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- This time on "Tennessee Crossroads," we'll explore a staycation destination in the city of Cookeville, we'll follow the artistic journey of a talented pair of seniors in Murfreesboro, and in a Crossroads flashback, revisit the clothier to the king of rock and roll. Hi, everybody, I'm Joe Elmore. Those stories and more on this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." Have you ever wanted to get away from it all but not wander too far from home? Well, more than ever, Tennesseans are exploring staycations right in their own backyards. In our first story, Miranda Cohen travels to Cookeville. That's where a couple have turned their home into a luxurious getaway, or the perfect place to tie the knot. - [Miranda] If you've been to Cookeville, you've seen the sign, but do you know what wonders are hidden inside? The Saltbox Inn is a magical place bursting with beautiful memories. It all started back in 1970 by a collector of rare and unique things. - Well, it was built by a gentlemen that was a Tennessee Tech professor. He gathered a bunch of materials together and sort of backed into it. It's old barns and old sheds and old brick, and he was a pretty much a do-it-yourselfer. - [Miranda] Suzanne and Ed Buck have called the Saltbox home since the nineties and the unusual name is more practical than you might think. - The roof on this building is a saltbox style roof. When you have two stories in the front, a short roof, and then a really long roof down to the one story, it's a saltbox. It's named after an architectural design. - [Miranda] Another architectural wonder is this meticulously-crafted log staircase in the great room. - [Ed] Mr. Buchanan built that himself. He had leftover logs from building the home. They told him he wouldn't be able to do it and he just decided he would. - [Miranda] The Bucks raised a family in this eclectic farmhouse, but when their children were grown, they decided they wanted to share their beautiful 5,300-square-foot home with others. - We thought that we could live here and have a b&b and have guests in. Hmm, no, no, you can be messy and you can't be messy with guests. - [Miranda] So, the Bucks moved to a smaller cabin on the property and refurbished the 22 acres into a dream bed and breakfast and event venue. - I woke up one night and Suzanne said, "Are you awake?" And I said, "Yeah, I'm awake." She goes, "You think this is gonna work?" I said, "Well, I think if you build it, they will come." And she said, "Well, I sure hope so." And it was received by Cookeville a lot better than we ever thought it would be. People became very excited about it and it became very popular. - [Suzanne] I was crying that it wouldn't work and that nobody would come and we would go broke. And then it was like, oh my, now I'm crying, "How can we keep up?" - [Ed] I really thought if we could just do one or two weddings a month and maybe rent a few rooms, we could pay the mortgage. And the year before the virus, I think we did 45 weddings and 65 other events. - [Miranda] The Saltbox Inn offers six luxurious bedrooms, a swimming pool, a hot tub, seven buildings, and five picturesque wedding and event locations. They can accommodate almost any request and can host up to 600 guests. They even have some pretty fancy options of getaway cars, from this 1958 Tennessee-themed pickup truck to this vintage Rolls-Royce. - [Suzanne] We can do as much or as little. We can get DJs, we can get bands, we can get caterers, we have a lady that does cakes. We kind of let a bride design her own. If she brings things in herself, that's great. If she wants us to do it, we can do that too. - [Ed] Lots of gardens and patios and fountains and those types of things, 22 acres of land, we have a waterfall, we have a cave, some interesting pieces on our property. - [Miranda] As Tennessee is becoming more and more of a destination wedding location, the Saltbox Inn may be the perfect one-stop shop for a trip down the aisle. - [Suzanne] Well, they can come in on Friday, get set up, have their rehearsal dinner, spend the night, have ceremony, reception the next day, spend the night, get up on Sunday, cleanup. It's just a whole weekend that they have a lot of time, a kind of mini family reunion sometimes that weddings turn into, but everybody can just stay here and so it's a fun time for the whole weekend. - [Miranda] The Saltbox Inn also host Christmas parties, fundraisers, corporate events, and much more. The Bucks love sharing their family home and treasures with others, offering up the perfect backdrop for family memories and introducing Cookeville to people from around the world with stunning views, inn keepers well-versed in Southern hospitality, and a name you will never forget. - But I mean, I love it, I love people. So, it's fun meeting people and you end up having friends that you never knew you would have. I mean, some people will call and go, "Now, is this the Sandbox?" I'm like, "No, it's the Saltbox." - Thanks, Miranda. Well, I'm joined again by NPT president and CEO, Becky Magura, as we enter week three of our "Keep Crossroads Travelin'" campaign. Now, if you haven't called the number on your screen or click at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate, well, I hope we can encourage you to do so now. - That's right, Joe. You know, we've set a goal of 400 contributions from viewers like you so we can keep Crossroads traveling throughout 2022 and beyond. And we only have until Sunday, February 13th to get there. If we make it, we'll keep "Tennessee Crossroads" on the air throughout our March Membership Drive here on Nashville Public Television. We are determined to make that goal, but we need to hear from you. Let your voice be heard. Please call the number on your screen or make a contribution at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate. Thank you. - We've already heard from 123 folks who have stepped up and joined the Crossroads family here at Nashville Public Television, but now it's your turn to pitch in. 400 contributions of any amount will put us over the top and keep us on the air in March. Please show your support and help Crossroads kickoff another great year serving our mission of bringing you the best stories we can find each week. - That's right. We know how much this show means to you because we see the loyalty of viewers who watch each week and make "Tennessee Crossroads" one of the most-watched, locally-produced public television shows in the entire country. Now, that's a big deal and we take our commitment to our community very seriously because you are why we're here. Please help us continue to serve our community. While not everyone may be able to contribute, the folks that do, make this service possible for everyone. So, make a gift to your community by supporting the work of NPT, Joe, and the Crossroads crew. Call the number on your screen or pledge online at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate, whatever is most convenient for you. And to thank you for your pledge of support, we have some great ways to say thanks. Joe, you wanna do the honors? - I'd be happy to, Becky. You can help keep Crossroads travelin' with the financial gift that's just right for you. Donate at any amount and you receive a "Tennessee Crossroads" official traveler sticker. At $60 a year or $5 per month, we'll thank you with a "Tennessee Crossroads" baseball cap. At the $72 level, or $6 a month, you can show your support and keep Crossroads traveling with this polyester-blend short-sleeve T-shirt. And for a true taste of Crossroads, we'll be happy to send you a bag of Bongo Java Rambler Blend Coffee for $96, or $8 a month. Thanks for keeping Crossroads travelin'. - These gifts are our way of saying thanks to all of you for watching and making "Tennessee Crossroads" possible. You know, producing a show like this is incredibly expensive. We just can't continue to bring wonderful stories to you without your support. You're really a crucial part of the Crossroads crew. So, please tell us you want to keep Crossroads traveling with your generosity. Thank you so much. Once you, our loyal viewers, help us reach our goal, we have a great way to celebrate and everyone's invited. We would love to have you join us for a great afternoon of fun coming up on Sunday, February 20th at Jackalope Brewing Company. NPT day will be a family-friendly event where the Crossroads crew can express in-person how much we appreciate your support. - That's so right, Becky, we're looking forward to meeting the fine folks who've kept Crossroads travelin' for the past 35 years. We've been privileged to bring you literally thousands of stories during that time, but there are so many stories left to tell. We want to keep bringing you the best of the Volunteer State and in that same volunteer spirit, please consider stepping up and supporting "Tennessee Crossroads." Thank you. - Absolutely, Joe. You know, whether you're a Tennessee Vols fan, a Vandy fan, or even a fan of one of those in-state or out-of-state teams, we're all "Tennessee Crossroads" fans. Please show your team spirit right now with a pledge of support. And thank you. - Speaking of teams, one of our talented team members, Laura Faber, joined the lineup a couple of years ago. She brings a ton of experience and passion to the show. Now, a while back, I took a moment to ask what makes Crossroads stories so special to Laura. - So, what makes a great Crossroads story? It is a story that you would only hear about if you were off the beaten path, so it's not corporate, it's not big retail, it's not something that everybody knows about. These are the restaurants that only the locals know about, the artists that have a really dedicated, loyal following. And then, what does make it a great story? Is there a bit of unique Tennessee history that we can tell people about? Is the proprietor living out a dream, a passion, that they've always wanted to do, and they figured out a way to make a living doing it? But I'll tell you what, it's an honor to tell the stories, they're all positive and unique, and we love to be able to surprise people with something unique about this state. - That's fantastic, Laura, I can't wait to see more of the stories you'll share on "Tennessee Crossroads" in 2022. But right now, we need to hear from you. As part of the Crossroads crew, we're counting on you, our viewer, to help keep Crossroads traveling this year and many years to come. So, pick a gift or an amount to contribute that's right for you and call the number on your screen or go online anytime to TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate. - Also, reach out to us on Facebook. We've got a Facebook page and you can always see where we're headed next and share your own story ideas. You see, your generosity makes it all possible. Call the number on your screen or go online anytime at TennesseeCrossroads.org/Donate. - If you've already contributed, we sincerely thank you. And if you haven't, well, there's still time to help us reach our goal. But right now, it's time for us to hit the road again. Where we headed, Joe? - Well, Becky we're heading to Murfreesboro, or if you're in a hurry, "Murbor," where Laura Faber found the talented husband and wife team who shared their lives and their interesting art. - [Laura] It's art that evolves from the human experience, the joy and the struggle, the pain, and hope. It evokes emotion and memory and that's exactly the intention of the artist. - Piece I'm working on today is called "Stepping Through Time." This young lady is looking at different aspects. But this gon' be your globe and that nature, it's a spear type thing. So, she's got a clock in there and as she moves through time itself... - [Laura] Leroy and Dr. Barbara Hodges are known as artistic storytellers in Murfreesboro. Their work, primarily oil paintings and multimedia pieces, carry messages important to them. They are known for their use of color, cubism, and a method they developed called the drip style. And they often work on pieces together. - When we get down to the actual coloring, I do a lot of that. Barbara will do a lot of the figuring what... That drip style, what you do, you put it on, you allow it to dry, and then you'll come back and you look at the imagery. And what Barbara does is go in and she sketch the imagery between the thing and then I go in and fill it in. So, we do a lot of that. If we talking about a lot of fabric, then Barbara would do the fabric pieces of it. - And this is the part called sharing, go and taking some of his paint. You got white? Can I get some please? - [Laura] While both create statement pieces, Barbara characterizes her style as folk art, art that tells a story. This multimedia piece is titled "Wisdom of the Elders." - One of the greatest thing that people have in common is quilting. And these seniors, actually, did do a quilt. And so, this is just showing how it's a family affair. Back in the day, many families actually had two or three generation living under the same roof and that's what it's depicting. So, I love using the mixed media from paper to a fabric. And, actually, I just take some old wallpaper and just creating like the wrinkles here in this, and just gluing this down. And I'm showing, actually, this is like a narrative within a narrative. It doesn't matter who's in the picture, when somebody looks at it, it actually brings back memories and anybody can identify with it. This could be anybody grandmother. That's the unique thing about doing folk art. Anybody can identify with that. And one can just simply tell their own story. - Though art has always been a part of the Hodges' lives, they each have completely different careers that they have worked alongside their art. They are just as comfortable using paint brushes as they are using computers and a stethoscope. Leroy is a mathematician and computer programmer by trade. Barbara is a doctor, a family practitioner in private practice, which Leroy manages. Both are MTSU alums and that's where they met. Their art education happened along their life journey, Leroy working for the federal government in DC, Barbara attending medical school in Wisconsin. - So, I took an art class. That helped me to balance what I had to do with the learning and dealing with the challenges of going to medical school. It kept a nice balance in my life. So, art has always been a very integral part of my life. I always use that to incorporate, integrate, when I have to deal with patients. - [Laura] Leroy caught the art bug from Barbara and they both studied under local artists. Eventually, they ended up back in Murfreesboro where it all began, now married for 40 years. - [Leroy] We developed our own style and we both like color, so we started using it in a lot of our work. - And I needed color because I think as your journeying through medicine, you see a lot of things. That has always given me a greater appreciation about life. I think about life, that it's in color. - Art is part of our being, to be honest with you. It gives you a unique feeling as you start out with basically nothing, an empty canvas, a blank canvas, and from there, then you start adding the color to it and you see it come alive. That gives you a very unique feeling. - [Laura] You can see their work in exhibits on the MTSU campus often and in town. They are strong community advocates. The Hodges hosts art classes for seniors and youth, exposing people to the joy of art, most who have never held a paintbrush in their lives. At 71 and 65, Leroy and Barbara, even while working full time, find time to paint and create every day. - Well, I think art would always be a part of our lives, regardless of whether we are here working in the particular medical practice or whatever. Once Barbara decide to go ahead and retire, then we will both probably do art full time. - [Laura] The Hodges aren't slowing down anytime soon. - Thanks, Laura. Elvis Presley's trademark fashions were no accident and a merchant on famous Beale Street helped change his image. Here's a Crossroads flashback to 2005 when we met the late Bernard Lansky. He's the man who helped fashion the way many music stars would dress back at the Fabulous Fifties and beyond. The name remains on this once-famous, now-abandoned building at 126 Beale Street. Back in 1946, a couple of hardworking brothers opened a store here selling some pretty radical men's clothing. Now, it didn't take too long for one of those brothers, Bernard Lansky, to become famous as the "Clothier to the King." As the undisputed king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, had a sound and a look that changed the world of entertainment. A look that, in a way, was first shaped when a teenage Elvis wandered into Lansky Brothers with a lot of dreams and very little money. - And one day I looked and I said, "Can I help you out? Let me show you around." I showed him around and put our merchandise out there, he said, "Man, I like this, this is sharp stuff." He said, "I don't have no money." He said, "But when I get rich, I'm gonna buy you out." "Do me a favor, don't buy me out, just buy from me, I appreciate it." So, the first day, when he got paid off, he came in the store, "Mr. Lansky, Mr. Lansky." I asked, "Whatcha need?" He said, "One of those shirts you showed me the other day." I said, "Okay." For $3.95, he was clean as Ajax, man, he was sharp. That's what he wanted. - [Joe] For many years now, Bernard Lansky has held court in the lobby of the legendary Peabody Hotel, home of the famous marching ducks. It's a place where the Lansky family now runs six stores. - Come on in, let me show ya what I got for ya. - How you doin'? - We on stage, there you go. - I wanna get some of these. - What do you wear, large or extra large? - I'm an 18. - You got 'em right, man, you the luckiest man in the world. I take care of good folks. You talking about something sharp, there's... These are all on sale. - Always the energetic salesmen, Bernard Lansky is here seven days a week in the main store, working with customers and gladly sharing stories about those glory days in the fifties, when Elvis and other colorful characters came to Lanskys for their flashy fashions. - We had the pimps, we had to gamblers, we had the rock and roll, we had the blues, and all them guys come here. - All the good guys. - Yeah, tell me about it. - [Joe] He told me about the time when Elvis, just as his career was taking off, came by desperately seeking stage wear for his first national TV show. - He said, "I need some clothes." I said, "Okay, fine, no problem." I laid all these clothes out and everything and we picked out all his stuff and everything and finally said, "How much I owe ya?" I told him how much he owed. And he said, "I have a problem." I said, "What's your problem, Elvis?" He said, "I don't have no money." I said, "You sure than hell, you sure got a problem. You got a big problem." I said, "I'll tell you what I'm gonna do, Elvis, I'm gonna let you have this, but just bring my money back. Anytime, anything you want, you can get it." He said, "I appreciate it, appreciate it very much." I said, "Okay." So, we had a black and white television, on Saturday night, we had this sitting up on top. And man, you talking about crowded, this store was crowded, man. People in there watching Elvis Presley. He was our PR man for all over the world. Everybody asked, "Where you get this, where you get that?" "The Lansky Brothers down on Beale Street." And they all come down, man, anytime they'd see Elvis down here, they'd come in the store. You couldn't wait on nobody 'cause he was in there. This right here, when Elvis was in Germany, we sent that postcard to him, man, he appreciated it, it was unreal. In 1970, in "Super Fly" times, remember 1970, "Super Fly" times? - Oh, yes, I do. - I made eight different kind of coats for Elvis and this was one of 'em, it's leather with a mink collar. - Man, he wore that? - Oh, sure, uh-huh. - [Joe] I thought that might've been Isaac Hayes'- - [Bernard] No, no, that's later. - [Joe] Okay. Today, visitors to Memphis from all over the world seek out this store and it's lovable, jive-talking, legendary owner to buy some cool clothes or an autographed poster from the king's clothier, and to view the walls lined with guitars, signed by stars who've stayed here at the Peabody. ♪ Little sister, don't you ♪ ♪ Little sister, don't you ♪ You obviously still enjoy what you're doing. So, you gotta be having a good time. - Exactly, it's a play thing. Fantastic. Keepin' young, man, keepin' young. For a 77-year-old dude, man, I'm still sharp. - [Joe] You're pretty sharp, you're pretty hip too, I think. - Tell me about it. This your pink and black Lansky Brothers clothes here. We got this "Clothier to the King," "Lansky Bros," that's our label. ♪ I went for some candy ♪ ♪ Along came Jim Dandy ♪ ♪ And they snuck right out ♪ - [Joe] The Lansky line of private label shirts reflects the rock and roll heritage and were designed by Bernard's partner and son, Hal, who's both amazed and proud of his dad's claim to fame. - I think of him as my dad, but other people think of him as a legend. I hear that all the time and he's paid his dues and people from all over the world know who he is and they come in to converse with him, to talk with them, to shake his hands, to take pictures with him. The old ladies, the young ladies, they all wanna hug him and kiss him. - Okay, I'm inspired for a little makeover. From Mr. Preppy to ♪ From your head down to your toes ♪ Mr. Cool. What you think, Mr. Lansky? - Man, you clean as Ajax. The mirror lookin' at ya and the streets want you. Let me get the finish floor. Just step up right here. - Okay. - Just step up, there you go. This is what we'll call young Elvis. There you go. - That's what I need, young. - Man, doesn't he look good? - In this next-door shop called 126, there's a third-generation Lansky in charge, Julie who specializes in more current, cutting-edge clothes for men and women. She's happy to play a new part in the family's fashion legacy alongside her legendary grandfather. - He's just Grandpa to me, you see him at the family occasions and everything, but I feel like I'm the most fortunate granddaughter because I've been able to work with him every day and actually go to the markets with him and just see how he interacts with people and how he's created these lasting relationships with people in the business, just people coming and going. It's been great for us. - [Joe] Bernard Lansky could easily rest on his laurels and bask in the memories of his years as "Clothier to the King," but here's a true salesman who loves his work, loves people, and embraces the present moment as much as he treasures the past. ♪ Tell me what'd I say ♪ - [Bernard] It's a new ballgame out here. - Is that okay? - Let it rip, man. We don't need it walking backwards. I'm tellin' ya. - Ah, good memories. Hope you had a good time on this edition of "Tennessee Crossroads." Don't forget to join us next time. Don't forget to check out our website, TennesseeCrossroads.org, follow us on Facebook, and please, by all means, help us keep Crossroads travelin'. Thanks.
February 03, 2022
Season 35 | Episode 26
Miranda Cohen and travels to Cookeville, where a couple have turned their home into a luxurious get-a-way, or the perfect place to tie the knot. Laura Faber meets a wonderful husband and wife artistic team from Murfreesboro. Bernard Lansky, Clothier to the King, helped fashion the way many music stars would dress in the fabulous fifties.