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Posts Tagged ‘Wartburg’

Driving home this Sunday afternoon out of sheer spontaneity (well, close to it) made my heart race and sing out to a clear blue sky and trees adorned with bright red, orange and yellow leaves.  It’s autumn time in Tennessee.

I come from a place where everyone knows everybody else, much like Andy Griffith’s town of Mayberry.  There’s a total of maybe 4 red lights (one of which shouldn’t be operating, but that’s just my opinion) and a “downtown” consisting of a courthouse, post office and the corner ice cream/antique shop with a quaint barbershop next door complete with a barber pole on the side.  Imagine all that, plus three schools, a Hardee’s, Sonic and gas stations nestled inside rolling mountaintops guarded by a regional prison where my dad has worked for some 20 years now.  That’s where I come from:  Wartburg, Tennessee, a population that can fit inside Neyland Stadium with room for the rest of the county to spare.

The drive home Sunday showed me views I missed since moving to Knoxville.  Farms with old barns, junked-up cars (even an old camper, you know the ones, with a big “W” on the side) and the occasional sight of horses or cows made for perfect scenery.  With the car window rolled down driving on highway 62, I could smell the leaves blowing past my Ford Focus as I negotiated turns that weren’t made for the speed I was going at (It’s OK Mom, I do it all the time — I just wanted to get home to that homemade sourdough bread of yours).

Why I decided to go home Sunday only to drive an hour back to Knoxville I have no idea.  I suppose the simplicity of rural living called me back – in only a way homes can – to enjoy the changing of the seasons down by the river with friends, sharing warm kisses between sips of hot cocoa with Lance and watch the boys throw football under a canopy of gilded leaves.  Little treasures like that remind me that goodness does exist in a world of murders, theives and chaos.

I always enjoy stepping back into my warm childhood home after the brisk autumn air chills my skin.  There’s usually a warm, home-y aroma mixed with bread and cookies fresh from the oven and the promise of hot cider and wassail waiting to be enjoyed.  After reuniting with Fido and Nala after being months apart, Mom greets me with a warm hug and we make our way to the living room where the fireplace is warm, or the back porch where we can enjoy the weather, and simply catch up on our lives.

There’s a song that conveniently played on my iPod yesterday in the car, and I found it to be fitting.  It’s from a local band I’ve mentioned before, Christabel and the Jons.  It’s called, “Thankful.”  I’d say it was my theme yesterday…

“This is where I feel the most at home,
Rythym of the water, so nice and slow…”

“I’m thankful, so thankful, for my life..”

I drove past where my grandparents used to live before they passed away about ten years ago.  It hit me like a ton of bricks how much I missed them… my fondest memories of them are from this time of year and Christmas, when my grandma started cooking for an army of countless children, grand children and great grand children… Grandpa would always “test” the food… she would always get on to him for it… “Harold, get your finger outta that!” she’d say..  I remember she’d always sit in her rocking chair crocheting a doll or blanket for someone and watch The Price is Right (back when Bob Barker was the host.  It’s just not the same with Drew), Wheel of Fortune or during the day, Matlock.

You could always feel the love in their home.  It was small, but full of warmth – especially on those deep, cold winter nights.  My fondest memory I believe was when I was a small girl.  It was Christmas, and Wartburg’s Christmas parade was still something spectacular at my age.  That night was especially chilly, and I sat in Grandma and Grandpa’s old grey Ford to stay warm with Grandpa.  After the parade, we all went to their house (literally just across the woods from our house) for sweets and hot chocolate.  I don’t remember much except for what I told you just then, but I do remember everyone was happy.  I remember Grandpa laughing or at least smiling that big gummy grin of his (he had dentures but decided against wearing them — ever).  Grandma, of course, had a kitchen full of cookies, chocolate and treats I wouldn’t dare eat in one sitting today.  Everyone was there, and it was the perfect definition of family.

It was a tradition for a while with my immediate family after Grandma and Grandpa passed away to stay in an old, rustic cabin for a few days at Thanksgiving in the mountains somewhere.  Brandon and Steph were in school at Gardner-Webb University seeking their Masters of Divinity (they got it, by the way), so we always chose somewhere in Western North Carolina.  The first cabin we stayed in was tucked away somewhere in Black Mountain, North Carolina (I think) nearby Chimney Rock (again, I think it was Chimney Rock.  It was wherever they filmed Last of the Mohicans, I know that).  Unfortunately for me, I had tonselitis that year and didn’t get to enjoy it as much as I would’ve liked to… except for the fact that I thought I puked up my tonsils… but that’s another story.
Anyways, all six of us piled around a small kitchenette complete with a picnic-esque dining room table (I told you, this cabin was old and rustic) and shared Thanksgiving dinner that year.  The next morning, we awoke to snow flurries.  It was perfect.  There was just enough snow for a light 3/4 of an inch dusting, but not too much to worry about driving conditions.  We all took a walk through the woods among mountain laurel and a babbling brook that ran beside the cabin.

It was beautiful.

I hope to one day have the same kind of love and warmth that my family has had over the years.  It would only be right to carry on the family tradition.  It seems that not many families share that same love anymore, and that’s sad.  What the world needs now more than anything is love, sweet love.

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First year of college at UT closed out Friday when I walked out of McClung Museum and finished my last exam. I don’t care how I did on it. All that matters is it’s over, done, behind me. Now I can focus on more important things: work, internship opportunities, editorial production and paying rent.

It seems my life is actually maturing. This time last year I was sitting in Ms. Pointer’s classroom waiting for a noisy bunch of people to settle down so the class could actually get started. While sitting there, making small talk with people around me, my mind was somewhere else (Yes, sometimes I was that weird kid in the corner day-dreaming all the time, and no I was not strung out on acid).

I would be thinking about how to get out of there. How to “un-surround” myself from people who didn’t care about where they would end up, or knew they would stay in Wartburg the rest of their lives and so didn’t put forth the effort to better themselves. I would be thinking back to my summer at Governor’s School, how fun it was to be around people that actually cared about their futures, careers and education. We were all there for that same reason. We cared.

I would be thinking about where I would ultimately end up, possibly raising a family. Envisioning myself in Wartburg was not exactly easy, so I would move to New York City, Nashville or even downtown Knoxville. Any place with an urban feel to it would’ve been great.

I would be thinking about where I would be a year from now. Then I thought I would be back home, relaxing for the summer with Lance.

Now I’m up at 10:34 a.m. writing this blog in Brandon and Steph’s apartment after saying goodbyes to Bradley (who surprised us with a visit from Connecticut), Mom and Dad, and Lance. When I said my goodbyes to Bradley, it occurred that I may not see him again until Thanksgiving or Christmas and rather made me sad. When I said bye to Lance, it hit me in the face, hard, that I wouldn’t be relaxing at home this summer with him.

My break from what I knew as the norm had begun. I am an adult now, and my life turned upside down.

But don’t get me wrong. Great opportunities are coming out of this, I’m sure. I’m getting experience that I wouldn’t have gotten in Wartburg. I’m exposing myself to potential employers that told me if I don’t get it for the summer, then maybe in the fall when school starts back up. Normally, I wouldn’t be told that. Normally, for the summer, I would be told to vacuum the pool, do the dishes, get tan for once and I would be telling myself to work off that ice cream you just ate.

My life has turned upside down, but in a good way like a pineapple upside down cake (which I love by the way). I’m starting a new chapter once more, and hopefully it’ll be the one with the career opportunity of a lifetime. Or at least a step in that direction.

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After about a week of journalism professors preaching to start a blog of my very own, I finally broke down and got one started… one a bit better than Xanga or notes on Facebook.

I’m not really sure what to write about in my first blog on wordpress.com, but I’ll try to come up with something that may interest my soon-to-be readers out there.

Okay, so I’ll start with telling a little bit about myself…

I am a vegetarian freshman studying journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee. I also work for Tennessee Journalist, The Daily Beacon, TRECS and soon eVOLve, which was formerly the Volunteer yearbook.

Wartburg, Tennessee was where I grew up. For the many of you that don’t know where Wartburg is, it’s about an hour away from Knoxville. Wartburg may come close to the smallest city with red lights you’ll come across. It’s nestled between the mountains of East Tennessee and on the Cumberland Plateau. Although beautiful and rural, it has its fair share of rednecks, which leads me to a funny story that may interest my readers…

So, as I mentioned before, I am a vegetarian and have been now for a year. When my fellow classmates in high school found out about this, some hunters thought it would be amusing to show their support. After school let out, I walked to my amazing 1990 325i BMW complete with a manual sunroof and, like any other normal person, sat in the driver seat. Fortunately, a good friend of mine was behind me in her car and saw the “support” my hunter friends left for me.

A deer leg, a REAL DEAD deer leg, was tied to the back of my car. I was mortified.

After fuming for quite a while, a kinder young gentleman cut the twine, and ultimately the deer leg, off my car. I drove on to work and called someone in the office to let them know the cruel joke that was pulled on me.

Now that I look back on it, it really was kind of funny in a morbid, sick way. I can laugh about it at least, but I certainly don’t want that happening again. I’ll kick some butt. Just kidding.

Needless to say, I was glad to get out of Wartburg, or at least high school there. I still go home on the weekends to attend church at First Baptist where my serious boyfriend of a year and a half leads music. Of course, laundry must be done, too, and at home it’s free. And eating something besides cafeteria food for a change is amazing, although sushi here isn’t so bad.

There are a lot of things I feel I could talk about in this blog, but by the time I would be finished, it would be more like a book. All I really have left to say now is I’m glad I was introduced to wordpress.com and started a real blog. Check back later for some more fun, hopefully animal-friendly, blogs in the future.

Peace out.

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