Miss Minnie’s Legacy
A visit to my childhood home, “Up Yonder”, is a departure from city life. Through the gate and up the hill, Miss Minnie throws her arms open wide and hollars “Howdy, I’m just so proud to be here!” Her hospitable legacy is echoed in nature. Thousands of daffodil blossoms grace the hill side, as if to say hello and welcome. They open their faces to the sun each morning and close to the moon each night.
True hospitality is not about impressing, but about giving, about celebrating one another, and helping others enjoy life. Sarah Cannon, and her husband, Henry built their home up on the Williamson county ridge as a songwriters retreat-A place for communal creativity. Where friends would come and stay, and write and play. And many nights from the Opry, fellow members and friends would head “Up Yonder” after the show. Legend says this crowd was known to stay the weekend. She loved to entertain and cook for her guests. I can almost hear the laughter and music.
My parents bought the house when we were little. After nearly three decades at Up Yonder Minnie and her husband Henry needed to move to be closer in. But her spirit of creativity and hospitality remains. It has certainly been felt, and I like to think honored as well. My mom says the sweetest advice she ever got from Minnie was ‘honey, just throw those doors open, love people and they will love you back.”
When my parents bought the home, a touch of Minnie remained in the kitchen. Her recipe for squash casserole is framed above the sink. She probably never knew how much my mother loved to cook, or how much use that one recipe would get!
Up Yonder was a great place to grow up-a natural ‘makers space’, with plenty of room to explore. Almost every day, we played outside until the sun went down, creating hide out spots throughout the wooded hillside, laughing and singing at the top of our lungs-who could hear? Would the grand dame of comedy have laughed at our jokes? The spirit of creativity thrives in special places like Up Yonder. Was it born from her creation, or did she just recognize it there? The practice of writing for an audience is humbling. You have to be comfortable with failure. Up Yonder was a safe place to try new things and make mistakes-Perfect for my forever quest to turn the perfect pirouette. The stakes were low and forgiveness was abundant. Creative thinkers and writers talk about having a dedicated place to create-and recreate, to write-and rewrite. In other words, to fail. Up Yonder was that place for me. My childhood was spent practicing uninhibited creativity. Whether I was dancing, singing, drawing, painting, planting, building, or exploring, the hill seemed to nurture it. The rhythm of creativity is cyclical, like nature.
The beauty of these early spring blooms both inspires my creativity, and awakens a sense of Miss Minnie’s spirit. Throw open your arms to love people, and they’ll love you back!