I’m thankful I was raised in a Christian home. Did you know that statistics show that the action of families turning off the TV and smart phones, gathering around the dinner table and beginning their dinner with prayer results in a positive influence on the children and the entire family? If you ever wonder why prayer has such great effect on the family, let’s consider the true meaning of prayer. A prayer is the sincere desire of the heart. When praying, we are acknowledging things in life are not in our control and we need the guidance of our Lord.
Union County Children's Charity annual "Under the Tree" toy program is underway. The event is for low income Union County children ages 0-12 years. Applications were distributed through the Union County Public Schools and the deadline has passed. Now the ornaments are printed and put on trees in various businesses throughout the county.
Union County man, Archie Wilson, was inducted into the Morristown Marine Team Trail Invitational Hall of Fame on Saturday October 28, 2017. He received his trophy/plaque at the dinner banquet, we often refer to as the pork chop dinner, held at the Walter State Expo. Sam Phillips, owner of Morristown Marine, mentioned that the criteria for induction into the hall of fame is based upon several factors like integrity, honesty, passion for the sport, contribution to community and family.
What is the easiest and cheapest nut to gather? Walnuts, of course! When my kids were in grade school, I would drive along country roads looking for walnut trees that had dropped their nuts. I figured if the nuts fell between the farmer's fence and the roadway, they were fair game. Most of the time I was right. Other times, with the farmer screaming and running after us, I hurriedly loaded my kids in the truck and sped off.
Dave Franks has left us for the great beyond, but I still think of him often. His tales and his cooking need to be saved.
James David Franks told me he started cooking at age 5. His grandmother taught him to cook and would let him stand in a straight wooden chair and stir the pots on a wood burning stove. Although re-calculating her directions–a spoonful of this or that, a pinch of this or that–not to mention the “handful” since Dave’s hand is three times the size of his grandmother’s hand–has been quite a challenge; nonetheless, Dave has published two cookbooks, Foods of the Southland and Bar-B-Q Beans and Tater Salad. He was working on a third book, Sweets of the Southland. I do not know if the book got published before Dave died.
As I was growing up, in a family of eight, music was almost always in the air. One of my dad’s brothers, who played the fiddle and most any other instrument he wanted to play, was a frequent guest on radio programs in Knoxville, Nashville and other towns or wherever he could get a gig. Another one of my dad’s brothers was also an excellent musician though he never pursued a career in music. I guess the fact that his brother was killed in an automobile accident while traveling may have influenced him to choose another occupation.
You've probably driven past it hundreds of times, the white storefront between Paulette and Maynardville, with the maxim emblazoned on the sign, "Music self-played is happiness self-made." But you might not know that Woods Music, now in its 10th year, is visited by folks from as far a way as Kentucky and Alabama, who stop in for fellowship, advice, and the chance that an impromptu jam session might break out.
Everyone knows that Union County is home to a good number of Country Music Stars but did you know it is also the home place of a Visual Artist Star? Enoch Lloyd Branson was born in Union County in 1853 (the year of the birth of Vincent Van Gogh). His family moved to Knoxville in 1868, where Lloyd found work in a brickyard. Around the time of the Civil War, prominent Knoxville physician John Mason Boyd noticed a sketch of Ulysses S. Grant Branson had made on a cigar box, and provided financial assistance for Branson to attend East Tennessee University.
Last Friday, October 20, 2017, Union Countians dressed in pink to show support and raise awareness for breast cancer. Melanie Dykes, organizer of Union County's Pink Out, got involved when the Susan G Komen organization approached her in 2014 looking to distribute information about breast cancer. Melanie says, “According to statistics, Union County is one of four counties across the state that has a high rate of late stage breast cancer diagnoses.” Melanie has been working with a grant to educate and encourage women to get mammograms.
I met David and Mary Nevin when I became involved in the Union County United Way a number of years ago. David taught school here for several years. They have since moved into Knoxville. I think about them often but seldom hear from them anymore. Our paths don't cross like they used to do. Doesn't that happen with a lot of people we know? Time marches on.
I remember the first time I rode in an airplane was in the nineteen sixties on the only airstrip in Maynardville that I’ve had any experience with. It was a little grass airstrip that was located just beyond Cooke’s Mortuary. Clifford Stiner kept his airplane in a small hanger and used the grass strip for a runway. Of course, most of the time, he used the strip for his own pleasure. However, on one occasion a barn stormer pilot, by the name of Jones, had apparently made an arrangement with Stiner allowing him to offer rides for a small fee.
As a young boy, I remember that sometime around Thanksgiving my dad would reserve a day for killing and dressing a hog or two. I remember the weather was always cold. He would build a nice fire and would place a large barrel of water over it. After everything was ready he would kill the hog. We would all pitch in. Using the hot water and a sharp knife we would scrape all the hair off the hog. Then he would proceed to cut it up as a butcher would do. This is the way we were to have meat on the table for months to come.
John Fugate and Linda Baxter come from different backgrounds, but when it comes to agriculture education at Union County High School, their philosophy is the same. They want to prepare students for the reality of today's careers while preserving the rich legacy of Union County agriculture.
"We don't just grow plants and animals," said Fugate. "We grow kids."
Baxter is originally from Colorado, but she attended high school in California, and her family later moved to Memphis. She attended UT Knoxville for pre-vet and changed to agriculture education.
I first knew him when I was about three or four years old as my father’s friend and co-worker. One Christmas when my family lived in one of Jessie Buckner’s rental houses on Academy Street in downtown Maynardville, he sent me a Tonka™ truck. He sent me scraps of wood from his carpentry to play with. When one of the small schoolhouses closed down upon its consolidation into one of the county’s larger elementary schools, he sent me a canvas bag of building blocks. He never knew the countless hours of joy playing with those blocks gave me.
Folks have been gathering for "jam sessions" at Rush Strong School in Sharps Chapel for so long that Lea Ogle can't tell you precisely when they started, but it's been years and years. And it's easy to see why. The warm, wood walls of the old schoolrooms have perfect acoustics for the bluegrass and gospel played there. Plus, there's just something musical in the blood of so many Union Countians that the jam sessions are as much for fellowship as they are for music.
"Some really good pickers have played here," said Ogle, who himself plays mandolin.
I like chicken. When I was growing up, chicken was for special occasions. When we needed one for a meal, Mother went to the chicken coop and selected a non-laying hen. How did she know which was which? Easy. She would catch one and lay two fingers between the hip bones just below the tail. If that space was wide, she was a lying hen. If it was narrow, her laying days were over. She would be the star of that Sunday dinner.
What a great time we had at the Fall Festival of Fellowship Christian Church on Saturday, October 14, 2017. This year the festival featured gospel singing on the front porch, antique cars, trucks, and tractors, crafts and games, a photo booth, bounce house, face painting, delicious food and lots of fun and fellowshipping.