The Gift!

Archie Wilson

We went to Destin for a short family vacation August 2-6, 2012. My oldest nephew, Dakota, wanted us to go as the entire Wilson family had never all been on a vacation together. It just so happened the previous week, that my brother-in-law (my wife’s sister’s husband, Bob) had discovered a cannot turn down deal on a 2006 Sea Fox 2360 Center Console boat. Bob and I, along with my wife’s cousin Ken, went in together to purchase this boat. Since my trip was already planned, I got to take the boat on its maiden voyage. Lucky me!

First fishing trip out includes my dad and my other brother-in-law (my sister Shawna’s husband, Mark). I had purchased some GPS fishing coordinates at the Half-Hitch Tackle Store in Destin and was heading to a promising location some 17-miles east of the Destin Jetties. In route, we stumble upon some Kingfish busting baitfish. Mark and I catch 6 Kings and several Remoras. Dad does not fish the entire time. I find out later he has an upset stomach. I think he talked himself into being sea sick before we ever left the inlet. Anyhow, I record the Kingfish feeding location coordinates in our GPS and we proceed on to one of the purchased fishing coordinates. The coordinate I bought turns out to be a dud. We try several other nearby locations and catch nothing. Coming back in, we stop on the Kingfish busting hole where we catch a few more, including Mark getting broken off by something BIG. By now, the seas are getting rough so we hightail it back to Jetties East. I currently have no pictures of this day as I left my camera phone battery in my truck at the boat ramp. I think Dad managed to snap a few and I will try to get them later. All fish from the first day are released unharmed.

On the next day's fishing, we simply load the boat on the busting hole discovered from the previous day. After a slow start, we catch Kingfish after King. My son is with me and all three of my deceased sister Tina’s boys are with me. Kings are fun but not very good to eat. Fortunately, my youngest nephew on board (Kreigh) catches a puppy Mahi Mahi. Next, my middle nephew (Trey) catches a Mahi and I can see them everywhere in the water. Mahi are one of the prettiest fishes in the ocean. They remind me of pineapples with fins. It’s the color of the Mahi mostly; green, blue and yellow. Okay, I’m tasting the Mahi sandwiches when a whole school of Flippers (Porpoises) come through and eat or chase off all of the Mahi.

By now, I’m tired of trolling and decide to graph around looking for some bottom structure. All the purchased coordinates have gotten wet, so I no longer have them. Not that they were worth much since we caught zero fish from the purchased coordinates on the first day. Anyhow, we discover something that looks good on the bottom with fish all around. So, I tell my charges that we are fixin’ to catch a fish on every cast. Well technically, it is a drop as we are now bottom fishing. And let me tell you, “It is on like DONKEY KONG!” That’s an expression I heard someone else say one time and it sounds cool, so I have adopted it. My oldest nephew, Dakota, starts the fun off with a nice Red Snapper. We literally catch some kind of fish on every drop. Red Snapper (out of season so we cannot keep them), Vermillion Snapper and all kinds of other snapper for which I cannot remember the name. We have a DNR book along so we can identify what fish we can and cannot keep, as the Florida regulations are well, just plain ridiculous and downright confusing. We catch Trigger fish, Squirrel fish, and I ain’t got a clue fish. “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish,” by Dr. Seuss. Anyhow, I think you are getting my drift, it was a great day. By the way, to this point in our trip, I have caught nothing as I wanted my son and nephews to experience this kind of fishing. However, after feeling the jerk on the end of the line of the one that I am now holding, I can no longer stand it. So, I rig up my brand-new Dixie Custom Rods Ocean special fishing rod with a live Cigar Minnow and let the minnow free line itself out into the deep blue sea. Once the minnow is sufficiently out, I close the bail on the Penn spinning reel affixed to the new rod. While every drop is still producing some kind of bottom fish, we all forget the free line drifting the live Cigar Minnow at the back of the boat. But not for long! Pandemonium breaks loose as something slams the custom rod into the side of the boat. Already having instructed all aboard that I had been very magnanimous all day and anything which got on the live Cigar minnow was mine, I grabbed the rod. Plus, all of them had been broken off multiple times by big fish during the day, due to lack of fishing experience. I realized their chance of landing most fish likely to bite this set up, would be slim-to-none. Besides that, I just wanted to show off. I’m tempted to leave it at what a fight, because words will not do it justice, but I won’t. I have caught bigger fish, I have even caught a bigger fish of this particular species but in the back of my mind I was sensing something special about this trip. I thought that it was having my son and my three nephews aboard, knowing they had all had an eventful day. Perhaps it was a reward for being patient or was it something else. I only realize now, at my writing of this post, even at this very moment in time that it is something more. It is a gift!

It has been nearly 12 years since my sister passed away and I have never until the moment of this writing been able to properly grieve for her. I thought this writing was simply to be another post to one of my favorite fishing sites. It was not my intent to even think of my sister at this writing. It’s funny, strange even, what moments in time make us recall loved ones who have crossed over. I have tried to no avail to put my sister’s passing out of my mind. The only reason I can remember how long it’s been since her death is because my son is almost 11 years old and he was born the same year she died. My sister never even knew he would be born. I’m certain my sister would have loved my son. She would have loved to be part of this day, surrounded by her boys, and in a way she was.

I guess like most grieving people, I feel that I did not show my love for her enough or tell her how special she was. Even though I love my family, there has always been a self-imposed separation between my deep feelings for my family and myself. As always, it’s out of fear of being hurt. I could use a hundred more clichés, but I won’t.

Three things remain for me to complete the grieving process for my sister.


2.) Thank you, for the unexpected gift.

3.) Publicly grieving by allowing this article to be printed 6 years and 3 months after I originally wrote it.



Get Your Morning Mojo at Liquid Lightning

Liquid Lightning

It is a great time to be a coffee drinker in Maynardville. Whether you are waking up early headed to work, finishing up the morning school drop offs, or just plain love to guzzle coffee all day, with one sip you will be sure to add a new stop to your daily route. Liquid Lightning, a local veteran owned and operated coffee shop, has opened their doors and put the go-juice on to brew with a goal of bringing delicious coffee, lots of laughs, and a sense of joy and comfort to the community.

Win for Author Kaye George

Kaye George

Knoxville TN: Local author Kaye George took home a second place win from BOULD (Bizarre, Outrageous, Unfettered, Limitless, Daring) for her short story Dream Girl. The story is published in BOULD Awards Short Story Anthology and is now available on Amazon.

Shirleys Bread

Shirley's Bread

I got a call from Aaron Russell the other day. He was checking to see how I was doing. He hadn't talked with me in a while. During the conversation, he mentions that he likes to bake bread. Not just any bread, but salt-rising bread. He described the process as well as how good the bread tastes. That got me thinking.

Ambulance Selfie

Ambulance Selfie

“Well, you always want an adventure!” Lynda locked the car doors.

It’s an interesting story how we had gotten to that point. Lynda is my best friend and cousin. We played ball together, ran around together, and went to the same middle and high school.

George Washington Cherry Treat

George Washington Cherry Treat

Fresh pie cherries aren't available in February. That's okay. Food City does my canning for me these days. They have one pound cans of red tart cherries on the shelf every day. I call them sour cherries.

Do you really think George cut down a cherry tree? Do you really think he fested up to the deed? Naw. George was known as a ladies man. I wouldn't be surprised if he did tell a lie now and then.

Science versus Faith

Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal once said, “The heart has its reasons, of which reason knows nothing… We know truth, not only by reason, but also by the heart.”

Pascal was a genius and a genuine polymath who lived in the 17th century. To cover his accomplishments and body of work would require volumes, which have already been written. I want to focus on the concept he so poetically illustrated above – the ever-present battle between the head and the heart. Specifically,

Cherry Creme Fudge

Cherry Creme Fudge

Here is a fudge recipe I made a long time ago, that is, if you call 1981 a long time ago. Fudge recipes have evolved over the years. They are easier to make now. Just cook up some sugar and evaporated milk. Add chocolate and marshmallow cream and you have fudge. But it is not the same as the old fashioned variety. Oldsters will agree with me. (I will share one of those recipes at a later date.).

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed Back Surgery Is Relatively Common

Failed back surgery (continued low back and leg pain after surgery) is relatively common according to a new report from the Boston University School of Medicine. With each reoperation, success, as defined by pain reduction, becomes less likely and most patients do not improve. However, preliminary studies using a simple procedure to remove scar tissue or adhesions suggests a new treatment could help those with post-surgical, chronic low back pain.

The German Beer Stein

German Beer Stein

I have had a beautiful beer stein since World War II. My brother, Rodney, sent it back from Germany. He was part of a Navy goodwill tour that started at England then went on to Germany. He sent back two beer steins and a Black Forest coo coo clock from there.

When he returned home, Rod took back the coo coo clock and one beer stein. That left me with one beer stein. I have placed that beautiful beer stein in a prominent place in my home as I moved around the country. It is time to give it a permanent home while I am still here to do so.


Interested in Homeschooling?

Monday, February 25, 2019 - 18:00

Join us for our annual Mom's night out. Monday, February 25, at six pm when April Shepherd, from the Smoky Mountain Home Education Association will be speaking at Hardees. April, a proponent of country living and a successful homeschooling Mother, will be speaking on using everyday living to teach fundamentals and life skills. She has titled her talk, "Little House on the Prairie Schooling". Sponsored by the local support group of homeschooling families, more information can be obtained by contacting Connie Dickey @ 865-992-3629

Mens Conference

Friday, March 1, 2019 - 19:00
Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church

Alder Springs Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting a Men’s Conference on Friday, March 1st at 7:00 P.M. and Saturday, March 2nd at 9:30 A.M.
Evangelists will be Rev. Jerry Vittatoe and Rev. Mike Viles. Pastor, Rev. Jimmy Davidson extends a hearty welcome to all men.

4-H County Baking Contest

Monday, March 18, 2019 - 17:00

After youth have participated in school during February, they will be awarded a blue ribbon to move forward to the county contest. The entries at the county will be due for judging on March 18 then displayed with awards at the Extension Month Open House on March 19 for sampling.


Janice Ann Beeler Fields

Janice Ann Beeler Fields-age 66 of Corbin, Kentucky passed away suddenly Monday morning, February 18, 2019 at her home. She was a loving mother, nana, sister and friend. She will be sadly missed by all. Janice was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church and was a former co-owner of Fields Apparel in Monticello, Kentucky. She was recently employed at SEKRI, Corbin, Kentucky for 22 years. Preceded in death by parents, James Aubrey and Lillie Beeler, two brothers, Gary and Terry Beeler; nephew, Adam Beeler.

Robert Bradley Douglas

Robert Bradley Douglas, known as Brad Douglas, was born October 12th, 1978. Brad spent his life in the Knoxville area embracing the Tennessee Volunteers, fishing and hiking. Brad's favorite thing to do was to take him and his family exploring. It is with great sadness that the family of Brad Douglas announces his passing at the age of 40. His spirit, enthusiasm and willingness to put other's needs above his own will be missed but not forgotten.

Robert Bruce Kezer

R. Bruce Kezer-age 84 of Knoxville departed this world for heaven on February 15 from his home. His family was at his side. Born in Jersey City, NJ, on September 30, 1934 to Edwin and Ruth (Adams) Kezer, Bruce graduated from the University of Vermont in 1957. He then entered the US Army and served, in peacetime, for three years until being honorably discharged at the rank of Lieutenant. Bruce loved Jesus with all his heart, and worked to live instead of the other way around.

Thomas Michael McLaughlin

Thomas M. McLaughlin age 57 currently of Maynardville TN, formerly of Edison NJ, passed away on February 8th 2019 at UT Hospital following an exhausting battle with cancer. Preceded in death by father, Thomas W, and brother Michael W McLaughlin.

Survived by wife Kathie, daughter and son-in-law Jennifer McLaughlin and Josh Lamb, son TJ, mother Elaine, sister and brother-in-law Lori and Gary Yurchak, grandchildren Chris and Michael, as well as a host of other relatives and friends.

Judson "Juddy" Bailey

Judson “Juddy“ Bailey - age 79 of Washburn, was born on February 27, 1939 and passed away peacefully on Sunday, February 10, 2019. We all called him Pap. He was a member of Nave Hill Baptist Church. He loved his family, hunting, playing cards, dogs and driving around. He spent his last few months putting on his shoes and saying “I believe I will go home”. He is finally “home“, peacefully in the arms of Jesus.

Frances Jane Nichols

Frances Jane Nichols “Janey”, age 61, of Rockford, went to be with the Lord on February 8, 2019, surrounded by her loved ones. She was a beloved mom, sister, and granny. Preceded in death by parents Jack Huggins and Bernice Van Dyke, brother Jackie Huggins, sisters Sarah Munsey, Sandy Huggins, and Darlene Dunaway.

Raymond Scott Brock

Raymond Scott Brock-age 84 of Washburn passed away Friday evening, February 8, 2019 at his home. He was a member of Salem Primitive Baptist Church. Preceded in death by wife, Barbara Brock; parents, Walter and Lois (Atkins) Brock; sister, Ruby Idol; son-in-law, Henry Paul McGinnis.

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