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)




Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child Event Set for Sept. 18

Operation Christmas Child by Samaritan's Purse, that yearly effort to pack shoeboxes full of necessities for children in some of the world's most threatening situations, is a blessing for the recipients and donors alike.

Just ask Amie Winstead, Area Coordinator for the Operation Christmas Child Cumberland Pathway Team. She's been packing shoeboxes for nine years, and she says the effort "allows us to be foreign missionaries without leaving our hometowns."

Barbecue Event Upcoming for FFA Homecoming Candidate

Future Farmers of America homecoming queen candidate Savannah Jones

Savannah Jones is running for Union County High School's homecoming queen, representing the Horace Maynard Chapter of Future Farmers of America. But she's not in the competition for the glory or the crown. She's in it because she believes in the FFA and the benefits it gives students. The money she raises as a homecoming candidate will go right back into the FFA program.

Norris Lake Five County Cleanup

Norris Lake Cleanup at Oak Grove

The Norris Lake Project Team is looking for volunteers to help with the Fall Five County Norris Lake Cleanups on September 22nd, 29th and October 6th. “Since 2011, volunteers from the counties surrounding Norris Lake have picked up over 200 tons of trash,” said Stephanie Wells, Director of the Anderson County Tourism Council.

4-H Chickens Auctioned

Golden Comet Winners l to r - Chesney, Richardson, Eubanks, Holt, Sexton, Malone, Smith, Farmer

It is common knowledge that 4-H is a club for kids to learn valuable skills and get their hands dirty. This summer, fifteen Union County 4-Hers were busy carrying water, cleaning cages, and gathering eggs as they indulged in the 2018 Poultry Project. They each received twenty chicks in early March and raised the birds from one day old to young laying hens at twenty six weeks old.

When God Speaks

Terry Kirby

In my years as a journalist, I have had the privilege of meeting many authors. Only a few of those acknowledged God as their inspiration and as the One who impressed them to seek a specific writing goal. Dr. Terry L. Kirby is one of those few.

Kirby is an expository preacher, has been a senior pastor for almost twenty-five years and holds a doctorate in Expository Preaching from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He says the Lord gave him the idea for a different type of Bible.

In the World, Not of the World?

Archie Wilson

(As part of a series entitled “Out of the Skillet and Into the Fire”)

John 17:16
“They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.”

Last time we concluded our 2-part article, JESUS FRIEND OF SINNERS, by pointing out that we should get out of our comfort zones and let our light shine. Someone’s life could be dependent upon you letting your light shine! If Jesus was a “friend of publicans and sinners,” shouldn’t we also do the same?

Crisp Molasses Cookies

Crisp Molasses Cookies

I like molasses. I remember when I was first married and living on the farm, Dad would sprinkle molasses on the milk cows' grain. They loved it. I was curious. The molasses was clean, so I tasted it. It had a better flavor than that you bought in the store back then or nowadays, for that matter. There was no reason not to use it, so I did. We ate a lot of gingerbread and molasses cookies until the molasses ran out. Of course, I didn't tell anybody where the molasses came from. Why bother? Nowadays, don't be concerned. I use Muddy Pond Sorghum when I can find it.

Cool, Man!

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Six

Many people follow the “five second rule”. It goes something like this—if something is dropped on the floor and remains less than five seconds, it is fine to retrieve for consumption by the human body. This holds especially true when referring to the last chip in the bag.

Jesus Picture

Jesus Picture

It’s not something I am too proud of, but I did it. Or rather I didn’t do it. You see, I got out of church for a while. After I started back, I realized I didn’t have any pictures of Jesus in the house. So, guess what I did next? Yep. I went Jesus picture shopping.

I looked at all kinds of Jesus pictures and none of them felt right. Finally, I found one that I really, really liked. That is until I looked at the price tag. You know, it just didn’t seem right to go in debt for it. I didn’t think Jesus would like that.

Identifying Pesky Poop

Bat Poop

I really enjoyed my career as a forester, partly because of the variety. It was rare that I did the same thing two days in a row. I could be walking in the woods collecting field data in the morning and be on a wildfire that afternoon. If you like routine, forestry is not for you. One unique task I did on occasion was identifying animal poop, especially when people would find droppings in their house and badly wanted to know what uninvited visitor left it.



Luttrell neighborhood watch

Thursday, September 20, 2018 - 19:00
Luttrell neighbourhood watch

Luttrell neighbourhood watch meeting every 3rd Tuesday at 7:00pm It takes place in the community building behind the library with speakers each month this can be a great tool for our community to assist one another in brotherly love by watching out for each other. If you need more information contact Jim Bailey at 865-809-4472

Thank you so much
Union County Sheriff's Office
130 veteran’s street suite B Maynardville Tennessee 37807
Phone 865-992-5212
Fax 865-992-2349

Free Eye Exams and Glasses!

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 08:00

(South Claiborne County, Washburn, Powder Springs, and Corryton also welcome)
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club
8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.
150 Main Street, Maynardville, TN 37807 (Union County High School)
Call Kathy Chesney at (865) 566-3289
Glasses will be distributed 2-3 weeks after this event.
Sponsored by the Union County Lions Club,
In conjunction with the Smokey Mountains Lions Charities.

Hogskin Festival

Saturday, September 29, 2018 - 11:00
Spinning wheel

On Saturday, September 29th, Narrow Ridge Earth Literacy Center will hold its 19th annual Hogskin History Day Celebration from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. This event is family friendly and provides a fun way to celebrate the rich culture and history of our Hogskin Valley community in Grainger County. Event attractions include local musicians, artists, artisans, and historians; children’s activities; exhibits of alternative technology; tours of Narrow Ridge’s eco-friendly facilities and Natural Burial Preserve; a silent auction; good food; and a variety of local vendor and display booths.


Melvin Corum

Melvin Corum – age 78 of Maynardville, passed away peacefully at his home with his loving wife of 60 years by his side on Saturday, September 15, 2018. He was a member of Fellowship Christian Church in Luttrell. He especially loved the yearly fall festival and The Life of Christ drive thru exhibit. Melvin was a dirt track race car driver and won many championship races during his career. His latest hobby was restoring vintage cars and trucks.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.

Glen C. Carmon, Sr.-age 72 of Maynardville passed away Monday morning, September 17, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. Glen was a member of Fairview Baptist Church and a U. S. Army Veteran. Preceded in death by parents, Thurman and Hester Carmon; brother, Ed Carmon; sister, Ina Carmon.

Survivors: son, Carroll Carmon of Maynardville; daughter, Jennifer Buckner and husband, Tony of Luttrell; three grandchildren, Kali Buckner, Caleb Carmon and Christian Carmon; sisters, Mary Campbell, Marie Johnson and Betty Williams, all of Maynardville. Several nieces and nephews.

George David "Dave" Murphy

George “Dave” David Murphy, Sr., age 63, of Powell went to be with the Lord on September 16, 2018. He was a member of Central View Baptist Church. He enjoyed farming, raising pigs, and working. He adored his grandchildren. He loved helping people, as he would give you his last of anything. He was a selfless man of God. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Christine Murphy; and brother Phillip Murphy. Survived by his wife of 45 years Kathy Murphy; children David Murphy, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.

Ermon T. Bullen, Jr.-May 2, 1932-Sept 14, 2018 of Corryton, known by everyone as Junior Bullen originally from Washburn, born to the late Ermon T. Bullen, Sr and Hila Johnson Bullen. Preceded in death by the love of his life of 58 years, Mildred Marsee Bullen. Junior was an Army Veteran and retired maintenance man from Claiborne County Hospital. He also loved traveling with Mamaw, watching grandkids and great grandkids at sporting events, plays and such and faithfully attended church where he was a member at Union Missionary Baptist Church.

Carl Edward Fielden

Carl Edward Fielden, age 84 of Halls Crossroads, peacefully entered into his eternal rest in the presence of his Lord Jesus Christ on September 15, 2018. Saved by God's merciful grace as a young man, Carl was a faithful member of Emory Valley Baptist Church. He served his country in the United States Air Force, honorably. He retired from Fairmont Supply located in Nashville, Tennessee. Preceded in death by parents Hobert and Amy Fielden, son Greg Fielden, all of Heiskell, sister Ann Tudor of Manchester, sister Geneieve Humphrey and brother Rev. Glen Fielden, all of Knoxville.

Raymond Eugene Clark

Raymond Eugene Clark age 71, of Knoxville went to be with with his Heavenly Father on Thursday, September 13, 2018 at his home surrounded by family. He was a member of Texas Valley Baptist Church. Raymond lived most of his life in the Halls Community and was an avid sports fan of all Halls community and school sports teams. He was often thought of as the Honorary “Mayor” and Cheerleader of the Halls Community. Preceded in death by parents; Jack Raymond and Allene Wooten Clark. Survivors; sisters, Rosalee Clark Highland and Diane Clark Woods. Brother; Phillip David Clark.

James Warren "J.W." Hughes

James Warren "J.W." Hughes, age 82, of Halls Crossroads went to his heavenly home, Thursday morning, surrounded by his family. He was a member of Fairview Freewill Baptist Church. He served in the U.S. Army and retired from Jefferson Smurfit Corp. J.W. loved the outdoors; hunting, fishing and camping.

He is preceded in death by parents, C.M and Mary Hughes; and brother-in-law, Leon Spangler.

Mitchell Elvis Kitts

Mitchell Elvis Kitts-age 62 of Luttrell passed away suddenly Saturday, September 8, 2018 while away in Florida for work.

Mitchell was a Journeyman painter who took pride in his craft. He was employed by Larry Mitchell Painting Company. Over the years he coached his son’s youth baseball teams in the Knoxville Area. He was an avid fisherman and loved spending time with his boys on the lake.

Myrtle Anne Covington

Myrtle Anne Covington-age 59 of Sevierville passed away Sunday, September 9, 2018 at Physicians Regional Medical Center with her husband by her side. Those who knew Ann will remember her kindness and sense of humor. She was a member of Walnut Hill Baptist Church.

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis

Velma Lozena Dyer Davis, age 87, born at home on April 9, 1931 in Luttrell, TN and passed away on September 8, 2018 after losing her battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She retired from Standard Knitting Mill. Velma was a member of Greenway Baptist Church for over 60 years and a member of the Golden Circle Sunday School Class. She loved her garden, especially picking and canning her green beans. Her life was spent caring for other people, especially her family who she loved with all her heart.

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