Posts Tagged with "knoxville"

Goodbye, Opal

December 27th, 2006 at 7:53 pm by Mark
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     Last week I got the news that Opal’s Lounge, Knoxville’s best Dive, had sold out.  Swanky and I have frequented the place on off for many years now, having a beer, playing darts and talking to Opal, the owner.
     A few years ago, her grandson Robbie started helping her out, and the crowd changed a little — it became younger, and a lot more obnoxious than the older “neighborhood regulars” who usually frequented the place.
     Still, I could always go in before 7PM and sit and talk to Opal, smoke cigarettes and laugh.

     I told Swanky about it last week.  Today, he broke the story on his blog.  Since my name was on it, I couldn’t help but go and check it out…

     Today, it already felt like a different place. No Opal. No Robbie. Strange people, who I didn’t know, struggled with both the cash register and finding that elusive “Miller Lite.”
     The familiar painting — one her late husband had brought from Mexico — was no longer on the wall above the cash register, and several other items we’ve stared at over the years just weren’t there.  It all felt a little surreal, and I sat there wondering if Opal had taken her things, or if they’d shoved them in the storage room.

     Finally, I looked at the new bartenders, and asked, “I’m confused… where’s Opal?”
     “She sold out!” he said happily.
     He introduced himself, personable enough.  They’re friends of Robbie’s, and will be converting the bar into “D A’s Sports Bar” (I believe that’s what he said — was hard to hear over the TV & Jukebox). They told me that Opal did everything she could to help them get into the place.

     “Sold it to us two weeks ago,” he said. “But it was official … last week.”
     Strangely, last week was the first  heard about it … from one of my clients. Opal had called him a few minutes before I walked in the door.
     Given that, I’m kinda surprised she didn’t say anything when Swanky and I were there on her last Friday.  Like he says…

If you go by before 7PM these days, you can still hang out with Opal herself. She is a legend in Knoxville bars. She has been like a grandmother to me. One that smokes, drinks and cusses.

     Instead, she gave Swanky and I each a hug and a kiss, and said, “I love you boys!”

     That’s pretty damn special, coming from Opal.

     And after going there this afternoon, I miss her already.

Cold Case of Condescension

December 10th, 2006 at 10:38 am by Kim
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I have a gripe. This seems to be the day for them.

My mother called me a couple of hours ago to tell me that the show Cold Case (which I’d never watched, or ever heard of) was going to be set in Knoxville and Nashville. Apparently the premise was that a country singer (from Nashville) was killed six years ago in Philadelphia and they’re re-opening the case, which calls for a trip down south.

As I said, I’d never watched the show before, nor had I even heard of it. But I thought what the heck, I’ll give it a shot. I thought they might have actually filmed some of the scenes on location and I would see some familiar sights.

Gripe Number One: We are not animals. When the Philadelphia detectives are told that they’ll be going to Tennessee, they acted as if they’d been assigned to a third world country. OK, seriously, it’s not that bad. There seems to be this idea that Hollywood must portray the south as backwoods and uncivilized. We do actually have some pretty spiffy buildings, and I’ve heard tell that SOME places in the south even have running water and electricity!

Gripe Number Two: The ACCENTS!! Oh. My. God. I cannot stand to hear an actor who has clearly never been south of the Mason-Dixon line try to do a southern accent. Just like I can’t stand to hear an actor (or anyone else) who has never ventured out of the US try to do a British (or Aussie, or German or..) accent. Very few people can pull it off and be believable. Is it really that hard to find a few actors who truly ARE southern? I don’t try to do accents, because I realize I sound like a total dork. And the actors that they had doing these “southern accents” were soooo incredibly thick, I could hardly understand them. Truly, most of Nashville just isn’t THAT southern and is, in fact, quite metropolitan.

Gripe Number Three: The appearances of the “Nashville” characters. Everyone in the south does not have a scruffy goatee. Everyone in the south is not dirty. Everyone in the south does not wear a cowboy hat. Everyone in the south does not dress like they’ve just rolled in off the farm. Everyone in the south is not a country musician (or country music fan.) I promise. And contrary to popular belief, we actually DO bathe.

Gripe Number Four: The names of the “Nashville” characters. Sugar? Honey? Big Daddy? What the hell? I don’t know anyone named Sugar or Honey and I certainly don’t know anyone named Big Daddy. I’m truly amazed they didn’t have a Bubba or Vern. Oddly enough, I don’t know anyone named Bubba or Vern, either.

I tried watching some of the show, but it was so disjointed and unbelievable, I quickly lost interest. I still don’t know if they ever showed anything that was supposed to be in Knoxville, because I’d already changed the channel. And perhaps that’s why I’d never heard of this show. I’m wondering if anyone else has either.

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Casey Jones, a Pillar of the Knoxville Community, Passes Away

November 7th, 2005 at 12:31 pm by Mark
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Friday afternoon, an unseasonably warm November 4th, I received a call telling me that Casey Jones had slipped into the ether after an extended battle with cancer. There are so many things which can be said of Casey: a strong local businessman, a fair and balanced politician, an influential leader, champion for the working man, a charitable soul who saw promise where others saw failure, a wise and powerful mentor, a steadfast friend, and, before any of that, a man devoted to his family.

Perhaps most telling of Casey’s endless generosity is a line from his obituary:

“In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to support the Beck Cultural Exchange Center’s Legacy Path Project 1927 Dandridge Ave. Knoxville, Tenn. 37915 or through youth golf scholarships for the Wee Course at Williams Creek payable to WC Two Inc., 1130 Atlantic Ave. Knoxville, Tenn. 37917.”

In extolling the virtues of such a great man — a legend, a pillar, a dear friend — we must also remember: he was still just a man. And this is not a man whose passing should be mourned; rather, he is someone we should aspire to be more like.

Casey, you will be sorely missed.

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