The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland Tennessee (TN) and Bradley County Tennessee (Tn).

Of Bradley County Tn.

JUNE  2007

                            The People News, a free newspaper serving Cleveland and Bradley County Tn.








by Toneeke Henderson

In traveling across the states, you meet people who stand out from the society described normalized folks that just live inside a box.

The people who are on the same page but actually own the book as well. I enjoy meeting and getting to know those who take a day of life and turn it into a chalice running over with joy, adventure and the simplicity that comes from the ease of just living.

In 1985 we started traveling around the country with the children. Our road trip, with no predetermined destination in mind, were unknown yet we considered them a discovery of life's journey, a great way to get an education that would remain a memory in the


Forward we went, a different place each trip. We began to meet people and become travel pen pals, and always seemed to meet up somewhere down the road. We loved the traveling, especially the kids.

Our children didn't fight, nor did they become consumed by televisions or music like that of today. We made bows and arrows from nature, we even once made a golf club and ball out of vines and a stick, and played campsite golf, kinda like a pool table but a little more fun.

Our children were like fish in the water so you know where ever you camped there must

Toneeke Henderson

be a river. Our most unusual I think of memory, is in Camel Lake Florida, you camp pretty near the water and the water had eyes. Crocks or gators not sure which but it was a pretty weird feeling knowing you were being watched at some point.

One of our favorite places we traveled was here to Tennessee. We must have really liked it because we moved here later. Along one of our travels we crossed over the mountains along the Nanthahala Gorge, there was a small wooden building very mountaineer like, or perhaps an old day's trading post.

We met a man who sold peanuts there. They were boiled peanuts to which I had never eaten at that time but we sure did enjoy them when we tried them.

On a recent drive going that direction, we stopped to buy some boiled peanuts, so I chatted with the Peanut Man and asked him just how long he had been selling peanuts there.

His reply was "22 years now."

I couldn't believe it, we have been buying peanuts from him all these

years and I guess I never really looked at life as having much of a timeline, but I sure do now.

So let me take this time to introduce you to our famous "Peanut Man." This dedicated man has his trading post on the North River of the Nanthahala Gorge. His Name is Tommy Yon.

I remembered he had a dog from all those years ago and of course it had passed away by now, but you see my perception of time is like a friend of mine said "an open window effect."

By that I mean that life doesn't seem to change, not really, it just moves along and still seems the same all at one time. We don't get older we get wiser, (most of us anyway).

Tommy Von had set his life in motion next to a great energy source; the river. Along this river many souls travel, laughter is shared and friends are made. Tommy has seen it all. As I am sure he has witnessed many things that others simply talk about.

I watched Tommy as he gathered the peanuts in a scoop to place in a bag to go. His hands showing wear from hard repetitive work and a daily routine. It makes you wonder just when he ever had a vacation. But in reality stop and think about it, people pay big bucks to come to these mountains and we gracefully live in them, wow what a treat.

While I was there I witnessed a friend stop by to which he had not seen in a while, he welcomed him in and had a smile that glowed. I decided it was time for me to exit as they had some catching up to do. So I gathered my peanuts and walked out the old screen door.

It was finally nice to know that the Peanut Man had a name to which we can say we have enjoyed knowing and supporting his valuable business to the river rats and other folk alike. Thanks Tommy Von for being a mountain legend that will carry on even when we are all gone.

Summing this up together with life is fairly simple.

Take time to look around, travel beyond your own boundaries, take a Sunday drive and come back on Tuesday, stay awhile. Dream the impossible, do the probable, and make no mistakes that you are on your own journey.

Life happens and then life happens, windows are made to be opened as well as closed, I leave mine open. Never be afraid to try something within reason, make a list of nine things to do and complete at least five while you are still alive.

Sing to the mountains and the trees will respond back, call on a star and give it a name yourself. Believe in the moment and remember that all nuts are not the same, as they have their own shells, and this nut will still dance naked under the moon and twice under the blue moon. Now go shine like the star you named, dance in wind, embrace the rain as it cleanses you again.

May each of you find a joy in the serendipity of life's moments.

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