There are a couple of items in the news in Middle Tennessee that caught my attention in recent days. According to the Winchester Herald-Chronicle, Hammer's Department Store is moving from the square in Winchester out to Dinah Shore Boulevard, which Granddaddy used to describe in both pride and frustration as being "as busy as any modern thoroughfare in any major city." While I am pleased that Hammer's will continue to operate in Winchester, I share the disappointment the locals there feel about the change. The square will never be the same.
When my sisters and I were kids, a visit to Hammer's on the square was a greatly anticipated part of any visit to my Ogle grandparents' house on North Jefferson Street. It was a big deal to us when Grandmother and Granddaddy decided we were old enough to walk the few blocks down to the square, and we brought Granddaddy home a Moon Pie as a reward for the trust placed in us. We bought Granddaddy a lot of Moon Pies at Hammer's over the years. We bought the last one the day of his funeral, and we buried him with it.
The other item of Middle Tennessee news is from the Tennessean in Nashville, where the State of Tennessee is considering demolishing the Cordell Hull Building. When I worked for the Department of Children's Services in its central legal office, the law office moved from the Tennessee Tower to Cordell Hull, and I've been in and out of the door pictured in the Tennessean piece many times. I have to admit that I considered the sculpture there kind of creepy. The building had an employee health clinic and a cafeteria. I was surprised to find out that state employees can dish out reliably good food. It will be interesting to see what the State does with the property.
I am copying old snapshots onto a new computer. Here is Molly as a kitten after I disturbed her sleep in one of our file drawers. Every time we run across the photograph, my womenfolk inevitably exclaim, "Awwwww!"
I am pleased to report that Sarah is still enjoying her reading. She checked a bunch of books out of the library the last time we were there, and she has read some of them several times. It is about time to take her back to get a new batch of reading material.
On previous visits to Nashville for Tennessee Bar Association events, we have lodged at the Downtown Doubletree. It has an indoor pool, which the kids like, and it is very nice. On our last visit, however, the Doubletree was already booked when I called for reservations, so we stayed at The Hermitage Hotel, which we learned is about to celebrate its 100th birthday. It is a glorious hotel!
I am an early riser, and try to get out of the hotel room the let everyone else sleep. Sarah joined me, and we explored the quiet hotel Sunday morning before we left Nashville to return home to Maryville.
Sarah couldn't resist the jaws of danger.
This shot is from the mezzanine looking down into the hotel's beautiful lobby. Pool legend Minnesota Fats kept a room with a pool table just off of this balcony.
My poor photography does no justice to the hotel's veranda, which has a ceiling painted sky blue with fluffy clouds.
During our Nashville visit we dined at J. Alexander's, an old favorite of ours, and our server was kind enough to take a group shot of us after our meal. On the way home, we drove by the house on Richland Avenue where Sherry grew up, pictured below.
We haven't ventured out of the house much this weekend other than to go grocery shopping and to the library yesterday and to have a hearty breakfast at the Midland Restaurant in Alcoa this morning. We recently replaced the computer we bought for my office in Nashville in 2005, and I have been trying to master this new one. My successes have come in fits and starts.
Sarah brought home a load of movies from the library, and she is watching one of them while Sherry and I were watching last night's Saturday Night Live and a bit of Meet the Press. I plan to cook Santa Fe Soup this morning, and have a few more weekend chores to attend to, but today is likely to remain a quiet one for us.
All of the winter weather we have had recently has us thinking of spring and summer, so we are making plans to meet some friends in Blowing Rock, North Carolina, in late April. My mom lived there for several years, and I have fond memories of visiting there during that time. We also booked our regular condo unit down in Seagrove Beach, Florida, for our summer vacation. I have forewarned Captain Randy, so he will be prepared for the annual invasion of Tennesseans.
Mom, Sherry, Sarah and I traveled to Nashville to visit Grams and Joey and Jake last weekend. I attended the Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Conference, and we stayed in the Hermitage Hotel, which is near the Tennessee Bar Center.
I took these photographs from our hotel window.
The tall building on the left is the William R. Snodgrass Tennessee Tower, where I went to work at the Department of Children's Services in its central legal office shortly after moving to Nashville in 2002.
We have a steady rain falling at our house on Forest Avenue in Maryville, and icicles are beginning to form on our gutters, railings and, most unfortunately, on our power lines as the temperature hovers at around 33 degrees Fahrenheit. There is ice covering roofs and trees. At this point, traffic is still moving well on East Broadway Avenue, but it is pretty nasty outside. I don't think building a snowman is in our immediate future.
We have freezing rain in Maryville this morning, and there is a sheet of ice beginning to cover our front porch, which is as far outside as I have dared to go. The authorities have wisely closed the three school systems in Blount County, and county government, which follows the Maryville system, is closed as well. The doctors for whom Sherry works decided to close their offices before the close of business yesterday, so we are going to stay hunkered down here at our place on Everett Hill and hope that ice doesn't take down our power lines. Brrrrr!
Meteorologists are forecasting another winter weather system will move through East Tennessee tomorrow. Our cupboards are well stocked, and we are prepared to hunker down if we get iced in. Our poor snowman has melted down to a nub. Perhaps we'll be able to build another tomorrow.
Unfortunately, Sarah and Grace did not get to play in the snow together during our blast of winter precipitation last week, but here are a couple of photographs of the two girls enjoying the magic of snow in their respective yards.
Mom needed a stool for her kitchen, and we had a spare. I brought it upstairs from the basement so we'd remember to give it to her this weekend when she was over, and Molly promptly perched upon it. In this photograph Molly is seen deploying her laser eyes.
We are at home after a busy and fun weekend in Nashville. On the way back to Maryville, we took a detour from our usual route because we figured the spillways would be open at Fort Loudon Dam after all the rain and snow we had last week. We were not disappointed, and I just read in our local newspaper that the dam's lock was closed to commercial traffic because of the high volume of water flowing through the spillways. You can't see them in this picture, but abundant seagulls were fishing in the turbulent waters below the dam.
I don't usually think of pasta for Mexican food, but this recipe for a Mexican pasta casserole from the Nobel Pig sounds promising. I suppose if one didn't want to use pasta, then rice or cornbread would be good substitutes for the starch.
Today's rain started turning into sleet and now snow this afternoon, causing schools and offices to close early. You can see snow beginning to collect on our deck rail and yard and on the tops of our neighbors' homes. Sarah is very excited about the event.
On January 17, 1781, American forces commanded by Brigadier General Nathaniel Greene defeated British troops commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Banastre Tarleton at the Battle of Cowpens, in South Carolina. For more on Cowpens and the Battle of Kings Mountain, which preceded it, the United States Army has this account. These American victories laid the groundwork for the surrender of Cornwallis at Yorktown.
Sherry took this photograph of Jake, Sarah and Joey over the summer. Young'uns grow up fast. It occurred to me shortly after Sarah's ninth birthday in November that she is halfway to reaching the age of majority, and the boys hit that milestone next fall. Wow.
We bought airline tickets yesterday to travel to Los Angeles to visit a childhood friend of Sherry's during spring break this year. The plan was originally for Sherry to fly out there with Jake and Joey, but the boys opted to stay in Nashville during their spring break, so Sarah and I are going to accompany Sherry instead. This will be the third time we've been out there, but when Sarah was there she was a stroller baby, so she doesn't remember it.
Part of the fun of traveling for me is reading up on where you're going, so we checked out Fodor's, Frommer's and some other travel books, and Sherry loaded up on maps and such at AAA yesterday. We will certainly take Sarah to Disneyland, and at nine she's at a good age to enjoy it. I'd like to visit the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library, which is about an hour from Torrance, where we will be staying, and Sherry hopes to watch a filming of Big Bang Theory. I read about a couple of the studio tours in Fodor, and the Warner Brothers tour sounded entertaining. Of course, like all big cities, you can never see everything, even if you live there, but we usually manage to get a good cross-section of what a city offers when we travel somewhere. We're excited about the trip!
While I took care of a bit of unusual Saturday lawyer business on the courthouse steps this morning, Sherry took Sarah to audition for a part in a local youth production of The Jungle Book. The child has rehearsed "Tomorrow" from Annie, which has been a favorite of hers since she was five, and a few lines from Shrek for her audition.
A little girl she performed with in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever was on television yesterday promoting a local performance of Annie. She even got to sing on TV! Sherry and I are proud that upon seeing this Sarah's earnest comment was, "I am so happy for her!"
My niece Grace is six years old today. She is a beautiful and industrious child, shown here at the Camp showing off wildflowers she gathered. She's good at gathering firewood, too, and I expect she will become a wise and powerful woman like her mother.
Just before Christmas my sister Laura ran into Alison Arngrim, who played Nellie Oleson on television's Little House on the Prairie, at the Food City on East Broadway Avenue here in Maryville. The actress was kind enough to autograph a publicity photo of herself for Laura. As you can see, she wrote "1/2 Pint," which was what Pa Ingalls (Michael Landon) called his daughter Laura (Melissa Gilbert) in the series. My sisters were great fans of the show, and I watched a lot of episodes with them as well, so I imagine Laura was quite excited. I thought it was admirable that Ms. Arngrim displayed such graciousness to one of her fans.
My Granddaddy Ogle, and his father and grandfather before him, lived in Tullahoma in Coffee County, Tennessee, although Granddaddy moved to nearby Winchester where he lived most of his life until his death in 2000. Coffee County is named for John Coffee (1772-1833), who was one of Andrew Jackson's most important generals during the Battle of New Orleans and the events leading up to it. He also served under Jackson during the Creek War of 1813-14.
NOTE: My dad also lived in Tullahoma for a few years before his death in 1993 at his home there; however, since he grew up in Winchester and considered it his home town, I think of him as a Franklin Countian.
On January 8, 1815, American forces, including Tennessee Volunteers, commanded by Major General Andrew Jackson, convincingly defeated British regulars under Major General Sir Edward Pakenham near the Chalmette Plantation in the Battle of New Orleans, the final battle of what is now called the War of 1812. The war made it clear to the British and the rest of the world that America could, and would, defend itself.
On January 4, 2004, the Spirit Rover landed safely on Mars. It provided humans of Earth with data for six years, when humanity lost communication with the durable little machine. I love that the launch patch has Marvin the Martian on it. They are whimsical creatures, the humans of Earth.
UPDATE: Although I retired at my usually early hour last night, the popping of fireworks over Alcoa woke me up to see midnight registered on our digital clock. I considered getting up to see if I could spot the fireworks, but wisely decided against it.