Tennessee is 225 years old! My home state followed the 13 former colonies, Vermont, and Kentucky to become the 16th state on June 1, 1796. Yesterday Governor Bill Lee came to our little town of Gainesboro to celebrate. As part of our year-long celebration, Governor Lee is visiting each of our 95 counties. Yesterday was Jackson County’s turn.
I am so thankful that Ray saw the announcement yesterday in the Jackson County Sentinel which is our little hometown weekly newspaper that comes to our home each Wednesday. We changed our afternoon plans and joined a good-sized crowd on our town square. What an exciting time we had! Mayor Randy Heady, who is our friend and a minister as well as our county mayor, welcomed everyone. Ray and I, along with our daughter, her husband, and their children, greeted friends and enjoyed ice cream from the local Anderson and Haile drugstore (free to all the kids yesterday) while we waited on the hot sidewalk for the arrival of the governor.
I have three main topics that I want to share with you about the event.
Governor Bill Lee believes in Jesus. He told us that he asks God every day to help him make decisions. Wouldn’t it be great to have 50 governors who did that? Governor Lee told us that Tennessee is one of the top five states in the country for civics education. Our state economy grew during the pandemic. We are one of the few states with practically zero debt, and we have the third lowest per capita taxes in the nation. He spoke of the need for law and order and pointed out the law enforcement officers who were serving at the event. This month he plans to visit the members of the Tennessee National Guard who are serving at the border between Texas and Mexico. He praised Tennesseans who volunteer to help others and said that government can’t solve all problems. He said that America is a very special country. He referred to the phrase “more perfect union” in the U.S. Constitution, reminding us that we aren’t there yet but that we have been and are moving toward it. I like that and I agree.
When Mayor Heady learned two weeks ago that the governor was coming yesterday, he asked award-winning member of the Grand Ole Opry and Gainesboro, Tennessee, native Jamie Dailey to perform. Jamie is very giving to his hometown and agreed to do so. After Governor Lee’s remarks, Jamie performed “I’ll Leave My Heart in Tennessee.” Here’s a link to one of my many posts about Jamie.
Peace, Harmony, and Patriotism
The event yesterday was completely peaceful. There were no political signs of any kind anywhere. The crowd applauded the governor’s short speech several times. Our local state representative, John Mark Windle, was in the audience, too, even though he is not of the same political party as the governor. Ray and I had a nice conversation with Representative Windle after the close of the event. You longtime readers may remember the very interesting afternoon we spent with Representative Windle a couple of years ago, including our walking in downtown Nashville dressed as President and Mrs. James K. Polk. Windle was very interested to hear about the growth of homeschooling. He asked about our upcoming projects and we mentioned our plan to write a world history for young students (this is only in the early planning stages). He then asked Ray a Bible study question related to Nineveh—right there on the hot pavement of our town square. He said that he had been studying about it. Isn’t that wonderful!
Mayor Heady gave Governor Lee a gift basket of Jackson County products, including a jar of honey. I didn’t see it up close, but it was most likely from one of the 300 hives kept by our beekeeping friend who graduated from homeschooling and is now a husband, daddy of two, and bee expert with a huge YouTube following. If you read the link about Jamie Dailey, you can see the beekeeper in the center of the photo of the Reynolds family. This beekeeper is also a talented mandolin player.
The governor requested that a meet and greet follow the event. When our daughter met the governor, she told him that their children had written letters to him and that he had answered them. The governor’s face brightened and he told them that he remembered that. When Ray and I met him, we told him about Notgrass History and he told us that he homeschooled his children for a time and that he has homeschooling grandchildren.
We also had a friendly visit with Governor Lee’s wife, a former school teacher who was very interested in what we told her about Notgrass History. I had not read biographical information about our governor until last night. That’s when I learned that his first wife died in 2000 following a tragic horseback-riding accident. Lee took time off from work in the family contracting business (started by his grandfather in 1944) to rear his four children. That’s why he said, “I homeschooled my kids.” He married Maria in 2008. They have participated in faith-based ministries in Africa, Central America, and the Middle East.
At the event, we also got to visit with our newly-elected chamber of commerce president, who is also a friend, a homeschool graduate, a homeschooling dad, and an active member of the local rescue squad.
I love to share good news with you. There are other things going on in America besides what you see, read, and hear in the news.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable,
whatever is right, whatever is pure,
whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable,
if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise,
think about these things.