Thursday, March 28, 2013

Lunch at Pope's Cafe - Shelbyville TN

A friend's recent blog entry about a cool little hot dog joint in Massachusetts reminded me of the following story I wrote in 2005 and submitted to our local BMW club newsletter.  Real life in a small town world!

Some characters just can’t be invented, and this would certainly be true of the old and
grizzled chain-smoking “regular” sitting at the back of this dining anachronism. But in
the play of real life, staged at a smoke-hazed town-square diner complete with swiveling
counter stools and clear plastic domes covering a sinful assortment of home-made pies,
he certainly fit the part. The diner is Pope’s CafĂ©, famous for its “meat and three sides”
lunch specials, and a group of us rode into town to have lunch here and mingle with the
locals while in Shelbyville TN for the BMW RA rally last month [June, 2005].

This trip was a circuitous route that took me on a national parks stamp hunt through OK,
KS, MO, and eventually brought me into AR to meet up with a distant cousin and his
wife, who have been riding two-up for decades. I’ve corresponded with this cousin for 20
years, but we’d never met until this trip to Hot Springs. Mike joined me in Hot Springs
mid-week, in time to head east toward TN and the rally. We hopped off the interstate as
soon as we were able, and took scenic SR-64 across the southern tier of TN, through
some pretty wooded and rolling country.

As we got closer to our destination, the size and quality of the farms and outbuildings
changed noticeably for the better, and we realized we were now in the heart of Tennessee
Walking Horse country. Horses and colts were corralled in immaculate paddocks next to
opulent horse barns, and Mike commented on how the horses here lived better than do
many people.

We spent all day Friday at the rally site, visiting and shopping the vendors, checking out
the bikes, meeting new friends, and catching up with old ones. The rally was held at
Celebration Horse Park, a perfect venue for the event. Campers were set up on grassy,
shaded fields adjacent to the enclosed arena where the vendors and biergarten were
located. BMW Motorrad had their demo fleet there, but all rides were quickly booked
and I missed my chance at a new K1200R. My friend Kathy and her husband and son
were there, a family of BMW riders from nearby Murfreesboro. Her son on his R1100S
won “youngest rider” award at the rally. At 18 years of age, he’s already a responsible
and accomplished rider.

At noon, it was time for us to meet Mike’s three friends Bob, Larry, and Gary, members
of the Alabama State BMW Club, for lunch at Pope’s. The waitress was sassy and the
guys flirted shamelessly with her, which made my lunch enormously entertaining. The
food didn’t disappoint, either, being plentiful and hearty.

But those pies kept tempting us from under their see-through covers. We learned that
they were homemade by local Amish folk who come into town one day every two weeks
to sell them to the local restaurants. We happened to hit Pope’s on that one day in
fourteen, and I can personally vouch for the chocolate cream pie.

1 comment:

  1. Some times those small town cafes are the best.

    And now I am craving pie and it is only 8:30 am.

    Have a great weekend.