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Memphis Is Better in Monteagle

December 4, 2012

I love Memphis most when I can get away from it ~ really away, as in our Real House** here on Monteagle mountain.  Eddie and I are here  for a few days to clear our minds and recalibrate our stress levels.  **(i.e., the house with all our furniture, the one that’s been on the market since September 2011, the one with the mega mortgage ~ that one)

This was my Monday morning in Monteagle:

9:15 a.m. Let Crazy Gracie the Demented Lapdog out to terrorize the deer and do her “bounding merrily through the forest” thing.

9:30 a.m. Make coffee. Add cocoa mix.  Oh, heck, why not? ~ add a slosh of peppermint schnapps.


9:45 a.m. Share cinnamon toast breakfast with Gracie. Make more coffee mocha.  Double the schnapps.

9:55 a.m. Good time for a nap.

Thank you, Lord. I needed this!

The afternoon was more typical: tethered to the laptop, tackling the email inbox; making appointments for when we get back to Memphis; and reading, writing, working.  But though the tasks may be the same, everything is easier in Monteagle, where the forest is quiet and still, the phone never rings, there is never a TV on, and Gracie has no fences to inhibit her olfactory exploits.

In our Monteagle house, when I look up from the computer screen I see a clean and orderly house surrounded by nature’s stark, late fall beauty.

In our Memphis abode, my eyes are continuously assaulted with a thousand undone tasks associated with the elephant that is my mother’s still-unemptied house, half remodel-in-progress and half overfilled warehouse.

So why am I eager to get rested and scoot back to Memphis?  Because it has truly become home again.  With all the chaos and busyness and (largely self-imposed) pressure, Memphis is where we belong. God brought us home to fulfill his plan, and we are beginning to discern the shape of that plan.

Yesterday I discovered Schooling Memphis, a new blog written anonymously by a Memphian who is  clearly passionate about the future of our local public schools.  The blog is well researched and well written, providing additional facts and insights on this critical topic. I especially appreciate the blogger’s reasoned approach, something we strive for here at Back in River City.

It is entirely possible to state an opinion without being snarky, condescending, insulting, rude, vulgar, or hateful. I wish certain local columnists at the CA and Flyer got that.  Heck, I wish all opinion writers and talking heads got that.  Aren’t you sick of the biased, divisive, I’m-so-much-smarter-than-anyone-who-disagrees-with-me drivel that passes for intelligent commentary every day in our news media?

I’m so old I remember civil debate and unbiased journalism. But I digress.

Eddie and I are using our mini-retreat on the mountain this week to make plans for Back in River City in 2013. When we began nine months ago, we didn’t have a clear roadmap of where we were headed. We just knew we were supposed to engage Greater Memphis in productive ~ and civil! ~ dialogue about how to fix our very broken hometown.

We were on a mission from God.

Our year has been spent meeting with local leaders and engaged citizens, delving into Memphis history books, and getting to know people from the melting pot that is Memphis today. It thrills us to witness and tap into the massive creative energy creating a new Memphis ~ everything from  the Sears Crosstown project to Soulsville Charter School, the Pyramid redo, and the New Ballet Ensemble performing Nut Remix at GPAC. (Can’t wait to see this on Sunday. Review to follow.)

We are uplifted by the character and commitment of the newly elected unified school board members and the reelection of Chairman Billy Orgel. We are filled with hope of what is possible due to the tenured relationship of trust and regard between our City and County Mayors.

photo credit: Lance Murphey, Memphis Daily News

Memphis Mayor A C Wharton, Shelby County Mayor Mark Luttrell. photo credit: Lance Murphey, Memphis Daily News

Next year, Back in River City will focus on four major areas of public policy and challenge in Memphis:

  • Reducing poverty
  • Improving public education
  • Improving public transportation
  • Funding local government

These issues are critical to the very survival of Memphis over the next ten years.  We pledge to be a source of factual information and thoughtful analysis, and invite you to join us in puzzling out workable solutions.

We’ll also share our continuing exploration of  our hometown: the places, people, memories, and moments in time that make us proud to be Memphians.

That’s our plan.

So here I am in Tennessee paradise, with time to spare and air so clear,  and I’m increasingly eager to get back to Memphis!

Maybe I’ll take the peppermint schnapps with me.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Charlotte Brown permalink
    December 4, 2012 10:48 pm

    Hey eve! Enjoyed reading how memphis is better in monteagle. Yay for you and Eddie taking a step back from everyday hussle and bustle. I am about to venture into a new version of it because I got a job! And it’s perfect, eve. It’s with porter leath and its the exact same job as I had and cherish in St. Louis. The cooriculum is called -parents as teachers- and I will do home visitation to teach moms about prenatal/child development/parenting topics. Will have 30 families that I will see twice a month.

    I interviewed this past we’d, got the job on Thursday, and was at the office on Friday to get my file together…and was told the start date will be this week. My gut says Thursday.

    Pass on my good news to Eddie. Hope to see you guys soon,


    Date: Tue, 4 Dec 2012 08:22:45 +0000

    • December 4, 2012 11:41 pm

      Wonderful news, Charlotte! We are thrilled for you and for the Memphis moms and children who will be blessed by you. God is in the plan! Thanks for your kind words and for commenting. We look forward to seeing you and Fr. Wes very soon.

  2. December 4, 2012 11:58 pm

    I truly enjoyed reading, “Memphis Is Better in Monteagle.” You guys are undertaking a tremendous task…but, I believe you will succeed. Thanks for loving this city as much as I do! See you soon!

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