Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

Lyda Phillips

Trumpeter Swan

A life bird

According to the notes in my old National Geographic bird guide, on November 8, 1980, I saw a trumpeter swan at the Crabtree Nature Center in Barrington Hills, Illinois. A life bird. My mother had been in the hospital in downtown Chicago for nearly two months.

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Winnowing

The gift of letting go

The challenge wasn’t just the spice drawer with the unopened 30-year-old jar of coriander and the multitude of little packets of red pepper delivered with more than a decade of pizzas. Not just the UCLA T-shirt I bought in 2007 on my son’s college tour. Not the second-best stew pot. No, when I got right down to the bone, it was the last tangible relics of my father I had trouble letting go.

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American Crow to Great White Shark

The Southern Wildlife Watcher surveys the region’s creatures

Rob Simbeck takes a close look at 36 creatures in The Southern Wildlife Watcher: Notes of a Naturalist, offering readers glimpses of the mundane and the miraculous. Simbeck will discuss the book at a virtual event hosted by Parnassus Books in Nashville on August 31 and at the 2020 Southern Festival of Books, held online October 1-11.

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Dog in the Bottoms

A four-legged role model shows me how to live in the moment

Each time I regain consciousness, I look for Zo’s white tail. Usually, I spot it flicking back and forth — ahead of me, to the left, to the right, sometimes behind. If I don’t see that waving beacon, I call. Soon I hear, then see her racing toward me at full speed, 45 pounds of solid enthusiasm.

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Down From the Mountain

How Hancock County embraced its Melungeon secret

In Beyond the Sunset: The Melungeon Outdoor Drama, 1969-1976, Wayne Winkler explores how Tennessee’s poorest county turned to an unlikely source for economic revival: an outdoor drama about the region’s Melungeon heritage. The play ran for just five seasons but changed the county’s view of its mixed-race neighbors forever.

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To Memphis at 200

From the Chickasaw Bluffs to the Grizzlies’ “grit and grind,” Memphis abides

Karen B. Golightly and Jonathan Judaken’s Memphis: 200 Years Together weaves a series of essays on the city’s complex history into an intricate quilt.

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