Friday, December 30, 2011

As A.D. 2011 Ends - A Look Back, Then Forward

Before I go any farther, let me explain the "A.D." that I often put before the number of the year. It's abbreviation/acronym for the Latin anno domini, meaning "in the year of our Lord." Centuries ago Western history got divided into two, with the singling out of a unique event, into pre- and post-event. (Arab followers of Mohammed do the same thing with the year of his flight from Mecca, and ancient Romans dated things from the founding of their city.) Years were signified by B.C. ("Before Christ") or A.D. accoring to whether they occurred prior to or following the birth of Jesus Christ. Even tho' the cleric who determined the exact year of the Savior's birth erred by at least four years the enumeration remains unchanged.

Can you imagine what it would be like to go back and change all written references to the independence of these United States, to 1780 or 1782?

So, now you'll know why, next time you see a building with a cornerstone inscribed with A.D. and a year.

And so. . . this year of 2011 comes to an end tomorrow, 31 December. As I look back on this year immediately I consider three outstanding events which occurred and which bode well for 2012.

First, after being fired from a job that was almost exactly the work I'd done with delight in the same location years before (partly due to being late to clock in and partly due to stupid mistakes on my part), I got another chance. A friend and fellow church member in Nashville alerted me to a job opening at the Tennessee State Library and Archives. I applied, got interviewed, got called in for a second interview - and got hired! My new employment commenced on 1 July, as receptionist-security.

And I have delighted in every work day since!

The call for the first interview came just a few days after another prominent event. After two and a half years of residing in Nashville, aka Music City USA, I chose to move to Clarksville, where I have family. Then, after a temporary lodging in a military vets home, I moved into a real HOUSE and began paying rent!

This move to Clarksville is, naturally, the reason I began this blog, my third so far.

And the third very notable event was the birth of my grandson at Clarksville's Gateway Medical Center. Yes, on 5 October in the Year of Our Lord 2011, my daughter Sarah brought Andrew Connor Clark into this world, her and hubby Doyle's first! Little Andrew has the most endearing smile I've seen on a newborn (well, he is now almost 3 months old) and I delight in every opportunity I get to be with him. And with the rest of the family!

These three very welcome events of 2011 are setting the stage for a sweet 2012 for yours truly. I'm looking forward to the new year with greater anticipation and eagerness than I have in a long time, if ever!

May you, dear reader, have as happy and memorable A.D. 2012 as I await!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ah-h-h-h! The Divine Colors of Autumn!

Back in the late 1990s, when I briefly lived on the other side of downtown Clarksville, I usually walked across downtown to Sunday School and Worship at First Christian Church (Disciples). Now that I'm residing on Martin Street, even closer to the church, upon deciding (at the last minute, sort of) to attend church at FCC(DC) this past Sunday I also decided to walk to church -- first time in years.

What a lovely day it was for walking! Besides the "chamber-of-commerce weather", my stroll took me past numerous trees in full color autumn change. I especially noticed one tree all the leaves of which were a buttery yellow and another which sported vivid vermillion leaves.

Then came yesterday, Tuesday. After a delightful day of work at the Tennessee State Library and a little visit to the Nashville Public Library, I drove up US Hwy. 41A to north of Joelton, then hopped over to IH 24. The setting sun's rays seemingly hi-lited the vibrant leaf colors all along the way. There were several arboreal "walls" along the way, presenting any autumn hue you might name. One such "wall" in particular presented nearly a quarter mile of alternating scarlet, yellow, russet, orange, maroon, pale green of trees just beginning to change and deep green of evergreens! Glorious!

And when I exited IH 24 at Exit 11 I got icing on the cake. The sun had already set for a time, and my turning off the interstate to go into Clarksville timed with the height of the set sun's rays coloring clouds in the western sky. Some of these cirro-stratus wisps were golden, others a lively pink.

I affirm, as I always have and always will, that none of the famous painters of humanity, not even my favorite, Spain's Vel√°zsquez, has ever painted a picture to rival the picture God paints in sunsets and autumn leaf changes!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Murder, He Wrote

After television went cable with a plethora of stations (most of which aren't good, healthy viewing) and began its decline then nosedive into its current dearth of quality, among the few shows I truly enjoyed was "Murder, She Wrote", starring Angela Landsbury as sleuth-writer Jessica Fletcher. This pure-fiction show was about as close as I'd come to any homicide... until Monday morning the 18th.

I slept more fitfully than usual -- did my body psychically know something dire was about to occur? -- and around 5 a.m., I guess, I was awakened again. This time it was due to a heated argument between two or possibly three men apparently taking place in the street outside the house. I heard only the voices, no sounds of struggle nor a gunshot. So I returned to what little sleep time was left to me.

After rising and eating a small breakfast I sat to read in the recliner near the living room front window. Then one of my housemates entered the living room from his bedroom, and informed me that there was a dead body out in our street, Martin Street. I looked out; sure 'nuf, a man's body lay crumpled in the middle of Martin in front of the house next door!

This was extremely surprising, especially as ours is a generally quiet neighborhood of older homes near Clarksville's downtown. The only disturbance since I'd moved in was the dogs next door who growled and barked incessantly. And now there was a corpse in front of that "doggy" house!

Yellow tape (crime tape) went up, isolating about 100 feet of the street plus the house. Regular police and detectives swarmed the area; one took my meager statement about what I'd heard just a few hours earlier. The body remained as it was for a considerable time. There was no readily visible stream of blood, only the crumpled body.

I had plans for the day, and these got slightly altered. As in, due to the tape I couldn't access the nearest bus stop, on Crossland Avenue at Martin. Instead, I had to walk a block the other way, to Washington and Martin, to catch a city bus into downtown and stay on it on its outbound run, to the public library. And when I came back late in the afternoon, there was still one police car, plus a fire engine, in front of the house next door. I inquired about the presence of the fire truck; a police woman informed me that it was there to hose blood from the street. (There really wasn't that much blood to be seen, but whatever.)

Now, today (Wed.) I've learned that the victim was a 39-year-old man from Clarksville; no address is given, so for all I know he lived next door. He was stabbed several times in the chest. a bit more than 24 hours after the crime, Clarksville police arrested a Hispanic man who does live next door and is of similar age to his alleged victim.

While this isn't a case for Jessica Fletcher to solve, even were she real, one might say of the case, "there goes the neighborhood!" (Pardon my "gallows humor".)

And if my coverage of this incident seems somewhat flippant or that there's inappropriate humor, please forgive me, dear reader. Such may be a symptom of shock, shock at my first encounter with a murder scene.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

C'ville: in the Greenest State. . . .

When I describe my current life situation -- specifically where I live and where I work -- to acquaintances, some express concern or even negativity about the commute. Yes, yours truly WOULD prefer a much shorter commute. But I've done long commutes to work before, both by mass transit and by private auto. So, I can live with it!

Actually, the long commute has its plusses. For one I get to listen for an extended time to music, either on the radio or on a CD.

Right now I enjoy a seasonal plus. The entire stretch of the commute between Clarksville and Nashville has woods lining both sides, and I'm unashamedly a "tree-hugger". And Autumn just began! Each day I notice more leaves have switched from summer's green to the colors which harbinger their falling.

I know the colors will be more spectacular in a week or so. But at present I'm already greatly enjoying the Good Lord's artwork. There's something about the varying shades of leafy green, interspersed with flashes of reds or yellows, that pleases my eye. Add the wildflowers of more than one species that are displaying golden blossoms in the IH 24 right-of-way, and I see a very pretty picture!

C'ville itself is nicely populated with trees, so I don't have to go far at any time from my residence to enjoy the colorful natural show. And just about every road taking one out of town takes one past arboreal splendor.

Ah-h-h-h, yes, Autumn! And dear reader, I'm enjoying it!

Monday, September 26, 2011

A "Li'l Ole House" Yes!

For the past three years (plus a couple of months) my lodging has been in dwellings that in some manner or another could all be labelled "transient housing" or temporary lodging. This applied both in Nashville and in Clarksville. From a converted-to-apartments motel to a currently-operating motel to a group home for veterans, none was intended for a life-long stay.

But just now I've moved into a real house!

Now to be honest, my ultimate goal is to move back into the family home elsewhere in the Queen City. But for now a funished bedroom rented in an older house with a charming "old-school" living room and in the midst of improvements being done elsewhere in the structure, will do fine!

The house is on Martin Street, very close to downtown C'ville. On the main floor are my bedroom, a master bedroom with bath, that sweet living room (featuring a fireplace with mantel), dinette, kitchen and new main bathroom. Upstairs is an attic bedroom, and in the basement is a separate apartment and the laundry room. The room are all comparatively small, like the house itself, and there is some mess from the on-going home improvements. But I've made myself at home here.

I've even made my first contribution to the general welfare. I have a couple of fly-swatters I received as souvenirs at events I attended at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. They are red and shaped and detailed like little guitars! Since I had more than one I gave one to the house; it currently hangs as a decoration in the living room of our "li'l ole house".

Flies, beware!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sweet Saturday Night Drive

My new job which I've been working a month now is in Nashville, not Clarksville. It's about a 55-mile commute either way. But the commute is worth it, because I love the work and I love to listen to the radio while I drive.

This past Saturday -- the final one of July of A.D. 2011 -- the drive back was especially pleasurable. I'd had a good shift at work, followed by a jaunt to nearby 3rd and Lindsley to listen to and watch Jonell Mosser sing. See my post at "Musings about Music City" for details.

As soon as I go in the car for the return trip to C'ville I tuned in to WSM-AM 650 for the final hour (more or less) of the Grand Ole Opry Show. As almost always, it was superb listening pleasure, and as usual I often tried to picture what it must be like to actually be in the Grand Ole Opry House to see the show.

Riders in the Sky hosted final half hour, so it was even more sweet -- I do lu-u-uv my Cowboy Music (aka Western Music)! And there was an "Opry Moment!" You see, dear reader, the last artist to come onstage was no less than the legendary Coal Miner's Daughter, Loretta Lynn. Part of what made it an "Opry Moment" is the extended time she got to sing on the venerable stage. The long-time members of the cast get to sing one or two songs, maybe three if hosting a segment. Generally it's only the current super-stars like Brad Paisley or Martina McBride who are allowed more than three songs But Loretta sang a medley of two of her hit songs of years past, then one of Patsy Cline's hits. She finished up -- or so we tho't -- with "Coal Miner's Daughter" to thunderous applause and a standing ovation.

But hold on, folks! Ranger Doug of RitS asked Loretta to encore, so she sang a fourth song (a fifth if you count the medley as two). And received plenty more applause and standing ovation!

By the time Loretta was wrapping up "Coal Miner's Daughter" I was pulling into the driveway of my current residence in C'ville. But I didn't want to miss a note of this "Opry Moment" so I stayed in the car and listened until RitS (Riders in the Sky) closed out the final Grand Ole Opry of July.

Sweet Opry Moment! Thanks, Riders and Coal Miner's Daughter!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Baptism and Bible

Sunday the 24th of July A.D. (Anno Domini, "In the Year of Our Lord") 2011 became "Gateway Christian Sunday" for yours truly. Not necessarily by my design either.

"The Lord works in mysterious ways. . . ."

I had indeed planned to attend morning Worship at Gateway Christian Church, an independent CC which was founded in the late 1990s. It now has a building on the north side of IH 24 between Exits 11 and 8, northeast of Clarksville. Scott Witt is the Pastor.

Ron and Judy Fichter, who live near me, picked me up and took me to Gateway. Once there I snacked on coffee and pastries -- including a very tasty lemon-flavored mini-cupcake -- while chatting with old and new friends.

Then, when the worship service began, it commenced with a baptism. The Independent Christian Churches, like the Disciples of Christ and the (a cappella) Churches of Christ, practice the form of baptism used in New Testament times: immersion (the true meaning of the original Greek word) following confession of faith. Today's baptism was of a boy by his father. This immediately caused me to remember that I had baptised both of my children; those two immersions are cherished and valued memories for yours truly!

The baptistry at Gateway is in the floor of what I'd call the "stage", where the band performs during singing and the pastor can stand to deliver the sermon. And apparently there's a trench behind the water tank, where the baptiser can stand and only get his forearms wet while dunking the candidate. What a smart idea! Whenever I've done a baptism I had to wear "hip waders" to stay that dry -- or get wet myself while immersing a candidate in a lake!

Pastor Scott's sermon was a continuation of an in-depth series on the Nazarene's Sermon on the Mount. Today it was "Refuse to Worry" and covered Matthew 6:25-34. As Pastor Scott walked up onto the "stage", the sound system broadcast a recording of the pop hit "Don't Worry Be Happy". Early in the message I seized opportunity to quietly say the name of another song, from the flick The Lion King: "Hakuna Matata". Which expresses much the same thing as the other song AND Jesus' teaching.

Pastor Scott's words were an exposition of the meaning of the Gospel verses, along with supporting verses from elsewhere in the Bible. His method reminded me strongly of Dr. John MacArthur of the radio show "Grace to You".

Well, my experience of Gateway didn't end with the benediction that closed Worship. You see, among the several Bible studies the congregation offers is a Sunday evening supper and study which Pastor Scott leads. Last evening it took place at the home of Scott Hollingsworth (normally it's at the "parsonage"). Now, it just "happens" that THIS Scott is the man who lent me a Saturn SUV to temporarily be my transportation to and from work! So I already knew where his house was, north of Clarksville and northwest of the church. We feasted on a delicious and sumptuous potluck (mostly) meal, which included hot dogs and bratwurst grilled out on the Hollingsworth deck near the above-ground pool. (Wish I'd known; I'd have carried my swim-trunks with me!) And I DO have a strong taste for my brats!

The study which followed the supper covered the final half of the Letter of Jude. According to tradition this short epistle was written by a half-brother of Jesus. Another half-brother of the Lord wrote the Letter of James (and not either of the two Jameses among the Twelve Apostles). The study went in such a way that there was plenty of verbal interaction (rather than merely Pastor Scott lecturing). And afterward we had a time for prayer. I shared my deep thanks for living again in Clarksville and for my job at the State Library in Nashville.

Not having my swim-trunks I didn't take up host Scott's invitation to stay awhile and swim, as did some of the others. Instead I headed for home, across the city on Donna Drive. As I drove I felt deep contentment and peace of mind.

Which is what getting together with one's brother and sister Christians is supposed to do! Amen?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

An Eventful and Memorable Weekend

Have I truly moved from Nashville to Clarksville? Dear reader, you might not know it from all the hours I spent in Music City last weekend!

Beginning Saturday: I drove from C'ville to my work at the Tennessee State Library & Archives building in downtown Nashville, signing in at seven in the morning. It was what I've been told is a typical Saturday: busy! Certainly we served more Patrons than on Thursday or Friday, same shift time (7am to 2:30pm). BTW, I truly feel as tho' I'm a State employee now; Thursday I received my photo ID and Friday my State Internet system ID and password -- now I can do work-related e-mail.

After work I drove to Vanderbilt University's central library building, to do Internet stuff -- personal e-mail, Facebook, blogging -- and listen on-line to one of my favorite radio broadcasts, "Front Porch Fellowship". It's an hour show featuring the best in Bluegrass Gospel music, hosted by Les Butler on Solid Gospel 105 (FM). You can catch it at 4pm Saturdays, repeated same time Sundays.

I topped off my Music City Saturday by returning to downtown, specifically to the Nashville Convention Center, where I joined in the opening worship service for the biennial General Assembly of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), the denomination thru which I participate in the universal Church, and which denomination ordained and endorsed me to Army chaplaincy (1981-84). I saw several D o C folk I knew, both from Texas and from Tennessee (or formerly from Tenn., now from Ohio). The preliminary music and brief speeches as well as the actual worship included hymns and songs. As one speaker commented, "Singing is NOT a spectator sport for us Disciples!"

Sunday morning the Tenth I drove IH 24 from C'ville to Nashville again, for choir rehearsal, breakfast and an early (8:30am) worship at my church, Eastwood CC(DC). It was SO GREAT to see and speak with my Eastwood brothers and sisters again! The sanctuary was packed to the walls with worshipers -- I hate to imagine how over-the-top SRO the "regular-time" service would be! But members and our many visitors (including former Eastwood pastors) got treated to a rousing choir Anthem of "Lord, Here Am I" (hence my showing up extra-early for rehearsal), other fantastic musical offerings, and a fine sermon by Mike Kinnamon, titled "Why 'Tell It' Isn't Enough". "Tell It!" is the theme of the Assembly taking place right now in Music City.

Don't get me wrong! I love Clarksville, and am glad to be dwelling in the Queen City. But for this special weekend Music City was almost my home again!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Independence Day, A.D. 2011

My first national holiday since moving back to Clarksville turned into a winner in more ways than one!

It didn't start out that way. Neighborhood fireworks demos commenced several nights before the Fourth and went wild the evening of Sunday the Third. As I sat outdoors and observed, memories of a certain very tragic Independence Day or two or three in my life crowded in. I remembered 1968 (or so), searching for two little boys who lived across the street and were missing, while the traditional Boise fireworks display painted the sky overhead; they were found drowned in the major irrigation canal nearby. I remembered 1984, trying to give my son a happy holiday while sorrowing over the stillbirth of his first sister. Tears came to my eyes while 2011 fireworks erupted.

But the actual holiday itself, 4 July A.D. 2011, was an easy, relaxed and happy celebration. My daughter and her hubby took me with them to his family's reunion on the family farm in eastern Houston County, southwest of Clarksville. We enjoyed grilled burgers and dogs, fries, slaw, chips, brownies and so forth. There was a light rain, but it was brief, and then the sky cleared, and a refreshing breeze sprang up. It was pleasant to be outdoors, whether swinging on the front porch during the rain or listening to reminiscences and family gossip out in the back yard under tall old trees.

I attempted to make some phone calls on my Verizon phone, to no avail. Apparently the farm sits in a non-covered area. But upon returning to C'ville I discovered that I'd had two messages left in my voicemail. One was my mother, the other an offer to lend me a car (to get to my new job in Nashville). I answered both, while the holiday fireworks started up in earnest. The latter led to arrangements to obtain the borrowed car, which solves the transportation/commuting dilemma I had faced. Hooray!

Plus I got a phone call from my sister Debbie in Idaho. So all around the Fourth of July Independence Day holiday this year was enjoyable and memorable!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Good. . . Better. . . and even Better!

The title for this expresses how I feel about life since my mid-month move (back) to Clarksville, Tennessee. My life's eventfulness is becoming like the Energizer bunny -- it goes on and on! Here are the details:

Good: my living environment took a major positive turn over my last one, in Nashville! The place where I'm lodging, Patriot Place, is a family-style house in a residential neighbor-hood -- complete with a "pocket"-park (small neighborhood green space with playground features) next to it. And if it's a group home, it's a small-group home (capacity six men). I like the other three men currently living here, all military veterans. Even tho' two are Navy and one Marine, I like them! Indeed, amazingly, I feel closest to the jarhead! "Jarhead", for those unfamiliar with military slang, is a term denoting a U.S. Marine; it's usually pejorative but I call Ralph that to his face as a term of endearment.

Better: I was interviewed for a State of Tennessee job I had applied for while still living in Nashville. I was called back to the State Capital for a second interview, which took place Monday morning. Second interviews are always a good sign in a job search! The fact-to-face took place in the Capitol Building, which in my firm opinion is the most beautiful and unique of all capitols in these United States, with the Secretary of State in his office. I was nervous while traveling on IH 24, but felt at peace and at home during. AND. . . at mid-day I received a phone call from HR offering me the job! Whoopee! ! !

Even Better: I've spent time with family. Clarksville may be comparatively "provincial" (my daughter's opinion) if sized against Music City or especially San Antonio or Houston. But it has one enormous advantage over any larger city: there are kinfolk in and around. Most important -- immediate family. I spent the afternoon of Fathers Day at the family home, and thoro'ly enjoyed it! It made me very glad I figuratively took "the last train to Clarksville!" Hip! Hip! Hoo-ray! ! !

Now. . . as for details on the State position I was offered:

It's a part-time security-receptionist job at the entrance to the State Library and Archives. This historic and important Art-Deco edifice is directly across the street (Seventh Ave.) from the Capitol Building, thus sits on the shoulder of Capitol Hill and smack in the middle of every downtown place of import to yours truly. In addition to the Capitol, thw magnificent War Memorial Bldg., the skyscraper housing the State Museum and TPAC (for performing arts), Music City Central (the MTA depot), the public library. . . .

My primary duty will be to greet patrons upon their entering and sign them in. Also, keep aware of surroundings, such as monitors of surveillance cameras, and exiting patrons, to prevent break-ins or theft of documents (it's a closed-stack library). And if I'm closing shift, which it looks like I'll be, after 6:00pm check to be sure everybody's gone, doors are locked, etc.

And it's in a LIBRARY! My mother MUST have birthed me in one, as much as I love the stacks and the serene (altho' not as serene as formerly) atmosphere of knowledge and info. She WAS a public library assistant in Boise during my early boyhood.

My new job will be in a LIBRARY! Whoopee!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Savory Sunday! Church, then Family!

This past Sunday, day before yesterday or 19 June A.D. 2011, was Fathers Day. It turned into a gr-r-r-reat holiday for yours truly!

In the morning I was given a ride to Gateway Christian Church by old friends and now neighbors Ron and Judy. GCC is a rather young and thriving congregation, on the north side of IH 24 near Exit 11. They are an Independent Christian Church congregation, which means they share much with the Disciples of Christ (denomination in which I was ordained and endorsed to be Army chaplain). Including celebrating the Lord's Supper in every worship service!

GCC's worship this day was led by a Chaplain who's a member of and has just returned with the 101st from Afghanistan. I should mention that the Sunday had been declared a day for churches to recognize and honor members of the returning 101st Airborne Division. After introductory advice on how to handle any incident of anxiety or combat flashback, Corey Arnold conducted the service just like services he conducted at FOB Bostick in A-stan. He preached a very uplifting expository sermon on I Thessalonians 5:16-18, about the three constants therein: always rejoice, always pray and always be thankful.

After worship Gateway held a potluck dinner, and I got to sit at table with Chaplain Arnold. The active chappy and this former chappy had lively conversation wwe dined on the delicious selection of food.

Then it was off to see the family -- and more "fine" dining! Indeed, daughter Sarah Beth made the pasta sauce -- according to handed-down family secret recipe. She did just about as well as her half-Italian mama! For dessert I provided some watermelon wedges left at the end of the Gateway CC potluck.

A much better dessert was watching Facebook videos which wife Ellen brought up on her computer terminal, of our year-old granddaughter Theresa. Our son David took these, and all were delightful. However, the very best was of the fourteen-month-old little girl sitting in an overstuffed chair singing to and rocking an overstuffed animal. Aaawwwww!!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Commencing Clarksville blog -- my third blog!

Three is one of the significant and symbolic numbers of the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. Therefore, I find it significant that I'm starting my third blogsite.

Since the start of the second year of the Century and Millennium, that is, since January A.D. 2002, I've dwelt in three very diverse cities. I'm now into my second week in the third city, Clarksville, Tennessee. This follows Nashville and before that San Antonio. I've truly come full circle, because the first few days of that secon millennial year I lodged in C'ville.

It's where I belong; I have family here. I didn't in Music City nor in the Alamo City (excepting the brief months my brother and sister-in-law were at Fort Sam Houston).

And FYI, Clarksville, altho' classified as a metropolitan (statistics) area, STILL truly has the atmosphere and "feel" of the small town it used to be. It's nicknamed the "Queen City", Nashville being the king burg on the Cumberland River (or king burg in Middle Tenn.). I, however used to like to tell folks C'ville was a queen city because it was the "Winter Queen" -- I experienced the coldest outdoor temperature ever in my life here -- and NOT in the State of my raising, Idaho! -- on Christmas Eve night/ Christmas Day morning in the Year of Our Lord 1983. Seventeen below! That's degrees Fahrenheit, not Celesius/Centigrade, dear reader.


Clarksville's rather unique among metropolitan areas in which yours truly has lived. When I first became acquainted with it, 1977, it had a very elongated shape, with US 41A hiway being the mid-line of the elongation. That's Madison St. - Providence Blvd. - Ft. Campbell Blvd. Get a mile and a half or two away from 41A on either side and you were outside the C'ville city limits.

Get so far to the west of the Ft. Campbell Blvd. segment of 41A and you're inside the military reservation of Fort Campbell Army post. Home of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). The Hundred and First "Screaming Eagles", my final major unit when I was serving active Army duty(last half of A.D. 1983).

Due to the elongated shape back then, there really was only one road to go on to get directly from downtown Clarksville to the post or vice versa. You can imagine the major, MAJOR traffic jams and resulting headaches and overheated autos!

But in the 1980s Clarksville truly began to change in many ways. The unincorporated community of St. Bethlehem to the northeast of downtown was seeing significant growth thanks to the Trane h.v.a.c. factory which had arisen there. Clarksville incorporated Saint B (as it's affectionately known for short), and thus put a segment of rounding out to its general incorporated shape. A second and larger mall, Governor's Square, was built not far from Exit 4 of IH 24, which itself was fairly new in the length that passes by C'ville. More businesses followed, including a K-Mart, a Wal-Mart and numerous hotels, motels and restaurants. These sprang up along the Saint B main drag, a US Hiway (79) that was christened "Wilma Rudolph Blvd." after Saint B native and star Olympic sprinter Wilma.

However, the rounding out of Clarksville's shape to the north and east will not be matched by any in the other direction. You see, my once-and-anew hometown has got to be the largest city built all on one bank of a major river (the Cumberland) with downtown -- the original settlement -- atop bluffs overlooking the stream, and no corresponding incorporated development on the opposite bank. Just farmland!

The various unique aspects of the city, especially the Army post and the all-on-one-side of a river, endear it to yours truly.

So. . . I'm glad to be back in the Queen City! Even if come winter it becomes again the "Winter Queen"!