Which Bridge to Cross, and Which Bridge to Burn

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Thirty-Five

Today, I went to get my allergy shots. It seems the busier I get the easier it is for me to forget to go at least once a week to be poked by needles for real, not on Facebook.

The staff member who administered my shots didn’t seem at all sympathetic to my plight. I felt I should confess, “Bless me, for I have sinned. It has been 33 days since my last presentation for holes in my arms.” Thank God I don’t suffer from trypanophobia (fear of needles).

While there, I by chance encountered a friend from my high school graduating class. We talked over old times, in particular the time we got married during morning recess in third grade. Another member of our class, the “Rev.” Kevin White, performed the ceremony. If my memory is correct, we divorced before the school day ended. All of this happened without knowledge of our teacher, the late, great Florence Chesney.

Thinking about fears reminds me of several people. There are those who have a fear of bridges and of crossing even the smallest bridge. I can think of two individuals from my past who suffer from gephyrophobia.

The first was my college love. One of the saddest things about love is that it sometimes finds us (or we find it) when we are the most immature and irresponsible. The eyes of memory tell me that if I had been just half as mature and responsible as I thought I was in my youth, I would only have had to experience romantic love once.

But, woe is me! There was an occasion when my last college roommate and I took our respective loves to Dollywood. We rode several rides, and at the time my fear of rollercoasters (coasterphobia had not even kicked in). All went well until the “hanging bridge”.

I remember visiting my college friend Judy Minor (later Brotherton Keller) at her home in Jonesville, VA. She showed us a suspension bridge that hung high (I would guess at least fifty feet) above a body of water. I don’t know how long it was, but my memory says not one inch less than fifty feet. Aside from this, I have no idea how deep the water might have been. I don’t remember if I crossed it or not. If I did, it was because I cared less for my mortality in my twenties than now, as I presently suffer from both aquaphobia (fear of water) and acrophobia (fear of heights).

But Dollywood had a suspension bridge. I don’t know if it is still there, as I haven’t been to Dollywood in about twenty years, but I do remember the bridge. It was perhaps ten feet long and hung above the surface of the water perhaps one foot. I would guess the water to have been maybe a foot deep.

My roommate, his girlfriend, and I crossed the bridge. I looked back to see where my love was, and there she stood on the other side absolutely bawling her eyes out because she was afraid of the bridge.

In the eyes of hindsight, even if I couldn’t understand her fear and reaction to something that couldn’t kill (there weren’t even any fish in that water, much less sharks), I should have crossed the bridge after, not before her. In spite of this insensitivity and lack of manners and etiquette, I should have gone back, held her soft little hand, and guided her across safely, thereby becoming a knight in shining armor rather than the court fool.

But what did I do? I pulled the tough love card and teased her about being so scared of something so foolish.

But it wasn’t foolish to her. And I learned something that didn’t click until much later when it was, as the country song says, a little too late to do the right thing now. Some people, probably all if truth be known, have unreasonable fears that logic does not assuage.

So I crossed the bridge, but she burned hers. It didn’t happen just then, but some time later—like Adam and Eve, who didn’t die immediately from eating the forbidden fruit, but some time later.

(By the way, my roommate probably didn’t fare much better than I; he married his girl, but they divorced a few years later. I probably got off easier than did they. Better for both my love and I that she discovered what an insensitive jerk I was before the bonds of matrimony had to be loosed.)

I guess part of the reason the Dollywood bridge wouldn’t frighten me is that I had crossed the bridge on Black Fox Road in a car many times during my childhood. For those who remember that bridge, it was a rusty, one-lane bridge that had vertical planks laid over horizontal crossbeams for car tires—as the tires crossed the bridge, the boards would rattle. It is certainly humbling to cross the new bridge that now connects the road from both sides of the lake and look over the right side crossing into Grainger County. The comparison of the strength of the new bridge to the frailty of the old is sobering.

And finally, there is the new bridge on Highway 33 just above Bubba Brew’s that basically joins Union and Claiborne Counties. I remember crossing that bridge in a car with my father at the wheel on many trips. I remember when the girders were unpainted until rust started to form, before it was coated with the green paint that gave the bridge its signature color.

From earliest days, the danger of that bridge was its narrowness. In later years there were concerns with its structural safety.

A teacher friend told me what I considered a hilarious story of another of our mutual teacher friends. Our friend had always been apprehensive about crossing the bridge from Claiborne County to work in Union County. Her fear was accentuated when some of our administrator “friends” (fiends?) told her that if she only knew how structurally unsound that bridge was, she wouldn’t even walk across it.

This dear lady began leaving home early so she could stop on the Claiborne County side to roll down her car windows, so should the bridge collapse and her car be thrown into the waters that she would not be trapped but could swim out the open windows to safety. (I think she forgot about the tons of steel and concrete that would also be swimming with her.) Once she safely reached the Union County side, she would roll up her windows, fix her hair and makeup, and continue to work. The process was reversed later in the day.

And there are those who wonder why this lady finished her career in Claiborne County!

Next week I’ll share with you a fearful health tale. Until then, remember this bit of wisdom gleaned from email:

If walking were good for your health, the postman would be immortal.




Patriots Celebrate First Playoffs in 14 Years

Larry Kerr

The Union County High School football Patriots may have lost against Anderson County in state playoffs on Nov. 2, but the season was stacked with wins for the team. And while the loss to Anderson County may have stung, it also marked the first time the Patriots made it to state playoffs in 14 years.

Coach Larry Kerr counts this as a cause to celebrate.

"It's like I told the kids, once you get past the pain of that loss, you'll be able to look at what you all have accomplished this year that's never been done before," he said.

Union County Childrens Charity Under The Tree

Chief Elf Brooke Simpson and Gina Buckner putting a tree up at Food City.  Brooke is the brains amongst the paper work to keep things organized.

The Union County Children’s Charity (Under The Tree) has been working since August for the 2018 Toy Drive Campaign. Applications went out and ornaments have been made with the children’s wishes. Trees went up at local businesses: Janet’s Hair and Tan, Food City, Tolliver's Market, Commercial Bank, Pete’s Place, Rhonda’s in Sharps Chapel, First Century Bank, New South Credit Union, Union County Trustees Office, Union County High School Beta and Okies Pharmacy. Also, American Business & Equipment along with CSI are collecting new unwrapped toys.

Union County FCE Flannel Blanket Workshop

Left to right: Carrie Cook, Janet Wolfenbarger, Judi Gerew, Annie Grau, Mary Johnson, Sue Ross, Carolyn Shields, Terry Reinitz

On November 5, 2018, eight Union County Family & Community Education (FCE) members and 1 guest (Joyce DeRoy, not pictured) met at the UT Extension Office in Maynardville, TN to make flannel baby blankets to donate to the NICU in Knoxville. The group made 15 baby blankets before running out of material.

Club Sandwiches

Club Sandwiches

We have gotten away from the club sandwich. McDonald's and Burger King have spoiled us with their tasty hamburgers and fries. I remember seeing my first Mickey D's. There was no going back to just plain sandwiches, or even club sandwiches. Back in the day, every lunch counter had their specialty club sandwich. They were made fresh as you watched the counter girl pile on the goodies. Most homes didn't have fresh tomatoes or lettuce out of season. What a treat!

The Nostalgia of KARM

Ronnie Mincey

Mincey’s Musings
Year One, Week Forty-Four

My wife has taken on a new interest—she is taking art classes from Betty Bullen, a fellow graduate in the Horace Maynard High School Class of 1968, I believe.

Of course, the interests of a spouse often have effects on the other marriage partner. On more than one Sunday after church and between Baptist meals, I have driven my wife to Jerry’s Art-O-Rama just off Kingston Pike to purchase supplies. On the first visit, I went inside the art store with her, but found practically nothing to interest me.

Your Hair Didn't Get Wet

Clark family early 1981

Not all my accidents were entirely my fault. I had help with some of them.

I came of age in the 80s; also known as the Big Hair decade. If you were a teenage girl at that time, you had at least 3 things in your hair arsenal: hot rollers, curling iron, and hair spray that could also be used as liquid cement. And if you had straight hair like me, you also kept a curly perm. It’s a wonder I have any hair left on my head.

In the World, Not of the World? Part 6 and Conclusion

Archie Wilson

Do you remember the events surrounding the three Hebrew children in Daniel Chapter 3? Being in the world, not of the world is exactly like that! Let’s look at some obvious parallels between what is going on with Jesus Disciples and the Hebrew Children.



This is a good dish to make at Easter time when you have an abundance of decorated hard boiled eggs. Don't use any that have been out of the fridge over a few hours. This is a good dish to serve on toast or hot biscuits for lunch. Sometimes we forget how versatile eggs can be. Don't let hard boiled eggs go uneaten. Fancy them up either as Deviled Eggs or Creamed Eggs.

Indian Summer

Indian Summer

Indian summer is a name that brings thoughts of balmy, hazy fall days and cool nights. It is a description of weather conditions rather than an actual season, for no dates exist for it. The closest time frame I could find was from Henry David Thoreau, who noted in his diary that Indian summer occurs from September 27 to December 13.


Falling for Fall in Tennessee

Falling for Fall in Tennessee

October may be gone but with the colors of fall hanging around a bit longer this year why not head out for a day trip to one of Tennessee’s well-loved local areas or a beautiful state or national park. While the Great Smoky Mountains are a forever favorite, locals can bypass many of the crowds for other beauty within a day’s drive.


Facebook 101 for Direct Farmers

Thursday, November 15, 2018 - 08:00

Taught by UT Extension Marketing Specialist, Megan Bruch Leffew, and Area Information Technology Specialist, David Yates, the workshops will be held:

• November 14 in Kingsport
• November 15 in Knoxville
• November 28 in Jackson
• November 29 in Nashville
• December 5 in McMinnville

Exact location information will be emailed to registered participants the week prior to workshops. Participants can bring their own laptop or tablet or use a tablet provided by the instructors. Because of the hands-on nature of the workshop, space is limited.

Family "Treasure Hunt" - November 17 @ 1-4 p.m.

Saturday, November 17, 2018 - 13:00



Maynardville, TN Revival Vision Church of God will host Treasure Hunt Fall Fest on November 17, 2018. Adventure awaits families at Treasure Hunt. During this three-hour interactive program, kids and grown-ups alike will uncover mystery messages, witness volcanic eruptions, and collect treasures along the way. But that’s not all! At each station, they’ll dig deep into a valuable experience that helps them get to know Jesus in a fresh, new way.

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, November 18, 2018 - 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


Helen Marie Hulsey

Helen Marie Hulsey, 95, of Knoxville, passed away peacefully on November 12, 2018. Born on October 30, 1923 to Giuseppe and Mary Vazzana. Preceded in death by husband of 34 years, John W. Hulsey; daughters, Judy Petree and Brenda Underwood.
Survived by children Deborah Hulsey of Knoxville, James Hulsey, Mary James, and John Hulsey, all of Indianapolis. 16 grandchildren, 20 great grandchildren, 1 great great grandson, and her brother and 2 sisters. She will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and all who knew her.

Ruth Jean Campbell

Ruth Jean Campbell-age 79 of Sharps Chapel passed away Monday morning, November 12, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was preceded in death by her husband of 56 years, Wayne T. (Kayo) Campbell; parents, Toby and Edith (Wright) Sharp; sisters, Viola and Mona Grace Sharp; brothers, Clio and Sam Sharp.

Survivors: daughter, Donna Campbell of Sharps Chapel; sister, Dot and J. C. Cox of Maynardville; brothers, Larry and Helen Sharp; Jack and Brenda Sharp, all of Sharp Chapel. Several nieces and nephews.

Richard Lewis 'Bud' Richardson

Richard Lewis “Bud” Richardson-age 57 of Maynardville, born October 16, 1961 passed away suddenly Saturday morning, November 10, 2018 at North Knoxville Medical Center. Preceded in death by parents, E. R. and Mary (Anderson) Richardson; brother, Eddie Richardson.

Survivors: children, Jason, David and April; four grandchildren. Sisters, Patsy (Billy) Humphrey, Vickie Shope; brothers, Jeff and Jessie (Jessica) Richardson. Several other family members and a host of friends.

Wanda Lee Eldridge

Wanda Lee Eldridge-age 77 of Luttrell passed away Friday evening, November 9, 2018 at her home. She along with her late husband were the owners of the former Mark’s Market in Luttrell. Preceded in death by husband, Alvin A. “Mountain Man” Eldridge; daughter, Robbin Fortenberry; granddaughter, Misty Leann Childress, parents, Samuel and Nana Lane Seivers; brothers, Robert and Bobby Seivers

Curtis Nathan Case

It is with great sadness that the family of Curtis Nathan Case announces he was received into the arms of the Lord after a brief illness Friday, November 9, 2018 at the age of 53 years. Curtis was preceded in death by his father, James Edward Case, mother, Dorothy Ann Case, brother, Michael Case, father-in-law, Ross Miller Sr., brother-in-law, Ross Miller Jr.

Lucy M. Grigsby

Lucy M. Grigsby – age 93 of Luttrell, went home to be with Jesus on Monday, November 12, 2018. She was a lifelong member of Cedar Ford Baptist Church. Lucy made an impact on the community through her service to Luttrell Elementary School and her church.

Rev. William Darrell Brewer

Rev. William Darrell Brewer-age 77 of Maynardville went to be with the Lord Friday, November 9, 2018 at his home. Preceded in death by parents, William O. Brewer and Imogene Sherritze Brewer; sister, Janice Robins.

Survivors: wife, Jean M. Brewer; daughters, Charlotte (Robert) Jones, Elaine (Tim) Smith, Sandra (Rich) Griffith; step-children, Boyd (Mindy) Peters, Eric (Connie) Peters, Kelly (Donnie) Wiggins, 15 Grandchildren, 20 Great-Grandchildren. Brother, Mike; sisters, Kay, Sue and Kathy. Special friend and caregiver, Rebecca Collins.

Linda Sue Wilkerson

Linda Sue Wilkerson-age 71 of Corryton passed away Thursday morning, November 8, 2018. She was a member of Hoitt Avenue Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Harold G. Wilkerson; daughter, Deborah Atkins.

Survivors: children, Mark, Denise, Lonnie and Gabriel; ten grandchildren, Josh Atkins; Suzanne, Amber, Dexter and Steven Bolden; Jake, Riley, Maddy, Jackson and Delilah Wilkerson; six great-grandchildren, Hayden, Hayley, Haylynn, Hadley, Jasper and Emilee. Special aunt, Hettie Paul; special cousin, Ricky Vance.

Evelyn Grace Helton

Evelyn Grace Helton of Knoxville went to be with Jesus on November 6, 2018. She was the newborn daughter of Cynthia Helton and granddaughter of Jo Ellen Helton and Fred Anderson Helton; niece of Kristen Boisbert. Service will be private. Mynatt Funeral Home of Fountain City is honored to serve the Helton Family. Online condolences may be left at www.mynattfh.com.

DeAnna Alexi

DeAnna Alexi, age 47, of Knoxville TN, daughter of Tony and Margo Alexi, of Knoxville, went home to be with the Lord on Tuesday, November 6, 2018, under the care of the amazing staff at UT Medical Center, with her family holding her hands at her bedside. DeAnna had been under the care of UT Hospice at home prior to hospitalization. She was preceded in death by her maternal grandparents, Gertrude and Herman Cruze of Knoxville TN and her paternal grandparents Anthony and Betty Oleksy of New York. She was born in Silver Springs, MD on January 30, 1971. Survivors are her husband Christopher L.

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