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In October 1910, there was no room for "blues" way down south in sunny Tennessee

Bob Cox • Jul 10, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Let's turn the clock back to October 1910. Away down in Tennessee on a cool, calm and clear October day, one cannot possibly feel blue.

If you were to look up the word "blues" in Webster's Dictionary, the lexicon would heave a barrage of negatives at you: dejection, depression, despondence, doldrums, dolefulness, downheartedness, dumps, dysphoria, bad tempers, gloom, heavy-heartedness, melancholy, mournfulness, sadness, unhappiness and countless more.

Looking out over the broad acres stretching along the Tennessee River from east to west and sloping far to the south skirting the Georgian and Carolina state lines, the rich harvest, the full fruitage and the dull autumnal decay, makes the lucky dweller feel the influence of that gentle touch, which ever and anon comes with the ever-circling seasons.

Down here along the "Tennessee," there seems to waft on every breeze a sweet refrain coming out of a historic past. Shut your eyes, listen to the music of the old-time residents with such melodious refrains as "Away Down in the Corn Field."

And not far from the borders of another state comes a melody from a thousand happy children singing that old-time eye-dampener you hear so long ago: "I'm coming. I'm coming, For my head is bending low, I hear those gentle voices calling, 'Old Black Joe.'"

And still not much further away, there is the birthplace of another ditty, which we all heard and learned to sing in childhood. Can we ever forget it? "Way down upon the Swanee (spelled several ways) River."

Truly, the South is the land of song. Who is not proud to make known his or her Southern blood; who is not proud of their chivalrous sons? Just across the mountain yonder is the home that gave us a Gordon. Who wonders that such a land gave us a Grady, a Taylor or a Landon C. Haynes, the poet spirit of the river of beautiful waters.

It could be said that the South was the crushed vase among the nations, but it has given to the world that deathless influence, which makes men more tender, braver and truer to their cause.

To watch a glorious October morning break upon such a land is indeed an inspiration. If a cupid’s arrow can so mysteriously touch the heart and win the fairest that ever smiled, might not a similar cupid gather the morning sunbeams, which like bright lances come glancing o'er the mountains.

Tip them with the jewels of genius and speed them away on a mission to the minds of graceful sons, or beautiful daughters, born of this liberty-loving land for generations yet to come.

To some, this might be nothing but "airy-fairy," but to others, such as old brother Sheffey, who once upon a time prayed for Brother J.N. Harman, saying, "Lord, bless the preacher if he is a preacher, or whatever he is. Brother Harman, however, has the right of way to tell how brother Sheffey also prayed for the writer.

Well, whatever it is, that spirit of mysterious something broods over the soul of most everyone who visits this glorious old Southland. We love every grain of her sacred soil; we can't and don't want to "help it" in any way. Leave it exactly like it is by changing nothing.

Just now, there is excitement down here beside the great exposition at Knoxville, and, by the way, today is Teddy's day. The next day is circus day and if they can get Buster Brown and Tige (a famous shoe ad) the following day, they will about clean the thing up.

The great Democratic convention is humming like a thousand bee hives in the mountains. But just now we have heard the news and there is a mingled feeling of joy and sadness brooding over East Tennessee, Democrats especially.

The announcement is that Bob Taylor is nominated for governor. It was the hope of many loyal Democrats that the matter be settled and that Hooper would be the next governor, to them a thousand times more acceptable than Patterson. Certainly, it was really asking too much of Bob Taylor to sacrifice his senatorial honors so recently won.

This is the dream of a lifetime shattered. Poor "Apostle of Sunshine" (Bob Taylor). It may be that a good deal of the sunshine, which he gets in this campaign, will be "homemade." It's going to be the fight of a lifetime.


Reach Bob Cox at boblcox@bcyesteryear.com or at www.bcyesteryear.com.

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