Clayton Sharp of Gibbs

By Ralphine Major His list of accomplishments is absolutely amazing!  A 40-year career at Robertshaw Fultons in Knoxville, Tennessee.  In retirement, 12 years blacksmithing at the Museum of Appalachia in Norris, Tennessee, for his good friend, John Rice Irwin, founder of the museum.  A veteran of World War II.  Member of Clapp’s Chapel United Methodist […]

Honoring Fathers During the Pandemic

By Ralphine Major Father’s Day 2020 will be drastically different than most others we have celebrated before.  The third Sunday in June is designated as the day our nation sets aside to honor fathers.  The special day often fell on our father’s birthday.  This upcoming summertime holiday is right on track, but life is […]

Lisa Kitts, a dedicated nurse

By Ralphine Major I first met her over the phone.  Her sweet voice uttered those kind words.  “May I help you?” she asked.  That was the beginning of years-long admiration and friendship for Knoxville cardiologist Dr. Kyle McCoy’s nurse, Lisa Kitts.  Focus readers may remember Dr. McCoy in my first column for the Focus in […]

God’s Gift for the Day

  By Ralphine Major I had a coupon and correct cash in hand.  Cars inched along the drive-thru at a local fast food restaurant that morning. “Maybe we should have gone to another restaurant,” I said as we slowly navigated our way forward. Finally, it was our turn to pull up to the window and […]

Memorial Day 2020: Times have changed, but the reason remains

By Ralphine Major Even with the gradual reopening of churches, stores, and businesses, this Memorial Day will most likely be celebrated in different ways than before. Flags waving, families gathering, bands playing! What great memories! Thanks to COVID-19, masks are still required or recommended in most public places today. Social distancing guidelines, likewise, are […]

Betty Sharp, Community Leader

By Ralphine Major They first appeared in my column on the front page of The Focus, September 10, 2012, “Volunteers of Time and Talent.”  In their retirement, Betty and Clayton Sharp dedicated endless hours to a number of worthwhile causes in the Gibbs Community and far beyond. In 2012, they were among the Senior Stars […]

‘The Virginian,’ the Hero

  By Ralphine Major It was the first year I started writing for The Focus when Hollywood cowboy stars James Drury and Robert Fuller moseyed into Morristown for the Western Legends Festival.  I had committed to the Morristown Chamber of Commerce to write about the festival when they arranged for the cowboys to call […]

Celebrating Mother’s Day Amid a Pandemic

By Ralphine Major Holidays.  They are one of the few events on the calendar that are not canceled these days because of the Coronavirus.  It is the way in which we must celebrate them that has changed. Mother’s Day is one of the most popular days of the year.  Phone calls, flowers, gifts, and […]

Class of 2020

By Ralphine Major It is the only picture of me wearing cap and gown for high school graduation.  I had forgotten that then Gibbs High School assistant principal Roy Mullins handed out our diplomas because our principal, Max Clendenen, had suffered a stroke. Clendenen was our father’s agriculture teacher at Gibbs before becoming principal, […]

Almost Normal

  By Ralphine Major It was the day before Palm Sunday.  I stepped outside to a beautiful Saturday morning.  Birds were singing!  The sun was coming up!  It seemed the entire landscape had turned green overnight.  Signs of spring were everywhere!  Everything felt normal—almost. As I opened the car door, my mind raced back to […]

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