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Monthly Archives: September 2016

Come as a Customer, Leave as a Friend

Have you ever seen one of those super cute, trendy boutiques in a fashionable part of town & you were too intimidated to go in? It just oozed “too rich for your blood” or maybe gave the impression it would be filled with snooty falooty types. I once knew of such an establishment, but I still couldn’t resist the urge to go peruse it, out of my budget or not. The boutique I speak of was housed in an old farmhouse on the Parkway in the middle of downtown Sevierville. The front porch had gigantic hanging ferns & two welcoming rocking chairs creaking in the breeze. I never seemed to have time to zip in, & plus, I was a little hesitant about the parking situation. But the week before my wedding, I was at wits end for two of my bridesmaid gifts. I was going to the post office & I had a minute. I maneuvered Patsy around to the gravel lot behind & cautiously stepped in the back door. “Welcome,” came a confident voice behind the counter. I smiled at the redhead who spoke. I’m sure she offered to help me, & before long we were chatting amicably about what brought me in. She helped me pick some pieces of silver jewelry out for my momma, & some earrings for one bridesmaid. But there was this cow picture on the wall that kept calling my name. It seemed strange to…

America, America

Almost exactly eight years ago, I was leaning against a shed at Sand Creek Farms in Shelbyville at sunset during the Walking Horse Celebration when my momma called. She told me my grandmother was dying of pancreatic cancer. I remember where I was because it was some of the worst news I ever received & I was helpless to it.   Pearl Harbor attack. JFK assassination. Challenger explosion. September 11, 2001. These are events in America’s history that are so firmly ingrained & so important in our memories we know exactly what we were doing & where we were. We share these memories; we are not alone in our anger & grief. I wasn’t alive for Pearl Harbor or the assasination, so they are just images & bits of what I absorbed in history classes over the years. The photos are grainy & details are fuzzy in my mind, as they were just dates to memorize for the impending exam. I was five for the Challenger tragedy. I was in the floor playing & the tv was on. I remember sharp intakes of breath & cries of “What happened???” around me. I was wearing my magenta colored plastic charm necklace. September 11th was another scenerio entirely. I was grown, working, a voting American citizen. Details are crystal clear. It was a normal morning at the Co-op…until it wasn’t. A man came in on his regular errand & told us a…

Sample 2: The Montgomerys

  A breeze from the river lifts a corner of my napkin where my sweating glass of sweet tea sits. The air is humid, carrying the scent of mud & pine trees. I look past the house to the geese squawking at each other on the pond.   Richard Montgomery spears a meatball with a toothpick & plops it on his plate. “Can you believe how hot it still is? Did you get you some of these meatballs? Here, try ’em!” He proffers the blue casserole dish my way. My plate is already full from everything else Ann, his wife of 42 years, has persuaded me to eat. Their hospitality is overwhelming.   Richard is, in the truest sense of the word, a good ole boy. He’s the current Chairman of Tennessee’s Board of Parole. He served as Sevier County’s House Representative from 2008-2012, & for eighteen years prior to that, proudly chaired Sevier County’s Board of Education. Richard is an institution in this part of the world, & chances are you’ve been in his presence at some point or another, if you ever attend any local fundraisers or social events. He’s an important voice for the local people & always has an ear for anyone who stops him. And boy, do people stop him. Bob’s Mountaineer Restaurant, that once anchored Seymour on its north side, was more a political gathering place…