City Life

City Life
Is very different from life in the suburbs

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Note: This blog was written in October 2018.

Hurrying out to work this morning, I almost collided with two wildly enthusiastic dogs who had escaped their fence. With my dog watching anxiously from the living room window, I managed to check their tags, and with the aid of dog biscuits, coax them back to their surprised owner.

City life is not static.

The evening before I found evidence of a mouse in the house. Exasperated, I told my housemate that I was off to buy traps and would return shortly.

We live on the non-historic side of Historic Old Knoxville.  I turned left onto Woodland to hit Fellini Kroger or Ace Hardware in the Knoxville Shopping Center. Rain had started to fall.

Right before Fulton High School, I saw a woman, on crutches, walking on the side of the street. I turned around and asked her if she needed a ride, or was she just out for a walk in the rain on crutches. (I know, but it fit the moment.)

She looked startled, then smiled and said she sure would appreciate it. She wanted to get to a bus stop to catch a ride to her apartment out near the Fountain City Duck Pond. “Easy enough,” I said so we headed that way.

Ally had just left Tennova, or what used to be St. Mary’s. She had gone to the emergency room the night before and was diagnosed with pneumonia. Then given fluids, breathing treatments, antibiotics and a discharge. She is on crutches after her leg was messed up in a bad car accident several years ago. She has had four surgeries and is looking at another one. Her boyfriend was working and couldn’t pick her up. We both love dogs and believe pit bulls get a bad rap.

She asked if I would mind dropping her off at the Sonic; she was starving to death and could get something to eat and then go to Kroger’s to get her prescription filled. I offered to take her, but she said no thanks. After four years she was pretty good at getting around on crutches.

I decided to go to the big, fancy Kroger’s since I was right there. The only mousetraps they carry are ones that have the sticky pad so I scurried back to my own stomping grounds.

The Fellini Kroger’s is noted for oddball customers and funky happenings. I really like it. Great customer service ninety per cent of the time. Not as wide a selection as some others, but very convenient.

You learn to navigate the parking lot, which has an above average number of people down on their luck, plus a bunch of career scammers. I have made my peace with how I handle requests. That is how I met Joe.

I was getting in my car when he approached, asking for money. He said he hadn’t eaten in three days. I said I didn’t give money but would take him into Kroger’s for a deli meal or to Taco Bell. He chose Taco Bell, just two soft shell tacos and water. I did add a burrito supreme without knowing if he liked them or not–to make my bleeding heart feel good?

We sat there waiting for the food and he told me he did get a check but had been robbed, and now had to make it to the end of the month. He asked me if I wanted to buy a cell phone and charger. He had slept outside in the rain the night before.

I asked if he had tried going to KARM or VMC. I mentioned under the bridge and he said he wouldn’t go there. I told him I just meant people did bring food there on the weekends. He said he had heard there was going to be bbq at the bank on the corner and he was going to get some of that. Wishing each other well, we shook hands and I left.

No, city life is not static.

Atlantic Avenue

IMG_1200Atlantic Avenue is a song written by RB Morris local poet, songwriter and performer. Atlantic Avenue is a street in North Knoxville (not to be confused with Historic Old North Knoxville) where he lived several times.

RB does a good job of describing the familiar, often the scruffy, of our city–streets, venues, people–in both his songs and poetry. Accompanied by his guitar and usually a band, his presentation style is unique.

At first, not exactly sure how I felt about his breaking off a song lyric to recite lines from a poem, I stood back questioning. It didn’t take long to realize this was an honest performer, RB being RB.

I attended a home concert one evening where he performed and was glad to hear this song, a old favorite for many of his fans. After leaving the concert my friend, Karen, and I decided to cruise Atlantic Avenue to see if we could figure out where RB had lived. It was after midnight on a hot summer night. We didn’t have any luck but it was a nice way to hold onto the mood.

Lyrics from Atlantic Avenue

by RB Morris

“Windows in old homes, glowing rosy in the night…..”

“Alley cats and nightbirds playing in the shadows and the machines….”

“ And darkness falls forever on broken wheels and dreams…”

Can you see it?

Note from RB: I wrote all the lyrics to the song, as a song it is a co-write with the late Terry Hill who wrote the music.