Page 2, The Loafer • June 24, 2014
June 24, 2014 • The Loafer, Page 3
Volume 28 Issue #29
Publisher - Bill Williams • Editor/Graphic Arts Director - Don Sprinkle • Office Manager - Luci Tate Cover Design - Bill May • Photography - Mark Marquette Advertising - Dave Carter, Akey Kincaid, Terry Patterson Contributing Staff - Jim Kelly, Andy Ross, Ken Silvers, Mark Marquette Published by Tree Street Media, LLC., P.O. Box 3238, Johnson City, TN 37602 Phone: 423/283-4324 FAX - 423/283-4369 www.theloaferonline.com • firstname.lastname@example.org e-mail: email@example.com (editorial) firstname.lastname@example.org (advertising All advertisements are accepted and published by the publisher upon the representation that the agency and/or advertiser is authorized to publish the entire contents and subject matter thereof.The agency and/or advertiser will indemnify and save the publisher harmless from any loss of expense resulting from claims or suits based upon contents of any advertisement,including claims or suits for defamation,libel,right of privacy,plagiarism,and copyright infringement.
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Grandfather Mountain Highland Games return July 10-13
Blaring bagpipes, astounding athletes and tons of tartans converge in western North Carolina on July 10-13 for the 59th annual Grandfather Mountain Highland Games. As the Games approach their sixth decade, they hearken back to the rich cultural traditions of Scotland in a setting not so different from the
mountains and glens 3,600 miles away. The deep blue peaks of the 5,946-foot Grandfather Mountain tower above meadows ringed by 170 colorful tents. The color is augmented by thousands of Scots decked in their finest tartan plaids, and the energy is amplified by the sounds of bagpipes and ket-
The opening ceremonies of the Games include a torch-light ceremony where representatives of each Scottish Clan in attendance announce their family’s participation in the Gathering.
Photo Credit: Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
Photo by Hugh Morton | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
tledrums echoing across the moor. The event begins Thursday afternoon, July 10, with border collie sheepherding demonstrations, Celtic entertainment, the running of “The Bear” and the opening ceremonies. “The Bear” pits roughly 700 runners against the steep switchbacks of Grandfather Mountain in a five-mile run that climbs 1,568 feet from the town of Linville to the mountain summit. It’s followed Saturday by another test of extreme endurance as the Grandfather Mountain Marathon winds from Appalachian State University in Boone to the site of the Games in Linville. But the Games truly get under way at the torchlight ceremony on Thursday evening, where representatives of more than 100 clans announce their families’ participation in the gathering. The “raising of the clans” proclaims that they
have once again convened to celebrate their heritage. Guests often bring dinner or purchase concessions at the field to enjoy a picnic at the opening ceremonies. Friday, Saturday and Sunday are filled with competitions in traditional heavyweight Scottish athletic events; highland dancing competitions; bagpipe band parades; piping, drumming and harp competitions; sheep herding demonstrations by Scottish border collies and concerts featuring a wide variety of Celtic music. The nation’s top Scottish athletes clash Saturday in traditional heavyweight events such as “Turning the Caber” and “Tossing the Sheaf.” In the caber toss, athletes flip a telephone pole-sized log end over end. The sheaf toss challenges athletes to loft a 16-pound sack of hay over a bar more than 20 feet high. Other ancient tests of strength await the brawny professionals, including highland
wrestling, the hammer throw and various weight throws. Events are repeated Sunday for amateurs and athletes 40+, also offering spectators opportunities to witness the “kilted mile,” clan caber toss and clan tug-of-war. On Friday night, the Celtic Jam at MacRae Meadows highlights traditional and contemporary Celtic music, followed by high-energy bands at the Celtic Rock Concert on Saturday night. Musical guests in 2014 include Brian McNeill, John Doyle, Seven Nations, Ed Miller, Chambless and Muse, The Freestylers of Piping, The Red Wellies, The Good Set and Jamie Laval. Many of the groups also perform during the daylight hours in the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games’ Celtic Groves. Throughout the weekend, visitors can learn about their own Scottish history and genealogy at clan tents or browse
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Grandfather Mountain Highland Games - Continued from previous page the open-air market for Gaelic and tartan gift items and a variety of concessions, including traditional Scottish meat pies. Youngsters enjoy participating in highland wrestling clinics and competitions, foot races and tug-of-war battles. In addition to the flurry of activity at the Meadows, a Scottish Country Dance Gala is planned for Friday night at nearby Lees-McRae College to highlight the traditional ballroom dance style. Whether you’re new to the Games or a return visitor, the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games offer a hearty “céad míle fáilte” — a hundred thousand welcomes! Adult admission to the Grandfather Mountain Highland Games is $15 Thursday, $20 Friday, $30 Saturday and $15 Sunday. Tickets cover all activities in the meadows, which on Friday and Saturday last from early morning to midnight. Tickets are $5 each day for children ages 5-12, and children younger than 5 enter free. Tickets purchased at the entrance must be paid in cash.
Four-day passes are also available online at www.gmhg. org. Adult passes are $75, and children’s passes are $20. Parking is available at the Games on Thursday and Friday on a first come, first served basis, with overflow parking at shuttle lots in Linville. Public parking is NOT available at the Games on Saturday and Sunday. Shuttle service is provided for a fee between MacRae Meadows and satellite parking areas in Linville, Newland and Boone. The Boone shuttle runs during the day Friday, Saturday and Sunday, while the Linville shuttle runs Saturday and Sunday and the Newland shuttle runs Friday and Saturday (subject to change). Shuttle fees vary depending on the distance between the lots and MacRae Meadows. Buses do not run in the evenings. For more information about the Games, visit www.gmhg. org or call (828) 733-1333. For lodging and travel information, contact the High Country Host visitor center at (800)4387500 or highcountryhost.com.
Photo by John Grogan | Grandfather Mountain Stewardship Foundation
In the Caber Toss, the athlete must turn a telephone-pole sized log end over end. Tosses that fall the closest to the “twelve o’clock” position are winners.
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Performing this Saturday at The Carter Family Fold
Saturday, June 28th, 2014, at 7:30 p.m., the Carter Family Fold in Hiltons, Virginia, will present a special concert by Spencer Branch, an old time band. Admission to the concert is $10 for adults, $1 for children 6 to 11, under age 6 free. Spencer Branch is a relatively new old time band that sprang from the famous Spencer family of the Whitetop Mountain Band. Kilby and Martha Spencer are the son and daughter of Thornton and Emily Spencer. Martha plays with the Whitetop Mountain Band, and Kilby often does as well. Kilby has his own old time band – the Crooked Road Ramblers. Martha often travels overseas as a duet with Jackson Cunningham who also plays with the Whitetop Mountain Band. Kelley Breiding adds her vocal talent to the group. A native of North Carolina, Kelley’s known as “the girl with the big voice.” She grew up playing the piano and guitar, and later became a champion banjo player. Formerly with the old time band Back Step, she helped formed the group Kelley and the Cowboys in
2005. She’s performed with many industry greats, and has a bright future in music. Another member of the group – Jeff Michaels – is well-known to Fold audiences from his time with a bluegrass group favorite – Big Country Bluegrass. Jeff is no longer with Big Country, but he’s working with Spencer Branch and others. Jeff and Kelly’s vocals will “bring down the house.” Jeff is a champion fiddler to boot. Wayne Dye rounds out the group for this performance, playing mandolin and singing. Wayne is a retired coal miner from Russell County who plays practically anything that has strings on it. Wayne was formerly with the Russell County Boys. Kilby and Martha grew up surrounded by music. Their parents’ band – the Whitetop Mountain Band – has performed for over four decades. Kilby literally learned to fiddle at the feet of the master – his dad Thornton – and he’s one of the finest old time fiddlers around. Martha plays guitar, fiddle, and bass – and has one of the most beautiful voices in old
time music. She cuts a mean rug when she does old time dance, and she captivates an audience. Add the talent of Kelley Breiding and Jeff Michaels, and you have an old time band that fits the Carter Fold and our audience like a saddle on a horse. Don’t miss Spencer Branch at the Carter Family Fold. It will be an evening of down-home entertainment and rollicking fun. Bring along your friends and your dancing shoes! You can check out Spencer Branch on You Tube. Carter Family Memorial Music Center, Incorporated, is a nonprofit, rural arts organization established to preserve traditional, acoustic, mountain music. For further information on the center, go to www.carterfamilyfold.org. For recorded information on shows coming up at the Fold, call 276386-6054. The Fold is on Facebook – page Carter Fold – and Twitter – @carterfoldinfo. To speak to a Fold staff member, call 276-5940676. Carter Music Center is part of the Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail.
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at Hot Nights, Cool Music series June 26
Northeast State’s Hot Nights, Cool Music Summer Concert Series welcomes the Taikoza Japanese Flute and Drum Ensemble featuring the soulful Shakuhachi music accompanied by the powerful and ancestral taiko drums of Taikoza. Taikoza performs on Thursday, June 26 at 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts theatre on the College’s main campus in Blountville next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert is free and open to the public. Taikoza uses the powerful rhythms of the powerful taiko drums to create an electrifying energy that carries audiences in a new dimension of excitement. The taiko is a large, barrel-like drum that can fill the air with the sounds of rolling thunder. Roughly translated, taiko means big drums – and that’s exactly what Taikoza brings. Founder and musical director Marco Lienhard was a professional taiko player in Japan. He mastered the shakuhachi under Master Katsuya Yokoyama, quickly becoming a virtuoso solo artist.
In 1995, Lienhard founded Taikoza and toured around the world. This exciting group draws from Japan’s rich tradition of music and performance to create a highly visual performance. Drawing from Japan’s rich tradition of music and performance, Taikoza has created a new sound using a variety of traditional instruments. In addition to drums of assorted sizes, Taikoza incorporates the shakuhachi, the fue (both bamboo flutes) and the koto (a 13-string instrument). The band’s members include Malika Yasuko Duckworth who began playing taiko at the age of 11 with Hawaii Matsuri Taiko from 1985-1993. Marguerite Bunyan studied taiko participated to special taiko workshops with San Jose Taiko, San Francisco Taiko Dojo, and has done several workshops in Japan. Chikako Saito became attracted to Japanese culture and studied folk and classical dance. She started to study taiko in 2002 and has been performing with Taikoza since 2004. Yoshiko Canada started her study of taiko in New York and later joined Taikoza as a performing
members. She has also performed with other taiko groups at Lincoln Center and Madison Square Garden. Kenji Nakano appeared in many commercials and movies. He has studied taiko in New York before joining Taikoza. Masayo Ishigure plays the Japanese koto in traditional and modern styles. He began playing the koto and jiuta shamisen at the age of five. Taikoza has appeared on different TV programs such as Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, the History Channel in History vs. Hollywood and ESPN S.U.M.O: The Battle of the Giants. Taikoza is featured in the movie The Commute. Taikoza has recorded the music for the Nintendo Wii games: Red Steel 1 and 2. The members of Taikoza have performed around the world in some of the most prestigious halls such as Carnegie Hall, Boston Symphony Hall, Suntory Hall, Osaka Festival Hall and many others. For more information about the summer concert series visit www. northeaststate.edu or contact 423.354.5169.
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The Crooked Road Music Series at Heartwood to feature
Ma and Pa’s Restaurant Jam Great food, great people and great music! This sums up Ma and Pa’s Restaurant in Castlewood, VA. They have been in business since 1966, but their Bluegrass Jams and Gospel Jams are basically brand new. At 6:30 pm on Thursday, June 26, 2014, Ma and Pa’s Restaurant Jam from Russell County will be the featured Venue Showcase at Heartwood. Having been in business for 48 years, Ma and Pa’s is a historical landmark that is rich in history and culture. The jams have helped the community by providing a place where locals can gather and enjoy music as well as meet new people from surrounding counties. Owner John Huff says that they are committed toward making their venue a new, lasting tradition for all the different generations for our music in the region. Their jams began in 2012,
and have been steadily growing in attendance. Recently, Ma and Pa’s added a porch outside with a stage so the music events can be held outdoors during the warmer months. Hopefully, they will be able to enclose it later on to provide extra space for musicians and patrons during the cooler months. On Sundays from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. they have Gospel Jams and their Bluegrass and Country jams are Monday nights from 6:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. Ma and Pa’s is located at 18928 Hwy 58 in Castlewood, Virginia and they can be reached at 276-762-7533. The Crooked Road: Virginia’s Heritage Music Trail (TCR) music series at Heartwood in Abingdon showcases communities of the region through their traditional music venues and their youth music. The Crooked Road’s mission is to support tourism and economic development in Southwest
Virginia by celebrating and preserving this Appalachian region’s unique musical and cultural heritage. The 19 counties, 4 cities, and over 50 towns and communities in Southwest Virginia that make up The Crooked Road region represent one of the richest sources of traditional heritage music in the world. For additional information about The Crooked Road, call 276-492-2409, send an email to email@example.com or check out our new website at www. thecrookedroad.org. Heartwood: Southwest Virginia’s Artisan Gateway is located of I-81 at Exit 14 in Abingdon, Virginia and features food, music and craft of Southwest Virginia. Admission is free but donations will be accepted for the series performances.
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MECC Announces 10th Annual Mountain Music School Mountain Empire Community College is currently accepting applications for the 10th Annual Mountain Music School, to be held
on campus July 21-25. MECC’s Mountain Music School is a week-long event dedicated to the preservation and continuation
of Appalachian music and culture. Students from age 10 and up learn to play an instrument of their choice, including beginning and advanced options in “old-time” fiddle, claw-hammer banjo, autoharp, guitar, mandolin, dulcimer, shape note singing, and dog house bass. In addition, a string-band class for intermediate/advanced musicians is offered for students who want to expand their skills in a group setting. A limited number of instruments are available to loan during the week. “We are excited to host the 10th annual Mountain Empire Community College Mountain Music School and we look forward to a great week with students of all
ages. Workshops, concerts, and many other activities are planned. We invite you to join us for a week or learning and fun,” said Sue Ella Boatright-Wells, MECC’s Dean of Workforce Development. Registration for Mountain Music School is $150 for the week, which includes lunch each day and a t-shirt. Classes are held from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Scholarships are also available for students 18 years and younger. To register for the 10th Annual Mountain Music School, or to apply for a scholarship, please visit the Mountain Music School website at www.mountainmusicschool.org or call (276) 523-7489.
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Scenic and Historic Mountain Railway Excursion
If you’re experiencing the Summer Doldrums, we have the cure for you – getting out of the house and taking a great train ride! Escape the Dog Days of Summer with a cool, refreshing and scenic train trip through the mountains of the Southern Appalachian region. On Saturday, August 16th, 2014, the Watauga Valley Railroad Historical Society & Museum will sponsor its “Summer 2013 Excursion” – a train ride on the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through the majestic Smoky Mountains and the beautiful countryside of Western North Carolina. The train follows the route of the former Southern Railway’s Murphy Branch line, established in 1891, with its five percent grade, many bridges, and the beautiful whitewater Nantahala Gorge. Much of the route hugs the banks of the Little Tennessee and Nantahala Rivers and crosses Fontana Lake Trestle, standing 100 feet above the lake and spanning 780 feet. After crossing the lake, the train will enter the breathtaking Nantahala Gorge – a natural wonder. Passengers can choose to ride in comfort in Coach Class, Crown Class or First Class coaches. All classes offer seating in vintage, restored passenger cars. Coach Class features windows that open and close for fresh-air viewing and ceiling fans. Crown Class offers larger windows for better viewing (windows do not open) and climate control for passenger comfort. First Class passengers will travel in luxury and style in restored
1940s-era bar / lounge cars that feature seating at well-appointed tables and lounge / restaurant style chairs. First Class passengers will also enjoy lunch (included with ticket purchase) at their seat. Ticket prices for adult Coach Class seats are $79 and $58 for children (2 to 12 years). Adult Crown Class seats are $93 and $71 for children (2 to 12 years). First Class service Club Car seats are $139 for anyone 21 years and older. The trip will begin in downtown Johnson City, TN, where passengers will board a motor coach departing 9:15 a.m. from the Legion Street (Big Burley) parking lot across the street from the Johnson City Recreation Center. Upon arriving Bryson City, NC, passengers will have time to shop, snack, and visit the Smoky Mountain Train Museum before boarding the excursion train at 1:45 p.m. for the 4.5- hour roundtrip to the Nantahala Gorge and return. There will be a layover at the Gorge for sightseeing. Expected arrival back
to Johnson City is 8:30 p.m. To order tickets (and lunch for Coach and Crown Classes, if desired), send your check or money order along with the number of tickets, the class of car you choose and lunch choices to Summer 2014 Excursions, Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN,37605-0432. A printable ticket / lunch order form is available by going to our web site at www.wataugavalleynrhs.org and clicking on the “Excursions” link. Please specify if you will accept an alternate class of service if your choice is sold out; you will be refunded the difference. Money will be refunded if you do not wish an alternate service. Passengers will have several options for lunch. For questions about the trip, visit our web site at www.wataugavalleyrrhsm. org; phone (423) 753-5797; email firstname.lastname@example.org; or write us at Watauga Valley RHS&M, P. O. Box 432, Johnson City, TN 37605-0432.
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Historical Society Convention with Carter Railroad Museum, train show
The ET&WNC Railroad Historical Society will hold its annual convention in Johnson City for the first time on Fri. through Sun., June 27-29. The event will be co-hosted by East Tennessee State University’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum. Convention headquarters will be in the Carnegie Hotel with registration beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, followed by the Society’s business meeting at 5 p.m., a banquet at 7 p.m. and an evening speaker who will provide historical information about the “Tweetsie” railway. The ET&WNC Railroad, known by most as the “Tweetsie,” originated in Johnson City, and ran on its narrow gauge, three-foot tracks, all the way to Cranberry, N.C., bringing iron ore and timber to Johnson City and freight to North Carolina, as well as moving passengers on its coaches. The railroad made its last run in October 1950, but the ET&WNC RR Historical Society keeps its memory and its history alive. Saturday (June 28) will feature a big train show in Taylor Hall of the Carnegie Hotel from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. The show is open to the public and admission is $5. Approximately 40 tables will be on display, with vendors including Carstens Publishing, the publishers of “Model Railroad Craftsman” and the popular HOn3 and On30 Annuals. Star Hobbies of Maryland will present model trains of all scales. Railroad artist Frank Crowe will sell his artwork depicting area railroads, among them the Tweetsie. Other vendors will be Wesley Ross with regional “railroadiana,” Dal Cook’s railroad shirts, Johnny Graybeal and his area railroad books about Tweetsie from Tarheel Press, George Sargent and his patented couplers, and representatives of the Southeast Narrow Gauge and Shortline Museum. June 28 will also feature tours of the George L. Carter Railroad Museum from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on the nearby ETSU campus at 176 Ross Drive. Admission is free and the
public is invited. In addition to the museum’s operating model train layouts, the focus will be the construction that is under way on their 1,300-sqare-foot HOn3 Tweetsie Railroad layout. For society members, there will be a 5 p.m. after-hours train ride on the Tweetsie Railroad at Blowing Rock, N.C., followed by dinner at the Tweetsie Palace on the theme park grounds. On the morning of Sunday, June 29, society members will take a 10 a.m. ride on the ET&WNC RR trackbed from the Christian Ministries Complex in Hampton through the Doe River Gorge to Pardee Point, the most photographed part of the old ET&WNC line, with walks along the track to the bridge west of tunnel #4. The afternoon will feature a trip to the Avery County Museum in Newland, N.C., to tour the restored ET&WNC Linville Station and to see the railroad’s #505 caboose, which was recently moved to the museum after being lost from public view on private lands for more than 60 years. The public is invited to the convention’s train show, tours of the George L. Carter Railroad Museum and the Linville Station in Newland, but other convention activities are for its members only. Annual memberships to the historical society are available for $20 and registration for society members for all the convention events is only $40; however, registrations must be made to the society’s treasurer by Friday, June 20, to be honored for the entire convention, including dinner meals. ET&WNC RR Historical Society memberships, convention registration, and more information can be obtained from the society’s treasurer, LeAnn Lane, at 336-467-0364, or at HYPERLINK “mailto:surgnursenc@aol. com”email@example.com. Reservations at the Carnegie Hotel can be made by calling toll free 866-757-8277.
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Tastes of the Town Tours
A Nerd Get His Revenge! Join the Blue Moon Dinner Theatre as they proudly present THE NERD by Larry Shue, Friday and Saturday nights through June 28th. Located in Downtown Johnson City, the Blue Moon has been producing Broadway style comedies and musicals accompanied by delicious dinners for over 5 years. Now an aspiring young architect in Terre Haute, Indiana, Willum Cubbert has often told his friends about the debt he owes to Rick Steadman, a fellow ex-GI whom he has never met but who saved his life after he was seriously wounded in Vietnam. He has written to Rick to say that, as long as he is alive, “you will have somebody on Earth who will do anything for you”—so Willum is delighted when Rick shows up unexpectedly at his apartment on the night of his thirty-fourth birthday party. But his delight soon fades as
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it becomes apparent that Rick is a hopeless “nerd”—a bumbling oaf with no social sense, little intelligence and less tact. And Rick stays on and on, his continued presence among Willum and his friends leading to one uproarious incident after another, until the normally placid Willum finds himself contemplating violence—a dire development which, happily, is staved off by the surprising “twist” ending of the play. Directed by Steve Schultz, the play stars a wonderful group of comic actors including Clayton Van Huss, Linda Wakely, Dave Hutton, Audry Syphers and, Richard Nave. Doors open at 6pm and dinner is served at 6:30pm with the show starting at 7:30pm. The Menu for this show includes a Blue Moon House Salad, Lemon Pepper Chicken Breast, Mashed
Potatoes and Broccoli and Cheese with a dessert of Peach Cobbler A La Mode being served at intermission. Tickets for this candlelit 3 course meal and live comedy are just
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Features OZ Themed Tour
39.99 plus tax and can be ordered online at www.bluemoondinnertheatre.com or by calling (423)2321350. The Blue Moon Dinner Theatre - Where The Stars Come Out To Shine.
Tastes of the Town Tours is set to host a special tour inspired by the Barter Theatre’s Wizard of Oz production on Saturday, June 28, 2014. Participants will visit 5 stops for small tastes highlighting each establishment’s Oz-themed food and drink. Tickets are now available for purchase online for the food tour. “When Barter announced various restaurants in town were making food to celebrate the play, I just knew I wanted to feature it somehow,” says tour organizer, Sara Cardinale. This is the first time Tastes of the Town has partnered with the newly designed café, Bob’s at Barter, It’s also the first time the tour will be held on a weekend instead of a weekday, in order to give attendees the opportunity to see the 2pm showing of The Wizard of Oz at the Barter Theatre.
Stops for the OZ tour include: Figaredo’s Bistro, ZazzyZ Coffee House, Bonefire Smokehouse, Bob’s at Barter and The Tavern. This tour is limited to 25 participants, and is expected to sell out. Tastes of the Town Tours features restaurants that are part of the Rooted in Appalachia campaign, a local food branding initiative collaboratively launched in 2012 by the Abingdon Convention and Visitors Bureau and Appalachian Sustainable Development. Establishments identified as Rooted in Appalachia partners are dedicated to featuring locally purchased food in their menus, serving local wine or beer and making a good faith effort to purchase local food year round. Cardinale explains that “at each stop diners will get the chance to hear directly from the chef or owners about what efforts they are making to utilize
local products, as well as get a taste of their specialties made with these items.” The tickets for the tour are $48/ea, and can be purchased online or by phone. Participants should meet at the Municipal Lot in Abingdon at 5:30. For more information about this event, please visit us on the web at www.tastesofthetowntours.com or reach us by phone at 276-274-5483.
Customer Appreciation The Goodwill Industries of Tenneva retail store in Bristol, Tennessee will be decorated in red, white and blue on June 27 from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m! The State Street Goodwill, located at 2691 W. State Street, is holding its annual customer appreciation event. This year, the State Street Goodwill will display its patriotic colors and attitude in Bristol! The store will hold a tent sale featuring items 75 percent off and a 50 percent off yellow tag sale!
The State Street Goodwill employees will be dressed in all shades of red, white and blue and will be available to help customers find their own fantastic patriotic outfits! The tent sale will feature various items such clothing, furniture, housewares, and children’s toys all at 75 percent off. Beverages and snacks will be provided and there will be door prize give aways all day!
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Stargazer - Continued from previous page
NASA Skylab & Shuttle Pave Way for ISS The rhetoric about Russia controlling the International Space Station has taken a back seat to business as usual on the $100 billion orbiting laboratory 125 miles high. And it was this week in space history that had four NASA space missions paving the way to make the amazing science and engineering outpost a reality. The six Expedition 40 members aboard the ISS owe their jobs to the groundwork laid out this week on Skylab and two Space Shuttle missions twenty years apart. On May 14, 1973, America’s first space station called Skylab was launched into orbit. But its meteor shield and one of two solar panels were ripped off before orbit. That necessitated an emergency repair mission by the first three-man crew during their record 28-day stay on Skylab. Those astronauts were Apollo 12 moonwalker Pete Conrad, deceased, and Paul Weitz and Joseph Kerwin. Together they engineered a spacewalk that put a sunshade over the damaged meteor shield and pulling out the one solar panel that was stuck. Then the Skylab 2 crew enjoyed their time aboard the cavernous space station built out of third stage cylinder of the huge Saturn V rocket. (The actual launch is officially the Skylab 1 mission). Two more three-man Skylab missions followed, increasing the time in space to 48 and then 84 days in space. Plans were for the new reusable Space Shuttle to begin ferrying astronauts to Skylab, but its development was five years behind schedule. Without a spaceship to return to Skylab (the three man Apollo ship was retired), the space station fell to Earth in an internationally publicized, unpredictable reentry on July 11, 1979. Most of it burned up in the at-
mosphere, but large sections still made it to the surface, some of it plowing into Western Australia’s Outback. Skylab astronauts studied how the human body reacts to long-term weightlessness (physiology); develop exercise regimes to keep muscles from becoming useless, and testing materials to construct future space stations. The space station also had a telescope for observing the Sun, and it made many significant discoveries for solar physicists. During the brief Skylab era, the Soviet Union actually pioneered life in space when they launched the world’s first space station, Salyut 1, in April 1971. They continued long duration flights with three more successful Salyuts in the 1980s, then in the 1990s enjoyed the success of the space station Mir. The Russian’s extensive experiences of missions lasting up to one year have been invaluable in their participation in the 16-nation partner-
Spacelab to fit in the 40-foot long, 10-foot wide cargo bay of the reusable space ship. On June 21, 1993, Space Shuttle Endeavour was launched with Spacehab in its cargo bay, ready to be utilized for a 10-day mission by six astronauts. The STS-57 mission conducted experiments on how the human body adapts to space and how materials melt, burn and merge together in the weightless environment kept the astronauts busy. Two space walks tested equipment, tools and couplings to be used on America’s proposed space station to be called “Freedom.” Budget cuts downsized Freedom, and sent NASA scrambling for partners to save the space station concept. In 1996 on June 20 the lot on their own about the hurdles Space Shuttle Columbia rockof living in space. So several Or- eted into space for the 20th time biter in the Space Shuttle fleet to spend a record-long 17-day were adapted to allow the pres- mission that was centered in the surized modules of Spacehab and Life and Microgravity Spacelab ship of the International Space Station. But before the cooperation between the USA and Russia began the 1990s, NASA had to learn a
cylinder in the cargo compartment. Seven astronauts worked on 22 experiments that continued research begun on four previous Shuttle missions. Many of the experiments on human blood and muscle reaction are still being conducted on the ISS. These missions all contributed to the knowledge of living in outer space that has culminated in the routine 6 month stays aboard the ISS by rotating crews. Because the Russian’s Soyuz spacecraft can carry only three people, the six-person Expedition members are sent up separately, overlapping sometimes with the previous Expedition crew. This is the procedure after the retirement of the Space Shuttles in 2012. Because of the world tension about Russia invading parts of the Ukraine in Spring 2014, it was feared that access to the ISS might be compromised. Despite the threat that the Russian Federal Space Agency (Roscosmos) might prohibit anybody but their own cosmonauts to be launched to the ISS, there has been no disruption in the rhythm of the planned missions. The Expedition 40 American astronaut arrived in May 2014, and a new supply mission by the Progress spaceship came and went in June. Occupied for 12 years by space explorers from the 16-nation consortium that are partners in the construction and maintenance of the incredible home orbiting our planet, the ISS is often neglected by the world unless something breaks down to make news. With the sanctions against Moscow, news was about Russia not ferrying anybody but cosmonauts to the Station. The 16 nations have four big players, the United States, Canada, Japan, Russia; the others and have diminished responsibility and in-
volvement: Brazil, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. They have agreed to finance the one-of-a-kind structure until 2020. The good news is “the Station” has lived up to the expectations of performing as a serious laboratory for all kinds of scientific disciplines that are applied down on Earth as well as paving the way for man’s future exploration of the Solar System. Orbiting Earth 16 times a day, the ISS goes through cycles of being seen in America for a week in the evening after sunset and a week or so in the morning sky before sunrise. Sunlight catches its huge array of solar panels as it glides unblinking across our night skies. The space station, including its large solar arrays, spans the area of a U.S. football field, including the end zones. The complex now
has more livable room than a conventional five-bedroom house, and has two bathrooms and a gymnasium. Six cylinders the size of a big tour bus are interconnected on a giant metal truss, the huge solar panels on another truss and moving to follow the Sun. The Station has been visited by 212 individuals from eight different countries, which is a big chunk of the some 567 different humans blasted off Earth into outer space since Russian Yuri Gagarin in 1961. Twice a month the ISS makes passes over North America—in the evening and morning twilight. You can find this information on the Internet, or even download an “app” for your Smartphone to alert you of ISS sightings. It will look like a bright, slow moving star, taking 2-4 minutes to fly from horizon to horizon. Often times it will be the brightest object in the sky.
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Skies This Week Celestial events in the skies for the week of June 24th - June30th, 2014, as compiled for The Loafer by Mark D. Marquette.
With daylight lasting nearly 16 hours, there’s not much time for stargazing, but hanging out under the stars after 10 pm has its rewards of two planets and a handful of bright stars. And the Milky Way climbs higher as the night wear on, its border full of deep sky objects for sky hunters and their telescopes. One of the real pleasures of Summer stargazing is the sounds you hear while looking around the night sky. From the incessant chants of insects, to dogs parking and that distant, lonesome train whistle, the night will fill your senses with awe and satisfaction.
Tues. June 24
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Wines from the affordable to the rare at
Erick’s Cheese & Wine
Fri. June 27
New Moon is today, with the Moon invisible in the daytime sky, below the Sun in the constellation Gemini. The Moon will begin moving into the early evening as a crescent, first seen Sunday night. This always creates great photo opportunities as the crescent Moon is photographed low to the horizon with trees and buildings providing excellent visual framing.
Sat. June 28
Campers will no doubt gaze up at the stars, and the later the hour the higher the Milky Way will be. Even a pair of binoculars will open the eyes to the tremendous number of stars beyond the reach of human vision. Download a free guide to the night sky at Skymaps.com and begin to learn the dot-todot patterns of constellations.
All evening, four “stars” in a line are seen looking south. To the left to right (or east to west), are the red star Antares in Scorpius, yellow planet Saturn in Libra, white Spica in Virgo and red Mars, also in the virgin Sun. June 29 maiden. You won’t see the rings of Saturn in On this 1971 date in space history, three binoculars, but even a cheap telescope will cosmonauts were asphyxiated during reshow you a tiny image. entry of their Soyuz 11 spacecraft. The Wed. June 25 cosmonauts spent 28 days on the world’s On this 1997 date in space history, two cos- first space station, Salyut 1, and the tragedy monauts and an American aboard the Rus- rocked the Soviet public who watched alsian Mir Space station narrowly escaped most daily televised reports from the spacedeath when a Progress supply spaceship men. collided with the Spektr module. The huge Mon. June 30 complex began losing pressure, but quick On this 1908 date in astronomy history, a action shut off the crippled section and Mir comet or meteor exploded over Siberia, was returned to its normal operations. leveling hundreds of acres of forest in the Thurs. June 26 area called Tunguska. Shockwaves were felt Venus rising above the morning twilight around the world, and dust thrown up creat 4:30 am and is brilliant in the two hours ated red sunset for months. So remote is the before sunrise. The morning skies have the area, it took 20 years for the first successful constellations of autumn like Pegasus and expedition to bring back photos of the devAndromeda. astation.
Erick’s Cheese & Wine in Banner Elk has been a favorite stop for visitors and summer residents in the high country for almost 30 years. It’s the place for wine, cheese, and other specialty foods. Whether you’re throwing a party for a large group, just having a few friends in for cocktails, or enjoying a quiet evening on the deck or by the fire, Erick’s has an amazing selection to make the event more enjoyable. First time customers are always surprised when they walk in and see the large, superb wine inventory – everything from the affordable to the collectible. And if Erick’s doesn’t have what you’re looking for, they’ll be happy to special order it – whether you want one bottle or a case. Speaking of cases, Erick’s offers case discounts and delivery within a certain radius of the store. If you’re in Banner Elk on a Saturday afternoon, be sure to stop by for the weekly wine tastings in our beautiful Tasting Room. They’re free and a wonderful opportunity to taste wines from all over the world. But, if the world of wine seems a bit intimating – don’t worry – Erick’s staff will help you
choose the perfect wine to match your taste and your budget. And if you really want to learn more, Erick’s offers a series of classes throughout the summer that are a wonderful opportunity to treat and train your palate and give you the tools you need to feel comfortable, whether you’re choosing a bottle of wine to take home or to enjoy at a restaurant with your meal. However, Erick’s isn’t just about wine. Walk past the wine racks to the back of the shop and behold the cheese counters! There you’ll see wheel upon wheel of cheese – again from all over the world. It’s the best selection in the High Country with well over 100 cheeses, from savory aged goat cheeses to the best in cheddars as well as cheese flavored with fruit or vegetables. Find some of the best artisan cheeses from American cheese makers that rival age-old varieties from France, England, and Spain. Erick’s cuts all their cheese to order and the friendly staff is happy to give you a taste before you decide. If you need a cheese tray for your special event, they can put that together for you, too. In addition, Erick’s also has a
large selection of Craft Beers in our chilled Beer Cave. Many are from North Carolina but also from the United States and around the world. Owners Randall Ray and Ren Manning, who purchased the store 12 years ago, have taken this High Country institution to a new level. They’ve continued to offer everything that Erick’s customers expect – like fresh baked bread and cookies everyday, dips and spreads that make a party special, custom gift baskets, beautiful serving accessories and giftware, and knowledgeable, friendly service. But the owners and staff continue to expand their own expertise in order to offer additional services like wine cellar consulting. A visit to North Carolina’s High Country is not complete without a visit to Erick’s. Forget the cheese and wine; their chocolate selection is to die for! Stop by, or go online at www.erickscheeseandwine.com Erick’s Cheese & Wine Shop, 4004 Hwy 105, Banner Elk, NC, Intersection of Hwy 105 & 184, The Grandfather Center, Next to the ABC Store, 828 898 9424.
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Caboose 505 found in time for historical society’s convention at ETSU
When East Tennessee State University hosts the annual conference of the East Tennessee & Western North Carolina Railroad (ET&WNCRR) Historical Society on Friday-Saturday, June 27-28, at the Carnegie Hotel, the members will have something unique to celebrate. Caboose 505, missing for over 60 years, has returned. The caboose was built in Johnson City in May 1926 for the ET&WNCRR and served the narrow gauge railroad until it was abandoned in October 1950. Since that time, the caboose served as a fishing cabin for Cy Crumley, a former conductor with the railway, as well as a personal cabin for the current owner, Frank Winston. Winston wished for Caboose 505
ETSU’s Carter Railroad Museum volunteers are in the process of building an HO scale model of the ET&WNC railroad tracks from Johnson City to Cranberry Mines in North
Acoustic Cruise to benefit Appalachia Cultural Music Association
to be available for public viewing and placed it in the hands of Ken Riddle, a member of the ET&WNCRR Historical Society. The two men chose to have the caboose displayed at the Avery County (N.C.) Historical Museum in Newland. After its arrival on June 2, the caboose will be restored and placed on permanent display in front of the refurbished Linville Depot, now part of the museum. Dr. Fred Alsop, director of ETSU’s George L. Carter Railroad Museum, notes, “This marks an historical event not only for the ET&WNCRR Historical Society, but for other local societies and museums.” The Avery County Historical Society and Museum is restoring the Linville Depot, which will serve as a home to the historical records and artifacts of the ET&WNCRR. Caboose 505 will serve as one of the few remaining pieces of ET&WNCRR rolling stock.
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Carolina. For further information, contact Jerry Turbyfill, vice president of the ET&WNCRR Historical Society, at (828) 733-0680.
The Acoustic Cruise will be filled with bluegrass, comedy and gospel music and will depart from Charleston, South Carolina in November 5th on Carnival Cruise Lines. This is a five day cruise traveling to the Bahamas and will be hosted by Song of the Mountains Host Tim White and his band the VW Boys. White also hosts the syndicated radio show the Tim White Bluegrass Show each week as well. “We will have lots of fun and have a tremendous lineup of artists to provide great music and comedy”, says White. Scheduled to entertain on the Acoustic Cruise are Lou Reid and Carolina, David Browning as the Mayberry Deputy, the VW Boys, Dale Ann Bradley, who is an award winning female vocalist of the year several times over, Steve
Gulley, Phil Ledbetter, Michael Reno Harrell and comedian Phil Campbell who is the son of the late Archie Campbell. All of these artists are renowned in their respective fields of bluegrass, gospel and comedy. David Browning travels across the United States each year entertaining crowds at corporate events, baseball parks, racetrack and even law enforcement functions. Phil Campbell was a regular on the syndicated Hee Haw program and accompanied his famous father for years on hundreds of stages. The VW Boys will provide Americana music with comedy and the “Magic of Dave Vaught”. Lou Reid & Carolina along with Phil Ledbetter and Steve Gulley are top names in the bluegrass and bluegrass gospel world as well.
“Cabins on the ship are limited and folks need to register by June 30th which is our cutoff date”, says Kathy Kennedy of Cruise Planners. Kathy is a veteran of planning and orchestrating cruises and she will assist anyone who needs her help in registration. Carnival Cruise Lines will make a monetary donation to the Appalachian Cultural Music Association once 100 cabins are sold. The ACMA is a non-profit organization based in Bristol, TN-VA which promotes and preserves the music of the Appalachian Region. The ACMA also provides the public free admission to their Mountain Music Museum at 626 State Street in Bristol, TN-VA. For information online visit www.acousticcruise.com or call 1-877-288-7711 for reservations.
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Andy Offutt Irwin to host Storytelling Live! Andy Offutt Irwin, a popular humorist and musician best known as the weird mind behind the tall tales of Dr. Marguerite Van Camp, will soon add another line to his résumé: Shakespearean narrator. While the goofy performer may seem like an unlikely suspect to receive an invitation to perform from the likes of the Atlanta Shakespeare Company, Irwin, who has taught theater at Emory and performed 30-minute renditions of Hamlet, is actually well equipped for the task. Offended by the bard’s stuffy
reputation, Irwin hopes to reclaim the playwright on behalf of silly people everywhere. “One of the problems we have with Shakespeare is that academics have taken him over,” he observes. “In real life, Shakespeare was a street performer. I’m an old street performer, too.” While the company’s take on Pericles isn’t exactly traditional—it involves many puppets and lots of lines played for laughs—Irwin takes his upcoming role very seriously. “It’s a big stretch because I am a solo performer,” he says. “I write my own material,
so when I go off-script, nobody cares. With something like Shakespeare, I don’t get to improvise. I have to stick to the words that he wrote.” Prior to the play’s debut this fall, Irwin will perform in his natural habitat, Jonesborough, where he’s been a fan favorite at the National Storytelling Festival for many years. He’s also one of the anchor performers of the International Storytelling Center’s Tellerin-Residence program, which brings storytellers to Tennessee’s oldest town for weeklong artistic residencies. Irwin is scheduled for a week’s worth of performances from July 1 – 5, Tuesday through Saturday, with daily matinees at 2:00 p.m. in the Mary B. Martin Storytelling Hall. Tickets for all shows are just $12 for adults and $11 for seniors, students, and children under 18. Advance booking is highly recommended. During his residency, Irwin plans to share a wide variety of Marguerite stories, sharing brand new pieces and old favorites, as well as songs and a few new personal stories he has been working on. In lieu of Shakespearean monologues, he’ll tell some family tales that are actually true (something of a novelty for the inventive performer). One of his favorites is about his grandfather, a contractor who helped build U.S. Highway 129. “He
How to Train Your Dragon 2
had an interesting arrangement with the moonshiners,” says Irwin. “He wouldn’t report them if they wouldn’t sell to his workers.” A longtime favorite with storytelling aficionados, Irwin loves his audiences as much as they love him. “The storytelling theater in Jonesborough really is a special little spot,” he says. “Really, there’s nothing else like it. It’s built specifically for what we do,
and it’s just fun. I love walking to work, stopping in the shops, and getting some good coffee or maybe some ice cream.” Information about all TIR performers, as well as a detailed schedule for 2014, is available at www.storytellingcenter.net. Storytelling Live! is supported by Presenting Sponsor CrestPoint Health, program sponsors Eastman Chemical Company and Eastman Credit Union, and media sponsors News 5-WCYB, FOX TriCities, Tri-Cities CW, Johnson City Press, Kingsport Times-News, Herald & Tribune and Cumulus Media. Season passes that offer savings of 44 percent will be available while supplies last, and ticket holders will save 10 percent on same-day dining at The Olde Courthouse Diner, The Dining Room, Jonesborough General Store and Eatery, or Main Street Café. The International Storytelling Center is open 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. For more information about Storytelling Live! or to make a group reservation, call (800) 952-8392 ext. 222 or (423) 913-1276.
Imagine if dragons were real creatures and you could ride them through the air. It would be an awesome way to avoid traffic jams. Since dragons are mythical creatures, we have to settle for versions as presented in the world of entertainment. One famous dragon, Toothless, returns in the new film “How to Train Your Dragon 2”, which follows the 2010 original. Sequels are a tricky matter. For every “ The Empire Strikes Back” you may have a less-thanstellar part two of another film series. Happily, such is not the case with “Dragon 2”. The film takes place five years after the first film and again features Toothless along with his human master/ companion Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel), and their adventures among the Vikings. In the sequel, the Vikings and dragons, former enemies, have united thanks to the efforts of Hiccup, and are able to go beyond their village and explore new lands. Hiccup and Toothless have been exploring all over the Northern Hemisphere, and eventually runs across new dragons and cultures. The now young adult discovers there is a huge conflict brewing between humans and dragons outside his village, and is caught in the middle due to the reappearance of his mother Vaika (Cate Blanchett). Hiccup discovers the real reason his mother left their village years ago, and the two reconcile. Meanwhile back at the village, Hiccup’s father Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), is pushing his son to succeed him as chieftain. Unsure of his destiny, Hiccup instead dives head first in the conflict between the dragons outside his village and the villainous Drago Bludvist, who
he had an unpleasant encounter with. Soon Hiccup and Toothless have joined forces with his mom Vakia as she gathers dragons she has been protecting for years, to battle the forces of Drago. During the battle, there is a tragic occurrence that impacts Hiccup and his village. The battle is epic for an animated film, and when all is said and done, the film comes to a satisfying conclusion. The movie is fast paced, and I especially enjoyed the dragon blade Hiccup uses in his battles. The blade is retractable, can ignite into a flame, and is armed with potent smoke that can stun and tame dragons. The blade
is easily compared to the light sabers from “Star Wars”, only adding to the films “cool” factor. I found nothing childish about this film, meaning adults can enjoy the effort without a child in sight. Speaking of children, they will once again fall in love with Toothless and his many companions. Despite the conflicts, battles and growing pains of Hiccup, the film still has plenty of humor and lightheartedness. “How to Train Your Dragon 2” is better than the original and provides a fun time at the theater for the whole family. (Rated PG) B+
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Dr. Howard, Dr. Fine, Dr. Howard It began with soreness in the back of my throat on the right side. “Drainage, again” I thought to myself. As a perpetual sinus sufferer, this was nothing new to me. So I did what I always do at the first sign of any nasal activities. I took over the counter medication and didn’t think any more of it. Usually it’ll take a day or two then whatever it is that’s invaded my nose will go away, but not this time. What I thought was just sinus turned into a full blown cold, and there was no sign it was getting better. The day after I went through four boxes of tissues in one day, I knew it was time to break down and see the doctor. Early on a Saturday morning I went to the urgent care clinic. I walked in, went to the check in window, told them why I had arrived, and was given paperwork to fill out. Many people wanted to get in and get out early, so the place was full of about six or seven other people in various states of misery. I scanned the room and looked for a seat that was near the least populated area, then claimed it as my own. I began going over the paperwork, praying that I could remember all the various details of my medical data. It’d be a shame if I forgot I was allergic to something, then ended up running around town forcing people to listen to me sing “Heart of Glass” because I took the wrong meds. As I sat there working on the paperwork, I heard the door open, and I looked up to see an interesting couple walk in. They were older people, she had one of those odd haircuts that makes you question who told her that it was a good idea. He, well, he looked
like an overly tan, sleazy version of Marvel comics impresario Stan Lee. His hair was thinning on the top, so he had grown it out on the sides to compensate. He wore dark sunglasses, with a button up shirt on with the upper three buttons undone. This was not the Stan Lee type you’d expect to see cameo in an Avengers movie. This was the Stan Lee that drove a windowless van and handed out Spider-Man comics laced with narcotics. Creepy Stan Lee had the cadence of Jack Nicholson, but not the voice. It was an accent of a distinctly northern origin, but deep and husky. He’d sometimes let the ends of his words linger as he talked to the nurse at the reception desk. “Heyyyyy” he’d begin, “I was here last week anduhhhhhhh, I’m still not over this, thinggggggg, whatever it is.” He’d try to joke as he got more paperwork to fill out “Ohhhhhh, I love paperwork. Guess I get a car at the end of thisssssssss?” Sleazy Lee
then began to find his seat in the waiting room, he was walking in my direction, and I began praying with all my might that he wouldn’t sit next to me. Thankfully, at the last moment, he turned left, and sat four seats down from me. Just four seats down, his presence was still un-nerving. “Heyyyyyy, what is it with this copayyyyyy?” I could hear him say, while his lady friend spoke in a thick, southern accent, and did her best to explain the world of medicine to him. After turning my own paperwork in, I was thankful that I was quickly called back to see the doctor. Turns out it wasn’t so much a cold as much as it was a sinus infection, I was given a regiment of steroids and antibiotics to take, which means I am now qualified to run for Governor of California (whooo! I’ll be here all week, folks!). Slowly, but surely, I began to return to normal, and quickly forgot of creepy Stan Lee. See you next week.
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Reunions and Revising the Past The weekend before last I attended another one of my high school reunions in the mountains of Western North Carolina (I’ll let you guess how many such reunions I’ve attended). I am happy to report that this was one of the best events ever and I’m already looking forward to the next one. But I’m not here to regale you with stories about people you don’t know and memories you can never share, but do I want to engage in a little reflecting on reunions in general and what they tell us about the past and, more importantly, the ways we remember (or disremember) the past. Let’s start with a very provocative observation from Beth Gutcheon’s novel, The New Girls (1979), which tells the tale of a group of prep school graduates who gather for their 15th year reunion: “They come to revise the past. For, of course, it’s not true that what’s done is done and can’t be changed. The present is constantly shifting the weight and meaning of events that lead up to it. Time is what separates meaningless moments from those that link cause and effect, joining the girls they were and the women they became. They come back to reunions for the comfort of sharing common history, but also to seek consensus as to what that history was, since no one sees anyone else’s story whole, at the time, or ever, and since no one can tell what the beginnings mean until she has an idea of how the story ends.” And let’s continue with an observation made by Samantha, the disembodied Siri-like voice played to perfection by Scarlett Johansson in the recent movie “Her”: “The past is just a story we tell ourselves.” As a history teacher I find these observations particularly relevant because so many students are taught that history is little more than a collection of immutable facts and dates that exist primarily
as test bank items. And, even sadder, most students memorize these facts and dates only long enough to pass the test, never having had the opportunity of learning how history is what makes them tick and what infuses them with life (and death). It is very true that “facts and dates” are to some extent immutable. Think about your own personal history. You have a definitive birthdate, you graduated from high school on a particular day, and you got married (or had your first date) at a particular time and place. These dates will never change, but that’s not what constitutes history. History is in reality a study of how we interpret facts and dates, and interpretations are ever-changing. In fact, it is impossible to live a life apart from interpretation. And because we constantly assign and reassign meanings to the events of our past, both individually and collectively (i.e. as a community, state, or na-
tion), the past is really more about the present and how we perceive or remember past events than it is about “what really happened.” Memory is of course a very tricky thing and not at all immutable or infallible. History is, in so many ways, as Samantha reminds us above, a story we tell ourselves— irregardless of what might have actually happened. The story we tell ourselves is generally what matters to most people—although historians do try very hard to deal only with the facts rather than with reconstructed (or destructed) memories. While we should certainly strive to document our assertions and to make sure that we report events as they actually happened, history unfortunately does not come alive until we place our facts and dates into an interpretative framework. Until we, as Gutcheon notes above, “revise the past.” I am always amused, and a little angered, when people talk about how they
roost at my reunion when a conversation turned to where we were when we heard the news about President Kennedy’s death. For years, I was absolutely certain that a particular classmate had rushed teary-eyed into our class with the news (we didn’t have Twitter in those days and had to wait to hear the news much later than the actual event had happened). When another class member recalled that it was her, and not the person I had assumed, who gave us the news, I was incredulous but understood that the story that I had told myself for so long was untrue. And the Kennedy assassination is a relevant example of the problems inherent with collective memory. Nearly fifty-one years after the event, and after hundreds of eyewitness accounts and even more books, blogs, articles, and documentaries, we are still debating what really happened on that hate “revisionist history,” because November afternoon. So, we go to reunions, just like revised history is really all we have. Historical narration is al- we should go to history classes, ways revisionist and at the mercy to “revise the past” and to try our of the biases and viewpoints of best to understand how we fit into those who write it and remember the big picture. Sometimes quesit. Even the sources that historians tions are much more important, use, the so-called “primary sourc- and even more satisfying, than es” that derive from eyewitness answers. Just think how really accounts, are themselves products disappointed some people would of revision, because eyewitness be if they discovered the real truth accounts are always far from ob- about the JFK assassination. That jective. This doesn’t mean there would mean no more speculation aren’t any truths to be discovered and chasing rabbits. How dull in historical analysis. It just means would that be? I hope the stories you tell this that history, as a study of what human beings have done through week are good ones and that the time, is also a study of human in- truth is lurking inside them somefallibility and oftentimes very in- where. And please remember that accurate memories. And we often history, just like reunions, is not like to hear what we believe to be about memorizing but all about true rather than what is actually questioning and lifelong learntrue. That, of course, is one of the ing. And you can’t measure those reasons why studying history is things by filling in little circles so exciting, so frustrating, and so with a No. 2 pencil. See you next week. alive. The “stories we tell ourselves” definition of history came home to
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