We are fast approaching the last full moon of the month
on the last day of August when temperatures dipped in our hometown making us
believe that fall is arriving early along with the string of morning fogs and
departures of the last swallows.
You recall that we talked about the new Dollar General
store built at Hwy. 411 and Highway 25/70 not far from the Shell station at the
intersection leading to Bush Brother's cannery and center. By the way, visit
the antique car show at the Bush center Saturday only. The Dollar General
opened on Aug. 1 with Bria March the manager. I met Laura Potter, an associate
manager who lives in Newport. She is from Roane County and coincidentally knows
Rick Hooper, our managing editor, who worked for the Roane County newspapers
years ago. Rick and Jenny's daughter, Didi and Laura were schoolmates. Another
employee I met is Tina Dillon of Cosby. Her sister works at the Parrottsville
Dollar General. The store employes eight people and shows off the new retail
concept and style for the national change.
Construction is also moving along on the new Stinnett
Chevrolet showroom, and Marc Stinnett said this will be open in October. The
old building is getting a facelift to match the new structure fašade. That day
Marc and Dad, Cleo, were getting ready to deliver a red Silverado 2500 to Hot
Springs and wishing the bridge was not closed.
New business operators welcome you
During the past weeks I've been noticing changes at the
By Lo market off Cosby Highway at Cave Church Road. You've seen the equipment
and men digging and working in the parking lot last week, so I stopped in
Wednesday as the temperatures were rising. The By Lo market has been one of the
Plain Talk's busiest locations for newspaper sales, and I wanted to be sure we
are still inside after Mo Swanson retired months ago. I believe that Tim Layman
operated the market for a while and then Vijay Patel, who owns the I-40 and
25/70 BP store, took over on August 13. The property is still owned by Billy
Pat Cureton and his sister, Norma Jean Myers. I think their parents lived on
the hill above the market and former garage years and years ago.
Vijay confirmed that he is tearing out the old gas pumps
that had not been operated for many years. Then the parking lot is going to be
paved so customers have more and easier access. The inside of the store is
changed to add more merchandise and soon you will see a new sign for the
business. Plain Talk customers will still have the convenience of picking up
the latest news at our inside rack.
While watching the ditching and construction, and since
Doug's Pig barbecue bus was closed for the day, I wandered over to the garage.
As I mentioned, it has been so long since this garage was open and operating
that I don't have a memory of it. A familiar man standing inside while his car
was being repaired was Jerry Crum. Perhaps you know him, as I do, as the
brother to Cocke County Deputy David Crum. Jerry worked and retired from Falcon
Products years ago. Also seated inside taking a break was M&N Automotive
boss Earl Norton. He is a Bridgeport Norton, the son of the late Robert Norton
and Mom, Barbara Franklin. For about 40 years, Earl has been a mechanic
starting out working for area dealers and then for the past 28 years running
his own mechanic shop. He has five fulltime mechanics and does everything from
motors, transmission repair to oil changes. As the business grows at the busy
location, he plans to add another service bay. It's good to see the looks of
the location improve and these businesses doing well in Newport.
Family could not stay together
We left off last week moving along in a tragic story told
to me by Von Smith concerning he and Carolyn's adopted daughter Gail
Heffelfinger and later Gail Holt. After working many years in Newport, Gail and
son, Chris, left Tennessee and lived in Paducah, Kentucky, where she continued
to work and he got a college education. They were returning to Cocke County in
May 1993 to live here again. The moving truck they used broke down on a ramp in
Nashville. While waiting outside the truck for the wrecker, a car came along
the ramp and ran into Gail. She was knocked many feet into the air and along
the pavement and died hours later at Vanderbilt Medical Center on May 22, 1993
at age 46. The late Rev. Artie Ray Chapman officiated at the Manes funeral, and
Gail was buried at the Smith family plot at Clay Creek Cemetery.
Those of Von's age or older, he is 79, may recall
his father, Eldy Smith, who was born at Grassy Fork. Eldy and his son, George
Beech Smith, went to New Jersey to work at an orchard as there were no open
jobs in Cocke County during the Great Depression. Eldy was married to Lola Neas
Smith and for a time they lived about a mile south of the current Bybee Market
off Highway 160 on the Hurley property. Sadly, Lola contracted TB, died in
1942, and all her children were placed in Christian homes. Von went to live
with Lola's brother, Truman Neas. At one time he worked at a Newport hardware
store before moving to Ohio. Truman and wife, Nan, raised Von until he ran away
at age 16.