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Celebrating the people and the stories of the city we all love: Jackson, Tennessee.
When I think about the vocation of a photographer, I think of the words of Simone Weil, saying that “Attention is the rarest and purest form of generosity.” Paying attention is what gets most photographers into their profession. They pay attention and capture a moment and then linger in the darkroom, spending hours waiting to see an image develop from the blank white of a sheet of photo paper, the details slowly emerging in a chemical bath.
We really did it! We ate at fifty local restaurants in a year! And guess what? We're doing it again! Yep, we're challenging you to join us in hitting 100 local meals by spring of 2018. Where have we been so far, you ask? Winter has brought so many opportunities to cozy up for some of Jackson's best comfort food. Check out Katie Howerton's play-by-play below.
The births of our first two sons took place in the Northeast at two very well-respected and innovative research hospitals. Yet the family-centered birthing experience we had been longing for took place right here in Jackson, Tennessee. At times I can become cynical with the issues facing our city. We have complex challenges, and there are not always clear solutions.
In his essay collection Heretics, G.K. Chesterton extols, “Once men sang around a table together in chorus. Now one man sings alone, for the absurd reason he can sing better.” In other words, as our scientific age has grown in competency and achievement we have become isolated from the rootedness which gave rise to our confidence in the first place—experts in everything but being human. Can there be any question this is more true today than when Chesterton wrote almost a century ago?
Still a little confused as to what the Our Jackson Home journal is and why you should subscribe? Here's the perfect answer to your question. 1. It's the perfect thing to take on-the-go. With our new, hand 6" x 9" sizing, it's never been easier to take a piece of Jackson with you on the road, whether you're throwing it in your bag for a reading break or passing it off the a friend who's visiting Jackson for the weekend. 2. It looks pretty darn impressive on that coffee table of yours.
We're so pumped to finally introduce the Our Jackson Home journal—our makeover on the look, feel, frequency, and price of our magazine. Mark your calendars because a month from tomorrow we'll be premiering Vol. 3, Issue 1: Identity at A Night of Storytelling at the CO. Check out this video by Shelby Kee highlighting the exciting changes, then head over to our shop to sign up for a one-year subscription for just $20 (shipping included). Music courtesy of PSALLOS.
It can occasionally seem desirable to be someone else. Perhaps to be someone who doesn’t feel what we feel or who says the right things (or who doesn't care that they don’t). Sometimes I’d like to slip out of myself like an outfit poorly chosen at the beginning of the day and roam about for the rest of the afternoon as another person, as someone who is not me as I or others know myself but who in some way still reflects something essentially true about who I am.
Sometime between fifth grade and high school my dad altered my musical taste. I didn’t understand it at the time, and I have to give him credit because it was subtle, but now that I have two kids of my own toting around digital devices, filtering all means of communication in the home is an important part of parenting. What does that have to do with the short documentary I recently produced? Today lovers of R&B music have no fewer than four radio stations in Madison County to get their fix.
There’s a lot of jerk chicken in Joseph Kabre’s future. It’s the most popular dish at Jamaican and African Cuisine, the restaurant he manages. On a typical day, he has enough ready to serve a couple dozen people. But Saturday, March 4, he’s hoping for potentially four times that many customers to show up hungry for the spicy dish. It will take him two days to prepare enough. The chicken has to be smoked, seasoned correctly, and then finished out in the oven.
I moved to Jackson a starry-eyed eighteen-year-old ready for the “real world.” I came to Union University to play volleyball and study my way to becoming a chemical engineer who would change the world with brains and athleticism. Three months into my first semester, I had quit volleyball and was failing at my chemistry courses. A few days into my second semester, a tornado blew away all my belongings, including those starry eyes.
The year was 1968. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, Jackson City Hall had separate drinking fountains for "colored" people and "white" people, and Union University and Lane College were still neighbors downtown.It was a crisp fall night in the middle of basketball season. Camille Long was one of only four African-Americans in the bleachers of the Union University gym, including the fellow Lane College student she'd dragged with her.
The first part of a wedding that a bride and groom chooses is often the venue. Availability, location, and amenities are all factors in choosing the right venue, and this guide highlights four great options in the Jackson area. As a wedding photographer, I have worked in each of these places and have personally witnessed the strengths mentioned. Each venue has been operating long enough to have the process down to a science.
It’s the Wednesday after Labor Day, and Jerry Mercer, senior director of Mercer Brothers Funeral Home, assures me his desk doesn’t always look like this. “But getting ready for the appreciation [day]…” he says, shuffling through the stacks of papers and documents in manila file folders and opened envelopes on his desk. The fax machine emits a whiny cry that reminds me of time spent in the 1990s waiting on dial up Internet, and the office phone rings continuously.
Sitting in an intro philosophy class my sophomore year at Union University, I was asked a question: Would it be ethical to sacrifice a person (or a few people) in order to find the cure for cancer? Well, yes, of course it would, I said. We’re talking about cancer, right? I was nineteen and, apparently, omniscient—or so I thought at the time. The certainty of an arrogant college student is a certainty like no other.
We’ve all seen our fair share of family-focused reality TV. Men, women, and children sign up to put their lives on display for all to see. So what does that look like in Jackson, Tennessee? The recently launched web series, Loving My 6. Now happily married for over ten years, John and Timond Williams are the parents of six children under the age of ten.
The Wizard of Oz. That’s my earliest memory of the power of a tornado. From the time I saw that witch riding a bicycle in the air with that house spinning out of control, the power of a tornado had me under its thumb. As a five-year-old, I had no idea how close I would come to that dominance that struck so much fear in me as a child. West Tennessee, and Jackson in particular, is no stranger to tornadoes. As much as we think tornadoes are an indiscriminate act of nature, they’re not.
As a lover of clothing with a longing to become a fashion designer, nothing could have deterred me from introducing myself to a group of women whose sewing flourishes with creativity and design. Most of you may know these women as none other than the Wilbourn sisters. These talented women have been a household name for the past thirty years, not only in the surrounding counties of West Tennessee but all over the globe.
While most of us are prone to toss out old things and run to the new, others are gifted with the vision to make something out of what the rest of us leave behind. Ellen Bennett, the creator of “The Restored Attic,” creates home decor and furniture pieces by repurposing found and thrifted materials. From childhood trips to yard sales with her father, she learned that she didn’t have to pay full price for anything. As she grew up, it evolved into trying to search for furniture and other pieces to decorate her home.
“For Sale” signs and broken windows adorn a large portion of buildings within Jackson’s city limits. Right next to thriving businesses can be found abandoned restaurants or forgotten startups. In the northern part of the city, the lack of uninhabited buildings is less obvious, but take a ride down 45 and it will become more apparent. It is a very sobering sight for those who call Jackson home.
She made the best mincemeat pie,” Cousin Diane recalled, and everyone nodded. The minister for the funeral service had asked what made Janet Bennett unique, and this couldn’t be left off the list. Together with her love of Jeopardy, her skills at sewing clothes for the family, and her impeccable penmanship, the mincemeat pie stood out as an example of Grandma Bennett’s talent, service, and love. Grandma Bennett was a great cook.
Being young with creative aspirations takes hard work and initiative, sometimes particularly so in smaller towns. Yet Jackson is the lucky home to a plethora of up-and-coming talent with big plans for the future. Having lived and worked here for several years now, the members of Coopertheband are no strangers to the trials and rewards of the independent music world. They have recently played several shows back-to-back in the community, extending their central messages of hope and joy through their lyrics.
Ordinary guys don’t spend too much time thinking about the best escape route out of a restaurant or a home or out of town. And while most people I know aren’t worried about the trackability of their IP addresses or burner phones or whether or not they’ve been recorded on too many security cameras in public, that’s not the case for Lee Wilson. But then again, Lee isn’t exactly having an ordinary moment.
In 1998, one of the most respected scholars in the world made a profound decision. It was a decision that seemed at odds with much of what had previously happened in his life. Jaroslav Pelikan was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1923 to devout Lutheran parents. His father was a Lutheran pastor and his grandfather a bishop in the Lutheran Church. By the age of twenty-two he had completed both a seminary degree from Concordia Lutheran Seminary and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
An expansive flock of slate grey clouds span the sky as I drive along the narrow highway. The landscape rolls beside me, before me. The hills and subtle ridge lines guide the highway that bears my passage. Rural fields are dotted with gigantic cotton gins, dilapidated barns. Small colonies of trailers and rented houses populate gravel side roads, sprouting like branches from the main highway. I am northward bound, driving into an increasingly brisk wind.
2017 is not even a week old yet. The taste of black eyed peas and turnip greens may still linger in your mouth. The ink on that list of “resolutions” is barely dry. Thoughts of a future dance in your head as you sneak that last bit of Christmas candy from the aluminum foil-wrapped plate from your in-laws’ house. Maybe you’re not a candy person but a leftovers kind of guy. I mean, who wants to waste food, right?
"You want to do what?” was the phrase that passed through Shayne Crowe’s mind as his daughter Lauren, a high school student who was studying Spanish, told him she wanted to go to Italy for a year-long exchange. This announcement started a long process with the Rotary study abroad program. The family learned that the program encouraged them to take an exchange student into their home as part of their participation. “It’s actually a really good program,” said Shayne.
Yoga. The word creates images of handstands and people twisting their bodies into pretzels. I always thought that in order to be considered a true “yogi” I needed to be able to contort my body in painful, unnatural ways. Despite that, yoga was intriguing to me. I watched videos online and became more familiar with the terminology, slowly understanding what makes millions of people practice everyday. I even started to notice a shift in how I carried myself.
2016 has been full of a lot of Our Jackson Home firsts and the celebration of growth throughout our second year. Check out this stop motion by Katie Howerton highlighting some of our favorite moments. Featuring "Wolves" by Asha Moody of Small Town Big Sound.
You could say I’m a reluctant convert to Jackson, Tennessee. Prior to accepting a job at Union University, I had only ever been to Jackson once—an emergency bathroom break at the Starbucks on Vann Drive. Even when I agreed to the offer, it was with a begrudging sense of the inevitable. My wife Beth and I knew if we turned down the job it would be the wrong choice, but there was nothing in us that relished leaving the vibrance of a city we loved for the sluggishness of a lackluster town we didn’t know.
Ross Priddy is the man behind Douglass Gray. He is also my older brother. We grew up under the same roof with the same traditions, which formed many of the same memories. His childhood— I was there for that. Which, I assume, is why I was asked to tell the story of Douglass Gray—because that really is where it started . . . in his childhood. My brother was an imaginative kid. He took everything to the next level. If he was playing army, there was ketchup blood and little sisters on sleeping bag stretchers.
On Our Podcast
#OurJacksonTable tries Tulum
For the next few weeks on our podcast, Kevin Adelsberger will be interviewing various elected officials from our city to learn about their responsibilities and how we can better be a part of our community. Today he interviews County Commissioners Jason Compton and Jay Bush to find out how these guys got to Jackson, what their day jobs at Jackson Generals and Clayton-Little PLLC are like, and what our County Commission does on a daily basis.
Hello Jackson’s inaugural feature is one of my personal favorites: Tulum—a distinctive, fresh Mexican restaurant. Tulum serves many traditional Mexican dishes but with gourmet flare. Owner Daryl Fortner and his team decided to do something a little different than the stucco, cactus, and sombrero decor you find in most Mexican restaurants. They instead went with a “Playa” theme that would give guests the feeling of being on a relaxing mini-vacation.
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