Chapter 16
A Community of Tennessee Writers, Readers & Passersby

One of the Healers

A tribute to Vereen Bell (1934-2021)

For more than 50 years, Vereen Bell served the Vanderbilt University community as a teacher, scholar, colleague, and mentor. His fellow Vanderbilt professor and longtime friend Mark Jarman shares a remembrance of Bell with Chapter 16.

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Holding On

Little objects touch something tucked far away in the recesses of our hearts

The aluminum measuring cup was scuffed from so many years of use and had no value — except to me. That’s why when its handle fell off, my reaction was totally unreasonable.

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The Elver Eater’s Mother

Different journeys, same destination

I had just finished my first-ever dish of angulas, baby eels, properly called elvers. They are a tasty specialty of Basque cuisine and come in a quarter-pound serving of tiny two-inch long animals, which look like thin transparent noodles with two black dots of eyes at one end.

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Sex and Other Sins

I kept sinning despite my best efforts

As soon as I was old enough to know I should be good, I knew I was not. Much of this fear and guilt came from my grandmother, whom I called Meme. I remember seeing the same fear, much intensified, on her face when, much later, she lay dying. She could not be consistently good either.

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Hurry Back!

I wandered in as though I’d been there many times before

When I was a freshman at Vanderbilt, 18 years old, I heard a rumor that there was a market down on Elliston Place that would sell beer to you, even if you were underage, as long as you were cool about it. It was called the Hurry Back Market, and I was underage.

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