Howard and Sam Dig For Gold in Tennessee

Howard Claude in 2004

Ron and Gidget lived in a trailer park on Nolensville Road in Nashville, Tennessee called Claude Country Village. It was the owner and namesake of Claude Country who introduced me to the Marcinkos. But before I tell you more about Gidget and Ron, I want to set the scene and show you this village where they lived and give you some background that only the owner of the trailer park could give. This is a story about many people but this particular chapter is about two men from Arkansas seeking their fortunes in Tennessee. One was a born-salesman named Howard Claude and the other was founder of a rising star in retailing; a man named Sam Walton.

When I lived in Nashville, Tennessee, I commuted past a large trailer park that most people barely noticed. Virtually invisible to bypassers, the residents lived in mobile homes tucked back in a holler with a bluff behind that overlooked about forty acres of land. I asked many people who drove along Nolensville Road daily, “Have you ever noticed a trailer park near the corner of Old Hickory and Nolensville Road?” They would invariably say, “There’s a trailer park there?”

There was a rumor a big box retailer wanted to buy the land the trailer park sat on, and I wanted to know what would happen to the nearly one hundred residents if they had to move to make way for a new development.

I finally noticed the park in 2004 because I read the Tennessean daily, and the business section was reporting that Walmart was looking for a new location to build a Supercenter. Land in Nashville over the past few decades had become like gold but the terrain is very rocky and hilly and often very difficult and expensive to develop.

Over months of considering different large tracts of land, the news came out that Walmart developers were considering purchase of a mobile home park on Nolensville Road. City Council Member Parker Toler had already made some enemies with his aggressive push for development of a Target and shopping center on a wooded knob near I-65 on Old Hickory. Now he was quoted calling the little trailer park on Nolensville Road a blight, a clear set up for removal and development of this land for a large retailer.

In addition to Claude Country, a bar called Eddie’s Southside Bowery, and a Phase One Used Auto Sales flanked the entrance and were included in the assessment by Toler, that this area was drug and violence infested and needed to be removed and businesses developed and tax base improved.

One day driving by the park I decided to pull in and talk to the owner and find out if the park was indeed for sale. [following the new model of www.wadehodges.com, where readers pay 99 cents to finish a good story, you can tape four quarters to a postcard and mail to me if you want, or just click below and read free].

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African Children’s Choir at Garnett in Tulsa

African Children’s ChoirGarnett Church of Christ is hosting the internationally renowned African Children’s Choir. They appeared on the Jay Leno Show and have appeared at the G8 Concert and other global events. Their singing was recently featured in “Blood Diamond.”

If you are in Tulsa, the state or nearby state, please join us in “letting the little children come” and welcoming them as Jesus would welcome them.

We want to help those attending to become more aware of global suffering and provide several “next steps” such as water well drilling, micro-credit programs, and children sponsorship that we can all participate in.

This is more than just a free concert by an incredible international group, we want to humble ourselves to receive from the children the gift of beautiful music and to return the blessing with our awareness, action, money, and our very lives.

Garnett Church of Christ, 12000 E. 31st St., Tulsa, OK
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Billy Joel

One of my first album’s was Billy Joel’s 52nd Street. Or was that my brother’s? Or perhaps my first was Streetlife Serenade that included the instrumental “Rootbeer Rag.” I don’t listen to Billy Joel much anymore, but a lullabye he wrote lives on at bedtime in our home.

According to a TV interview, Joel wrote this song for his daughter, Alexa, as an answer to her questions about dying. I sing it to my children often at bedtime. My children are seven, ten, and twelve. Lullabyes are not just for infants . . . my children still enjoy them, and so do I.

Do you know what lullabye I’m talking about? Here are the lyrics:

Goodnight, my angel
From Album “The River of Dreams”
By Billy Joel

Goodnight, my angel
Time to close your eyes
And save these questions for another day
I think I know what you’ve been asking me
I think you know what I’ve been trying to say
I promised I would never leave you
And you should always know
Wherever you may go
No matter where you are
I never will be far away

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to sleep
And still so many things I want to say
Remember all the songs you sang for me
When we went sailing on an emerald bay
And like a boat out on the ocean
I’m rocking you to sleep
The water’s dark and deep
Inside this ancient heart
You’ll always be a part of me

Lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu
lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu-lu

Goodnight, my angel
Now it’s time to dream
And dream how wonderful your life will be
Someday your child may cry
And if you sing this lullabye
Then in your heart
There will always be a part of me

Someday we’ll all be gone
But lullabyes go on and on…
They never die
That’s how you
And I
Will be

By Greg Taylor Posted in Music