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Rain gives way to warmer May days for grilling


Sassy got out from underneath Tunney's pickup truck on a sunny spring
day long enough to pose for a photo with the pistol grill.
Published: 7:22 PM, 05/17/2013 Last updated: 7:22 PM, 05/17/2013

Author: David Popiel
Source: The Newport Plain Talk

Middle of May finally gave way to a warming trend after 40s seemed to have threatened some tender plants about our hometown, but cool nights encouraged the blackberries to thrive into a brigade of white blossoms alongside locust trees.

The crush of green suddenly upon us brings a singular beauty to our Smoky Mountains, yet the price for us with allergies is pollen. I had only a short spell of sneezing but others had a more difficult time. Did you? When attorney Melissa Ball was at the Plain Talk looking at some vehicle crash photos I made, she mentioned that senior attorney Fred Myers Jr. had been smitten by allergies. You recall that I told you of his bout with lung cancer, surgery, and sensitive lungs now. Last Monday I dropped into his office where he showed me some more interesting artifacts such as arrowheads and we talked about outdoors from the inside. Freddy was feeling better after having both lungs full of fluid and that required some emergency care after his allergist was alarmed and said he needed more than a pill. He showed me a heavy object in the front office that I photographed later and will show it to you and tell you the story he told me.



FPC care and a long life


On Armed Forces Day weekend, for now, we will finish our talk about World War II bomber gunner John Payne, who was captured by Germans and imprisoned in late 1943. He was released in May 1944 and was reunited with his family later that year near Memphis. John and his daughter, Jackie Garbarino, live in Newport. More than 40 years ago, Jackie was teaching after graduating from the University of Memphis and Jake (Dr. A. J. Garbarino, president of the Family Practice Center) was at the medical center. In 2000 the Paynes joined the Garbarinos in Newport for one of the most peaceful times in their long lives. John's wife died in 2009 and was buried in Center Hill, Miss. "I will be buried there too," he said. The Payne family cemetery is just outside Olive Branch, Miss. The Garbarinos and John had a family reunion this spring and you saw the photo last week. Jake, age 40, is the oldest son and is oncology district manager for Bristol, Myer, Squibb, a giant pharmaceutical company. The younger son, Judd, 38, is a sports medicine doctor in Asheville.

John did send some anxiety waves back to Newport that upset the Garbarinos, he said, because when he was about 87 he drove by himself back home one day; not to his Newport home but his former home near Memphis. John said he stayed two days and had lunch with old friends. He likes to be active, live an independent life and credits Dr. Garbarino for looking out for his health. "That has meant a lot," he said of Dr. Garbarino's care and the Family Practice Center.

John was not always in perfect health. He recalled years as a smoker and never delivered mail except that he had a cigarette dangling in his fingers or lips. But he suffered a heart attack in 1983 and decided to quit smoking.

He is slim and able to play golf regularly with two of the more impressive duffers in Newport, his close friends, Dr. Nathan Ford and retired judge Kenneth Porter. Bill Eldridge had played often in years past but knee replacement surgery sidelined him. John also makes time for gardening and used to do considerable woodworking and carving. I asked if he had any advice to give to folks who wanted to live a long time and he did not have any good advice.


Former sheriff turns 82


Former Cocke County Sheriff Tunney Moore called me to come see a most unusual creation in his front yard in April. When he told me it was a pistol barbecue over the phone, I had a difficult time picturing what this might be. As my photos show, it is a large grill and smoker weighing hundreds of pounds but easily towed on a trailer. Yes, it is modeled after a .38 Special handgun. And here's the story behind the metal craft. His daughter, Mitzi Satterfield, wanted to give Dad a birthday present and knew he liked to grill. She also knew a welder, formerly from Mexico, and he lives where she used to be a missionary with her late husband, James Munsey at McAllen, Texas. The model for the welded piece was provided by Tunney, who is a talented flame glassblower. He gained these skills when working decades ago at American Enka. Tunney created a glass model of a .38 caliber handgun so the welder could work off this model. Tunney received his late birthday present last fall and is proud to say he can grill two hams at the same time. The smoke leaves through the barrel. It also features a bread warmer under the hammer. I asked Tunney why a gun grill so big and he said, "To go after Ossama Bid Laden but the Navy Seals beat me." The dog is his old friend Sassy, who appreciates barbecued beef, or pork, or chicken. On Sunday, May 19, Tunney turned 82 and might have a blast with his gift.

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