Gumball Machine

I have always been just a little different. For instance, my idea of a fun place was not the same as most other kids’ back in the 70s. They wanted to go to the pinball arcade or the skating rink, whereas I wanted to go to the laundromat.

The only time we washed clothes there was when the electric pump on our well messed up. No pump. No water. No washing clothes at home.

I was so giddy when we parked next to the laundromat. It wasn’t because I enjoyed carrying in the many heavy baskets of stinky clothes or the big boxes of detergent powder. In those days, there was no concentrated liquid detergent. I was excited about the gumball machines that were lined up against the back wall.

That’s what I called them. I don’t know the technical name for gumball machines. They were the little vending machines with the glass tops. You slid quarters into the slot and cranked the wheel. Prizes in clear plastic bubbles plopped down into the slot.

After everything was hauled in from Mamaw Jo’s station wagon, my mom would plunk a few quarters down in my waiting palm. If I was lucky, my daddy and/or papaw were at home before we left and they’d give all of the quarters they had. With my arsenal of quarters clutched in my hand, I ran straight back to the gumball machines.

I was enthralled by the wondrous treasures those glass spheres held. There were gumballs, stickers, bouncy balls, candy, decals, and my favorite, jewelry. I couldn’t wait to put the quarter in the slot and turn the handle. What exotic treasure would drop out in a big plastic bubble?

If I had lots of quarters, I would first splurge on a bag of hot fries and a grape flavored cola. My next target was the gumballs. If an orange or yellow one plopped down, I’d give it to somebody else. The ones I wanted were grape or cherry flavored. Next, I would get a bouncy ball. If it wasn’t glittery or didn’t resemble a planet, I would crank the wheel for another one.

Yes, I was picky about my treasures. I still am.

Usually, there were other kids there too and we would all join in and play bouncy ball. If any of them had bouncy balls too, we would have them all flying and bouncing everywhere inside the laundromat. When one zoomed by somebody’s head a little too close, we had to stop playing and sit down. We would wait a few minutes and go at it again.

I remember watching people roll their eyes and hurrying up so they could leave. I think some left before they were finished with their laundry.

My laundromat adventure wasn’t complete until I tried my luck at the jewelry gumball machine. I have always loved bling. Unfortunately for my husband, my bling now costs more than a quarter.

Displayed on the front of the glass sphere were sparkly necklaces, key rings, and bracelets, but what really caught my attention were the colorful rings. On this one trip, there was a ring that had a turquoise square stone displayed on it. Turquoise was my all-time favorite color.

I thought it was the most beautiful ring ever and I wanted it!

I dropped my quarter in and cranked the wheel. The clear plastic bubble plopped down into the slot. I lifted the cover up, yanked out the bubble, and popped it open. Instead of the ring, there was a leather bracelet with bright red and blue beads dangling from it.

I slid in another quarter and cranked the wheel. Another bubble dropped down. I popped it open and found a necklace with a long black cord and a shiny silver medallion. I think a tree was carved into it. I didn’t have many quarters left. My palm started to get moist. A couple of more cranks got me a key chain with red and black feathers on it and another necklace just like the one I already had. At the next crank, I got a leather choker.

Looking back, I resembled people in Las Vegas playing a slot machine. You have probably seen them on TV or in the movies. Or maybe you have been there yourself. Each time they feed their money into the slot and pull down the vending machine arm while yelling, “Come on Jackpot.” Each time I slid my quarter into the slot and cranked the wheel, I yelled, “Come on turquoise ring!”

Finally, I was down to my last quarter. Grasping it tight in my hand, I prayed for that ring. My mom had told me not to pray selfish prayers, but I didn’t care. I had been a good girl all week. I didn’t talk back, did my homework, and brushed my teeth without being told. I deserved that ring.

I slid the quarter into the slot and wrapped my sweaty hand around the crank. I twisted the wheel one last time. My heart thumped. This was it. A bubble plopped down. I lifted the flap and jerked the plastic bubble out. In it, I saw the outline of a ring.

Yes! I had my ring. Let me tell you, I couldn’t get the bubble open quick enough. I slid that ring on my finger and held my hand out. Then I felt sick. The ring’s stone was gold. I was too close to give up now. I ran straight to my mom.

“Can I have another quarter please? Please! Please!” Oh yeah, I begged hard.

“Why do you need more quarters?” My mom asked.

“Because I didn’t get the ring I wanted. I just know I’ll get with just a few more quarters. P-u-h-l-e-a-s-e!”

“What’s wrong with all the stuff you have on?” Mom pointed to me. You see, I had put on every piece of jewelry I had gotten out of the jewelry gumball machine. I even wore the key chain on my thumb.

“But they’re not the turquoise ring!” I whined.

“I think you have enough. Besides, we only have enough left to finish the laundry.”

Like that was more important. At least, I had the sense not to tell her that. I pouted for a while, but on the way home I played with my treasures. That’s not the end of my story. Remember, I don’t like giving up.

To me, giving up is throwing your hands up in the air and walking away without having the patience to see how things could have worked out. It is in essence losing hope in something or someone, including yourself. I had no intentions of doing that.

Immediately, I started saving up quarters so I could go back to the laundromat and try my chances again at the jewelry gumball machine again. To be honest, I bummed most of them off of other relatives. I would bat my blue eyes at them and try to look so sad.

Soon, I had my quarter arsenal built up. I asked my mom to take me back to the laundromat so I could try the jewelry gumball machine again. As we drove there, I prayed that turquoise ring would still be in the gumball machine and somebody hadn’t gotten all of them.

It was and you know what? I got that turquoise ring. I showed it off to all of my friends and I even wore it for my third grade school picture. If you look closely, you can see it on my left hand.

Remember, success doesn’t always happen on the first crank or even the second one. Be patient and keep trying. God will tell you if He wants you to stop. And if He does tell you that, He is pointing you to another Gumball Machine. A better one that has treasures or, better yet, blessings meant just for you.

That ring broke shortly after my school picture was taken. I was so disappointed. My sweet papaw gave my mom money to get me a nice ring. She took me to the store and they sat out a display full of colorful and sparkly rings. I had no idea the Emery Five and Dime had such rings. Somebody needed to tell the gumball machine people about that place.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of our heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)



Agriculture Creates Opportunity

Agriculture Creates Opportunity

One of the most important ways to invest in the future of agriculture is to invest in the people who will become tomorrow’s agriculture industry leaders. Students pursuing the agriculture industry often look for careers in planning, implementation, production, management, processing, education, or marketing ag products and services. Tennessee Department of Education predicts that over 60,000 high-skilled agricultural jobs open annually in the United States with just around 35,400 graduates in the Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program studies to fill the openings.

Homer Johnson Stays Busy with Backyard Farm

Homer Johnson on his small farm in Halls

Who says you have to give up farm life if you move to a subdivision?

Not Homer Johnson. Born in Union County and now living in the Cedar Chase subdivision in Halls, Johnson has kept farming and selling his produce. Just this year, he sold 1,500 ears of peaches and cream corn, along with sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and cantaloupe. All this is thanks to a lot of just over two acres he bought from Knox County. It sits in the floodplain and has a TVA easement running through it, so a vegetable garden is just about all he could do with it.

Start By Believing Pledge

Rachel "Liz" Stiner

Did you know that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.? Many survivors of this abuse do not say anything because they are afraid no one will believe them. Often times a survivor will tell a friend or family member and they are accused of lying or "asking" to be assaulted. As the Sexual Assault Advocate and SART Coordinator for the Union County area I am taking the 'Start By Believing" Pledge to show that I am fully committed to believing each and every person that comes to me as a current victim or survivor.

Winter Tree Pruning


Winter is a good time to prune most trees because they are dormant and their leaves are off, making it easier to see how the branches are laid out. Here are some general guidelines to help keep your trees healthier and more attractive.


Coming in the Clouds


Mark 13:26
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”

In Matthew 13:26, what did Jesus mean by the “coming in the clouds” part of His statement? Three of the four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) all record Jesus’ discussion with His disciples in what is commonly referred to by theologians as “The Olivet Discourse”. We are not going to keep you in suspense, “coming in the clouds” is a figure of speech, or metaphor for Judgement. More specifically the word, “clouds” in this context is a Biblical Metaphor for Judgement.

Baked Doughnuts

Baked Doughnuts

I have had this recipe for years. I love doughnuts, either cake or yeast. I don't eat them much any more. They quickly add pounds to this old frame. With no exercise and a healthy appetite, Anne limits my diet as best she can. However, sometimes we do splurge.

Krispy Creme is on my “do not even look that way” list as we drive by. I do sneak sweets at Revival Vision Church of God's Sunday morning coffee hour before Sunday School. Pat Hunt makes some tasty goodies.

Beach Dental Floss

Brooke Cox

My family and I have had many adventures in Ormond Beach. One is still burned into my memory.

Ormond Beach is like a home away from home for us. When we go down there to visit my step brother and sisters in October, we seem to hit Bike week. It is held in Daytona Beach, which is right below Ormond.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Marinated Vegetable Salad

New Years 2019 is here ready to start us on another year long adventure. Black eyed peas are supposed to bring good luck. Maybe so, but they taste good anyway. Here is an easy recipe to make. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. No need to trudge out to Food City. Let's get marinating!


Victory Church Gospel Sing Benefit

Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 15:00

Victory Church with Pastor Jeff Eversole, will be hosting a Benefit Gospel Sing, Saturday January 19th @ 3 PM at the Paulette Community Center. Please come out & join us for a time of fun & fellowship! There will be food available with all proceeds benefiting the Victory Church Building Fund. For further information, please contact Danny Davis @ 865-640-5826. Hope to see you there!

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, January 20, 2019 - 10:00
Need A Ride To Church

Fellowship Christian Church located at 746 Tazewell Pike Luttrell TN 37779 will pickup anyone in the local area needing a ride to church. Call Sam at 865-607-3741 to schedule a ride.

Worship Services

Sunday School 10:00 AM
Sunday Worship Service 11:00 A.M
Sunday Evening Service 6:30 P.M
Wednesday Service 7:00 P.M

Babies and Bagels Program at Luttrell Public Library

Monday, January 21, 2019 - 10:30

Every Tuesday at 10:30 am (unless closed due to holiday) Luttrell Public Library volunteer, Celeste Lanzon, teaches and inspires babies to Pre-K students (siblings are welcome) to learn and engage in fun activities including music and movement and always a story. Highly qualified, Mrs. Celeste has an education degree and professional teaching experience, so that your child is benefiting immensely during this program.

Wine and Canvas with Betty Bullen

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 18:00

Betty is teaching another wonderful Wine and Canvas Class! This class we will be painting Red Breasted Blue Birds!

Sip on some wine and learn to paint from one of Union Counties best! Supplies are included.

Tickets are only $35 and must be purchased in advance by calling (865) 745-2902 or by coming into The Winery.

Seating is limited and fills up very fast so make sure you reserve your ticket today!


Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson Obituary

Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson, of Halls/Plainview, went to be with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ on Friday January 18, 2019. Rosemary spent 4 years fighting a rare mantle cell lymphoma. Rosemary loved her family, was a believer in Christ, an animal lover, and an all-around genuine person. She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Roy & Mary Lynn Wilkerson; father in law, Raymond Johnson; and brother in law Ray Johnson.

Obituary of Lloyd Russell Lee Sr.

Lloyd Russell Lee Sr., age 68, of Knoxville, Tn was born July 6, 1950 and departed this earthly life on January 17, 2019 to gain his new body in heaven. His life was filled with the love of Nascar, Semi-Trucks, and Family. Lloyd was a self employed over the road truck driver for his entire life to provide for his ever-growing family. Married to Sandra “Sandy” Lee on January 4th 1969, they shared their love of 50 years with their 3 sons Rusty (spouse Mary Duso), Jimmy (wife April), and Billy (spouse Becky Litton).

Ted George Jones

Ted Jones, age 67, of Knoxville passed away on January 17, 2019. He was a bus operator for Knoxville Area Transit for over 43 years, and a member of Amalgamated Transit Union. He was a member of West Side Baptist church. Preceded in death by parents George & Neoma Jones, grandparents William Ellis & Flora Shuemaker, father-in-law Jack Jones.

Nathan Samuel Davis

Nathan Samuel Davis – age 23 of Maynardville, passed away Sunday, January 13, 2019.

He is survived by his parents, Luther and Julia Davis; and sister, Gabriela Eby.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Nathan Davis. 865-992-5002

Edward Robert Collette

Edward Robert Collette went to be with his Lord and Savior January 10th, 2019.
Ed was born September 19, 1964. Ed graduated the University of Florida with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He was elected and served as international president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He loved the ocean and spent a better part of his life on the beaches in Florida. His hobbies included fishing, scuba diving, body building, hunting and wood working.

Jack Ray Bohanan

Jack Ray Bohanan, age 78 of Powell, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2019 surrounded by his family and close friends.
He was a longtime member and deacon of Smithwood Baptist Church.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Ruby Bohanan; father and mother-in-law, LeRoy and Nellene Buckner; and brother, Jerry Bohanan.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr., age 31, went home to be with his heavenly father January 13, 2019 while surrounded by his family and friends at UT Hospital, due to an automobile accident. He is preceded in death by his papaw and grandmaw Marvin and Twila DeCost, papaw Joe T. Hubbs; uncles Jeff Humphrey, Tony Hubbs, and Steve Buckner. Jason was the son of Jason and Crystal Hubbs and was the most amazing brother to Dustin, Justin, and Autumn. He was also the most amazing, loving, and caring father. His whole world was his son Cason Shane Hubbs.

Barbara E. Acuff

Barbara E. (Hunter) Acuff-age 88 of Corryton passed away Monday, January 14, 2019 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Clear Branch Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Bill Acuff, parents, Clarence and Mossie (Wallace) Hunter; sisters, Geniva and Roy Burnett; Elise and Ken Beeler, Wanda and Don Beeler, Lois and Heral Kitts, Joyce Williams, brothers, Author, Earl, Ralph and Paul Hunter.

Survivors: sister, Carolyn (Leroy) Hensley of Luttrell; special sister-in-law, Lorene Hunter of Knoxville; several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

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