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Forest at the Gulf magnificent attraction for fall hikers

(c)2011 NPT PHOTO BY DAVID POPIEL

After driving 10.5 miles from the I-40 Citgo up hill on Big Creek Road to Martha
Sundquist State Forest last Tuesday, I did not expect to run into some folks I've
known for years. My journey was to meet with forest commissioners at the Gulf.
When I got to the campground along a narrow gravel road, I saw three men who
had been hiking. Curtis Brooks is retired from what is now ConAgra. He is one of
the older Stokely cannery workers. From left are Jimmy Brooks, who is Curtis'
son, Curtis, and Martin Ford, a resident of the Gulf Road community.
See photos in newportplaintalk.com Photo Gallery
Published: 9:32 PM, 11/11/2011 Last updated: 9:33 PM, 11/11/2011
 

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

The night skies had been clearing for the full moon on Thursday but rain rolled in late Wednesday threatening the scene above our hometown where veterans of war and military were remembered on Friday.

As for me, last Tuesday was a perfect day to drive to Martha Sundquist State Forest on an invitation by the Tennessee Forestry Commission to meet with them, and have a bite to eat. The lemon cookies and hot coffee were welcome, as was the wood smoke from burning logs in an open pit fire. Nearby signs warn campers to use only local wood or certified because of the recent threat to trees by various worms and bugs. Area Forester Bob Rhinehart was there along with folks overseeing state forests such has Bill Williams. The trip is worth taking but you need good directions, which I hope to get posted on our Website.

Last week I left you at Plum Natural, a health food store off Highway 321 in Greeneville. Cindy Lynch and husband Ron Lynch are from Newport and operate health food stores and deli, after she founded a similar health food store many years ago off Cosby Highway.

It didn't take long to recall that Cindy was the person who started the Mustard Seed health food store that is owned now by Walt and Mary Lou Cross. You read his monthly articles in our Visiting the Smokies magazine. Cindy opened the Mustard Seed in 1994 at a time some advised her it was a bad idea yet it was successful. She regularly used Plain Talk advertising. When Cindy got ready to sell, she had many offers but wanted to choose the right fit and found Walt and Mary Lou, who have proven to be a great fit. After Cindy greeted me, we made it to the deli in the back of the shop and my stomach gave a sigh of relief on smelling good aromas such as a tasty chicken salad just prepared. Another fellow was seated at the short counter, which has about four stools. You know Jesse Felan from his years at Family Practice Center where he headed the physical therapy department. Looking at his smile and cheerful talk, you would not realize he overcame some significant health problems. Maybe that is why he frequents the health food stores. Jesse lives in Greeneville but originated from San Antonio, Texas. His double hip replacement forced him to retire in 2001. Jesse also underwent a successful liver transplant in 1998. A sad aside is that his wife, Sue, died. Jesse mentioned that he had gotten a coffin from Tip Brown.

The children and grandchildren, plus traveling, keep him occupied. His daughter, Rebecca, has three children, and the Plain Talk featured one of them earlier this year. She is married to Rick Buckner, who handles maintenance for Family Practice Center. She is also a physical therapist like Dad. Their nine-year-old son Jacob suffers from leukemia but is doing well after long treatment at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The family and friends celebrated with a swimming pool party this summer.

While Cindy and I talked about Newport and people we know, a man walked in and he too was familiar. And I remembered his name because he worked as our district manager in circulation when the Plain Talk became a daily newspaper in the late 1990s. As I really didn't know much about his background or family it was a good time to talk with Ron Lynch. He has lived in Newport since 1988 but grew up in Los Angeles. Both of his parents are alive and from Del Rio: The former Mary (Pack) Lynch and Harrell Lynch, who is 85 and a World War II veteran. Ron has been acquainted with Cindy for many years and finally married her about 10 years ago. They have three children together: Daniel, and twins Lydia and Lauren, who requires special care. Ron has a 17-year-old daughter, Arielle Lynch. When I asked where Ron and Cindy live, it surprised me that they live in the former John and Mary Alice Foy home off Mountain Ranch Road. Before they both got back into health food store operations, they spent about two years working at Hilton Head and returned to Cocke County in 2010. I recommend you visit their store and deli, and try the tasty apple pie. It really is healthy, tasting at least, and my praise goes to the baker, Brenda.

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