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Celebrating the people and the stories of the city we all love: Jackson, Tennessee.
Stacey Fain’s journey to opening her own ice cream truck started when her husband asked her what her dream was. Just a few hours after that conversation, they were searching for the perfect truck to get started! Although they also serve banana splits, sundaes, and shakes, as well as dairy- and gluten-free packaged products, Stacey’s Ice Cream Cruiser is best known for their delicious soft serve ice cream in chocolate, vanilla, and twist.
“Community is not something you have, like pizza,” wrote social critic James Howard Kunstler in The Geography of Nowhere. “Nor is it something you can buy. It’s a living organism based on a web of interdependencies—which is to say a local economy.” Americans, perhaps above all others, have bought into the lie in the last couple of generations that each person is an island, shaping her or his own destiny with nothing but a morning shot of caffeine and a solid WiFi connection.
It is one of the most tense places in the world. A tightly packed geographic meeting of three major religions and a nervous geopolitical flashpoint, the area sits within the inner circle of major foreign policy decisions for most countries. Needless to say, the Old City of Jerusalem does not regularly serve as an exhibition stage for fringe outdoor sports. On May 2, 2016, however, visitors to the Tower of David on the western edge of the Old City saw something unique.
I grew up in Franklin, Tennessee, thirty minutes south of Nashville, where recycling is a part of the landscape. Most people there are careful to sort out their blue bags however they need to in order to make environmental sustainability a reality for their community. When I moved to Jackson in 2015, though, it seemed no one could give me information on where and how I could recycle, something that I imagine comes as a shock to many who move to the area. You can’t buy blue bins at Lowe’s, and even Home Depot’s selection is extremely small. There isn’t even public curbside pickup available in the city, and I haven’t seen any recycling dumpsters throughout the community.
It's officially summer, and that means that you're looking for events for the family even more than usual. Thankfully, June is full of family competitions, live music, and ways to keep both you and the kids learning all summer long. Check out what you've gotta be at this month.
“Now, I don’t want to see you on the news tonight,” Bart Horton jokingly warned as he handed bottles of wine to his customers at the tasting bar. The two women were on a Southern road trip, a little respite from the six feet of snow packed around their homes in Montana. As they drove down I-40 on their way to Nashville from Memphis, they noticed a sign for Century Farm Winery.
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 Our Podcast
It's National Moonshine Day!
A child's teenage years are some of the most formative of his or her life, and Youth Town is proud to serve in our community to guide our city's teens on the right path. Today on our podcast, Kevin Adelsberger interviews executive director Dr. Pepper Pratt about this unique ministry and how it's changing the lives of young alcohol and drug addicts.
When you interview a guy you’ve known for years—a guy who has had dozens of articles and interviews published since the launch of his business—the thing you are probably the most aware of is the desire to be original in what you put on paper for the whole world to see. If nothing else, don’t be cliché about it. So that was my goal as I mentally prepared myself to interview Sam Bryant, owner of Samuel T. Bryant Distillery here in Jackson.
Don't miss a beat.
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