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.
Like a lot of regular people, I have some money in the stock market. We’re not talking Daddy Warbucks wealth, but I’ve invested enough that I pay attention to the market reports.
Throughout the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, evidence of houses and farms can be found. One of the most heavily populated areas was the Sugarlands community. In addition to private residences, the community contained churches, schools, and stores.
This past summer I read an article in The Atlantic magazine titled “Motivation Matters More Than Ever.” Just recently I picked up a new book titled “The Smartest Kids in the World – And How They Got That Way.”
Have you ever gone through Ripley’s Aquarium of the Smokies and wondered what those private classes offered were all about? I will explain. Please read on.
It’s that time of year again. Thanksgiving is over, and we are moving into the Christmas stretch. Actually, it seems like most businesses begin to promote Christmas-related products and events in August, but I try to ignore that because I think we all know it’s a bit ridiculous to see a cardboard cutout of reindeer flying through snow while it’s 80 degrees outside.
About a month before his 85th birthday, tragedy struck West Barber. On Dec. 4, 1974, he was working in the shop of his home in Knoxville making Christmas presents. A piece of wood spun from his lathe and buzzed at his unprotected good eye. He’d lost the sight in his other eye as a result of a detached retina a few years earlier.
President John F. Kennedy was three years deep into his presidency by November 1963. He symbolized an optimistic future for those of us who graduated college in June 1960. He characterized what many of us envisioned as good for our future and America.
“We had a good game plan, but we just failed to execute.” Sports coaches have uttered these words many times. What they are saying is, “On paper, the strategy or blueprint we designed in order to win the game was solid and workable, but we just didn’t do what we intended to do.”
Located within the city limits of Pigeon Forge and only four miles south of Sevierville, Shiloh Memorial Cemetery is one of the oldest burial grounds south of the French Broad River. It is the largest cemetery in Sevier County. On the south is a full panoramic view of the Great Smoky Mountains, which includes iconic Mount LeConte. The eastern end of Chilhowee Mountain (known locally as Bluff Mountain) is visible looking northwest.
Recently, I bought a few handmade creations at the Amish store across the street from the Walmart in Sevierville. One of them is a wooden piece for my children’s room, which reads, “Thou shalt not whine.”
Located off Old Knoxville Highway on top of a hill with a view of the Little Pigeon River valley and the Smoky Mountains, the Murphy-Swan House was built for William Campbell Murphy, a Sevierville merchant, in 1883. The two-story structure is an example of an extremely rare tripartite-style dwelling built in the Victorian era.