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.



Agriculture Creates Opportunity

Agriculture Creates Opportunity

One of the most important ways to invest in the future of agriculture is to invest in the people who will become tomorrow’s agriculture industry leaders. Students pursuing the agriculture industry often look for careers in planning, implementation, production, management, processing, education, or marketing ag products and services. Tennessee Department of Education predicts that over 60,000 high-skilled agricultural jobs open annually in the United States with just around 35,400 graduates in the Ag, Food, and Natural Resources program studies to fill the openings.

Homer Johnson Stays Busy with Backyard Farm

Homer Johnson on his small farm in Halls

Who says you have to give up farm life if you move to a subdivision?

Not Homer Johnson. Born in Union County and now living in the Cedar Chase subdivision in Halls, Johnson has kept farming and selling his produce. Just this year, he sold 1,500 ears of peaches and cream corn, along with sweet potatoes, okra, tomatoes, peppers, watermelon and cantaloupe. All this is thanks to a lot of just over two acres he bought from Knox County. It sits in the floodplain and has a TVA easement running through it, so a vegetable garden is just about all he could do with it.

Start By Believing Pledge

Rachel "Liz" Stiner

Did you know that every two minutes someone is sexually assaulted in the U.S.? Many survivors of this abuse do not say anything because they are afraid no one will believe them. Often times a survivor will tell a friend or family member and they are accused of lying or "asking" to be assaulted. As the Sexual Assault Advocate and SART Coordinator for the Union County area I am taking the 'Start By Believing" Pledge to show that I am fully committed to believing each and every person that comes to me as a current victim or survivor.

Winter Tree Pruning


Winter is a good time to prune most trees because they are dormant and their leaves are off, making it easier to see how the branches are laid out. Here are some general guidelines to help keep your trees healthier and more attractive.


Coming in the Clouds


Mark 13:26
“And then shall they see the Son of man coming in the clouds with great power and glory.”

In Matthew 13:26, what did Jesus mean by the “coming in the clouds” part of His statement? Three of the four Gospel writers (Matthew, Mark and Luke) all record Jesus’ discussion with His disciples in what is commonly referred to by theologians as “The Olivet Discourse”. We are not going to keep you in suspense, “coming in the clouds” is a figure of speech, or metaphor for Judgement. More specifically the word, “clouds” in this context is a Biblical Metaphor for Judgement.

Baked Doughnuts

Baked Doughnuts

I have had this recipe for years. I love doughnuts, either cake or yeast. I don't eat them much any more. They quickly add pounds to this old frame. With no exercise and a healthy appetite, Anne limits my diet as best she can. However, sometimes we do splurge.

Krispy Creme is on my “do not even look that way” list as we drive by. I do sneak sweets at Revival Vision Church of God's Sunday morning coffee hour before Sunday School. Pat Hunt makes some tasty goodies.

Beach Dental Floss

Brooke Cox

My family and I have had many adventures in Ormond Beach. One is still burned into my memory.

Ormond Beach is like a home away from home for us. When we go down there to visit my step brother and sisters in October, we seem to hit Bike week. It is held in Daytona Beach, which is right below Ormond.

Marinated Vegetable Salad

Marinated Vegetable Salad

New Years 2019 is here ready to start us on another year long adventure. Black eyed peas are supposed to bring good luck. Maybe so, but they taste good anyway. Here is an easy recipe to make. You probably already have the ingredients in your pantry. No need to trudge out to Food City. Let's get marinating!


Victory Church Gospel Sing Benefit

Saturday, January 19, 2019 - 15:00

Victory Church with Pastor Jeff Eversole, will be hosting a Benefit Gospel Sing, Saturday January 19th @ 3 PM at the Paulette Community Center. Please come out & join us for a time of fun & fellowship! There will be food available with all proceeds benefiting the Victory Church Building Fund. For further information, please contact Danny Davis @ 865-640-5826. Hope to see you there!

Need A Ride To Church

Sunday, January 20, 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

Babies and Bagels Program at Luttrell Public Library

Monday, January 21, 2019 - 10:30

Every Tuesday at 10:30 am (unless closed due to holiday) Luttrell Public Library volunteer, Celeste Lanzon, teaches and inspires babies to Pre-K students (siblings are welcome) to learn and engage in fun activities including music and movement and always a story. Highly qualified, Mrs. Celeste has an education degree and professional teaching experience, so that your child is benefiting immensely during this program.

Wine and Canvas with Betty Bullen

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 18:00

Betty is teaching another wonderful Wine and Canvas Class! This class we will be painting Red Breasted Blue Birds!

Sip on some wine and learn to paint from one of Union Counties best! Supplies are included.

Tickets are only $35 and must be purchased in advance by calling (865) 745-2902 or by coming into The Winery.

Seating is limited and fills up very fast so make sure you reserve your ticket today!


Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson Obituary

Rosemary Gail (Wilkerson) Johnson, of Halls/Plainview, went to be with our Lord & Savior Jesus Christ on Friday January 18, 2019. Rosemary spent 4 years fighting a rare mantle cell lymphoma. Rosemary loved her family, was a believer in Christ, an animal lover, and an all-around genuine person. She was preceded in death by her loving parents, Roy & Mary Lynn Wilkerson; father in law, Raymond Johnson; and brother in law Ray Johnson.

Obituary of Lloyd Russell Lee Sr.

Lloyd Russell Lee Sr., age 68, of Knoxville, Tn was born July 6, 1950 and departed this earthly life on January 17, 2019 to gain his new body in heaven. His life was filled with the love of Nascar, Semi-Trucks, and Family. Lloyd was a self employed over the road truck driver for his entire life to provide for his ever-growing family. Married to Sandra “Sandy” Lee on January 4th 1969, they shared their love of 50 years with their 3 sons Rusty (spouse Mary Duso), Jimmy (wife April), and Billy (spouse Becky Litton).

Ted George Jones

Ted Jones, age 67, of Knoxville passed away on January 17, 2019. He was a bus operator for Knoxville Area Transit for over 43 years, and a member of Amalgamated Transit Union. He was a member of West Side Baptist church. Preceded in death by parents George & Neoma Jones, grandparents William Ellis & Flora Shuemaker, father-in-law Jack Jones.

Nathan Samuel Davis

Nathan Samuel Davis – age 23 of Maynardville, passed away Sunday, January 13, 2019.

He is survived by his parents, Luther and Julia Davis; and sister, Gabriela Eby.

A celebration of life service is being planned for a later date. Trinity Funeral Home, LLC, Maynardville, has the honor to serve the family of Nathan Davis. 865-992-5002 www.trinityfuneralhome.net

Edward Robert Collette

Edward Robert Collette went to be with his Lord and Savior January 10th, 2019.
Ed was born September 19, 1964. Ed graduated the University of Florida with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He was elected and served as international president of the honor society Phi Theta Kappa. He loved the ocean and spent a better part of his life on the beaches in Florida. His hobbies included fishing, scuba diving, body building, hunting and wood working.

Jack Ray Bohanan

Jack Ray Bohanan, age 78 of Powell, passed away peacefully on January 16, 2019 surrounded by his family and close friends.
He was a longtime member and deacon of Smithwood Baptist Church.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Jack and Ruby Bohanan; father and mother-in-law, LeRoy and Nellene Buckner; and brother, Jerry Bohanan.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr.

Jason Shane Hubbs Jr., age 31, went home to be with his heavenly father January 13, 2019 while surrounded by his family and friends at UT Hospital, due to an automobile accident. He is preceded in death by his papaw and grandmaw Marvin and Twila DeCost, papaw Joe T. Hubbs; uncles Jeff Humphrey, Tony Hubbs, and Steve Buckner. Jason was the son of Jason and Crystal Hubbs and was the most amazing brother to Dustin, Justin, and Autumn. He was also the most amazing, loving, and caring father. His whole world was his son Cason Shane Hubbs.

Barbara E. Acuff

Barbara E. (Hunter) Acuff-age 88 of Corryton passed away Monday, January 14, 2019 at North Knoxville Medical Center. She was a member of Clear Branch Baptist Church. Preceded in death by husband, Bill Acuff, parents, Clarence and Mossie (Wallace) Hunter; sisters, Geniva and Roy Burnett; Elise and Ken Beeler, Wanda and Don Beeler, Lois and Heral Kitts, Joyce Williams, brothers, Author, Earl, Ralph and Paul Hunter.

Survivors: sister, Carolyn (Leroy) Hensley of Luttrell; special sister-in-law, Lorene Hunter of Knoxville; several nieces and nephews along with a host of friends.

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