Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn CrawlΒ is on through Sunday, September 25.

Glories Stream from Heaven Afar

Dear Kay,
It’s Christmas Eve here, a brilliant bright morning, and I am so filled with nostalgia that you would just PYUKE to be having coffee with me this morning.
I break out into “The First Noel” with NO NOTICE. I’ve already sneaked an early reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. At the rate I’m going, I may bring out the figgy pudding. RUN AWAY!
The Barber Shop Closes
I can tell you when this nostalgic mood started. Yesterday, the Belle Meade Barber Shop had its last day in its legendary location. This is the sort of monumental loss to Nashville that ranks up there with the closing of the soda shop Vandyland, the bulldozing of the Jacksonian apartments, and the loss of Steve McNair to the Baltimore Ravens.
David, 1996.
David, 2006.
Paul–fabulous trivia king Paul–gave both of my fellas their first haircut. Everybody in the family has used the Belle Meade Barber Shop for years: Hubbo, my dad, Hubbo’s dad.
I loved going to the barber shop, because it was an environment completely untouched by any female. This barber shop is what the world would be like if women were not allowed a hand in decorating.
This set of numbers has stayed in this exact arrangement, always. I have never seen a tag not on its hook.
This eight-track tape deck has always been in this location.
Haircuts were $10 when we started coming. I think the price for “Tonic” is still a dollar because nobody knows what “Tonic” means anymore.
A young barber, Shane, has bought the business from the beloved Ralph, who has been a barber for 46 years. He’s retiring, cheerfully. We saw a stream of congressmen, long-term customers (“You’ve cut my hair for 25/16/17/10 years”), and unruly children come through. The good men of the Belle Meade Barber Shop thanked everybody right back. The barber shop will move to Bellevue, and we’ll keep going, but it will be different.
And yes, the wives of customers brought tray after tray of baked goods, which the barbers stacked in empty barber chairs, mystified about how to arrange them.
See You Next Year!
We’re heading to London on the 26th. How is it that somebody so very pale and who likes a cloudy day so much has never managed to get to England? Maybe it’s because I suspect I’ll never want to come back. Anyway, I’m hoping to visit the epicenter of the knitting universe, Liberty, on Thursday night, the 28th. If you’re a Londoner, and you’d like to come knit, please email me.
Wishing everybody a long winter’s nap!
PS The staggering total over at Stephanie’s is wonderful. Please go take a peek.




  1. London on the 26th??? Oh, I’m soooo jealous. Have the most splendiferous time. I hope the flight is good, and all that. Love!

  2. Ann, I’m sure you know all the hot spots to hit in London — Loop, Liberty, Stash, the V&A, ooooh I sure wish I could come with you. Take the boys to Platform 9 3/4 at King’s Cross (I typed Knit instead of King….). Oh, have a ball!

  3. A very Happy Holiday to you and your families. Thanks for all the time you spend on your posts, which I check for more often than is probably healthy (is that a bad thing?)Ann, have a wonderful time in England. I’ve always wanted to go too and may yet some day get there. Kay, thank you for explaining more about Hanukkah. It was great to read up on something I have often wondered about but never took the time to find out. And thank you both for your humor, instructions, great patterns and my being able to take a break in the day to see what you guys are up to. I love your book best because you somehow made knitting “dishrags” an okay thing and have freed the world of knitting snobbery, which was getting pretty bad. So, again, Happy Holidays and the best to you both in the New Year

  4. London? That’s where I live!
    See you on the 28th πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  5. Merry Christmas! I hope you have a wonderful and safe trip to London!

  6. More for the American children in London tour: Hamley’s toy shop on Regent St., the reptile house at the London Zoo (more Harry Potter, of course), the canal boat back from the zoo to Little Venice (although perhaps not so pleasant in the winter as the summer) and the London Eye. Plus stopping at every single playground spotted. (Send me an email if you want the details.) Have fun!

  7. Safe travels and Happy Holidays, dear Ann! You will love London.
    p.s. Love the Barber’s Tale and the continuity of it all. “Family” comes in all forms.

  8. Have a good holiday!

  9. Have a wonderful trip! Pale folks like us need to visit England, if only to feel tan πŸ˜‰

  10. What I love about the picture of David circa 1996 is the shot of you and (I presume) Hubbo in the mirror, cheering your boy on as he gets his first haircut. It’s such a Momentus Occasion, the first haircut. And barber shops are wonderful … my guys used to get theirs cut in a one-chair shop where the owner’s stuffed fish hang on the walls. While we waited they would stare at the fish and I would get caught up on my National Enquirer reading … the only vaguely female reading material offered.
    Have a wonderful time in London!

  11. handsome child!
    don’t forget, “london bridge is falling down, falling down….”
    bon voyage!

  12. Very Sweet, Ann. I have pictures just like that (sigh). Have a great trip. Try to go to The Churchill Museum. The boys will love it, so will you. Merry Christmas!

  13. Very Sweet, Ann. I have pictures just like that (sigh). Have a great trip. Try to go to The Churchill Museum. The boys will love it, so will you. Merry Christmas!

  14. Merry Christmas Ann! Very jealous of your London adventure, especially the trip to Liberty. Hey, if you see any (sadly discontinued) Rowan Magpie laying araound in the street you could bring it back for me!

  15. Oh, London is magnificent! My husband and I were there in December 2004. We spent about 7 days in London, then three more days with friends who live in Ivinghoe (about 30 miles north of the city) before coming home. Yes, you must get to the Victoria & Albert museum, see the Tower of London, ride the London Eye, take in a show or two, and basically just walk around and absorb the place.
    Now, where is this yarn place you’re going to? I looked all over and had the worst time finding any wool at all, unless I was interested in buying wool fabric (which I did — and some silk, too).
    I look forward to reading all about your trip!

  16. Ann, I am reduced to tears. One, for the story about the barber shop, because they are all rapidly becoming extinct and two, the trip to London. I weep because I can’t go too; I wept when I left England when we took our two girls a few years ago. I know I must have been English in a former life, did something terrible, and this is my punishment.
    Anyway, have a great, wonderful, safe trip!
    And yes, thanks for the book. And the dishrags!

  17. Happy Holidays! Have a safe trip to London (and yes, you will never want to come back). Skip Loop but visit Stash Yarns; the owner is one of the loveliest people ever. Liberty is to die for! Take the kids to the Imperial War Museum (very cool) and do take the Tate to Tate boat ride. Dinner at Wagamama’s is a must (it truly is an experience). Skip Platform 9 and 3/4s at King’s Cross as it is lame, but buy the boys all the British versions of Harry Potter (all are out in paperback there). Take the Jack the Ripper tour from London Walks and just get lost one day. Hop on the bus and just take it to where ever it goes. If your kids are sci fi nuts, go to Forbidden Planet on Shaftsbury Avenue . . . lot of fun! I love the town (probably why I have been there nine or ten times – once a year or more since 2001).

  18. You will love London. I felt immediately at home there and want to return desperately. Very navigable, friendly city. And you can lose an entire day in Liberty. So.Jealous. Oh, Ava just reminded me, if there’s a children’s book you love that’s been “Disneyfied” here in the States, you can find the un-dumbed-down original in London (I bought the 101 Dalmatians on my trip, will not let it leave my sight). Such a great place. Happy Holidays to you and Kay and both your families!

  19. Merry Christmas!

  20. A very Merry Christmas to both of you and your respective families! Hope you all have wonderful days!!

  21. see you Thursday!

  22. I was looking for your e-mail address to ask about a visit while I pass through Nashville to do an interview for the podcast (Pointy Sticks), but you’ll be in London. One of my favorite places, and Liberty? FABULOUS. Have the scones, they are delicious!
    Be sure to visit Stash, the AWESOME yarn shop that opened last summer, if you can. It is SOOOOOO fantastic. Let me know if you need directions or details. Man, I love that shop.

  23. A very Merry Chritmas to you and yours! Cherrios & pip pip to you! Hope you’ll decide to come back though, it would be like losing a national treasure or a beloved barber shop ya know?

  24. London is awesome! We enjoyed every minute of it – especially the baked goods! Didn’t ever find a yarn (wool) shop though – that worked out okay though. Happy Boxing Day!

  25. Safe travels, though you may already be on your way. David, 1996, way too cute (stuck with him, but that is an awesome photo, and the fact that you could find it 10 years later is even better!)

  26. Fantastic news – I’ll see you tomorrow night!
    Another yarn shop to add to your list is I Knit London in Vauxhall

  27. Fantastic news – I’ll see you tomorrow night!
    Another yarn shop to add to your list is I Knit London in Vauxhall

  28. hi ya – have a great time – when i get as far as london i will go to liberty’s fraid i am working at the panto in Cambridge thurs night- but have fun!!! – by the way – have recently finished my first sweater – it nearly took as long to sew it up as it tok to knit it!!!!!

  29. London?! I’m so jealous! We were there 1st week of September and I loved it. We visited a shop called “Loop” in a neighborhood called Islington. If you happen to check these comments while you’re in London, you can look it up online.

  30. Wait… Vandyland closed?!??!?! When on earth did that happen?! I attended Vanderbilt grad school 10+ years ago and thought it amazing that a true soda shop still existed. I never thought it would close. Sigh.


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