Friday, October 1, 2010

Weekly Open Thread Loves Nashville Dinner Parties

Posted By on Fri, Oct 1, 2010 at 8:59 AM

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Dinner in a nice restaurant can be a wonderful experience, but a dinner party at someone's home can be just as fabulous — especially in Nashville, where such parties are often full of engaging conversation and, in some instances, curious coincidences.

Case-in-point (and this is a little convoluted, so bear with me): Susan Gregg Gilmore, author of Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, is a native Nashvillian. In fact, when her family left Nashville before her junior year of high school, I got the place she vacated in the class at the small school we both attended.

Everyone talked about her. People said we'd get along like old friends, but we never crossed paths — until she moved back to town around 2006 and we attended the same dinner party. We did get along like two peas in a pod.

Around that same time, also at a dinner party, she was seated next to my sister-in-law, who has a very unusual name with an equally unusual history. The name, Basilia Zita, is matrilineal — all the first-born females in her family receive the name. Most shorten it to something catchy, like Zee or Lia or Zita. It's always different enough from all the other living Basilia Zitas that if you call out one of the names at a family gathering, only one person answers.

So imagine the family surprise when Gilmore's new book, The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove, came out, and its title character is the fifth generation to have this double-barrel name. In fact, the book's jacket notes say, "Most shorten it to Bee or Zee or Zell, but Bezellia refuses."

Susan Gregg Gilmore and I have only met once, but now I feel like we've got a special bond. What's your great Nashville dinner party story? Or maybe just a great dinner you had? Or a great party? Or a great story?

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