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VOL. 43 | NO. 26 | Friday, June 28, 2019

Hip neighborhood a little less so with our arrival

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By the time you read this, it should all be over. Or at least, the worst of it. As I write this, it is looming: The Move.

One might think that, our having relocated more than 900 miles a little more than a year ago (the Great Move), this repositioning of 2.4 miles would be a piece of cake by comparison.

But has anyone ever felt confident about a move?

Especially anyone with two cats who resist being placed into pet carriers as if they were being tossed into a wood chipper?

We do feel good about the house. Despite a previous column in which I described the process of house-hunting in Nashville as a fool’s errand, we found that patience – and couple of sacks of gold – can result in a charming little Victorian. Or Queen Anne. Or whatever it is.

It even has a veranda, as one friend described it. We were calling it a porch, but hey. In that spirit of old-timeyness, we have rechristened the front room as a parlor and the laundry room as a scullery.

Could be that the whole place deserves a name. I gather it’s a thing.

True, some concerns remain: How, for example, to effectively stash the cat boxes in a location that the two will easily find and use them, but which does not leave the place smelling like the home of Pepé le Pew?

In New York, we had a basement for that purpose. No more.

And I can tell you now that some marital friction is inevitable when a colorblind husband insists on taking charge of selecting paint hues.

I wanted a basic off-white white for a guest bathroom and bedroom. But what is basic off-white? We narrowed dozens of Sherwin Williams options to eight – including “Glimmer” and “Panda” – before finally compromising on “Snowbound.”

I worry that Kayne is secretly still pining for “Icicle.”

We’re very happy with the area, too. We’re within walking distance to quite a variety of way stations serving up food and potables, a branch of the library, a couple of grocery stores and a convenience store that seems to specialize in beers (me) and ciders (her).

The neighbors we’ve met have been friendly and welcoming. And, unlike our present habitation, the house appears to be off the track of bachelorette party buses.

We do get the sense that our presence will raise the median age of the area by several months, if not years. Conversely, we expect to single-handedly lower its hipster status to a marked degree.

At my age, the only hip issues involve whether it’s time to get a replacement yet.

And when I say the worst will be over by the time this is published, I’m being a bit optimistic. We expect to be digging stuff out of boxes for weeks to come, including boxes that have been unopened and in storage since the Great Move.

That process will be part Christmas morning – Wow, I forgot we had this! – and part dumpster diving – Wow! Why do we still have this? Why did we ever have it?

One other thing. Kayne did our due diligence in researching whether any notorious crimes had been committed there, or if any on-premises passings had left us with notable ghost potential.

Apparently not, and she found a newspaper connection: It originally housed a commercial telegrapher (how’s that for an occupation?) named Herschel Goodnight Penrod, who wrote about horse racing for The Tennessean during the 1920s.

“‘Pen’ rarely missed an opportunity to go to Churchill Downs, Miles Park or Ellis Park to see the hangtails run,” according to his obituary in 1967.

Maybe in his honor and our shared journalism profession we should call the place “Penrod.” Although “Hangtails,” which I’d never seen used before, has a nice ring, too.

Joe Rogers is a former writer for The Tennessean and editor for The New York Times. He is retired and living in Nashville.

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