Closing the Ranks: Sevierville Facing the Coronavirus Pandemic, March 2020

IMG_0544

‘Close the ranks’ means to stay united to protect each other, to defend each other.  My friend, Kathy Rohe, updated a graphic that captures the time in which we now find ourselves: the COVID-19 coronavirus. It is a challenging time for our town, our state, our country. Here are some pictures that show things going on in Sevierville during the last week of March 2020.

Individual Responses

It is probable that U.S. hospitals will run out of personal protection equipment, especially since the epidemic lasts for an extended period of time. People across the country have sprung into action to help their healthcare workers. Quickly, I noticed a friend in Sevierville who has done just that.

IMG_6462

Local artist, Andrea Wilson, jumped into action making hospital masks, calling friends to join in. Artists, neighbors, and others joined in or have contributed material. Andrea granted me permission to use her Facebook pictures to use in this story.

IMG_6461

I think that this was one of Andrea’s first masks that she posted on Facebook. The first finished products have been delivered to LeConte Medical Center and the local VA hospital with more on the way. We owe these local citizens, many who are artists and makers, for their efforts to provide personal protective equipment for our local healthcare workers who, in turn, may have to take care of us.

School System Responses 

IMG_0525

I remember when SCHS did not have a fence. The fence was installed after the tragedy at Columbine. Since then, I don’t think that I can remember a time when the front gate has been locked.

IMG_6540

 

Teachers have provided a packet for students to practice skills while schools are closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. In addition, schools offer food bags for pickup on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 11-2 for children 18 years and under. Cafeteria workers and teachers arrive at 7:00 a.m. and work for several hours to make hundreds of sandwiches and pack lunch ‘to go’ lunch bags.  Next, they pack the milk and take it all outside for easy pick up. Families are given two lunches per child to reduce travel time on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Since this photo was taken, the governor of Tennessee has extended the school year several more weeks so I erased the first date from the collage photo above. Things are moving quickly so it is hard to keep up.

Local Business Responses 

IMG_6506

Tennessee Shine temporarily changed operations from ‘spirits’ to hand sanitizer. I don’t even know how that is possible, but they have done it! This is vital in helping to clean hands in the response to the pandemic that is threatening the country at this time. Photos taken from WATE- channel 6 in Knoxville.

IMG_6516

Old Forge Distillery, Sugarlands, Old Tennessee, and others have also joined in the effort to provide hand sanitizer for fighting the coronavirus. This is vital for everyone, but particularly first responders and health care workers. One cannot overstate the importance of clean hands at this time. Screenshots taken from Facebook pages.

IMG_6530

Sadly, some populations do not have access to clean water  to wash their hands. I have read articles about this danger for homeless populations. A recent article on the BBC.org also told of the peril to those in third world countries. The virus is making inroads in  Brazil and India at this time. With a population of 1.3 billion people, a large number of Indian citizens do not have access to clean water; in addition,  hand sanitizer is quite expensive so this is a frightening prospect. It proves that the efforts of  local distilleries will help us to stay healthy to prevent the COVID-19 virus.

Restaurant Adaptations

IMG_6510

I have always wanted to dine at Chapmans Restaurant after seeing the posts on their Facebook page. Last week, they posted the picture above and I was amazed! In record time, they had a ‘to-go’ window made in a side door. It was amazing to see the speed in which it was done and ready to serve food curbside/to-go because there is no dine in service allowed at this time. Where there is a will, there is a way!

IMG_6508

A few afternoons later, I called in an order of beef tips with broccoli and a side Greek salad. Very good! The young man who served it through the window was so nice too. I look forward to going back there again some day in the future.  I’ll take Smoky Mountain Foodie with me.

IMG_6512

Restaurants have moved quickly to make curb side and take out dining happen—and happen fast. I have been impressed with the speed and responses that I have seen on social media. Consequently, I have been trying to support several eating establishments every week using the drive-thru windows.

I have limited my trips around town this week so these are the few pictures that I have, plus screenshots from social media and the Mountain Press.

At the beginning of this story, I shared a meme by my high school friend, Kathy Rohe. She worked for years as a dresser for the Lion King show on Broadway in New York City. I will never forget the behind the scenes tour that she gave us after a show one night. Although she has moved and now an Associate Professor at Ball State University, I know that she worries about her old home, New York City. Prayers for them all.

Stay well

We will get through this together.

IMG_6536 2

Screenshot from Instagram @amplifierart.

Rose Glen Literary Festival 2020

IMG_6231

Last Saturday, I experienced one of the best things ever offered in Sevierville: the Rose Glen Literary Festival. I had not attended in the past due to schedule conflicts or thinking that it was purely for writers. When I saw the speaker line up for this year, it became a ‘must see’ event. So glad that my friends and I were able to attend  this amazing local festival. Surely,  there is something for everyone.

img_0126

The Rose Glen Literary Festival takes place in the Sevierville Convention Center. This is the best place for the event due to the crowds and vendors that I witnessed on Saturday. What a nice location and property. It truly is a pleasant place to spend several hours.

The event is free; there is only a charge for lunch. I could not believe that such a high caliber event was free to the public! What a treasure!

img_0133

One of the most popular and highly attended sessions, of course, was presented by Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass is professor of Anthropology at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, an author, and a nationally known forensic expert. I have heard his presentations before and knew that he was not to be missed. You need to arrive early to secure a seat.

img_0157-1

I was even more excited because I was lucky enough to take Anthropology 101 while attending UT— taught by Dr. Bass himself. How lucky can you be? I am definitely a fan.

Frank Murphy, a Knoxville talent, often works with Dr. Bass and presided over the questions at the end of the presentation. This session was standing room only. In the future, I recommend that any conference who hosts a session by Dr. Bass consider doubling the size of the room because it will be packed.

We appreciated the stories and admired the color of Dr. Bass’s tie. Go Vols!

img_0138

The skylights, large windows, and neutral decor create a pleasant area to shop for books. Many attendees bought at least one or two books to take home that afternoon.

img_0140

I picked up a copy of this local publication.

Sam Venable is a local writer and his columns in the News Sentinel always make me chuckle. Joey Rose gets an autograph on his new book.

I saw this article in the Mountain Press and realized an important opportunity to hear a witness to history. His presentation was riveting. Everyone should hear Walter Ziffer’s message.

I hope to read his book very soon.

Sheley was impressed with this presentation and bought the book in order to continue reading Walter Ziffer’s story. Had he been the only speaker at the event, it would have been sufficient because the session was extraordinary.

There were books on local history and personalities. I danced twice on the Cas Walker Show when I was six years old so I had to pick up that one to take home.

img_0159

My friends told me that the Keynote speaker during the luncheon was outstanding and they bought several of her books. I hope to read them soon myself. She will also participate in a literary festival in Asheville next month if anyone wants to hear more.

Luncheon attendees were delighted to receive a souvenir gift created by the Old Mill Pottery shop in Pigeon Forge. What better way to enjoy a book or morning reading?

img_0160

I spied a free gift in the back pages of the Rose Glen program. This is a good bookstore so we will visit within the next few weeks!

In conclusion, the Rose Glen Literary Festival was a revelation to me because of so many good books, authors, and speakers. Many thanks to the planners and organizers of this event. It was truly a treasure and we are lucky to have it in Sevierville. I never plan to miss another one. See you next year!

 

A Few Scenes From the Flood of February 2020

I was out and about during the Flood of February 2020. Here are some watery scenes from my outing.

 West Prong of the River Walk found water only inches from the sidewalk.

I got nervous to be parked so close and left quickly.

A scene from Blanton Drive.

The raised mulch area holds the playground together at a local school.

Now came the biggest flooding scene…

Yellow tape is not a good sign…

I have never…ever…seen the back parking lot of National Fitness Center flooded like this.

The stairs to the creek?

The field behind Aubreys and McDonalds was not bad. I have seen it worse.

The area behind the Sevier County Animal Care Center. Don’t worry—they are safe and dry, but their exercise area was covered with water for a while.

I went upstairs in NFC to look out the windows. We flip those tires in HIIT classes.

What a wet day to be out and about in Sevierville!

Stay safe and dry!

Wanderlust Salon Open in Downtown Sevierville

IMG_4403

With one look at the online invitation, I knew that it would be a great idea to see the new location of Wanderlust Salon in downtown Sevierville. I had visited the salon at the previous location so it was very exciting to learn that Wanderlust had opened in downtown Sevierville— so much more convenient now! I was able to attend the Open House a few weeks ago and signed up for some great specials. If you have not yet visited the salon, here is a look around.

IMG_4383

The new location of the salon is downtown Sevierville on Bruce Street, just a few doors away from Graze Burgers. Although the sun was going down in the late afternoon, it was bright and cheery inside.

IMG_4390

The salon is festive and ready for the holidays, with lots of gift ideas too.

 

This is my favorite gift idea!

IMG_4389

Wanderlust is an Aveda Salon so there are many products for those who appreciate the brand. I have used them for years and like them a lot.

IMG_4391

Any traveler will appreciate the sentiment above.

IMG_4395

The salon is using the natural brick and wood found in the older building and it is quite warm and charming.

IMG_4400

There are comfortable places to linger and wait for your appointment.

IMG_4386

Of the most interest for some of us—massage rooms! There are several and each has a nice ambiance. I have already had one treatment and enjoyed the whole experience.

IMG_4401

Many will appreciate the bohemian decor as it lends to a relaxing state of mind.

IMG_4394

Treats were catered by Courthouse Donuts. The table was so nice!

Delightful!

IMG_4396

A special visitor was also ‘out and about’ downtown.

IMG_4397

The salon is spacious and the wood floors add a neutral background that loves the light. You will enjoy your time there.

I am including this photo for now to show that the Bruce Street road/utilities work is going on downtown, but you can easily walk from the parking lot at the gazebo directly into the salon. For parking, turn down Court Avenue and take a left on Bruce Street to access the gazebo parking lot. You can easily cross the street to the salon.

There are two barbershops downtown so it is going to be so nice to have a salon as well! The Wanderlust Salon Open House had some well priced specials: consequently, I have already had one massage and will have another in the next couple of weeks. You can find  future specials by following them on Facebook. Here is a link. https://www.facebook.com/Wanderlustsalonspa/

There are some exciting things in store for downtown Sevierville and Wanderlust Salon and Spa is a key component to that growth. It is also exciting for clients who appreciate Aveda salon and spa services. Wander over to the area and see this exciting new business when you are out and about in Sevierville. 

 

 

Barbara Tenney’s Savory Appetizers Demo—Just in Time for the Holidays at KaTom

IMG_4882 2

Last Saturday, I made it just in time for Barbara Tenney’s savory appetizer demo at KaTom. The recipes were so quick and easy that I would consider trying to make them in the future. Here is a quick photo review.

IMG_4854

First, I watched Barbara prepare the rosemary roasted cashews.

IMG_4836

Fresh rosemary is essential for this appetizer.

IMG_4841 2

You will use most of a container of cashews. We buy this container at Costco or Sam’s Club and they are fabulous!

IMG_4847

The recipe is very easy: mix, stir, and bake. The aroma invited all KaTom customers to come over to the kitchen area.

IMG_4871

It is one of the easiest appetizers to prepare for the holidays—or anytime.

IMG_4855

Next, it was time to see the demo for parmesan and thyme crackers.

IMG_4859 2

Chill the dough first. The secret is to use White Lily flour. That is always the best choice.

IMG_4864 5

The directions are as simple as mix, roll, chill, cut, and bake. Voila!

The crackers do not ‘rise’ as a biscuit or roll; rather, they become warm and fragrant. I was surprised how light and tasty the crackers turned out and tried a couple more to make sure. So good!

KaTom has one more holiday demo this Saturday when Barbara Tenney will prepare New Year’s appetizers: overnight marinated shrimp and cheddar-stuffed mushrooms. One could easily envision those treats served on an elegant tray at a party so that will be a nice end to this holiday series. The demo starts at 11:00 so save me a seat at the counter!

Barbara Tenney’s Famous Pot Pie Dinner at KaTom

Do you still have leftover turkey? Consider making a comfort food staple: pot pie. Barbara Tenney brought her recipe to KaTom last week, just in time for the holidays. This pot pie is quite well known with some famous East Tennesseans so I was excited to try it myself. Truly, it is the best chicken pot pie that I have ever had so don’t look at these pictures if you are hungry right now.

Sign up for email alerts and check KaTom events on the Facebook page to stay in the know about cooking demos. Foodie fun!

Periodically, KaTom Restaurant Supply in Kodak will offer a class with a local, well known chef. You can call to buy a ticket and reserve a seat for the class. It includes recipes, demonstration, and a dinner. When Barbara Tenney is the chef, I try to never miss the class. Follow KaTom on Facebook and sign up for email news to stay informed of the latest demos and classes.

The menu for this evening was

Crab-apple Spinach Salad

Chicken Pot Pie

and Pumpkin Streusel Pie.

We arrived just in time. The sign on the screen gives you ways to connect with KaTom Restaurant Supply on social media.

We had a clear view of the kitchen and overhead screen. Laura introduces Barbara Tenney to the class attendees…most of whom are Barbara Tenney fans.

img_4130.jpg

The overhead screen shows a view of the cran-apple fruit dressing for the salad.

The fruit component of the dressing presented holiday colors and flavors.

The fruit, dressing, and candied pecans are delightful with spinach.

Chick pot pie filling contains a lot of goodness!

Barbara Tenney rolls out home made pie crust. Divine!

img_4140.jpg

The chicken pot pie was bubbling hot out of the oven.

Before the main course, we reminisced about the frozen pot pies from childhood, but Barbara’s pie quickly pushed those memories to the side. Superb!

img_4144.jpg

The Pumpkin Streusel pie was exceptional. If I were ever to make a pumpkin pie, it would definitely be this recipe because of the crunch and creaminess of the filling.

Voila!

It was an amazing meal with a delightful finish.

There are two more chances to see Barbara Tenney holiday demos on December 14 and 21 at 11:00 a.m.. These demonstrations will be free so save me a seat at the counter!

Click this link to the KaTom Events page on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/pg/KaTomRestaurantSupply/events/?ref=page_internal

Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K 2019

IMG_4319

It was a frosty morning that turned out to be perfect for the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K. Although I dreaded the cold, I bundled up (since only walking the race this year) and it was not that bad at all. Here are some pictures from the race today.

Runner’s were filing into the stadium bright and early Thanksgiving morning.

img_4322-e1574989336945.jpg

On-site registration table signed up about 50 walk in runners.

img_4323-e1574989542775.jpg

This is my favorite races in regard to swag bags and door prizes.

img_4324

Early registrants got their bibs quickly.

Some colleagues preparing for the race. Guess which two are walkers and which two are runners?

The sun rises on the stadium. Countdown…10 minutes.

img_4330-e1574991641788.jpg

You may run into many friends at this race. My friend Anita, pictured center, participated in this race for the first time and placed third in her age group. So inspired by her!

Mascots ready to cheer on the runners.

Soon, the start gun sounded and everyone began to move.

This is my favorite part of the course. The fall foliage is lovely.

A view of the track and crowd gathered at the finish line near the stands.

This cool sign summarizes our thoughts after the 5K today. Finish well.

 

 

I love my souvenir race shirt. Long sleeved tees are the best in these colder temps.

img_4364-1.jpg

The best part is reaching 90% of your daily activity requirements by 9:00 a.m!

Check the results on the SCHS Foundation link https://knoxvilleyouthathletics.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/2019-Smoky-Bear-Turkey-Chase-5K-Age-Group-Results.pdf

In conclusion, the SCHS Foundation Smoky Bear Turkey Chase 5K is one of the best little races in Tennessee. My friends and I enjoyed participating among 250 racers from over 20 states to benefit the STEM Scholarship at Sevier County High School. Bravo to Nancy Trundle Hewitt and her volunteers for putting on one of the best races in Tennessee on Thanksgiving morning. I think that it is my favorite.

See you next year at the finish line!

Fashion For a Cure 2019

One of the best events of the year for ladies took place last Monday evening: Fashion for a Cancer Cure, presented by the Smoky Mountain Cancer Support Group. Under the direction of Carlene Maples, the event offered food, auction items, shopping, a fashion show, and examples of bravery by some amazing local ladies. My friends and I shared a table and had a great evening while helping the American Cancer Society. Here is a quick recap of the evening. 

I arrived after work and found my friends, then we found our beautifully decorated table. This is truly a great Monday event and I looked forward to it all day.

This blog name was used for our table name plate.

After finding our table, we went in different directions to do some shopping.

Some of the silent auction items were tempting desserts by the best bakers in Sevierville. Elaine and I later made a ‘power bid’ on the Key Lime pound cake, pictured in the cake carrier above—and we won it. The cake defied words!

The gift certificate tree is always a favorite. So many good things! So many gift ideas!

There were many other auction items to see. I was also tempted by a nice Samsonite luggage set, but let it go to another bidder. What a deal though!

The evening began with a greeting by event director, Carlene Maples. She has such a strong testimony from battling two bouts of cancer.  You will be touched by her strength and dedication to finding a cure for this horrible disease.

Soon, it was time to go through the buffet line. I was so happy not to have to cook dinner. Everything on the table was quite good from the Wright Stuff caterers.

Everyone wanted this beautiful desk that was available through a special auction.

Soon, it was time for the fashion show to begin. We saw models come out individually and heard a description of the clothing item, along with the store from which to shop each look.

img_3718-scaled-2560.jpg

These young models were poised and cool. So cute!

Models gathered on stage at the end of the first fashion grouping.

Everyone is on trend here!

The smallest model was adorable and ‘hit all her marks.’

These young models are holiday ready.

Our favorite model was Rhonda Hodge, a friend and cancer survivor.

 

Each model came out individually to show a fall or holiday outfit. Along with the outfit description, we learned that many of the models are cancer survivors, even a young girl who was diagnosed when she was only 11 months old. Each story was sobering, yet inspiring. We applauded the courage and resilience of each lady.

Unfortunately, I did not take notes on the clothes in each grouping because I just sat back and enjoyed the show. The event was a real treat after a long Monday at work.

Many of the beautiful fashions were from our favorite local boutique: Loralei’s. I can always find good Christmas presents there and bought my clear Vols bag there. You can find amazing gifts for anyone at Loralei’s. The Facebook link is https://www.facebook.com/Loraleis.on.main/

This is a good place to eat in downtown Sevierville; in fact, I had lunch there on Saturday with several friends.

This is my favorite coffee/donut/ lunch place downtown Sevierville.

Look here for floral and decorating needs. Many people stop by to take beautiful photos in front of the gorgeous store windows. Always lovely!

All too soon, the fashion show was over and we were heading out the door with our silent auction items. We were thinking about beautiful clothing and the ladies who have overcome odds to survive cancer and thrive. We left inspired.

If you get a chance to attend this event next year, make sure that you do so because it is a great way to support cancer survivors and their families. I look forward to Fashion For a Cure each year and recommend it for everyone. Save me a seat near the runway!