Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The bittersweet joy of Christmas


Christmas is a time of celebrations.
of Lights
of Shopping and wrapping
of Christmas carols
or Parties with family and friends.

As we prepare for these events with shopping, decorations, wrapping and baking, many of us experience sadness as well. It is what I call the bittersweet joy of Christmas because as we gather with friends and family, we are painfully aware of our loved ones who are no longer with us. The empty spaces in our circle.

The other day I ran out to pick up some coffee for my husband and a sweater for my daughter, I was reminded of the many shopping trips that I had made with my Mother while we were getting ready for the Christmas holidays. It was just a little wave of sadness. I put the packages in the trunk of my car and headed back toward the the interstate, unstoppable tears ran down my cheeks. My friends already know that I almost never cry. I turned up the radio, but it made no difference, the tears kept kept falling.

If someone else was writing this story, it would end with my Christmas spirit being restored by an encouter with an angelic baby, a Christmas choir or a beautiful sunset. None of these things happened.

As I have done in the past, I continued to make the preparations for Christmas. I do this with little variation every year. I love Advent, the time of preparation that is both physical and spiritual. Each day facing the challenges and acknowledging the blessings.

Today is Christmas Eve and I had a wonderful day with my family. We went to Mast General Store and then had lunch at Long's Drugstore. We are so lucky to have a drugstore with a soda fountain. A quick stop at Blue Ridge and then skating at the Ice Chalet. I am truly blessed.

When I looked at Facebook, I saw that someone very dear had shared the excitement of her daughter opening her new Kindle in a video. I know that four young teens are going to have something under the tree this Christmas. I was touched by a post from a Gold Star mother reaching out to the wife of a Wounded Warrior. A longtime friend shared the good news that he has accomplished a lifetime dream, Leave No Paws Behind reached their emergency fundraising goal with $1,000 to spare, thanks to an anonymous Santa and I was surprised by especially thoughtful gestures by my daughter and my husband.  I asked for help finding photos of churches in Greene County and schools in Knox County and I have been blessed with many contributions. I am blessed to have my family at home for Christmas.

Tomorrow, we will gather to exchange gifts, share stories and pictures. We will have a big dinner and eat lots of dessert. We will miss those who are no longer with us and cherish those are with us today.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Shopping Local in Clinton

Clinton is a great place to shop for antiques and unique gifts
No trip to Clinton is complete with a stop at Hoskins Drug Store
An old fashioned store a great place to find gifts

Great place for lunch, do not miss the milkshakes!

Monday, December 2, 2013

Shopping Local in Dandridge

Tinsley Bible Drugstore


Great Antique Store

Lot's of goodies in this real Hardware store

Christmas Presents!!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

East Tennessee Sweet Sorghum

Old Fashion Fall Activities at Deep Springs Baptist Church

We just happen to pass by this event on the way home from Dandridge and I had to stop.  I was not disappointed!  Church members were demonstrating old fashioned crafts and farming practices.

Sweet sorghum is a type of grass that is used for making syrup and can also be used as silage. 
Sometimes sorghum syrup is called molasses, but molasses is made from sugar cane or from sugar beets. It is usually much thicker and much darker in color. Sorghum has a lighter distinctive flavor.

Horse-driven, antique sorghum-cane juicer being used to extract the liquid from the cane.

photo by treehugger
Buckets of Sorghum juice being poured into to a simmering pan of syrup on an open fire.  This method is much the same as it was done in the 19th century.  Each generation learns from their parents and grandparents.  Because it is a labor intensive process, it is a time for extended family members to get together.

Cooking the sorghum juice to make syrup

The juice from the cane is cooked in a large shallow pan over a wood fire.  The men use long wooden paddles to stir the syrup so the that it cooks evenly.

Sorghum syrup and butter on a hot biscuit

Monday, November 11, 2013

Mountain Home

Mountain Home

Through the efforts by Tennessee Congressman Walter Preston Brownlow and others, in 1901 Congress approved a bill introduced by Brownlow to establish a national home in the Johnson City area. A designated board of managers chose a 450-acre site and commissioned New York architect J. H. Freedlander to design 36 French Renaissance-style buildings. The home opened Oct. 15, 1903. From the US Department of Veteran Affairs)

John Francis M Bails

On September 25, 1863 John M Bails, Rank: Privt , enlisted in the 8th Cavalry Regiment Company I , mustered 13 November 1863 at Mossy Creek. While John was stationed near Nashville, he became very ill and there were no doctors in his camp.  His fellow soldiers treated  him with turpentine and as a result John suffered permanent kidney damage.  After the war his health problems continued and there are stories in his pension application file of John being so sick while out working in the fields that his friends would send for his Mother who would come down to the field and care for him. He continued to work as much as he could and on March 11, 1866, he married Delphia Ann Coldwell. John and Delphia had seven children that grew to adulthood: Joseph Bingmon Bailes (1867-1922), Julia A Bailes (1871- unknown), Benjamin Franklin Bails (1874-1921), James Ruble Bailes (1878-1960), Mary Molly Lucretia Bailes (1882- unknown) and Thomas Manon Bailes (1885-1975). 

A few years after his wife died John was admitted to the hospital at Mountain Home where he died on October 19, 1914.  He is buried in the cemetery on the grounds.

John Bails Headstone at Mountain Home Cemetery

James Ruble Bailes

James Ruble Bailes was born on August 22, 1878 in Baileyton, Tennessee. On August 12 1898, he enlisted in CO F of the 8th Infantry and was sent to Puerto Rico during the Spanish American War.  On August 16, 1903, he married Martha Elizabeth White and they had the following children who grew to adulthood ( the had at least three who did not survive): Minnie Evelyn Eva Bailes (1904-1974), Walter Randolph Bailes (1907-1957), William Howard Bailes (1909-1942), Lillian Geraldine Bailes (1913-2002), Henry Kenneth Bailes (1916-1997), Carl Ruble Bailes (1918-1991), Eleanor Hassie Bailes (1920-2011), Hartsell Luther Bailes (1921-1945), Frank White Bailes (1923-2003) and Uncle Bob (1925- ).  Walter Randolph Bailes, Carl Ruble Bailes, Hartsell Luther Bailes, Frank White Bailes, Uncle Bob and future son-in-law Carl Lee Everett served in Worl War II. HL Bailes was killed in Luzon, Phillipines on May 30, 1945.

In 1911, both John Bailes and his son James Ruble were hospitalized at Mountain Home. James Ruble and Martha Elizabeth White Bailes moved to Knoxville around 1917.  Not long after his wife died in 1957, James Ruble Bailes went to the hospital at Mountain Home where he died on the January 24, 1960.  He is buried next to his wife in Lynnhurst Cemetery in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Remembering my Great Grandfather- a trip to Baileyton



My Great Grandfather, James Ruble Bailes was born in Baileyton on August 22, 1878. His parents were John Francis M Bails and Delphia Coldwell (daughter of Thomas Kincheloe Coldwell and Mariah Bussell. His father served in the 8th Tennessee Cavalry during the Civil War. Ruble had two sisters: Julia and Molly and three brothers: Joseph, Benjamin and Thomas. Ben married Flora Dotson stayed in Greene County. My Grandfather served in the Spanish American War (SGT CO F 8 REGT INFANTRY)

Enlistment papers

 After the war, he came back to Greene County and married Martha Elizabeth White, daughter of James Randolph White and Mary Ann Emily Good.  She was called Molly.

Marriage record

After they were married, they lived in Rheatown until they moved to Knoxville around 1920.