I adore Jack Neely's work! Who else reminds us to appreciate Mary Utopia Rothrock and Danny Lyons and to be less unqualified in our reverence for John Sevier and William Blount?
Jack is fabulous, too, when he writes about current affairs, as he did in his recent column on bicycling in Knoxville ["Bike Friendliness," Oct. 7, 2010]. I, too, have crossed that bridge in Bearden without a car. It truly is a heart-pounding, adrenaline-infused experience. For those of us who bike and walk the streets of Knoxville on a regular basis, it is no surprise when motorists are aggressive or hostile. And it was no surprise to me when the drivers on that bridge honked, flipped me off, and yelled impossible alternatives (like, "Get off the road!") at me while I hurriedly jogged along the concrete wall with about 25 pounds of Earth Fare purchases over my shoulder on one side and a death-grip on my three-year-old son's hand on the other. I would challenge anyone to park at Earth Fare and walk or bicycle to Western Plaza. In fact, I double-dog dare you to do it.
As for that sparkling-new bus station, I agree it looks great, it smells great, and the public toilets truly are a boon for those of us who use KAT with kids who are recently out of diapers. But, every time we round the corner from State to Church and start heading down the hill to the station, my son says, "Can we go straight to the bus this time?" Although he enjoys an escalator ride more than any adult I know, he can see the absurdity of traveling all the way down the hill only to go back up again and arrive where we were before. Also, one overzealous KAT employee, while I was pushing my son's bike through the lobby, actually yelled at me, "You can't ride that bike in here!" Really? Does it look like I, at 5'9" and 120 lbs, am going to ride this toddler's bicycle?
Thanks for sharing the anecdotes, Jack, and thank you for the steady stream of interesting and excellent writing.