiant effort. - Gave it my best shot. - Any advice for future challengers? - Thirty minutes sounds like a long time, but it's not a lot. That's not enough time. You got to just eat. - Just eat wise words, especially at Hot Rods, because burgers and shakes are just a fraction of the whole delicious story. - Food wise if you're not looking for a burger we have, you know all the traditional 50s diner food including pot roast, which we, everything's made from scratch. We have killer grilled cheese, chicken pot pie, and then we have just about everything you would expect to find in a 50s diner. - And a few things you may not expect to find. Allow me to introduce The Hog. Gotta take the pork line, we cut it and then we'll pound it and then we season it with a salt and pepper. And then we'll actual marinated it in a egg buttermilk batter and then we, bread it and pan fry it's, it's huge. - Huge aptly describes the hog as well as the menu. - Our menu is so expansive. There's going to be something for everyone and everything is, you know homemade it's made in house if you're ordering even onion rings, you know, we're cutting them and we're battering them to order so, everything is very fresh. The patties are made probably an hour or two before you order them. And no matter what you get, it's going to be good and there is something for everyone. - David Bills is the manager at Hot Rods. This young man takes great pride in his work, and you can taste it. - We have plenty of options that we make from scratch and house anything from the marinara, or the chicken pot pie soup to the burgers. Aah, you know, we don't we have chicken tenders but we don't just buy chicken tenders. We take chicken breasts, we cut them to size, we use those scraps, we grind them to make burgers, it's all very efficient, very fresh. There's not anything that you're going to get here that was made in you know, a factory, or something like that. It's all the real deal local good, yummy food. - At the end of the day. You know when everybody and we start closing up and everybody's just happy and leaving here and you know, we see all the comments on Facebook and everything and all those reviews, just gives me a feeling. it actually makes me, you know, I have a great night's sleep after a day like that. - Chances are after eating and hot rods diner you'll sleep well too. Just wait until you get home please. - That hamburgers proud, but sighs I'm so I don't think I might get it down. But getting back to the house will be the problem. - People will come approach me and tell me how much they love the restaurant. It really means a lot to make an impact in the community and just to have a place where people can come and make memories is really special. - Thanks a lot Gretchen. Long before classrooms were equipped with computers. But Heck, before they were air conditioned even. Students learned their reading writing and arithmetic in one room schoolhouses. Hard to believe huh? Well, most of them are long gone now. But Ed Jones found one near Scott's Hill that's been restored to its former glory. - I'm 88 year old, older kid and I was in eighth grade and I had the same teacher. Back in those days, like say in the 30s and it was hard times. - Carl White has seen his share of hard times, and so has the area surrounding his alma mater, Doe Creek school, whose story began during the hardest time in our history. The Civil War turned Brother against brother and Henderson County was no different. This picturesque property started as the final resting place for two brothers, who paid the ultimate price in that conflict. Shortly after the war, a church was added to the cemetery, which became a blessing for generations of children in need of an education. As Carl's brother Joe can tell us. - Back in those days, public buildings was few and far between. So they started at some period, having school here. - A school that molded young minds from the first through eighth grade for decades. And after all those years of instruction, there's one name that still echoes inside Doe Creek school, - Elmer Duck, - Mr. Elmer Duck, - Mr. Elmer Duck, that was my great uncle - Who taught this school for 54 years. - Back then a few went through the eighth grade and, was a good student, so on and they had some kind of exam if you could pay a set, you get certified to teach. He did that and he taught for years and he was a good teacher. - Oh, he was fine old man lenient old man. Back in those days they paddle. But I never know but two boys got paddled. They very well needed it. - After Elmer bid farewell to his final pupil in 1949. The school itself was left in need. - After that, the old building just sat here for a long time and no repairs and nothing - It was getting in bad shape. When we restored it. - Restored, bringing us to the second part of our story, which also began with the Doe Creek cemetery. And a chance meeting between Freddie Kennedy and friends. - Jared Taylor and Bill Snyder came down and we're installing two veteran markers We just kind of look back here at the old building and it was in bad need of repair - And he asked me Would I help him get it restored? So I called Steve McDaniel and he called Mr. Carroll Van West and got it goin' - The going was tough. But as the old saying goes, the tough got going. One of the go getters was Betty Girlie Hughes, whose father was a student at Doe Creek, Michael Gavin, who was with the MTSU, Center for historical preservation, supervised the restoration of the building with his help, I did the research and did the script for the Tennessee Historical Commission marker. We have it on the National Register of Historic Places. So even though Michael is no longer with us, he played a big part in the restoration and we probably wouldn't have the restored school today were it not for him. - This humble backwoods building is recognized as Tennessee's oldest existing log school. And has become a great source of community pride. That pride is showcased the first Saturday of every October as the community and dignitaries from across the state celebrate Doe Creek Day. - The doors of that little school been closed for many, many decades is still educating today. - What amazed me is the amount of response we got out of the people that have either been to school here or had relatives that did. - I was really thrilled, by seeing it fixed up that way. You don't know how something like that. What it means to you until it's gone Attending the gathering, you get the feeling that Mr. Duck is looking down with Pride and what's become of his beloved institution. His legacy and the legacies of Carl and his fellow classmates will live on in the little one room schoolhouse near Doe Creek. - Okay, back by popular demand, we take another trip through the Tennessee Crossroads archives. This time we flashback to the year 1989. That's when a much younger version of yours truly took on the challenge of taking on a mysterious Southern delicacy. Oh and, it wasn't barbecue unfortunately. - This gourmet getaway, takes us to the crossroads of highway 70 and 267. to Watertown, Tennessee, population 1200. When you think of Southern delicacies, foods like fried chicken barbecue ribs or maybe country ham come to mind but it's a little more well unusual gastronomical delight that attracts people to this town. And they'll be here soon. You see it's Chitlin night in Watertown, and we're here to get a taste of the inside story. - Our final destination is here. The Snow White restaurant. And this is where the owner and chief chef Kenneth "Fats" Haynes slow cooks about 220 pounds of his prized chitlins. I think there's some chitlin eaters all over the country. They just, people just don't fool with fix. You know, there are a lot of trouble. Mine comes in frozen, so it's a process thawing them out. Then you gotta cut them up, take fat out and clean them you know, there's still a little corn and stuff still in em - Oh boy. So you clean them real well. We hope - Well like They say don't clean them too clean. - I know you introduce a lot of people to your fried chitlins and well how about one more? - Yeah. I'mma give you a shot at it. - Okay, you think I'll like it, - I might let you cook some of them. - Uh-oh! - Some of the chitterlings are cooled and battered for frying. The rest are just boiled. Why these are ready to eat. - Fats, these have all been battered. - All been battered ready to deep fry. - Ready to deep fry. . Alright let's see how you do it. - Ah its hot Can I try that? - Yeah. - Help yourself. - They feel great. - A chitlin challenge is not to be taken lightly. So I decided research was in order. So by 6 pm the place was filled with customers ready to pay six dollars for all they could eat. Well, I've always heard the best way to learn about the quality of a restaurant's food was to ask the help about insane. Sandra Haynes here has been here since the first Chitterlings was served. How do you like them? - Oh, I don't like them but everybody else does. - You don't like chitlins? - No. - Have you ever tried them? - Mmm Hmm. Then, then I just don't like them. - Shame on you. - I know. - They're delicious. Better than last year. Much better. You guys come here just about every time they have chitlins? - Well we try to, especially on a cold night. - You really like them? - These are better on a cold night. - Raymond Ferris is the official chitlin taster who never stops tasting. - I tested 'em this morning they were just right. - Now your your friends you're eating them fried but you got a big bowl of boiled chitlins is that the only way you eat? - That's the only way I eat 'em. - You eat two bowls? Yeah... - How do you describe the taste of chitlins to somebody who's never had them before? - Well, they got kind of an odd taste. They're greasy But, you got to like them to eat them. - Do you have to try 'em yourself to really know what it's like to have chitlins? - That's right. - I guess I'm getting ready to try em. Soon waitress Wilhelmina was bringing me big servings of homemade beans slaw cornbread and yes fried Chitlins. Before I eat this, do you eat these? - No I don't. You don't? How can you be a true Southerner and you don't eat chitlins> - I'm not a Southerner, I'm a Yankee. - Okay, here we go, I think it calls for ketchup first. You sure you don't wanna try this first? Not bad. - Yeah, wait a minute. You need to try some of these boiled ones. - Boiled ones? - Boiled. - Well, I think you use a lot of hot sauce a lot of hot sauce oh, me. That took intestinal fortitude, folks. This was your initiation into chitlin eating right? - This is the first time. - Okay, what's the verdict? - Verdict is I don't believe I'll order any more boiled ones. I might try some fried ones again sometime but no more boiled ones. Every time I bend down to take a bite of this good slaw. I smell that aroma and I have to back up a little bit. - Chitlins are a throwback to the days when hungry farm families ate everything on the hog but the squeal. Today they're a delicacy, for devotees who don't mind where they come from. As long as they can come here for a fix. Oh, in case you don't know where they come from, - It's the guts. - And so while some gut reactions are adverse, for others at night at Fats place is, well, hog heaven. And each month chitlin night is the main event in this town and a lot of fun for all. Well, just about. Oh boy what a memory. You know what I haven't had that delicacy since then. May never again. Anyway, thanks for joining us. Don't forget our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook. And by all means. Join us here again next week. See you then.
July 23, 2020
Season 34 | Episode 04
This week on Tennessee Crossroads, we meet Bebo, an artist with a unique style that uses bold colors and quirky characters to create his on fanciful world. Gretchen Bates has the story of Hot Rods 50's diner. Ed Jones takes us to a refurbished one room schoolhouse. And Joe Elmore takes us back 30 years to the time he tried Chitlins in Watertown. Brought to you by Nashville Public Television.