For a good month or so, there hasn't been any real doubt about the topic of this week's column. It's my last one before Valentine's Day, and though it's not official as I'm writing this, by the time you read this, I will be engaged.
This month, Knoxville theater companies the WordPlayers and the Carpetbag Theatre will stage their production of “Walk, Don’t Ride” more than 20 times, at various East Tennessee venues.
February rolls around, finally, and it's time to celebrate: the groundhog, the Valentine thingy and my birthday. The groundhog is easy because, regardless of his prediction, he is adorable. And when those handlers handle him, he just sits there looking all furry and fat, and you just want to reach into your TV screen or whatever device screen you happen to be watching on, and pet him.
Like many football fans, I wasn't familiar with Malcolm Butler prior to the recent Super Bowl. Actually, I still wasn't familiar with him until he made that pass interception at the Patriots' goal line with approximately 20 seconds in the game to keep the Seahawks from scoring, securing New England's 28-24 victory over Seattle. Not even until announcers mentioned it did I remember Butler was the victimized defender only moments earlier when the Seahawks' Jermaine Kearse made an incredible juggling catch, which gained 33 yards and got Seattle to the five-yard line.
A hosiery mill located on Bruce Street in Sevierville provided employment for many Sevier County residents for almost 40 years. The building has changed ownership numerous times. The renovated 95-year-old structure that housed the mill is now Mill Corner Place, a posh office building, one of the finest examples of historic preservation in Sevier County.
A few days ago, my dentist had her hands in my mouth.
It was a remote mountain community. A thriving railroad settlement. A resort destination.
Not long ago I was talking to a class of young people with writing aspirations. During the Q&A session regarding columns and articles, a student asked which of my recent subjects solicited the most responses, i.e., emails, comments, etc. Well, of course, I have always appreciated responses and acknowledgements – even the ones that may not agree with my point of view on something. I do thank God, however, that most of the reactions I have received have been positive ones from people who are encouraged or uplifted by my words.
On Sunday, Oct. 26, 2009, seasoned hiking buddies Stanley Creswell and Frank Maples began a two-day hike. They started their trek on the Appalachian Trail at Newfound Gap and headed for Snakes Den Ridge, above Cosby Campground. After spending the night at Peck's Corner Shelter, they stopped at Tricorner Knob Shelter to eat lunch. As they came around the corner of the shelter, a guinea fowl came strutting around the opposite corner of the structure.
It's Monday morning, and about 30 young children, from toddlers to younger elementary students, are exploring science at the Muse Knoxville, formerly the East Tennessee Discovery Center. Inside the space shuttle, an intense game of pretend spaceflight keeps about seven of them engrossed in dialogue worthy of sci-fi movies.
I was recently talking with a friend about some good times we had several years ago, and a topic came up that I had completely forgotten about: my work at the college television station.
I have a very difficult time trying to figure out why our national government has not granted the basic privileges of all adult citizens to all who are accepted and serve in our nation’s military. In particular, the right to consume alcohol and any other privilege enjoyed by current American adults who are qualified to serve in the military. It appears that age 21 is the current overall most realistic target for full privilege.
Every time I go along with local law enforcement officers during one of their roundups or other operations, as I did on Tuesday, I'm reminded of their side of the ongoing debate over the "militarization" of police.
Although small in number, by the early 1900s the African-American population in Sevier County had established communities including Chandler's Gap, Payne's Temple, Cynthiana and Union Hill.
I'm sad. College football is done for the year, and the NFL only has three games left in the season. I suppose I'll have to figure out something to do with my weekend afternoons.
As I was recently reading one of many annual articles about making plans and setting goals for a new year, I ran across one that began with the question, "What are you most proud of about yourself this past year?" I understand the question and have actually used this idea in articles, columns and speeches. The question asks people to reflect on such things as reached goals, accomplishments, strengthened relationships, situations and challenges handled well, lessons learned or better attitudes developed. And then, the big question here is, "Are the things of which I am most proud helping me to reach my main purpose in life?"
We all know how January spells blah. After all the holiday cheer and the glorious New Year's resolutions, the bills start coming in. Besides, we all must go back to the reality of work and school schedules. If your anchor does not go deep into the rock of some solid hope for tomorrow, however you get that hope, January equals dreary month.
In 1939, Sevier County Electric System was established as a city-owned public utility. The following year, the fledgling organization purchased from Tennessee Valley Authority the nearly county-wide distribution system, which included Gatlinburg, Pigeon Forge, Catlettsburg and all points in between.
I’m fond of yesterday’s consumer technologies. I’ve written here before about my LP collection. I also am fascinated by old computers, old video games.
Jean came home from a doctor's office a while back and told me how shocked she was when a woman sitting next to her in the waiting room said there was no way she could drink eight ounces of water at one time. This statement arose after the woman told Jean the doctor wanted her to drink the water with a dose of Metamucil laxative. The woman said, "I doubt if I drink that much water in a day!"
In 1838, John Jackson Russell preached his first sermon at Providence Baptist Church. On June 18, 1845, he was ordained by the Hopewell Primitive Baptist Church to the full work of the ministry, accepting the pastoral care of the church. Affectionately called Uncle Jackie, over the ensuing decades he became widely known as the poet preacher. He delivered his last sermon when he was 86.
Sayings come and go. I remember when it was pretty common upon departing company someone would say, "I'll see you in the funny pages." The other person would respond, "Not if I see you first." Today, most people under 50 would probably have no idea what you're talking about if you should use such a way of saying goodbye. Many under-50s probably wouldn't realize "funny pages" (or "funny papers") is another term for newspaper comic sections.
I don’t need much of an excuse to drink Champagne. Gas prices dropped three cents today? Break out the Bollinger! My cat almost caught a mouse? Time for some Taittinger! There’s no moderately pleasant occasion that isn’t made more pleasant by a glass or two of bubbly.
A few more days, and it’s 2015. For some strange reason, I was writing 2015 throughout 2014 whenever I needed to date something. So I feel like I will not have any problems writing the proper date as we go into the new year.
After lingering and suffering several days, Aaron McMahan died Aug. 22, 1896, as a result of gunshot wounds sustained in an ambush as he and his son and son-in-law were returning from a visit to the Pigeon Forge Mill to his home in Wear’s Valley. However, McMahan lived long enough to identify his assailants as Newt Green and Wes Hendricks.