"My Brown County Home"
Nashville, Indiana

April 18-25, 2000

Since we were in Indiana we decided to stop at Nashville for awhile. (Nashville Indiana that is.) We came here once before, intent on doing a story, but it was a drive into town, look around, and leave. At one time there used to be a museum about John Dillinger. Many years ago. The last time we came down Bob wanted to do a story about the museum found out that it had been shut down and left disappointed. What I have come to find out, is that you can't DO Nashville (either Indiana or Tennessee) in a day.
At first view, all we saw was a typical little tourist town filled with small shops and restaurants. As we later came to find out, Nashville is so much more. Nashville or Brown County, as many of the locals like to call it, has a rich historic heritage that some can trace back several generations. There is a homespun attitude and humor that underlies much of their art and writing that is easy to miss with just a cursory
glance. One of their featured characters was a humorist named Abe Martin. He did a humorous newspaper column in the early 1900's. His humor took the form of countrified one liners. His humor was so country that Will Rogers admired him. The lodge in the Brown County State Park is named after him. A quote from Abe Martin, "A waitress allus lays your check upside down so you won't choke."
For a small town there are things to interest everyone. There are the typical small shops for the ladies. There are several covered bridges in the area, and for the most part I've found that "the natives" are extremely friendly. I don't know if it's fair to say that it's a bohemian-type artist's colony, but it sure has its share of artists.
We had
been at Clifty Falls State Park in Madison Indiana before we came here and found a couple of Morels. They are weird looking mushrooms that have a head that look like a sponge. Unfortunately there are also things called "false Morels" which tend to be poisonous to some people and sometimes even experts can't tell the difference. I did read that very few False Morels grow in the spring. Anyway we found a couple in Clifty Falls, Bob sautéed then up with our eggs and they were delicious. Since we survived that encounter, we decided that when we came to Nashville we would drive over to the Brown County Sate Park and see if we could continue our Morel acquisition. Unfortunately, I think coming this little ways north made it just a little too early for Morels in this area. I have a little bone to pick with Indiana, because they charge people from out-of-state $5 to get into the park, while Indianians only $2. Oh well, it's only money. Since we were already in the park we decided to look around the lodge which featured a lot of information about Abe Martin, and had a flyer talking about a local gal who was going to do a show on Friday night. It said that she played lots of instruments and sang. Her name was Kara Barnard. We made plans to come back on Friday, have dinner and hear her show. Well, "the show" turned out to be rather casual. We were all sitting around in what could only be called the "great room" of the lodge, facing a huge fireplace, when this rather unimpressive looking young lady, dressed as casually as some of us in the audience, started bringing up music case after music case and placing them around a chair that she had set to face the audience. She sat down and started tuning one of the instruments and then started singing softly to herself. Finally, she introduced herself, and the mandolin that she was playing. There were 3 or 4 youngsters seated on the floor in front of her and much of her comments were aimed at the children. She sang and played a couple of old traditional songs that we all know, but this amazing lady played many of her own songs which were absolutely delightful. She ended up playing, not only the mandolin, but a banjo, a guitar, an autoharp and a mountain dulcimer. After the show, we went over and talked with her awhile and found out that as well as performing locally, she does some traveling performances around the State Parks, and teaches music. Also, she was going to be in a show the next night with a local group called Slats Klug and Friends doing My Brown County Home at the Brown County Inn. Enough said, we thanked her and were off to secure tickets for the performance. Be sure and check out her website: http://www.karabarnard.com/.

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