Monthly Archives: August 2008

Ray Hicks, keeper of the Jack Tales

Ray Hicks, born this day in 1922, was best known for his traditional storytelling and for preserving the original Beech Mountain ‘Jack Tales’ brought to western North Carolina by his ancestors. Ray, his grandfather Benjamin and his great-great grandfather Counce (Council) Harmon all carefully passed down these tall tales to the next generation. It seems […]


World’s largest display of the 10 Commandments

It’s an important part of the local religious landscape. That’s probably the easiest way to sum up Fields of the Wood in Murphy, North Carolina. If you leave my hometown of Cleveland, Tennessee, headed east on U.S. Transcontinental Highway 64, you’ll go through Polk County (the southeastern most county in Tennessee) and then cross over […]


The Poor Man’s Stonehenge

Sometimes, you see something and it’s so far removed from what you expected, that all you can mutter is, “Huh?” That was my reaction, the first time I hiked back through the woods, to see “The Wall” at Fort Mountain State Park, atop Fort Mountain, just east of Chatsworth, Georgia. It’s part of the Chattahoochee […]


The Scopes Monkey Trial

It was 1925 and the world was coming unhinged. Friedrich Nietzsche and Karl Marx had gotten people to thinking. Albert Einstein had turned science on its ear. Sigmund Freud had brought up topics previously considered taboo. White kids were starting to pay attention to black kids’ music, that thing called Jazz. The temperance folks’ noble […]


Last Cherokee council before Trail of Tears

Hi, everybody. While Dave’s on a much-needed vacation, I’ll be pinch-hitting for him here at I’ll be doing a piece each day this week, about a place near and dear to my heart– Southeast Tennessee. Some of the topics may be familiar to you; some may be brand new. But, either way, I hope […]

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