We are so proud of the dozens of local students who submitted their artwork and poetry to our contest in collaboration with the Jackson International Food & Art Festival! If you missed the festival last weekend, make sure to check out our winners in this virtual gallery, then go see them for yourself at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital's new gallery later this month.
There’s a new show in town; Jackson, Tennessee, has been chosen to host the inaugural TN Music Awards. The TN Music Awards is a red carpet event focused on fostering community feedback, supporting local music, and expanding entertainment. Nathan Hunnicutt, along with the Jackson Area Music Society (JAMS), has been planning an event like this with Jackson in mind for some time now.
A morning ritual, a conversation piece, a shared bond: coffee adopts whatever role its faithful consumers may assign. It’s one of the few addictions that our local cultures openly embrace. Even just the word “coffee” can be seen on decorative signs for the home, on t-shirts, on mugs. Coffee has transcended its place as a drink to an idea: the symbol of incentive in an increasingly demanding world. “I can’t do anything before I have my coffee” is not a personal statement; it’s a cities-spanning mantra.
Throughout my childhood, my parents and I would travel to Bells, Tennessee, to visit our relatives. With me being an only child, looking out of the car window was my main source of entertainment until we reached our destination. While passing through, there was one particular building that caught my eye. I suppose it was the huge movie poster displays or vibrant signs that always grabbed my attention. We’ve stopped in and shopped at a few stores on that strip, but I can’t recall ever entering in the mysterious building.
In March of 2016 I began dating my girlfriend Natalie, a girl who was born and raised in Jackson and who had the knowledge to back it up. Me being an out-of-town transplant, she thought that it was of great importance for me to learn a little culture and history of this city that we know and love. I gladly complied. Usually these lessons were unplanned and casual. As things came up in conversation she would explain to me the history as best she knew it. One of those things was Waffle House.
Poet and Nobel Prize winner T.S. Eliot once said, “Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” This is certainly true for higher education opportunities that may have not been available to many students based on the space in which they find themselves in life. However, community colleges around the country have given a new hope to these students, providing them with an opportunity to “Stay Close, Go Far.” In fact, this is the slogan of Jackson State Community College.
It’s dark as Aaron Witmer trudges out to his food truck at 3:30 on Saturday morning. Stars twinkle overhead and moonlight throws shadows as he unlocks the door and climbs into the back. With careful precision, he measures out flour, oil, eggs, and other ingredients and dumps them into the stainless steel mixer resting on the floor. At the flip of a switch, it comes to life and beats the disparate ingredients together into cohesive dough—the first donut dough of the day.
Having been a hairstylist for nearly sixteen years, Tamara Reed takes pride in beautifying her clients with the latest hairstyles. And with a keen eye for fashion, she chose to incorporate more options for clients at her salon, Studio 31. Tamara didn’t stop there, though. Her love for fragrance influenced her to turn an idea into a reality, which was creating her very own perfume line. This soft, elegant aroma is an oil-based perfume called Aramat.
It seems like we are constantly bombarded by fast food commercials and diet ads. If we aren’t getting a burger then we need to be taking a weight loss pill. Or hey! Why not both at the same time? Our society is constantly on the go, grabbing whatever we can reach to put into our body. We approach every part of life with this fast-paced mentality, including the most important thing: our health. Advanced medical knowledge is still crippled by bad lifestyle habits.
Balance. Poise. Grace. Stamina. All things that are waning for this thirty-seven-year-old man. Honestly, I never had a lot of physical grace or poise. In my athletic years, I generally excelled by crashing, slamming, and flinging my body all over the court or field in order to succeed. I was never a graceful athlete. Unfortunately, for me, the workout at Pure Barre required all of the aforementioned attributes.
Dutch Garden Berries is a local start-up business that specializes in growing natural strawberries in a protected environment. Bas Van Buuren, the owner and grower of Dutch Garden Berries, started planting in January and has been experimenting to find the best conditions for the strawberries ever since. Van Buuren is passionate about growing fruits and vegetables, but especially fruits, in a controlled environment.“I believe that growing in a protected environment is the future, ” he said.
I remember being in the locker room as a seventh grade basketball player at Tigrett Junior High School and coming to the realization that I was going to have a hard time keeping up with most of the guys on the court. I had some normal feelings of insecurity and nervousness, but nothing out of the ordinary for a prepubescent boy in 1992. Fast forward twenty-five years and those feelings came back in a hurry as soon as I walked into the CrossFit Jackson gym.
In the 1940s my grandmother’s boss proposed to her, which she promptly refused. It must have made her daily life incredibly awkward, particularly since she didn’t have a car and her boss frequently picked her up to take her to work. She lived near the neighborhood now known as LANA in midtown. It’s a part of Jackson that many remember as Hicksville. The proposal most likely happened only a few yards from where I get my prescriptions filled.
The first rule of Fightshop is: you don’t talk about Fightshop. Wait. That’s not it. That’s Fight Club, the Brad Pitt and Edward Norton film where dudes just generally beat the snot out of each other. The Fightshop is sort of like that, except you’re beating on bags, not people. And we can definitely talk about the Fightshop because it’s tough to find a better workout around town. The first thing I noticed during my first visit was the plethora of heavy punching bags hanging from a black, metal contraption.
Walt Disney World, Gulf Shores, Baton Rouge, France, the Bahamas, the Yucatan; these are places we go to retreat from the normalcy of life. These are the destinations of our vacations, our free week off from work to do what we want. Yet retreating to something different doesn’t have to mean venturing beyond state lines. As native West Tennesseans, we forget the vast culture and history that surrounds us.
Vineyard’s Gifts, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year, is located in one of the quaintest little pockets of Jackson. On the corner of Wiley Parker and North Highland Avenue sits a small shopping center including a florist, spa, children’s clothing store, and café. In the center of it all is Vineyard’s Gifts, a boutique gift shop that specializes in bridal and baby registry, stationery, invitations, and gift items. The store was originally opened as a florist in downtown Jackson by Lyda Tomlin Vineyard.
Tabitha Moore’s dream started with an idea, a few dresses, and an old camper. “Owning a business was always something I wanted,” said Moore. “So to be able to build one from my love of clothing is a huge blessing.” After months and months of thought and prayer, Moore started La Petite Boutique last October with hopes of providing trendy, stylish clothing at affordable prices and building community with other women in the area.
As I walked into the bustling and brightly colored waiting room of Pat Brown’s dance studio, I was immediately hit by a rush of memories from my days in leotards and tights. I heard the combinations being called out with extreme zeal in the studio, an extremely familiar sound for the sixty dancers who make up the Ballet Arts of Jackson troupe. The older group of dancers were hard at work rehearsing a routine to Thriller for a Halloween event while younger girls peeked in from the hallway.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.