East Tennessee’s Changing Weather

By Ralphine Major

With only one snow and record-breaking warm temperatures, January and February are behind us.  March has arrived with her usual windy conditions.  As I pen this column, several schools have already dismissed in anticipation of the thunderstorms moving across the Volunteer state.  A mix of wind, rain, and possible power outages are in the forecast.  The stormy outlook brings to mind the storms that took place the last week of June in 2011.

I had only been writing a column for The Focus about four months.  My brother had mentioned that cowboy legends James Drury (The Virginian) and Robert Fuller (Laramie and Emergency!) were coming to Morristown’s Western Legends Festival.  He suggested I contact them about setting up an interview.  After I e-mailed Drury, the Morristown Chamber of Commerce arranged for the Hollywood legends to call me.  It was exciting to talk with the cowboy stars we had watched so many years ago on their prime-time television shows.  My usual story that week turned into three!  The Virginian, Jess Harper (Fuller), and the Chet Atkins Appreciation Society as a followup to the one I wrote on Jewel Harris Atkins (Chet’s stepmother and my piano teacher) would make for a busy week of writing.

That last week of June brought severe storms, turning our East Tennessee landscape into a war-zone look.  Power was out for three days, and that brought reminders of the blizzard that occurred the middle of March in ‘93.  I wrote at night by lantern light that week in June and made trips to the library during the day to get the stories ready for publication in The Focus, finally finishing at 5 o’clock Friday afternoon!

Before we know it, the storms will have moved through—and so will March!

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