I'm a Tennessean, thank youIn recent days I have had the pleasure of hearing from an old college friend of mine, Chuck Mountel, who found my blog as a result of his shared grief over the death of our former priest and mutual friend Father Chris Rohmiller (Chuck had only recently learned of Father Chris' death). In one of the e-mails he sent me he suggested that I ought to "move back to Cincy," which translated means that Chuck believes that I need to return to Cincinnati. Reports of any return to Cincinnati by Nicole and myself are greatly exaggerated, as such a return will happen...never.
There are many things I liked about Cincinnati. All that good German food sure didn't hurt, and I enjoyed teaching children CCD at St. Catharine Church and School, and I especially enjoyed the hospitality of my brother Knights at Archbishop Purcell Council of the Knights of Columbus. I miss cheap Reds bleacher seats, and I especially miss mettwurst(which is somewhat like a bratwurst, but is seasoned with corriander and white pepper and smoked), the taste of which people in East Tennessee would come to appreciate if you could find mettwurst at the grocery store.
I did not the least bit enjoy, however, the ungodly taxes I was forced to pay on my meager income. I did not enjoy calling the city hundreds of times during a snowstorm just to get someone to clean off the curbcuts on the sidewalk up and down Montana Avenue just so I could get to work-this after I had paid the monstrous above-mentioned taxes so that situations like that could be addressed. I found no fun in daily exercises in futility that involved trying to get around town with my wife without nearly every motorist on the road behaving like an absolute idiot. I used the Metro and TANK buses each day to get around town on my own. Most of the drivers were great folks, I even struck up a friendship with one of them. Barely a day went by, however, when I would meet at least one driver on my four-bus round trip daily slog that didn't treat me as though they wished that I were not there.
I did not understand how, in a town that is so overwhelmingly Catholic, the Archbishop could allow such rampant liturgical abuse and allow so much decent from Church teaching, then wondered why he had a problem with bad priests after failing to enforce orthodoxy.
I failed to grasp why I could not afford a home in Westwood, a neighborhood I grew to love, because taxes were too high for me to afford to buy property-and then City Council wondered why they couldn't bring people back into town to settle.
On the other hand, the taxes here in Knoxville and East Tennessee are low, and Nicole and I still don't have a lot of expendable cash, and yet we're looking at buying property and starting our own business. The KAT busses here in Knoxville do not run nearly as late as I would like, and I dearly wish they would fix all the lifts on the busses, but all the drivers are sincerely friendly and want to help. While I have complained to the city about problems, not one of those problems has had to do with clearing away snow-we don't get much snow in Knoxville and when we do, everything in town shuts down anyway.
The Catholic population here is small but vocal and mighty, and most of the other churches are unafraid to work with us to accomplish common goals. Our bishop is a quiet man, but he does not have a yellow belly and he does stand up for what is right. I have known a few Catholics around here who think he is "liberal." Trust me, you don't know how good you have it.
The politics in this town, like the TVs (as Kenny Chesney would say) are black and white (in the moral sense), and everyone I have talked to here wants my involvement. I think certain ones in Cincinnati were scared of me and didn't want to deal with me. I found no such attitude like that among GOP leaders and others here.
On top of all that, though, I love East Tennessee, it is my home, and I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
The only thing I'd ask is a hall for the Knights of Columbus, and metts at the grocery store.