Donna Johnson takes us on her rounds to meet unusual characters and interesting places.
Requiem: Reckoning with the Silence Left Behind by a Lost Friend
Published 4/2/2014 at 10:14 a.m. 1 comment
The silence where music used to play loudly enough to rattle the windows is deafening.
Ghost: Avoiding the Cruel Voices as Best She Can
Published 3/12/2014 at 11:35 a.m. 0 comments
When I run into Sophie coming through the thick fog, I am uncertain whether she is a real person or a figment of my own imagination. In any case, Sophie has a sort of ethereal quality about her, as though ...
Doobie Hunters in the Night: A Quest for Tobacco Uncovers Other Treasures
Published 2/26/2014 at 10:15 a.m. 0 comments
We pour a couple of shots of whiskey, toast each other, and down them in one gulp. We are out of cigarettes and must hurry to find the best cigarette butts—what my husband and I call “doobies”—before the homeless people ...
A Day in the Life: Where Were You the Night John Lennon Died?
Published 2/12/2014 at 10:31 a.m. 1 comment
On the night John Lennon died, I was weaving in and out of the small streets of Greenwich Village—buying earrings on Bleecker Street, browsing a novel by Walker Percy at the corner bookstore on West 4th, and admiring my new ...
Monster: Helping the Distressed Find a Moment of Calm
Published 1/23/2014 at 9:57 a.m. 0 comments
He began weeping and banging his fists on his head. “I went into a store and tried to buy something and they said my card was no good,” he said, crying still harder.
Species From Another Planet: In Tribute to a Woman's Best Friend
Published 1/2/2014 at 10:45 a.m. 0 comments
Surely everyone who lives in downtown Knoxville has seen me being dragged by a 45-pound dog with a liver-shaped marking on her side against a background of black and white speckles.
The Accordion: Dreams of Gypsy Glory Give Way to Reality
Published 12/26/2013 at 10:00 a.m. 0 comments
I am not a person who thinks before I act.
Angels in Disguise: A Chance Meeting at a Bus Stop, and Turning a Corner
Published 12/11/2013 at 11:02 a.m. 0 comments
Despite her worn appearance and the frayed condition of her old-fashioned dress, there was something extraordinary about her, an inner stillness and calm that few people in our time have, almost as though she were listening to a voice that ...
Finding a Lot To Be Grateful For, Against the Odds
Published 11/27/2013 at 1:41 p.m. 0 comments
This year, on Nov. 12, I turned 62, and though young people defer to me on buses and planes and call me “ma’am” (which irritates me no end) as though I am a doddering old lady, I have never felt ...
Lost: Where am I and How Did I Get Here?
Published 11/13/2013 at 11:00 a.m. 0 comments
Her face was porcelain, her eyes an unearthly color of blue. They seemed to look right through to the rotten core of me. It’s unnerving to wake up with someone staring at you like that.
What Kind of Fool Am I? Remembrance of a Short-Lived Friendship
Published 10/30/2013 at 9:39 a.m. 1 comment
When I told my new friend, Arden, that I had just sold my refrigerator to buy a pair of earrings at my favorite store, Fizz on Market Square, she looked at me solemnly and said, “Anybody who would do that ...
Alien Resident: Escaping Communism to Discover Gold Chryslers in Knoxville
Published 10/16/2013 at 10:22 a.m. 0 comments
“It was 1983,” he says with little emotion. “They took us on a two-day shopping trip to Vienna, to buy clothing and other essentials. They called it a ‘pleasure trip,’ but there was little pleasure, for we were almost always ...
Published 10/2/2013 at 12:40 p.m. 4 comments
Bad habits can lead you into excellent places where you meet extraordinary people.
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