Tag Archives: knoxville

Around Knoxville: Three Rivers Rambler

Song Lyric of the Day:

Come on, ride the train, it’s the Choo Choo train

Quad City DJ’s / “C’mon N’ Ride It (The Train)

Knoxville has a short-line passenger train. Did you know this? Because I only discovered this recently. I’ve heard rumors the last couple of years, and then a few weeks ago my friend Meghan and her husband took their babies on the train, the Three Rivers Rambler. Meghan told me about the trip, which I then told Rich about, and we agreed that it would be fun to take Coraline on a train ride.

Coraline has wanted to ride a real train forever. It’s basically one of her lifelong dreams. (Did you know toddlers could have lifelong dreams? They can.) Thanks to my parents, Coraline’s ridden the little train at our local mall enough times to qualify as a part owner, so when we told her about REAL trains, her mind was blown.

Last Sunday, agendaless and looking to enjoy some quality family time, we told Coraline that we were going to take her on a REAL train ride. In typical fashion, she jumped up and down yelling “Yay!” which she manages to draw out like you would not believe. We packed her little backpack with snacks, Rich and I grabbed our cameras, and we headed down to Volunteer Landing to board the train.

Lindy, the Washington & Lincolnton #203 steam engine for the Three Rivers Rambler.

Lindy, the Washington & Lincolnton #203 steam engine for the Three Rivers Rambler.

We quickly found seats facing each other, so we had a cozy seating arrangement. The seats also allowed me to keep my gimpy foot elevated during the 2-hour ride. (The website and conductor say 90 minutes, but ours took two hours including a couple of short stops.)

The atmosphere on the train was very friendly, festive thanks to some holiday decorations, and very family friendly — there were tons of families riding with us that day. Coraline loved everything about it, especially the fact that we could walk out onto the following open-air car while the train was moving (it goes really slow).

Coraline holds up her train ticket.

Coraline holds up her train ticket.

I of course took tons of pictures, with Rich handling Coraline-escorting duties; my foot was still pretty tender so hobbling around a(n albeit slowly) moving train with an excited 3-year-old was not on my slate for the day.

I did manage to hobble outside with Rich and Coraline a few times, with the beautiful views totally worth the effort. Not to mention Coraline’s sheer delight at BEING ON A REAL TRAIN. Sorry for the caps, but toddler enthusiasm is contagious. And awesome.

Crossing over the Holston River.

Crossing over the Holston River. Note the train’s shadow on the water.

We heard rumblings throughout the ride that a certain magical jolly fellow was going to be making an appearance. Just when Rich and I had given up hope that the big man would show, there he was. Coraline was giddy waiting for him to make his way back to us (we were in the next-to-last row on the last car). And even though she met Santa outside of the mall, she still told Rich that we needed to go see Santa again at the mall so she could tell him what she wants for Christmas. She is a true believer, after all.


Coraline with Santa Claus on the train, the perfect ending to our first family train ride.

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Filed under around knoxville, coraline, family, family time, knoxville, personal

At Last, Some Justice for Henry

Song Lyric of the Day:

I dreamt all nite of summertime / Of what I thought was mine / We all fall down / It’s just a matter of time

Lane Abernathy / “The Scientist

Those of you who have been longtime readers of my blog may remember that last June I wrote about the tragic death of 18-year-old Henry Granju. And if you’re a local, a follower of Katie Granju’s blog, or both, then you are keenly aware of the hell she (and her family) has been through in the almost 16 months since Henry died. Not only has Katie been living every parent’s nightmare, but she has been living that nightmare in a very public, very critical media spotlight. Why? Because she dared to call out local law enforcement on how they were handling Henry’s case. Because she stood up for her son, provided him with a voice when his was forever silenced, and refused to let his be written off as the death of just another drug addict (as some in local law enforcement undoubtedly saw it).

After Henry’s hospitalization last year, Katie finally confessed her painful secret: Her firstborn child was a drug addict. She readily admitted that Henry’s choices had led him down this most unfortunate of paths; his family’s love and support and even rehab had not helped him beat his addiction. But after Henry died, Katie committed herself to getting justice for Henry — she was going to do everything in her power, from using her very high-profile blog to conducting her own investigation, to make sure that the people who supplied Henry with the drugs on which he overdosed and who then delayed calling 911 for hours to seek medical help for him, were held accountable.

As a result of her crusade, Katie has been criticized, harassed, ridiculed, and dismissed as the grieving, in-denial mother of a drug addict. Which, while she is still grieving, she was never in denial about how and why Henry ended up where he did that night. What she did want, though, was for the two lowlifes who played a part in his death to be punished. And, late yesterday, it finally happened: Arrests were made, and the people who supplied Henry with drugs that night were finally hauled off to jail.

While it was the KPD who arrested and took those people into custody, Katie’s determination and perseverance throughout the past several months cannot be dismissed as having played an integral part in the investigation. And while so many in our community railed against her and exhibited the worst possible side of humanity — one which made me ashamed of my community — Katie continued on and got to see these arrests made in Henry’s case. As to those people who made cruel, heartless, usually anonymous comments about Henry, Katie, and their family, well, we should all be so lucky to have a parent fight so hard for us in life, and even in death.

Katie and her family finally got some justice for Henry, but they will never get their sweet boy back. Remember that when you feel the urge to write someone off as merely an addict. Sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, friends, coworkers — behind every addict is a person loved by someone. Your helping hand just might be the lifeline they need.


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