As is usual this time of year, I have been experiencing celebration, challenge and a test of endurance. All of us have been reminded through printed and electronic ads that St. Valentine’s Day is a time to purchase and give flowers, candy, jewelry, cards or some other tokens to the ones we love. Relatively speaking, this one date is pretty easy to remember and prepare for.
With Christmas behind us and several people to thank for their gifts, I sat down with my children and asked them to draw some pictures as a way to express gratitude.
I’ve got skiing on the brain. Can you blame me?
An article titled “The ripple effect” appeared in The Dallas Morning News this week, written in correlation with the Feb. 5 National Signing Day for college football, the day when high school graduates show just how truly “committed” they are to the colleges to which they previously “committed.” The article is about how head coaches and assistant coaches moving from one college to another make an impact in regards to the teams with whom the players eventually sign scholarship papers.
Insomnia has historically been a hurdle for me – going back to high school, when I would find myself staring at the ceiling for many hours of the night, my mind racing.
One day during this Super Bowl week, I was e-mailed a story regarding the spiritual life of Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson. The next day a story came in about Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning’s spirituality.
We are well into 2014, getting ready to enter the last week of January. Many of you have seen (and are probably “full-up” of) articles about goal-setting – articles covering such things as how to set goals, how not to set goals, should we even set goals, etc. But before we leave January behind and venture into February, let me suggest you might take one more look back at last year and another look ahead to this year.
A hush has fallen over Sevier County.
Over the past 150 years, numerous stories have been passed down from generation to generation about a fortification known as Fort Harry. It was reputedly built by the infamous Thomas’ Legion, on a bluff protruding from the side of Mt. LeConte about eight miles south of Gatlinburg.
Different people at different times have different definitions of success.
For the third year in a row, we will take our children to the Wilderness Wildlife Week, a free, annual event in Pigeon Forge. Besides the new programs featured, it will be exciting to explore its new location. LeConte Center at Pigeon Forge looks pretty impressive from the outside.
During my not-quite-so celebrated stint as a struggling musician in Middle Tennessee, I had some strange experiences with strange individuals. Notably, the homeless man whose entire body, from head to toe, was painted blue for no discernible reason as he walked the streets of downtown Nashville with his guitar, harassing people with his slight musical abilities and his far greater skill, begging for cigarettes.
When Rebel Railroad opened in 1961, the two brothers from North Carolina who developed and owned the attraction could have not imagined it would one day be among the most visited amusement parks in the world. Neither did Eunice Eledge when she started working there in 1970. She was hired by John Fox to serve as his office manager when Art Modell, owner of the Cleveland Browns, purchased the attraction and changed the name to Goldrush Junction.
In the celebration and observance of Christmas followed by the flurry of activities that paced the entry into 2014, you may have missed Good Riddance Day. I did. Just yesterday I got around to seeing something about it. I really can’t remember if I’ve noticed it in years past, but I do know now that the Seventh Annual Good Riddance Day was observed in New York City on Dec. 28.
She could quote the Bible from “kiver to kiver,” administer home remedies to the sick, deliver babies, weave baskets, lay out the dead, make shoes, hunt for game, and tailor men’s suits. Known as “Aunt Liddy,” Lydia Kear Whaley could do just about anything to which she set her mind.
According to a report in a December 2013 issue of University of Scranton’s Journal of Clinical Psychology, 45 percent of Americans “usually” make New Year’s resolutions, 17 percent “infrequently” make resolutions, 38 percent “absolutely never” make resolutions. Eight percent are “usually successful” reaching resolutions, 49 percent have “infrequent success” reaching resolutions and 24 percent “never succeed” reaching resolutions.
Scientific fact: new year's resolutions do not work. They fizzle out by April, to be precise. So why make them? Instead, please allow me to mention a couple of books that will set you off on a path to productivity and goal-achieving bliss, not only in business, but in your personal life, as well.
I met Winfred Ownby for the first time on Jan. 12, 2008. He walked up to me after the conclusion of a program I presented about Uncle Lem Ownby at Wilderness Wildlife Week in Pigeon Forge. He was clad in bibbed overalls and walking with a cane. I was startled, at first glance, at his remarkable resemblance to Lem Ownby, who had passed on 25 years earlier.
Back in the 1970s, Miss Maggie, an elderly lady of the mountains, talked about Old Christmas. According to her, many mountain people celebrated Christmas in January. “My grandfather always celebrated Christmas on Jan. 6,” she said. “He refused to acknowledge Dec. 25 as the real Christmas, claiming it was man-made.” She said that Old Christmas was much more subdued than is our modern holiday. It was a quiet, reflective time, celebrated with prayer and soft, a cappella singing.
This Christmas will mark the four-year anniversary of the greatest Christmas gift I ever received. And that part cannot be stressed enough: my greatest gift. Maybe not yours.
Every region, community and family has its own time-honored Christmas traditions. Baking old-fashioned stack cake and chopping down a cedar tree in the woods are memories shared by many older Sevier County residents. There are those still living who can recall the Christmas mornings of their youth when receiving nothing more than a stocking filled with candy and fruit was all they expected as a Christmas gift.
The sad case in Texas of a teenager who took four lives while driving drunk is shining a light on “affluenza,” a concept that doesn’t seem to have much scientific support but is now, at least briefly, in the public eye.
Since Preston Love established The Sevierville Enterprise, in 1882, numerous publications have provided the news in print form to county residents. Arguably, none of them left as memorable impression as Montgomery’s Vindicator, founded and published by William R. “Bill” Montgomery.
On Nov. 28, I was looking all over the Internet for an Advent calendar. Somebody mentioned a bargain price, like $10 on Amazon, so I was motivated.
As far as parents go, I had a pretty good set. Always the provider, Pop made certain we had what we needed so Mom could stay home and take care of us kids.