An unusual spring

By Ralphine Major 2020 is bringing us a different kind of spring.  As if cancellation of basketball’s March Madness was not enough disruption, more events are canceled or postponed due to the Coronavirus.  For now, no Smokies games or college baseball games are scheduled.  It is possible there will be no high school proms or […]

Hope in the crisis

  By Ralphine Major The magnitude of our nation’s most recent health crisis has been mind boggling.  Only one week ago I was writing about what I thought was big news—no fans would be allowed at the NCAA Basketball Tournaments.  That seems like a year ago.  Since then, the intensity of the Coronavirus has escalated […]


  By Ralphine Major No fans?  What is March Madness without fans! It has never happened before.  The long-awaited basketball tournament games will be played this year with no fans in the stands.  The unprecedented move is a testament to the seriousness of the Coronavirus that has been declared a global pandemic. Every year, people […]

Another February, more rain and flooding

By Ralphine Major As I recall, it was one of the largest snows of the season in 1986, and it came on a Friday.  The date was February 14.  Focus readers may remember that many people were caught off guard by the beautiful white flakes that began falling around mid-morning and seemed to intensify by […]

The Robins are Here!

Spring’s Around the Corner! By Ralphine Major It was in early February when we first noticed them.  On a cold Sunday morning, there was lots of chirping coming from the field that was once our orchard.  It was covered with the little birds most often identified by their orange breast.  They are one of the […]

Knoxville’s Blount Mansion

By Ralphine Major It is among Knoxville’s historic treasures linking the past with the present. I first learned about Blount Mansion as a fifth grader.  Our teacher was a social studies major, and she made sure to schedule a field trip for our class to visit Blount Mansion.  The trip to downtown Knoxville was a […]

Greeneville’s President Andrew Johnson

By Ralphine Major The scenic drive was filled with farm land—beautiful green pastures dotted with homes and cattle. Greene County in Upper East Tennessee is known for its agriculture.  When we visited the area many years ago, that was of particular interest to our father who was a dairy farmer. Greene County holds a special […]

Losing a Friend Ends an Era

By Ralphine Major It was one of this area’s biggest developments following the 1982 World’s Fair. In 1984, East Towne Mall brought to the east end of Knoxville what West Town gave the west end years earlier.  When the two-story structure opened, gravel parking lots were used for the overflow of vehicles.  Area residents and […]

Whoo! January’s Over!

By Ralphine Major Winter’s longest month has already ended!   It is the block of time that puts us on track to face the upcoming year after the long-awaited holiday season celebrating Christmas and New Year’s. January marks the birthday of Elvis Presley, though it is hard to even imagine that the popular singer would have […]

Nature’s Residence

By Ralphine Major Koalas and kangaroos, the two animals I think of at the mention of Australia. In recent weeks, images in the news have been heart-wrenching. Baby kangaroos that have been left motherless, and koalas with burned paws searching for shelter and water. Millions of wildlife animals have perished in the land down under. […]

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