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- [Presenter] Truist is committed to the communities and people it serves across Tennessee. Offering in-person and online banking, investment, and other financial services for individuals and businesses. More at Truist.com. Published by Tennessee State Parks. The Tennessee conservationist magazine features articles on native species, culture and history. Connecting readers with Tennessee's natural resources and recreational activities. More information at tnconservationist.org. - This time on Tennessee crossroads, we sampled the cookies and custard at a sweet spot in Nashville. Then travel to Chattanooga to visit a rare collection of tow trucks. We'll dine at a friendly little place in Leiper's Fork. We'll discover how kids are spending summer on the farm in Summertown. Plus a bonus story about the upcoming Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Man, we're packing it in. All that on this Tennessee Crossroads. I'm Joe Elmore, welcome. Here in the south if you hear, "Hey, sugar." It's often a term of endearment, but in our first story, Miranda Cohen takes us to a special place where it also means you're about to have some of the most delicious, unique cookies you've ever tasted. - [Miranda] Long time friends and now business partners, Sarah McKay and Melissa Frist are hard at work at one of the sweetest places in town, a cookie shop with the perfect name, Hey sugar!. - It's kind of Southern. It's fun. It has sugar in it. - Some people de emphasize the hey. Some people emphasize the sugar. It's a real mix and we just love it. - [Miranda] Mckay has three daughters and Frist has four and the name was a real collaboration. - It was really fun. This whole process was not just Sarah and I, but it was Sarah and I and our seven girls. And occasionally would let our husbands chime in. - [Miranda] Long before they had the great name Sarah McKay had a great sugar cookie recipe and a big dream. - I just started working on a recipe and then people started asking if I could make them for their child's birthday. And then it slowly evolved into a home business. Just couldn't keep up with the orders. And I had to turn orders away. - [Miranda] That's when the longtime friends started to think outside of the box and blend their ideas into what would become a storefront cookie shop in the heart of Belle Meade. - [Melissa] We love this strip. We waited until we could get this spot. Other places had opened up, but we knew this is where we wanted to be. - [Miranda] The ladies knew they already had a solid customer base and the cookies had plenty of fans. - [Sarah] A recipe, just a simple recipe, and everything from the ingredients to the process we tweaked and it evolved until we got this perfect melt in your mouth cookie. And we're different because we use better cream frosting. Because we're all about the flavor. - Because not only are they cute, but they melt in your mouth. Just that little extra love we put in there. - [Miranda] Thanks to McKay's crafty father-in-law, who makes all of the cookie cutters, they can create almost any shape. If you can dream it, they can bake it into beautiful buttery, goodness. - [Melissa] Kind of fun when the customers come to us with an idea, and then we sit down and think about, well, we haven't done that and how can we make it work? And how can we make it work with the way we do things? - [Miranda] And at Hey Sugar!, it's not all about the sugar cookies. They have other delicious flavors too, like salted toffee, chocolate brownie, carrot cake, and of course, chocolate chip. - [Sarah] It was taste testing and taste testing and taste testing again and tweaking until it was the exact chocolate chip cookie we wanted. - [Melissa] And everything's local. Very simple ingredients and very few ingredients. We really don't add any preservatives or anything like that in our cookies. - [Miranda] And because even cookies need a sidekick. Hey Sugar!, also serves up rich, creamy, frozen custard. - And what's been really fun is watching Nashville fall in love with custard. Watching that over that first year of kids realizing, "Oh my goodness, I actually really love frozen custard. And it's better than ice cream." Custard is really premium ice cream. It has a higher cream content and more egg yolk, which is what gives it that incredible taste. - All of these tasty treats can be individually wrapped, or you can even try your hand at icing your own. One of the most in demand things here at Hey Sugar! is their decorating kit. It is so great. They make the sugar cookies for you in shapes. Here's a dinosaur and a duck. They even make their frosting in a piping bag. So you're a little artists can create masterpieces of their own and they've done all the work for you. - So you have, I don't know, five types of frosting and you cut off the tips. You can decorate whatever. My kids love them. - [Customer] I love the boxes at Christmas time because I don't have to get out the flour, the sugar, you know, I don't have to go to the store and buy all the different colors of icing. You're ready to decorate. You just get your box and sit down and you have everything you need. - [Miranda] Whimsical and colorful. Hey Sugar!, is like a walk in fairy tale. Complete with a cookie cutter chandelier and a magical camera that takes pictures that develop instantly. And perhaps most surprisingly, the sweetest rewards have actually been for McKay, Frist and their seven daughters. Learning hard work, determination, and dedication to their customers are all the perfect ingredients for success. - It's been really good for our girls to see that. It's not just showing up and doing the fun retail section, but it is the sweat that you put in back here, making the custard every morning, making the cookies every day. But it's been a really good lesson for our girls to see, I think. - [Sarah] Great, and we feel good about doing it with our daughters and showing them something that started so small and grew into this space. The employees and the customers. That was the piece that has been just wonderful. Getting to know it's kind of like our own little family here and getting to see our customers and knowing them. - Thanks a lot Miranda. Most of us rarely think about tow trucks. Most of us hope we never need one. You'll never look at one the same though, after you visit a one of a kind museum in Chattanooga. If you're up for traveling down tow truck memory lane, this place may pull you in. - There's a tow truck museum and I think, well, that's interesting. I've been to car museums, I've been to all this kind of thing and they'll come in here and they'll go, "Wow, There is a lot in here. A lot more than I expected." - [Joe] It all started with a group of towing professionals who decided to preserve their industry's history and share some of it with the public. The result is a unique little attraction with a big name, the International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum. Now's Vincent, the resident historian, showed me around. - The industry is kind of one that people brush over, but it's a very proud, very rich history. It's essentially a Samaritan industry. They get out there and they say, "Hey, I'm willing to come pick you up when you can't get up yourself." - The museums in Chattanooga for good reason, you see the tow truck was invented here. All thanks to an interior decorator and mechanic named Ernest Holmes. In a way, this is how it all started. You see Mr. Holmes opened the garage to work on cars and well, he realized after a while, it'd be easier to bring the cars to him rather than work on the cars in the field. The result, the Model 680. Why 680? That was the cost. The foundation for his invention was a 1913 Cadillac with a fairly stout factory chassis. The towing mechanism is a system of ropes and pulleys. Hand crank of course. - [Vincent] Once the company got started, he started selling the wreckers internationally. I mean, it exploded, because there was no such thing as a tow truck prior to that. Vehicles became more prominent. The model T was everywhere. So, that became very useful for people on the road. - [Joe] Holmes company not only manufactured complete tow trucks, it also made rigs that mounted to existing truck beds. With the advent of World War Two American wreckers headed to Europe to give the allies a lift. Holmes made over 7,200 W45s. This one was part of the Red Ball Express that carried critically needed supplies to the frontlines in France. This monster wrecker was also built for the military, but never saw action. - [Vincent] Holmes' company had built four of these wreckers. They were prototypes for the military. They had been contracted. Well, unfortunately the military didn't use it and they just fell into disarray. This particular one that exists in the museum is only one of four and it's the only one that survived. It was restored in the mid to late eighties. And it's still considered the largest wrecker mounted on a truck in the world. - [Joe] Well, from the biggest to the fastest. This is the one you'd want for a speedy service. - [Vincent] In the seventies, they wanted to see how fast they could get a tow truck. A fully built, fully set up tow truck that would work anywhere in the world. As far as getting out on the road and picking somebody up. And they wanted to get it out on the Indianapolis Speedway and see how fast they could get it to go. Ended up breaking, I believe, about 109 miles an hour. So it ended up being the fastest recorded tow truck in the world at the time. - [Joe] All the vehicles are on loan, from proud owners, who had them meticulously restored to their former towing glory. - [Vincent] It's like restoring any vehicle. It becomes very specialized and very... you have to have parts machined and it has to be restored in a very specific way. - [Joe] A tow truck driver has an important job, but it's a dangerous one as well. It's estimated that a driver is killed every six days. That's why in 2006, The Wall of the Fallen was dedicated to honor men and women who lost their lives in the line of service. Scott Hickson is a veteran driver from Florida we met. To him witnessing the wall was an emotional experience. - It's quite awe inspiring. It brings out several emotions. It's quite humbling. - [Joe] You lost a lot of friends? - I've lost a lot of friends. Had a lot of friends get hit. Myself, I've been hit. Yeah. - [Joe] Obviously the Towing and Recovery Museum is not your run of the mill roadside attraction. And while most of us hope we never need one. It's fascinating to hook up with all this truck history and tradition. You can't leave this place without a new appreciation for tow trucks and the people who drive them. - [Vincent] I would just hope that they would be more informed about the industry. Realize that there's people out there that work hard every day to make sure the roads stay clear and are there to help them. And at the same time they come away understanding a part of history that is not often discussed. You don't talk about tow trucks very often or where they came from. - Sometimes a little bit of nostalgia can be the best seasoning for a meal. That's true for the Country Boy restaurant in Leiper's Fork. And as Tammi Arender found out a couple who's not even from Tennessee, decided to bring this iconic diner back to life. - [Tammi] The laid back feel of Leiper's Fork is something of legend. Virtually untouched by the big city. Just about 40 minutes Northeast of here. - Thanks for calling Country Boy. - [Tammi] The reliable ring of an old rotary phone along with the mild roar of a hungry crowd means one thing. You're in the heart of Leiper's Fork at the Country Boy restaurant. - [Tom] There's fifth generations here. So that's why we love this and we do what we do. - [Tammy] Country Boy opened in 1968, serving the locals made from scratch Southern comfort food. So Tom Fanning and Diana English made it their mission to bring this place back to the future. - Diana worked here for five or six years. She got to know everybody. And then when it shut down, it was just, I wouldn't say devastating, but part of the town lost something. Because there was no place for people to come for breakfast in the morning, for lunch. And it was something that was missing and she told me we need to bring it back. - [Tammi] And so they did. The establishment had been turned into a fine dining restaurant by the previous owners. So they had their work cut out for them. Despite its challenges. Diana knew this place needed to get back to its roots. - [Tom] She was afraid that it was gonna turn something back into what it was and not be what the community needed. It's worth it. - That's your great-grandfather there. The baby there. - It is, I don't know how it got in here. It's in a few places around here that are like old timey. And I think it's just one of the most old and iconicy pictures of this area. - [Tammi] Jacob Crawford is one of those locals. You can find him at the Country Boy, at least three days a week. And although you would expect him to say he comes for the food, he says, "That's actually secondary." - The waitresses are my therapists. That's pretty much how I do it. I come in here and I talk to them every morning. - [Tammi] There's also some aroma therapy going on. The smells that come from this kitchen can take you back to grandma's house. From homemade pies and fresh cut meat to the country fried steak, buttermilk biscuits, and country ham. - When we were starting this place, Dave Storey, who's become a good friend. Now he came over here and helped us set up a recipe. And Dave doesn't do anything out of a can. Everything we do here is fresh and made here. I mean our collard greens, our green beans, all our Pinto's, black-eyed, white beans. Everything here is made from scratch. Back then. There's three things that we don't do from scratch and I'm not going to tell you. You have to find out. It adds just a little bit more. You're not taking it out of a box that's frozen or whatever, and thrown in a fryer. Any you guys from around here? - It's much more than locals eating here now. Folks drive in from all over. And just like Jacob, it's not just the food that keeps them coming back. It's the unique flavor of the decor. From customers kids putting their birthday and new height on the wall to the chairs and tables that are named after loyal locals who have passed on or even a quilt that's some 130 years old. It's a recurring theme of yesteryear. So each table has something unique on it and they try and stick with the theme of 1968. So these Zotz candies, that's when they actually came on the scene. And this jar, that just stayed full all the time. So, whether it's Zotz, rocks or lots of loose change, the mason jars bring and illuminate another bit of nostalgia. All of this plus the delicious dishes that keeps a steady flow of foodies coming through the door. Including some stars from time to time. - It's a policy here that we do not bother any entertainers, singers or anybody like that come in here. And then after they've been here a few times, I'll ask if they'll sign a guitar. And that's what that is. We've had, you know, Chris Stapleton, Justin Timberlake, Mac Davis, Reba McEntire. - [Tammi] From the autographed guitar to decades old matchboxes. You never know what you'll find at the Country Boy. But two things are for sure, hospitality and home cooking. And if that doesn't butter your biscuit, I don't know what will. - [Tom] It's not hard work. It's a lot of hours. But you know, when you see like, earlier Jacob was in here, some of the other people. You get to know everybody and it's like, you know it's worth it. - Thanks Tammi. In middle Tennessee, if you hear, "The Farm." Many folks think of the commune near Summertown. Stephen Gaskin, and a caravan of followers left San Francisco and moved to Tennessee in pursuit of a simpler life. Decades later, they're still improving lives as Farm native Gretchen Bates explains. - The Farm was founded in 1971 by a band of idealistic hippies that traveled across America in a caravan of brightly painted school buses. They were looking for land on which to build a self-sufficient spiritual community. And they found it in Lewis county. The community grew quickly from its original 300 members to just over 1500 residents by the early 1980s. Over 40 years later, The Farm is still here. It's been through some changes, but many of the outreach programs that the founders started decades ago have taken root and continue to grow. - All right. - I'll move this here. - [Woman] I got you rainbow. - Oh rainbow, okay. - [Gretchen] One of those programs is called Kids to the Country. Mary Ellen Bowen is the program's director. - This is a program that I began in 1986 in order to bring at-risk kids out of the city to get a dose of nature and a real connection with the earth that it's very difficult to get when they're living in the city. These kids come mostly from Nashville. We take the six to 11 year old and then the counselors and training are 13 on up. Until we have some people that have come back now that are in their twenties. And it's just wonderful. You know, we're serving about 200 kids a year. - This is Natchez. You want to pet them before you get on? And pull yourself up. Nice work. That was all pro, buddy. My name is Peter Keinfield and I'm the counselor and curriculum coordinator of the KTC program. I mostly coordinate all the day to day activity. All of the skills I've ever learned come in handy here. I wake the kids up with a song at seven o'clock. I have a horrible singing voice and that helps them get out of bed pretty quickly. We've had kids who, stepping in a creek, like they're ecstatic. "This is the first time I've ever stepped in water that wasn't in a bathtub." - I like the swimming hole and I like to eat there. I like the food and I like to play the games. - I like walking because it makes you stronger. - It's awesome. - [Mary] Then after the swimming hole, then they come back here and they start getting ready for the talent show. Because every Wednesday night we have a talent show. ♪ Watch me nae nae ♪ ♪ Now watch me whip ♪ ♪ Watch me nae nae ♪ ♪ Watch me whip, whip ♪ ♪ Watch me nae nae ♪ - [Peter] And then the kids perform and then we try to get them to calm down enough to go to sleep. They're usually pretty tired from all the activities. You know, they all really get a lot out of being surrounded by love and just being safe and supported in a calm, peaceful environment. The kids who come from the city in general are at risk. We also have kids from The Farm and very quickly, you sort of can't tell who's who. It's actually a huge benefit to the Farm because we don't have a whole lot of diversity in the community. And so it's really sweet when they all get to combine and become a family. We talk a lot about being of service to each other. The best way to be of service to ourselves is to be of service to others. Like they're just as eager to help prepare dinner or clean up after dinner as they are to be at the swimming hole. The kids get to just play and the counselors are really working and yet they're super eager to become counselors. It's just an amazing thing to see. The whole community really does participate in the program. And I can't imagine it working as well as it does any place else. ♪ We have a lot of fun ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ At Kids to the Country ♪ ♪ Kids, Kids, Kids to the Country ♪ - Well, finally, we wanted to share the news that our friends at the Nashville Shakespeare Festival are returning to the stage later this month. Ed Jones has the details on their summer event. - That I am more than Prospero master of a full poor cell. - [Ed] The footlights shone brightly for the Nashville Shakespeare Festival in 2019. After 30 years of performances at Centennial park, its first summer festival at One City was a rousing success. Then came 2020. - [All] You fools. - [Ed] As executive artistic director Denise Hicks remembers all too well. - The National Shakespeare Festival has been presenting free Shakespeare every summer since 1988. The summer of 2020 is the only year that we did not produce. So, we're really excited about this comeback year. And we are so excited that we are doing two shows for the first time in our history. We are doing a play by August Wilson that will open the festival. That play's called Jitney. Set in Pittsburgh in 19, the seventies. And it's about a group of men who formed their own cab company to serve the black community. When white cab drivers wouldn't go into their neighborhoods. It's a funny story about really serious things. - [Ed] It's also the festival's First collaboration with Kenny Playhouse Theater. The brainchild of artistic director, Kenny Dozier, whose high caliber productions made an impression on Denise. - I didn't know who she was. I just kept looking up at my audience. At this strange little lady in my audience. And she would always say something positive. - Kenny's choices of plays, the talent, the caliber of talent that he attracts, always just impressed me. I was always impressed with his shows and after producing for 14 years here in Nashville. with very few resources. That he just needed a bigger platform. So summer Shakespeare is a great step forward for his company and his theater, and his artistry. Because now many more people will get to see it. We have a good two week run with an extra weekend in Franklin, this summer with Jitney. And that pairs up nicely with 12th Night by Shakespeare, which is a rollicking family friendly musical comedy experience for everybody. So the festival is bigger and better this year, and we're all really excited about that. - [Ed] And you can't beat the price. - It's actually a free event. It's actually free and you can buy what we call VIP Royal seats. We have about 25 per show, but even if you don't pay the extra money to get a VIP Royal seat, you can still sit up front or lay up front on a blanket, sit in a chair. And so just come in, find your spot, dig on in, and let's have a good time. Nashvilleshakes.org. Kennieplayhousetheatre.com. Come and see, it's going to be great. - Well that about does it for this edition of Tennessee Crossroads. Sure appreciate you joining us. And don't forget about our website, of course. Tennesseecrossroads.org. Follow us on Facebook and I'll see you next time. - [Presenter] Truist is committed to the communities and people it serves across Tennessee. Offering in-person and online banking, investment and other financial services for individuals and businesses. More at truist.com. Published by Tennessee State Parks. The Tennessee conservationist magazine features articles on native species, culture, and history. Connecting readers with Tennessee's natural resources and recreational activities. More information at tnconservationist.org.
August 05, 2021
Season 35 | Episode 06
Miranda Cohen samples the sweets at Hey Sugar! Joe Elmore visits a one-of-a-kind museum in Chattanooga. Tammi Arender checks out the menu at the Country Boy Restaurant in Leiper's Fork. We highlight the Nashville Shakespeare's Summer Festival 2021. Presented by Nashville Public Television.