Singer's Son Enjoys Cheatham County

While driving through the mountains of Tennessee recently on our way to Ashland City for the dedication of the new Tennessee Waltz Parkway, my wife, Sharon, and I had no idea what was in store for us! Little did we know the warm, friendly hospitality and generosity that awaited us.

We arrived in Ashland City on the afternoon of June 17, and stayed at the Cheatham Lock and Dam Campground overlooking the river. We were delighted with the warm welcome we received a the park, and even more thrilled with the beautiful scenery there.

This was one of the more spectacular places we have ever stayed. After settling in we drove through town to get acquainted with the area, and the first surprise we found was a beautiful portrait of my father, Redd Stewart, displayed in the Square.

I was told that the artist was Bill Burgess, whom did a magnificent job of portraying my dad. We drove all around your town and even drove down the very road my dad lived and grew up on as a child, Vine Street.

The next morning, Saturday, we met a few family members for breakfast, and then drove to the Riverview Restaurant and Marina for a beautiful luncheon planned by Ann Mitchell, a first cousin, whom worked very hard in having a hand in making the Tennessee Waltz Parkway become a reality.

When we arrived at the restaurant, we were pleasantly surprise to meet with thirty or so family members that are somehow connected to my dad, most of whom I've never met before. We spent several hours in the restaurant all getting acquainted with each other, and then went to the local recreation center for a jam session.

What incredible musical talent filled that room! There was guitar, fiddle, dobro, and mandolin playing, along with various ranged of voices that seemed to all blend together like we had all known each other for years and spent many hours sharing our talents together. 

We then all met at the Tennessee Waltz Parkway for the ribbon cutting and dedication. We were introduced to the Ashland City Mayor, Gary Norwood, Cheatham County Mayor Bill Orange, State Rep. Phllip Johnson, Congressman Jim Cooper, Asland City Parks & Recreation Director, Tony Young and several members of the City Council.

My entire family felt like royalty, as each and everyone of them rolled out the red carpet to us, extended a warm welcome, and showed us the utmost kindness and generosity. We would like to thank all of them for their kindness and for the tribute of naming the Tennessee Waltz Parkway in honor of my father. This was one of the most memorable experiences of my life that I will cherish forever.

After the dedication ceremony we then went over to the city's hospitality tent that was set up in Riverbluff Park for a magnificent array of refreshments. We met many wonderful people from the community, and had a terrific time socializing.

The grand finale of our trip was held that evening when I went on stage to sing 'Tennessee Waltz' in honor of my dad. As I said at the parkway dedication, I don't think I could have given my dad a better Father's Day gift than having a new parkway named in his honor.

Thank you all for such a wonderful and memorable time. We will surely be back to visit again.

Billy Stewart

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