There are times, like this weekend, I have a great time in our little urban orb, but much of it isn’t photographable – or at least I just want to enjoy it without being on the job. This was one of those weekends. The weather was just about spot-on perfect, I only had one scheduled event – which I totally forgot – and it was just laid back and nice.
The best of the weekend, for me, was probably Friday night. It’s the kind of urban experience that requires, well, urbanity (the tertiary meaning: the quality or state of being urban) to even happen. It simply can’t be replicated in a suburban environment. Here’s how it went:
Without discussion it was clear there would be no cooking and eating at the house on Friday night so, after some discussion of restaurant of choice, we went with one of our favorites: Cru Bistro on the 100 Block of Gay Street. We considered some others but, even though we went out very early, most of the patios were full and my one requirement was that we had to eat outside. The weather was just too nice. Apparently, all of our neighbors and visitors to the city agreed. So we ate on the Patio at Cru Bistro.
That’s where the uniquely urban experiences began. First, friends passed, stopped and talked. Even if you find a patio in a suburb, it doesn’t have the flow of people walking past that a city offers. In downtown Knoxville, some of them will necessarily be your friends. As we finished our meal we got a text from other friends who had secured a patio seat at Preservation Pub on the square. We picked up some Yogurt for Urban Woman at Orange Leaf and joined them.
We had about forty-five minutes until Movies on the Square began, at which point it was clear we could not talk to each other on the square because of the noise from the movie. Other friends texted our friends and said they were on their way. We decided to move the party to a private courtyard near our home, where we broke out a few bottles of wine and did nothing more than laugh and talk into the evening. Eventually we were joined by some of my neighbors and introductions were made all around. It lead to an invitation to watch the UT game at my new friends BJ and Delores’ home in the Jacksonian.
It was the kind of evening I love in the city and I can assure you mine was nothing special compared to others all over downtown. Meeting friends, making new friends through those friends, sharing a bottle of wine and enjoying a great urban evening is what draws us to this kind of environment. The restaurants (and I would add, food trucks), music and special events are great, but that’s only a back-drop to the real attraction: The people and an environment which lends itself to interacting with them. It’s a special part of living in a city and it’s the kind of interrelationship most of the earth’s population had until just about a hundred years ago as the automobile became more common and suburbs were born. More on that later.
Saturday I did chores and errands before passing through the Farmers’ Market on the way to the Blue Plate Special to hear Scott McMahan and the Ridge City Ramblers, friends from Oak Ridge, on the Blue Plate Special. The photographs from the Farmers’ Market in this post are actually from last weekend and are of Jo Anne Neary of Knox Socks and her 100-year-old darning machine. I have to say the food and other products offered right now are at their peak, so get it while you can.
The Blue Plate was great, of course. If Scott McMahan did nothing but operate the Wednesday listening room at Boyd’s Jig and Reel, his would be a great contribution to the local music scene. As it turns out, he is an excellent songwriter who has command of one of the most soulful voices in the city. Made up of teachers from Oak Ridge and Anderson County and one Mayor (from Oak Ridge), the Ridge City Ramblers delivered fun, sing-along music that had the crowd in great spirits and, well, singing along by the time they finished.
After the show I enjoyed some excellent fish tacos with Shaft at Cocoa Moon and then watched the first half of the UT game at BJ and Delores’ home in the Jacksonian. They’ve only lived downtown for about three weeks, but seem to be moving right into the flow of the city. They invited neighbors over who’ve just moved in from Hawaii and we had a great time enjoying their special recipe mai tais. Back home Urban Woman and I watched more football and worked around the house.
Sunday was uneventful and mostly spent enjoying special time with my favorite little Knoxville musician. We watched “Where the Wild Things Are,” played with Lincoln Logs and jammed. Of course, we napped. So, outside the Blue Plate, nothing much seemed to warrant a photograph, there were no big events or festivals, nothing fascinating and bizarre on the street, just a nice, quiet little weekend in the city. Just about perfect.