My sister-friend, Millicent Garland, and her husband, Bro’ Carlton, invited Mr. K. and me to visit them in Chattanooga. So, after Thanksgiving, I asked her, “You ready for our visit?” I’ve visited them plenty of times, but not with Mr. K. and not since Millicent retired. ( I know she looks 30+, but she ain’t). She assured me she had plenty for us to do and did she ever! Extending our celebration of gratitude, we were off to Chattanooga, TN.
First of all, chez Garland is very lovely and accommodating. It sits on a hilltop subdivision. Beyond the numerous living and sleeping areas, and the fabulous deck we love, it boasts a serious man cave, where we watched Halle Berry in Bruised, a photography studio, and as a young retiree from TVA, Millicent has a great space for 30+ years of memorabilia. This space is also shared with Millicent’s treadmill and sewing machine.
I swear, Mr. K. is never tired after driving, but he does sleep late. Not me!!
I sleep during movies, but I get up early. Millicent and I did our usual ritual of a light breakfast, over great convo, and when Mr. K. readied, we headed out to the downtown festival, Main X 24. (Carlton had work to finish up before joining us).
Downtown, we met a lively festival with vendors inside and out and willing participants, young and old, to bask in “We are finally out” bliss. Chattanooga boasts artful spaces, from galleries to colorful eateries. The city is eco-friendly. with vendors heeding the call. Y’all! Ya’ girl was doing the Samba in a dance demonstration and cavorting with a fairy. We had to experience the Chattanooga Choo Choo Hotel, where we watched the ice skaters and finally sat down for a snack. (Not that my feet hurt or anything). What?!!
Carlton caught up with us.
I was sleeping in Millicent’s car when he arrived. We walked to the Walnut Street Bridge so Mr. K. could experience the site, but to my surprise, there was a powerful memorial to Edward Johnson erected outside of the bridge.
“This reflective memorial recognizes Ed Johnson, his brutal death and sacrifice, honors the heroic and historic efforts of Noah Parden, Styles Hutchins and the African-American community that supported them, and commemorates the landmark Supreme Court case that changed the course of American history and civil rights. The memorial is a welcoming, contemplative space at the south side to the Walnut Street Bridge where people of all backgrounds and cultures can come to learn, reflect, mourn and find inspiration.”
I was moved to tears, and I must commend Chattanooga for “getting it,” the truth of history must be told, no matter how painful. The project was reminiscent of the monument in Montgomery, commemorating the many lynchings in Alabama.
Caption: Sculpture of Ed Johnson and his attorneys, Noah Parden and Styles Hutchins
After walking a bit of the bridge, it was time to dine at Proof, where we had a reservation. Lupita Nyong’o paid a visit to the restaurant and tweeted rave reviews, so Millicent had to get us there. The restaurant is a concept spot, an “Incubator,” with 3 chefs cooking their cuisine. These chefs utilize Proof as their launching pad, to introduce their specialties, in hope of starting their own restaurant. Nyong’o raved about Chef Kenyatta’s food, so we ordered his gumbo, a Po’Boy, Brisket Meatball Yakamein, and the dish Nyong’o loved West African Red Red. All were delicious. We were so pleased that Millicent reserved a 5:30 spot. By 6:00PM, the diners were filling the seats.
Were the Garlands done? Noooo!! Then, we drove to the Edwin Hotel for drinks. Y’all, it was whimsically sophisticated and wonderful. While waiting to be seated, I did a walk-about and ooohed and ahhhed until they called our name to be seated. The bar was plush but comfortable. However, it wasn’t the bar Millicent wanted us to experience; it was the view from the balcony. Although beautiful, I was like “Girl, we going back inside; it’s chilly.”
After the Edwin, Mr. K. and I were totally satisfied with a fabulous visit, but we drove to the Westin for a final nightcap. We met and chatted with the Garland’s favorite waitress, recounted our fabulous day, and went back home to popcorn and a movie. Ask me what movie…you already know…zzzzzzzz
Here’s the treat I have not yet mentioned – Millicent Garland Photography. We were the recipients of a photographer’s whims. Everywhere we went, she took photos…of us! And to top it off, I ended up with a real studio photoshoot that I will always cherish. I tell you, we loved our visit to the Garlands.
Oh!! I forgot to mention Carlton’s hot wings, which I crave. I wonder who took the leftover wings back to Bama? What?!!
No words – just my expression of joy and gratitude for you!!
Thank you, Millicent Garland Photography
“It’s all good/love/God” – Victorine
© 2021 Vicki Goldston, All rights reserved.
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Author of Be S.A.F.E., StillAware, Faithful, Excellent, now available on Kindle Amazon as an e-book.
“…the book title and its content are intended to be a whisper, reminding us that by taking the time to connect with our spiritual self, we can center through anything and that we are forever within the bubble of God’s protection.”
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