The Giving, Taking Tree
On May 1, 2021 I will celebrate an anniversary. On that date, thirty years ago, I bought my house. And like a lot of us living the American dream, I owe more today on the principal balance than the original purchase price.
One of the things I liked most about my house was the huge silver maple tree that stood in the front yard. This tree sat directly in front of what was originally intended to be a carport, but was always used as a porch. I had it converted to a sunroom with a beautiful marble floor not long after my mother passed away, but it is no longer used for that purpose, though I hope to live to see the day that it is returned to that use.
I refused to let anyone touch that tree. I didn’t even want it trimmed—I wanted it to grow naturally undisturbed. It was a wonderful shade tree, and even the leaves it shed in the fall were a challenge to chop up with the lawnmower (always preferred to raking). I used to meditate on that tree—how old was it? Older than the house? Who was president then? What stories of events that had happened under its leafy branches could it tell?
When I renovated the house in 2008, my wife wanted a new living room. So away went my beautiful fifteen foot long, six foot tall bank of living room windows—that opening became the entrance to the new living room. I had always wanted to replace the porch after turning the original into a sun room, and a porch was added to the front of the living room addition. Now I could rehang my porch swing, though the remainder of my front porch furniture that had followed me from my previous residence was sold by my wife to one of her relatives for a disappointingly low price. In front of the sun room and to the side of the new living room closest to the driveway an uncovered patio was built.
All this addition to the front of the house moved the house much closer to the tree, which was fine in one respect, though I always thought it more pleasant to gaze at the tree from afar than to practically be covered in its untrimmed branches. Still, I refused to let anyone mutilate my lovely tree.
So what did the tree give me? In addition to its beauty and shade, it gave me a link to a past of which I would never know the particulars. A sense of mystery, of the past undisturbed by the passage of time.
So when the house was remodeled, the number of bathrooms doubled, and the number of residents tripled. One of those residents was my stepson Dustin, who suffered from cerebral palsy, and had almost all of the almost eleven years he lived there two people caring for him around the clock. Basically, there were five people in the house at all times.
This put a major strain on the septic system and drain field. To make a long story short, the plumber ran a snake down the drain and came up with a tree root! The septic tank was uncovered, and a huge ball of tree roots from the lovely silver maple had invaded the system, taking over the tank to the point that it could not carry the load of the number of people who depended upon it.
I could not help but think of the phrase that Randy Carver quoted so often, “No good deed goes unpunished.” I had spent eighteen years guarding that tree, not allowing anyone to touch it, and it repaid me by destroying my septic system. It cost me a few thousand dollars to have the house connected to the sewer, and thank God that was even an option. A very few short years previously, there would have been no sewer close enough to the house for connection.
So I made the painful decision to have the wonderful tree cut down. My wife found someone she knew who cut the tree at a good price, though it still cost several hundred dollars. Then there was the problem of finding someone who would take the wood. It is so interesting that you can’t hardly give anything away these days, even good firewood. We finally found one of the caregiver’s husband who took the wood away, though the only profit I realized from that deal was getting the wood removed at no cost.
My next door neighbor Johnny Thomas took some of the wood to use in his woodworking shop. It was difficult for him to find enough good wood from the silver maple to make very much. It turned out the tree was diseased and mostly hollow on the inside, closer to the end of its life than the beginning.
This brought back a memory of the trip I took with my good friend Mark Martin to Jamestown, Virginia. I was so excited. I thought all the way there, “I am with my very eyes going to see the very trees that our forefathers looked at in 1608.” Imagine what a fool I felt when the guide told us that not one tree was left that was there when our forefathers peopled the area. There I was, principal of a school, and didn’t even realize that! Trees have life spans, just like humans, and though I didn’t know it until the silver maple was cut, it was approaching its natural death.
That tree wound up taking a lot of money out of my rainy day fund, but thanks to my wonderful neighbor Johnny Thomas, the tree is still giving. Johnny made me a wooden walking cane, and the handle is made from the silver maple tree from the front yard. I have a feeling that someday that cane will be useful in my old age. He also made me a lovely small wooden bowl from the wood. I enjoy both of these articles, partly because a good neighbor cared enough to make them for me, but also because through him the silver maple, though now a memory, lives on through his craftsmanship.
I leave you, friends, with a few morsels of wisdom from my world of email:
"The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
"You can get a goat to climb tree, but you’d be better off hiring a squirrel.”
--Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy
Oak trees do NOT produce acorns until they are fifty (50) years of age or older.
If money doesn't grow on trees, how come banks have branches?
The impact of COVID-19 on learning, especially in elementary reading and math, continues to be a concern for Union County as well as our state and nation. To mitigate some of the pandemic's impact on learning, Dr. Jimmy Carter announced at the March Union County Board of Education meeting that summer school will be from June 1 through June 25 with a maximum class size of eighth students per teacher.
Beginning Thursday, April 8, the Union County Health Department is moving its vaccine clinic to Alder Springs Church at 708 Hickory Star Road across from the Union County Humane Society.
Vaccines will still be administered by appointment only, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Extended appointments are available only on Tuesday. To make an appointment, call 866-442-5301 or 865-549-5343 or to book an appointment online, go to vaccinate.tn.gov.
Local agriculture partners collaborated and hosted the annual National Ag Day Farmer Appreciation Breakfast on March 23. Farmers and producers from across Union County were invited to celebrate their hard work and dedication in honor of the nationally recognized day.
The farmers received a complimentary breakfast and a bag full of promotional items in recognition of their efforts throughout the year to preserve our county's farmlands and rich agricultural history.
The Master Beef Producer program is an extensive educational program developed to provide information to assist you and other Tennessee cow-calf producers in improving the profitability of your cow-calf operations. The classes provide opportunities to gain knowledge in current beef cattle management practices that are important to the profitability and sustainability of the industry.
The 2021 Union County Business and Professional Association Golf Classic will be played at the beautiful Three Ridges Golf Course, 6101 Wise Springs Road, in Knoxville on June 19. Tee time is 1 p.m. with a barbeque lunch by Li'l Jo's included in the entry fee. Golfers will receive goody bags, door prizes, as well as compete for Closest to the Pin and Longest Drive.
As we look forward to having our routines return to near-normal, a good attitude is still essential for tackling the ongoing challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and the changes it has created in our day-to-day lives. Taking care of your health by addressing pain and then finding time for physical activity, rest, time in nature, and safe socializing can help lessen stress and anxiety.
Country Connections by James and Ellen Perry
“Time Changes Everything” was recorded in 1940 by Bob Wills and Tommy Duncan: “Heavenly shades of night are falling, It’s twilight time, Out of the mist your voice is calling, ’Tis twilight time.”
These beautiful lyrics were sung by Tony Williams and The Platters in the late spring of 1958. It was an international hit with lyrics written by Buck Ram in the ’40s. He later became the manager of The Platters.
Dr. Lauren Effler, Pre-K director for Union County Public Schools, announces that registration is now open for Pre-K students enrolling for in-person learning next fall.
The Pre-K curriculum, designed to get kids ready for kindergarten, teaches important things such as letters, numbers, shapes, and colors. Children are also taught social skills like interacting with other kids, cooperating and working with others, and how to problem-solve.
By Harlen Hunley and Ty Edds
On March 8, the Lady Red Devils got the season off to a good start with a solid win over Claiborne County with a score of 3-0. They got hits and runners on at the right time to push across the runs needed and solid pitching from Aleyia Satterfield to shut out the Lady Bulldogs.
Lady Devils win over Clinton
By Harlen Hunley and Ty Edds
HMMS vs. Seymour
The Horace Maynard Baseball team has been rolling since an opening day loss on Tuesday March 2, as they traveled to Seymour in a 2-1 loss.
The Red Devils played solid defense with solid pitching as eighth grader Ty Edds toed the rubber and was relieved by Garret Graves trying to prevent the go-ahead run from scoring. As a bloop hit to left scored the winning run from third base in the last inning. Edds, Maddix Wyrick, and Aiden Bowman all had hits in the game for the Red Devils.
Big Ridge State Park has a large diversity of trees. The park is around 3,600 acres in size with only a couple hundred acres at most that is mowed and not wooded.
Of course, one of the purposes of our Tennessee state parks is to preserve and protect our natural resources.
This was not always the case. Before the park was set aside for preservation it was farmland with little of it wooded.
Volunteer Interpreter, Cumberland Gap National Historical Park
One of the more popular trees in the spring is the eastern redbud (Cercis Canadensis), which blesses us with a beautiful bloom of purple pea-like flowers that pop out on the trunk and large branches as well as on twigs. Another common name for redbud is Judas tree, which comes from the belief that Judas hung himself from a Middle Eastern redbud after betraying Christ.
Philippians 4:6 is one of those verses which many Christians have hidden in their hearts. It is Paul the Apostles version of 1 Peter 5:7 “Casting all your care upon him, for he careth for you.”
We find Paul once again in prison for preaching the Gospel. He has written this letter to the Philippians so that they will not lose hope in Christ, because of the situation in which Paul finds himself.
Let’s think about what is going on by imagining ourselves as part of a possible conversation between two first century new believers in the city of Philippi:
Most fishy tales are probably tall tales about the one that got away. Mine are just the opposite in that I have never had any luck with fish in any capacity.
For instance, the last time I went fishing, I fell into Bull Creek. That wonderful experience is in my story, “In the Creek.”
My woeful fish tales started at a very young age. You see, my mother always had a fish tank.
Union County High School girls’ basketball coach Roger Murphy is stepping away; but he isn’t going too far.
Murphy has coached the girls team for the past fourteen years and says the timing is right. Murphy’s tenure was highlighted by winning the district tournament championship in 2015-16, the first for the program in over thirty years.
We have a TV star in our midst, Union County! Kara Cooke was modeling when she graduated from Union County High School in 2018. She then enrolled in classes at Gage talent agency in West Knoxville, going once a week for a couple of months where she learned skills such as working the runway, how to pose for the camera, and how to apply make-up. She also took acting classes. One of her instructors started The STAIR Agency for models and actors and she followed him. Her career took off after auditioning and being selected for a spot in Knoxville Fashion Week.
Nothing has ever been simple for me, not even riding the school bus home when I was a child.
When I was in the first grade, my mom would always pick me up after school. From her car, I would watch my friends board their school buses. Of course, I wanted to do that too. I thought they were having a fun party with no teachers around.
If you’re like most people, most of the time you definitely want to be in the “in” crowd. There you’re accepted, adored, idolized, and never alone.
That is, you’re never alone until your thinking starts to depart from the “status quo” of your “in” crowd. Then you risk becoming an outcast, as most groups struggle with a free thinker within their “in” crowd.
I am fond of cats nowadays. That was not always the case. I remember back in my childhood when I thought my dad was perfect and knew everything about anything. He hated cats! So I did, too. I would express my dislike at every opportunity. Then we moved to Summers Road in Union County. We had mice galore. They were everywhere and didn’t care if we saw them or not. All food had to be stored covered and sealed.
I dropped by Maynardville Public Library to see what is going on and man is there a lot! In addition to their amazing way of seeing us through the pandemic with their interactive website, which offers online reading and something for everyone, library staff members have been busy refreshing and revitalizing the building inside and out, as we all look forward to getting out and once again enjoying public spaces together.
On Friday, March 12, Luttrell Elementary School students from each homeroom class who logged the highest amount of reading on their own time were invited to attend Donuts with the Principal.
"We are very proud of these hard-working students and look forward to seeing who will win next month's prize,” said Instructional Facilitator Steva Bates.
Every year, the Smoky Mountain Home School 4-H Club takes an active approach with getting involved in our community. This past year has presented its own unique problems with COVID and the restrictions to club events and activities that have come along with those restrictions. But, in spite of this, we want Union County to know that we are still here.
Chiropractic is a health care profession that focuses on disorders of the musculoskeletal system and the nervous system, and the effects of these disorders on general health. Chiropractic services are used most often to treat neuromusculoskeletal complaints, including but not limited to back pain, neck pain, pain in the joints of the arms or legs, and headaches.
This story is about a memory from my early childhood that I don’t remember. At all. But I have been told about it several times over the years.
First, I need to give you a little bit of background information. I’m sure most of you all are aware of how much I love chocolate. As much as I love it; my Mamaw Jo loved eggs. And she was very proud of that fact.
You may have noticed that the farmers market is accepting applications for a manager, an assistant manager and a demonstration chef but, it is also the time of year to turn in your vendor applications. Perhaps you have wondered if the Union County Farmers Market is the place for you – we think you’ll agree that it is!
More than 250 people logged onto The Quarantine Happy Hour on Facebook Sunday, March 7 to hear Union County native Sarah Morgan weave her beautiful music.
Morgan started with the dulcimer then moved to guitar. Her angelic voice made for a splendid ending to a beautiful day here in East Tennessee.
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.
If you are as old as I, you will recognize the quoted title above from many episodes of the 1970s television situation comedy Sanford and Son. Junkman Fred Sanford, portrayed by Redd Foxx, called his son Lamont a “big dummy” in practically episode of the series. If you are not as old as I, thanks to the wonders of cable television and retro channels such as METV and Antenna TV, these old shows can become favorites of a new generation.
We weren’t sure how she did it. If I hadn’t seen it myself, I don’t know if I would’ve believed it. Who am I talking about? Our dog Pobby. She was the one that gnawed on my bible in my story: “Eating the Word.”
She was a tiny stray puppy that we took into our home and our hearts. Before she was housebroken, we didn’t want her to go into our living room while Tim and I were at work. At that time, the living room had bifold doors, so we just closed them. The doors were difficult for us to open, so we assumed Pobby wouldn’t be able to open them either.
The first Friday in March is when Tennessee celebrates Arbor Day, while Kentucky, Virginia, and the nation designate Arbor Day as the last Friday in April. The dictionary defines a tree as "a woody perennial plant having a distinct trunk with branches and foliage at some distance above the ground". This simple description falls short of what a tree is to humans and other life forms. What is a tree? Let me count the ways:
Mayor Chandler called the meeting to order at 7:10 PM
Prayer by Gordon Bright
Present: Mayor Chandler, Vice-Mayor Philips, Gordon Bright, Josh Collins, Rebecca Lock
Reading of Previous Minutes: Mary Ann Brantley. Motion by Richard Phillips, Second by Gordon Bright to approve as read. Motion carried.
Police Report: Chief Eddie Muncey said March has been busy but smooth. He commented the City received a check for $1900 from Union County for drug related fines processed.
Bobby Glenn, Race Director at Knoxville Track Club (KTC), describes the third race of 2021’s “dirty dozen” as, “In the wooded hollows of Big Ridge State Park east of Norris near Maynardville, the 11-mile course delves into long forgotten, mud-slogged crevasses thought to be haunted by haints, demons, banshees, phantoms, and poltergeists” No doubt in reference to Big Ridge’s ghost hikes in October!
The Paulette Elementary School team left to right:
April Bull- 4th Grade Math Teacher, Casey Hurley- Instructional Facilitator, Missy Fugate- Principal, Katelyn Shetterly- Kindergarten Teacher, Chris Justice- Music Teacher, Allie Giles- Special Education Teacher. Not pictured: Michelle Branscomb- 3rd Grade Science and Social Studies Teacher
The Tennessee Behavior Supports Project (TBSP) at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville (funded by the Tennessee Department of Education) is proud to announce that Paulette Elementary School has been selected as a 2020-2021 bronze level RTI2-B Model of Demonstration School.
Nestled right in the heart of downtown Maynardville, you will find a new business, Mission Hope Pediatric Therapy, LLC. Back in September, founder and owner, Brittany Buckner, opened the doors to her dream business, doing exactly what she loves - helping others.
The purpose of chiropractic treatment is to help the body’s potential to heal itself. It is based on the scientific principle that restricted spinal movement leads to pain and reduced function and performance. Chiropractic care is non-invasive, non-surgical and drug-free. The type of chiropractic therapy provided depends on the cause of the patient’s sciatica. A sciatica treatment plan may include several different treatments such as ice/cold therapies, ultrasound, TENS, and spinal adjustments (sometimes called spinal manipulation).
As a child, I spent many a spring or summer day romping through the yard as I chased flying insects. If it had fluttering wings, it fascinated me. Whether it was a butterfly, bee, or lightning bug, I followed it with envy. Fortunately, I didn’t do that with birds. That may have gotten a little messy.
For those of us who were teenagers or young adults in the 1980s, it seemed, at least in retrospect, a magical time. Even the music of the 1980s was great. I was a freshman at Lincoln Memorial University in the spring of 1984. That was so long ago that the college academic year was divided into quarters, four instructional terms that lasted approximately ten weeks each. The shift to semesters, three annual instructional terms of approximately sixteen weeks each, started at some point before I graduated with my Bachelor’s degree in 1987.
Multi-published local author Brooke Cox will hold a book launch and signing Sunday, April 25 from 2-4 p.m. at Beaver Dam Baptist Church.
Cox will launch her latest novel Dinosaur Eggs, Two Guys, a Girl, and a T-Rex. The book has 5 star reviews with one reviewer calling the book a “Wonderful middle-grade allegory.”
Cox is also re-launching her first mystery novel with a new title and cover. Until the Moon Rises, A Conniving Cousins Mystery. Cox plans to create a mystery series from the book.
Cox will also have her Saucy Southern Stories books available.
Homeschooling Mothers are invited to an evening of encouragement on Monday, April 26, 2021 in the Hardees Meeting Room in Maynardville at six p.m. Speaking will be Christine Brackney, a veteran homeschooling Mom who will focus on keeping your vision and choosing the educational choice that best meets the needs of your child. Info: 865-992-3629-Connie Dickey
Maggie Dykes – age 93 of Sharps Chapel, passed away peacefully at home with her family by her side on Thursday, April 8, 2021. She was a member of Oak Grove Baptist Church.
Voyd C. Keck, age 90 of Halls, formerly of Union Co., passed away peacefully surrounded by family on Sunday, April 4, 2021. He was a member of Christ United Methodist Church of Halls. Graduated class of 1950, Horace Maynard High School. Retired from University of Tennessee Physical Plant as General Supt. of structural maintenance. He was a 49-year member of Masters Lodge #244 F. & A.M. K.C.C.H. Scottish Rite of Knoxville, Areme Chapter #466 O.E.S.
Mitchell Steven Beason-age 68 of Luttrell passed away Friday morning, April 2, 2021 at his home. He was a Christian and had a great love of dogs, cats and all animals. Preceded in death by parents, Mitchell Lee and Martha (Woods) Beason; siblings, Lucille Ford, Gene Beason, Agnes Dyer, Bernice Vaught, Mary Beeler along with several nieces, nephews and other family members.
Arlene “Leigh” McFarren-age 63 of Corryton passed away Thursday, April 1, 2021 at her home. She was a member of Mountain View Church of God of the Union Assembly, Luttrell. She was an employee of Knox County Sheriff’s Office for the past six years, formerly with T.V.A.
She was a loving wife, mother and nana. Preceded in death by granddaughter, Sophie Holly and Grandma Betty who raised her.
Rev. Clarence E. Bull-age 92 of Maynardville passed away peacefully Tuesday, March 30, 2021 at his home. Preceded in death by parents, Silas A. and Murlie Burke Bull; brothers, Lloyd Bull, Junior Bull; sisters, Billie Bruner, Edith Pratt and infant sister, Sue Ann Bull; great-grandson, Brayden William Frye; father and mother-in-law, Rev. Fate and Etta Oaks; brother-in-law, L. G. Oaks.
Larry Eugene Norris – age 76 of Andersonville, born June 10, 1944 passed away at U. T. Hospital at 3:30 a.m., March 26, 2021. He was saved at age 12 at Snoddley Baptist Church and joined Macedonia Baptist at age 14.
He is preceded in death by father, Tommy Norris; brother, David Norris; and grandson, Adam Norris. Larry is survived by wife, Dora Johnson Norris; son, Roger Norris; mother, Mable Norris; aunt, Ruby McBee Hutchison; brother-in-law, Gary Johnson; cousin, Yvonne Foust; special friends, Ricky Hutchison and Betty Waggoner; and pets, Oscar and Lily.
Angela Renee Ballard-age 40 of Rutledge went home to be with the Lord Tuesday, March 23, 2021 at U. T. Medical Center. Preceded in death by sister, Christina Lee; nephew, Skylar; father, Richard Ballard, Sr.; grandfather, Bud Givens; grandmother, Naomi Ballard.
Survivors: son, Jayden Reed; mother, Jama Gibson; grandmother, Polly Givens; brother, Richard Ballard; nephews, Christopher, Trey and Terry; great-niece, Neveah. Special friend, Tony Winstead.