Archive for the 'Tennessee' Category

Beyond the Esplanade

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One of the last best things I did in Cambridge was to go see the July 4 fireworks from the bank of the Charles with blogging friends (Thanks, J!), getting closer to the flash and crash than my previous years’ vantage point in a crowd of neighbors atop Prospect Hill, a mile or so from the sound and smoke.

This weekend I was watching more pyrotechnics from atop another hill, the one I live on now. I’m so new here that I don’t even know if the hill has a name, but it gave me a new perspective for a fireworks show that competes for excitement and audience with Boston’s Independence Day.

Knoxville calls the Labor Day event Boomsday. A sponsor also calls it “the biggest single-day event in the state of Tennessee and the largest fireworks show in the southeast United States.”

Whille Boston fires its rockets from a barge in the river, these fireworks are launched from a high bridge over the Tennessee River — a bridge that just happens to be anchored to my new hilltop. Down along the river, the city closes a stretch of highway, turning it into a midway for the day, stretching off toward the university stadium. Hundreds of thousands of people join in the fun, and the “Tennessee navy” drops anchor in the river — about 200 powerboats that stay for Sunday’s Big Orange football game.

The Boomsday show doesn’t include the Boston Pops, Stars & Stripes Forever or the 1812 Overture cannons… but I read that there was some Gershwin broadcast to coincide with the most elegant part of the display, and at a more climactic point I did hear a few people singing along with Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA.” Next year, maybe I’ll find a seat closer to the sound system.
Beyond the Esplanade …

Crimson to orange: Settling into new home, job & computers

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My “Other Journalism” weblog is serving as to-do list, moving-to-Tennessee narrative, and parking place for links I want to share with news-writing students… at least until I decide how I’m going to use my new home page (http://web.utk.edu/~rstepno) and the Blackboard course-management system.

As long as this one is still here, perhaps I’ll post a note from time to time for any Cambridge, Somerville & Boston friends who wonder whatever became of me.

So far teaching in Knoxville is full of surprises — having the school director who encouraged me to apply for the job decide to quit the week I got here… and then starting the first day on the job with a power failure and ending it with my face on the evening news!

I did find the local contradance (small, but enthusiastic) and lucked into a class schedule that lets me sleep late the morning after it. A next door neighbor plays mandolin and banjo, and there’s a bluegrass and oldtime radio station to take the place of WUMB.

So far so good. My Thursday nights are still a little on the empty side, though…
Crimson to orange: Settling into new home, job & computers …