The Definition of Freedom
Year Two, Week Thirteen
To many he was a burden from the moment of conception. He was so unwanted by his birth mother that she tried to abort him six months into her pregnancy. Her efforts failed, but resulted in his premature birth with handicapping conditions that he was to endure for his entire life. There were many who pitied him and felt him nothing more than a prisoner in a deformed body.
His parents abandoned him in the hospital, and none of his blood relatives came to his rescue. His doctors predicted that he would not survive to leave the hospital, would never be able to speak or recognize anyone, and could never even suck through a straw. Even if he by some miracle survived, he would function at such a diminished capacity that he would throughout his life be a burden on the taxpayers to support while producing nothing meaningful.
His father’s stepmother, his step-grandmother, expressed a desire to adopt him. This turned out to be a difficult task. Though his biological parents abandoned him in the hospital, they fought the step-grandmother’s efforts at adoption; nevertheless, she was successful, and the unwanted child now had a mother.
Though an adoptive mother, no mother ever loved a biological child more. His birth defects caused him to need 24/7/365 round-the-clock care. In the beginning, his new mother cared for him alone. He was often hospitalized and required many surgeries to sustain his life. As the years progressed, very slowly his mom was able to obtain services to help her provide for his medical care needs until the young man received round-the-clock nursing care and partial day caregivers to assist the nurses with his care.
But even this was not ideal. In many instances, those who cared for him saw his mother’s input as an intrusion and an inconvenience. They wanted her to stay out of their way and let them do their jobs as they saw fit. It did not matter that Mom had been with him from the very beginning when he was a castoff—they, thanks to their medical training, knew more about his needs than she ever could.
And Mom was persistent, feral in her concern for her son’s well-being. This led in several instances to open hostility from doctors (one who termed her a “frustrated grandmother”) and care providers who should have seen themselves as what they were—employed guests in her home to assist, not dictate, the care provided to the young man. Some care providers were more interested in the drama they could create by promulgating this antagonism and stealing from their patient and his family. There were instances in which the young patient was intimidated by nurses and caregivers to the point of terror. There was even an instance in which a drug-addicted nurse sent to care for the young man was arrested on site due to his possession of illegal substances and his neglect and abuse of his charge’s well-being.
Many times appeals to higher authorities in the offices at the care providing companies multiplied the problems, and appeals to the higher authority of state agencies continued to worsen matters. Laws enacted by uninformed legislators influenced by unknown lobbyists threatened to remove the young man from his home for placement in government institutions. There were instances in which the family felt they were being discriminated against only because they voiced their concerns and sought assistance to improve conditions.
Along the way, there were many people who entered, and ultimately left, the young man’s life, even those who pledged to always be there for him. To all of us who failed this young man in our various ways, from the greatest to the least, the words of Apostle Paul to his young charge in II Timothy 4:14 (KJV) are grim: “Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:”
Most probably no one except for Mom remained true to her vow to sacrifice all for his best possible quality of life while on this earth. Ironically, this sacrifice was her greatest freedom, for her joy was found in his smallest successes and happinesses. In spite of all obstacles, her efforts resulted in a charming, charismatic young man with a wonderful sense of humor and a strong faith in God that was an inspiration to all with whom he came in contact, particularly those with whom he worshipped in church. His victory over the limitations imposed by a crippled body were a sort of freedom.
Even at the very roughest going there were those who supported this mother in her struggle to provide the best for her child. There was the pediatrician who was the young man’s general practitioner throughout his life, even after he became an adult, whose tireless efforts undoubtedly positively affected both the quality and length of his patient’s life. There are the governors and legislators who fought for the best interest of the underprivileged throughout the years. There was the Legal Aide attorney who was so instrumental in ensuring that the young man got to stay in his home despite legislation that would have dictated otherwise. There were the remarkable lawyers who negotiated peace when all seemed in vain. There were the caring independent support coordinators and their supervisors who provided much support throughout the years to the mother and child. There were the law enforcement officers and the district attorney who supported the young man and his family in prosecution of the drug-addicted provider who jeopardized the young man’s life.
And there were several loving nurses and care providers who saw their vocation as more than just a job and reached into the deepest parts of themselves to make the young man’s life as enjoyable as possible. In so doing, they became better individuals themselves, getting more than they ever expected the young man could give. This is a sort of freedom. To all who supported this young man and others like them speak the words of Matthew 10:42 (KJV): “And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward.”
This young man realized his greatest freedom of all when he entered Heaven early on Sunday morning, March 31, 2019, at age 30. It was most appropriate that my stepson, Dustin Ryan Woods, would enter his eternal home on the Lord’s Day, for he lived for Sunday, asking every day throughout the week how many more days it was until church. Now his eternal existence will be one never-ending Sunday with those he loves and who love him. His mother, my wife Mary Ann Townsend Woods Mincey, will realize her greatest freedom when she joins him in that eternity. Her story is reflective of Christ’s love for the world as stated in John 15:13 (KJV): “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”
We could all benefit from these words from the story of the Good Samaritan found in Luke 10: 36-37 (KJV): “Which now of these . . . thinkest thou, was neighbour unto
him . . . ? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”
The City of Plainview hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the Grand Opening of the Dollar General Store at 1900 Tazewell Pike. Mayor Gary Chandler welcomed the crowd and thanked all who made this day possible. Mayor Chandler stated that Plainview is a growing community of caring individuals and that the city will continue to strive to “meet the needs of our citizens”.
Summer is in full swing at the Union County Farmers Market. The market is located in Wilson Park and open on Saturdays from 10am – 1pm. Our new Saturday hours allow our farmers to harvest early on Saturday morning bringing you the freshest possible produce. We hope the later hours will also encourage you to take advantage of the food trucks that are joining us! Enjoy a snack, breakfast or lunch.
A few days ago I had just risen from my chair to go to the great room for a cup of coffee. I really stood up and took notice, stopping dead in my tracks. There came a sudden crack of lightning with a deafening roar of thunder. All at the same time. That was not only close, it had to be right on top of us. My immediate worry was if there was any damage.
Being old has its disadvantages, but something I’m glad it allowed me to witness (at age 15) was the first moon landing and walk that occurred 50 years ago this month. It was one of those moments you remember exactly. In my case it was at my boyhood home in Middlesboro, Kentucky at 10:30 on a Sunday night. Me and my dad (mom was out of town) sat there watching a small black and white television totally mesmerized as these two guys walking around on another world. I remember lots of goosebumps and feeling so happy (I was a bona fide science geek by then).
I have always liked red table grapes, but have previously looked in vain for a way to cook them. A few years ago our church group took a trip up to Cumberland Falls in Kentucky. While there, we had lunch at their tearoom. Grape Salad was on the menu. It was delicious and new to all of us. We asked for the recipe. The one they gave us didn't turn out at all like the tasty salad we had there. Don't you hate that? When someone gives you a recipe and its not quite like their dish.
Enthusiasts from around the world traveled to spectate the picturesque landscapes of unique blooms at the Twentieth Annual Oakes Daylily Bloom Festival on Friday and Saturday June 28 and 29. The weather was usual for East Tennessee’s late June days, very hot and muggy, but the temperatures did not slow down the masses of guests attending.
On June 29, Main Street exploded with color. Union County Platinum Athletics hosted a Paint Party to youths and families of the community. The children, as well as the children at heart, excessively enjoyed a paint slip-n-slide, shaving cream twister, canvas painting with squirt bottles, water balloon fight, and an over the top paint war. The paint war is exactly that, a war, everyone throws powder paint at everyone who came for a fun mess of a time, creating a beautiful, colorful rainbow mess.
At the Union County Historical Society Meeting on Sunday, July 21, at 2:30 at the UC Museum, Bill Landry of Heartland Series fame will share stories from his new book, WHEN the WEST was TENNESSEE. Lisa Oakley will relate information on the East Tennessee History Center's new exhibit, “Mountain Dew”.
A class for Tennessee's divorcing parents. Held in Union County on the last Monday each month. Preregistration required at 865-992-8038 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Moore about the program at https://extension.tennessee.edu/Union/Pages/FCS-Co-Parenting.aspx
Enjoy a day of family-friendly fun! Children can compete in fun contests like "corniest joke," "fastest corn eater," and "fastest corn shucking." There will be door prizes and live music. Local vendors may sell corn products at no cost to them. In addition to corn-related shopping, local produce and craft vendors will be at the farmers market. There will be games, history exhibits, and fun demonstrations for everyone. We'll see you there!
This will be a simple self serve buffet. It will include Buttered Grits (cheese optional), Fresh- Baked Banana Muffins, Toast with homemade Strawberry and Fig Preserves, Fresh Fruit Salad, and Quiche Florentine. We will serve Orange Juice, Milk, Tea, and Coffee to drink.
Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Jr.-age 46 of Knoxville passed away Thursday, July 11, 2019 at his home following a brief battle with cancer. He was a member of Fairview Baptist Church, Luttrell. Preceded in death by father, Jerry Lynn Hubbs, Sr.; mother, Joyce Bailey Cline; grandparents, Frank and Mary Bailey; granddaughter, Riley Hubbs.
Reverend Luther Vineyard Cox – age 93 of Maynardville, went home to be with the Lord on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 peacefully at home with his family by his side. He was a lifelong member and former pastor of Cedar Grove Missionary Baptist Church. Luther was retired from Dempster Brothers and was a United States Army Veteran serving in World II.
Lowell Edward George, Sr., age 81 of Knoxville went home to be with the Lord on Friday, July 5, 2019 at 11:05 am with his family surrounding him. He was a longtime member of Central Baptist Church, Fountain City and lifelong resident of Knoxville. He was greatly loved by his family and all who knew him and was a father figure to many. Lowell is preceded in death by mother and father Eva and Tom Newberry.
Samuel “Sam” E. Hampton, age 70, formerly of Beckley, WV, passed away peacefully at home in Knoxville, TN on Thursday, July 4, 2019. He loved football and was an avid fan of the Cleveland Browns. He was also a lover of animals.
Survived by his wife of 46 years, Sharron Hampton and daughter Jennifer and her husband John Morris.
A service will be held at 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 7, 2019 at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel with Minister Brad Hood officiating.
Clarence Henegar, age 85, lifelong resident of Knoxville, went to be with the Lord on July 3, 2019. He was a member of Salem Baptist Church for 50 years, and served as a deacon for 40 years. He was a graduate of Central High School, and went on to graduate from Cooper Institute. He retired from the U.S. Postal Service after 32 years of service. In his younger years he enjoyed bowling, and was an avid golfer. He was very well known in the dancing community. As a young man he enjoyed square dancing, and in later years, ballroom and country dancing.
Donald L. Fowler, age 80, of Knoxville passed away Tuesday, July 2, 2019. He enjoyed spending time with his family and eating out. He is preceded in death by wife of 26 years Carol Fowler, parents; Hugh & Hester Fowler, brothers; Albert, Billy, Glenn and James, and by dog Peanut. He is survived by son Keith Fowler, brother Wilbur Fowler of Springfield, Tennessee and many nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends from 2:00pm-4:00pm on Saturday, July 6, 2019 at Grove Heights Baptist Church (818 Frank Street Knoxville, TN). A service will follow at 4:00pm with Rev.
Lois Ann Lee – age 67 of Maynardville, went to be with the Lord on July 2, 2019.
She is preceded in death by her husband, Wayne Lee; parents, Clarence and Dorothy Effler; sister, Linda Sexton; brothers, Bobby and Charlie Effler. Lois is survived by her daughter, Sheila (Kenneth) Lawler; son, Bobby (Tammy) Tharp; several grandchildren and great grandchildren; sisters, Emma (Bill) Collins, Karen (Randy) Chamberlain and Gerri (Mark) Ford; brother, Sandy (Peggy) Effler; and a host of loving nieces and nephews and other family members.
Mickie D. Faulkner-age 43 of Corryton passed away Tuesday morning, July 2, 2019 at her home with her family by her side. She was a member of True Life Ministries Church. She was a loving and selfless person who loved to make others smile and be happy. She was preceded in death by father, George Lee Poindexter; mother, Anna B. Collins; sister, Lisa Poindexter.
Gene Autrey Ford – age 75 of Luttrell, passed away Thursday, June 27, 2019. He was a member of Piney Grove Baptist Church, Karns. Gene was a military veteran and a retired electrician, IBEW Local 760.