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Features

  • Editor's note: Look in the FEATURES section of this week's LaFollette Press for more information about this reader challenge. 

  • What I have found to be true after purchasing a fixer-upper home is that you basically sell your soul to the local hardware store.
    Have an anniversary?

  • “Do you remember that day?” he asked, eyes tired from the day and preparing to drift into dream land.

  • They say the most wonderful time of year is the Christmas season.  Sorry, Andy Williams, I have to disagree. Autumn is where it is at. Or as we so affectionately call it here in the South — fall.
    So, here are a few things I love about the fall season, in no particular order:

  •  

    Dear vandal(s):

    When my husband and I decided to take our children to the fair on Saturday for Hometown Heroes day, we did not expect to see you there.
    My husband sees you at least five days a week — sometimes more — when you destroy the businesses, homes and vehicles of others just to benefit your own cause.

  • Last week, in a rare shopping excursion with only one of the three gremlins (I mean, children) we stumbled upon a small hummingbird feeder on clearance for only $2.
    Anytime I see those red stickers in sight, it excites me from the inside out. I mean, why don’t I need tons of off-season flip flops in various summer colors for only a fraction of the price?
    But that day, I kept my head on straight, and thought that a purchase such as this would do our little crazy home school souls well.
    It definitely was not the smartest of choices.
    Here is why:

  • If you could take the totality of fair and lovely, with a side order of grace and class, you would have my grandmother. Watching her from afar with my fluffy bangs and side ponytail, sitting on a seat boosted by old JCPenney catalogs growing up, I always knew she was a woman of influence.  
    There are a few things in life, rules that I follow, that have shaped the woman I have become, and the grown up I am still becoming. Wise ideals such as:

  • It is a sheer miracle to me that once we moved, we didn’t open boxes to finds shards of broken glass and small animals that had somehow burrowed their way into cardboard boxes labeled “kitchen supplies”. But, thankfully, most everything we transported from “old” house to “new to us” house remained intact.
    That is, except my electric can opener.

  • We heard the rumbling in the distance, like that of large tires blazing through a dusty trail of gravel. We scampered high to the old porch in anticipation, in an attempt to be the first to catch a glance at our farm mode of transportation.  Barreling around the final curve toward home, with squeaks and sounds of shocks in dire need of replacing, it arrived in glorious splendor — an oversized, somewhat white truck with a few kisses of rust placed here and about.

  • GATLINBURG—Nashville’s Music Row moves to the mountains today through Sunday, when more than 30 hit singer-songwriters will perform at free concerts there at the second annual Smoky Mountains Songwriters Festival.
    Organizer Cyndy Montgomery Reeves, festival founder and director, said the festival will include three luncheon presentations on building a music career.
    For a schedule of free performances by hit writers and workshop times and enrollment costs, see www.smswf.com.
     

  • ANDERSON COUNTY—Boyer Farms brings their summer music festival back to East Tennessee for its third year. Situated on 75 acres of rolling farm land — the horse farm takes on its alter ego as a music venue. Ten regional and local bands bring their performances to the stage Friday and Saturday. This year’s headliner includes Foz Rock’s new collaboration, Avenue of The Giants. Foz Rock was a long time member of the group Rehab whose fame includes the songs “Bartender” and “Welcome Home.”  

  • Campbell County High School Art Club president Shelby Maiden is pictured with her entry in the 2013 Wildlife Forever State Fish Art Competition. Shelby won first place in the state competition and was recognized nationally at the awards banquet held in Perry, Ga.
     

  • SCOTT COUNTY—Emerald Ash Borer — an invasive insect that destroys ash trees — has been found in neighboring Scott County.
    The identification was made recently and has been confirmed by the United States Department of Agriculture.
    The county will now be placed under quarantine —  a growing list, which already included Campbell, Knox and 17 other counties in Tennessee.

  • It was a tumultuous storm through which everyone on land and sea tried so desperately to take cover.

    The wind and waves blew so violently that their tiny boat rocked back and forth uncontrollably.

    Desperately, they tried to lighten the load by tossing overboard items that were no longer necessary in stormy weather.

    “Hold on!” one of the passengers cried. “The wind’s about to pick up!”

    They clutched their hands to the side of the boat, white knuckles gripping the watercraft in a desperate attempt to stay aboard.

  • Last year, I fully believed that a shopping excursion during Tennessee’s official tax-free weekend would be a plan of sheer brilliance.
    School supplies, computers and clothing­—all sans taxation?
    It seemed sublime. Turns out, it was a rather horrific experience that only the strongest of shoppers can overcome.
    Did I really need to save 9.25 percent on marker boards and glitter pencils for my home-schooled children?
    The answer is no—no I did not.

  • When I was little, my father never drove the interstate to Knoxville.
    Or, if we planned a trip to visit family for the day in Clinton, we would drive Tenn. 116 into Lake City.
    Rarely ever did we see the green dragon or the (now removed) Thacker Christmas Inn tree sign, as we were always on the other side of the dusty trail. My brother and I would cruise along in the backseat of our silver Dodge Dynasty, singing along to the latest hits on the weekly top 40 and enjoy the commentary provided by DJ Casey Kasem.

  • You turned 6 this week. Six.

    How is it possible that I have a 6-year-old?

    One minute you were snuggled deep into my arms in an itchy hospital blanket, and the next you are choosing your own bedroom paint colors.

    Then it will be braces and then college.

    But we are not even going to discuss those today.