What Do You See Over There?

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week 22

I have always looked at decades as milestones in life. I was too young to appreciate this when I turned ten years old, but every decade beginning with age twenty presented opportunity for a significant pause to look back to what God allowed me to accomplish and forward to what He held in store.

On July 8, 1985, I turned age twenty. There seemed more life ahead than there was behind. I was a high school graduate who had completed two of the four years of my bachelor’s degree. I was a student at Lincoln Memorial University, an institution that daily reminded me of my childhood and lifetime hero. I found it comforting that Ronald Reagan was President of the United States—even then I sensed he was the Lincoln of my lifetime, an idea that I have not changed over time. I was in love with my college sweetheart, and I looked forward to marrying her and entering the teaching profession. I went to my tenth high school reunion.

Ten years later, on July 8, 1995, I turned thirty. Bill Clinton was president, and though times seemed pretty good, I did not feel as comfortable with his presidency as I had Reagan’s. The college sweetheart and I had long since parted. I obtained my third college degree. I had ended my eighth year of teaching at Luttrell Elementary and was on the verge of becoming principal of Sharps Chapel Elementary. By then I owned a house. Since all I had originally set out to do was to graduate college, get a job, get tenure, marry, and buy a house, I had accomplished all my goals except marriage.

I felt very depressed the day of my thirtieth birthday because it seemed that a third or more of my life was over and nothing great and wonderful loomed on the horizon. There was no prospect for a Mrs. Ronnie Mincey, and since it was the only goal I had not accomplished, I set out to help God help me attain a wife, with almost disastrous consequences. It is never wise to rush God, but he saved me from myself just in time.

What was lacking at this point in my life was vision. In his book Who You Are When No One’s Looking: Choosing Consistency, Resisting Compromise, Bill Hybels identifies vision as the third of five endangered characteristics of true character.

I spent the decade of my thirties reaching a few more milestones and developing a new vision. During my thirties, I had a different job every year for four years. I spent seven of those years as principal of Sharps Chapel Elementary, one year as principal of Luttrell Elementary, one year as assistant principal at Maynardville Elementary, and one year as elementary curriculum supervisor for the Union County Public School System. (My college roommate came for a visit and asked me if I was just that good or if they couldn’t decide what to do with me. I told him I was just that darn good!) The decade of the thirties introduced me to my wife, though marriage was not to come until the next decade.

I began my forties on July 8, 2005. The second George Bush was president. Though I realized my life was possibly half or more over when I turned forty, I kept busy so I didn’t think about it any more than possible. I began the job I currently hold with the school system that summer, married the following year, became step-father to a handicapped young man, and obtained one more college degree in 2012. I attended my thirtieth high school reunion in 2013.

And then I turned fifty. If I live to be a hundred (which my family history shows to be unlikely), life was half over at that point. Now my goals are to work a few more years, then retire and enjoy life before, as my will says, the “final sickness” calls me to a higher realm than I have ever known.

I would be the last to call myself a “visionary.” On this issue I tend to side with Lincoln. In a letter to Albert G. Hodges from the “Executive Mansion” dated April 4, 1864, just one year and ten days before his assassination, Lincoln said, “I claim not to have controlled events, but confess plainly that events have controlled me.” (Reference—Google)

I have a Japanese proverb posted on my office door that I read every day: “Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.” There are those who dream great dreams and have great thoughts but never take action to make dreams come true.

Why do some never act on their great plans? Possibly it is the fear of taking a risk or being thought a failure. These people daydream of a future that will never exist because they do nothing to make it possible. If Thomas Edison had not kept trying after thousands of attempts to create the light bulb, we might possibly be using kerosene lamps today. Edison is quoted as having said to someone who told him he’d failed, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” (Reference—Google)

Conversely, there are those who impulsively do whatever first comes to mind, never stopping to think how their rash decisions will affect their and their loved ones’ futures. They act without a plan. In Alice in Wonderland, Alice asks the Cheshire Cat which way she should go. The Cat told her that depended a great deal on where she wanted to go. Alice said she didn’t much care where, and the Cat told her it didn’t matter which way she went. Alice just wanted to get somewhere, and the Cat told her she was sure to do that if only she walked long enough.

One thing’s for sure—those who act without plans for the future will get somewhere, but it might not be where they want to be. Like a roach motel, they might check in, but they won’t check out.

Without either vision or action, a person will get nowhere. That is the scientific law of inertia applied to human life: a body at rest tends to remain at rest. As the lyrics to “The River” sung by Garth Brooks state:

So don't you sit upon the shoreline
And say you're satisfied
Choose to chance the rapids
And dare to dance that tide

And I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry
Like a bird upon the wind
These waters are my sky
I'll never reach my destination
If I never try
So I will sail my vessel
'Til the river runs dry

Next week I’ll discuss yet another endangered character quality.




Allyson Hanna Wins 4-H State Round-Up

Allyson Hanna (fourth from left) won her division at the State 4-H Round-Up.

Allyson Hanna has done her hometown proud by bringing home a state-level win from the Tennessee 4-H Round-Up and All-Star Conference. The 16-year-old homeschooler is a junior this year, and she won her division with a Senior Level 1 consumer education project on the Consumer Bill of Rights.

Hanna has been active in 4-H since she was in the fifth grade, and she credits the program with helping her grow as a leader and a team player.

The Digital Divide

The “digital divide” is the gap that exists between individuals advantaged by the internet and those individuals disadvantaged by lack of access to the internet. The divide has widened as technology has advanced with the advent of next generation fiber optic broadband that can make 1 GB broadband speeds available. The growing gap disproportionately affects rural areas as rural residents have few choices of internet service providers – or none at all. They pay higher prices for lower quality service.

Twenty-one Lessons

Twenty-one Lessons

Not everyone should take music lessons. There are some that have a hole in their bucket, like me. Mother thought it would be nice if one of her children learned how to play the Hawaiian guitar. Island music was popular back in the days before World War II. She picked the wrong kid, me.

Reborn and Still Kicking

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-One

Hello, everyone. My name is Oak Grove. I am a two room school building in the Sharps Chapel area of Union County.

For the past two weeks my “scribe” Ronnie Mincey has written articles about me, detailing pertinent points of my history for school terms 1932-1933 and 1934-1935. His main source for information has been the old registers on file at the Union County Board of Education’s Central Office, my “diaries”.


Sumac smooth

Sumacs are very common in our area, most often found in overgrown fields and areas that have been disturbed. While considered a weed by many, it does have the virtues of providing cover and food for wildlife, and nice fall coloration for human enjoyment.


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.

Moral Authority

Archie Wilson

Seems like everyone has a Twitter, Facebook or some kind of social media account, well everyone except me. Thus far, I have avoided social media platforms, unless of course, you count the occasional religious article like this. But, I do read and listen to a lot of news, much of it digital. So even though I have no social media accounts, I still have exposure to everyone else’s social media rants via the news. I liken social media to the 1970s phenomenon of “Streaking”. Sooner or later you are going to get flashed! “Look out Ethel” If you don’t get the reference look up Ray Stevens song, “The Streak”.

Avoiding Recurring and Chronic Back Pain

Avoiding Recurring and Chronic Back Pain

Are you experiencing these symptoms?
• low back pain
• buttock soreness
• radiating leg and thigh pain
• pain while sitting
• tightness, burning, or feeling of a knot
• gluteal pain while driving

Here are the risk factors for developing these recurring and chronic pains:
• poor fitness levels and spinal stability (core muscle strength)
• poor posture
• previous episodes of back pain
• pain for more than 8 days

Corn Relish

Corn Relish

Years ago when I had a big garden, I tried to “put up” as much as I could. It seemed that if I had a full cupboard of home canned fruit and veggies, the winter would go well. If my cupboard was meager, the winter usually meant hard times for my family. It happened often enough to warn me to be prepared.



Clay Edward Smith

Clay Edward Smith, age 57, passed away on Tuesday, August 14, 2018. He is preceded in death by father, William Smith; mother, Thelma Smith; and brother, Billy Joe Smith. Clay is survived by sisters brothers, Helen Williams, Linda Collins, Joyce Sheffield, David Smith, William Smith, Fred Smith and Michael Smith as well as several nieces and nephews. The family will receive friends at Mynatt Funeral Home Fountain City Chapel on Sunday, August 19th from 5-7pm. Family and friends will gather at Water Cemetery on Monday, August 20th at 10:45am for an 11am graveside service.

Frances Kilgore Norman

Frances Kilgore Norman, age 83, of Lakeland Florida, formerly of Knoxville, Tennessee passed away on August 12, 2018 at her home in Lakeland Florida. She was of Methodist faith. She was a member of Eastern Star, Mascot Tennessee Order. Frances was a certified nursing assistant. She worked at Lakeland Regional Medical Center and in Home Health Care. She was a loving mother, grandmother, and friend to many.

Dorothy Dean Hatmaker Weaver

Dorothy Dean Hatmaker Weaver, 83, is now with her creator and keeper, Jesus Christ. She died August 13, 2018.
She is survived by her son, Daniel Weaver; sister, Aileen Hatmaker Ruland; nieces, Kim, Tracy, and Renee; a great-nephew and a great-niece.
She is preceded in death by daughter, Candace Weaver Ayers; sister, Barbara Hatmaker Sizemore, and parents.

Thomas "Tommy" Edward Lawless

Thomas Edward Lawless, July 27,1940-August 11, 2018, Thomas (Tommy) Edward Lawless of Maynardville, Tennessee passed away peacefully, Saturday afternoon, surrounded by his loving family at his home on August 11, 2018. Tommy was a graduate of Clinton High School class of 1958. He continued his education at East Tennessee State College and then served in the United States Navy (Vietnam) on a Mine Sweeper as Second Lieutenant for four years. He taught high school math and retired from Frontier High school in Ohio.

Joseph Andrew Weaver

Joseph Andrew Weaver, 62, departed this life to be with his Lord and Savior August 11, 2018. He attended Gospel Light Church of God in Norris, Tennessee. He is preceded in death by father, Charles Weaver; step-father, George Duncan; grandparents, Dora and Jahue Brantley and Pearl Weaver.

Bessie Mae Delozier

Bessie Mae Delozier-age 87 of Luttrell passed away Wednesday morning, August 8, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. The Lord has called. I must go home. I take this time to say goodbye to my family and friends. I was born May 10, 1931 to a pretty little part Indian girl, age 16, Grace Dotson, who married Bill Line. I married at age 16. God gave me 5 wonderful children, 14 grandchildren, 32 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren. I am so blessed with two wonderful step-daughters, three step-grandsons and one step-granddaughter. I leave lots of good friends.

Taniciah Montana Little

Taniciah Montana Little-age 60 of Speedwell was born March 31, 1958 in Middletown, Ohio. She went home to be with the Lord Monday, August 6, 2018. Taniciah was preceded in death by her husband, Larry Little; mother, Lucetta Jane Hodson, father, Pierce Hays; sister Gloria Prater; brother, Perry Hays; nephew, Joey Prater.

Carson Munsey

Carson Munsey-age 82 of Washburn passed away 5:35 A.M. Monday, August 6, 2018 at Ft. Sanders Regional Medical Center following a sudden illness. He was saved at an early age. Retired employee of Star Construction. Preceded in death by parents, James “Bud” and Alma “Dee” Munsey; children, John Munsey, LouAlma Graves; brother, Verlin Munsey.

Mary Ann Reynolds

Mary Ann Reynolds - 79 of Maynardville passed away Friday, August 3, 2018 at Willow Ridge Center. She is preceded in death by husband, Esco Reynolds; sons, David and Jeffrey Reynolds. Mary Ann is survived by granddaughters, MacKenzie and Brianna Reynolds. No services are planned at this time. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Mary Ann Reynolds. 865-992-5002 www.trinityfuneralhome.net

Andrew J. Brewer

Andrew “Andy” J. Brewer, age 91, passed away on Friday, August 3, 2018. He was a proud member of New Beverly Baptist Church. He is survived by wife Shirley Ann Brewer, son Ronnie Brewer, step-daughter Sheila Picquet, and many other loving family members. Family will receive friends on Wednesday, August 8, 2018 from 6-7 p.m. at New Beverly Baptist Church. A service will follow at 7 p.m. with Reverend Eddie Sawyer and Reverend Mike Vincent officiating. Online condolences may be expressed at www.mynattfh.com.

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