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Middle Tennessee’s Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News


It’s the Lost

Wonderful Time of The Year!


Holiday Events 4 S Angel Trees 18 Gift Guide & Giveaway 22 S & More! PAGE




Contents It’s the Lost

Wonderful Time of The Year!



Christmas Giveaway & Gift Guide



4 Events



CALENDAR Bethlehem Marketplace, Christmas Parades, Frosty Fun Run, Hotcakes and Holly and more!

Chuck Mead talks Million Dollar Quartet, new album and radio show. Quartet



Young Murfreesboro songwriter wins Walnut House contest series.



Smyrna pastor on a mission to save lives of the unborn.



John Verge has rung the Salvation Army bell for over 30 years.



Tennessee couple minsters to Guatemalan youth through arts.



Ways to give to your neighbors in Murfreesboro this holiday season.

8 Sounds

MUSIC NOTES Good Rockin’ Tonight, Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra; Spongebath Records reunion CONCERTS Blues Radio, Secret Commonwealth, Leonard Brothers, Sarah Potenza, Rubiks Groove and more! ALBUM REVIEWS Big, If True, Amerigo Gazaway and Xiomara

26 Art

EXHIBITS Jeremy Cowart, Boro Art Director: Sarah Mayo

Publisher/Editor in Chief: Bracken Mayo


IN EVERY ISSUE Art Crawl, Baughman and Shilstat POETRY Winter Nights Enlarge THEATER Frozen Jr., Nashville's Nutcracker, A Good Old Fashioned Big Family Christmas


Reviews MOVIE A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Knives Out

SPOTLIGHT Floativation: Part III BUSINESS MOMENTUM Barnes and Noble’s Joey Theriot

41 Sports

SPORTS TALK Merry Christmas to all!


NEW RELEASES Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, and more!


REVIEW Beautiful and tasty sushi at Oishiya

LIVE . . . WELL! Living between the lines

34 Food

36 News

BUSINESS BUZZ Sky Zone, Gallagher

Contributors: Melissa Coker, Jennifer Durand, Laura Lindsay,

Advertising: Leslie Russell-Yost

Blaine Little, Jon Little, Joseph Kathmann,

Copy Editor: Steve Morley

Jay Spight, Andrea Stockard, Phil Valentine,

Angela Loupe, Rick Malone, Zach Maxfield, Kory Wells, Michelle Willard

Guitars, Primrose Table, Buff City Soaps, The Grove at Williamson Place, Bankgkokville and more

PHIL VALENTINE Keep males out of women’s sports.

SPIRIT MATTERS An island for misfits READING Ecce Deus

Copyright © 2019, The Murfreesboro Pulse, 105 N. Maple St., Murfreesboro, TN 37130. Proudly owned, operated and published the first Thursday of each month by the Mayo family; printed by Franklin Web Printing Co. The Pulse is a free publication funded by advertisers. Views expressed in the Pulse do not necessarily reflect the views of the publishers. ISSN: 1940-378X

10 N. Public Square, Murfreesboro, TN 37130 • 615-796-6248

THE YEARS KEEP ON TICKING BY. Have you reached your goals for 2019? There’s still a little time before the roaring ’20s begin. Have you made some time to relax, to try something new, for a little vacation? There’s still a little time. Everybody needs a little time away . . . I sure enjoy some sushi! Just as much as turkey and green beans and pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving, I do believe. Oishiya, 219, Fin Fusion, Cathay, Lemongrass—I recommend exploring them all. Don’t let change throw you off of your goals and your peace. The only thing that is certain is change. The Titans have given the fans some excitement since Tannehill has erupted onto the scene, thrown some strikes and run over some defenders. Make a playoff run! Someone advised me a few years ago that small business owners and sales professionals should calculate their needed annual budget, divide that by 11, and make their sales numbers by November so they can take December off to attend holiday parties and functions, network, volunteer, visit with family, plan the next year, travel, read, deliver gifts to their clients—well, I think it is a grand idea, but I’ve not hit it yet. So, ad space is still for sale this month! Yes, change happens. Challenges, struggles and surprises are a part of life and business, but the money always seems to work out. Thanks so much for all of those who choose to invest in the Pulse! May the publication help you grow your business and reach new customers with your message. To the readers: may the Pulse help you discover parades, The Salvation Army, Rubiks Groove, the Tour of Homes, Bethlehem Marketplace, the Spongebath reunion and benefit show, Hotcakes and Holly, the Cookie Bash, the Tennessee Philharmonic, the New Year’s Day 5k and other local events and organizations that you may want to attend or become involved in. Enter the Pulse’s big Christmas Giveaway. Visit to register for gifts from a great collection of local businesses. Stock up on the coffee, soap and bacon—it’ll be a long winter! Visit the orphans and the widows. Defend the poor and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and needy. A quick visit with someone who is alone may very well mean a great deal to them, especially if they are going through dark times. Appreciate those around you. Stay focused on your goals, make an effort to surround yourself with talent and values, and a solution may just present itself. I hope everyone has something to be thankful for and that the spirit of thankfulness carries on all throughout the year. May the blessings continue. As the Z-Train reminds us: “5 Fs forever!” May the end of the year be filled with family, faith, food, football and friends. I have Bracken Jr. telling spooky stories by the fire and making train drawings, Sarah fixin’ up soups and singing Christmas tunes . . . good times! Life is good, God is great.

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The Murfreesboro Pulse

Peace, BRACKEN MAYO Publisher/Editor in Chief

Events S DEC. 5


Be a guest at Oaklands Mansion (900 N. Maney Ave.) and enjoy a holiday feast complete with libations and live music Friday, Dec. 6, at 7 p.m. Admission is $100. For more information, call 615893-0022 or visit

Holly fundraising breakfast on Saturday, Dec. 7. Tickets for the breakfast, held from 7:30–10:30 a.m., are $8 and can be purchased through Rotary Club of Murfreesboro members or at the door. The event will include live entertainment from Johnny B and the Balladeers, the Middle Tennessee Christian School choir and actors from Center for the Arts doing a special presentation of Frozen. And there will be lots of pancakes, sausage, cinnamon rolls and orange juice served up by members of the Rotary Club, and their youth programs, Interact and Rotaract. Proceeds from the event go to local literacy based non-profits, such as Read to Succeed, Books from Birth, the Southeastern Young Adult Book Conference and the Rotary Club’s Dictionary Project. For more information about Rotary Club of Murfreesboro and the breakfast, visit

S DEC. 6

DEC. 7

WOODEN SNOWMAN Make a cute little snowman for your porch or table Thursday, Dec. 5, from 6–8 p.m. at Gateway Island (1875 W College St.). Paint and assemble a snowman just in time for some hot chocolate. Please call and register to save your spot. All ages are welcome; cost is $25 ($5 for class & $20 for supplies). For more information, contact or 615-893-2141.

S DEC. 6


CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS DOWNTOWN Bring the family for a holiday celebration Friday, Dec. 6, to usher in the holiday season. The lighting of the Rutherford County Christmas tree on the historic downtown square kicks off at 6 p.m. The county’s 24-foot Norwegian spruce was planted last year as an addition to the courthouse square and will don its holiday finest for its second year. Rutherford County Mayor Bill Ketron and Murfreesboro Mayor Shane McFarland join Santa to flip the light switch. An hour-long program follows featuring Center for the Arts, Homer Pittard Campus School and Salem Elementary School, The Dancers School and the debut of the Christmas Community Choir. Children can enjoy free hot chocolate, crafts, letters to Santa, making of reindeer food, candy canes and petting and pictures with live reindeer Jingle and Belle. The National Dance Club offers free dance lessons afterwards at 7:20 p.m. For more information, call 615-895-1887.

S DEC. 7

HOTCAKES AND HOLLY The time approaches for Santa to land his sleigh in front of Middle Tennessee Christian School (100 E. MTCS Rd.) as the Rotary Club of Murfreesboro will host its 17th annual Hotcakes and 4 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

CHILI AND DESERT COOK OFF Bring your best chili or dessert to benefit Yeah Rocks Camps at Nexgen Barber Shop (2705 Old Fort Pkwy., Ste. B) on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 5–7 p.m. Admission to bring or taste or both is $5. contact or Find the event and Nexgen Barber Shop on Facebook.

S DEC. 7

TOUR OF HOMES The 36th Annual Christmas Candlelight Tour of Homes stops along Oaklands Mansion & Cottage (900 N. Maney Ave.) and many other locations Saturday, Dec. 7, from 4–8 p.m. Advanced adult admission is $20 per person and $10 for children ages 6–12. For more information, visit

S DEC. 7

HOLIDAY MARKETPLACE A selection of local artisans and craftspeople feature their wares for holiday shoppers Saturday, Dec. 7, from 4–8 p.m. This is the perfect opportunity to shop local, to make holiday purchases for friends and family, and to enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Admission to the marketplace is included in the Candlelight Tour ticket. For more information, visit

S DEC. 7, 13, 14, 20 & 21

SANTA IN THE COURTHOUSE Santa visits with children in the Rutherford County Courthouse from 12–4 p.m. on Saturdays, Dec. 7, 14 and 21, and from 6–8 p.m. on Fridays, Dec. 13 and 20. Bring your own camera on Saturdays. Shacklett’s Photography will be on hand to take photos on Fridays.

DEC. 7 STILL GOT JOY MOVING SCREENING Join the Red Carpet Movie Screening for Still Got Joy on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 6–8:30 p.m., at Murfreesboro Community Church (2555 Lascassas Pk.). This Dr. Shonda Reynolds-Christian production is based on the true story of her life. Tickets are $20 and only available in advance. For more information, find SGJ Movie Screening Murfreesboro on Eventbrite, or call 615-582-1376 or 615-569-8582.

S DEC. 7

HOLLYDAY MARKETPLACE Shop the day away at the Hollyday Marketplace on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 9 a.m.–4 p.m. (304 W. Thompson Ln.). For tickets, find the event on Eventbrite and Facebook.

DEC. 7 7-HOUR THEATRE Do you have what it takes to write, learn and perform a show in 7 hours? Spend the day creating, learning and having fun at the Bradley Academy Museum & Cultural Center (511 Mercury Blvd.) on Saturday, Dec. 7, from 8:30 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Learn your strengths, build confidence and make new friends. Create an original show and perform it for an audience. Cost is $10 per youth. For more information, contact or 615-962-8773.

DEC. 7 CHRISTMAS OPEN HOUSE & CANDLELIGHT TOUR Bring your family and enjoy a day of 19thcentury holiday tradition at the Historic

Sam Davis Home & Plantation (1399 Sam Davis Rd., Smyrna) Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m.; a candlelit tour is also available. For more information, call 615-459-2341 or find the event on Facebook.

S DEC. 7

SHABBY LANE’S HOLIDAY SPLENDOR Take part in fabulous shopping, food, fun and Santa with 100 vendor booths (all indoors), bonus characters, bounce houses in the barn and an elf scavenger hunt throughout the show at Lane AgriPark Community Center (315 John Rice Boulevard #101) Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, find the event on Facebook.

S DEC. 7

A FRONT STREET CHRISTMAS Smyrna’s Front Street fills with Christmas magic while patrons enjoy s’mores, hot chocolate, cider and fire pits Saturday, Dec. 7, from 5–8 p.m. Admission is free; Santa pictures and carriage rides are $5 each. For more information, find the event on Facebook.

DEC. 7 EARTH ROCKS! WEBELOS WORKSHOP In this workshop, complete all requirements for the Earth Rocks! Webelos Adventure Saturday, Dec. 7, from 10 a.m.–noon at the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park (401 Volunteer Rd.). Learn what geology is and the importance of geology in our everyday lives. This includes rock testing and rock hunting. Registration required by contacting

615-217-3017 or hmeyer@murfreesborotn. gov. Ages 7 and up are welcome (or any Webelos Scout). Cost is $3.

sored by Budget Blinds of Murfreesboro. For more information, contact

S DEC. 7

DEC. 12



The Parade of Lights in La Vergne, this year themed “12 Days of Christmas,” will kick off at 6 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7, and will run from Veterans Memorial Park to La Vergne City Hall.

The Gateway Island (1500 Medical Center Pkwy.) presents an adult winter barn scene acrylic painting class for a great addition to any farmhouse-style decor. Materials are provided with $20 fee. Please call and register to save your spot at 615-893-2141 or

S DEC. 10

S DEC. 8


RUTHERFORD COUNTY CHRISTMAS PARADE The 2019 Rutherford County Christmas Parade, this year themed “The Sounds of Christmas,” commences at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 8, and travels down Main Street from MTSU to the Murfreesboro Public Square.

Make a gingerbread house on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at Big Creek Winery Tasting Room (7027 Main St., Christiana). Find Big Creek Winery Tasting Room on Facebook for more information.

S DEC. 8

CHRISTMAS MARKET IN THE DEPOT DISTRICT Browse a mixture of artisan and direct sales booths, food vendors and Christmas cheer at the Depot District in Smyrna (98 Front St.) Sunday, Dec. 8, from 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit

S DEC. 9

PERFORM MURFREESBORO CHRISTMAS SHOWCASE Ring in the holidays with a special Perform Murfreesboro Christmas Showcase on Monday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. at Washington Theatre at Patterson Park (521 Mercury Blvd.). The Homeschool General Music Class, Homeschool Show Choir, Ensemble Choir, Washington Theatre Company and St. Clair Senior Center join together to present a Christmas musical revue. Tickets are $5. For more information, contact 615893-7439 or

S DEC. 9

SINGING SENIORS CHRISTMAS CONCERT Enjoy your favorite Christmas songs performed by the St. Clair Singing Seniors, a musical group directed by Charlie Parker, at St. Clair Senior Center (325 St Clair St.) on Monday, Dec. 9, from 12:30–1:30 p.m. For more information, contact 615-8482550 or

DEC. 10 BUSINESS AFTER HOURS Business After Hours, presented by and held at Hop Springs (6790 John Bragg

Hwy.), is Tuesday, Dec. 10, from 4:30– 6:30 p.m. This informal, social networking event is designed to connect guests with business professionals from across Rutherford County. Bring plenty of business cards. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for future members. No registration is required. For more information, visit

S DEC. 10

NATURAL HOLIDAY WREATH MAKING Meet at the Wilderness Station (401 Volunteer Rd.) on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at 6 p.m., for the popular natural wreathmaking program. The station provides grapevine bases, ribbons, accents, fresh cuts and aromatic cedar boughs. Create your own wreath while enjoying holiday music and coffee brews. The class is best suited for adults or those with children 10 and up. Cost is $12 per wreath (includes all supplies). For more information, contact 615-217-3017.

DEC. 10 THE HOPPENING AT HOP SPRINGS Hop Springs Beer Park (6790 John Bragg Hwy.) hosts an art show the second Tuesday of each month from 5–9 p.m. featuring local artists, a drink and draw and a sip and color featuring custom coloring pages

 Send community event information to CONTACT@BOROPULSE.COM

along with karaoke from 7–9 p.m. For more information, visit or contact

S DEC. 10

BORO COOKIE BASH The Boro Cookie Bash, held from 5:30–8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 10, at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Murfreesboro (1850 Old Fort Pkwy.), will include treats from the ’Boro’s favorite bakeries and restaurants. Tickets include samples from 13 local cookie providers, and two pints of MTSU Milk—chocolate and white. There will also be a signature cocktail available at a cash bar. Santa’s Little Helper tickets include samples from local pet treat bakeries. Proceeds benefit Meals on Wheels recipient with a box of assorted cookies of their own. For more information, find Boro Cookie Bash on Eventbrite.

DEC. 11 LIVING SENT DECEMBER MEETING The public is invited to the December Living Sent Murfreesboro meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at 11:45 a.m.–1 p.m. at the Experience (521 Old Salem Rd.). Murfreesboro. Mary Beth Laxon, owner of Juicey’s Cafe, will be the application speaker. Phillip Robinson, director of pastoral care at New Vision Church, will share his God Story. A free lunch will be spon-

S DEC. 12

TIMELESS CHRISTMAS TREASURES The most popular concert of the year features beloved Christmas songs by the Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra at First United Methodist Church (265 W Thompson Ln.) on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. For more information, visit

DEC. 12 AND 21 SNAKES IN NATURE Introduce yourself to the world of snakes on Thursday, Dec. 12 and Saturday, Dec. 21, from 5:30–6:30 p.m. at the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park (401 Volunteer Rd.). This program covers the natural history of snakes as they entered the new world and populated the Southeast including the Volunteer State. Discuss behavioral and community ecology, biodiversity and conservation of snakes in Tennessee with a colorful presentation and live snakes up close. Admission is free. For more information, contact 615-217-3017 or

DEC. 12 WINE GLASS PAINT NIGHT Enjoy a wine glass painting night on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 6 p.m. at Big Creek Winery Tasting Room (7027 Main St., Christiana). Space is limited. Brush It Off’s Holiday Wine Glass Painting & Wine Tasting offers two wine glass designs and is $40 per person. A wine tasting begins at 5:30 p.m. Contact

S DEC. 13

SANTA SPLASH & DASH Push through the cold and join Patterson Park Pool (521 Mercury Blvd.) for a holiday pool party on Friday, Dec. 13, from 6–9 p.m. to celebrate the holiday season. Partake in an ornament craft, a meal and lots of swimming for a holly jolly good time. Ages 7–13 are welcome. Preregistration is CONTINUED ON PAGE 6 BOROPULSE.COM

* DECEMBER 2019 * 5


10 a.m.–3 p.m. at the Mid-TN Expo Center (1660 Middle Tennessee Blvd.). Admission is free and Santa pictures are $2. For more information, find odellmarketstn on Facebook or find the event on Eventbrite.

$5 and $7 the day of. For more information, call 615-893-7439.

S DEC. 13

DEC. 14



Spend the night at Sports*Com (2310 Memorial Blvd.) and enjoy a night of fun and games. Swim, play all kinds of sports and give the parents a night to shop for the holiday season Friday, Dec. 13, and Saturday, Dec. 14, at 7 a.m. Registration begins Dec. 1. Admission is $20. For more information, contact 615-895-5040 or

DEC. 13 BORO ART CRAWL The final Boro Art Crawl for 2019 features artists at local venues throughout historic downtown Murfreesboro on Friday, Dec. 13, from 6–9 p.m. This event is free. For more information, see pages 26–27.

DEC. 13 FOSSILS: DINOSAURS OF THE AMERICAS The Wilderness Station (697 Veterans Pkwy.) teaches about dinosaurs and prehistoric animals that once called the Americas home. Cover what paleontologists know about the range and life histories of a few dinosaurs that once called North, Central and South America home. Ages 10 and up are welcome. Admission is free. For more information, contact 615-217-3017 or

S DEC. 14

EAGLEVILLE PARADE The Eagleville Christmas Parade, this year themed “A Tennessee Christmas,” kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14, in downtown Eagleville.

S DEC. 14

4-H PANCAKE BREAKFAST The 4-H Pancake Breakfast and Marketplace is a 4-H fundraiser for camp scholarships hosted by the UT TSU Extension – Rutherford County at Lane Agri-Park (315 John R. Rice Blvd.) on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 8 a.m.–2 p.m. Vendor applications now available. Find holiday gifts, selfies with Santa and home decor. For more information, find the event on Facebook.

S DEC. 14

FROSTY FUN RUN The 11th annual Frosty Fun Run offers 2 or 4.5 mile options at the Stones River Country Clue (1830 NW Broad St.) benefiting children’s charities. Please bring an 6 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

S DEC. 14

WREATHS ACROSS AMERICA Members of the Rutherford County community gather at Stones River National Cemetery (3501 Old Nashville Hwy.) on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 11 a.m.–noon to honor veterans during the holiday season as part of Wreaths Across America Day. Specially designated wreaths for the Army, Marines, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, Merchant Marine and POW/MIA are presented and placed at the cemetery flagpole. Additional wreaths decorate graves throughout the national cemetery honoring veterans from the Civil War through Vietnam. Sponsors are needed for wreaths. Admission is free. For more information, call 615-8939501 or visit

DEC. 26–31 157TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF STONES RIVER Stones River National Battlefield will present Living History Programs in observation of the 157th Anniversary of the Battle of Stones River Dec. 26–31. On Dec. 26, 27 and 30 a ranger will present The Approaching Thunder at 11 a.m. at the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce Visitor Center (3050 unwrapped toy with your registration. Run through the Stones River Country Club Golf Course, and enjoy the post-race waffles, hot chocolate and coffee provided by Waffle House. There is no timing system, just a fun run. Participate in a Creative Bib Contest with great raffle and door prizes. The race registration begins at 6 a.m. with the race beginning at 7 a.m. and the post-race breakfast at 8 a.m. Unisex Sweatshirts are available with race entry. Find the event on

Medical Center Pkwy.) using the outdoor map to explain the Stones River Campaign events that played out 157 years ago. Stones River Stories follows at 1 p.m. A park ranger tells the story of a soldier or unit on the ground where they fought in the Battle of Stones River. Check in at the Visitor Center to find the program location. A Battlefield Caravan Tour begins at 2 p.m. Follow a ranger in your car and stop at several key locations as you explore the places and people that make up the Battle of Stones River story. The Approaching Thunder program will begin at 9 a.m. on Dec. 28–29; following programs these days, which feature musket and cannon firing demonstrations, include The Slaughter Pen at 11 a.m.—walk through one of the deadliest places on the battlefield and hear stories of soldiers who fought there; Hell’s Half Acre at 1 p.m.—walk the deadly space where Union forces beat back four Confederate attacks anchoring the Federal line; and The Line That Wouldn’t Break at 3 p.m.—take a 3/4-mile walk around the fields where the climactic fighting of December 31, 1862 raged. Dec. 31 tours include The Slaughter Pen at 11 a.m., Hell’s Half Acre at 1 p.m. and Fighting for the Nashville Pike at 3 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, call 615893-9501 or visit Facebook or register at

S DEC. 14

HANDMADE HOLIDAY MARKET Explore an all-indoors holiday market with door prizes, 80 handmade-only vendors, food vendors, free candy canes, a slime station and a local photographer taking pictures with Santa at the Handmade Holiday Market on Saturday, Dec. 14, from

As our population and needs grow, animals of all kinds are placed under increasing amounts of stress for their survival. Learn about invasive species, habitat loss, climate change and diseases that are threatening animal species worldwide and in Tennessee. Enjoy an educational program and see a live animal up close at the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park (401 Volunteer Rd.) on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 2–3 p.m. Ages 10 and up are welcome. For more information, contact 615-217-3017 or

DEC. 14 LINEBAUGH HOSTS LOCAL AUTHOR BOB KENNEDY Linebaugh Public Library (105 W. Vine St.) is pleased to host local children’s author Robert (Bob) Kennedy, also known as Mr. ChickenBiscuits, for a book signing on Saturday, Dec. 14, from 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Mr. ChickenBiscuits Enterprises recently announced the release of Sam Needs a Bath, Book 6 in the Sam the Dog series. Sam is a lovable cartoon dog, part beagle, part fun. Kids have fun looking for the secret image (every book has a banana somewhere in the story). All Sam books are family-friendly picture books for ages 3 to 8, from preschool to second grade. Kennedy is a graduate of MTSU, earning his MBA in 1988 while working for Schneider Electric in La Vergne. Electrical engineer by training and marketing manager by profession, Kennedy is a lifelong author of children’s books. Books are available for $7 each. For more information, call 615-893-4131 or visit

S DEC. 17

TENNESSEE VALLEY WINDS HOLIDAY CONCERT The Tennessee Valley Winds Holiday Concert is at the Patterson Park Community Center (521 Mercury Blvd.) on Tuesday, Dec. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free. No tickets are necessary. All ages are welcome. For more information, visit

DEC. 18 LUNCH & LEARN POTLUCK Join Cannonsburgh staff and others for a tasty potluck lunch followed by Cannonsburgh facts and memories from “Cultural Activities of the Rural South—Especially

S DEC. 14–15

BETHLEHEM MARKETPLACE The 38th reenactment of the Bethlehem Marketplace is Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 14 and 15 from noon–5 p.m. at Southeast Baptist Church (708 Minerva Dr.). The Marketplace is a walk-through drama reenacting how the village of Bethlehem might have appeared the morning after the birth of Jesus 2,000 years ago. It features characters in historically accurate costumes such as Roman soldiers, prisoners, tent makers, weavers, merchants in shops, census-takers, live camels and other animals. The drama is put on entirely by approximately 150 church members. There is no admission, no donation accepted, and nothing is for sale. No reservations are required. Tour time averages about one hour. For more information, find Bethlehem Marketplace on Facebook, visit or contact 615-896-0940 or the Central Basin and Highland Rim area of Tennessee” shared by Ricky Halliburton and Kathy Owen Wallace at McKnight House (312 S. Front St.) on Wednesday, Dec. 18, from 11 a.m–1 p.m. Audience input is encouraged. Nineteenth century foods and cultural activity discussion with Susanne Hebden close the night. Admission is free. For more information, call 615-890-0355.

DEC. 19 THE CONNECTION Local small business owners will gather for The Connection: An Evening of Professional Networking and Business Brainstorming from 5–7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 19, at Float Alchemy (131 Cason Ln.). All Middle Tennessee entrepreneurs and professionals are welcome to attend this casual, free, no-obligation event, where they can meet other small business owners and tap into one another’s experience and energy. A discussion will encourage participation from those in attendance, asking them to articulate their vision for their business and calling for examples of some of the business challenges and solutions they are experiencing. The series will continue the third Thursday of each month.

DEC. 31 NEW YEAR’S EVE HOP DROP Ring in the new year with the hottest ’80s tribute band on the planet at Hop Springs Park (6790 John Bragg Hwy.) on Tuesday,

Dec. 31. This event is limited to 200 tickets and will sell out fast. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the Delorean lands at 9 p.m. Admission is $40 in advance or $50 at the door. For more information, visit

habits and hang-ups in a confidential and secure setting. For more information, contact 615-631-2640 or

ONGOING ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS If you want to drink that’s your business. If you want to stop we can help. Alcoholics Anonymous 615-831-1050,

ONGOING AL-ANON Attend Al-Anon meetings, a fellowship program for the families and friends of alcoholics, weekly at 435 S. Molloy Ave. (off of Bridge Ave.) at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sundays; 6:30 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 10 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and noon on Saturdays. For more information, contact 270-293-5201.


SATURDAYS ANIMAL ENCOUNTERS Join the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park (401 Volunteer Rd.) Saturdays in December at 1:30 p.m. for a short program introducing one of the education animals and information on their cool adaptations and natural history. All ages are welcome. Admission is free. For more information, contact 615-217-3017 or




Welcome to the Wilderness! Introduce your child (ages 1–4 years old) to the wonders of nature in this fun-filled class Wednesdays in December at 9:30 a.m. at the Wilderness Station at Barfield Crescent Park (401 Volunteer Rd.). Each week the adventure starts with unique songs and a discussion about the animal of the week. Learn

The Rutherford County Historical Society invites everyone to visit Ransom School (717 N. Academy St.) Saturday mornings from 9 a.m.–noon to discuss history over a cup of coffee. Bring old photos and memorabilia, and leave with a better understanding of, and appreciation for, your past. For more information, visit

JAN. 1 NEW YEAR’S DAY 5K The New Year’s Day 5k at Old Fort Park is a Better Boro Project event and a health initiative bringing awareness to healthier nutritional habits, sustainable community and accessible fitness on Wednesday, Jan 1, with registration & packet pickup from 9–10:45 a.m. and the race at 11 a.m. The $25 fee includes a souvenir long-sleeve T-shirt (must register before Dec. 6). All awards are based on chip time. All ages are welcome. Packet pickup is Sunday, Dec. 29, at Adams Tennis Complex (925 Golf Ln.) from 1–6:45 p.m. Strollers are welcome. No pets are allowed on the course. For more information, visit or contact

MONDAYS RECOVERY IN THE FILLING STATION Celebrate Recovery in the Filling Station (North Boulevard Church Of Christ, 1112 N Rutherford Blvd.) every Monday evening with dinner at 6 p.m. ($2), praise time at 7 p.m. and a small share group at 8 p.m. Newcomers are always welcome. This is a Biblical and balanced program that helps people overcome life’s hurts, BOROPULSE.COM

about the topics with a simple craft and a nature hike or fun activity each Wednesday while learning about the wonderful, wacky wildlife that lives in Tennessee. Registration is required. Please call the Tuesday before class to register. Admission is $3. For more information, contact 615-217-3017 or

* DECEMBER 2019 * 7

Sounds HAVE YOURSELF A VERY CHUCK BERRY CHRISTMAS: GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT PLAYS SPECIAL CHRISTMAS CONCERT DO YOU LOVE CHRISTMAS MUSIC but find “White Christmas” a bit saccharine? Is Chuck Berry’s “Run Rudolph Run” a bit more to your taste? If so, lace up your blue suede shoes and head over to Hop Springs Beer Park on Saturday, Dec. 7, for Good Rockin’ Tonight’s rock ’n’ roll Christmas bash. The Nashville-based tribute band will be kicking off the season in style, performing holiday songs from your favorite rock and rockabilly artists. After years of playing guitar for an Elvis impersonator’s band, Corey Woodlawn set out to form his own band. Networking in the Nashville music scene, he gathered around him a group of players who shared his love for early rock ’n’ roll and rockabilly, and Good Rockin’ Tonight was born.

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Hewing close to its source material, Good Rockin’ Tonight’s authentic covers will transport you back to an era of soda shops and classic cars, back to a time when Sam Phillips’ tiny Sun Studios in Memphis set the world ablaze. “What we try to do is pass on a felt sense of what the ’50s were like,” said Woodlawn, Good Rockin’ Tonight’s lead singer and guitarist. “We use the same lingo, same dress, same gear.” And it works. Whether covering Elvis, Buddy Holly or Little Richard, Good Rockin’ Tonight brings the best of rock ’n’ roll back to life with fiery piano lines, razorsharp guitars and a steady backbeat that will have you hopping out of your seats if not your socks. If you missed the band’s Elvis set earlier this year at Hop Springs, you won’t want to miss this one. The band is set to hit the stage at 7:30 p.m. Poodle skirts and pompadours are optional, but duck walking is highly recommended. Visit for tickets; seating is limited. — JON LITTLE


TRIVIA, KARAOKE & BINGO NIGHTS Send karaoke, trivia and entertainment info to  MONDAYS AHARTS PIZZA GARDEN Trivia 7 p.m. HANK’S Open Mic Night 6–9 p.m. HOP SPRINGS Poker 7 p.m. JACK BROWN’S Trivia 7 p.m. LEVEL III Trivia 7 p.m. THE BORO Karaoke 8 p.m.

 TUESDAYS COCONUT BAY Trivia 7:30 p.m. HOP SPRINGS Karaoke 7–10 p.m. NACHO’S Trivia 7 p.m. OLD CHICAGO Trivia 7 & 8:15 p.m.

GEORGIA’S SPORTS BAR Karaoke 8 p.m.–12 a.m. HANK’S Karaoke 7–10 p.m. LEVEL III Trivia 7 p.m. MELLOW MUSHROOM Trivia 8 p.m.

 FRIDAYS BOOMBOZZ PIZZA Trivia 8:30 p.m. GEORGIA’S SPORTS BAR Karaoke 9 p.m.–1 a.m. LIQUID SMOKE DJ night 10 p.m.

OLD CHICAGO Ballad Bingo 7 p.m. STATION GRILL Trivia 7 p.m.

MT BOTTLE Karaoke 9 p.m.–3 a.m.

THE BOULEVARD Trivia 8 p.m.

CAMPUS PUB Karaoke 10 p.m.–2:30 a.m.

VAN’S BAR & GRILL Bike Night, Karaoke 6 p.m.

GEORGIA’S SPORTS BAR Karaoke 9 p.m.–1 a.m.


MT BOTTLE Karaoke 9 p.m.–3 a.m.

BURGER REPUBLIC Trivia 7 p.m. HOP SPRINGS Trivia 7 p.m.


PARTY FOWL Trivia 7 p.m.

CAMPUS PUB Karaoke 10 p.m.–2:30 a.m.

VAN’S BAR & GRILL Pool tournament 7 p.m.



NACHO’S Trivia 7 p.m. VAN’S BAR & GRILL Karaoke 7 p.m.


HEAR TIMELESS CHRISTMAS TREASURES FROM TENNESSEE PHILHARMONIC ORCHESTRA, DEC. 12 THE TENNESSEE PHILHARMONIC Orchestra’s 2019 Christmas concert, entitled Timeless Christmas Treasures, will feature the vocal talents of tenor Stephen Smith along with the Murfreesboro Chorus under the direction of Charlene Parkinson. First United Methodist Church hosts the concert on Thursday, Dec. 12, at 7 p.m. The Murfreesboro Chorus will perform such beloved classics as “Christmas Time Is Here” and “The Little Drummer Boy.” The magnificent voice of Stephen Smith should capture the majesty of the traditional “O Holy Night,” the fabulously entertaining “12 Gifts of Christmas” by Jeff Tyzik and other selections. “Timeless Christmas Treasures features a collection of holiday favorites that are sure to revive joyful memories of glorious seasons of the past,” said Jane McNulty, president of the TPO Board of Directors, encouraging all to make the holiday orchestral event an annual tradition for families for many seasons to come. The First United Methodist Church is located at 265 Thompson Ln. For tickets or more information, visit or call 615-898-1862.


SUN, 12/8

BURGER BAR Sarah Martin HANK’S Rebecca Lee Daniels MTSU WRIGHT MUSIC BUILDING MTSU Salsa Band SMYRNA VFW Shane Douglas

HANK’S The O’Donnells HOP SPRINGS Americana Open Jam

WED, 12/4 HOP SPRINGS Wednesday Acoustic Music Jam MTSU CENTER FOR CHINESE MUSIC AND CULTURE MTSU Chinese Music Ensemble MTSU WRIGHT MUSIC BUILDING Commercial Music Ensemble; MTSU Concert Orchestra

THURS, 12/5 HANDLEBARS World Famous Thursday Night Blues Jam HANK’S Jordan Carter MTSU WRIGHT MUSIC BUILDING Strings and friends (student concert)

FRI, 12/6 COCONUT BAY CAFE Graham Anthem Band HANK’S Delyn Christian; Jack Finley Band MAIN STREET MUSIC Rubiks Groove MAYDAY BREWERY Frazier and Company MEDIA RERUN Castle No Kings; Secret Keeper; Mr. Grey; Men Without Armies MILANO II Jack Popek PUCKETT’S Steel Blossoms VAN’S King and the Rebel

SAT, 12/7 COCONUT BAY CAFE DJ RDP HANK’S Brad Dix & Evan King; Dirt Road Daisies HOP SPRINGS Good Rockin’ Tonight: A Good Rockin’ Christmas MAYDAY BREWERY Adam Drasin


Arts Center of Cannon County 1424 John Bragg Hwy., Woodbury, 615-563-2787 Burger Bar 1850 Old Fort Pkwy. 615-895-5555 Campus Pub 903 Gunnerson Ave. 616-867-9893

TUES, 12/10 BURGER BAR Sarah Martin HANK’S Don Mealer SMYRNA VFW Shane Douglas

WED, 12/11 HOP SPRINGS Acoustic Music Jam MEDIA RERUN Glorious Rebellion; SFG; Year of October

THURS, 12/12


Even though the calendar will be turning to 2020, Mixtape asks if music fans are ready to go back in time. The band will rock out with everyone’s favorite 1980s rock and hair-metal songs—such as hits by Van Halen, Journey, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Chicago, Dire Straits and more—at Hop Springs’ New Year’s Eve bash. Mix tapes helped our parties become epic . . . they were the first soundtracks to our lives. And Mixtape the band wants to be your soundtrack to NYE 2020. Find tickets and more information at HOP SPRINGS Americana Open Jam

TUES, 12/17

FRI, 12/13

HANK’S Spencer Maige HANDLEBARS World Famous Thursday Night Blues Jam MEDIA RERUN Black Eyed Susans; Hungry Mother; Mackenzie Morgan

SAT, 12/14 HANK’S Joe Hooper; Phil Valdez MAYDAY BREWERY The Lillison Effect MJS Shane & the Money Makers SMYRNA VFW Tony and the Attitude

SUN, 12/15 HANK’S George Dunn

Coconut Bay Café 210 Stones River Mall Blvd. 615-494-0504


FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH Tennessee Philharmonic Orchestra HANDLEBARS World Famous Thursday Night Blues Jam HANK’S A Slice of American Pie MAYDAY BREWERY Old-Time Jam PUCKETT’S Brother Banter COCONUT BAY CAFE Elecoustic Soul HANK’S Sarah Martin; Sam Roark Band HOP SPRINGS Secret Commonwealth MAIN STREET MUSIC 84 (Van Halen tribute) MILANO II Jack Popek MAYDAY BREWERY Timothy Myles PUCKETT’S The Mighty Trainwrecks VAN’S TLB Back Roads Band


BURGER BAR Sarah Martin HANK’S J. Kyle Reynolds SMYRNA VFW Shane Douglas

WED, 12/18 HOP SPRINGS Acoustic Music Jam

THURS, 12/19

FRI, 12/20 ARTS CENTER OF CANNON COUNTY Jingle, Rattle & Roll COCONUT BAY CAFE Escape Band HANK’S Sara Simmons; Clayton Mann Band HOP SPRINGS Sarah Potenza MAYDAY BREWERY Tom Davison MILANO II Jack Popek PUCKETT’S Matt Nicholls VAN’S Junk Box

SAT, 12/21 ARTS CENTER OF CANNON COUNTY Jingle, Rattle & Roll

 View the Concert Calendar online at BOROPULSE.COM/CALENDAR

COCONUT BAY CAFE My July Band HANDLEBAR Shane & the Money Makers HANK’S Colleen Lloy; Zack Neil HOP SPRINGS Katie Cole Duo MAYDAY BREWERY The WNY SMYRNA VFW Rockin Country

SUN, 12/22 ARTS CENTER OF CANNON COUNTY Jingle, Rattle & Roll HANK’S Karree J. Phillips HOP SPRINGS Americana Open Jam

TUES, 12/24 BURGER BAR Sarah Martin HANK’S Delyn Christian SMYRNA VFW Shane Douglas

WED, 12/25 COCONUT BAY CAFE Christmas Karaoke with The Hitman Walker

THURS, 12/26 HANDLEBARS World Famous Thursday Night Blues Jam HANK’S George Dunn MAYDAY BREWERY Old-Time Jam


Blake Esse; Heather Victorino MAYDAY BREWERY Jackson Harrison MILANO II Jack Popeck THE BORO Intent City VAN’S Still Kickin Country

SAT, 12/28 COCONUT BAY CAFE Stranger Than Fiction HANK’S HunterGirl; Chazz Wesley HOP SPRINGS Chase Clanton & Vintage Vibes MAIN STREET MUSIC Leonard Brothers Holiday Bash PUCKETT’S Rebel North SMYRNA VFW Shane & the Money Makers

SUN, 12/29 HANK’S Elvis / Brad Rouse HOP SPRINGS Americana Open Jam

TUES, 12/31 BURGER BAR Sarah Martin COCONUT BAY CAFE Zone Status HANK’S Jack Finley Band HOP SPRINGS Mixtape ’80s Tribute Band SMYRNA VFW Rockin Country VAN’S Blues Radio

First United Methodist Church 265 W. Thompson Ln. 615-893-1322 Handlebars 2601 E. Main St. 615-890-5661 Hank’s 2341 Memorial Blvd. 615-410-7747 Hop Springs 6790 John Bragg Hwy. 615-628-8776 Main Street Music 527 W. Main St. 615-440-2425 Mayday Brewery 521 Old Salem Hwy. 615-479-9722 Memories Bar & Grill 574 Waldron Rd., La Vergne 615-280-7220 Milano II 114 E. College St. 615-624-7390 MTSU Center for Chinese Music and Culture 503A Bell St., Suite 1600 615-898-5718 MTSU Wright Music 1439 Faulkinberry Dr. 615-898-2469 Nacho's 2962 S. Rutherford Blvd. 615-907-2700 Puckett’s Grocery 114 N. Church St. 629-201-6916 Ridenour Rehearsal Studios 1203 Park Ave. 615-956-7413 Smyrna VFW Post 8422 10157 Old Nashville Hwy., Smyrna 615-459-9832 The Boro Bar & Grill 1211 Greenland Dr. 615-895-4800 Van’s Bar and Grill 2404 Halls Hill Pk. 615-624-7767


* DECEMBER 2019 * 9


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BR549’s Chuck Mead on new music, radio host-ness and cavernous close to home-iness BY MELISSA COKER Why don’t you find yourself a life that’s real? Too lazy to work . . . too nervous to steal THAT IS THE QUESTION POSED in BR549’s popular song “Too Lazy to Work (Too Nervous to Steal)” but these days that Grammy-nominated band’s co-founding singer, songwriter, performer, producer and radio host Chuck Mead is anything but lazy. “I’ve gone from the bars of Lower Broadway in Nashville to the Broadway stage,” he says. In 2006 Mead started going solo and in the meantime began to shine as musical director for Million Dollar Quartet, a stage musical about Sun Records and the array of artists it introduced. It ran for eight years in Chicago, then to the bright lights of Broadway and the West End in London plus four and half years of a national tour. “That’s my straight job,” he proudly shares of the accomplishment. “I have one troupe now—it’s on a Norwegian cruise liner. It’s like the Las Vegas version that we did, shortened to an hour and a half so that people can go back and gamble. We switch out casts every six months. Great casts; they sing and play. I help teach them rockabilly.” TV network CMT got in on the good vibes of Million Dollar Quartet’s commercial appeal for awhile. It ordered a 2017 scripted se10 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

ries titled Sun Records, boasting such names as Billy Gardell as Colonel Tom Parker, Chad Michael Murray as Sam Phillips and Pokey LaFarge as Hank Snow. Mead recreated some of Quartet’s music and consulted on production for the project. The show’s eight episodes are available to watch on “I’ve been out on the road since basically June for [my new album] Close to Home,” says Mead. “It’s not a concept record like the last couple were; the songs were written at different times. I just wanted to catch the flavor of the studio there in Memphis . . . tap into Sam Phillips’s spirit where anything can happen. See what kind of funk that Memphis could put on them.” There’s not a song on Close to Home that feels out of place, even while the album’s thematics and feel may shake a listener all over the place. It’s a mixed bag all shook up with fun, telephone wires and would-be stripping (i.e., “Daddy Worked the Pole” and its hook “so mama wouldn’t have to”), sweetness (“There’s Love Where I Come From”) and subjects in between. Mead wrote current single “Shake” (which he describes as “kind of swampy, kind of Slim Harpo-y, Creedencey”) with friend Paul Cebar, who also co-wrote the album’s “My Baby’s Holding It Down.”

For the album’s release, Mead opted to embark on a tour of Nashville honky-tonks. “I just wanted to do something different,” he says. “I had a residence at Robert’s [Western World] for a couple of years. We played almost every night of the week. So I decided I’d try to play five different honkytonks in a week. We wrapped up that Friday at the Nashville Palace and then on Saturday I played the Grand Ole Opry and then played at Robert’s (former home of BR549). It was great, we all slept in our same beds every night, but we were on tour.” WMOT radio streamed the full set of that Nashville Palace show for its Wired In concert series. Hosted by WMOT’s Jessie Scott, the night showcased Mead and his Grassy Knoll Boys as well as jump-ins from Smilin’ Jay McDowell (who first met Mead at The Boro Bar & Grill) and JD McPherson. Watch it on Call his sound Americana, rockabilly, hillbilly, Hee-Hawin’, honky-tonk, Western swing—what say you—Mead’s all about it. Fresh off the release of his acclaimed Close to Home, on Saturday, Dec. 7, this chuck-of-all trades (and a few friends) is in fact coming close to home and ready to “rock” in concert at The Caverns in Pelham, Tennessee. Presented by Murfreesboro’s own WMOT Roots Radio, the Cosmic Honky Tonk Revue promises plenty of rollicking, rolling, and maybe even a come-to-Jesus moment or two. “Revue” brings Mead, Jason Ringenberg and Jim Lauderdale, plus Mead’s band The Grassy Knoll Boys backing the bunch

to pack a punch in planting some roots in the cave. “Cosmic” to describe it is shiningly fitting, especially considering Mead’s first single off of Close was the growling attention-getter “Big Bear in the Sky.” “I have my dial set to WMOT (when it’s not 650); that’s one of my presets. They have everything. It’s an honor to be there with both of those guys,” Mead says of Lauderdale and Ringenberg. “For these shows we really wanted to mix it up . . . We do stuff together and we do stuff separate. I have the utmost respect for both of them. And Jim Lauderdale is arguably one of the greatest writers of the 20th century, plus an incredible singer too. I have to watch my back when it comes to Lauderdale and I have to watch my equipment when it comes to Jason,” he laughs. “He’ll step all over my pedalboard when he’s up there rocking. But who wants Jason to hold back? Not me. It’s not something you see every day. It’s inspiring, it’s funny. Get onboard the Cosmic Honky Tonk Revue!” Mead does a lot of talking to fellow artists as host of his own radio show Face the Music, which airs on Nashville’s 650-AM WSM. One much-anticipated segment of that show is called “Creepy or Sexy.” Listeners can call in or take to Facebook to vote on whether or not they think a certain choice classic or vintage tune crosses the creepiness line. The subjects change for each show and have included recordings from artists Conway Twitty, Bobbie Gentry and Whisperin’ Bill Anderson (perhaps a bit too whisper-y. . .?). “Creepy or Sexy,” Mead says, was an idea he got from his wife [who received her graduate degree from MTSU]. “She and some other co-workers used to play a game called that, so I’m like, ‘Yeah, I think I should just steal that from you.’ I’m still looking for songs for it.” Airing 6–7 p.m. the second Friday of each month, leading into the Friday Night Opry, Face the Music is sponsored by Mead’s longtime honky-tonk home Robert’s Western World and guests so far have included Carlene Carter, Ketch Secor of Old Crow Medicine Show and Mead’s “Cosmic Revue” cohorts Jim Lauderdale and Jason Ringenberg. Most recently he stirred things up dishing with Americana darling Elizabeth Cook. December’s guest is JD McPherson. Previous airings are still available for listening via SoundCloud. Mead also narrates a podcast called Building Nashville. For tickets to Cosmic Honky Tonk Revue, Dec. 7, at the Caverns visit The Caverns’s page on Facebook or




A couple of years ago, when Amerigo Gazaway relocated to Berkeley, California, the Middle Tennessee hip-hop community lost one of its brightest stars. A formerly Nashville-based graduate of MTSU’s Electronic Media program, Gazaway has been praised in media as disparate as XXL, The Los Angeles Times and NPR. Blurring the line between remixing and producing new songs, Gazaway is best known for his Soul Mates series of releases, which pair a modern artist like Yasiin Bey (f.k.a. Mos Def ) with a “soul mate” from the past like Marvin Gaye. Each album features a cappella hip-hop verses laid over beats constructed from the elder statesman’s catalog. The premise behind 1990, Gazaway’s full-length collaboration with Bay Area songstress Xiomara, is similarly referential. The album is loaded with musical nods to ’90s hip-hop and R&B. From the Teddy Riley-inspired new jack swing of “Westside Swing” to the subtle reworking of the horn sample used on Souls of Mischief ’s underground classic, “93 ’Til Infinity,” 1990 puts Gazaway and Xiomara’s deep knowledge of ’90s music on full display. Though the hat tips to the past are abundant, 1990 sounds surprisingly fresh. And that has just as much to do with Xiomara. While Gazaway’s beats will have production heads going nuts, Xiomara’s the clear star of the show. Her jazz-inspired approach sees her shifting shape from song to song and shining all the while. Though only her second full-length release, Xiomara sings with confidence and stylistic ranget. She channels SWV one minute, Faith Evans the next, and then turns to the late ’90s neo-soul of Jill Scott. And that’s to say nothing of her songwriting, which is stellar throughout. More an innovative reinterpretation than a nostalgic rehash, 1990 is Gazaway and Xiomara’s love letter to a decade of great black music.



Image and music have long walked hand in hand, but in our internet-saturated world, the two are more intimately connected than ever. In years past, few artists had the marketing muscle behind them to spread their image across the globe. Today, nearly every unsigned artist has multiple social media accounts that do just that. Indeed, the internet, along with digital audio workstations, have democratized popular music to an extent previously unimaginable, while also transforming every unsigned artist into their own “brand manager”—for better and for worse. I mention this because, after listening to Big, If True’s Top Text, what stayed with me was not a catchy lyric or melody—although both are there in abundance—but a sense of cognitive dissonance. The distance between the band’s comedic, tongue-in-cheek image, and its relatively straightforward punk-inspired pop-rock left me feeling unsettled, almost cheated. On its Bandcamp page Big, if True claims the new EP was inspired by “the paintings of former President George W. Bush and L. Ron Hubbard’s Dianetics or whatever.” From these musings to the band’s hilarious “family portraits” on its Facebook and Bandcamp pages, I was expecting music that was equally transgressive. Though an engagingly offbeat lyricism exists throughout (Targets in my brain / I never hit ’em like a high note) as a whole, Top Text is rather staid. The band is tight, and it’s got a knack for penning memorable melodies, but musically, it’s largely treading well-trodden ground. “All You Can (Ch)eat Buffet” is great, but with its heavy fuzz guitars and relentlessly catchy chorus, it sounds more like something Weezer would have made in the late ’90s than anything you’d expect from a new band whose extra-musical offerings seem so deliciously idiosyncratic.




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Spongebath Reunites for Dec. 13 Benefit Show at Historic Lindsley Avenue Church in Nashville BY JON LITTLE


n Friday, Dec. 13, artists from Spongebath Records will play a reunion show at the historic Lindsley Avenue Church in downtown Nashville to benefit Youth Encouragement Services’ Christmas Store. Odds are, most rock fans who lived in Middle Tennessee in the late ’90s will be familiar with Spongebath Records, the indie label that set up headquarters at 101 N. Maple St. on the Square in Murfreesboro. Formed in 1995, Spongebath was a bastion for talented musicians who had flocked to Murfreesboro, largely to attend the recording industry program at MTSU. From the beginning, it was a small label with an outsized influence. With a slew of critically acclaimed releases from sElf, Fluid Ounces, The Katies, The Features, Count Bass D and others, it did more than make Nashville turn and take notice, it had heads across the nation swiveling towards Tennessee asking “Sponge who? Murfrees what?” Billboard magazine covered the label at least four times in as many years, and ran a multi-page story in 1997 titled “Murfreesboro Emerges as an Unlikely Music Mecca.” CMJ, Rolling Stone and Spin 12 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

all highlighted the label or its artists. Spongebath garnered more than critical acclaim. Their artists were on the airwaves across the country. And sElf, headed by drummer and studio wiz Matt Mahaffey— who went on to work with artists as diverse as Keith Urban, Beck and Beyoncé—landed a number of songs on MTV. The Katies, The Features and sElf all went on to release albums with major labels. From the piano-driven rock of Fluid Ounces to the wonderful fare of the sometimes-rapper, sometimes-singer and always multi-instrumentalist Count Bass D, it was the range and diversity of Spongebath’s stable that cemented its reputation as an indie label to watch. However, like so many acts in the music industry, Spongebath’s fame and fortune was relatively short-lived. As quickly as its star ascended, it fell. By 2001 it had closed its doors. Within a decade most of its headlining artists were working day jobs to make ends meet. It’s been more than two decades since Spongebath released its first record and, according to Seth Timbs of Fluid Ounces, nearly as long since all the bands shared a stage.

“Matt [Mahaffey] and I were thinking, it must have been ’99 or 2000 since we did a show with all four of us [bands],” speaking of Fluid Ounces, The Features, The Katies and sElf. “It was at 328 Performance Hall. That tells you how long ago it was.” When asked about the impetus for the reunion show, which aims to collect toys for the Youth Encouragement Services Christmas toy drive, Timbs said, “It was all Laws Rushing, pastor at the Lindsley Avenue Church, who’s an old friend of all of ours.” Before Laws Rushing became Dr. Rushing, minister of the historic Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ in Nashville, he was an MTSU recording industry grad fronting a band called, simply enough, Laws Rushing. “I was in that music scene in the late ’90s and early 2000s,” Dr. Rushing said. “I played with Seth and The Katies and The Features.” “I love Laws,” said Jason Moore, lead singer of the power pop trio The Katies, and a longtime friend of the singer-turnedpastor. “He does so much good work for Nashville, the downtown area, that community.” When asked about the importance of service to his church, Dr. Rushing said, “Where we are in Nashville, we’re just placed in a unique spot where we see a lot of need. We’re not a huge church. We’re not a rich church, but we have a beautiful building right in downtown Nashville

and it should be utilized for the good of all people. That’s kind of what we’re doing [with the show].” The show is the seventh annual toy drive hosted by the Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ. As in previous years, the show benefits Youth Encouragement Services (YES), a nonprofit that runs afterschool and summer programs, offering inner-city kids a safe place to learn and grow socially, emotionally and spiritually. In addition to its daily programs that help students with schoolwork and provide free meals, once a year YES hosts a Christmas Store Day where students’ parents and guardians can come and shop for Christmas presents at a reduced price. It also provides them a new outfit for each of their children, a full holiday meal and a Walmart gift certificate. Each year the Christmas Store serves around 175 families and 600 children, according to Samantha Johnson, Director of Agency Advancement at YES. The first six toy drive shows were headlined by the Nashville-based Secret Sisters, but when they couldn’t perform this year, Dr. Rushing got to thinking; “I just thought what would be a show that I would want to go see? And the Spongebath reunion sparked in my mind” So he reached out to his old friends. “I knew there would be people that would love to see that group together again. . . . I just had my fingers crossed and my prayers going the whole time.” And it worked. With sets from The Katies, Seth Timbs of Fluid Ounces, Matt Pelham of The Features and Matt Mahaffey of sElf, the reunion show will feature many of Spongebath’s most prominent former artists. Maybe Dr. Laws will hop on stage for a feature. Who knows? It’s Christmas. Anything could happen, right? The show starts at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, at the Lindsley Avenue Church of Christ, 3 Lindsley Ave., Nashville. Admission is one unwrapped children’s toy. Come celebrate Middle Tennessee music history and support a good cause! If you can’t make the show, consider dropping off a toy in advance. Gifts are gratefully accepted at Lindsley Avenue Church or at YES’s office at 11 Lindsley Ave., Monday through Friday between noon and 5 p.m. For more information on volunteering with YES visit or contact

ELLIE AUSTIN Young Local Musician Wins First Walnut House Songwriters Series BY MELISSA COKER MIDDLE TENNESSEE SONGWRITERS

Series of shows wrapped up on Nov. 20, and organizers presented contest series winner and Murfreesboro native Ellie Austin with a package including a Walnut House recording package for a five-song EP professionally recorded and mastered with a full band, a year’s worth of guitar strings and other prizes. “Everyone gave a tremendous performance. There’s a huge abundance of talent here in the middle of Middle Tennessee,” says songwriter series co-sponsor Ricky Martini of the Walnut House. “We want to help people show the talent they possess and get started—or continue— with their music career.” Austin is a senior at Central Magnet School who counts Brandi Carlile, The Secret Sisters, Lewis Capaldi and Adele among her influences and says songwriting has been her passion for as long as she can remember. “You can imagine the kind of songs a six-year-old writes,” she laughs. “My mom got me hooked on country music from a young age. . . . But in dealing with chronic illnesses and other issues for the past five years, writing songs quickly transformed from a favorite hobby into a necessary form of catharsis.” Despite the occasional “happy” song, Austin tells the Pulse that she tends to write about heartache. “I think there’s a subtle beauty in falling apart; that’s how we learn who we really are. Regardless of content or subject matter, I want others to feel heard and understood when listening to my songs. For my whole life—especially in my darkest valleys—songwriting has been a vessel through which I’ve released complicated emotions and

tried to make sense of my circumstances,” she shares. “By writing with vulnerability and transparency about whatever I’m going through, I hope to voice what others are feeling when they don’t know how. Above all else, I aim to glorify God in everything I do. I’ve been writing more worship songs— and broken prayers in the form of songs— recently, and that process fosters a sense of inner peace in the midst of chaos.” Austin has posted a few clips of her originals to and adds shorter clips each week. The series of 10 Middle Tennessee Songwriters shows began in July. Each of the first nine shows consisted of 12 accomplished songwriters and up to five songwriter contestants. Based on audience votes the nine winning writers advanced to the Nov. 20 final. Runner-ups Kaylee Flores and Pepper Martin received a fivesong acoustic recording. When the next series kicks off, contestants Sara Kays, Justin Bowman, Gabe David, Ralph Hayes, Jolie Bell and Glenn Brown, along with the winners, will all become part of the regular rotation of performing songwriters. In the first round “I sang two originals: ‘I Don’t Love You Anymore’ and ‘Who You’ll Be,’” Austin enthusiastically explains. “The first capitalizes on the feeling of freedom discovered when all the little reminders of someone you once loved—like a stunning sunset or an old favorite song on the radio—no longer have a hold on you. The second is the most honest, transparent song I’ve ever written, and it resembles a letter to my younger self with everything I’d want her to know if I could go back.” The Walnut House and Middle Tennessee Songwriters Group plan to announce the next series dates in January.




Baby Lives Matter Smyrna pastor on a mission to persuade expectant mothers seeking abortions to change their hearts and minds ABORTION IS ONE OF the biggest policy debates in the U.S. Some say abortion is healthcare, the right to choose, and a woman’s choice to determine what she would like to have inside her body. Family planning. Many others say it is a brutal war on the most defenseless human beings, a methodical murder of the innocent, a mass killing of holocaust proportions occuring in, supposedly, one of the most civilized and tolerant societies in history. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that over 46 million Americans have been killed by abortion since 1970. Many estimate that figure to be even higher. In no other instance in the medical community would the termination of a healthy life be considered ethical or legal. Still many Americans insist that abortion is heathcare. One Middle Tennessee man felt extreme sadness for these murders of the unborn, and in 2015 Scott Hord said God directed him to “engage abortion.” So he did. Hord, who pastors Christ Life Community in Smyrna, does not engage abortion in capitol buildings or courthouses. He does not make a stand only on social media or online 16 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

forums. Rather, he takes it to the streets. Standing outside in the cold, or the heat, or the rain each Tuesday and Friday morning, he speaks with women who seek to end their pregnancies, heading toward the entrance of Middle Tennessee’s primary abortion provider, Planned Parenthood in Nashville. “I keep to what God’s calling me to do, which is to engage the moms,” Hord said. “They are killing babies five days a week, eight hours a day,” he said of Planned Parenthood, and he wants someone from Operation Saving Life, the group he founded with the objective of giving babies a chance at life, to

eventually be present outside of the facility during all open hours, available to speak to mothers and to present the case for life. “We’re trying to generate volunteers. Our goal is to be there 40 hours a week,” Hord said. “It’s a tragedy,” he says about the millions of lives lost. He said he wasn’t quite sure what to say when he first decided to speak with the mothers considering abortions, but that he “needed to be humble and loving and, at the same time, truthful.” At times, a discussion of God’s love for all lives causes the mother to reconsider having an abortion; with other women, Hord brings up the idea that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger wanted to limit the population of non-whites in America and her now-controversial connection to and partnership with the eugenics community. Hord said the responses were all over the place—some were kind to him, many ignored him, some made threats towards him. Then one day, a young girl engaged in conversation with him and agreed to leave the abortion facility; she eventually gave birth to a healthy child. Hord said that mother’s decision to have her baby gave him “great joy and confidence to go back and do it again!” Since then Operation Saving Life has recorded 186 confirmed saves, Hord says, 186 babies born due to their sidewalk discussions with mothers.

Hord and others involved in OSL have come to realize that often the circumstances surrounding a mother who desires to have an abortion can be dark, and the group aims to help meet the physical, mental, relational and spiritual needs of the whole family, beyond the decision for the mother to have the child. The group seeks volunteers to not only help save the lives of the unborn, but to support that family on an ongoing basis. Hord says the conversations outside of the Nashville abortion provider can be taxing, confrontational at times, but he believes that what he is doing is right and important. He says that he gets all the strength to continue his quest when his conversations help lead to a baby being born rather than killed. He tells of the recent story of Laterrica, who traveled to the Nashville Planned Parenthood office seeking an abortion. Laterrica “is pregnant right now . . . having a baby in January,” Hord says. “I just have to see her at church on Sunday to get motivation.” While these success stories inspire him and the other Operation Saving Life volunteers to keep going, they speak with far more mothers who go forward with their abortion, as opposed to those who decide to continue carrying their children. “We might get one or two rescues per month,” Hord says. Each time he travels to Nashville on this mission he may speak with “probably three or four abortion-minded people. . . . We may save 1 out of 40.” But instead of becoming burdened by the lives that ended, says Hord, “I focus on the one, and just let her know that we love her.” The Operation Saving Life founder says that now a lot of churches in the area are backing the group, supporting the mothers, throwing baby showers for them, remaining involved in their lives, celebrating birthdays with the children as the years go by. “Seeing those babies gives me enough joy to keep going,” Hord says. He says he does not intend to necessarily be involved in efforts to legislatively de-fund Planned Parenthood or to fight the matter using the legal system. He just wants mothers to consider having their babies, and will continue ministering outside of the Nashville abortion clinic on Tuesday and Friday mornings as long as he is able. Christ Life Community Church meets in the Smyrna Boys & Girls Club, 198 Culbertson St., Smyrna. The church holds Sunday worship at 10:30 a.m. For more information, visit For more information on the mission of Operation Saving Life and volunteer opportunities, visit


Verge has worked there since 1998. He says it is rewarding to serve so long with an organization. “Now I’m taking care of their children and their children’s children,” John says, remembering some of the first youngsters he worked with. Again, you can hear that booming voice every other Tuesday at a Toastmaster club, where he is very involved. He currently serves as one of the officers for the Heart of Tennessee Toastmasters Club. The organization helps those who are afraid of public speaking to gain more confidence in their communication skills. Verge admits it took him a long time before he felt comfortable enough to present. “John reminds us at club meetings that it took him a few years before he would participate. He is our current VP of public relations, and encourages members and guests,” said Angela Braach, president of the club. “He was

one of the first people to welcome me to the club five years ago. I have learned so much from him!” In September, Murfreesboro honored Verge by giving him the key to the city, a well-deserved accolade for someone who has given so much. So, how will John serve the community in the future? It’s hard to say, but he will certainly be at one of the large retailers in Murfreesboro. When you see (and hear) him, be certain to say hello. Of course, the best way to show your gratitude is to contribute a few dollars to the Red Kettle.

“It’s a great way of giving back to those who are in need, not just for the holidays.”

John Verge

For more information on becoming a bell ringer yourself, contact 615-895-7071 or The Heart of Tennessee Toastmasters Club meets the first, third and fifth Tuesday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Keller Williams office, 450 St. Andrews Dr.

Big Voice of Kindness


HAT BIG, BOOMING VOICE you hear asking for donations this holiday season may just belong to John Verge. But John has an equally big heart, and he has been a bell ringer for the Salvation Army for over 30 years. You see these bell ringers around town every December, and more than likely have contributed to the charity at some point. Of course, the Salvation Army organization helps people all year round. When asked why he has done it all these years, Verge says “Because it’s a great way of giving back to those who are in need, not just for the holidays.” He may not be dressed as a Santa, but you will definitely hear a few “Ho-hohos.” Verge first started helping the Salvation Army and its Red Kettle Campaign back in 1986. For the first few years, he was assigned all over Middle Tennessee. “John Verge is a treasure to our community. His volunteerism has helped The Salvation Army raise the money needed to operate our shelter and feeding programs,” John Mitchell, community relations director of the local Salvation Army.

These days, Mr. Verge stays a bit more local. Many remember him as the gentleman who stood outside the old K-Mart, where he spent 25 seasons volunteering. John says the most memorable experience was in 1995, when a baby stroller got away from a family. Like in a scene from a movie, he sprung into action and grabbed the baby from busy shopper traffic. He brought the baby back to a grateful family. Just chalk it up to another act of selflessness from John Verge. But John doesn’t just help kids at Christmas time. His full-time job is at the Boys & Girls Club of Murfreesboro, where he’s known by the kids as the “Snack Man.” Daily, he keeps kids engaged, feeds them and cleans up after them. You can also hear that booming voice as he announces their sporting events. According to Kelly Davis, Director of Operations at the Boys & Girls Club “John has been a staple in our club for many years and he continues to make an impact every day. From being ‘The Voice’ during basketball and football games to serving healthy meals to our members, to mentoring, John takes great pride in all he does.” BOROPULSE.COM

* DECEMBER 2019 * 17




SCOTT MOORE, who works on the marketing strategy of Hop Springs Beer Park in Murfreesboro, has done a lot of work over the years to help the youth in Guatemala with the organization Athentikos, which he founded with his wife, Amelia, in 2008. “We started Athentikos to give back to Guatemala, the birth country of our sons,” Moore said. “We were so grateful, we couldn’t just adopt our sons and go on with our lives. So we gathered creative friends and started a nonprofit to use creativity as a mission to empower and heal.” SCOTT MOORE They took three trips to Guatemala beginning in 2009 to produce Reparando, a featurelength, award-winning documentary that depicts the country’s 36-year war and reconstruction. “Less than a three-hour flight from Atlanta, Guatemala is a land of incredible diversity—ancient Mayan ruins in the lowlands, centuries-old Spanish Colonial architecture in the highlands, beautiful beaches, volcanoes and lush rain forests,” Moore said. “Among all of this beauty is a people with great needs. Seventy-five percent of the population lives below the poverty line. There are an estimated 20,000 children living in orphanages and at least 6,000 more live in the streets of Guatemala City alone. “Gang culture, chronic malnutrition, poor education and lack of resources,” Moore explains, “prevent countless GuateAMELIA MOORE malans from rising above their oppressed condition.” witnessed and my soul demanded that I reIn January 2008, Moore visited a maxispond.” Moore says he then gathered a crew mum security prison with a missionary and traveled back to Guatemala to explore friend to meet some gang members. In the the stories he had heard. “I began to ask prison, he was surrounded by hundreds of questions,” Moore begins. “Why do people men covered in gang tattoos. “Yet behind the frightening war paint were join gangs? Why do children live on the street? What caused the rampant poverty? the eyes of young men with stories—stories What caused the enormous slums? When of struggle,” he said. “While many of them did all of this begin?” had committed horrible crimes, I couldn’t While seeking answers, Moore learned stop thinking about the circumstances that that the majority of issues in Guatemala limited their choices in the first place. That today are connected to a 36-year civil war night I had difficulty sleeping. I realized that that ended in 1996. “Fathers were killed. in different circumstances, either of my GuaFamilies were destroyed. And people fleeing temalan sons could have ended up in that violence created some of the largest slums prison . . . and honestly, so could I. in Latin America,” Moore says. “It wasn’t enough that I adopted two “But hope is rising. In the midst of sons. My mind was captivated by what I


Middle Tennessee Ministers to Guatemalan Youth Through Art


incredible odds, victims have been transformed into champions who willfully embrace the pain of their past to help repair the next generation.” The fruits of Athentikos’s labor are the children the mission gets to work with, said program director David Lee. Working with street youth inspired Athentikos to create an arts program called “I AM ART” to empower at-risk kids through creative arts. Since 2014, the organization has hosted over 20 camps both domestically and abroad and worked with over 2,000 at-risk youths in Guatemala. “I’ve worked with children in extreme urban settings like a slum neighborhood in Guatemala called La Limonada, which is

one of the largest slums in the world,” Lee said. “It is massive.” In La Limonada, at young ages, children fall into factioned gangs that are divided by region. To bring these kids together, in 2016, Athentikos led kids from these different regions to work together on a mural, and now years later they are able to look at their art as a reminder that they are able to work together toward something new. Athentikos also looks at opportunities for healing through art. In their curriculum, the mission does a lot of group projects. One such project involved having all of the campers create ceramic tiles and then, in the process of breaking them, process through some of the things that have happened to them that are heavy and difficult. Then they take all of those pieces from the tiles, put them back together and make a mural piece. “We can take all these pieces of our lives and put them together into one beautiful piece,” Lee said. “I think self-expression and the creative arts allow these children to process the situation they are in in a healthy way, and we are just a part of that. We are seeing good work happen, and we have a large volunteer base in Guatemala.” Athentikos is looking for volunteers to help in the United States as well. In East Nashville, they have painted a mural with the local kids with Front Porch Ministry, and they have had multiple small art activities around town. “In 2020 we hope to expand our I AM ART program into other locations in Guatemala and around the world, including Middle Tennessee,” Moore said. You can also view the documentary Reparando on Amazon Prime; Athentikos has a second documentary, called Becoming Fools, the story of Italo Castro, a professional clown who earned his living entertaining children at parties, but who also removed his makeup and cared for street children in his spare time. Becoming Fools can be seen on YouTube. For information about upcoming opportunities to volunteer locally or in Guatemala, visit

Living Fill Your Cup With Cheer Child Advocacy Center, Salvation Army, World Outreach and others offer ways to give to your Murfreesboro neighbors BY ANGELA LOUPE


New Year is on its way, and with it comes the prospect of new beginnings. There’s no better way to ring in a new beginning than with thanksgiving and goodwill towards men. How appropriate then, that Thanksgiving and Christmas are the two holidays that round out the end of each year. Now that we’ve all had time to give thanks, it’s time to focus on the latter—goodwill towards men. Living in a large city can be daunting. There’s the traffic, the waiting in long lines, the construction, the traffic, the lessening of personability, the diminishing personal time that is taken up by among other things—let’s face it, the traffic! There are so many growing pains that it becomes almost inevitable to lose sight of humanity and goodwill towards men in favor of securing self. However, we all eventually come to know full well that this option is a bottomless pit. So, before I go into all the wonderful opportunities for giving that the city has to offer this Christmas season, I’d like to say that a wonderful gift that the people of this city can give to each other is the gift of kindness and understanding. We can all afford to be a little more patient towards each other and offer something as simple and free as a smile. You quite literally have no idea how much someone might have needed that smile you just offered. Let’s dig deeply, and resolve to be kind to one another. Not because the other person deserves it, and not because we’re good enough to see past that, but because there is an opportunity to give. There are plenty of other opportunities all around Murfreesboro to give this season. While this is certainly not an exhaustive list of opportunities, there are quite a few here to get you going if you aren’t sure where to start. Filling your cup with cheer and getting into the Christmas Spirit is as easy as extending your arm out to another and helping them up in a time of need. There’s no wrong way to help out if it is done in love. Whether you give of your time, your money, or both, giving is an important part of understanding what this season is all about. And it also helps to remember that you’re never fully dressed without a smile! 20 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM


THE SALVATION ARMY has its annual Christmas Tree Angel Drive underway. The Angel Tree starts earlier in the season, but will continue to receive gifts up until the Dec. 15 cutoff. For those interested, you can visit the Salvation Army at 1137 W. Main St. right off of New Salem Highway near Old Fort Parkway, and find out which needs still remain. In addition, if you aren’t heavy on extra cash this year, there are other ways to serve. For example, you can give a little time instead of money. First off, The Salvation Army is in need of bell ringers! I volunteered to ring the Salvation Army Bell about a decade ago in the mini-mall in downtown Nashville. I personalized it. I sang, I danced and I chatted. I interacted with the people passing by. I made it fun. Make it fun! Consider signing up to ring the bell! Or, if that’s just not your thing, there’s also an opportunity to help out by distributing the gifts that the Angel Tree collects right before Christmas around Dec. 18. Giving out gifts and seeing the joy of the children receiving them is certainly a good way to fill your cup with cheer!


Another organization helping make Christmas brighter for the city is the congregation at WORLD OUTREACH CHURCH. I was elated to hear that a church of its size still manages to see the wisdom in allocating duties to reliable organizations that are already in place. In other words, they don’t necessarily have a toy drive, or other programs of their own. Instead, they gather donations from among their congregation and then distribute those donations to organizations already in place, such as Toys for Tots and Feed America First. Furthermore, they hold several Christmas Eve services, and all monetary donations received are given to benefit charities in the local community. If you’d like more information on how to donate to this church, or if you’d like to attend their Christmas Eve services, you can visit for more information. The World Outreach community also offers a free Christmas gift wrap service center in Stones River Mall

in Murfreesboro from Dec. 7 through Christmas Eve. TOYS FOR TOTS is another great program keeping in the spirit of giving this season. There are many ways to get involved with TFT from volunteering your time, to donations including money, warehouses, vehicles, gas cards and, of course, toys! The money and toys donated to TFT always remain local. In addition, they boast a 3 percent operating cost, meaning that 97 percent of donations go directly to purchasing toys. Started in 1947 by the Marine Corps Reserve as a community outreach program, TFT now distributes about 17 million toys to 7 million children each year. Any toy donation is greatly appreciated. TFT toy collection extends to children all the way up to the age of 14, so buying for a teenager is still suitable for the program. Anyone interested in helping out this organization can visit



THE CHILD ADVOCACY CENTER OF RUTHERFORD COUNTY works in cooperation with the Department of Children’s Services, local law enforcement and the district attorney’s office to serve the county’s youngest victims of crime. This very worthwhile organization is happy to receive whatever assistance anyone wishes to offer based on whatever their budget allows. Some sponsors contribute money or gift cards, some give toys, some give hygiene products, some offer candy for stocking stuffers and some provide the stockings. Some people choose to sponsor one child, while others wish to sponsor a family or more. All donations of appropriate nature are welcome, no matter how small or large the box they come in. Anyone wishing to donate to this organization can reach Jennifer Gamble at


BOULEVARD TERRACE REHABILITATION AND NURSING CENTER has an angel tree up in its front lobby, and members of their staff say it would be a blessing if some people in the area would come adopt an angel. The angels are labeled male and female and

has the resident’s wish list. It is up to sponsors how many items you pick and which items and all help is appreciated. All angels need to be returned with their gifts by Dec. 16. Boulevard Terrace encourages all volunteer help and visits as well. For more information on this project, contact Crystal at the Boulevard Terrace activity department at 615-896-4505 or drop by the facility at 1530 Middle Tennessee Blvd.


LOCAL AVON REPRESENTATIVE TINA LILLIG is currently running a fundraiser with Avon’s Finley the Fox. These 13-inch, ultra-plush, cuddly stuffed animals retail for $25 plus shipping and handling and taxes. This December, Lillig offers two of these friendly Finley the Foxes for $32 with the objective of donating some to Rutherford County police agencies. Customers can choose to keep one and give one to the local police departments, or to donate both. Local law enforcement will keep the stuffed animals on hand to offer them to children they may encounter who are in the midst of domestic issues, devastation or displacement to help brighten their day. Plus, 55 cents of each sale goes to FEED AMERICA FIRST in Murfreesboro who supplies fresh goods to local food banks. For more information on this project, contact Lillig at 360-620-2592 or


RUTHERFORD COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE is accepting gift donations for senior citizens through Dec. 18 in a box located in the main lobby of the Sheriff ’s Office located at 940 New Salem Highway in #Murfreesboro.


Ninety Rutherford County students will enjoy the spirit of Christmas, thanks to Toot’s - Murfreesboro restaurants’ diners and contributors to the SHOP WITH THE SHERIFF program. School resource officers and Sheriff ’s Citizens Academy alumni members will ask TOOT’S diners to donate during a fund-raising event from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 3 at Toot’s on Broad, Toot’s South on South Church Street and Toot’s West on Franklin Road.

6. Fruit of the Vine

It’s the Lost

Big Creek Winery Tasting Room in Christiana offers muscadine, niagra, concord, peach, blackberry, cherry, apple and other varieties from Pulaski’s Big Creek Winery. Drop by to shop for Tennessee products in a historic small-town setting.

Wonderful Time of The Year!

ENTER TO WIN a bottle of wine from Big Creek Winery Tasting Room




1. Give Fitness

3. Festive Music

Many don’t want more items to clutter up their homes as gifts, but many people do desire to get in better physical shape. The Murfreesboro Athletic Club can help with that. Consider gifting a MAC membership to someone on your list, and they will have access to the weight rooms and cardio theater there, as well as a variety of cycling, yoga, Zumba, Silver Sneakers and other group classes

Century 21 carries lots of music on vinyl, CD and cassette, along with turntables, incense, vaporizers, wall hangings, tie-dye, Zippos and all sorts of fun treasures. The store, just off Main Street near MTSU, also stocks clothing, soap and jewelry, and receives new vinyl every week. Shop there on Tuesdays for 10 percent off music, and on Thursdays for 10 percent off glass. Get in the holiday spirit with some old favorites, or maybe discover some new treasures this year. C21 has music to please every member of your family!

ENTER TO WIN a six-month membership at the MAC

2. Let It Go, Let It Go Most anyone would appreciate a massage, facial or pedicure, and a gift card to the Nurture Nook Day Spa & Gift Shoppe would make a great stocking stuffer. In addition to spa services, the boutique offers candles, bathrobes, essential oils and other items to help the people of Murfreesboro find their “Ahh . . . ” ENTER TO WIN a $100 gift certificate to Nurture Nook 22 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

body rust inhibitor, Bug Juice and other features. Memberships and individual washes are available at

ENTER TO WIN a gift set containing CBD-infused chocolates and gummies from Gen. 1:29

ENTER TO WIN a gift bucket of car care items, plus a $100 gift card to Sudsy’s

7. Coffee Goodness

5. Sweet Leaf Healing CBD and hemp products have become very popular in Murfreesboro, and throughout the country, over the past couple of years, with many users proclaiming their health and healing benefits. In addition to hemp flower and CBD oil, the locally owned Gen. 1:29 offers a variety of CBD-infused products—gummies, shampoo, coffee, syrups, cream, mints and more—that make great stocking stuffers.

The Fox & Goat Coffee Company, based in Middle Tennessee, offers smallbatch coffee roasted fresh and shipped to your door. The company, founded by a veteran and his wife (the goat and the fox), imports its beans from ethical growers located all around the world and roasts them with love. Order online at ENTER TO WIN a Fox & Goat gift basket with some of the roasts, scented candles and more


ENTER TO WIN a $50 gift certificate from Century 21

4. Suds Your Sled Give the gift of a clean car with Sudsy’s Car Wash. The Church Street car wash offers Unlimited Wash Club memberships starting at $22.99/month. Its premium Mighty Duck wash includes Lava Shield Paint Sealant, wax and shine, Rain-X, foam and conditioner, tire shine, under-

8. Doughnuts For Santa?

Donut Country has been a local legend for decades, and magical things happen in the middle of the night at this 24-hour Memorial Boulevard establishment. The people of Murfreesboro buy the made-in-house doughnuts, twists, eclairs, cinnamon rolls and more by the dozen, and the shop also serves sandwiches, chicken salad and other breakfast and lunch items. Drive right through and grab some doughnuts for someone on your list. ENTER TO WIN a $50 Donut Country gift card

12. Holiday Magic Wand & Willow Day Spa, located at the Salons by JC complex on Thompson Lane, believes that there is a little magic inside all of us. Give a little Christmas magic to a loved one you want to treat, and gift one of Wand & Willow’s indulgence packages, massages, signature facials or something from its collection of potions, lotions, skincare products or bath salts, so they may experience a moment of relaxation with a dash of whimsical charm. ENTER TO WIN a 60-minute Wand & Willow facial


9. Night at the Movies Treat someone on your list to a night at the theater and escape to a galaxy far away, a frozen land of enchantment, a sky-high flight, a war long ago, to the farm or into a tale of romance and intrigue. Malco Smyrna Cinema recently remodeled and installed large, soft reclining chairs in its theaters. Make yourself at home there one winter’s evening. ENTER TO WIN 10 passes to the Malco Smyrna Cinema

10. Shop With Habitat Many local families who needed a hand getting into home ownership are celebrating Christmas in their own homes thanks

to the work of Rutherford County Area Habitat for Humanity. Support the mission of Habitat for Humanity by shopping at the Habitat ReStore, 850 Mercury Blvd., where shoppers can find a huge selection of home goods, artwork, furniture and decor from tables to toilets, doorknobs to dressers.

Pulse readers—one containing plush white bear, an LED dog collar, a collapsible pet bowl with carabiner, a collapsible straw, a “Bless My Paws” pet waste bag holder and a magnetic puzzle; the other containing a night writer light pen, collapsible straw, nativity hanging resin plaque, a mug, sandstone coasters and flashlight.

ENTER TO WIN an area rug from Habitat ReStore

ENTER TO WIN one of two gift baskets from Swanson Christian Products

11. Inspiration Murfreesboro-based Swanson Christian Products offers a variety of greeting cards, inspirational gifts, apparel, stationary, Bible covers, auto emblems, umbrellas, totes and more, all proclaiming scriptural messages. Shop online at Swanson is offering two gift baskets this holiday season to

13. A Peaceful Float Many of those who have tried flotation therapy have reported physical, mental and spiritual benefits of floating while isolated. In addition to the serene float tanks, Float Alchemy, Murfreesboro’s flotation therapy headquarters, offers Cryoskin slimming treatment, an infrared sauna, massage, cryotherapy, a kombucha taproom and other spa and healthy lifestyle services. ENTER TO WIN a two-float package from Float Alchemy 24 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

14. Trains & Rockers Lionel Train sets have been treasured Christmas gifts for over 100 years now. At Thor’s, the only official Lionel dealer in town, you can get a set of Christmas nostalgia to send chugging around your tree. The shop also offers a selection of American handcrafted furniture, including their popular porch rockers. ENTER TO WIN a rocker for your porch, handcrafted right in Murfreesboro

15. Massage For You and Give Some Too You need a massage, and so does someone on your list. Balance Anew, located in Synergy Holistic Wellness Spa on Broad Street, offers oncology, trigger point, myofascial, reiki, deep tissue and neuromuscular massages, along with reflexology and ionic foot detox services. Plus, Balance Anew offers a great holiday deal on gift certificates—get four 60-minute massages for only $180. Call 615-497-9799 for more details. ENTER TO WIN a 1-hour massage from Balance Anew




 Kirk Fleta next to the ruins of his home, destroyed in the deadly 2016 wildfires that swept through portions of the Smoky Mountains PHOTO BY JEREMY COWART

Jeremy Cowart Photo Exhibit Captures Human Resiliency in the Wake of Catastrophe BALDWIN PHOTOGRAPHIC GALLERY will host a collection of photos capturing human resiliency in the wake of catastrophes by photographer, artist, entrepreneur and MTSU alumnus Jeremy Cowart through Jan. 31. Cowart, who lives in Franklin, Tennessee, is the 2019–20 MTSU Distinguished Alumni Award recipient. The exhibit includes photos depicting survival, loss, reconciliation and resiliency in the aftermath of wildfires, earthquakes and hurricanes as well as the human-made tragedies of genocide and immigration. Among those are images and stories from the deadly 2016 Great Smoky Mountains wildfires gathered for the “Voices of Gatlinburg” fundraising project and a similar effort for the “Never Forgotten Coast” project, which chronicles the destruction in Florida in the wake of 2018’s Hurricane Michael. MTSU’s Baldwin Photographic Gallery is located on the second floor of the Bragg Building. The gallery is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays when MTSU classes are in session. For more information, visit

Boro Art Crawl Presents More Local Art, Dec. 13 THE BORO ART CRAWL returns to downtown Murfeesboro on Friday, Dec. 13. The event, held one Friday evening from 6–9 p.m. every other month, features local and regional artists displaying and selling their artwork. Artists participating in December include Lynn Anthony and Stephanie Campbell at Boro Town Cakes; Phil Wagner, Mike McDougal, Amberly Clemons and Brette Leonardson at Brass Horn; Bruce Frazier, Berkeley Clements, Audrey Wallace and Janice Reeves at Cultivate Coworking; Caleb King and Karen and Emily Watkins at Dreamingcolor; Nancy Turner, His Daughter in Red and Deb Black at Faithful Strokes; Jessi Simpson and Lindsey Johnson at Flowers & More; Keisha Bruce at FunTiques; Celeste Akari, Sara Garcia, Brandon Davila, Megan Blankenship and Gregory Lannom at L&L Contractors; Althea Dickson and Lex at Spinelli’s; and Cora Green, Rebecca Goddard, Dedra Bledsoe, Royce Vaughn and Rachael Buckles-Ogles at Transparent Heart Yoga. For more information on Boro Art Crawl, visit VIEW THE BORO ART CRAWL MAP 

Baughman and Shilstat Host on City Hall Exhibit CITY HALL ROTUNDA will host Quilt Paintings and Paper Mosaics, an exhibit of artwork by Kristi Baughman and Heloise Shilstat, through Jan. 3, 2020. A reception for the artists, hosted by The Murfreesboro Parks and Recreation Cultural Arts division and the Murfreesboro Art Committee, will be held from 6–9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, as part of the Boro Art Crawl. Baughman’s work combines painterly qualities with her first creative love, quilting. Her current work is inspired by her everyday environment. Instead of paint, she expresses her perception of sight and experience in bits of batik fabric and stitched threads. Her works are a delightful display of color, form and texture. Shilstat’s multifaceted works of art, Paper Mosaics, are constructed from cut or torn pieces of glossy magazine pages, resulting in the look of beautifully detailed stained glass. Each piece is intricately placed, giving her design a whimsical and deeply textured feel. City Hall is open Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 26 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

Clockwise from top: by Brette Leonardson Necklace by Karen and Emily Watkins Church by Caleb King Earrings by Style by Steffi



Now Winter Nights Enlarge BY KORY WELLS Now winter nights enlarge / This number of their hours wrote English poet Thomas Campion over 400 years ago. Let now the chimneys blaze . . . Let well-tuned words amaze, he continued, and despite our technological world, doesn’t that advice still seem spot-on? As the longest night of the year approaches, local wordsmiths and the people who appreciate them will gather for a slightly-pre-solstice edition of Poetry in the Boro. This free event will be held at the Walnut House on Thursday evening, Dec. 19. Poet Sandy Coomer, storyteller Kara Kemp and other special guests of the Bloom Stage storytelling project will appear, followed by an hour of open mic. Sandy Coomer is a poet, artist, Ironman athlete, and social entrepreneur who lives in Middle Tennessee. She is the author of several poetry collections, most recently Available Light from Oak Ridge-based Iris Press. She is the founder and director of Rockvale Writers’ Colony in College Grove, a not-for-profit organization that exists to support, promote and educate writers of all genres and backgrounds. She is also the founding editor of the online poetry journal Rockvale Review. Kara J. Kemp is storyteller, creative leader and culture builder who lives in Murfreesboro. A frequent contributor to the open mic and outreach projects of Poetry in the Boro, she is also the founder and producer of a national, award-winning storytelling event, United We Style, benefiting United Way, as well as cocreator and producer of the Bloom Stage, a multi-genre storytelling platform. Doors at the Walnut House, 116 N. Walnut St., open at 6:30 p.m.; features begin at 7. Water, soda, beer and ciders are available to purchase. For more information, including a word challenge for writers, see

“Calligraphy” by Sandy Coomer appears in her book Available Light. The poem was a finalist in the 2018 Best of the Net competition and first appeared in Mud Season Review. Review Reprinted with author permission. Calligraphy In winter, we see the true shape of things – the curve of one branch wrapped around another, the raw bones of rock unmasked in dry grass, the dark ink of nature spelling bare words on a white page – while the syllables we keep from each other are wrapped in ice, a hyphen between us, camouflaged in trees. BOROPULSE.COM

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Enjoy A Good Old-Fashioned Big Family Christmas at Consider This in December CONSIDER THIS WILL PRESENT A Good Old-Fashioned Big Family Christmas at its Old Nashville Highway theater Dec. 6–15. In the production, Hayden Stewart’s wife, Judith, and her sisters, Carla and Beth, are worried about their parents. “They argue all the time,” Judith says. When she mentions this to Hayden, he casually suggests maybe the women could spend some time with their parents and squelch any such arguments. The next thing Hayden knows, Judith is planning a huge Christmas party with the whole family. This doesn’t set well with Hayden’s brothers-in-law, who have a hard time getting along with the family. However, as the party draws near, suddenly everyone is on their best behavior. The husbands, the wives, even the kids. This party has more intrigue behind it than a whole host of spy novels by the time Hayden’s parents join them as the family tries to throw A Good Old-Fashioned Big Family Christmas. The cast includes Sean Richardson, Pixie Convertino, Jim Trasport, Linda Laughlin, Jess Townsend, Robert Wilson, Faith Sturgeon, Stephen Thompson, Shelby Ramares, Ashlyn Townsend, Elliot Richardson, Malinda Brafford, Pam Pate and Danny Wells. R.J. Palhegyi directs. Showtimes are 7:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays, Dec. 6, 7, 13 and 14; and at 2 p.m. on Sundays, Dec. 8 and 15. Consider This is located at 7120 Old Nashville Hwy. Find tickets and more information at Doors open 30 minutes prior to each performance.

Center for the Arts Youth Perform Frozen Jr. at MTSU CENTER STAGE ACADEMY, the youth education program at the Center for the Arts, will present Frozen Jr. at MTSU’s Tucker Theater. Daytime performances are available for field trip groups for local public, private and home school classes at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 12. Public performances will be Friday, Dec. 13, at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. “We have an amazing cast of more than 60 students who all have worked very hard to bring this story to life,” says Center for the Arts Executive Director Patience Long. Frozen Jr. tells the story of sisters Anna and Elsa and the true bond of sisterhood. The musical is based on the groundbreaking movie and adds five new songs that you’re sure to go home singing. Tickets are $15 and are on sale at, by calling 615-904-ARTS (2787), or at the Center for the Arts Box Office, 110 W. College St., in downtown Murfreesboro. The Dec. 12 and 13 performances will be held at Dorethe and Clay Tucker Theatre located on the MTSU campus at 615 Champion Way. Rated G. 30 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

Young Dancers From Rutherford County Perform Nashville's Nutcracker With Nashville Ballet and Nashville Symphony NASHVILLE BALLET HAS SELECTED 25 DANCERS from Rutherford County to perform in the youth cast for Music City’s favorite holiday tradition, Nashville’s Nutcracker, which returns to TPAC’s Jackson Hall Dec. 7–23, 2019. This year’s youth cast features 292 young dancers from School of Nashville Ballet and the community at large performing alongside Nashville Ballet and the Nashville Symphony in this beloved favorite. Dancers from Rutherford County performing in Nashville’s Nutcracker include Norah Colon, Maya Colon, Noah Drews, Hannah Ebstein, Lennon Elkins, Samantha Everett, Caitlin Field, Maddy Dare Grubb, Lily Jackson, Madelyn Jones, Frida Landeros, Verania Landeros, Kinsley Lane, Eveline Laney, Grace Laney, Emma Phipps, Sophia Polumbo, Courtlyn Purvis, Madilyn Rigsby, Traedyn Sadler, Trinity Sadler, Integrity Schamel, Kaylee Schmidt, Emma Sharpe and Lela Sisk. Members of the youth cast will perform alongside members of Nashville Ballet’s professional company as well as 60 members of the Nashville Symphony. “We’ve had well over 1,000 young dancers take the stage in the Nashville’s Nutcracker youth cast over the years,” Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling said. “The youth cast is such an integral part of the overall success of this larger-than-life production.” Nashville Ballet premiered Nashville’s Nutcracker in 2008 with a unique concept weaving Music City’s glittering past with the classic tale. Beginning at the 1897 Centennial Exposition in Nashville, Clara and her Uncle Drosselmeyer meet a colorful cast of characters from faraway lands. When Uncle Drosselmeyer gifts Clara a wooden nutcracker on Christmas Eve, the toy magically transforms to life as a handsome prince and leads her on an unforgettable adventure. Clara encounters a captivating collection of fascinating friends including everyone from the Snow Queen to the Sugar Plum Fairy, as well as the delightful characters she met at the Exposition. When Clara finally returns home, the audience is left to decide if it was all just a dream . . . or not. Tickets for Nashville’s Nutcracker start at $35 and can be purchased at the TPAC box office, by calling 615-782-4040 or at

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ers for a “real American heroes” segment in Esquire magazine. Lloyd is dealing, poorly, with a multitude of personal issues. He and his father are estranged, and this separation has trickled down to Lloyd’s lack of intimate connection with his own newborn son, Gavin. While the film takes its time approaching the first interaction between Mister Rogers and Lloyd, the conversations they have throughout the film are some of the best scenes I’ve seen in any film all year. In a scene that occurs in a diner in Pittsburgh, shortly after Lloyd experiences some particularly traumatic events, Rogers asks Lloyd to sit back and think about all the

people that love him for an entire minute. We proceed to sit in silence with these characters, while the camera slowly and deliberately pans around Mister Rogers until he is looking directly into it and thus at the audience. This minute was emotional and cathartic, a courageous inclusion by Heller in an age where most big-budget films are terrified to have even a second of silence. There were audible sniffles throughout the theater. Likely my biggest complaint about the film is in the performance of Matthew Rhys as Lloyd. It was a showman performance reserved for a play. However, it was more than made up for by Tom Hanks. It was soothing to hear the calming voice he donned to play the icon. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is a masterwork. It’s very quiet, slow, and deliberate, but that feeling also embodies the show Mister Rogers created. This formula is the very essence of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, right down to Heller’s decision to bookend this film with an episode of the show itself. While it may not be for those looking for an exciting thrill ride at the movies right now, this film is exceptionally rewarding. Mister Rogers is still helping to make us feel loved—just the way we are. — JOSEPH KATHMANN

reading here. There is murder afoot! And the “murderee” is Christopher Plummer’s famed mystery writer Harlan Thrombey, dead of apparent suicide by knife across the throat. The death occurred in the dead of the night after Thrombey’s 85th birthday party, which all of his colorful children and grandchildren attended, most of whom stayed overnight at his estate. The stacked cast includes Jamie Lee Curtis as Harlan’s daughter Linda, who fancies herself father’s pet and a “self-made” woman; her husband Richard (Don Johnson), smarmy but charming with no apparent merit; their son Ransom (Chris Evans), a spoiled sort who at one time held Harlan’s high favor; the simpering, limping Walt (Michael Shannon), who oversaw

father’s publishing and is raising an alt-right troll (IT’s Jaeden Martell); and their sisterin-law Joni (Toni Collette). The first act introduces these myriad suspects as LaKeith Stanfield’s Lieutenant Elliott casually questions each one before the mysteriously hired private detective Benoit Blanc (Daniel Craig) takes over. In true Agatha Christie fashion, Blanc has an outrageous accent, but substitutes Poirot’s Belgian barbs for Blanc’s delta drawl, an amusing and effective choice that provides the bitter Thrombey’s ripe grounds for roasting. Blanc’s sights soon narrow in on Harlan’s personal nurse, Marta (Bladerunner 2049’s Ana de Armas), whose reflexive, regurgitative reaction to untruths could make her a trustworthy assistant in his quest for clues. Everyone in this movie is great, even those not mentioned here (and there are many), as the script is as funny as it is mysterious, and the set is as luscious as the script. As the film goes on, Johnson subtly and expertly twists the tropes and conventions of this genre of high crimes among the high class, and in so doing, Knives Out keeps you laughing and guessing till the very end. — JAY SPIGHT

A BEAUTIFUL DAY IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD DIRECTOR Marielle Heller STARRING Tom Hanks, Matthew Rhys, Susan Kelechi Watson, Chris Cooper RATED PG

There’s a sense of tenable awe one feels when they think about the legacy of Mister Rogers. Whether or not you watched his program as a child, the Mister Rogers persona has become synonymous with generosity, kindness and goodwill. He was a genuine, down-to-earth person, and his program was overtly simple yet poignant and touching. A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is the latest from director Marielle Heller (Can You Ever Forgive Me?, The Diary of a Teenage Girl) and stars Tom Hanks as Fred Rogers. The story follows reporter Lloyd Vogel (played by Matthew Rhys and based on real-life reporter Tom Junod), assigned to profile Mister Rog-

KNIVES OUT DIRECTOR Rian Johnson STARRING Ana de Armas, Daniel Craig, Jamie Lee Curtis RATED PG-13

If people know the name Rian Johnson, it is because he directed the nerd-dividing Star Wars: Episode VII – The Last Jedi. But what got him that much-coveted job was his outstanding work as writer and director of his first three films before that: Brick, The Brothers Bloom and Looper; each one a meticulously crafted, unique take on a genre. With Knives Out, Johnson has returned to his bread and butter, writing and directing an intricate puzzle box of a movie in one of the genres most demanding of interlocking intricacy: the mansion murder mystery. I will attempt to remain spoiler-free, as this is a classic whodunit (with modern subversions), but those already interested in seeing this holiday gem might want to cease A CLASSIC








DEC. 6 The Aeronauts; A Million Little Pieces; Daniel Isn’t Real Portrait of a Lady on Fire

DEC. 7 The Silence

DEC. 13 A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon; Jumanji: The Next Level; Black Christmas; Richard Jewell; A Hidden Life

DEC. 20 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker; Cats; Bombshell

DEC. 25 Spies in Disguise; 1917; Little Women


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Find beautiful presentations of fantastic fish, ramen and other Japanese dishes at Oishiya

Clockwise from left: Sashimi Deluxe Tonkotsu Ramen Salmon Delight Oishiya Roll

STORY BY BRACKEN MAYO • PHOTOS BY SARAH MAYO MURFREESBORO SUSHI FANS should certainly pay a visit to Oishiya, located in the former home of Kirkenburt’s and Bob’s Barbecue on Cason Lane. Here they can find all manner of sushi, sashimi and nigiri, from the minimalist tuna, red clam, mackerel or yellowtail sashimi (simply a thinly sliced piece of fish) to the more complex rolls, deluxe sushi combos, boats and specials, all served with an ornate and pleasing sense of Japanese artistry. Special Oishiya sushi rolls include the Amazing Roll (peppered tuna and avocado inside, topped with salmon), the White Swan Roll (spicy yellowtail inside, topped with white tuna), the Bonnie and Clyde Roll (spicy crab and avocado inside, topped with 34 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

tuna, salmon and fish eggs), the Mars Roll (crunchy spicy lobster inside, topped with salmon and tuna) and many other selections. The Oishiya Roll offers delicate, fishy, flaky torched salmon belly on top, and the Ninja Roll is a hot favorite with spicy tuna, spicy salmon and spicy yellowtail, topped with thinly sliced jalapeños along with black roe. Lisa Osborne Tillis said she very much enjoyed the Fantastic Melody Roll, a deepfried roll containing spicy crab, avocado and cream cheese, during a recent visit. The Salmon Delight features four pieces of spicy crab rolled in salmon—no rice. These bites are topped with four different colors of flying fish roe. Wesley Xiao, who owns Oishiya along with wife Sonia, explains that

each roe is colored with a different ingredient—wasabi for green, yuzu (a citrus fruit) for yellow, squid ink for black and berry for red. Sarah Moore, another local diner, reports that the establishment offers “the best quality and most beautifully presented sushi and sashimi in Murfreesboro!” If a diner truly wants to experience a tour of the ocean (or to share with a companion or two), the Sashimi Deluxe plate, for $23, includes 19 pieces of assorted fish. “Their sashimi dinner plate was delicious and beautifully presented. If you love Japanese cuisine, I highly recommend this restaurant,” Charlie Robbins said. The team takes care to create beautiful presentations of the food served, and the menu includes eel, sea urchin, squid and octopus. One Japanese diner said that Oishiya offered some of the best sushi that he has eaten in America. “I grew up in Japan and have only been in the states for about four years now . . . eventually I will go back to Japan and Oishiya is a

place I will miss,” the customer said. “It is the closest to real Japanese sushi that I have had in America. When I say real sushi, I mean nigiri and sashimi, not rolls. However, their rolled sushi, or makizushi, is amazing as well. The customer service is amazing.” For a very special sushi experience, and this does require an advance order, a diner can enjoy a whole seabass, expertly cut into

The Dish RESTAURANT: Oishiya Hibachi & Sushi LOCATION: 517 Cason Ln. PHONE: 615-962-7495 HOURS: Mon.–Thurs.: 11 a.m.–3 p.m.,

4:30–9 p.m.; Fri. and Sat.: 11 a.m.–3 p.m., 4:30–9:30 p.m.

PRICES: Oishiya, White Swan Roll

or Mars Roll $12; Beef Negimaki $9; Tonkotsu ramen $12; Yellowtail, Calamari or Tuna Roll: $5; Katsu Don: $12; Salmon Hibachi: $17; Lunch special with two sushi rolls: $9; Salmon Delight: $9

 Beef Negimaki Nigiri Special  with Ikura (salmon roe), Otoro (fatty tuna) and Uni (sea urchin)

quite an artistic presentation (market price, around $30). Murfreesboro diners don’t see this type of dish everywhere. Wesley and the Oishiya crew also make similar dishes with snapper or madai fish, when available. “The sashimi was a nice assortment of different pieces of fish. The mackerel was incredible. The Naruto Roll wrapped in cucumber was very good and the sauce really complimented the sushi offering,” Joe LaFerriere said. For sushi on a budget, take advantage of the Oishiya lunch special; choose from a list of 26 different sushi rolls. Diners can get two rolls of their choice for $9, or three rolls of their choice for $12, along with soup and a salad, each day before 3 p.m. Lunch special options include the peppered tuna avocado roll, spicy yellowtail roll, calamari roll, California roll, salmon roll, Alaska roll, eel cucumber roll and many other varieties. Oishiya roughly translated from Japanese means “house of delicious.” Fitting! Wesley and Sonia know that the area contains a growing number of Asian eateries, but still believe that Oishiya can be unique to Murfreesboro. They say they aim to attract customers who know quality. For example, the popular crunchy shrimp roll includes a whole tiger shrimp tempura inside. And the special whole seabass platter certainly makes an uncommon, beautiful, exquisite, delicious, protein-packed meal. The sushi seems to be the star at Oishiya, but the menu contains plenty of cooked Japanese dishes to try as well. The Tonkotsu Ramen, with rich and flavorful pork bone broth, fish cakes (rolled from a variety of fishes, sort of a fish meatball, the Oishiya server says), egg, thinly sliced pork and more, makes a delicious warm selection. “I got a Tonkotsu Ramen bowl and was

blown away with how good it was. I have been looking for a good ramen place in Murfreesboro and I have found it for sure,” Elizabeth posted in an online review following a visit to Oishiya. She added that the TRex Roll was “beyond delicious. My husband went with a chicken and steak hibachi plate. The meats were cooked perfectly and everything was extremely flavorful.” Note: Oishiya does not offer ramen to go. It is dine-in only so they can make sure it is perfect. The establishment offers a selection of hibachi dishes, though these are cooked in the kitchen in the back, not around a community table with a show. The hibachi salmon seems like a popular choice. Further exploration of the menu results in the uncovering of some delicious gems. Try the Beef Negimaki, somewhat of a mashup between sushi and a cheeseburger. These delicious pieces of grilled sirloin rolled with scallion and cheese come presented similar to sushi in bite-sized pieces, but with a taste that would appeal to a cheeseburger fan, made with nice slices of steak. Oishiya serves Ikay Yaki, a squid body grilled and thinly sliced, a generously large seafood appetizer for $9. Also find udon (noodle dishes), yakitori (grilled chicken and vegetables served on a skewer), katsu don (a fried pork loin plate), stir-fry, tempura and teriyaki dishes. Some with picky kids who don’t want hibachi or sushi point out that Oishiya does not have a kids menu, and that the spot may have more success as an adult date rather than for family nights out. Though it is a comfortable and welcoming spot for all ages who enjoy seafood, rice, noodles, chicken, steak or soup. For those who desire sushi or to try some of the more uncommon Japanese selections, Oishiya is the place in Murfreesboro.


Sky Zone, Bangkokville, Primrose Table, Tanasi, H&M, Buff City Soaps, Gallagher Guitars

BRASS HORN COFFEE has gotten into the caffeine game with its new shop at 410 W. Lytle St. in Murfreesboro. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, Nashville’s RED BICYCLE COFFEE & CRÊPES recently opened its Murfreesboro location. The café renovated 2,000-squarefeet in the shopping center at 1733 St. Andrews Dr. Red Bicycle offers high-end roasted coffee, a variety of both savory and sweet crêpes and sandwiches. This adds to its Nashville area spots in Germantown, The Nations and Woodbine.

BY MICHELLE WILLARD SKY ZONE trampoline park will soon move into the former Big Lots space on Broad Street. Sky Zone Murfreesboro is owned by Sky Zone Franchise Partner Bron Launsby. Having lived in Tennessee for 10 years, Launsby wanted to get back to his roots and provide Murfreesboro residents an unmatched active play environment. Furthermore, the new location will bring more than 100 jobs to the market. “Sky Zone is the ultimate entertainment destination, and we’re proud to introduce Murfreesboro, Smyrna, La Vergne, Nolensville and Shelbyville locals and visitors alike to all the innovative attractions we have to offer,” Launsby said. “I wanted to provide an environment where families can create lasting memories while ditching screen time and focusing on having active fun!” Sky Zone Murfreesboro features wallto-wall trampoline courts plus over 20 attractions. Guests can test their agility on the parkour-worthy Warped Wall, swing in mid-air with Sky Zone’s Zip Line or test their strength against friends on the Ninja Warrior Course. Fast fashion retailer H&M is opening a new location in Murfreesboro. Measuring approximately 20,000 square feet, the new location at The Avenue Murfreesboro is set to open in the summer of 2020. The new H&M location will offer Murfreesboro residents a one-stop shopping destination for quality clothing for the whole family, with collections for ladies, men and teens, as well as separate “store within a store” sections for accessories. The Avenue Murfreesboro location will also carry the H&M Kids collection for newborns to 14-year-olds. COFFEE EVERYWHERE SIMPLY PURE SWEETS, which serves MuleTown Coffee alongside its Frenchinspired treats, has opened a new store36 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

Another Nashville restaurant has set its sights on the ’Boro. Far East’s building on Main Street has been painted green with a sign promoting BANGKOKVILLE THAI AND SUSHI. The original Bangkokville is located on Haywood Lane off Nolensville Road in Nashville. The restaurant has participated in the Thai-Laos Food Fairs held at the temple at 4880 Barfield Crescent Rd. front. Chantell Kennedy-Shehan, proprietor of Simply Pure Sweets, said the bakery had grown to the point where they needed more space, and they found it in the former location of another bakery, BoroTown Cakes. “Our new location will be located at 128 N. Church St. Please stay tuned for details

and hours of operation during this transition,” Kennedy-Shehan said. She also said the new shop will allow her husband, Celebrity Spelling Bee Champ Matthew Joseph, a.k.a., The Bearded Breadman, to live up to his moniker. They plan to bake bread daily and provide it to the public and wholesale to area restaurants.

PRIMROSE TABLE opened to diners at the beginning of November. Led by Chef Jason Matheson, the high-end yet accessible restaurant is now open at 1650 Memorial Blvd. Hours are 4:30–10 p.m., Monday through Saturday. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are suggested and can be made at or by calling 615-900-5790. Last month, SEAFOOD SENSATIONS Murfreesboro temporarily transitioned to carryout and delivery service only, but said it will reopen its dining room on Dec. 9. Seafood Sensations Murfreesboro is located 123 SE Broad St. STRIKE & SPARE officials are saying they are getting very close to announcing plans for their new home. In the meantime, Phillip Cox, Director of Operations with Strike & Spare, reminds everyone that the Broad Street bowling alley is indeed still open. “We get calls almost every day from people saying they heard we are closed,” he said. But until further notice, local bowlers can bowl at Broad Street’s longtime home of the lanes. ENCHANTED FLOWER SHOP is now open on Cason Lane. SHAVE has opened its third barbershop, this location on Thompson Lane near Marble Slab.

BUFF CITY SOAPS has also opened in The Avenue. The franchise makes handcrafted, plant-based soaps and body products that contain no animal products or artificial detergents.The Memphis-based retailer is coowned by Brad Kellum and Jen Ziemianin, who started the business as Bartlett Soap Co. in 2013. In addition to Tennessee, Buff City Soap has locations in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Kentucky, Mississippi and Texas.

David and Rayna Mathis have purchased Wartrace-based GALLAGHER GUITARS. They plan to move from Wartrace to the old Simply Pure Sweets and VNTG spaces on Walnut Street in Murfreesboro. It will be part showroom, part music venue and part workshop.

NOW CLOSED BLUE CACTUS has closed. A sign on the door says a new concept is coming there soon. More to come when more is known.

THE GROVE’S DAYS MAY BE NUMBERED Murfreesboro officials said recently that they may use eminent domain to acquire the land needed to address traffic issues on Asbury Lane. Owned by siblings Toni Williamson Turner and Mark Williamson, THE GROVE AT WILLIAMSON PLACE has become a popular event space and green space in the middle of the Gateway. “The vision of the Williamson Family Farm is to preserve our agricultural roots while providing green space as we embrace the future of Murfreesboro and the surrounding area,” the siblings said in a recent statement. “We appreciate the support of those in Rutherford County who believe in our mission.” If you think The Grove should remain as it is, then call your favorite member of the Murfreesboro City Council.

CANNA-BORO If there’s one thing that sudden lung death from vaping has shown us, it’s that you need to be careful about things you put in your body. That’s why I was excited about the launch of Tanasi, a line of specially formulated cannabinoid products using a patent-pending CBDA/CBD formula, developed at one of MTSU’s research labs investigating botanical medicine and health. Distributed by GreenWay Herbal Products, Tanasi is the first line of CBD products with a university-patented CBD formula. “Though the benefits of cannabinoids are fairly new, the dizzying array of CBD products that have flooded the marketplace can be overwhelming to consumers, especially as they learn about inconsistent claims of potency,” said Jeff Heeren, CEO of GreenWay Herbal Products. “Our differentiation is in our university-developed cannabinoid formula that is in a full-spectrum concentration of hemp extract with a patent-pending CBDA and CBD formula. The CBDA is present in the raw plant material, and is the acidic precursor to CBD. The combination

of CBDA/CBD is the basis, and difference maker, of our Tanasi product line. Two compounds work better than one, and we believe our products work better than CBD alone.” The research grant licenses GreenWay to manufacture and sell nutritional supplements and food additives using select pending patents and other research from MTSU. MTSU’s faculty and graduate students have developed more than ten plant-based compounds, including hemp and ginseng, for which MTSU has filed patent applications. GreenWay Herbal Products chose to financially support MTSU knowing their team of biologists and chemists has the experience to identify new plant-derived compounds that GreenWay can bring to the market. You can get Tanasi at Amata Wellness ( at 315 Robert Rose Dr., Suite F. Owned and operated by Pree Butchareon, Amata Wellness was honored to partner with GreenWay to sell Tanasi in Murfreesboro. “We decided to lay the foundation for a brand that will empower consumers to ask the right questions and demand the best product going forward,” said Butchareon, who grew up working with his parents at nearby Bangkok Café. For more information about GreenWay Tanasi products, visit

HIGHLIGHTING BUSINESS In this ongoing series, Pulse contributor Steve Morley explores the effects of sensory deprivation and reports on his experiences using the flotation tanks and other therapeutic resources at Murfreesboro’s Float Alchemy. Previous installments can be found at

Floativation, Part III

Seeking Saltwater Serenity (and More) BY STEVE MORLEY

IF YOU’VE BEEN FOLLOWING along, you’ve read about my first two experiences trying out the sensory deprivation tanks at Float Alchemy. Having floated twice, I’d become familiar with the ins and outs of the tanks (both literally and figuratively). While I found floating pleasant and easy enough from the get-go, my third session atop the saltwater would confirm that my newly gained familiarity was making floating even easier. Now, my mind and muscles were more prepared to enter into a relaxed state, happily anticipating a respite from holding my body upward against gravity’s inevitable pull. As an adult I’ve increasingly become aware of a lifelong tendency to carry a fair amount of physical tension, and I can find it difficult to use my body without exerting certain muscles more than necessary for a given task. I have noticed on occasion that when I walk, I sometimes do so guardedly, as though unconsciously I’m not certain the ground is completely trustworthy to support my weight—you know, the way it feels when you’re trudging through a muddy area and trying not to sink in too far. While I did feel a lightness in my walk after previous floats, my muscles soon insisted on having their way, defaulting to the tightness they’d been (mis)trained to maintain. Before beginning my float, I took a few minutes to stretch and focus on deep breathing, hoping to enhance the relaxation response prompted inside the tank. My third float was the most freeing one I’d yet experienced, with no restlessness and reasonably little mental intrusion. While I don’t think I drifted into full-on sleep in the silent darkness, I’m sure I hovered at various points near its blissful brink. It was there, semi-conscious, that a curious and unbidden twoword phrase rose unbidden into my conscious mind: “emotional grace.” I smiled gently at the implication contained within this calming and welcome thought, which felt like a spiritual gift suggesting the real possibility of a shift away from my more anxious and touchy tendencies. These would take time to diminish, no doubt (not unlike my acquired muscle tension), but it certainly felt encouraging to receive this message, evidently sent from the lower fathoms of my mind while in this unusually subdued and serene state. I also “saw” a vision of a tiny baby afloat in water, reminding me of one of the reasons I had been drawn to floating in the first place: my mother’s amniotic fluid level had been significantly low during her pregnancy

with me, and I have speculated in later years that my inability to swim, or float, may be connected to this. I wonder likewise about my sense of ungroundedness and its accompanying tension, and whether I might realistically expect floating to gradually help relieve, even reprogram, a physical response so deeply ingrained. When I heard soft music to signal the end of my session, I realized I had successfully surrendered more deeply to the float experience this time around. I didn’t get antsy and leave the tank before my full hour had elapsed, as I had done the first two times. I was also getting better at remembering, as I rose to exit the tank, that salt water would be dripping from my hands and arms. This time, I managed to avoid letting salt water drip into either of my eyes—well, at least until I learned while showering that salt water can drip from one’s hair into one’s eye. An easy fix, though . . . I knew right where to find the spray bottle, and in seconds I had removed the offending saline from my stinging peeper. Having gotten acquainted with the tanks—my primary reason for setting out on this adventure—I explored one of the several other therapeutic options at Float Alchemy. Emerging from the tank room slowly, savoring my tension-free state, I was ushered by friendly Float Master Mark Chesshir into one of the infrared saunas. Here, I sat in an aromatic cedar cabin emitting full-spectrum infrared light and equipped with Bluetooth, listening to low-key music via my phone. The sauna’s maximum temperature setting is 140 degrees Fahrenheit; I set it at 110, and that was enough to work up a decent, purifying sweat. The sauna’s high temperature has a pleasantly relaxing effect, but one of the primary benefits of a full-spectrum infrared sauna is its ability to heat up the body at its core, producing perspiration and thus cleansing the lymphatic system, drawing out toxins stored at the cellular level. Blood flow is increased, and the resulting oxygenation can repair tissues and cells. While boosting metabolism, this full-spectrum infrared light is also said to strengthen the body’s immune response. Having recently been around co-workers who were nursing colds, I was feeling on the verge of respiratory symptoms myself, which was why I opted to try the infrared sauna. I can confidently report that I felt fine the next day, and didn’t come down with a cold or virus. With the combined relaxation and purification benefits of a float-and-sauna combo, I walked into my house and was promptly informed by my wife that she could see a difference in my face. My expression was peaceful, she said, and my eyes and skin looked clearer to her. Most notably, she reported over the following days that I was generally calmer, and less prone to being anxious or irritable. And I can testify that I too noticed the difference, and enjoyed the benefits of easier interaction that came in its wake. A preview of “emotional grace,” perhaps? Stay tuned, Murfreesboro, and may the freedom of the float be with you.

“While I don’t think I drifted into full-on sleep in the silent darkness, I’m sure I hovered at various points near its blissful brink.”



Mind for Business Heart for People Barnes & Noble Regional Director Joey Theriot encourages work/life balance, teamwork


sat down with Murfreesboro’s own Joey Theriot, Regional Director for Barnes & Noble, who has a mind for business and a heart for people. Joey has worked for some big retail names including Toys R Us, back in its prime, and Office Depot. In 2002, Theriot joined Barnes & Noble as a store General Manager and quickly moved up the corporate ladder. His flagship store is at 2615 Medical Center Pkwy., in the Avenue Murfreesboro shopping center. From there, he keeps a pulse on more than a hundred other stores, mostly in the Southeast. His official title is Regional Business Development Manager, but he is filling in as leadership for two regions until another position is filled at the end of the year. And with that many locations under his management, he doesn’t get that much time in the office, so I was grateful to get a few minutes with him and to pick his brain about business and his success. The management of thousands of employees is a huge responsibility. He states it is important to be a self-starter if you are going to lead others. But Joey also understands the importance of having a good work/life balance. “An employee should give 100 percent at work and 100 percent to the family at home,” he says. In the past, Theriot has actually had to tell store managers to stop working and go home. He knows an employee who is rested will be that much more diligent and beneficial to the company when they are at work. I asked the regional manager how the company is able to keep up with the recent online competition. “It’s definitely changed our business,” Theriot said. “We’re continuing to evolve.” Since there are over 600 stores, the Barnes & Noble



team can oftentimes pull inventory from a local store shelf and quickly ship it to a customer. But, Theriot continues, “There is something about the browsing of a book you can’t quite get on the internet.” When asked about some of the principles that have led to his success over the years, Theriot immediately spoke of teamwork. “When I see others grow and become successful, it gives me great gratitude to see that they are having that success. That bleeds over into their personal life, which means they are in a good work/life balance,” he says. With an in-house coffee shop and big comfortable chairs, the bookstore seems cozy and intimate, and it is. However, the typical store may have on its shelves more individual products (SKUs) than a Super Walmart. And the company takes pride in providing books from local authors at each location. “We really try to customize our stores to fit the market that we serve,” Theriot states. Often, the store hosts book fairs and author signings, so Barnes & Noble can be more than just a store, it’s an event. One of the greatest services the company provides is working with local schools. “We want to be competitive with school pricing. We understand they have a budget and they’re trying to get as much out of that budget as they possibly can. So, we leverage our partnership with vendors to give the schools the best competitive pricing we can. It’s more about a relationship than trying to turn a profit with a school,” Theriot says. As in years past, this holiday season will definitely be hectic at Barnes & Noble. I have personally felt the pressure of finding something enjoyable, yet educational, as gifts for the kids. Many of us struggle with finding just the right gift that suits a family member’s personality. If you want to visit a place with a large variety to find that perfect gift, be sure to put Barnes & Noble on your list. Blaine Little is the founder and CEO of Momentum Seminars Training, helping companies remain profitable by investing in their people. Learn more at




Merry Christmas to All! Merry Christmas Mayos, Merry Christmas Titans, Merry Christmas Tannehill, Merry Christmas Trump THE TRAIN DADDY IS BACK with sports news, life lessons and politically incorrect talk. All aboard! This is legit my favorite article of the year and I can’t believe I have been contributing articles to the Murfreesboro Pulse for nearly 10 years straight! I am proud and grateful for that. It’s become tradition that I give you, the reader, my annual Christmas article. I give shout-outs and say Merry Christmas to the year’s most interesting characters. We say Merry Christmas to a wide variety of people from sports figures to politicians to folk like me. Merry Christmas Mayos! That’s right, I want to start off saying Merry Christmas to the family behind the scenes of this publication. Husband, wife and their little man Jr. make this free publication possible for the people of Murfreesboro. It’s serious work keeping the Murfreesboro Pulse rolling as many years as they have. Murfreesboro is lucky to have this family and I wish them a Happy New Year and an exciting 2020 full of many blessings and good health. Merry Christmas to the Titans! I am passionate about being a Tennessee Titans fan. This team has shown heart, grit and fought for some special victories. As a Titans fan what else can you ask for? Okay, we could ask for a Lombardi trophy, but for now I am content with a team that has an identity and keeps progressing. The bandwagon fans love a good winning streak but for me and my crew, we love this organization through all the good and heartache. God willing, I plan on cheering for the Tennessee Titans for a minimum of another five decades. That will put me at the ripe age of 85. I expect at least one championship in that time.

Merry Christmas, Ryan Tannehill! What a surprise for Titans fans. You have been playing like a top-five QB since starting for the Titans. More than likely you will get the franchise tag for 2020. I guarantee other teams will be looking at him more closely after this season wraps up. After defeating the Colts in Indy, something rarely seen for the Titans, Ryan Tannehill has started his career 5–1 in Tennessee. Tannehill is positioned to cash in and make this Titans team his own. Merry Christmas to you, the Reader. I do this because I enjoy it. I believe the most gratifying part of doing this same column for nearly a decade is hearing from you, the reader. My purpose of these articles has always been to make you, the reader, laugh or maybe learn a thing or two about sports and social issues. I sincerely wish you a Merry Christmas. Live life by my motto the 5 Fs: “Faith, Family, Football, Food and Friends.” It’s an awesome way to look at life. Email me at titanman1984@gmail. com. I appreciate any feedback. Merry Christmas, President Trump! A living legend, love him or hate him. I may not be the biggest Trump fan in the world but he is my president and I can appreciate the good he has done while at times cringing at some of the words that spew out of his mouth. I know one truth, that President Trump will dominate the electoral map once again come 2020. The Democrats have made fools of themselves during these debates and especially

during this impeachment process. I imagine any free-thinking individual can see the Democratic party is willing to do anything to get this man out of office and I don’t think the majority of Americans will stand for it come 2020. I truly don’t look forward to the divisiveness I expect next year. Hopefully America will get through it just fine. Merry Christmas to the Alabama Crimson Tide! Some of the closest people in my life bleed Crimson. I know many Bama fans. I have had to hear “Roll-Tide” screamed at me for over a decade while my Tennessee Volunteers struggled. After Alabama recently lost to Auburn and was knocked out of playoff contention Alabama fans have become bitter. Bama fans and Coach Saban will enter 2020 saying it was unfair. A second that shouldn’t have been? A dirty trick play to end the game? Or did Alabama just lose because JordanHare stadium is Alabama’s bugaboo? Merry Christmas, Vol Nation! My respect to the University of Tennessee football program after closing the season with a winning record. That’s a long way from that loss to Georgia State and with progress comes relevancy and a bright future. This 2019 team may have saved the direction of this program for the next few years to come. The Vols are a hot team with a 7–5 record going bowling! Merry Christmas, Marcus Mariota! Ah man, Marcus, Marcus, Marcus! What can I say? Let me be absolutely honest. As a Titans fan you and me spent many years together. I loved you at one point, bro. This is hard for me to say, but I think it’s time we officially separate! I wish you success with another team, truly I do, but you were a bust. The best word to describe you is “inconsistent.” Signs of greatness entwined with some of the dumbest interceptions/sacks I have ever seen. I know one truth, you gave it your all and your heart was never questioned by me. So, go easy Marcus, go with my blessing and farewell forever!

Merry Christmas Tom Terrific Brady! I know it makes you sad that so many people hate you. No matter what, you’re the official GOAT. It’s not even up for debate. You’re hated because your team was caught cheating multiple times and even when you’re not cheating you still win. I will be in awe if this man, at age 42, makes it back to another Super Bowl. Merry Christmas, Ravens Quarterback Lamar Jackson! Not much to say, this dude is a straight-up baller. A worthy MVP this season, can the rookie keep it up? We will see come playoffs. Merry Christmas to Colin Kaepernick! I wonder if Kaepernick thinks Christmas is racist or even merry? Recently the former NFL signal caller spent his Thanksgiving celebrating Un-Thanksgiving. It’s an event that brings attention to the past, bashes America and brings awareness to the opinion that Thanksgiving is a racist holiday. It must be miserable living life thinking like Kaepernick does. I laugh when people say the former quarterback is being blackballed by the NFL. Colin has made a mockery of this entire process. Even if Colin could benefit my team, I wouldn’t sign him, nope! No one wants the circus that would follow. Merry Christmas Tiger Woods! It was a long time between victories in Majors for the legend. Tiger managed to get his 15th major championship with a stirring performance in the 2019 tournament at Augusta. Just shows you that a bunch of sexy blondes, alcohol abuse, getting old and running into Johnny Law doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the end for a champion like Tiger. Merry Christmas David Ortiz! The former Boston Red Sox star was shot this past June in the Dominican Republic at a bar

and lounge. Luckily Big Papi healed up nicely after spending some time in the ICU. I am glad Big Papi is doing well, that’s a cool dude! Merry Christmas to LeBron James! A great basketball player no doubt, though we all know Michael Jordan is the real GOAT. Jordan had six championships in six appearances and an aging LeBron is 3–6 in the finals and missed the playoffs entirely last season, although the Lakers have made a turnaround and are on fire right now. I only say this right now to poke fun at a friend who gets bitter when people say Jordan is better than LeBron. He is a LeBron fanboy. Ha-ha! In all reality everyone knows Jordan had a better career and was a better ball player. LeBron may be able to make a case when it’s all done, but right now it’s case closed! Merry Christmas Nashville Predators! I love hockey, it’s one of my favorite sports after football. I need the Predators to have a Merry Christmas because come the new year they have work to do. This 2019 team is struggling right now. Luckily, aside from the Stanley Cup champs the Blues, the Western Conference is pretty tight, so anything can happen. In the new year I will focus a lot more of my article space on the Predators. Hopefully things will turn around for the Predators, who have been pretty clutch over the past couple of decades, making to the playoffs 12 times in their 20-year history. Time to wrap this article up. A few honorable mentions: Merry Christmas to Antonio Brown and Team USA soccer. Merry Christmas to Howie Mandel and Snoop Dogg. The U.S. military would like to wish a Merry Christmas to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. I also would like to wish one last Merry Christmas to my hero The Rock. Alright, I think we wrapped it up well. Never take my words too seriously— sometimes I write and shake my own head in pure astonishment. I do wish you, the reader, and your family a truly Merry Christmas! Let your 2020 be blessed, and remember life is too short to take everything so seriously. Have fun and enjoy it. Choo-choo! Titan up!


* DECEMBER 2019 * 41

Opinion Keep Males Out of Women’s Sports


must confess I’m becoming quite confused. We’ve got girls wanting to play on boys’ sports teams. We’ve got guys who aren’t really girls but who identify as girls wanting to play on girls’ teams. We’ve got upset girls who now have guys who identify as girls but are still equipped as guys getting naked in the girls’ locker room. How I long for the days when girls were girls and boys were boys. I’m afraid we’re way past that now. A doctor in New York State was let go by the school board after he wouldn’t clear a 12-year-old girl to wrestle on the boys’ wrestling team. He cited New York law allowing him to make that judgment based on the girl’s safety. Safety be damned, we have a society to upend here! That’s basically the motivation behind all of this. We have boys’ teams and girls’ teams for a reason. The reason is that girls and boys are different. I know this may get me banned from cocktail parties in San Francisco, but males tend to be physically stronger than women. Smart women understand this. They don’t want men competing in women’s sports. That’s going to be the final frontier. Once that happens, women’s sports as we know it will cease to exist. It’s already well on its way with so-called transgenders competing as women. What’s a transgender? Well, that’s the problem. It can be anyone from a man who’s had a sex-change operation to some guy who enjoys wearing dresses. A case can be made for the former to compete alongside women. Allowing the latter to compete is inexcusable. There was a case recently where girls were in tears after the school approved some dude who “identifies” as a girl to use the girls’ locker room. This guy’s cavorting about stark naked in front of girls and dares anyone to challenge him. The crazy people running the school sided with him. I don’t




have daughters, but I can imagine I’d be fit to be tied if this were happening to my girl. This is happening all over the world. Guys who identify as women are invading women’s sports and mopping up. Again, this is why we have men’s and women’s sports. It’s like allowing professional basketball players to play on a high school team. Pretty soon there would be nobody who goes to that high school making the team. Sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? But there’s a new purpose. That’s what I still can’t quite get my mind around. Is it to totally destroy women’s sports? Because that’s what it’s going to do. Venus and Serena Williams once boasted they could beat any man in tennis ranked outside of the top 200. Some guy ranked 203rd in the world took the challenge and beat both of them back-toback. This battle of the sexes in tennis has been played out dating back to 1888. In every match but one the man was victorious. The only victory for a woman was Billie Jean King over Bobby Riggs and that’s the one everybody’s heard of. They’ve never heard of the other dozen battles. In fact, the same year Bobby Riggs lost to Billie Jean King he beat Margaret Court, who was ranked number one in the world. Nobody remembers it. What’s my point? My point is the Riggs-King match notwithstanding, you turn men loose in women’s sports and they’ll destroy them. You want to see LeBron James in the WNBA? Me either. Nor do the women in the WNBA. Let’s stop this before we ruin women’s sports.

“It's like allowing professional basketball players to play on a high school team. Pretty soon there would be nobody who goes to that high school making the team. Sort of defeates the purpose doesn’t it?”


Phil Valentine is heard each weekday afternoon on SuperTalk 99.7FM in Nashville and online at For more of his commentary and articles, visit

Live Exceptionally...Well! BY JENNIFER DURAND

Living Between the Lines THERE IS A FINE LINE between being inclusive of others and respecting boundaries. Equally, there is a fine line between listening to another without opinion, and offering a different perspective. With the season of spending more time around family and friends approaching, this seems like a good topic to be mindful of. For many, spending time in a big, often loud group setting can be daunting. It can also increase the opportunity for surprises from those who are less social, and more risk for embarrassing moments to happen. Oh, the pressure! I have observed many conversations where it seems to be easier to disclose personal details of one’s life to someone they don’t see often than it is to share with family or friends. On one hand, it is sad to think there is a block in communication with family members. Seemingly most apparent here is the lack of acceptance for one’s choices. This can be true for many other situations as well. We often make our own judgments before someone is even done talking. “Wow, that sounds like a dumb idea,” “What are they thinking?” “Are you sure about that?” are some thoughts that come to mind, often as a knee-jerk reaction. How can we look at this differently? During a meeting, I noticed a colleague sitting apart from the rest of the group. I invited him to join the table and sit with everyone else. He instinctively wanted to stay where he was—it was comfortable to him. From my perspective I wanted to make sure I made him feel as included and comfortable as possible. So, sitting with the rest of us is how I envisioned this comfort. When he moved and sat next to me, he commented on how I just couldn’t leave him alone. It made me check my motives. I know they were of genuine concern. I wanted to make sure that someone I knew to be more shy, would feel the desire to include him. What I didn’t take into consideration was how he already felt as comfortable as he wanted to feel, right where he was. He was at the meeting, participating. Did I really need to “fix” anything? Or could I simply accept him, and let him be? I reconciled that both thoughts are okay. It also made me a more aware that I can ask, and if someone declines, I don’t necessarily need to “press” the invitation to make them feel more comfortable. In my desire to be considerate, I may be increasing the discomfort they feel. The lesson? Check your motives, and be okay if the outcome is different from what you think it should be. We discussed this and were able to see

each other’s point of view more clearly. “Intuition doesn’t tell you what you want to hear; it tells you what you need to hear.” — Sonia Choquette Recently, my husband was sharing an idea he had for giving a toast at an upcoming occasion. As he spoke, I thought, “Hmmm . . . are you sure you want to say it that way?” When he was done, I shared my opinion, even though he hadn’t asked for it. I wanted him to do well and I felt some of the details were out of context for the occasion. Several days later I found out that it bothered him that I offered my opinion without being asked for one. He further explained that he was just trying to articulate his thoughts and hadn’t tied it altogether at that point. This was a great reminder that it is good to simply listen to others. You don’t always have to have an opinion or a different perspective. Even if you do have another viewpoint, it’s good for others to experience things the way they see them. Again, check your motives and be okay if the outcome is different from what you think it should be! “Of course we all have our limits, but how can you possibly find your boundaries unless you explore as far and as wide as you possibly can?” — A.E. Hotchner In an unexpected conversation at a family gathering, I learned a lot in a brief conversation about a relationship this young person had with an individual that most people would question and be concerned about. I knew right away this was an opportunity to just listen and let them talk. She revealed that she didn’t talk about such things with her parents or anyone else. I could sense her need to be accepted. It is uplifting to know how nice it is when someone just listens to us and asks questions of genuine interest. So, when you are in the company of others this season, or anytime, take a moment to have a genuine interest in what others are doing. You may just be the one that lifts them up for a moment, or a lifetime. Respect boundaries, be inclusive and know it’s okay if you see things differently than someone else.

“Check your motives, and be okay if the outcome is different from what you think it should be.”

Jennifer Durand is the owner and operator of The Nurture Nook Day Spa & Gift Shoppe; she is a certified QiGong and Breathe Empowerment instructor, a skin care and makeup specialist and is licensed in massage therapy, body work and somatic integration. Learn more by visiting or call (615) 896-7110. BOROPULSE.COM

* DECEMBER 2019 * 43

“COME UNTO ME all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” — Matt. 11:28–29



The older I get, the BY RICK busier Christmastime MALONE seems to be—parties, shopping, special worship or prayer services at church. But Christmas is not only busy for adults, it’s also a much busier time for children than it used to be. The way children observe Christmas has changed significantly since my childhood in the early ’60s. Today there are many opportunities to be involved in special programs and events at school and other venues. Some parents are run ragged keeping their children involved because they don’t want their kids to miss out on anything. And, as if this isn’t busy enough, there are a hundred different Christmas specials on television for adults and children to watch throughout the season. During the time I was growing up, our small town in Indiana wasn’t large enough to host a Christmas parade or a lot of festive events. All I can remember is standing in line with other children waiting to receive a mesh Christmas stocking from Santa filled with apples, oranges and nuts, along with a few pieces of candy. Making a Christmas wish list was also significantly different in those days. We children would spend hours poring through the pages of the Sears Christmas catalog dreaming of things we would love to see miraculously appear under the tree on Christmas morning. And as far as television specials, there were only a handful which aired through the month of December. And as children, we waited with great anticipation for them to be broadcast. There were no television service providers that could be accessed at the touch of a remote, recording devices keeping the program available to watch at your leisure, or even cable channels to provide numerous viewing options. We had three channels to choose from and we had to watch Christmas specials at the time they aired, or we would miss them until they returned a year later. One of the programs my siblings and I waited for with great anticipation was the children’s classic Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I can still recall the first time it aired at the beginning of December in 1964. I say it is a classic because it is a beloved story which has been aired every year 44 * DECEMBER 2019 * BOROPULSE.COM

An Island for Misfits

since, being the longest-running annual Christmas television special. I would find it hard to believe any of my readers are unfamiliar with the story of Rudolph, not only because of the television classic but because of the song first made famous by Gene Autry in 1949. That song, adapted from a 1939 poem, reached number one on the Billboard chart during Christmas of 1949 and went on to sell 2.5 million copies in its first year. Rudolph starts life as an outcast because of being perceived as a misfit in reindeer society, but he ultimately saves Santa’s Christmas delivery trip by the one characteristic which caused him to be ostracized in the first place: his bright red nose. After the heroic act of leading the way for Santa’s sleigh, “all the reindeer loved him.” It’s a sweet story of acceptance through a recognition that our differences do not have to divide us. That is a lesson we would still do well to learn from. But there is another aspect of this story that I have been thinking about lately. While Rudolph is wrestling with his misfit condition, he ends up on the Island of Misfit Toys. Here, on this island, are toys with defects. They are imperfect. There is something wrong with every one of them. And, because of his misfit condition, Rudolph felt more at home on this island than he did at the North Pole. Thinking about this island prompts a question about our own feelings of normalcy and acceptance. It’s easy at times to feel like we don’t fit in and that maybe we too belong on this island of misfit toys. What is it that makes us feel this way? Could it be that society has a much greater impact on our perception of ourselves than we may care to realize? Societal norms may mold our views about appearance and intelligence and popularity and ethical behavior to the degree that we feel inadequate—like misfits. But societal norms

can rapidly change and can be significantly different depending on our cultural and geographical environment. What is “the norm” in one culture, may be considered a misfit condition in another. Such instability should cause us to seek a sense of normalcy outside of such fluctuating standards. In seeking a solution to this, we might have the desire to do away with an island of misfit toys altogether. We may be inclined to curb societal standards, or at least have a greater acceptance of differing standards. If this were the case, people would not have to live on that island. Physical and emotional challenges would not be judged as either good or bad, and people would not be right or wrong in the decisions they make about their own person or the way they relate with others, as long as they are “doing what they think is right in their own eyes.” I understand the good intention here, but I believe there is a different path to a healthier tolerance and acceptance of each other than doing away with social order. The Island of Misfit Toys is for those who are imperfect. And, to be honest, none of us is perfect. Most of us can rationally convince ourselves we should not live on that island because our deficiencies and sins are minor. We become good at hiding those deficiencies to ourselves and others, just like Rudolph was able to hide his nose for a while. And so, we habitually play the game of hiding our less acceptable side so we can look nearly perfect to others. But as I said, none of us is perfect. We are broken people, just like the toys that lived on the island. We might not have a blinking red nose, but we all have flaws and shortcomings beckoning us to come to the island. So, instead of just a few being relegated to this Island of Misfit Toys, could it be that we should all pack our bags and move there to live together? Here is an opposite solution. Acknowledging our imperfections instead of deny-

ing them allows us to be accepted in our sin and brokenness, and to accept others in theirs. Instead of trying to fit in by hiding our flaws or being more perfect, we fit in because of our shared imperfections. And this allows us to take up residence in a place where we can be open with each other about our faults and feelings of inadequacy. In His perfect wisdom, our heavenly Father has provided such a place. He has brought His church into this broken world for just this reason, to be a refuge for the imperfect and the defective, a sanctuary for the flawed and the inadequate. And He beckons all of those who are weary because of being weighed down by their sins and shortcomings and imperfections to come and find rest from their fallen condition. For there is healing and comfort and strength for the misfit on this island of God’s refuge. Jesus said, “Come unto me all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls” (Matthew 11:28–29). Is this not a call to all of us, as we struggle to keep ourselves off this island which we think is fit only for misfits? At this season of the year we celebrate Jesus coming into this world, but He came, not for the fit, but for the misfit. When Jesus was approached by those who thought they were adequate in themselves and didn’t need the healing and rest He provides, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance” (Luke 5:31–32). How disarming is this beautiful truth! Jesus wants us to own our brokenness. To come to Him with that brokenness and find healing in His grace and rest in His sufficiency. For on the cross He bore the brokenness of humanity in His broken body. He carried the weight of the fall upon arms that were fastened to a tree. And He was put to death as a misfit in order to bring life to a misfit world. I asked earlier if we sometimes feel like we belong on the Island of Misfit Toys. It’s okay to feel that way, for this is where we all truly belong. Here on this island of God’s grace, which Jesus calls His church, we can rest because the imperfections of our souls and bodies are swallowed up in the perfection of our Savior. “So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, for whoever has entered God’s rest has also rested from his works as God did from his. Let us therefore strive to enter that rest (Hebrews 4:9–11). Reach Rick Malone at

 RECOMMENDED READING “This work has been selected by scholars as being culturally important, and is part of the knowledge base of civilization as we know it. This work was reproduced from the original artifact, and remains as true to the original work as possible. This work is in the public domain in the United States of America. Within the U.S., you may freely copy and distribute this work, as no entity (individual or corporate) has a copyright on the body of the work.” —

Ecce Deus

Essays on the Life and Doctrine of Jesus Christ BY JOSEPH PARKER (1867)

Chapter XIX

Posthumous Ministry of Christ The resurrection of Jesus Christ will not be called into question by any who pay the slightest regard to the authority of the Christian writings. On this point there is entire consistency and unanimity on the part of the witnesses: and so important is the fact of the resurrection, that the stupendous fabric of the Church has been built upon it; “for if Christ be not risen from the dead, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” It is not proposed, then, to go into the evidence respecting the resurrection, but to inquire what effect, if any, did the resurrection produce on the spirit and ministry of Jesus Christ? Moments of triumph put a man’s spirit to the test. Many men appear to be humble so long as all weapons of war or resources of defense are beyond their reach. How was it with Jesus Christ? Did the voice which sounded over the open grave correspond with the music which announced the lowly birth in Bethlehem? The angels sang of “good will towards men”: did Jesus Christ, after the resurrection, contradict or fulfill their song? The writer of the first Gospel enables us to answer these inquiries. The 11 disciples met their Master by appointment upon a mountain in Galilee; their emotions were not unnaturally conflicting— “they worshipped him, but some doubted.” Jesus Christ’s first word to them, as recorded by Matthew, reveals the spirit of the Gospel in a most graphic and impressive manner: “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth”—what then? We thought he had “all power” before, when he wrought his mighty works—to what use, however, did he put his power? When “all power” is given into the hands of a man who has been exposed to the highest indignities which society can inflict upon him, it may be expected that his enemies will not escape judgement. It is not only interesting, but most exciting to pause at the expression, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” and to conjecture how the sentence will be finished. We know how it is finished, yet so far as it is possible to move the mind back to the critical point the excitement is most intense. The language of doom might come after such an announcement; “power” might express

itself in forms of vengeance, in the overturning of the Roman rule, in the expulsion of every priest who had given his voice for the cross, or in the calling down of fire upon all enemies. Such are some of the possible uses of power; what is the use which Jesus Christ makes of his omnipotence? Having asserted his possession of all power, he adds, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” Jesus Christ thus taught the true use of all power. Power is only used truly as it is used educationally—“Go ye therefore and teach.” They who have must give. No man is at liberty, according to the laws of the kingdom of Jesus Christ, to turn his power to merely personal or selfish uses. His power must be expended for the world’s advantage, otherwise Jesus Christ will disclaim his professions of discipleship. The measure of any man’s power is the measure of his obligation to educate society—the power may be intellectual, commercial, social; that is to say, the man may have great thinking powers of his own, or great pecuniary (financial) resources, or great influence arising from a lofty reputation; and Jesus Christ claims that “all nations” shall have the advantage of his ability. As he was, so his disciples are to be in the world according to their measure; for it is plainly declared that “if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The spirit of Christ is educational, and therefore willingness to educate is the test of life in Christ. When Paul addressed the elders of the church of Ephesus, he said, “I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you,” plainly showing that he had deeply entered into the spirit of Jesus Christ. This idea of “keeping back” is most expressive. Ananias and Sapphira “kept back part of the price,” and we know their fate; Paul “kept back nothing,” and we know with what exultancy he looked forward to his “crown;” the goats kept back the bread and water, and they went away into everlasting punishment; the sheep kept nothing back, and they entered into eternal life. There is a grandeur of the conception; standing with 11 men, poor and unlettered men, upon a mountain in Galilee, Jesus Christ turns the world into a great school, and elects teachers who may constantly draw upon himself for instruction and inspiration. He refers to no difficulties, never provides for surrender or withdrawal, describes no boundaries; he speaks of the world as a unit, of all nations as scholars, and of his Gospel as the theme of every teacher. Before the magnificence of this conception even the miracles dwindle into insignificance. Then there is the implied adaptation of the Gospel to human nature universally. There are no modifications of the subject; the Gospel is one, just as the sun is one; and human nature is as essentially one as is the Divine nature. Then there is the determination

of the destiny—he that believes shall be saved; he that believes not shall be damned. No statesman ever spoke of the affairs of state with so much ease, confidence, and comprehensiveness as Jesus Christ spoke of the world. He looked with the eye and

miracles. He gave, however, a gentle hint that the spiritual era was about to open. He said, “Thomas, because thou has seen me, thou has believed.” It was an appropriate close of the physical dispensation, a powerful and convincing climax! Any other

spoke with the voice of the Universal Prince, yet the marks of recent woulds were on his hands and his feet, and no man was ever more unprincely in his visible resources. this must be accounted for by those who deny this Godhead; to those who believe in this Godhead the case presents no difficulty. They would rather accept the mystery of God becoming man than the impossibility of man becoming God. So far the spirit of Jesus Christ after the resurrection is entirely accordant with all that we have seen in him up to the time of the crucifixion; what difference there may be is not one of nature, but of application; the benevolence is the same, though the commission now includes the whole world, as well as the lost sheep of the house of Israel. There remain two instances of Christ’s posthumous spirit yet to be looked at, in which the world can never cease to be interested. They relate to individuals, it is true, yet those individuals may be regarded as representative so long as doubters and backsliders are to be found in society. Happily, the disciples represented various temperaments, and various intellectual capacities. Had they been elected upon some special principle of inclusion, that circumstance would have excited suspicion; as it was, however, the most opposite characteristics were represented by the 11 disciples, so that the teaching of Jesus Christ had to commend itself to what was essential, and not to what was accidental, in human nature; this is the more remarkable when it is considered that nearly everything he said seemed to be entirely opposed to the main conditions of human nature generally, and of Jewish society particularly. The two instances referred to are singularly pathetic. The first was that of Didymus [Thomas]. He was absent when Jesus Christ appeared to the disciples on the evening after the resurrection, and when the appearance was reported to him he met the statement with the most resolute skepticism: “Except,” said he, “I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” To see his general appearance would not be enough; to hear his voice, which sufficed for Mary Magdalene, would not be enough: he must descend into particulars, and elect his own standards of judgment. How will Jesus Christ treat the doubter? A question of transcendent import! The doubter will come upon every age: on what principle shall he be encountered? After eight days Jesus Christ made a second appearance to his disciples. Jesus passed at once to the skeptical Didymus, and said, “Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side; and be not faithless but believing.” Instead of resenting the slight which had been cast upon the veracity of his disciples, instead of rebuking an occasional absence from the Christian fellowship, Jesus Christ actually submitted to the very tests which the doubter himself had elected! He was greater in that hour than when he wrought the chief of his

would have been a failure. A hand thrust into the wound finishes with the most tragic effect what Simeon so well began when he took the child in his arms, and sighed for rest. Thomas Didymus was the first doubter that entered into peace through the wounded Christ, and today there is no other plan by which the soul can steady itself but by resting on the same wounds, though in a higher and nobler sense. Not only was this an appropriate conclusion of the physical testimony, but a most gracious introduction to the spiritual age: “Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” It was the old word. We heard it first on the Mount of Beatitudes, we hear it last on the way to Olivet, the Mount of Ascension; it was “blessed” at the beginning, it was “blessed” at the close; the changeful (inconsistent) anthem, varying from the whisper of a breeze to the noise of a storm, began and ended on the same note. The last man who believed by sight was not so blessed as the first man who believed on testimony. Each age has been offered a larger blessing than that which was offered to its predecessor. The second instance is still more deeply interesting than the first. All the disciples forsook Jesus Christ and fled about the time of the crucifixion. The case of Peter was one of special aggravation. He denied his discipleship with an oath. The first to accept Christ’s call, he was the most resolute in disclaiming his Master. Can a crime like this be forgiven? Is there compass enough in Christ’s love to get round a treason so black, an apostasy so complete? When the sovereign and the traitor meet, what will happen? They did meet. Early in the morning Jesus Christ appeared on the shore of Tiberias, and accosted seven or eight of his disciples, who had been fishing all night without success. With the keen instinct of love, John was the first to identify the Master. Turning to Peter, he said, “It is the Lord.” That was enough for the man who carried an intolerable burden on his heart; when he heard it was the Lord, “he girt his fisher’s coat unto him (for he was naked), and did cast himself into the sea.” We know not what happened in the private interview which succeeded, the interview between the great sinner and the greater Savior. Perhaps no words passed; perhaps only a look; perhaps only a gasp of the wounded hand! We know the effect of one look; it broke Simon Peter’s heart: perhaps the look of eyes which had slept in death healed it again. We cannot tell; we wish to know, yet we would not inquire, lest we profane the sanctuary of the soul. Part of the story is told. The risen Savior dined with the disciples. After dinner Jesus saith to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?” He was once boisterous in his demonstrativeness—ready for prison, prepared for death—yet he was convicted of falsehood and profanity! How would he answer now? “He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou know that I love thee.”


CONTINUED FROM PAGE 45 Again the question, and again the answer; and yet once more; the three denials were lost in the three confessions, and the thrice-plighted backslider was thrice charged to feed the flock—to feed the lambs, and to feed the sheep; no partial ministry; no sign of humiliation attached to the service; the forgiveness was complete, the restoration was vital. In the beginning of his ministry Jesus Christ had said to Simon Peter, “Follow me,” the old words precisely were repeated on this occasion. Jesus foretold the circumstances of Peter’s death, and then said, “Follow me.” the broken link was taken out, and this new one put in its place. We know what a strong man Peter became after his restoration—how he excelled all the New Testament writers in richness of pathos, and how he rivaled even Paul in catholicity and labor. The heart is enriched by sorrows. Restored men, so often looked upon with suspicion, ought to be the wisest of Christian teachers: wise to guide the sheep, and strong to carry the lambs. In this charge to Simon Peter, Jesus Christ gives no instruction as to theology or morals. Nothing approaching the nature of a formal creed is hinted at. Yet this would have been the time above all other times, had such a creed been necessary, to enter into details; specifically so with Simon Peter, who had fallen into shame. On what, then, was the great mission founded? Simply on love. Where there is intense love of Jesus Christ, there is capacity to feed the flock; where this love is wanting, all other capac-

ity is useless. Love is the security of the Christian life, and of the Christian apostleship. Love is the guarantee of morality, for love is the fulfilling of the law. God so loved that he gave; man, too, must so love as to give. He is not to be drawn upon chains of iron; he is to be impelled by love. Consider what love is, and see its sufficiency and power. Love is the term which expresses the purest and intensest enthusiasm of the soul. When that purest and intensest enthuses is directed towards Jesus Christ, love attains its noblest development. The whole man is aglow with an ardor which nothing that is unholy can touch and live! The man’s vitality is at its highest point; every sensibility is as keen as it can be; every faculty is under pledge to suffering or service. This was all that Jesus Christ required even of the man who had fallen so foully, and shown himself to helpless under pressure. Before the crucifixion he had trusted in himself: the very last element of self-conceit was to be destroyed in him, and henceforth he was to live under the inspiration and guardianship of perfect love. There is no faculty of interpretation equal to love; it has access, so to speak, to every chamber of God’s heart, and can speak all languages; nor is there any capacity of suffering equal to it; it accepts suffering as a trial of reality and strength, and wrings great spoil from its unwilling grasp. This we had known before; but Jesus Christ employs a word which calls us to consideration; on being assured of Simon Peter’s love, he tells him to feed the flock: how can love feed? We

know how love can stimulate, defend, or soothe; but this new word startles us somewhat. Yet it need not. Love delights in the satisfaction of others. It does not care in any low sense to feed itself; it thrives best when it gives most and does most for the lambs and the sheep: but which lambs and sheep? Is the fold defined? Yes: Feed my lambs—feed my sheep—was the command of Jesus Christ: the love was Christ’s, the service was Christ’s; nor does Simon Peter appear to have forgotten the charge, or the metaphor by which it was expressed; for long after he wrote, “Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; . . . and when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.” Love must, by the force of its own nature, feed others—study them, comprehend their capacity; and satisfy them when they feel “The curse of high spirit famishing, Because all earth but sickens it.” Jesus Christ dealt thus with the doubter and the apostate, gently, instructively, and forgivingly. Not a harsh word was said to either of them: let the church recollect this and consider how far the servant has followed the Master’s example. There may be some standing without who should be called within. Jesus Christ made a remarkable posthumous appearance to two of his disciples, as they walked to Emmaus. They may be regarded as representing men who have taken an incomplete view of the facts which relate to Christ. If their collation of evidence

had been fuller, they would have had less trouble. They saw but a “fragment” of the case; “and as they communed one with another, they were sad.” (Luke xxiv. 17) The interview between Jesus Christ and them was remarkable chiefly for the full exposition of the case which Christ gave: “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” This puts the Old Testament in its right position. It is a Christian document. From the beginning of revelation to its close; Christ is the main subject: without him there was nothing to be revealed. At the close of it all, he breathed upon his disciples the Holy Ghost. This, however, was but preparatory to the full gift which was shortly afterwards received. They were to tarry in the city of Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Thus the epochs merged into one another. John pointed to Jesus, Jesus promised to send the Comforter, and so, after long ages, we have come to the rule of the Spirit. He works deeply, though silently. His “going” is not heard in the thunder, or earthquake, or whirlwind. He comes as quietly as the morning, and while unobserving men are exclaiming, “Where is the promise of his coming?” he is actually filling the heavens with light, and renewing the face of the earth. Of him it may be said, as was said of Jesus Christ, “There stands one among you, whom ye know not; he it is.” Read unabridged at

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