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- [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by- - [Female Narrator] Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways: Discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history, and more made-in-Tennessee experiences showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at TNTrailsAndByways.com. - [Male Narrator] You can't predict the future but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff, and students have shown strength, compassion, patience and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech. - This time on "Tennessee Crossroads," we tour a Monteagle military museum. Then we dig in at a Nashville meat and three. We'll kayak our way down the Harpeth and meet a motorized artist in Fayetteville. All that on this episode of "Tennessee Crossroads." I'm Joe Elmore and glad to have you! Have you ever wondered what it might be like to just walk back in time? In our first story, Miranda Cohen and takes us to a museum in Monteagle where it's almost like stepping into the pages of a history book, all in a place where you can see some amazing military wonders! - [Miranda] Monteagle Mountain has a rich military history. So it seems quite fitting that a rare collection a century in the making is being preserved and displayed here at the Sam H. Werner Military Museum on West Main Street. Carefully looked after by his longtime friend, Parker Lowndes. - Sam Werner, of course, everybody here locally knew him as Bud, was a gentleman who served in Korea. His family was from here on top of the mountain in middle Tennessee in the Tracy City/Monteagle area. When he came back, he started collecting a variety of different surplus and military items and he had a very unique eye for the odd things. He found one-offs or very rare items to add to his private collection. These things came out of old bread trucks. They came out of people's drawers. They came out of chicken coops. They came out of literally every nook and cranny. - [Miranda] Werner's love of collecting military mementos grew so large that, when he passed away, it was his final wish that his beloved artifacts be preserved and presented in a way others could appreciate them as a tangible reminder of the sacrifices that were made and of the people who made them. - Servin' in the military, you're doin' something bigger than you. It's not for a paycheck. It's not for an education. This is preservin' history. This is preservin' somebody's legacy or somebody's service to the country. - Michael Ellis is a third generation military man, 24 years in active duty, and he was deployed all over the world. As we walk through this impressive display of authentically dressed mannequins, where each one depicts a local member of the community, we find someone familiar. So, Mike, every mannequin back here represents a real person? - Yes. - This guy look familiar? - That's a likeness of me, except he's just a little taller. This is a period correct for 2005 when I was in this uniform and gettin' deployed to Afghanistan. This is the 196th Field Artillery Brigade out of Chattanooga, Tennessee. This is a blood type and this is the Afghan national flag. - [Parker] As we walked through, looked through the displays and looked at the mannequins, we're trying to bring that person's lives back to share as they wanted them shared. - [Miranda] The volunteers and staff at the Sam H. Werner Military Museum have gone to great length to recreate each authentic scene from a day in the life of a soldier. From the mess hall to the medicine tent, men and women from all branches of the service are represented: The unsung heroes from World War I all the way up to Desert Storm. - [Parker] There's so much history in each one of these different decades, in each one of the conflicts that are represented through this. - [Miranda] Representations of people who did their jobs, protected our freedom, came back to Tennessee, and quietly went back to work. - A lot of these men and women went off and served and then they come back and they really never talked about it. They just went back into our society. - [Miranda] Thanks to donations of relics and heirlooms from service families around the country, the Sam H. Werner collection is both massive and impressive: Pristine uniforms, tents, soft goods, and a stunning rare collection of military vehicles. - [Parker] The thing that makes this museum special are the four 1943 ultralight prototype Jeeps that were set up for the glider program and we're the only museum that has that complete collection of all four. In World War II, they were looking at ways to take vehicles and men from England across the Channel over into the battlefields. They had to be 1300 pounds or less, air-cooled engines, carry at least two men, and be four wheel drive. - [Miranda] Thanks to constant care and maintenance from a dedicated staff, about 70% of these vehicles are still operational and will occasionally drive a long time friend down memory lane. - To bring 'em back to life, hear 'em run, and actually ride down the road in 'em is meaningful. To put one of those guys in one of these World War II vehicles and drive 'em in a parade, you oughta see their face. It's just unreal the experience that that is! And they can tell you, "Boys, we rode in this thing goin' through France or goin' through Germany or whatever." And they'll tell us a story about it. - [Miranda] The Sam H. Werner Military Museum is free and open to the public, including group tours. The real value to the staff is to be able to preserve the legacy of Sam Werner and to share these moments of history with others, with all of its glory, honor, and loss. - [Parker] We honor everything that people want to bring to us. I think he'd be very proud of it. Sam was a very patriotic gentleman. He enjoyed collecting. So I think that having all of this under one good, dry roof that you can walk through and enjoy and see the history, I think he'd be very proud of it. - Thanks, Miranda. Like many talented people before him, Michael Gilbert left his home in South Carolina and moved to Nashville for the music. Well, when that didn't quite work out, he realized his real calling was food. Michael worked his way up through the restaurant industry before launching a now popular meat and three called MacHenry's. You'll find it at the corner of Murfreesboro Road and Foster Avenue in Nashville. Oh, I know it looks like a familiar fast food joint, because, well, it used to be. Today, though, it's home to some serious home cooking, a made from scratch meat and three that's makin' its mark on the Nashville food scene. - If the goal is to work less, I wouldn't be in the food industry. It's a labor of love and takes a lot of effort but it's rewarding and you can just taste it. It's the better quality food. - [Joe] Michael Gilbert came to Nashville for the music scene but it was food that really struck a chord. First, with a catering business, then a food truck, and now a brick and mortar dine-in, takeout, and drive through place, one he named for his grandfather, Charles MacHenry Banks. - [Michael] After church, they would have his huge lunch and stuff that they grew and, he didn't do a lot of the cooking, but he did a lot of the eating like I did. So he and I would sit beside each other and just chow down. - [Joe] When you walk into MacHenry's, you immediately take in the alluring aromas. Then, after inspecting the menu, it's time to narrow it down to a meat and either one, two, or three vegetables. Stephen Wilkerson is the culinary director and creator of most recipes. - [Michael] He's from Tennessee. I'm from South Carolina. But we both grew up eating kind of the same food and he's just got such a knack of kind of unknowingly making all the food I grew up eating and so we learned a long time ago never to try to make grandma's recipe but make something that reminds you of grandma's recipe. - The recipes are, I would say majority, have been worked through things that I've been doing for years. We do have a couple items that other people chip in on, but, for the most part, like the meatloaf, for instance, we just took your everyday meatloaf and tried to put a spin on it and just give it a little twist and barbecue sauce in the meatloaf and then on the top, as it's baked, it gives it a little bit of a different flavor profile than most people are used to. - [Joe] Of course, you can't offer a menu of true Southern cooking without good old Southern catfish and theirs is a simple, surefire hit. - We use just a cornmeal batter, a seasoned cornmeal. We do soak the catfish in milk ahead of time and then we flavor it with the seasoned cornmeal. And so it's a pretty simple process. This is our fried Brussels sprout that we kinda toss in our barbecue seasoning, very popular item. We are makin' these all day, had no idea how popular they would be until we put 'em on the menu. - [Joe] While Steven is proud of all the restaurant's dishes, the pot roast has a special place in his heart. - [Steven] I grew up eating my grandpa's cooking and he used to always make pot roast and mashed potatoes and stewed greens. He usually used turnip greens. So, if I had to pick my favorite, it's just this. I love a good pot roast. - Oh, almost forgot dessert. Everything from homemade pecan pies to cookies the size of hub caps. Well, it doesn't get any better than this: Pot roasts, the ultimate comfort food. And the vegetables? Well, their farm to table and the farm is right out back. - [Steven] We found this company called Nashville Foodscapes and they come and they help homes or businesses set up edible gardens. And I said, "You know, I didn't know how much we could actually grow in this little space." But the vision was to have a drive through lined with stuff you're actually eating that you're buying. And so we started growing tomatoes, corn, collards, and then we're right near a busy intersection, and then the food grows fantastic, 'cause there's no critters. There's no squirrels or rabbits comin' up 'cause we're right beside tons of gigantic trucks drivin' by. - [Joe] MacHenry's has a successful catering business thanks to various companies in the area. But, no matter where the food goes, it wouldn't go anywhere without a talented, dedicated staff. - [Steven] We've got a tight little group. We're not a big staff by any means, but we do a lot of work and put out a lot of products. So it's been great, great group of people. They're all, all amazing, every one of 'em. - [Michael] It's just been a real teamwork effort. Ultimately, I sign all the bills, but it's a we project where everyone that's with me gets the vision, cares about it, upholds it, whether I'm here or not. - Real food for real people. That's a simple motto that makes MacHenry's a true culinary gem here in the heart of Music City. The famous environmentalist John Muir once said that, in every walk with nature, one receives more than he or she seeks. Well, that also goes for paddling through nature as Cindy Carter recently discovered with her trusty kayak on the beautiful Harpeth River. - In a busy world, the path to inner peace just may be a peaceful waterway, one that meanders through middle Tennessee. The Harpeth River is that mostly gentle ride that beckons kayakers, canoes, anglers, and anyone else longing to unplug. A day on the Harpeth is a beautiful alternative to the daily grind. - Life is hard enough and if you can find a place where you can find solace or peace, even in everything that's goin' on in the world today, we can come here and it seems like nothing is going on at all. - [Cindy] Jennifer England and Paige Sigman are frequent floaters on the Harpeth. - Yes, I like the scenery. I like that it's constantly flowing. - [Cindy] The ladies join a multitude of locals who never pass up the opportunity to slow things down. - [Jennifer] We prefer to get into a flowing river so that we don't have to worry about actually paddling. So we get out here to just relax and enjoy ourselves and talk about life and solve all the world's problems. - [Cindy] The Harpeth stretches more than a hundred miles. It's proximity to Nashville and Franklin, Tennessee means plenty of people test these waters where the river flows through Cheatham, Davidson, and Williamson Counties. - There's enough rapids to where it's fun, but it's not overly, it's not too much for some people. - [Cindy] The Harpeth's fun for all ages reputation. - Foggy Bottom. - Keeps kayak and canoe rental businesses like Foggy Bottom pretty busy. - Could you also gimme your phone number, please? - [Cindy] Especially in the summertime. - On a average summer day, you could describe it as a big wide creek because, 99% of it, you could wade it and there's a few places over your head, but most of it is waist deep. - Owner Pat Hutcherson started with six canoes and never dreamed her little business would grow this big. Her employee Mason Smith says, these days, people from everywhere want to play on the Harpeth. - The majority are family, but we do have some country folk that come out and just wanna have fun and then city people who've never done it before and that's the most interesting. We even have some people out of the country who come here and it's really fun. - Okay. - It's just hard to balance. Okay! - The steady stream of paddlers launch into the river and let the current carry them away for as long as they like. The Harpeth is scenic. No, truly, it is. The state has officially designated it as so and, not only that, this river has played a significant role in Tennessee's rich history. For hundreds of years, the Harpeth was an important resource for Native Americans. Later, the area's iron industry grew strong along its banks. The river also played a prominent role in the Battle of Franklin. Though time moved on beyond the Harpeth's banks, when you're on the water, it seems to stand still. - [Mason] When you're on the river, it's just no one has anything to worry about because they're just thinking like, "Oh, we're just on the river." They're not worried about work or school or anything like that. - [Cindy] Our "Tennessee Crossroads" crew wholeheartedly agrees! This assignment felt little like work and more like fun as we captured the sounds and sights this river is famous for. - There's a lot of hawks that fly by. I've seen tons of turtles on the logs. That's really cute. A few snakes I don't wanna see, but there's been a lot of wildlife. - If you go early, you'll see the deer and all the the cranes. What else? Groundhog, you'll see everything. Oh, and the bald Eagles, that's what you'll see if you go early. - [Cindy] And as cool as the critters and changing scenery can be, it's also fun to cool off and take a dip whenever the mood strikes or pull over for a picnic on a gravel bar or sit back and soak up the sun. Simple pleasures are simply the best. - [Jennifer] Fish floppin' is a sound for me, personally, that I find to be very therapeutic, that little noise that they make when they flip over. So it's just fun to be out in wildlife. - [Cindy] So when you feel like leaving the fast track, the scenic Harpeth River is only a stone's throw away. The gentle journey past wildlife and picturesque scenery could be the escape you're looking for. - Thank you much, Cindy. We all have talents inside us. Sometimes we just don't know when they're gonna reveal themselves. Rob Wilds met a Fayetteville artist a while back who discovered his talent as a carver during a very difficult time in his life. Here's the story of Roark Phillips. - I've been called the Chainsaw Guy, the Man on the Highway, or the guy that carves the bears, Bear Guy. - [Rob] He's known by all those things. But he goes by the name his folks gave him, Roark Phillips, an artist, not with a brush, but a chainsaw. - Flippin' through a magazine, saw a picture of chainsaw-carved bear, and I'm like, "Wow! I'd like to try that." And that's what I did. Took me six weeks to carve my first bear. - [Rob] Before you know it, he was an artist with a following. - Started my first bear, completed it, got a couple of other logs, carved a few more of 'em up, tried some different looks. Still love carvin' bears! And my wife encouraged me to do a craft show. And I said, "What? Nobody's gonna buy one of these." And we went, sold out, bought another chainsaw. I love doing it. You can't keep 'em all. - Roark's got a really nice shop along the main road to Fayetteville and he does some carving here from time to time, mainly to get the attention of the people passing by on the road. But, his main carving, he does at his shop at home, which is appropriate because it was at home the inspiration to become a carver came to him. It was a good idea that came at a really hard time. - It's hard to talk about it sometimes. One of the reasons why I flipped through that magazine to find and saw the picture of the bear, we lost our son 10 years ago. It saved my life. That's just all there is to it. I just immersed myself in it. - [Rob] That immersion helped him make it through the pain and anger of losing his 17 year old son, Daniel, to an unseen heart ailment and began to uncover his talent for carving, which came- - [Roark] Just slowly, slowly hittin' at it with the chainsaw, side grinders, and it really boils down to how much you can manipulate the tip of that saw to make it look like it's supposed to look. You do a lot of plunge cutting, a lot of tip cutting. - [Rob] Plunge cutting, that sounds dangerous. - Yeah, just stick it straight through the middle of the saw, I mean the middle of the log. They're called commitment cuts in carving. - I bet they are. - Yeah, it's kind of hard to put the wood back together, but Gorilla Glue does work wonders! - [Rob] Well, have you had many times when you've committed and when you're in there you thought, "Oh, I shouldn't have, maybe I shouldn't have." - [Roark] Oh yeah, that's called a design enhancement from there, so- - [Rob] As time has passed, Roark has honed the skills he had and uncovered some he never knew about. - I could draw a stick man when I first started. Now I can actually do some drawing with shades and depths just with a pencil though and I'm true sketchin'. Most of it's on a napkin. When an idea hits me, whatever I have, I'm sketchin' it out, and, from that point, I try to picture that going into the log. In the beginning, the wood manipulated me and it still does. But now I'm set in a direction and know what I want out of it and I will try to coax it out of it. It's a cat and mouse game a lot and that's the fun of it. - [Rob] The fun comes in creating something someone has requested, but also by letting his mind just go where it wants to. - [Roark] The time comes to just get away from everything, which is what it originally was anyway, was to step back, just fire up the saw, and have a good time. I carved some of my best pieces. - [Rob] Pieces that are appreciated by fans here at home and a growing group of fans across the country many of whom commission specific works. Maybe not things Roark would've thought of carving, but, even so, each piece is still a pleasurable challenge for him. - When you complete a piece that you have your heart in, that's a great feeling and try to make the next one better than the last. - [Rob] That's the goal. Every time he stands in front of a blank wooden canvas, what is the man along the highway, the Bear Man, Roark Phillips, what is he gonna find waiting for him in there? - How the time flies. And ours is just about up but I do wanna remind you about our website, of course, Tennesseecrossroads.org. Oh, follow us on Facebook and I'll see you next week. - [Announcer] "Tennessee Crossroads" is made possible in part by- - [Female Narrator] Discover Tennessee Trails & Byways: Discover Tennessee's adventure, cuisine, history, and more made-in-Tennessee experiences, showcased among these 16 driving trails. More at tntrailsandbyways.com. - [Male Narrator] You can't predict the future, but you can count on Tennessee Tech always putting students first. Our faculty, staff, and students have shown strength, compassion, patience, and kindness during these trying times. For us, it's personal. That's what you can count on at Tennessee Tech.
September 08, 2022
Season 36 | Episode 07
Miranda Cohen tours a Monteagle military museum. Joe Elmore digs in at a Nashville meat and three. Cindy Carter kayaks her way down the Harpeth. And Rob Wilds meets a motorized artist in Fayetteville.