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Celebrating the people and the stories of the city we all love: Jackson, Tennessee.
If you had asked me about my future in the fall of 1994, I would have told you that I was planning on moving back home to Paducah, Kentucky, as soon as I finished college. I was supposed to live on Jefferson Street, right next door to my life-long BFF, Laura. She was going to live in her grandmother’s house, and I would buy the house next door. Twenty-four years later, she still reminds me of that broken promise. I had roots there in Paducah. They were strong and firmly planted. My daddy grew up there, too
The dark-haired kid in the back row raised his hand yet again. It was the third question that he had asked and the fifth one total that I had fielded from the sleepy-eyed, bored teenagers scattered throughout the small auditorium of my old high school. I scanned the sparse crowd looking for someone else, anyone else who might lob me a softball: “Who’s your favorite writer? “What’s your favorite book?” “Are you married?” Having no luck, I pointed at him, and he haughtily threw another query in my direction.
There is something so freeing about riding a bicycle, whether with adrenaline pumping for a race or a nice, relaxing ride down country roads. With the weather warming up, many of you may consider adding cycling to your exercise routine, and Jackson has a gem of a local business to help you get started. Hub City Bicycle Co. opened in March 2011 when owner Adrian Parchman saw a need in Jackson for a shop offering high-end bikes and repair services.
Welcome to West Tennessee, City Farmhouse Pop-Up Fair shoppers! We're so glad to have you. If you're taking a few days to peruse the fair but also want to check out all the fun we have here in Medina and Jackson while you're in town, check out some of our best local picks from Our Jackson Home Editor-in-Chief, Katie Howerton, and White Oak Farms owner, Stephanie Alexander, featuring our favorite restaurants, boutiques, and more.
When you drive around Jackson, what are some of the thoughts that travel through your mind? Do you ever find yourself in awe? Is there a moment where you wish you were somewhere else? No matter what your thoughts are today, there comes a point for everyone in life where they feel a little lackluster about the place they call home. For one Jackson native, his hometown seemed to be the one place on earth that lacked inspiration for his photography.
It’s a muggy June evening, and a small crowd of about thirty gathers outside the J. R. Hyde Science Building at the University of Memphis at Lambuth. The crowd represents all portraits of life in Jackson: families with multiple small children, retirees, and a small group of teens looking to break the monotony of their typical summer drudgery by doing something singularly unique.
There is a little Italian café in Geneva, Switzerland, that sits just across the street from the headquarters of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. I found myself there one rainy morning in February hunched over coffee with a colleague. We ran through the updates of the people around us who were doing their best to keep their flags flying in the midst of deep decreases in global budgets and broad increases in needs for life-saving work in areas such as human rights and global health.
Confession: I used to love instant grits. Perhaps that’s not a huge deal to those of you who don’t care much for grits, but to those of you who grew up in the deep South, you have every right to “tisk-tisk” me. On the other side of a few culinary experiences, I now understand the miles of distance between instant grits and the real thing—you know, slow-cooked, creamy, and enough butter to remind you that ignorance is bliss. And what goes better with a big bowl of grits than some juicy shrimp?
If you told the twenty-year-old me that I would eventually live in Jackson, Tennessee, he would have died laughing. I wasn't even sure I would be living in Tennessee period. Twenty-year-old me was an M1-A1 Abrahms Tank System Specialist (tank mechanic, y'all, I was a tank mechanic) that had dreams of completing a twenty-year career and retiring. And then after my retirement, I would launch some sort of startup with the security of a nice, fat check to fall back on if things didn't work out. Twenty-year-old me was married to the first of two ex-wives and had no kids.
Who knew seven doors and a plate of sardines could cause so many uproarious laughs! The Jackson Theatre Guild has brought Noises Off by Michael Frayn to The Ned and it's guaranteed to keep you in stiches. Noises Off is a farcical play that gives the audience a peek behind the scenes of a live performance. The first act occurs the night before the first show; the dress rehearsal is going horribly. The director must constantly stop the action and redirect his actors.
It’s mid-afternoon on St. Patrick’s Day, and West Alley BBQ is a beehive. Residual customers grab a late lunch, employees make preparations in anticipation of a busy evening, and I sit to one side, shuffling through my bag to find a notepad. I am late for the interview, but I had told her I would be. When I walked in, the fellow said she was waiting for me, which I tried not to feel bad about, knowing neither he nor she was upset.
With Easter kicking off the month, April is bound to be full of spring fun, from a few special chances for you to get outside with the fam and plenty of local music opps, too. And don't forget to be at our 6th edition of A Night of Storytelling on the 13th, too!
If you want to see the inside of Jackson’s newest art gallery, call a real estate agent. There are no ropes looped from gold partitions. No security guards standing with their feet spread apart and hands clasped behind their backs. No tourists snapping pictures and scrolling through Yelp reviews to find the best place for lunch. There was no grand opening with trays of silver trays of hors d’oeuvres or patrons of the arts in cocktail dresses. Someone off peeled the blue “for lease, three floors” that sagged in the window.
A 1994 Jackson Central-Merry graduate and basketball standout, Dion Thornton attended Union University on scholarship. She helped the Bulldogs reach the NAIA finals in 1996 and 1997 and was named to the TransSouth All-Conference team twice. She transferred to Kennesaw State in Georgia and was named the top woman’s basketball player in Georgia. After college, she played semi-professional women’s basketball and had two offers to play overseas in professional leagues.
Since the conception of our journal in 2015, we have had the honor of featuring a new local poet in each of our issues, allowing them to creatively respond to the theme given. Today, in honor of World Poetry Day, we share our full collection of poetry from 2015 to 2017 and encourage you to enjoy and reflect on the following pieces.
Professor Haelim Allen’s office, like the rest of the art department at Union University, is in beautiful disarray. There are paintings on the walls, half-completed sketches on her desk, various models in differing states of completion on a bookshelf, and of course a second bookshelf overflowing with literature that seems a staple of every teacher’s office. Just outside of her office door is a gorgeous light box which fills the hallway with a sense of peace and calm. The building itself is not by any stretch beautiful, but Professor Allen has transformed her office and the hallway leading up to it into a peaceful, welcoming environment.
WOW. We did it. We ate at 100 local restaurants. It seems like just yesterday we were launching this fun campaign to #eatlocal on that first day of spring in 2016. Here we are, two years later, glad for all we've learned about our city along the way and our bellies hungry to return to some new favorite spots. Enjoy this final #OurJacksonTable review by Katie Howerton of the last few restaurants we visited this winter.
“I want you to close your eyes and imagine waking up on Christmas morning with all of the gifts your family and Santa Claus has brought you under the Christmas tree,” third grade teacher and author Natalie Cravens tells her students at West Chester Elementary in Chester County. “Now, while keeping your eyes closed, imagine being very sick instead and waking up in a hospital room void of presents on Christmas morning.”
It’s the woman at the bus stop holding a toddler’s hand. It’s the woman using food stamps in front of you at the grocery store. It’s the woman at the soup kitchen who can sing like no one else. These women and their families eat, sleep, and live a few blocks away but their stories are too gruesome to share, and it makes us a little uncomfortable to talk about them, much less look at them, eat with them, or live with them.
March means spring, and for Jackson, that means more races, concerts, shows, and overall fun for our community. Find out what special guests are heading to West Tennessee this month, what organizations you can support, and how your family can celebrate St. Patrick's Day. (It's on a Saturday this year!)
In Norway it gets dark early. As we left for the arena around 4:00 P.M., the hazy glow of the daytime winter sky in Oslo had faded. I was on the bus headed to a concert honoring one of our own. Daniel was a member of our little band of misfits living in Geneva, Switzerland, who worked in and around the United Nations on issues ranging from poverty, hunger, and demining to human rights, health, and humanitarian relief. By all measurements, Daniel had “made it.”
"How many miles away is Sonic?" I stared, dumbfounded, as they told me the nearest Sonic was ten miles out of town. Kevin patted my leg reassuringly. "Well, you'll learn to enjoy the drive." We were newlyweds and newly graduated, interviewing for a Residence Life Director position for Kevin in Middle-of-Nowhere-Close-to-Sonic, Kentucky. They chose another candidate, and our lives forever shifted, allowing us to keep the roots we had been cultivating in Jackson during our stay here as college students.
On Sunday afternoons when I was young, my grandparents and I would drive south from church on the 45 Bypass and inevitably come to a stop at the red light at the bottom of the Hollywood Drive exit ramp. I would be in the backseat of my grandfather’s Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme. I could barely see out of the window, but my eyes would always be drawn to a sticker on the light pole next to the intersection. On the sticker was the head of the Atlanta Braves mascot from the early 1980s: Chief Nok-A-Homa.
It’s time for another Valentine’s Day, and whether you’re excited to celebrate or planning to treat it as just another day, this playlist will have you singing along. Let’s give our local artists a round of applause and enjoy their romantic (or anti-romantic) songs this Valentine’s.
The door opens with a wide swing as I'm greeted with the usual "Hi, friend, come in!" Tiny footsteps come faster and faster around the corner until I'm hit by my favorite little person hugs. Coffee is probably already in the works for me, and a spot on the couch cleared. "So, how are you?" she asks.This is the usual welcome I receive at the Havner household. There are some people in life who were made to share in our stories—people who don't simply listen to your words but involve themselves, too.
February may not be everyone's favorite month to get out and about, but it does hold Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, and lots of cozy indoor events! Check out what Jackson has going on as we wrap up winter with entertainment, inspiration, and even some exotic animals.
Step inside the middle store at theLOCAL, Jackson’s new micro-retail development, and enter Chase Walker’s vintage world. Mounted to the wall behind the register, a rusted mattress frame displays coats and bright ski jackets. A taxidermy red squirrel (who doesn’t have a name yet) holds business cards urging “GET LOST.” Vinyls slump in a crate under the window. Afghans are folded next to a row of soft, faded flannels. Wooden pallets display statement pieces high on the walls.
While growing up on the east coast, Christal King became intrigued with the breathtaking surroundings of Hampton, Virginia. She fell in love with every aspect of nature, especially the endless views of the ocean and its beautiful aromas. She was inspired to put her memories into a dream that she would never forget. Those inspirations are what fueled what is now Indigo Scents Candle Co. King started selling her specialized products in 2012, then took it a step further to selling her products at the farmers’ market and other vendors within West Tennessee.
All my life I have heard people talk about how time flies. I have never actually witnessed a clock sprout wings and take off, but as a child, that's the only way I could picture time flying. As I got older and little bit wiser, I knew clocks did not really fly and understood it was just a figure of speech—but to me, it seemed like a joke because time felt like it was crawling. For many, it becomes a reality when children are born. One minute, you're holding your precious baby; the next, they are having babies of their own.
On Our Podcast
It's National BBQ Day!
After spending years in various industries and as entrepreneur, Brent Lambert and his wife never expected their journey to lead them to pregnancy ministry, but almost thirty years later, Birth Choice is running strong under his leadership as CEO and founder. Today on our podcast, Kevin Adelsberger interviews him about what led them here and how Birth Choice is changing the lives of expecting women throughout Jackson and Trenton.
One of the many reasons that I started Hello Jackson was to create a resource for people traveling through West Tennessee to find local businesses to support. One of the places that is already pretty popular with travelers is the I-40 Exit 87 BBQ Stand. It is a food truck-style establishment with a lot of character. Growing up, I always associated barbecue with family gatherings. Any time we all got together, we went somewhere to get some delicious pulled pork and all the sides.
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