Holiday Road Trip: Nashville

Over Christmas we stayed in a Civil War era house in 12South. There were lots of friendly smiles, burgers, and ham in that part of town, and a little bit of twang. And lots of driving. If you drove out far enough there were stone cabins and woodsmoke in the air. No honky tonks this time. Pleasant surprise to find Imogene and Willie, a company I've been hearing a lot about - young folks tapping into their heritage, only three blocks away. We walked over there and Chad and Jessica were kind enough to show us around and introduce us to Nestor, Gloria, and the rest of the crew. I was inspired by everything I saw.

My parents wear jeans from Eddie Bauer. They like them because they can wash them in the washing machine every two days and they keep getting softer and softer and softer. This is what casual denim means to them. At Imogene and Willie they make jeans from scratch the old way. Chad showed us around the workshop and explained how raw denim is meant to be worn - unwashed, unless there is a river crossing - and that people actually wear it that way. He said if you wear it this way the denim gets softer and softer and softer and eventually becomes a part of you. My parents didn't buy it. Later that evening, while sitting by the fire, my mom found this passage in the book she was reading:

"Levi's we didn't wash at all. They shrank too much, and it weakened the threads. So we wore them and wore them until they were shiny with mud, manure, tallow, cattle slobber, bacon fat, axle grease, and hoof oil - and then we wore them some more. Eventually, the Levi's reached a point of grime saturation where they couldn't get any dirtier, where they had the feel of oilskin and had become not just waterproof but briar-proof, and that was when you knew you had really broken them in. When Levi's reached that degree of conditioning, they were sort of like smoke-cured ham or aged bourbon, and you couldn't pay a cowboy to let you wash his."
- from Half Broke Horses by Jeannette Walls

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