Time Spent at Chapman Drug

(Part 7 in series on Dwight Kessel) By Ralphine Major Dwight Kessel’s father-in-law, Dr. Edgar L. Grubb, bought Chapman Drug Company from the estate of Col. David Chapman in 1946.  (Col. Chapman was in the forefront of establishing the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, and Chapman Highway was named in his honor.) “In 1956, my […]

The Basketball World is Still Backing Pat

By Ralphine Major ralphine3@yahoo.com It is always heartening to see.  An entire week in women’s basketball is designated for teams to wear tee shirts with their team colors.  Every shirt bears the same message: “We Back Pat.”  The carefully chosen words reference the overwhelming support of legendary Lady Vols Coach Pat Summitt who lost her […]

The real McCoy

By Ralphine Major ralphine3@yahoo.com February, the “heart” month that emphasizes the importance of heart health. My first story printed in this weekly column was about this very subject. On February 7, 2011, “The Real McCoy” was published in The Focus sharing about our mother’s cardiologist, Dr. Kyle McCoy. That was ten years and 500 columns […]

It’s No. 99 for Clayton!

By Ralphine Major ralphine3@yahoo.com He is well known around Harbison’s Crossroads.  On January 12, 2021, the longtime Corryton resident turned 99 years old!  Clayton Sharp has lived through much during his 99 years and can now add the COVID-19 pandemic to the list.  He celebrated with family and friends at home for the big day.  […]

Life can sometimes be like the flight of an eagle

By Ralphine Major It is the comment I hear most often from Focus readers:  I look for the Bible verse in your column.  When I first started writing for The Focus, I would sometimes include a favorite Bible passage in my true, human interest column.  When COVID-19 struck, it seemed words of inspiration were needed […]

Dwight and Gloria

(Part 6 in series on Dwight Kessel) By Ralphine Major ralphine3@yahoo.com They met at a pledge dance at The University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville. “I spotted a cute little brunette that my fraternity brother knew,” Dwight Kessel said. It was then that he was introduced to Gloria Jane Grubb. After graduating from UT, Kessel […]

Knoxville, Home of the Sunsphere

By Ralphine Major Since 1982 it has been a landmark along Knoxville’s beautiful skyline. The big, shiny ball sitting high in the air atop a pedestal is one of the most recognized symbols of the 1982 World’s Fair. Postcards, pictures, and tiny replicas of the structure were sold during the fair. One floor of the […]

It Really Was a White Christmas— not just a dream

By Ralphine Major Many called it God’s gift during COVID-19.  White Christmases are rare in East Tennessee.  I can only recall two or three of them.  On Christmas Eve, as predicted, the rain turned to snowflakes.  Quickly, huge snowflakes came pouring down!  Meteorologists cautioned everyone to stay home unless an emergency required them to go […]

Goodbye 2020!  Hello 2021!

By Ralphine Major Another forgotten photo surfaced during my pandemic purging of files. It shows my brother and me in the seventies during our college days, the orange hats sporting our college colors. Horseback riding became one of my favorite stress relievers after spending a day on campus at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. […]

Celebrating Christmas During COVID

By Ralphine Major Years ago, on the Sunday before Christmas, our small, rural church would hand out white paper bags filled with apples, oranges, and old-fashioned chocolate drop candies. It was a fun and festive moment in the congregation before the upcoming Christmas Day. In many ways, life has not changed that much during the […]

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