The Vinyl Kid

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Forty-Three

Just a few days ago, I took a trip back in time. Of course, that is nothing unusual for me. I became the first person to open a package wrapped fifty years ago. Next week, I’ll share with you what that was.

A person under the influence of a foreign substance once told me she had taken a trip and never left the couch. I have the uncanny ability to do the same thing without the use of anything other than my imagination. All I have to do is pick up a book, and I can travel to places that don’t even exist, both in the past, present, future, and to a time that never was or will be.

But one thing has always taken me back in time—vinyl records.

I could have been called “the vinyl kid”, for it seemed a lot of things in my life were made from vinyl—the upholstery on our living room furniture and car interiors. Many of my very favorite memories come from countless hours spent listening to vinyl records. Lots of kids today have no experience with 33 1/3 RPM (revolutions per minute) vinyl records, though they and retro turntables are making a comeback. Perhaps the best way to describe a vinyl record is as “an antique CD” (though perhaps CDs are also becoming outdated).

I can barely remember my half-brother Jerry having a portable turntable. I must have been fascinated by it, for my dad went to Shoffner’s Furniture and Appliance and bought a new living room suite, a wringer washing machine, and a small cabinet model stereo with red fabric covering the speaker vents on either side. The floor model stereo was so small that I could stand and watch the records turn as they spun on the turntable. Dad was obviously afraid that I would tear up the stereo, for he had Irby Monroe make a pedestal for it.

I remember missing being able to watch the labels spin, but I could still hear the music. My dad borrowed some records of Bill Monroe and the Bluegrass Boys from my sister Icy Madeline (Pat) McMurray. He borrowed others from her that I didn’t particularly care for, and I was no fan of Bill Monroe, either (though, praise God, I later came to see the light on that one).

Mother did order a mail order recording of which I was particularly fond. It was a Columbia® Special Products record with a red, white and black label simply entitled “18 All Time Country Hits”. The cover still bears traces from when I colored all around the pictures with a red crayon. I am looking at it as I write this article, though I still to this day have it memorized. I had Mother play that record so many times for me that it almost sickened her to hear it until her dying day.

I memorized every word of every song and would sing for anyone who would listen. I once performed for our landlord, Kenneth “Buck” Buckner. I told him when I finished, “Most people pay me to sing.” He laughed and paid me the only money I really remember receiving for my vocal abilities, one quarter. I’d probably get more money now from people paying me not to pollute the sound waves with my noise.

The record had one selection considered by the compiler to be the greatest recording for each of the eighteen country music stars popular in the 1960s. Side 1 led off with Marty Robbins’ “A White Sport Coat”. Not to be left out were two of Union County’s greatest singers, Roy Acuff’s “Wabash Cannonball” and Carl Smith’s “Foggy River”. Another personal favorite of mine was Patsy Cline’s “Walkin’ After Midnight”.

All was well until Dad had a stroke episode and had to quit working with Irby Monroe in maintenance for the Union County Schools. Mother never forgot the day that Rina Shoffner came to the door inquiring for payment for his merchandise. She said that he said he hated to take the washing machine “away from you and the boy”. It was arranged with my sister Ruby Foulks and her husband Buddy that they would take over the payments, but in the process they also acquired the stereo. Life was lonely without music for a few years, until December, 1971. That’s when Dad came home with an olive green, portable RCA™ turntable. Until 1983, when my mother bought me a Quasar™ stereo from Hobert Brown, that turntable became my best inanimate friend. Now, I could once more sing along with Marty, Patsy, Carl, Roy and the rest!

Dad also brought home something more valuable than the turntable—five used Chuck Wagon Gang records. He once again bought the turntable from Rina Shoffner, but I never knew where those wonderful Chuck Wagon Gang records came from. For many years, those records along with the hymns at church composed my musical repertoire. We acquired a few other records along the way, but everything always came back to those five records.

A classmate once asked me who my favorite singers were. When I told him “The Chuch Wagon Gang,” he began to, as the scriptures say, “Laugh me to scorn” (Psalms 22:7 KJV).

When I began dating my wife, I had a stack of perhaps fifty record albums. She introduced me to the wonderful worlds of Goodwill and KARM, and I now have over twenty feet of shelves loaded with records. It is now a hobby to try to find a Chuck Wagon or George Beverly Shea record that I don’t have.

Time has passed, friends have come and gone, the cabinet model stereo and olive turntable are long gone. The Quasar™ stereo remains, though the turntable only produces sound from one speaker. Other turntables from vintage sales and stores now elicit the wonderful sounds heard all throughout my life, though a great many of the voices they project have been stilled by death. Yet the vinyl records remain, stalwart in life as the God of which so many of them sing.

A good record is like a friendship, the better it is cared for the longer it will remain and the sweeter music it will produce, even if there is the occasional scratch or skip along the way. You can keep reading if you wish, but I hear one of my friends calling me just now.



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.


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

Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 07:30
Area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders

"We invite all area Worship Leaders, Pastors, and Faith community leaders to come together on the last Thursday of each month at Hardee's at 7:30 am. This is to be a time of fellowship, prayer, and discussion about how we as a community of Faith can work together to have a positive impact on our county. All are welcome!" For more information please contact Kathy Chesney at 865-566-3289.

Project Planning Workshop

Thursday, April 25, 2019 - 19:00
Project Planning Workshop

There will be a “Project Planning Workshop” Thursday, April 25 at 7:00pm at the Union County Courthouse. This meeting is the second planning session to include the public, along with elected officials, to discuss and determine future projects. The meeting will begin with ...


Denise Hurst Caudill

Denise Jean Hurst Caudill, age 45, of Tazewell, Tennessee, was born on September 23, 1973, and passed away at Fort Sanders Regional Medical Center in Knoxville, TN on April 16, 2019, with family by her side. She professed faith in God at an earlier age and had a personal relationship with God.

Nora Carol Schmalenberger

Nora “Carol” Schmalenberger-age 61 of Orlando, Florida passed away of cancer Wednesday evening, April 17, 2019 in Maynardville, TN. She was surrounded by her family at the time of her passing. Before her diagnosis, she was employed full time by Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida as a housekeeper. Her hard work and dedication were appreciated by all she worked with. She was preceded in death by father, James W. Hill; mother, Vincie M. Beard.

Kelly Renee Jones

Jones, Kelly Renee, age 51, of Corryton, passed away April 17, 2019. Preceded in death by mother, Flora Voltz and twin sister Karen. Survived by father and step-mother, Wade and Betty Jones, step-father and caregiver, Bill Voltz, brother, Michael Jones, nephew Parker (Catherine) Jones, and special aunts, Carol, Kathy and Diane. Friends and family will meet at 12:45 pm for a 1:00 pm interment on Friday, April 19, 2019 at Lynnhurst Cemetery, Larry Ensley officiating. Online condolences may be left at

Hazel Mae Hall Burress

Hazel Hall Burress, 85 years old of Knoxville went to her heavenly home on April 17, 2019. At the time of her passing she was the longest living member of Union Baptist Church, Washington Pike. Hazel loved her Lord, her church and family. She was preceded in death by parents, Sam & Dicie Hall, Brothers, Claude, Hughes, LeRoy, Floyd, Doug, Herbert. Sisters, Melzena Riggs and Rachel Witt. Stepdaughter, Donna Tallent. She is survived by devoted nieces, Carol (Don) McCarty, Judy Witt, Wanda (Dan) Margelowsky, brother: John Hall, California.

Russell Harold Douglas

Russell Harold Douglas passed away at the age of 90 at Tennova North Knoxville Medical Center on Thursday, April 18, 2019 after a brief illness. He was born and raised in Elk Valley, Tennessee. He worked in the nearby coal mines until moving to Toledo, Ohio as a young man. He soon met the love of his life, Reba Hyden, by chance at a church revival. They spent 66 years in adoring love. Russell enjoyed gardening and writing stories about love, his family, and his devout faith.

Barbara Ann Heath

Barbara Ann Heath – age 60 of Maynardville, went to meet her Heavenly Father on Thursday, April 18, 2019. Barbara attended Circle Assembly of God. She loved her family and enjoyed being around people, especially her church family.

She is preceded in death by her father, Donald Wolfe; and sisters, Vivian Heath and Darla. Barbara is survived by her husband of 42 years, Mark Allen Heath; sons, Mark Anthony and Joseph Aaron Heath; mother, Jo Ann Wolfe; niece, Davida Henderson; and nephews, Lucas and Brody Henderson.

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.

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