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.




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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