Of all the Christmas traditions in the Western world, watching the "Nutcracker" ballet is the most ethereal. As one watches ballerinas glide gracefully, perpetual smile on their faces, weaving a story of dreams, toys, gifts, and the Sugar Plum Fairy, reality fades. Minds travel to beautiful lands. For some of us, we travel to our childhood, when our parents used to take us to this ballet.
A good many years ago, my mom and a friend of hers engaged in a friendly competition to see who could come up with the tastiest and prettiest holiday dessert. I don't recall what her friend made, but it doesn't matter. Mom won; it wasn't even close.
During the past few weeks, I've found an incredibly daunting task in front of me:
Someone asked me the other day, "What exactly does 'Advent' mean?" Good question. Like many other words, it does have a general meaning, and then it has a more specific meaning to specific people. According to various dictionaries, the general meaning of "advent," without capitalization, is "the coming into being, use or arrival of an event, a thing or a person." Examples include: "the advent of winter is upon us; the advent of the polio vaccine halted the spread of the dreaded disease; the advent of Elvis changed American music."
It gets more and more difficult lately to be a cops and courts reporter observing the growing conflict over police behavior.
I’ve written about New Orleans previously. I only lived there three years, but memories are many. It was a busy and exciting time as I attended graduate school at New Orleans Baptist Seminary, taught and coached at John Curtis High School and served as youth director for the New Orleans Baptist Association while on the staff of Kenner First Baptist Church. My work and studies involved activities with churches of various denominations, schools, hospitals and such institutions as a home for unwed mothers and a French Quarter coffee house. As you might imagine, the memories are firmly branded.
When I was a kid, Silicon Valley fascinated me.
You may have leftover dishes in your refrigerator from this year’s Thanksgiving meal. Is there anything on that menu more delicious than cranberry sauce? I think not. I love everything on the Thanksgiving menu, though – except for the turkey, bless its heart, to use a Southern phrase.
Simply known to millions of churchgoers through the years as the Doxology, the lyrics are, "Praise God from whom all blessings flow: Praise Him all creatures here below; Praise Him above ye heavenly host; Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost." I've always appreciated the strong, rhythmic beat that accompanies these words of worship. And I've appreciated the hymn's closing "Amen" that echoes a strong, affirmative "so be it!" Attributed to Thomas Ken in 1674, the hymn serves well as a great anthem for the year-round meaning of Thanksgiving.
I was driving to Pigeon Forge the other day and listening to a classic rock radio station. A peculiar song began to play.
There are more and more choices available to us when it comes to purchasing things, obtaining services, eating, or seeking intellectual, physical, mental, financial and spiritual help – or acquiring anything else we may need or want.
Before last year, I'd never heard the term "polar vortex." Before yesterday, I'd never heard the term "omega block." Oh boy! A new term for incredibly brutal, cold weather! OK, fine. Let the meteorologists quibble over what this phenomenon should or should not be called. All I know is that it's warmer in much of Alaska than it is here right now, and my sense of justice is deeply offended.
It was a little bittersweet to see the celebration of the Philae spacecraft touching down on a distant comet this week and relaying data back to Earth.
Coming back from Knoxville one day, just before we took our beloved Exit 407, my son noticed the sign for the Great Smokies Flea Market. He asked what they sell there. We said: "fleas."
What do you want to change? How do you want to make things different? What do you want to accomplish as an individual and as a team member? Whatever your answers might be, remember these words from retired Adm. William McRaven: "If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you can't do the little things right, you will never do the big things right."
As Veterans Day approaches, I am reminded of the often-circulated story of how the military’s taps melody came into being. It is a beautiful story of how, one dark night during the American Civil War, a Union Army captain rescued a soldier whom he eventually discovered to be dead – and to be his son, a member of the Confederate army. Supposedly in his musician son’s pocket the captain found the original written melody and then gained permission to allow a solo bugler to play it at his son’s funeral.
I never thought I'd say this. I'm sick of books.
Last week officially marked one year since I started at The Mountain Press. And since people still ask me this everywhere I go: Yes, I do enjoy the area and my job.
For the past few months, I have attended meetings of the Anna Porter Public Library Book Group. My life has been enriched through this experience. If your life could benefit from literary enrichment, please read on.
The jack-o'-lanterns glow, witches sway in the wind, ghosts, goblins and other assorted spooks and creatures scamper around to celebrate and enjoy Halloween, the scariest night of the year.
The main thing that I'll remember about Tuesday's raid on an alleged breeding operation for fighting dogs was how well the dogs behaved.
Driving down I-40 last week, I met a tractor-trailer transporting a dozen new cars. The pink SRX Crossover Cadillac sparkling in the bright sun caught my eye. There was no doubt in my mind that some Mary Kay Cosmetics superstar would soon be beaming just as brilliantly as she drove away in one of the most easily recognized sales incentives in the world. The scene brought back memories from 1986, when Mary Kay Ash, Jean and I shared a banquet table – and stories.
We visit the Track in Pigeon Forge about once a year. When our children were babies, we did not think the day would come for us to join the crowd hovering around Light #3, waiting for their rides. But what do you know? We were wrong. That day came faster than we thought. As soon as our kids could sit in the little train and take a ride, we made our first Track visit.
We lost a vital journalistic outlet Wednesday, when the Knoxville News Sentinel announced it was laying off the staff of Metro Pulse, the 23-year-old alternative weekly newspaper.
Most college football fans know that Georgia's Heisman Trophy-caliber running back Todd Gurley has been suspended indefinitely as an investigation about his signing autographs for pay continues. As his team faced an important SEC East Division game with Missouri in Columbia this past Saturday, many people declared the Georgia Bulldogs were in a heap of trouble. Sports fans know by now that Georgia won handily, 34-0.