Living in Kingsport was one of the highlights of my life. From the people to the festivities. From the area scenery to the distinct four seasons and weather. From the entertainment to the food. From the churches to the historic architectural features. From fly-fishing the Holston to sightseeing nearby towns and villages. From the beautiful Greenbelt to the surrounding mountains. From Fun Fest to the Santa Train. From philanthropic ventures to community volunteering. From my garden club (Kingsport Garden Club) to the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) and Junior League. From learning to play bridge and laughing so hard to friends gathering around my gurney prior to surgery.
Living in White City offered convenience in having many opportunities to see and do without the challenge of traffic and time that it took to participate in such life in Atlanta. Living in The Lodge was “icing on the cake” as the historic home was opened up for community events and most neighbors knew each other. Squeals and chatter from the kids running around ... Especially so when it snowed and they used anything that would slide down our side yard hill before ending up on one of the front porch church pews sporting rosy red cheeks and snacking on hot coco with vanilla wafers. From progressive holiday dinners, Christmas and Fourth of July, to tables set up in the cul-de-sac decorated for Easter. And, let’s not forget the egg hunts ~ I thoroughly marveled each year as the children outgrew their Easter baskets.
Small town. Small Southern town. My hometown in Forsyth, Ga., had the brick courthouse on the square thus allowing the mischievous pranks of two young teenagers as my middle brother and a buddy of his would find themselves on occasion in the cupola touting passerby unsuspecting targets with spitballs. Silly boys imagining their escapades. No gangs. No computer games. No cell phones.
The downtown of Kingsport was designed without a courthouse square, but only a few short blocks away from my Northeast Tennessee home, I frequented it. There were visits to a coffee café or restaurant, sometimes with my dogs for alfresco dining. Visits to the library to read a book. Visits with friends. Shops featuring local artists. Finding the just right painting in an antique store was exhilarating. Local venues had ample choices to hear music, see a play, or dine. And that renaissance of Downtown Kingsport continues.
Kingsport is influenced by the immigration of early Scottish settlers. So, for all you Scots in the Appalachian area ... I attended the Julie Fowlis concert. What an enchanting voice! Direct from Scotland, she grew up in North Uist ~ the last area where Scots Gaelic is as prominent as the English language. She is probably best known by children and their parents for singing the theme song to “Brave.” She has won many awards for her Gaelic melodies and despite Hurricane Michaels’ strong rains and wind the night of her performance, she was able to mesmerize the audience with her intoxicating vocals keeping the storm at bay.
On the home front ~ Daddy’s birthday was a fun day to gather and enjoy yummy tailgate food but the Dawgs played an off game and easily succumbed to LSU. Therefore, 2018 will not be an undefeated season. All fans can be a lounge-chair coach (and quarterback). I had plenty of thoughts about that game and how we could have played differently but I am not being paid the big bucks for my amateur opinion.
Halloween is on Wednesday. Unfortunately, little goblins do not visit sorority houses on our campus and I'll miss the festivities in and around Kingsport. The Lodge had tons of trick-or-treaters each year. Not expecting so many the first year I was in Kingsport, I ran out of candy and started giving out my breakfast bars followed by individually-wrapped foods! Not what the kids particularly wanted but I did notice as the night wore on, the trick-or-treaters were getting taller and bigger. Teenagers, I suppose, just start later. I turned off the porch light earlier than I had planned.
A week from Tuesday is election day. Have you already voted? I understand that many have, thus making election day lines shorter. Regardless of when you do it, please vote. It is a privilege to do so and each vote does count!
You will not hear from me again until Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Enjoy this time of year as the holidays start to unfold with the changing of the leaves, crisper morning air and shopping sprees. Love on your families including pets, and hopefully, you are as thankful as I am that we can worship where we please, eat as much turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie as our tummies can hold, and continue to love all the “turkeys” we call kinfolks.
Happy Halloween and Thanksgiving ~ may God bless you abundantly!
Susan E. Kendrick is a Sunday Stories columnist who shares her insights and Southern humor each month in Sincerely, Susan. To correspond with Susan, email her at [email protected] To share your events for our Out & About calendar, email us at [email protected]