Quintessentially Nashville

Most of you know about the devastating flood that did so much damage across Nashville and Middle Tennessee in May of 2010.

Bicentennial Mall park after the flood, Nashville

Bicentennial Mall Park, Nashville (That's an amphitheater, not a pool.)

We are lucky to live in a neighborhood that was mostly spared. We’re also lucky to live in a city like Nashville, where the spirit of community has been incredible.

Even with damage estimates literally in the billions of dollars and the eerie sight of disaster recovery trucks and front yards filled with people’s entire – and ruined – belongings, the city hasn’t been beaten down.

As a relative newcomer, it has been amazing to witness and to be a part of. When the storm was unfolding and the streets around us began to fill with water, I was following people on Twitter who I’d come to feel I “know” even though I’ve never met many of them.

We shared updates and photos, often giving and getting better information than what we could find on the news at the time – particularly the national news, which was completely ignoring the story.

Since that historic weekend in May, a blog post entitled We Are Nashville has become something of a rallying cry for the city.

The statement “We are Nashville” turns up everywhere here now, but it’s more than just a slogan. Its message has inspired so many people to do what they can to keep the city positive and help out the residents and businesses that have suffered so much. It inspired me to design a t-shirt to raise money for non-profits assisting with flood relief.

The crazy thing – the thing that makes me love Nashville all the more for being a fairly big city but still sometimes feeling like a small town – is that one day recently, as my husband and I sat at a long table on the patio of a quintessentially Nashville spot, Yazoo Brewery, drinking our Pale Ales, a guy already sitting at the table commented on my husband’s t-shirt. It was the “We Are Nashville” shirt I’d designed, and my husband, ever the salesman, told him about its origins and how we were selling them to raise money for flood relief.

That guy turned out to be Patten Fuqua, the author of the We Are Nashville blog post.

We had a great afternoon getting to know him and others at the table. One person gave us a free copy of his band’s newest CD while he and my husband discussed musical influences (another quintessentially Nashville occurrence). We talked about the flood, we talked about the World Cup, we drank a few more Yazoo beers, we exchanged business cards…

The disaster recovery trucks are gone. The national media outlets were hardly ever here. But that je ne sais quoi of Nashville that I’ve grown to love – fortunately, it’s still here and stronger than ever.

What a cool place to be.

"Don't Fret" t-shirt

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