Friday, December 30, 2011

Beautiful East Tennessee, Greeneville, Jonesborough and History.......

After excitedly waiting for the expected arrival of a guest following Christmas; after stocking up on food we thought the guest would enjoy during her stay; after making plans for her entertainment; it became apparent to Cindy and me on Wednesday that the anticipated visit would not occur.  There was no reason given and no apology---we were simply stood up.  Hrummmph!  We are disappointed and pretty much astounded that this person would do this, but I am reminded that Jesus tells us to "love our neighbors".  That is not an easy thing to do!

So....we decided to get the H outta' the house and get some fresh air in the east Tennessee countryside. 

We travelled to Greeneville and toured the old town, and then drove farther east to Tennessee's oldest town, Jonesborough, where we walked the main street and basked in the old architecture and quaint shops.

The late afternoon drive back to Knoxville was punctuated by a stop at Chandler's---a southern comfort food haven---where we ordered fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, fried green tomatoes, mac and cheese and cornbread to slake our ravenous appetites.  The glorious day and the wonderful dinner helped us regain our belief in our fellow man.  well, at least a little.......

Come with me now as we travel the eastern part of "the Greenest   State in the Land of the Free".......

On the Road in Beautiful Tennessee

The Birthplace of American Legend Davy Crockett---"He Kilt Him A B'ar When He Was Only Three...."

18th Century Architecture in Greenville, TN

Andrew Johnson Became President When Abraham Lincoln was Assassinated.  Johnson Was From Greeneville, TN

Beautiful Locket and Earrings Belonged to Mrs Andrew Johnson

I Have Never Seen so Many Historical Markers!
Jonesborough Is a Storytelling Mecca

This Beautiful Ballerina Doll is For Sale in a Downtown Jonesborough Shop

Beautiful Tennessee


It's What's For Dinner!

If God Made Anything Better, He Kept it For Himself....

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Santa's Muslim Honor Killings.......

It was horrifying to read the headlines from Christmas Day in Grapevine, Texas.  A father dressed  as Santa arrived at the home of his family.  A few minutes later, all seven family members, including the killer, were dead from gunshot wounds.

When I first read the story, I could only wonder, Why?  I mean, absolutely no mention of motive was reported in the press.  A search of mainstream media, including television news channels and newspapers, yielded no mention of motive.  I thought that was very strange.  Now we apparently know the answer---it is reported by BLOGGERS!

"Mainstream media" will not touch this story.  Why?  Because it involves Muslims.  We musn't report the truth if it puts Muslims in a negative light.  It's OK to put Christianity in a negative light, but not Muslims.

You can check out this story through blogs like this one:

Through a Google search, you can find many blogs devoted to this issue.  If you like reading the truth, thank a Blogger.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Christmas Gathering.......

Our Christmas Tree as Seen From Our Front Porch
 Grandson Canyon came a'callin' yesterday and he spent the day with us.  Grandkids are great---they keep you awake and make you attempt to stay one step ahead of impossible feat.  Ha.

Canyon Watches Intently as Lucinda Deftly Manipulates the Jenga Stack
We played games like Old Maid, Jenga!, Chinese checkers and chess.  OK, OK---at six years old Canyon was not exactly able to fully grasp the game, but he did make progress in learning about the names of the pieces and how they move.


Grandpa ClintWhat is this piece called?
Canyon:  A pawn
Grandpa ClintHow many pawns are there on each side?
Canyon:  Eight
Grandpa ClintWhat is this piece called?
Canyon:  A rook
Grandpa ClintHow many rooks does each side have?
Canyon:  Two
Grandpa ClintAnd what is this piece called?
Canyon:  The queen
Grandpa ClintThe queen  is the most powerful piece on the board
Canyon:  (Pause)  Grandpa.....why is a woman the most powerful piece?
Grandpa ClintYou'll find out as you get older.......

Canyon Enjoys Making Grandpa Look Stupid.  Ha.

A Living Room Shot (Jesus and Bartemaeus)
We had a blast.  And yesterday evening, the rest of the family showed up for dinner and more games.  Cindy fixed lasagna, salad and garlic bread.  We had a nice chianti with din-din.  Then, I was paralyzed after eating Cindy's lemonade ice box pie with graham cracker crust.  Tracy was just a immobile as I.  It was a wonderful pre-Christmas celebration.
Our Dining Room Decorated

Our Front Door After dark

Thursday, December 22, 2011


The first time I ever heard the word "Re-Gifting" was about 8 years ago when a neighbor used the word.  She described how she kept most gifts she was given for special occasions (Christmas, birthdays, etc) and then re-wrapped the ones for which she had no use and presented them to friends at a later date. 

I guess there is a rationale for such practice.  I mean, if I receive a gift that I don't want or need, doesn't it make sense to give that gift to someone who does want it?

Sounds good, right?

Well, maybe not.

What happens when the person who originally gave the gift finds out that you thought so little of it that you gave it to someone else?  Or, what happens when the person to whom you re-gifted the present finds out that you didn't really get the gift for them? 

I am reminded of the growing practice of re-gifting around Christmas time.  In  fact, a few years ago yours truly re-gifted an item.   The occasion did not turn out well at all.

I thought I was being really cute and creative.  My sister-in-law presented me with a package of monogrammed handkerchiefs at the Christmas day family gathering.  I thanked her.  But, since I really don't use handkerchiefs---preferring instead to carry Kleenex tissue---I thought it might be pretty funny to quickly re-wrap her gift and present them to my dad, who does use handkerchiefs.

So, I ran to the basement and re-wrapped the hankies and attached a card for him to open---"From Clint to Dad".  Ha................NOT.

He opened the package in front of the family and the fun began.  My sister-in-law got her feelings hurt.  My dad was embarrassed.  My wife had a fit.  I don' re-gift any more.

Do you have a re-gifting story?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Christmas Gems and Gyps.......

I was 8 years old when I received my first lesson concerning gifts at Christmas.  Of course, like most American boys of that age, I thought Christmas was about ME

My mom and dad didn't have a lot of money, but they did the very best they could to make sure I had a wonderful bunch of gifts.  The main gift for me that year was something called "Fort Apache".  Fort Apache was a set of frontier fencing and guard houses, complete with dozens of plastic army soldiers and cavalrymen, horses, wagons, and so forth...and a bunch of plastic native Americans who were the bad guys.  This array was set out on our living room floor for me to find on Christmas morning.  I was ecstatic when I saw it.

I remained ecstatic for about two hours, which was just long enough for me to discover that my neighbor friends Walter and Allen had been given a BB gun and a football, respectively.

I was quite upset that they seemed to have been given "better" gifts than I.  When I informed my dad and mom that I felt that I had been "gypped", my mom had to physically restrain my dad from murdering his eldest son.  I had simply not yet learned about the sacrifice my parents had made just to give me that gift and others that they really could not afford.

Years later, when I asked my dad what kind of gifts he received for Christmas when he was growing up, he told me it was a good day if he received some fruit to eat---maybe an apple and a banana and an orange.  My, how times have changed.

By the time I was 10 years old, I had learned a thing or three about humility and appreciation.  My parents spent the unheard of sum of one hundred dollars on a set of World Book Encyclopedias.  That was the only gift I received that year, and I loved those books.  By this time I had learned how much one hundred dollars was, and I had also learned how much sacrifice went into their purchase.  I kept those books until last year when we moved into our present home---we just didn't have the space for that set of books any more.

Nowadays, children are showered with gifts in such large numbers that they don't even know what all they have received or who gave them what.  I was also guilty of this when I raised my kids.  But the fact is that parents are certainly not doing their children any favors by giving in such obscene quantities. 

Now that I'm older and have been around, I would say that a Christmas day with gifts lovingly given of apples and oranges and bananas would be just about the best Christmas ever.

What are some of your favorite gifts from your past?  Did you ever get gypped?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Our Old Country Church.......

The Original Handwritten Note I Stuffed in the Church Door in 2003
In October of 2003, Cindy and I moved to Plano, Texas from Atlanta, Georgia.  On weekends we would explore our new state.   Since I enjoy genealogy, I knew that my great grandfather, William Ellison, had donated land for a church in the now defunct town of Bazette, Texas (near present day Corsicana); and I knew that this old country church was still in existence.  We set out to find it.

Lydia's Letter to Cindy and Me

Lydia's Christmas Card to Cindy and Me
After doing some research, we were finally able to find the church---about as far out in the country as we could imagine.  It was a brick structure just off a dirt road. 

It was pretty thrilling to see that a historical marker had been placed in front of the church by the state, and to see that my great grandfather's name was mentioned on the marker.  It was also nice to see that the churchyard behind the church held the remains of my great grandfather and his family, along with many other graves.
My Daughters, Diane and Debbie, Next to the Historical Marker in Front of the Baptist Church at Bazette, Texas.  Picture Taken C 2005.
It was a neat little church.  After we had looked around, Cindy said I should leave a note in the door of the church, informing the membership that I, great grandson of the founder, had stopped by.  It turned out to have been a great idea.

After returning home that evening, I received a call from a lady named Lydia.  She was a life-long member of the church, and she and her husband, Bill, were movers and shakers in their community.  Cindy and I made plans to visit there.

That vist led to several visits over the years that we lived in Texas.  The little Baptist church had a small congregation.  They were a very friendly group, and we really enjoyed worshipping with them and getting to know them.

Cindy and I stayed in touch with Bill and Lydia over the years.  When we moved to Tennessee last May, we wrote them to let them know.  Yesterday, in the mail, came a wonderful missive from Lydia.  Lo and behold---enclosed with her letter was a Christmas card and the original handwritten note I had crammed in the door of the church back in December of 2003.  I had to write about this.  Dang---I'm gettin' a little teary-eyed as I think about it. 

The note reads as follows:


1:30 PM

My name is Clint Ellison.  My great grandfather was William Ellison, who donated the land for this church in 1881.

I have recently moved to Dallas from Atlanta, Ga. and would like to attend (visit) church here one Sunday.

Could someone please call me at my home phone # to let me know when services are held?  I would appreciate it very much.

Thank you!

Clint Ellison

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dust Bunnies.......

Not This Kind of Bunny
Before we moved into our present home last May, we had gone decades with carpeting throughout the homes in which we had  resided.  We would use a vacuum cleaner on a regular basis to keep the carpeting neat.  Or, so we thought.......
THIS Kind of Bunny
Since moving into this home, which has hardwood flooring in the main living areas and carpeting in the bedrooms, I have been undergoing an education of sorts.  I never really knew there is so  much dust formed on a daily basis.

We seldom notice the dust balls (known as dust bunnies---sounds cute, no?) in the carpeted areas of our house; but, in the living room, dining room, and den they appear magically overnight.  If ignored for more than a day or two, these nasty little thingies can grow to biblical proportions.  I am amazed at their staying power. 

Biblical Proportions
So, every two days or so, Clint gets the vacuum and sucks up the bunnies...only to have them reestablish themselves very quickly.
A Beautiful Dust Mite
And what, you ask, are these things?  Well, I looked it up and it is not a pretty picture.  They consist of a combination of hair, dust, dead skin, spiderwebs, lint and light debris.  They are held together by static electricity.  They house dust mites and other parasites.  These maddening little clouds of awfulness can ruin your computers, refrigerators, dryers,  air conditioners, heaters or anything else with an air intake system.

I shudder to think how much worse this phenomenon would be if we had pets.   Brrrrr.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pistol Packin' Momma.......

I'm very proud of Cindy---she has taken the first step in providing for her personal safety. 

Knoxville's Coal Creek Armory Features a Modern Indoor Firing Range and Expert Instruction
Yesterday she completed a four hour class on basic handgun safety at Knoxville's Coal Creek Armory.  I arranged for her to have individual, one-on-one teaching with Rick, a licensed and experienced instructor. 
Qualified With All Six Rounds on the Target With Three Bulls Eyes
She passed the course with flying colors.  She said she learned a lot and enjoyed it very much.

Next step---taking the course to obtain a license to carry.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Pothead Revisited.......

Mom Didn't Want Her Picture Taken
My mom came to visit us over the Thanksgiving holidays.  We had a blast.   But, the funniest moment came unexpectedly the first night she was with us.  Her bed was in the guest bedroom, and as she laid down, her head propped up on several pillows, she found that she was being stared at by an otherworldly piece of pottery known affectionately in our family as "The Pothead".

She said It Gave Her "The Willies".  Ha.
The Pothead was sitting on a bookcase across the room from her bed.  This eerie piece of pottery was made in school by my daughter, Diane, when she was about 12 years old.  The only thing that saved it from the trash heap was moi, who somehow fell in love with it and kept it as a treasured conversation piece. 

We Had to turn it Toward the Wall so She Could Sleep
My mom said the Pothead "gives me the willies", and instructed that it be turned around to face the wall so that she could sleep without being spooked. 

Now that mom has returned home, the beloved creation has been repositioned facing the open room. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Gaither Homecoming in Knoxville!!!!.......

A Glorious Evening!

Last night was a glorious one in downtown Knoxville.  The Bill Gaither Gospel Homecoming event filled the downtown Knoxville Civic Coliseum with joyous gospel singing and marvelous Christmas music.

Cindy Got This Shot of Mark Lowry at Intermission

This is Me, Posing With my Battery-Operated Candle at the Concert
The state-of-the-art sound and video systems revved up the overflowing crowd...a rowdy bunch that included every Protestant denomination imaginable---Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, etc, etc, etc.
Michael English

Buddy Greene

The Isaacs

Mark Lowry

The Martins

There was excitement in the air as the Cinderoo and I found our seats.  Cindy wolfed down a massive hot dog as Bill Gaither took the stage.  All of our favorite artists appeared and wowed us with their fabulous talent. 

Gene McDonald

Gordon Mote

David Phelps
There was the hilarious and multi-talented Mark Lowry; The incredible Isaacs (I have a not-so-secret crush on Sonja Isaacs, but Cindy understands because she has one on Mark Lowry); the mind-blowing A Capella group, the Martins; Gordon Mote on the gospel piano; Buddy Greene on the guitar and harmonica; the best bass singer in the world in Gene McDonald; and the incredible voices of David Phelps and Michael English; and so much more.

Bill Gaither and His Vocal Band
It was three and a half hours of sheer ecstasy.  We dropped into bed at midnight, with Christmas Carols and visions of sugarplums dancing in our heads.......