It’s the little things that make a difference

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Why is food so often synonymous with good times and good memories? Today will go down in my memory book as one filled with both. So often people complain about their siblings, but I am blessed to have a little brother who is a kindred spirit and friend.

When my baby brother, Max, had surgery a couple of weeks ago we didn’t realize that during his recuperation and subsequent time off work we would have the opportunity to spend a week rambling around together.

Our spur-of-the-minute trip’s first leg is Newport, Tennessee. This quaint mountain town of east Tennessee is home to a Tennessee Coffee Company, a fabulous corner coffee shop on Main.

Groggy and tired from our 10-hour trek Sunday we stumbled in for coffee and breakfast Monday morning to find several of the locals talking politics, football, and religion. The blue “Ole Miss” t-shirt Max proudly donned proved to be a catalyst for lively conversation.

Mr. Williams, an 81-year-old gentleman and retired human relations director, moved to our table to chat a while. Before long we felt like we had stumbled in for breakfast, but continued on our journey enriched by wisdom and life experiences of a new friend.

The car seemed to have a mind of her own, and soon our plans to hang around town until my grandson’s football game in the evening went out the window. One beautiful vista led us to another, and soon we found ourselves in the neighboring town of Greeneville.

After a tour of the home of Andrew Johnson, president of the United States after Abraham Lincoln’s untimely demise, we found ourselves once more in a local eatery. The exquisite furnishings caused us to wonder if we were appropriately dressed, but the staff welcomed us with open arms and made us feel as if we were as exquisitely dressed as the General Morgan Inn hotel herself.

Tiger, our friendly server, made sure our every need was met. Mr. Horton, host, charmed us with his sincere Southern hospitality and wit. His knowledge of local history and friendly manner both enlightened and delighted us. As we left the hotel to hurry back for our important pre-game preparations we met David Hawk, state representative of Greene County, who also left us with a wonderful positive impression of the people of Greeneville.

Wouldn’t you know it! I find myself writing this column where my day began, in the local coffee shop. A truck almost came through the large plate glass window where I am sitting, adding a little excitement to my day. Max is talking to a waitress and didn’t notice my close call!

Next, I need to purchase a little glue, glitter, and a poster board. I don’t really think any self-respecting grandma should drive 10 hours for her grandson’s football game without a poster to wave around! So far today was perfect; I spent it rambling with my little brother eating a little too much, making friends and making memories. Sometimes it’s just the little things that make a day special.

Jan Penton Miller can be reached at