The Forgotten Christmas Card

“I don’t want to and I won’t go to Grandma’s house this year! She’s old and I never liked her or Grandpa anyway. They always treat me like a child!” Fourteen year old Maisie stomped her foot as she stormed out of the kitchen. Her mother’s gaze followed as her daughter made her way up the stairs to her bedroom, clomping her foot as hard as possible on every step as she went; more like a child than a teenager.
“She’ll come around.” Maisie’s dad looked lovingly at his wife as a tear fell to her cheek. “It’s her first time to be invited to a friend’s Christmas party. Once you explain the situation to her I’m sure she’ll want to go with us to your parent’s instead.”
Maisie’s mom, Gloria, took a seat at the table across from her husband, Dave. She wiped her tears away with a red-flowered-cotton apron. The apron her own mother had sewn for her when Gloria was a child. Thinking back to those days, she could almost smell the gingerbread that permeated the house during every Christmas break.
When Gloria was fourteen, her mom had made an exact replica of the apron and proudly tied it around her daughter’s waist before inviting Gloria to join her for the holiday baking. It was a joy-filled day Gloria would never forget. Baking in the kitchen with her mother had been a privilege. She had looked forward to carrying on the tradition with Maisie this year once they arrived at Grandma’s house.
“Maisie was so close to my parents when she was younger. Once she realized Dad was different from all of her friend’s grandfather’s she hasn’t looked at him the same. I never imagined we could raise such a selfish child.”
It was set to be a sad Christmas. Gloria’s dad was still recovering from an unexpected heart attack. Her mother was devastated, and had since received worse news.
Gloria’s eyes filled with tears once again. “I don’t know how we’ll make it through Christmas if Maisie doesn’t change her attitude. With Mom’s recent diagnosis we may not have her with us much longer. I don’t know if I can…”
As Gloria’s voice drifted off, Maisie’s dad reached across the table to take her hand. “Hey. We don’t know what the Lord has planned, and I’ll be right here with you no matter what happens. You just need to hold onto me.”
His words brought a smile to Gloria’s face. Her first of the day. “I know. And I love you for that. But it’s Maisie I’m worried about. She and Dad had words minutes before he collapsed. She won’t say it out loud, but I know she thinks his heart attack was her fault. Knowing she owes him an apology makes it difficult to go to their house, especially at Christmas. If I tell her about Mom and the leukemia she may decide to go because she feels guilty. If I don’t tell her and we don’t force her to go, if Mom dies, she’ll carry that guilt for the rest of her life as well. If only they’d gotten along these past few years this might be easier.”
“Maybe it’s time we tell her the truth about – “
“No! We can’t do that. We have no idea how she would react.”
“I’m sorry. I don’t want to upset you further. I just thought maybe it was the right time since your dad said he’d tried to tell her last year. I don’t know exactly what he said. Maisie never mentioned their conversation. It’s like she forgot it ever happened. Did your dad ever tell you if they talked?”
“No. He just suggested the truth might be better coming from him, and I agreed. Maybe he never got around to it. Now, I’m not sure it will ever be the right time.”
Upstairs in her room, Maisie had thrown herself onto her bed to pout. How dare her parents try to keep her from her friend’s party. Adults never understand how hard it is to be a teenager.
She wanted to shout her resentment to the sky, but kept her muddled feelings inside. No way would she spend another boring Christmas with her Grandparents. They were old. While they had once been close, Maisie hadn’t liked going to their house for Christmas for a few years now, preferring to stay close to home and her friends.
She hated when they came to visit too. Especially if any of her friends saw her Grandpa. He had a shriveled hand and walked with a limp. Maisie hadn’t thought much about it until one of her friends pointed it out as ugly. Now keeping her friends from seeing her Grandpa was all she thought about when they were around.
Her grandparents lived close to a large pond that always froze over in the winter. She’d never been allowed to go there, and no one would say why. Recent Christmases at their house would have been so much more fun if she could have ice skated on the pond. But even stomping her foot on many occasions hadn’t changed their mind.
The last time she talked to Grandpa, he’d sided with her parents about the school project she told him she was working on. Then he’d said something very strange. He asked about a Christmas card he had given her last year and if she’d read it. She’d yelled at him over the phone that a year old Christmas card wasn’t going to help with her research. She still didn’t understand why he’d been so upset when she’d told him she was going to do a paper about their family tree. So upset he’d…
Maisie stopped that line of thinking since lately it had always brought her to tears. Her Grandpa had been so healthy that she knew his heart attack had to be her fault. Especially since it happened not long after their conversation ended. Now that he was recovering, her own heart seemed to think of him with love more than it had when he was healthy.
Pushing to her feet, she knelt on the floor to pull her box of keepsakes out from under the bed. Anytime she was sad, it always made her feel better to look through the box.
Opening the old chest, she ran her fingers over the soft fur of the stuffed bunny rabbit Grandma and Grandpa had given her when she was little. She had once loved it as much as the gift-givers. She’d put it away in the box a few years ago when she decided she was too old for stuffed toys. She hugged it tightly to her chest, then placed it on her pillow. She would sleep with it next to her one last time before she was really too old.
Rummaging through the remaining items she found a school picture from kindergarten, a dried flower that she’d kept from her fourteenth birthday party, and other nostalgic items. Funny. She’d never thought about it before, but there were no pictures of her as an infant or any other memorabilia from those years. It was as though she had no life until her third birthday. Why had it not occurred to her to wonder about that before?
Reaching the bottom of the box she noticed the lining was torn. Sticking out from under one side of the lining she could see the corner of an envelope. Maisie pulled it from beneath the worn paper covering the bottom of the chest. Her name was on the envelope, written in Grandpa’s messy cursive. It was the Christmas card Grandpa had given her last year. She must have stuffed it into the box when she got home from their house, caring more about the gifts she’d received than a stuffy old card from a stuffy old man. She tossed the card toward her trash can but it landed on the floor face up.
Ignoring it, she rifled through more of the items in the box. But she kept glancing back at the card. What would it hurt to see what was inside?
Retrieving the card, she sat cross-legged on the floor, opened the envelope, and began to read Grandpa’s words. Some were written on the inside of the card, but there were a couple of folded pages in the envelope as well. The first paragraph on the card was a real kicker.
Your parents, Grandma, and I, have debated telling you about your history for a couple of years.. We have decided you are old enough now to hear the truth about your past, and that I should be the one to tell you since I was directly involved in what happened.
Though you are not the child of my daughter, Gloria, you are still my granddaughter, blood of my blood, and I love you so very much. We all do.
He had run out of room to write on the card. In shock, Maisie put the card aside and reached for the papers. She unfolded them and read the rest of the story.
Your birth parents were Shari and Daniel Obard. Shari was your mom’s younger sister. I say was because your parents died in a tragic accident when you were only a toddler. They had come to tell us they were moving away and had no plans to see us ever again. Your father had finally converted your mom to his unusual beliefs and said they were joining a cult.
While we were upset that our daughter was leaving, we were even more upset that she was taking you away to live in that kind of environment. But what could we do as they were both adults?
I stood on our porch in tears as they drove away. The weather was bad and the roads were slick from an ice storm. I watched in horror as their car went into a skid, then ran off the road into the partially frozen pond.
I grabbed my keys, ran to my truck, and drove down to the pond. I never thought twice about jumping into the icy water to try and save my family. I got to you first, managed to release you from your car seat, and carried you to my truck. It took me a bit to get you out of the water and you weren’t breathing. I could barely catch my own breath. I knew I had to make certain you were okay before I went back for your parents or you would die.
By the time you came around the car was completely submerged and I knew it was too late for anyone to help your parents. Your Grandma had called 911and the police arrived along with fire and rescue.
I refused to let anyone look at my injuries until I knew you were out of danger. The water was so cold I ended up with frostbite and lost a couple of fingers on my left hand and a couple of toes. I know you are embarrassed that I walk with a limp and I know you see my hand as ugly now, so I try to keep it hidden when you and your friends are around. There isn’t much I can do about the limp.
There are a lot of things I can’t do anymore, but that doesn’t bother me. Even though I lost a daughter, my granddaughter is alive and that is all that matters. I would do the same thing all over again to save you. We were your only living relatives so the courts had no issues with granting custody to Gloria and Dave.
As you got older we all wondered if you might remember some of what happened that night, but you never said anything. All of us love you so much it didn’t matter to your mom and dad that they weren’t your biological parents. Turned out they couldn’t have children of their own so they looked at you as their blessing from God. It helped ease the pain from the loss of your real mother and father.
So, now that you know the truth we all are hopeful you can forgive us for keeping it from you for so long. It is my deepest wish that you can look on your Grandma and myself with kindness and one day come to love us again as much as we love you.
We are already looking forward to next Christmas when you will know the truth about who you are. Hopefully, we will have made a deeper connection with you long before that.
Please encourage your parents to bring you for a visit as soon as you can after you read this. There is much more we’d like to share with you.
All our love, your adoptive family.
Maisie could barely read the final paragraphs for the tears pooling in her eyes. All these years her family had loved her; not because they had to, but because they wanted to. She had behaved like such a brat and been so embarrassed for her friends to meet her Grandpa because he was deformed. Knowing him saving her life had caused his injuries made her heart swell. How could she have treated him the way she did?
All the love she’d once had for her grandparents came pouring back. She had to go see them. Now.
Maisie grabbed the card and letter and ran downstairs. “Mom, Dad! We have to go see Grandma and Grandpa!”
She stopped short in the kitchen. Gathered around the table were all of her family members.
In tears, Maisie ran to her grandpa. “I’m so sorry, Grandpa. I’m so sorry. I didn’t know. Can you ever forgive me?’
He immediately enveloped her in his arms. “Now, now. None of that blubbering. I’m assuming you finally read my Christmas card?”
Maisie nodded, too choked up to speak any more words.
“There is nothing to forgive. You were a child and didn’t understand. Now that you do, I’m hoping we can have the relationship we once had. And we came here today to share some good news. Your parents said they hadn’t told you about your grandma, but just know this, her latest tests came back negative. It was all a mistake and she’s going to be fine. We’re hoping you will join your parents at our house for Christmas.”
Maisie pulled back to meet her grandpa’s eyes. “I want to come this Christmas and all the Christmases in the future. I can’t believe you risked your life to save mine, and I’m so glad I finally know about the past. I think everything is going to be better now.”
Her grandma reached around to hand Maisie a box wrapped in Christmas paper. “We wanted you to have this present early.”
Maisie looked at her parents who nodded their approval. When she opened the box what she found inside brought more tears. She had been given a beautiful pair of ice skates.
She smiled as her grandpa chuckled. “Now that you’re all grown up, you’re going to need these if we’re going skating on the pond when you visit. Your mom and her sister used to do that every winter.”
“But first we have to bake Christmas goodies,” her grandma said. “There is an apron with your name on it waiting for you at our house.”
Thanks to the love and patience she’d been shown, Maisie finally understood what it truly meant to feel like part of a family. Who would have thought a forgotten Christmas card could change her life so much?


Susan Kite's picture

That was a very nice and sweet Christmas story. Thanks!

Cindy Taylor's picture

Thank you, Susan.



Three Rings

Did a three-ring circus come to mind? How about hobbits and Middle Earth? Actually, I am going to talk about three elusive wedding rings.

So Different, Yet the Same

I’m going to make a confession to you, Dear Reader. I am writing this paragraph after I have at least halfway finished this article. I just looked at my email, and the topic of one item was this: “Does the sex of your dog make allergies worse?”

Box Turtle Trivia

The way a turtle is put together is pretty much the reverse of ours. I mean look at it: we have soft body parts protecting a hard-inner skeleton. Turtles have a hard-outer skeleton protecting inner soft body parts. The most common turtle you'll run into around here (and one you probably aggravated when you were a kid) is the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina).

From the Highway to the Lake Coves

Union County, a beautiful picture painted by rural Tennessee, but also one tainted by litter. What may start on a roadside is likely to end up in a children’s park, a waterfront area or affecting our wildlife populations.

Norris Lake, at a quick glance it it one of the cleanest lakes in the state due to its high water quality, but after a longer look in the coves you may find trash and debris left by previous visitors.

“It takes an entire community to make a difference…” a powerful statement posted by the Keep Union County Beautiful program.

Pasture to Plate Beef Sales Workshop offered

Cattle producers interested in learning more about directly marketing beef to consumers are invited to join speakers from UT Extension, the Tennessee Beef Industry Council and the Tennessee Department of Agriculture for a day-long workshop. Sessions will cover topics including regulations for marketing live animals for custom-exempt processing and meat, finishing cattle effectively, how to pencil out your potential for profit, what producers need to know about meat quality, how much meat to expect, tips for working with processors, marketing resources and assistance available.

Smack in the Head

I will never ever forget my awesome first-grade teacher. Nor will I forget something odd she used to do. When she needed to take out one of her contact lenses, she would place one of her hands in a cupped position in front of her eye. With the other hand, she would smack the back of her head. Then her contact lens would pop out of her eye and into her waiting palm. Seriously.

Marital vs. Martial

Before I married, I thought myself an expert on the subject. It did not matter that I was not a trained marriage counselor, I shared advice with anyone who would listen. I charged them what it cost me—absolutely nothing.
Now that I’m married, I realize how little I knew about marriage. I know less now than the day I said “I do”. I am thankful that all that marital advice I’ve given for years was free. It was worth what it cost.

Trees in the Bible

Trees have been appreciated since the beginning of history, and are reflected in the earliest writings recorded. The Old Testament Bible mentions trees from one end to the other, using them both metaphorically and literally to teach wisdom that would be remembered. What follows is a small sampling of quotes from the Bible using modern text.

Their family is our family: 33 Diner turns 33

On August 5, 1989, my absolute favorite eatery in the world came into existence. A quick Google search will tell you that the 33 Diner, 3024 Maynardville Highway, Maynardville, Tennessee, is rated 4.5 of 5 on Tripadvisor and is ranked number two of 14 restaurants in Maynardville.
One review states: “Great food. Love down home casual approach. Nice portions, home cooked goodness. You will leave happy.”
I totally agree with this review. 33 Diner is definitely a happy place for me. If you leave the 33 Diner still hungry, it will be your own fault.

Sweet Treats by Emily whips up a Buttercup

Cooke standing outside of her new storefront on opening day!

As Emily Cooke walked into her storefront for the first time she was overjoyed as she had been waiting for this day for over a year. She was excited to fill the Buttercup Bakery with the sweet smells of freshly baked cinnamon rolls and pies.
“Opening day was very surreal and like a dream come true,” said Cooke. “The anticipation for the first couple of customers to walk through the door was so great! I could barely sleep more than an hour the night before the grand opening.”

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year…for Corn

August, an exciting time for all. Back-to-school shopping is well underway and school buses are not the only yellow thing on the community’s mind as the annual Youth and Corn Festival is right around the corner.
On August 6 from 10 o’clock to 1 o’clock, families can swing by the farmer’s market for a special treat. Everything from, farmer’s market vendors, a cooking demonstration, fair entries and history of corn exhibits there is a little bit for everyone.

The farmer's market welcomes a plentiful summer harvest

As friends, family, and neighbors joined together to enjoy a summer harvest, the new farmer’s market pavilion was truly a place “Where Our Community Meets.”
The previously held Summer Harvest Dinner was the first farm-to-table dinner hosted by the Union County Farmer’s Market, but certainly not the last.

Excitement at the UC Opry

Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers (Photo used by permission)

Internationally known and award-winning Bluegrass group Joe Mullins and the Radio Ramblers are heading to Union County. The group will perform for the Union County Opry August 20 at Patriot Auditorium in Union County High School.
Named Entertainers of the Year by the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) in 2019, Joe Mullins and The Radio Ramblers have consistently delivered chart-topping radio hits and energetic performances for nearly 15 years.

Plainview seats aldermen

Alderman Josh Collins receives the oath of office from Mayor Gary Chandler of Plainview.

Mayor Gary Chandler administered the oath of office and seated two aldermen at the Plainview Board of Aldermen meeting in July. Josh Collins and Richard Phillips were re-elected to four-year terms. Collins is the owner of Collins Insurance and Phillips is retired and serves as the vice mayor of Plainview.
During the business session, the board approved the purchase of a new 90 hp John Deere Tractor with four wheel drive, an air conditioned cab, and a five-foot side mowing deck. The new tractor will make mowing the roadsides much easier according to Phillips.

LUC class explores local businesses, mine on Industry Day

Leadership Union County on Industry Day: Marilyn Toppins, wife of president Wayne Toppins, class members Rebecca Lock, Sheila Varner and Jody Smith, past LUC graduate Gail Corum, and LUC Board Member Robbie Corum. Class member Donna Riddle could not attend. Photo by Wayne Toppins

The Leadership Union County Class of 2022 enjoyed Industry Day on July 21. The day began with coffee and a quick breakfast at the Union County Museum. From the museum, facilitators Robbie and Gail Corum chauffeured the group to Clayton Homes in Maynardville. Bill Monroe and other Clayton employees summarized the history of manufactured home building and then provided a tour of the completely climate-controlled manufacturing facility.

Practitioners: Education and Licensure

Chiropractic colleges accredited by the Council on Chiropractic Education (CCE) offer Doctor of Chiropractic (D.C.) degree programs. (CCE is the agency certified by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit chiropractic colleges in the United States.) Admission to a chiropractic college requires a minimum of 90 semester hour credits of undergraduate study, mostly in the sciences.

Inaugural TN Smart Yard Gardening series offered in Union County

Photo by Shannon DeWitt

A daylilly in bloom by Shannon DeWitt

UT Extension Union County will be offering a series of gardening workshops in August and September on Wednesday mornings in Maynardville.
Topics will include planning, soils, mulch, water efficiency, fertilizers, pests, reducing waste, pollinators, reducing pollutants and wildlife. The curriculum will come from the Tennessee Yard Smart program.

It's fair time in Tennessee

Fair season is upon us so make sure your 4-H members are getting their entries registered and submitted!
The Union County Farmers Market Annual Youth and Corn Festival will be returning to the Farmers Market Pavilion Saturday, August 6.
UT Extension is sponsoring the fair entries this year and they are open to all youth in grades K-12. It’s time to show off our youths’ accomplishments!
Did your child garden this year? Raise laying hens? Do they do needlework? Perhaps they like to cook? There are fair entries that cover all these areas.

Heritage festival call for quilts

The 18th Union County Heritage Festival encourages all area quilters to enter the Union County Heritage Festival Quilt Show on October 1 at the Union County Museum and is sponsored by the Union County Historical Society.
Intricately crafted ribbons are given in a variety of categories. A special recognition is awarded for the Best Heritage Quilt, the quilt that best exemplifies the festival theme or the general heritage of Union County. The 2022 theme is “Follow your Heart” and is a tribute to Carl Smith and the many love songs he recorded.

The lost crows revisited

By James and Ellen Perry
While sitting on my porch this late July afternoon I’ve noticed that the daylight hours have shortened by 23 minutes since late June.
The days getting shorter means we are slowly moving toward fall and then winter. Although the daylight hours are changing, our hottest and driest month is usually August.

Fast Food Christianity

Being a natural-born card-carrying smart aleck, I simply love one-liners, especially catchphrases. Catchphrases are the basis for most advertising and the purpose is to quickly grab our attention.
The best one-liners stick in people’s minds and when heard we will associate the phrase with a particular product, brand or even an idea. The end goal of branding is to create consumer loyalty to a particular product or concept.

The Forest Primeval

Most people envision that when Europeans first came to America there was a vast, unbroken expanse of trees stretching from the coast to the western plains. This is our vision of a wilderness, forests untouched and unchanging. Research however indicates that the history of our forests has been one of constant change

Life before electricity

Some believe that internet access is a necessity of life. Especially since the pandemic, the internet was used for kids’ education and many people worked from home by using the internet.
Some day when our kids are grown up, they will not believe or understand how we could have possibly lived without the internet.
Just less than a hundred years ago people lived without electricity. Just like the internet, some people felt like they didn’t need electricity and would live without.


Do you ever consider things about yourself? For instance, I have always considered myself to be creative and funny. I like to think I am correct about the both of them. But there was one thing that I had wrong about myself. I thought I had strong upper arms. I was wrong.
Not too long after Tim and I were married, we bought a ceiling fan for our bedroom. I agreed to help him install it.
No big deal, right?

Vote on August 4

August 4 is Election Day in Union County. Polls will be open from 9:00AM to 8:00PM. Anyone in line by 8:00PM will get to vote. This election has candidates in the Democrat and Republican Primary for the US Congress, Governor, Tennessee House of Representatives, and State Executive Committee Men and Women of the Democrat or Republican Party. The General Election Ballot will cover candidates in the 8th Judicial District, County Offices and local District Offices. The last part of the ballot is a vote on retaining judges for the Tennessee Supreme Court and the Appelate Court.

Farm Market Fresh Returns to the Market

Beth serving Lillian at the farmers market

The Union County Farmers Market pavilion at the new Heritage Park is a busy place on Saturday mornings. The market is in full swing as the farmers are bringing in loads of produce. Once again, UT Extension is offering the Farmers’ Market Fresh program at our market. The primary objective of Farmers’ Market Fresh is to encourage fruit and vegetable consumption. The program is designed to encourage everyone to make healthy meal choices and provides simple, easy to follow healthy recipes each week.

Chiropractic Use in the United States

In the United States, chiropractic is often considered a complementary health approach. According to a recent survey about 8 percent of adults (more than 18 million) and nearly 3 percent of children (more than 2 million) had received chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation in the past 12 months. Additionally, an analysis of NHLS cost data found that adults in the United States spent approximately $11.9 billion out-of-pocket on visits to complementary health practitioners — $3.9 billion of which was spent on visits to practitioners for chiropractic or osteopathic manipulation.

Death by Phonebook

Did the title make you think of the old “Columbo” TV show? I have always loved that show. Even now I watch it if it’s on. My husband Tim sighs and asks, “How many times have you seen that episode? You know how it ends.” While he’s right, I still have to watch it. But I am not going to talk about “Columbo.” I am going to talk about what happened in our living room year ago.

Old fashioned cake doughnuts

I love freshly made cake doughnuts. It's ok to frost them when you've had your fill before they go stale. Coffee and doughnuts go together. However, they are not something you make often. When you have all of the family in-house, stir up a batch and make an extra pot of coffee.


I am presently paying a price for all the off-trail hiking and field wanderings I do. I have the worst attack of chiggers I’ve ever had…well over a hundred bites. They are almost microscopic, yet pack a wallop of misery.

Candidate responses

A group of non-partisan residents of Union County reached out to the 6 candidates running for the 5th District Commission seats and the 2 candidates running for Union County Mayor. We asked them for responses to 5 questions. We have provided the questions and unedited responses below. There is also a website where the responses, background information provided by the candidates, as well as other information related to the August 4 election is provided.

4-H Quilt Camp Sew Fun!

Have you ever wondered what it takes to make a quilt? What makes a hand made quilt different than other options that can be purchased? Well, every summer 4-H students get the opportunity to discover and explore the craft of quilting at 4-H Quilt Camp. Like all 4-H events, education is at the center of the fun students have. Students are sent fabric samples prior to the camp, to assist them in making their own fabric selections for their quilts. This year, students completed a double slice layer cake quilt for themselves and worked on a quilt of valor service project.

Spinal Manipulation: What the Science Says

Researchers have studied spinal manipulation for a number of conditions ranging from back, neck, and shoulder pain to asthma, carpal tunnel syndrome, fibromyalgia, and headaches. Much of the research has focused on low-back pain, and has shown that spinal manipulation appears to benefit some people with this condition.

Oakhurst by Way of Bakersfield (by Default)

My Dino

You know, when you travel across the country, sometimes you must choose to spend the night somewhere just because it’s time to stop and sleep. Hence, our time in Bakersfield CA.
If you end up here, try Maggie’s Diner for breakfast. Exceptional food, service, and atmosphere. We chose a table outside and even though the heat was still raging, it was cooler than Phoenix. And remember, it’s still a dry heat. To be fair, it was also 7 a.m.

Ready! Set! Go!

Do those word sound familiar? If you’ve ever participated in Field Day, then chances are you’ve heard them. I remember the anticipation of standing in line for a race. Each one of us was waiting to hear a teacher say those three magic words. When they did, I leapt off of the starting line and ran across the field as fast as my legs would go. I wanted that blue ribbon for first place. Usually, I ended up with the silver one for third place.

Without and Within

The church of which I am currently a member put out a magnet a few years ago with the church’s logo and this catchphrase: Loveland—Where Everybody is Somebody.
I thought this a comforting sentiment. Church should be the one place that everyone feels like someone, no “big ‘I’s or little ‘you’s’”. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.

The Snake Heebie-Jeebies

By Steve Roark
Volunteer for Cumberland Gap National Historical Park

I don’t know of anybody that doesn’t have a fear response when they stumble across a snake in the woods or the tool shed. The usual reaction is to jump back and express a four-letter metaphor. I do it myself, even though I know that snakes are mostly harmless, and the poisonous ones rarely strike a human unless really provoked. But all that knowledge goes out the window when I first see a snake, and I’m instantly in a “get out of here” mode.

What is spinal Manipulation?

One of the most common and well-known therapeutic procedures performed by doctors of chiropractic is spinal manipulation (sometimes referred to as a “chiropractic adjustment”). The purpose of spinal manipulation is to restore joint mobility by manually applying a controlled force into joints that have become hypomobile — or restricted in their movement — as a result of a tissue injury.

Our trip to Alaska and Canada

Haines, Alaska

Haines Alaska was third stop for our ship The Serenade of the Sea. This might be described as a photographer's paradise because of the snowcapped mountains surrounded by tall evergreen trees. Photo was made from the ship's deck with a Canon SX-70 camera

Having been bundled up by the Covid-19 pandemic and suffering from “cabin fever,” we decided it was time for another travel adventure.
After landing in Vancouver, Canada, we walked to the 44-story Harbor House Tower with its panoramic observation tower on its top floor. Next, we visited the nearby Chinatown which is the second largest Chinatown in North America. I stopped for a moment to photograph the welcoming Chinatown gate.

Two Things

Look closely and you can see the mountain homes as you are leaving Yucca Valley.

But first, let’s get out of Yucca Valley. We are heading to Bakersfield only because there is a distinct lack of lodging on the way to Yosemite. Along the route today we will also go through Needles and Barstow. Name that tune!


I will let you in on a little secret: I love loud noises. Not the sudden ones as in a balloon popping or a firecracker exploding. Let’s put it this way; if you’re ever attending a firework show and you see a short woman with glasses and her fingers burrowed inside her ears, it’s probably me.

Sin Not, Waste Not

The first time I remember becoming aware of church dinners was when I was a young child. Maynardville Baptist (now the First Baptist Church of Maynardville) was going to have a homecoming. I didn’t understand at the time that homecoming was a special service to welcome former members and pastors to renew “auld acquaintance.

Eggplant casserole

We package up our ground beef in 1/2 pound freezer bags. Several of our favorite recipes only call for a half pound of ground beef. There is a good casserole for 1/2 pound ground chuck.. Of course, you have to like eggplant. I do.

Biodiversity, a Lot of Life

Biodiversity is a big deal in ecology science these days. The dictionary defines it simply as the variety of living things in a particular area or region. Opinions on the importance of biodiversity vary, but to me the loss of native plant or animal species means something’s wrong, and rightfully raises some concerns.

Mike Williams: A familiar face in the election

What many would call a “hometown” politician is looking to serve Union County once more as mayor.
Mike Williams, previous Union County Mayor and past Tennessee State Representative and Senator for 12 years, has decided to run for county office once more.
Williams, a Union County native, started out as a schoolteacher where he taught government. He would often welcome elected officials into his classroom to speak to the students on local government, but one thing he noticed was that they only ever came knocking every four years.

Union County success stories: From BRES to UTK

Savannah Jones

With anything Savannah Jones did, she always felt the warmth of her small town, as they always showed up and showed out for her growing up, whether it be during hard times of family loss or joyous occasions of graduations and high school homecoming fundraisers.
Communities are made up of friends, families, teachers, leaders, churches, businesses and much more but what truly makes an individual’s community is the connections made throughout a person’s life.


Heritage Festival

Saturday, October 1, 2022 - 10:00
Union County Heritage Festival

The 17th Annual Union County HERITAGE FESTIVAL SAT., October 1st, 2022 10:00am - 4:00pm In Historic Downtown Maynardville The Cradle of Country Music
Festival locations are WILSON PARK, UNION COUNTY MUSEUM, and HISTORIC SNODDERLY HOUSE. Like us on facebook Union County Heritage Festival Visit for more information.

Music Headliner on the Gazebo Stage: Stoney Point Bluegrass Band


Ann Elizabeth Poston "Mimi"

Ann Elizabeth Poston “Mimi” – age 79 of Knoxville, shed her earthly body and awoke with the Heavenly Father with her body restored on August 12, 2022. Her family will miss her sweet disposition, kind spirit and endearing love each and every day.

She is preceded in death by parents, William and Helen Tharp. Left to cherish sweet Ann is her beloved husband, David J. Poston, Jr.; children, Lyda (Karl) Bell and Brian (Sarah) Poston; grandchildren, Mason Bell, Morgan, Reagan and Hunter Poston; special sister-in-law, Diane Harvey; and friend, Jennifer Hickson.

Pauline Jewell Tate

Pauline Jewell Tate-age 65 of New Tazewell passed away Saturday morning, August 13, 2022 at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center. She was a member of Little Creek Baptist Church. Preceded in death by parents, James Cecil and Dewie (Smallwood) Mustard; sister, Flora Elizabeth Mustard; brother, Johnny Ray Mustard.

Survivors: sons, Darrell Tate and Jason Tate; three grandchildren; two sisters, Patricia McIntosh of Harrogate; Della Shoffner of Sharps Chapel; brother, Terry Glenn Mustard of Harrogate. Several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

Jeana Faye Hankins Johnson

Jeana Faye Johnson-age 50 of Corryton went with our Lord Friday, August 12, 2022 at her home. Preceded in death by father, Kenneth E. Hankins; grandparents, Claude and Velma Hankins; Bill and Nellie Williams.

Survivors: husband, Douglas Johnson, III; daughter and son-in-law, Chelsea and Josh Clevenger; mother, Janice Hankins; sister, Sonya Blair; niece, Miranda Allen; nephew, Tyler Blair along with several aunts and uncles.

Robert Lee Lawson

Robert “Bob” Lee Lawson, age 72 of Maiden passed away Monday, August 8, 2022 at Catawba Valley Medical Center in Hickory.

Born July 26, 1950 in Union County, Tennessee, he was the son of the late Clyde Vernon Lawson and Charlotte Parker Lawson. Bob retired from Fed-Ex after 21 years. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was a volunteer at Carolina Caring for many years. In addition to his parents, a brother, Bill Lawson and 2 sisters, Boots Hayes and Mick Damewood preceded him in death.

Left to cherish his memory:

Wife: Leanora Lawson of the home

Elmer W. Getz

Elmer W. Getz-age 90 of Knoxville passed away Monday morning, August 8, 2022 at Oakwood Senior Living.
Graveside service and interment 2 p.m. Friday, August 12, 2022 at Narrow Ridge Cemetery, Washburn, TN.
Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

John Richard Maples

John Richard Maples-age 54 of Maynardville, formerly of Knoxville passed away suddenly Thursday evening, August 4, 2022 at his home. He was preceded in death by father, David Kent Maples; brother, David Maples.

Survivors: wife of 28 years, Yelonda Maples; son, Kevin Maples; step-son, C. Daniel Presnell; daughter, Tiffany Elizabeth Maples; mother and step-father, Lynn and Tom Cobble; sisters, Cheryl Roper, Anita Watts. Ten grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.

Roger Allan Collins

Roger Allan Collins of Washburn, passed away peacefully at home Friday, July 29, 2022, at the age of 66, surrounded by his family.

He was a long-time employee of Union Parts and Equipment of Maynardville, TN. Gray and Sons of Rutledge, TN and Self employed as a tractor mechanic for 20+ years. He attended church at Clinch Valley American Christian Church.

Charles "Chuck" Stevens

Charles William “Chuck” Stevens-age 54 of Maynardville passed away Sunday, July 24, 2022 at The Waters of Clinton. He was born March 1, 1968 the son of the late Charles and Brenda (Anderson) Geams. He was a graduate of Gibbs High School, Class of 1987. Upon graduation, Chuck enlisted in the U. S. Navy and served in the Persian Gulf. Also preceded in death by son, Josh Faust who died July 21, 2018; great-grandparents who raised Chuck, Oscar and Ethel Nicely; grandparents, James and Flossie (Nicely) Anderson.

Winfred Trula Edwards

Winfred Trula “Pike” Edwards-age 85 of Andersonville passed away Thursday morning, July 28, 2022 at Willow Ridge Center. She was a member of Byram’s Fork Baptist Church and attended Raccoon Valley Baptist Church. She was preceded in death by husband, Gary Joel Edwards, Sr.; parents, Oda and Gertie Grace (Ridenour) Pike; brothers, Bradford Pike, Hillard Pike, Lillard Pike, Hushell Pike, Kenneth Pike; sisters, Dolfie Poore and Eva Pike.

Laura Johnson

Laura Jane Johnson – age 72 of Harrogate, passed away peacefully with her family by her side, Tuesday morning July 26, 2022. She was saved at a young age and was a member of Shawanee Baptist Church. Laura was a devoted wife, mother, grandmother, great grandmother and friend to all she knew.

Billy Hodge

Billy R. Hodge, 78 of Maynardville, left this earth on July 24th, 2022 surrounded by his loved ones. Billy was the son of the late Bill and Martha Hodge and the 3rd born to them of 9 children. He was born in Maynardville on September 21, 1943 and would remain in Maynardville his entire life. He married his loving wife Claudia (Davis) Hodge in 1962. Billy was the perfect image of the American Dream, showing how hard work and determination do pay off. He opened Hodge Manufacturing in 1976, and ran this family owned and operated business for 30 years.

Donny Bailey

Donny Ray “Herb” Bailey – age 59 of Luttrell, went home to be with his Heavenly Father, July 25, 2022, peacefully at home. He was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church.

Carolyn Bailey

Carolyn F. Bailey – age 74 of Luttrell, passed away July 24, 2022 at her home. She attended Sevier Heights Baptist Church. Carolyn was a 1965 graduate of Horace Maynard High School. She will be remembered for her witty, outgoing personality. Carolyn worked alongside her husband and son at Bailey Heating and Air for 48 years and her own business Cakes by Carolyn for 30 years. She retired from Union County Highway Department in 2013. She enjoyed travelling and entertaining family and friends at her home.

David Brown

David Lee Brown-age 58 of Luttrell passed away Sunday morning, July 24, 2022 at his home. He was a member of Willow Springs Baptist Church. David was a retired brick mason. Preceded in death by his wife, Sonja Denise (Ridenour) Brown; parents, Charles Edward Brown, Jr. and Inez (Tharp) Brown.

Survivors: sisters, Donna Ridenour and husband, Ronnie Ridenour; Deborah Thorpe and husband, Scott; brother, Duane Brown and wife, Tara, all of Luttrell; five nieces and nephews.

Eddie Lee Henderson

In memory of Eddie Lynn (Mad Dog) Henderson-age 77, of Knoxville passed away Wednesday, July 20, 2022 at Jefferson Memorial Hospital. He will be missed by all his family and friends. Preceded in death by mother, Dorothy and his father, Winfred Henderson.

Survivors: son, Anthony (Tony) Henderson; grandson, Anthony Lynn Henderson and wife, Whitney; great-grandsons, Sawyer, Waylon, Silas and Mason Henderson.

The body will be cremated and no services are planned. Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Dail Caughorn

Dail Caughorn-age 70 of Maynardville passed away Thursday, July 21, 2022 at his home. He was of the Baptist faith. Dail was the last surviving child of a family of 12 children born to James and Marie (Roberts) Caughorn. Preceded in death by parents; six sisters, Thelma Covington, Wanda Wompler, Bonnie Heiskell, Gail Abbott, Judy Gattis, Laura Jane Long; five brothers, Leonard Caughorn, Troy Caughorn, Roy Caughorn, Bruce Caughorn and Herman Lucas Caughorn.

Wanda Ervin

Wanda Lynn Ervin - age 71 of Maynardville, passed away July 21, 2022 at Fort Sanders Regional in Knoxville. She was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church.

She is preceded in death by parents, Hoover and Mary Nicley Kiser. Wanda is survived by son, Herbert “Huck” (Sherrie) Ervin; granddaughter, Chelsea Ervin; brothers, Bill (Micky) Nicley and Ken (Connie) Nicley; sisters, Sue (Fred) Yadon, Mick Kitts and Debbie (Doug) Atkins; and several nieces and nephews.

Robert Garry Baldwin

Robert Garry Baldwin-age 71 of Maynardville passed away Thursday morning, July 21, 2022 at his home. He was a retired building inspector for Broward County, Florida.

Survivors: sons, Bobby Baldwin and Tiffany Deguio; Eric Baldwin; four grandchildren, five great-grandchildren. Brother, Carl Baldwin; sisters, Judy Thomas, Alice Coburn and Libby. Several nieces and nephews.

The body will be cremated. A gathering of family and friends will be announced later.
Arrangements by Cooke-Campbell Mortuary, Maynardville.

Thelma Bryant Beeler

Thelma Bryant Beeler-age 84 of Corryton passed away Tuesday, July 19, 2022 at her home surrounded by her loving family. She was born December 12, 1937 in Luttrell. She was a retired employee of Levi Strauss. She was a member of Willow Springs Baptist Church and a member of the Order of the Eastern Star. She loved cooking and baking for people. She truly loved her family and the Lord.

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