(c)2013 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL It was a sunny Memorial Day when I came across men working in a hayfield off Morrell Springs Road. G.D. Williams, who lives off old Cosby Highway, was harvesting hay from a field owned by Charlotte Nan Mims. Williams, age 76, stays active farming despite some diabetes that cause him foot problems. He was getting plenty of help from Albert Raines, tractor driver, and Gary Williams, at left, who is G.D.ís oldest son.
Friday, May 31, 2013
(Last modified: 2013-05-31 20:23:09)
Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

With summer still three weeks away at the start of June and temperatures last week nudging 88 degrees the blackberry crop about our hometown should arrive half-baked and the pool business brisk and the cool thing to do.

Cocke County is an interesting place for both locals and tourists especially if you like antiques and collectible hunting. I don't have to go far to find Ace Antiques and Imogene Turner, whose business is always in our monthly tourist publication Visiting the Smokies. Also there is DJ's Antiques and you must see Donna Jones's wonderful jewelry collection.

There is a new place we discovered along Highway 411 near the Cocke County line and advertising in Visiting. Antiques and Collectibles is operated by Pam Perando. The business features a lot of outdoor wall and lawn decorations that you won't find most anywhere else. I'll pay a visit and let you know what they have of interest.

Don't forget the ammo

On a return visit to Keller's Barrels & Blades off Cosby Highway, Keith Keller could barely talk which is bad for an auctioneer, I would think. It seems he went on an ocean cruise and caught a virus. Keith is better and healthy but his voice hadn't recovered and he needed it for an auction that Saturday.

Keith said it is nearly impossible to find .22-caliber long rifle ammo, as it is used in both short and long guns and has long been a popular caliber among sportsmen and target shooters because of its lower price. The .22-caliber is priced about $10 to $12 per 50 round box and demand is so great that Keith said he has to buy it from secondary vendors. Nine-millimeter ammo, popular in many semi-automatic weapons, is usually available and easier to find, said Keith. The 9 mm 50-rounds-per-box size sells for about $25 to $30. It is also more difficult to find .223 caliber ammo commonly used in assault weapons such as the AR-15. Keith has sold this ammo in 1,000 round cases. So I hope the North Koreans don't get the idea to attack East Tennessee. Because he sells a variety of weapons he does not want to disappoint buyers by not having ammo. Would you want to fork out $400 to $1,000 for a handgun and then find out there was no ammo at the store? "That would be embarrassing. I'll pay a premium to have it for customers." I asked what the most expensive ammo is and he picked up and showed a 50-caliber cartridge and the monster gun that fires it. These rounds sell for $5 each and look big enough to shoot down small aircraft.

The knife business is not as brisk or profitable and this could be caused by low-priced knives from China. Keith explained that people who know gladly pay a premium for good knives made by companies such as Case, Sog, and Spyderco. There are a lot of cheaply made knives with low price tags and this confuses customers who see the higher prices at Keller's Blades. He has been in the gun sales business since 1999, when he got his federal firearms sales permit. You may also see another fellow in the store helping and it is Kenneth "Chris" Renner, of Parrottsville.

There was a young couple at the store during my first visit, and Keith introduced me to his son, Clint Keller, and Clint's friend, Kaitiye Beegle of Dallas, Texas. I told her that some of my relatives also lived in Dallas but I never had heard the Beegle name. Both are students at Carson-Newman College where she is interested in linguistic studies. Clint is studying film and shoots video and also does video editing. He works at PEJ-TV, which sells jewelry on television. Sounds like a different job than most and he might end up doing as well as Newport's Joe Overholt, who pioneered shop at home shows via satellite communications.

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