Now, I’m back on track.
I think I mentioned last week I found this book at a flea market titled, “Why I Live In Tennessee/101 Dang Good Reasons” by Ellen Patrick.
It’s a small but poignant book.
But why the author came up with 101 reasons, I have no clue. Certainly, 100 would have been a better choice. My first thought is what was the one extra reason to live in Tennessee that the author just could not publish her list without?
Was it No. 99, “Hayrides are considered a form of carpooling?”
Or was it No. 95, “Procrastination is widely accepted (and respected).”
How about No. 89, “Goo Goo Clusters?” Goo Goo Clusters, for those who don’t know or were uncertain, like me, are chocolate candies. They are marketed under the slogan, “The Original Southern Confection,” made out of real milk chocolate, caramel, peanuts and marshmellow nougats made into little disks. I think they are manufactured in Nashville.
No. 65: Wild honeysuckle.
And one of my favorites, No. 49: “I’m from Tennessee,” always impresses (and slightly intimidates) Yankees.
No. 43: The lady Vols.
No. 38: It makes us feel good to have the blues.
Nos. 28, 29 and 30: Dolly Parton, Dollywood and, actually, Dolly Everything.
And let’s not forget RCs and Moon Pies, No. 25.
“Tennessee” makes a great nickname, No. 20.
And now for the top 10 countdown:
No. 10: The home of the world’s largest continuous yard sale.
No. 9: The Parthenon in Nashville.
No. 8: The Pyramid in Memphis.
No. 7: Certain small towns that distill certain beverages.
No. 6: Grandma’s grits.
No. 5: The Grand Ole Opry.
No. 4: Sun Records.
No. 3: Tennesse doesn’t have one state song, Tennessee has an entire state full of songs.
No. 2: The Smoky Mountains
And last but not least, the No. 1 reason people like to live in Tennessee is because there’s no income tax!
I did even more research into why people like living in Tennessee and I found out what specifically makes East Tennessee a desirable place to live: the Great Smoky Mountains, country music, The University of Tennessee-Knoxville and the Tennessee Vols, plus a myriad of other well-respected colleges and universities, the Tennessee Valley Authority, Oak Ridge, Dollywood, the Tennessee Aquarium, Rock City, the Chattanooga Zoo and the Tennessee Civil War Trail.
And closer to home, Bradley County and the city of Cleveland have the Museum Center at Five Points, Lee University, Cleveland State Community College, a population growth in the last 12 years of almost 12 percent, an almost 8 percent lower cost-of-living than the rest of the United States, the average job growth rate in Bradley County is around 9 percent, and the recent job growth has increased by almost 3 percent.
And now, I get to the reasons why I live in Tennessee.
I don’t rightly know.
At least, I didn’t rightly know when I first moved down here.
Well, that’s not true. I do know why I first moved down to the city of Cleveland and Bradley County — a great job opportunity.
But since I got here, I have added a few more reasons:
1. The color orange. I like it.
2. The winters. They don’t really exist. I like that. Where I come from — I moved from St. Louis most recently, but I have lived all over the states — I distinctly remember that terrible shock to my system as I spent 15 minutes before rushing to work standing in the cold scraping ice off of my windshield. I don’t like that.
3. The traffic. I know, I know. Folks here complain about how bad the traffic has gotten here, and maybe it has compared to what they are used to. But compared to what I am used to, it’s almost heaven.
4. I love the biscuits. I love all the food in general. In fact, the first time I tasted hot slaw was down here in Southeast Tennessee.
5. I love the large availability of flea markets!
6. And I love the Cleveland/Bradley County Greenway, although I must admit I don’t use it anywhere near as much as I oughta.
7. I love the area. I love all the trees and the flowers and the animals.
8. But most of all, I love the people. They’re truly downhome folks. And I appreciate ya.