Oh, Man!

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Four

I have been blessed with a wonderful family. I was born late in both my parents’ lives, so a great many of my relatives I only know about from stories as they died before I was born.

One of my favorite relatives was my father’s youngest sister, Aunt Fleetie. None of us ever called her “Aunt Fleetie.” Aunt Lidia was another matter. She was my great-aunt and was elderly when I was born. Even Fleetie called her Aunt Lidia. People who weren’t our relatives called her Aunt Lidia out of respect and for her great wisdom and knowledge of the Bible.

I adored Aunt Lidia, and I always said until my mother died that if God were going to send someone to guide me through the Valley of the Shadow of Death over Jordan I would want it to be Aunt Lidia.

But I loved Fleetie, too. It just somehow didn’t seem right to call Fleetie “Aunt” as she wasn’t nearly as old as Aunt Lidia.

Fleetie lived at 2110 Hoitt Avenue in Knoxville. Her husband Lester B. (Jack) Thomas passed away from leukemia in 1968 when I was three. I don’t remember him at all. My mother once told me that Jack Thomas ate a whole box of candy every night after he went to bed before going to sleep. Mother said that was why he contracted leukemia. This did not deter me from eating candy, as much as I could get, but I never ate it in the bed!

Interestingly, Fleetie and my dad married brother and sister. Fleetie and Jack never had children—it would have certainly added interest in the family tree had this happened, for I would then have had a (or some) half double first cousin.

Fleetie adored Jack. She kept his Bible on her end table in the living room. Jack’s blood was on one of the pages. Fleetie was like Aunt Lidia when it came to respect for the Scriptures. She would never allow anything to be placed on top of a Bible in her house.

Above the end table with Jack’s Bible was a picture from an old calendar. This picture had a picture of Christ with a halo around His head. Fleetie once told me that the spot on the wall behind that halo got whiter than the rest of the wall after Jack died. I can remember at the tender age of seven to nine being scared of that picture for that reason.

Jack had worked for the railroad, and I’m sure Fleetie received a pension, though money was one thing she never discussed. Whatever might have been her monetary situation, Fleetie supplemented her income by babysitting. On many Friday nights while my half- brothers and sisters and their husbands had their weekly times together, Fleetie babysat all of their children, my nieces and nephews, though most of them were older than me.

Some of them did not like going to Fleetie’s house. Even then, most of them would rather have been at home or playing with their friends.

But I could not wait until school ended each year to go to spend two weeks with Fleetie. Since we were loners, we got along tremendously well. Our favorite game was Sorry. The only problem was that I got mad if I lost, and Fleetie didn’t let me win. Of course, it didn’t bother me a bit if she lost!

Fleetie also had a huge box of toys in the corner of her dining room. I remember there was a wind-up fake radio that played Jack and Jill. At least that’s what I think it was, for that was what was pictured on the front. It was one of the saddest tunes I ever heard. Even now thinking of it makes me mournful.

But also in that toy box was a set of plastic bricks, the forerunner of Legos. Many of the bricks were missing, and I tended to build the same thing over and over, the façade of either a church or school. Fleetie told me I should be an architect.

But one of the most interesting things about Fleetie was her aversion to men. Little as I was and as much as I loved her, Fleetie kept me and all the other kids at arms’ length. Even in church, she didn’t like to shake the men’s hands. Did Fleetie suffer from anthropophobia (fear of people), autophobia, (fear of abandonment), philophobia (fear of love), or Androphobia (fear of men)? Possibly all or none of the above?

I don’t know, but my brother J. C. thought it was just a waste. He told me he once told Fleetie, “Fleetie, Jack is dead as ----! You’re a good looking, young woman. Why don’t you marry again and live your life?”

But for Fleetie there was only Jack. When she passed away in 2004, after several light strokes that caused her to spend years in the nursing home, she had prearranged for a spray identical to the one that graced her own casket be made for Jack, so that when she was buried they would each have matching floral arrangements to adorn their graves. Such a sweet but simple gesture, a token of a love never forgotten.

Next week I’ll share with you another tale of love not forgotten. Until then, remember:

Woman to her husband: “Would you like to repeat your vows?”
“A, E, I, O, U,” he replied.



Truan Targets Cumberland

Pictured, seated L-R: Dalton Truan, Cathy Norris, aunt; standing L-R: Cumberlands head wrestling coach Travis Barroquillo, UCHS head wrestling coach James Ramirez, UCHS head football coach Larry Kerr and UCHS assistant football coach Josh Kerr.

Pictured, seated L-R: Dalton Truan, Cathy Norris, aunt; standing L-R: Cumberlands head wrestling coach Travis Barroquillo, UCHS head wrestling coach James Ramirez, UCHS head football coach Larry Kerr and UCHS assistant football coach Josh Kerr.

Union County High School senior Dalton Truan signed to wrestle with University of the Cumberlands Patriots April 10.

“Dalton is the hardest working guy, day in, day out,” said UCHS head wrestling coach James Ramirez.

Local Youths Succeed in 4-H

Pictured - Raven Walker with her Blue Ribbon Lemon Drizzle Muffins

March is Extension Month in Tennessee. Established in 2015 by a proclamation from the Tennessee General Assembly, Extension Month celebrates the educational outreach, service, and economic impact achieved by Extension across the state. Over these past three years since Extension Month began, county offices across the state have used the month as a way to showcase their programs and attract new clientele. Union County Extension took March as an opportunity to celebrate successes, tell stories, and show new and current audiences the value that Extension brings to their lives and communities.

Self-Assessing Back Pain by App Just as Effective as Traditional Methods, Study Shows

Patients can assess their own back pain using an app on their phone or tablet as effectively as current paper methods, a new study has shown. The study demonstrates that digital versions of established measurements for assessing back pain are just as reliable and responsive, opening the possibility for their use by patients for routine measurements and clinical trials.

The researchers see this study as a necessary first step in the greater use of digital media in clinical settings, in light of recent calls for greater use of such technology by healthcare providers.

Smelling Vinegar

I know it sounds weird, but I enjoy the smell of vinegar. It brings back some awesome childhood memories of Easter.

When I was growing up, we always used the PAAS® kits to die Easter Eggs. My mom dropped the colored tablets into coffee cups and poured a certain amount of vinegar onto each one.

Musical Money

Ronnie Mincey

Those who know me well probably won’t believe this, but the first money I remember earning was for singing.

When I was about four or five years old my family rented a house on Academy Street in downtown Maynardville. The yard did not have much grass in either the front or the back.

Poke Salad, a Mountain Tradition


A family tradition my mom kept was to seek out young poke sprouts in the spring and make poke salad, a king of cooked green. Back before grocery store chains and refrigeration, country folk came out of winter craving a fresh green to eat, and poke was one of the newly sprouted plants that were sought out, along with “creesies” or spring crest.



Public domain file photo. Kudzu growing in Atlanta.

Who, in the South, doesn’t know kudzu? And usually curses it.

It has several names: The Vine that Ate the South, Mile a Minute Vine, and Foot-a-Night Vine. Whatever you call it, we commonly see it along the roadsides, covering bushes, trees, and telephone poles. Where did it come from?

What is Life?

Sophia the Robot

Back in 1989, an episode of the television series, Star Trek: The Next Generation, aired that posed an intriguing question. It’s a question that thirty years later generates even more head-scratching. The title of the episode was “The Measure of a Man.” At the focus of the story sat an android who represented the pinnacle of contemporary artificial intelligence.


College & Career Fair

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 12:00
Union County High School

We are having a College & Career Fair at Union County High School on April 18th from noon until 3pm. This is not only for the high school students it is for the community too. I have a flyer that I can send to you with all of the information.

Wine and Design

Thursday, April 18, 2019 - 18:00

This month, join us for a fun Wine and Design event.
During this class, get ready for Easter by painting and crafting a bunny wine bottle and a flower sign. The class is only
$25 and includes all the materials needed as well as a glass
of wine. Tickets must be purchased in advance by calling The Winery at (865)745-2902.

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, April 21, 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


Samuel Charles Talbott II

Samuel Charles Talbott II age 42 passed away unexpectedly Monday morning April 15, 2019. Preceded in death by father, Samuel Charles Talbott; daughter, Kaylie Talbott. He is survived by mother, Patty Talbott (Danny Baker); son, Hayden Bailey; sister, Lisa Armentrout; nieces, Alyssa Hawkins (Brandon) and Abby Armentrout; great-nephew, Dalton Hawkins; special friend, Tandy Vanzant; many aunts, uncles, and cousins. Sammy was a graduate of Horace Maynard High School. Like his father, he never met a stranger and made friends everywhere he went.

Eastridge, Doris Ann

Doris Ann Eastridge – age 73 of New Tazewell, passed away peacefully at her home on April 15, 2019. She was a member of Carr’s Branch Missionary Baptist Church. Doris was retired from the Claiborne County School System.

Curits E. (Kurt) Russell, II

Curtis E. (Kurt) Russell, II-age 44 of Knoxville passed away suddenly Sunday, April 14, 2019 at his home. Kurt was a member of Beaver Dam Baptist Church attending First Comforter Church. He was a 1992 graduate of Halls High School. He loved playing the guitar; singing and recording at Songwriters Studio. Many years he took guitar lessons from Ed Wing and voice lessons from Terri McClellan. His dad taught him to enjoy U. T. Football at an early age. He loved life, his family and friends.

Thurman "Truman" E. Davis

Thurman Eugene Davis-age 70 of Knoxville, known as T.D. to his friends went home to be with the Lord Sunday morning, April 14, 2019 at Tennova North Medical Center. Thurman proudly served his country in the Army 1969 – 1975. Preceded in death by his loving wife, Susan Diane Davis; parents, Cody and Nettie Davis; brothers, Hubert, Carlos, R. V., Hobert and Hessie Davis; sister, Margie Davis.

Ray Buckner

Ray Edward Buckner-age 80 of Maynardville passed away Sunday morning, April 14, 2019 at Willow Ridge Center. Preceded in death by father, Frank Buckner; mother, Susie Waggoner Buckner; brothers, Frank Buckner, Jr.; Paris Kitts; sister, Mildred Kitts Loy.

Survivors: sons, Jeff Kitts of Maynardville; Tim Kitts of Knoxville; daughter, Brenda Kitts of Knoxville; brother, Billy (Todd) Buckner of Maynardville; sister, Jean Fields of Knoxville. Several nieces and nephews.

Helen Arnold

Attoway Helen Arnold-age 76 of Washburn passed away Wednesday morning, April 10, 2019 at Morristown-Hamblen Hospital. She was born June 15, 1942 the daughter of the late John and Bessie Hensley and is also preceded in death by son, Richard Arnold and grandson, Jaylynn Singleton.

Iva Geraldine (Gerry) Tipton

Iva Geraldine (Gerry) Tipton, age 84, Corryton, TN went home to be with her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Friday, April 12, 2019. She was a faithful member of Ridgeview Heights Baptist Church. She was a beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother. Preceded in death by parents Fred and Bonnie Webber, brothers Lawrence and Briscoe Webber, sister Mary Lett and son-in-law Steve Griffith.

Von C. Merritt

Von C Merritt went to be with his Savior April 12, 2019. He was a member of Fountain City United Methodist Church. Preceded in death by parents George and Hazel Merritt, and Brother Ron Merritt. Survived by wife Mary Ann Merritt, brothers and sisters-in-law Jim and Delsie Merritt, Al and June Merritt, sisters and brothers-in-law Marie and Jack Rhyne, Janice and Bob Pendergrass, Almeda and Steve Lewis, and sister-in-law Maudella Merritt. The family will receive friends from 5:30 - 7:30 pm on Monday, April 15, 2019 at Mynatt Funeral Home Halls Chapel.

Pauline "Polly" Lucille Hodson Smith

Pauline “Polly” Lucille Hodson Smith age 68 of Knoxville passed away on Friday April 12, 2019, surrounded by her family. Polly retired from First Tennessee Bank after 30 years of service. She spent her retirement years serving as a teacher for the Parents Day Out program at Union Baptist Church and also enjoyed working for Purple Plum Estate Sales, when not at work she loved spending time with her Terry Point Campground family. Preceded in death by her parents, Ralph and Helen Hodson; brother Dennis Hodson.

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