Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

The Landing at Shah-har-adin

With absolute clarity I see the awful meaning of war

The scene of the attack is an ugly place, conjuring up a bitter taste that comes from deep down in the back of your throat, leaving a lasting sensation of utter hopelessness and despair. This landing will be difficult. I must get us down near the wounded man.

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Remembering George

It was 1966, and only one of us died in Vietnam

FROM THE CHAPTER 16 ARCHIVE: On Memorial Day I always think of my friend George Mangrum of Lauderdale County, Alabama. This is his story. It needs to be told.

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What the Water Took

A love that is buried in one generation may be resurrected in another

FROM THE CHAPTER 16 ARCHIVE: Charlie and Maude began their marriage on a homestead perched near the banks of the Cumberland River. The first child came within the year of their marriage. Eight more followed. Whooping cough claimed one of the babies, and the river’s frequent flooding eventually claimed the house.

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Strawberry Season Arrives

A berry lover nominates a new contender for the most wonderful time of the year

These red crown jewels of cuisine, the tiny ripe ones sweet enough to make you weep on first bite if you weren’t too busy reaching for another — they come from right up the road this time of year, if you are lucky enough to live in the right places. In our neck of the woods, the strawberry epicenter is Portland, Tennessee, and the farms stretching out across the rolling hills of the region.

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Goddesses and Coal Miners

Michael Sims remembers the bookstore where he found the world

I loved opening the bookstore alone on Sunday. I loved how it smelled — all those books with their genie-in-a-bottle dreams of love and fear, goddesses and coal miners — Sherlock Holmes on the foggy moor — barefoot Sappho — Harriet Tubman, vampires, Lassie. Often I would arrive well before noon, to have some time alone with the books.

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The fellowship of the specialist’s office

This space differs from the typical waiting room because not one of my fellow patients, struggling to make themselves comfortable in these chairs, is here for a regular checkup. We are all here because another doctor has seen something disturbing, something that has to be investigated.

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