Mountain Life

Jan. 08, 2015 @ 03:29 PM

Carl Mays: Be sure to drink the water

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!"

Jan. 03, 2015 @ 03:45 PM

Upland Chronicles: Uncle Jackie Russell was known as the Poet Preacher

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.

Jan. 01, 2015 @ 02:58 PM

Carl Mays: You'll find humor in the funny pages – and messages

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.

Dec. 26, 2014 @ 07:59 PM

Smoky Mountain Gourmet: Champagne is great for toasts – and in desserts

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.

Dec. 26, 2014 @ 07:58 PM

Adriana Zoder: Making a resolution to slow down in the coming year

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.

Dec. 26, 2014 @ 07:55 PM

Upland Chronicles: Cousins Hendricks and Green were captured in Texas

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.

Dec. 23, 2014 @ 06:25 PM

Carl Mays: Peace is a mountaintop experience

I've written previously about various types of greeting cards, including Christmas, birthday, Valentine, sympathy, etc. I guess I have an above-average interest in cards because I'm a writer myself. Even though my work has focused on books, dramas, musicals, columns and articles, I have written a few cards. Several years ago, artist Vern Hippensteal and I teamed together on some cards, and I later penned some verses for Blue Mountain Arts. Among my columns is one about greeting card guru Helen Steiner Rice (1900-1981), a truly amazing lady.

Dec. 23, 2014 @ 06:24 PM

Kenneth Burns: Playing live music is like nothing else I've done

I enjoy my colleague Jake Old's columns about his music career. They have inspired me to share musical memories of my own.

Dec. 12, 2014 @ 01:08 PM

Adriana Zoder: 'Nutcracker' is an incomparable live experience

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.


Dec. 12, 2014 @ 01:08 PM

Smoky Mountain Gourmet: A must-make mousse

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.

Dec. 12, 2014 @ 12:49 PM

Jake Old: I don't know what to get my niece and nephews for Christmas

During the past few weeks, I've found an incredibly daunting task in front of me:

Dec. 12, 2014 @ 12:01 PM

Upland Chronicles: Battle of Boyd’s Creek was pivotal to early settlers

On Dec. 16, 1780, two months after the Battle of Kings Mountain, the Battle of Boyd’s Creek took place. The battle was fought, not against the British, but their sometime-ally, the Cherokee. A number of East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia’s leaders had been calling for an expedition against the Cherokee for some time. British agents led by John McDonald had allegedly been encouraging the Indians to attack white settlements.

Dec. 11, 2014 @ 01:25 PM

Carl Mays: Revisit the meaning of 'Advent'

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."

Dec. 05, 2014 @ 06:37 PM

Jeff Farrell: Encounters with police call for affability all around

It gets more and more difficult lately to be a cops and courts reporter observing the growing conflict over police behavior.

Dec. 05, 2014 @ 06:36 PM

Upland Chronicles: Mountain View was Gatlinburg’s first hotel

In 1916, Andy Huff built the Mountain View Hotel, a 10 unit, two-story building with one bathroom on each floor. He built the hostelry to provide lodging for the lumbermen coming to Gatlinburg to purchase timber. Returning home, these lumbermen told others of the beauty of the surrounding mountains. Soon residents of Knoxville began coming to the hotel for vacations.

Dec. 04, 2014 @ 07:32 PM

Brothers film Great Smoky Mountains as part of series about national parks

Autumn color bursts from the hillsides. A mountain stream gently flows. Animals roam. Visitors explore.

Dec. 04, 2014 @ 04:34 PM

Carl Mays: What kind of memories are you branding?

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.

Nov. 28, 2014 @ 05:39 PM

Kenneth Burns: Technology is inspiring, but rudeness isn't

When I was a kid, Silicon Valley fascinated me.

Nov. 28, 2014 @ 05:35 PM

Adriana Zoder: Keep an attitude of gratitude

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.

Nov. 28, 2014 @ 05:34 PM

Upland Chronicles: Seaton Springs evokes memories of unique bygone era

Summertime in Tennessee has always been hot. Before the days of air conditioning and the development of ways to combat mosquitoes, hot weather could pose a danger to health. Epidemics of cholera, malaria and yellow fever were sometimes serious public-health threats to urban dwellers in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Nov. 27, 2014 @ 11:49 AM

Carl Mays: 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow…'

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.

Nov. 22, 2014 @ 06:15 PM

Upland Chronicles: Old cemeteries tell stories of past generations

At least 350 graveyards are located in Sevier County. In addition to numerous cemeteries maintained by churches and those operated by perpetual care associations, there are literally hundreds of small cemeteries scattered throughout the county. Early settlers claimed land on which to live and raise their families, and when they died, they were often buried on the same property. Some cemeteries never had more than a few graves, while others grew to contain a large number of interments over several generations.

Nov. 22, 2014 @ 01:11 PM

Jake Old: How long before a rock song is classic rock?

I was driving to Pigeon Forge the other day and listening to a classic rock radio station. A peculiar song began to play.

Nov. 20, 2014 @ 05:58 PM

Carl Mays: Make service a priority

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.

Nov. 20, 2014 @ 04:18 PM

Smoky Mountain storytellers spin colorful yarns at ‘Tellabration!’

Storytelling has been around “for as long as there have been people,” Janice Brooks-Headrick said.