Brooke Cox

Tractor Treat

You would think my papaw’s barn was some kind of tourist attraction.

Whenever any of my cousins or friends came over to play, they usually asked if we could go to the barn. To be honest, I didn’t want to go there. To me it was a stinky place that I tried to avoid.

I even heard stories from my cousins who were my mom’s childhood playmates. And guess what? They all wanted to play in the barn too. Their favorite thing was to jump out of the loft and onto the hay. I have to admit, that does sound like fun, but it’s something my mom would have never let me do.


Who You Gonna Call

I didn’t expect to see Tim at all, but God had other plans.

My good friend Gwen and I stood on the sidewalk in front of the high school. We were waiting on our school bus that was running late due to mechanical problems. All of our friends who had vehicles had already left. Or so we thought.


Old Paths

I love paths. I just don’t see a trail. I see an adventure waiting at the other end.

Some of my childhood friends and relatives had paths around where they lived. I loved it when we scampered down those dirt trails. Being the imaginative child I was, I envisioned all kinds of wondrous places and creatures along those paths.

Of course reality was different. One time I followed my friend and her little brother up a path on the side of a ridge and behind their house. I fell and tangled with a fence. I lost, so I came back bleeding.


Where's The Doll

I saw it on a TV commercial when I six years old and had a conniption fit.

As most of you know by now, I was such a little tomboy. But I was a tomboy who loved ballerina stuff. There, I admitted it.

Now I wasn’t into ballet itself. What I loved was what the ballerinas wore. I loved their dresses, especially the tutus. I also loved their shoes and tiaras. Actually, I called them “little crowns.”


Ants on the Green

I still say it was the ants’ fault.

A few years ago, we were visiting some relatives in Ormond Beach, Fla. On every trip, we have a tradition of driving south to Pirate’s Cove Miniature Golf in Daytona. It’s a lot of fun and they have pirate trivia signs everywhere. Who knew pirates could be so interesting?


The Homecoming Shed

I simply can’t help it. Whenever we drive by a country church, I look for a homecoming shed and wonder if they still use it. Then my mind goes back to my childhood.

Like most kids, I looked forward to certain dates with anticipation: Christmas, birthdays, Field Day at school, and last, but not least, Homecoming at church.

The excitement for me started as soon as I woke up the Sunday morning of Homecoming. We quickly got ready for church and went down to my grandparents’ house. The smell that greeted us at the door was simply heavenly.


Squishy Toes

Most people wouldn’t consider this to be a fond childhood memory, but I do.

As a child, I was such a tomboy. Actually, I still am, or so I like to think. Anyway, if it was a warm and sunny day, I was running and playing outside. As my Mamaw Jo used to say about me, “I swannie, she goes wide open.” I think that meant I was running with everything I had. If so, she was right, I was.



Isn’t it funny how we change as we go through life?

When I was a kid, lightning didn’t bother me at all. What I really hated about a storm was the thunder. You see, I can’t stand sudden loud sounds. Seriously, they hurt me from the inside out. I won’t even pop a balloon. Worse than that are fireworks. I love watching them, but not hearing them.


Momma Battle

It was a warm summer day in 1993 and Tim was working in the yard. By the way, he’s one of these people who takes his yard work very seriously. As soon as the grass begins to grow, he’s ready to mow it.

When he uses the weed-eater, he wears long pants. This day he had been in and out of the house quite a bit for cold drinks. Unfortunately, there was a stow-away clinging onto his yard pants.


Growing Girdle

This is not about people outgrowing their clothes or undergarments. This is about my Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle. She and my daughter Sara share a trait I don’t have: a green thumb.

Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle could grow any flower or plant. If she planted it, it grew. As far back as I can remember, she had flowers growing next to the carport. I think they were azaleas. They were lush and in many colors. She also had a flower garden out in the front yard. That’s the one where I always loved to dig up bugs and other icky stuff. She didn’t mind as long as I didn’t dig up one of her flowers.


My Southern Momma

“You’re so nice,” my friend Susan told me.

I shook my head and laughed. “No, I just have a Southern momma.”

My Southern momma began my training as soon as I learned how to talk and was able to communicate with others. It’s an old family tradition. My momma received most of her training from Mamaw Girdle/Myrtle.

Unfortunately for my momma, I didn’t take to my training as well as she did hers. I don’t know who was more frustrated: me or my momma.


All Fired Hurry

I don’t like waiting. At all!

A few years ago, we were driving south on I-75 to visit relatives in Florida. Being the history buff that I am, I asked Tim if we could take a little detour through Savannah. I was so excited when he agreed.

On the way in, we drove by the Talmadge Memorial Bridge. It’s a suspension bridge that’s absolutely breath taking. That alone was worth taking the detour.


Runaway Doggie

Before Sara or I could stop him, Little John darted out the front door. My heart went into my throat.

You see, I grew up out in the country on a farm. The dogs we had over the years were medium to large sized ones who stayed outside. Let me tell you, those dogs has road smarts. They knew to be leery of cars.

Little John was nothing like them. At all. He was a miniature dachshund who stayed in the house. When he went outside, he was either on a leash or he was carried. So, he had no road smarts whatsoever. And that was what scared me.


Which One What?

There’s a disease we all have, but some of us have it more severe than others. It’s known as Selectedhearingitus.

Here’s an example of its effects on my husband Tim. I’ll ask him, “Do you want green beans or pinto beans for supper?” He’ll give me the short answer, “Yep.” To which I reply, “Yep to which one?” Then he gives me his classic response, “Which one what?”

I guess you can say that I’m the one who truly suffers from it since Tim’s responses drive me crazy. Over the years, I have wondered if he does it sometimes just to have fun and aggravate me.


Rat Chips

“I want some rat chips Momma!”

My mom and I both were speechless. We had just walked by a vending machine. In fact, I probably wouldn’t have noticed it if Sara wasn’t pointing toward it and calling out, “I want some rat chips.”

“What in the world is she talking about?” Mom asked me.

I shrugged. “I have no idea.”

“I want some rat chips Momma!”


Looking Up

I don’t like to sit still. Never have and probably never will. Why? Because I am restless and I bore easily. This is one reason why I don’t like red lights.

One morning, I was sitting at the red light at the intersection of Emory Rd. and Maynardville Hwy. Being bored, I looked up. Scampering across the power lines above all the traffic was a squirrel.



I got my love of superheroes from an unlikely source: my Papaw E.O.

When I was a small girl, I loved watching “Underdog” with my Papaw. We both would laugh and sing along with Polly Purebred. I still treasure those memories. The article picture is of my papaw and me at his birthday picnic!


In a New Light

Her picture shed a whole new light on things. Literally.

The “her” is my step father’s granddaughter, Christine. She lives in Southern California. Last fall, she came out to our neck of the woods to visit and take in our beautiful East Tennessee.

And that she did.


Guiding Tail Lights

Originally, I was going to use the title “Guiding Lights,” but I thought it sounded too much like one of the daytime dramas. That being said, this article does have some driving drama in it.

My first driving drama happened in my early 20s. I was heading to work at Baptist Hospital. Thankfully it was a Saturday morning, which meant lighter traffic on I-75.