‘I Saw Three Men…’ II

By Ralphine Major “When I spotted the wreck on the interstate, I hit my brakes and backed up as close as possible to the truck—still about 30 yards away. Larry and I both jumped out and ran to the wreck. The truck was tilted on its side with the driver’s side closer to the ground […]

‘I Saw Three Men…’

By Ralphine Major It was the evening of October 11, 2011.  Fountain City residents Mike and Barbara Cruze were traveling on Interstate 640.  Their destination—a cabin in the mountains.  Focus readers may be familiar with Mike Cruze, Master Gardener, from his monthly column in the paper.  Mike, a landscaper, provides insightful articles on lawns, weeds, […]


By Ralphine Major ralphine3@yahoo.com It was a popular song of the fifties—“The Lollipop Tree.”  Its melody and simple lyrics caught the attention of this writer.  I was around two years old.  “Lollipop” seemed the perfect name for the pup given to us by relatives.  The small rat terrier, white with a few black spots and […]

Welcome home, Gibbs Middle School!

By Ralphine Major Finally, it is back where it belongs.  Gibbs Middle School is once again a part of the Gibbs Community thanks to years of persistent efforts from parents and local leaders, including school board members and county commissioners. For decades, Gibbs Elementary, Gibbs Middle (formerly Junior High), and Gibbs High Schools were all […]

Remembering John Ward, The Voice of the Vols

By Ralphine Major I am not sure when I first began to realize that he was more than a sports broadcaster.  In the  sixties, I was learning his style with words like “Bottom!”—his way of letting fans know the player made a  basket.  It happened over the years, one game at a time, as John […]

Happy Birthday, America!

By Ralphine Major She has always been a light in the world.  This year, she turns 242 years old!  It was on July 4, 1776, when the United States of America gained her independence.  The 4th of July is the national holiday set aside for Americans to celebrate, and there is much to celebrate about […]

Summer on the Farm

By Ralphine Major Summertime—-the days of June bugs, dandelions, and daisies!  The traditional summer months of June, July, and August bridge springtime with the fall.  Growing up, summers seemed to pass at a much slower pace, giving us time to savor every moment of the season.  Kids headed to neighborhood swimming pools, people worked in […]

Rev. Dallas Harrell, a Man of God (Part 2)

By Ralphine Major This month, the minister and his wife reach a milestone.  Dallas and Joretta Harrell celebrate 65 years of marriage!  They have four children; five grandchildren, including one grandson that has passed away; and two great-grandchildren. In 1992, Rev. Dallas Harrell retired from the freight business and for several years worked part-time  for […]

Rev. Dallas Harrell, a Man of God

By Ralphine Major For years, our big yellow school bus made a stop at the Harrell home.  I cannot even remember a time when I did not know the Harrell family—two parents, two daughters, and two sons.  The father is long-time Halls resident Rev. Dallas Harrell.  He grew up in Washburn in Grainger County, Tennessee, […]

The Price of Freedom is Not Cheap

By Ralphine Major It is always a solemn sight, the grave of a fallen soldier. Across our country, national cemeteries are dotted with thousands of markers often decorated with flags for Memorial Day. They designate the final resting place of America’s finest who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. Memorial Day calls to […]