Ronnie Mincey

A Very Present Help

I once attended a service at Loveland Baptist Church when Rev. Oliver Wolfenbarger was pastor. He rose to preach and announced his text. It was the same text he had used the previous Sunday.

Preacher Wolfenbarger said, “I know what you’re thinking—poor ol’ Wolfenbarger’s losing it. He don’t remember that he preached on these same verses last week. I just want you to know, that I know I preached this last week, but I didn’t get finished. What’s more, I’m just as crazy as you think I am.”

The President Has My Number

Picture it—I’m sitting in my living room in my usual spot on the loveseat. It’s the evening of the day of my latest medical procedure. I was not able to eat solid food for one full day before the procedure, so I am indulging in a delicious supper of fried egg and bacon sandwiches that my wife prepared especially for me.

I can remember a time when all my meals were eaten at the kitchen table with my mother and father. At that time it would have been unthinkable to eat a meal in the living room in front of the television. A snack, maybe, but never a meal.


I signed the many papers required to buy my house on May 1, 1991 and moved that weekend. My colleague Deanie Carver used her pickup truck to help me move several boxes of books (of course, these important items were first to be moved). The late Adrian Shoffner and Rev. Joe McCoy helped me move the household furnishings. Preacher Joe has never forgotten the ordeal moving that upright freezer into the basement turned out to be. I felt so guilty that I didn’t go to church that Sunday, but I couldn’t find my dress shoes in time to get ready!

Pride or Prejudice?

This very day I received the following statement in my email:

Every Southerner knows that tomatoes with eggs, bacon, grits, and coffee are perfectly wonderful; that red eye gravy is also a breakfast food; that scrambled eggs just ain’t right without Tabasco, and that fried green tomatoes are not a breakfast food.

There has been since the beginning of American history a distinct difference between the northern and southern parts of our country. Many of these differences are God ordained, such as the geographical features. Allow me to provide a very simplistic view.

A Salute to Campers

There are designations used to denote time to help keep historical events in perspective. There is B.C., B.C.E., and A.D. In the beginning of attempting to label events in historical time perspectives, people counted years by such things as Greek festivals or Roman emperors. Old Testament scripture alludes to this practice (e.g., “In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the LORD . . .: Isaiah 6:1 KJV). As people converted to Christianity in the New Testament era, they wanted to count their years by Christian events.

In Search Of

t was March, 1939. John Clark Mosley set out to school that first day of first grade for the second time in two years with his brother (and best friend) Bobby Henry. “Hen”, as everybody in Tatum Holler called him, was for the most part a quiet, reflective child. He was a veteran of White Deer School, having spent two years already in the first grade, once when he was five and again when he turned six.

Reality . . . What’s That?

I still have the first dictionary I ever owned. Ms. Wanza Sharp gave it to me in fourth grade. It was missing both front and back covers, and the first and last few pages were missing. I still have it safely tucked away in my home library archives. The dictionary is precious because it was one of the first books I ever owned, and Ms. Wanza, one of my all-time heroes both in and out of the classroom, gave it to me. Also, I spent many a day playing school with that wonderful volume.

Wood Dale III

This is the third of a series of articles on the history of Wood Dale School in Union County, Tennessee.

In the first article I shared information about Wood Dale School from 1900 through the depression years to 1940 as related in Our Union County Heritage: A Historical and Biographical Album of Union County—People, Places, Events by Kathleen George Graves and Winnie Palmer McDonald (© 1978 Josten’s); Ms. Bonnie Heiskell Peter’s book Union County Schoolday Memories: A Pictorial History of Union County Elementary Schools From the mid-1800’s to the 1960s; and from available school registers on file at the Union County Board of Education.

No Worries

My mother would have been 92 had she lived until January 16th of this year. Our mother/son relationship had its ups and downs, and of course, as Proverbs 22:15 (KJV) says, “Foolishness is bound in the heart of a child; but the rod of correction shall drive it far from him.”

Of Rose Hill School

Not so long ago I had a conversation with Union County Mayor Dr. Jason Bailey.
His Honor and I were discussing his late grandfather Elmer Bailey, who was the son of a good friend of my father, Jim Bailey. I was aware that Elmer lived in the old Rose Hill School.
Jason offered me the opportunity to visit the old school—a thrilling venture for me—as there are very few of the old one- and two-room schoolhouses left.

The World War II Years at Wood Dale School

The front of Tennessee school registers in the 1940s had the following note on the bottom of the front cover:

NOTE: This register is the property of the State of Tennessee. Each classroom teacher must keep the Register neatly and accurately according to instructions, completely fill in all data, and return the Register at the close of the school term to the office of the principal or county superintendent to be filed before the teacher’s salary for the last month can be drawn. It becomes an important official record for the school. PLEASE READ AND FOLLOW DIRECTIONS.

Remembering Winnie McDonald

Winnie McDonald

Joe Pat McDonald smiles when he remembers his mother, the late Winnie McDonald.

And it's not surprising that he does. Mrs. McDonald passed away 15 years ago at the age of 95, but in those years she touched so many lives as a teacher, author and the Union County Historian. Joe Pat remembers growing up with Mrs. McDonald, his father the late Tad McDonald, and sister Sharon, in Sharps Chapel and later Maynardville. His mother, he said, had a great love of language, reading and poetry, and she loved all of her students, too.

Cat on a Hot Coal Stove

 Cat on a Hot Coal Stove

Tennessee Williams once penned a play entitled “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. There was a 1958 movie based on this play starring Elizabeth Taylor (as Maggie Politt), Paul Newman (as Brick), Burl Ives (as Big Daddy), Larry Gates (as Dr. Baugh), and several others. Liz Taylor, who died of congestive heart failure at age 79 in 2011,

The Building of a Fine Legacy

Irby Monroe

I first knew him when I was about three or four years old as my father’s friend and co-worker. One Christmas when my family lived in one of Jessie Buckner’s rental houses on Academy Street in downtown Maynardville, he sent me a Tonka™ truck. He sent me scraps of wood from his carpentry to play with. When one of the small schoolhouses closed down upon its consolidation into one of the county’s larger elementary schools, he sent me a canvas bag of building blocks. He never knew the countless hours of joy playing with those blocks gave me.

Mincey Takes Lessons from Lincoln, Adds Schoolhouse Memories

Take one step into Dr. Ronnie Mincey's office in the Union County Public Schools' central office, and his role model will be obvious. Pictures and portraits of President Abraham Lincoln cover every surface, including the one pictured here, which Mincey describes as "the most comforting picture," a gift from Donnie Tharpe.

"You can look at it and think, 'What would you do if you were in this predicament?'" Mincey said.