One Cemetery, Two Names

I love Ball Camp Pike.  Maybe someday I will write a post in its honor.  It’s a beautiful road, with a rich history and something interesting to see around every bend.  Like this cemetery.

May 29

May 1

You can call it Murray Cemetery (its official name, according to KGIS) or May Cemetery (which makes more sense, as its on property that once belonged to the May family).  Either way, it’s a charming little graveyard, especially in the fall.

May 27

May 3

My first encounter with this cemetery was exactly 30 years ago.  I wasn’t there to look at graves, though–I’d come to the DMV to take my driving test.  At that time, the little building next to the graveyard was a DMV location.  These days it’s a church, Knox County having sold it to a Methodist congregation in 1990, although it’s changed hands twice more since then.  The county acquired the site in 1930 from the Galbraith family, and judging from appearances, it started its life as a school. [UPDATE:  Lillian A. Pedigo School seems to have been its name at some point.]

May 30

Thirty years ago, the cemetery was so overgrown as to be barely visible.  It’s been nicely cleaned up since then.

May 20

May 4

The oldest stone here is dated 1820, but upon closer inspection you can see it was erected in 1856.  The next burial is 1857, so perhaps that’s closer to the time burials began to happen here.  There are many in the 1860s and later, and although the last one took place in 1942, the most active period ended in the 1920s.

May 18

Baker, May, and Murray are the most well-represented names here.  Y’all, I love taking pictures in the fall so much.  Everything is so pretty that I couldn’t crop out all the colors and make these pictures as big as I usually do!  So I have added a couple of detail shots so you can read inscriptions.

May 25 May 19

May 15

May 16

May 12

May 13

May 9

May 8

May 7

May 6

May 5

Here are a couple more interesting stones.  Note that in the first picture the footstone is also a stump to match the headstone.  I’ve never seen that before.

May 23

May 22

I haven’t forgotten about the babies, although there were not as many here.

May 24

May 11

Besides my DMV adventure, I drove by this cemetery almost every day for the first 18 years of my life.  It’s just down the street from Cumberland Estates, where I grew up.  I’m so glad I finally stopped.

May 17

May 10

May 2

May 28

So today one of my Facebook friends posted a link to an online store called Schoola.  The link promised $15 in free gently-used kids’ clothes.

I’ve been shopping consignment since before it was mainstream, so buying things used is natural to me.  And it has suddenly gotten VERY cold here, and Lorelei has almost nothing to wear for winter.  So I thought I would take a look.

Schoola has all the quality name brands like Old Navy and Hanna Andersson at about a 70% discount!  There is full disclosure about the condition of the items, and you can zoom in to get a really good look at them.  I started by buying several skirts of the type Lorelei favors, each for about $3!

Because I shopped through my friend’s link, I got $15 to spend on my next order.  So I dove right back in, and I discovered another cool thing.  See, I haven’t told you yet that Schoola’s consigners designate a school to receive 40% of the proceeds from each sale.  So you are doing something good by shopping here.  But I discovered that by creating my own custom shop–which is fun and useful anyway, I could get extra donations for any school I wanted!  This time I bought almost exactly $15 worth of leggings.  I only had to pay shipping and handling.

I did have one little problem.  After my first visit I was given a 25% discount code.  AND IT DIDN’T WORK.  I’ve fired off an indignant email and am hoping that when they fix it I’ll get another coupon or something.  Who knows?  Then I can go back for long sleeved shirts!

Anyway, if you try Schoola at that link, I’ll get $15, and you will get $15 toward your second purchase.  You will also get your own link to share with YOUR friends.  Give it a try and tell me what you think!

I haven’t tackled a topic like this in a while.  But, y’all, I can’t write about pretty graveyards and fall hikes all the time.

Today I read this story  about an Australian woman who traveled to the United States to undergo in vitro fertilization and pre-implantation genetic diagnosis to achieve her desired goal:  a baby girl.  “The process involves harvesting a woman’s eggs, injecting each one individually with sperm, then growing the embryo from a single cell to around 130 cells, at which point it’s possible to tell whether the chromosomes are XX or XY. Only embryos of the desired sex are transferred to the uterus.”

Here’s just one example of a facility in our country that provides this service.  From their website: “While the desire to choose whether a baby would be a boy or a girl has been present throughout human existence, it is only recently that the technology to do so has become clinically possible and available. With improvements in gender selection technology, demand for gender selection has also been growing steadily.” There’s that slippery slope that I’m always being told is a logical fallacy! It goes on to say, “Sometimes gender selection can be “non-medical” or “elective.” In such cases, a child of a specific gender is desired without obvious medical indications. The most frequent indication for such gender selection is “family balancing,” when one gender is already represented in the family unit and the other gender is desired.”


Y’all, please understand, after three boys in a row I was very much hoping #5 would be a girl.  I also was hoping #4 would be a girl!  Instead we got William, and unlike the lady from Down Under, I did not “[sob] with disappointment to discover I was having a second son … and then a third.”  Anyway, I understand the DESIRE for a daughter.  But most of us just suck it up and appreciate the children we have.  Maybe we accept that God knows what he is doing and set about parenting the kids we were lucky enough to get.  Maybe we realize we should be grateful for conceiving in the first place and for producing a healthy baby of any gender.  Remember when our mothers were having kids, and there was no way to know in advance what they were having, what they said when people asked if they wanted a boy or a girl? “I don’t care what it is as long as it’s healthy.”  I haven’t heard that in a long time; have you?

I know that, to a childless woman struggling with infertility, I might seem ungrateful because I already have three healthy sons. But unless you’ve experienced “gender disappointment”, you can’t understand how crippling it can be. My desire for a daughter caused me to spiral into depression and left me virtually housebound. Every time I went out, toddlers in pink seemed to taunt me.”  If “gender disappointment” was so “crippling” to her, what she needed was not a daughter, it was therapy and lots of it.  She doesn’t just SEEM ungrateful, she IS ungrateful.  One can only imagine what her sons will think of all this when they come across this article online in the future–if they don’t already sense her feelings toward them now.

And what about that little girl, who has a lot of expectations heaped upon her already?  My Facebook post on this topic has generated some indignant comments.  One person said, “I hope the little girl likes karate instead of ballet!”  Well, you know, since ALL KIDS tend to do the unexpected, and since they are, you know, INDIVIDUALS, that’s just as likely as not.  There’s no one kind of “girl” and no one kind of “boy,” which is why I always find these stories about “gender balance” so ridiculous, and why I always think it’s funny when people think one boy and one girl is the ideal complete family.  My three boys are NOTHING alike.  My girls are not much alike either, and their gender is only one part of what makes them unique and special.

There is so much about this story that is disgusting.  The fact that she paid $50,000 for this procedure.  That could have been used to send one of her boys to college.  Or to fund the adoption of a daughter. The fact that this is a for-profit venture in the first place. From an article in Slate:

“Just over a decade ago, some doctors saw the potential profits that could be made. . . They coined the phrase “family balancing” to make sex selection more palatable. They marketed their clinics by giving away free promotional DVDs and setting up slick websites.  These fertility doctors have turned a procedure originally designed to prevent genetic diseases into a luxury purchase akin to plastic surgery. Gender selection now rakes in revenues of at least $100 million every year. The average cost of a gender selection procedure at high-profile clinics is about $18,000, and an estimated 4,000 to 6,000 procedures are performed every year. Fertility doctors foresee an explosion in sex-selection procedures on the horizon, as couples become accustomed to the idea that they can pay to beget children of the gender they prefer.”

Then there is the immorality of the procedure itself.  What happened to all those little boy embryos, after all?  They were discarded.  Her own children, and she threw them away BECAUSE THEY WERE BOYS.  And where is all this headed?  Do you really believe that selecting for other desired qualities won’t be a thing in the future?  From the Slate article: “In 2009, [Dr.]Steinberg came under a worldwide media firestorm when he announced on his website that couples could also choose their baby’s eye and hair color, in addition to gender. He revoked the offer after receiving a letter from the Vatican.” Thank God for the Vatican, is all I can say.

Says the happy mother/satisfied client:  “It’s not about playing God, it’s about giving women reproductive freedom.”  Um, no.  It IS about playing God. And it’s wrong, wrong, wrong.


Three years ago, when our house burned down, I lost an important part of my identity.  Now, this was a part that had been dying out for awhile, but the fire ended it definitively.

Along with being the person with a lot of books, I was also a letter-writer.  I’ve written letters almost all my life, starting in fourth grade when my best friend moved to Indiana.  We have stayed in touch for close to 40 years, and while now it’s via email and Facebook, I doubt we would still be close today if it weren’t for the letters we exchanged.

I took letter writing to a-whole-nother level when I went away to college.  I maintained regular correspondence with around 14 people.  My first year I had a rule that I had to answer each letter on the day I received it, meaning that on the day I received 17 letters I was up writing until two a.m.  My husband worked at the Georgetown Post Office, and he tells me I was known their by name, and that they made jokes that I should have my own zip code.

I didn’t quite keep up that pace all four years, but I did keep writing letters.  And I saved the replies.  Until they burned in the fire I had a foot-locker-sized box full of letters.

As email and then Facebook changed the way people kept in touch, I still kept writing letters.  I had a few correspondents, but I even sent letters to folks who didn’t reply.  Every year after Christmas, for example, I’d write a quick note to anyone who had written a personal message or enclosed a letter (even a form letter!) in their Christmas card.  Right up until the house burned down I was still taking pictures on film and getting extra prints so I could enclose them in my letters.

I had a briefcase that was dedicated to my letter writing enterprise.  It contained the address book I had maintained for many years, various cards and stationery, address labels, stamps, pens, pictures or clippings I planned to enclose in letters, and any letters I needed to answer.  When I would go out by myself, I would bring it along and write a letter or two.  I was going months between letters but I was still writing them.

Well, now I don’t have my briefcase or my address book or a camera or even any letters to answer.  But what I do have is a LOT of blank cards and address labels that have come my way via inheritance (Grandma AND Mima) or via pleas for donations by various charities.  I realized exactly how many when I was rummaging about for a Get Well card last night.

I miss writing letters.  And I don’t want all those cards to go to waste.  So I am going to start writing again.  Maybe not ten-page epistles like I used to do, but at least little notes to let people know I am thinking about them.


Bear with me, y’all because there are going to be a LOT of pictures in this post.

Emily and I have walked on the Forks of the River trails five times, because there is a lot of territory to cover and also because we didn’t plan very well for the task of completing all the trails with the least repetition.  But I can’t say I’m sorry, because we’ve had the opportunity to explore the place in Spring, Summer, and Fall.




There are wildflowers throughout the Urban Wilderness, but Forks of the River takes the prize no matter the season.



FOW 13


FOW 15





FOW 27

FOW 26

FOW 29

FOW 28

FOW 24

FOW 20

FOW 18

FOW 17

FOW 10

FOW 15


But even in late fall, there is plenty of color!







This area can also not be matched for its variety.  You can walk through meadows or in the woods.  Some paths are flat, but along the river bluff there are challenging climbs.



FOW 10

FOW 11

FOW 22

FOW 11



Also of note are the beautiful views:

FOW 12




As always, I encountered a few mysteries while walking here.  For example, it looks like this area was lived in at some point, judging by some plants you’d expect to find in someone’s garden:




At first, I thought this cactus must have been cultivated as well.  But it turns out that prickly pear cactus is native to East Tennessee:



Now that we’ve hiked almost every trail in the Wilderness, I can tell you that this area is my favorite.  It’s definitely where I would recommend you start if you are interested in exploring these trails.


I’ll miss hiking here as we move on to another walking adventure but I’m sure I’ll be back!

FOW tunnel


For more on walking in South Knoxville, see below:

Walking in South Knoxville I

Walking in South Knoxville II

Walking in South Knoxville III

Walking in South Knoxville IV

Walking in South Knoxville V

Walking in South Knoxville VI

Walking in South Knoxville VII

Walking in South Knoxville VIII




I’m linking up with RAnn of This, That, and the Other Thing for Sunday Snippets, that weekly famous gathering of Catholic Bloggers sharing their week’s posts.  This week there is no question of the week to answer (and yes, RAnn, I DO miss it!) so it’s straight on to the recap:

It’s the first full week of NaBloPoMo, and I’ve done pretty well–I did miss one day this week.

I led off the week with this post  about the elections. (Yes, I voted!)

Next I posted a little homeschooling update.

I wrote about another cemetery.

And because what I wrote upset some people, I wrote about it some more.

Then I wrote about another cemetery.

Finally, I participated in a weekly photo linkup.

I hope you will take a look at any you may have missed this week, and that you will check out the other linkup participants.






Whenever I go walking in the woods, I find myself taking pictures of paths.  This was taken after my daughter and I emerged from a VERY long walk in the woods.  Often what I see with my eyes doesn’t appear in my pictures, but this time I think you all will be able to see the enchanted tunnel that I saw.



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