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The young lad jumped off the corn-filled wagon and hurried to the general store where he had spotted the undertaker’s car. “Sir,” he said to the undertaker,” please take my mule as payment for burying momma.” The undertaker said, “son, if I take your mule, how will you get your corn to market with just one mule?” “I’ll unhitch the other mule and go get the old horse and bring him back here to help pull that wagon.”
The young man was T. E. Forgety, Sr. He was just 16 when his mother died, the oldest boy of 11 children. It was the Great Depression, and there had been no money to bury his mom three months ago when she died. The undertaker buried her anyway saying the family could settle up when they were able. It was evident to “T” that this could be a very long time. The undertaker accepted the sorrel mule as payment.
This excerpt from the early years of “T” Forgety is important to this narrative because “T” is the father of John Forgerty. The Honorable Representative Dr. John Forgety. Integrity, hard work, and resourcefulness are part of the Forgety family DNA.
Grandfather Forgety always said, “The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree,” and it was very true in this case. Dr. Forgety’s father was in the military, his mother was a teacher, and, of their five children, four were teachers. “T” had retired from the military and had purchased a farm in Jefferson County, East of Knoxville, where they raised cattle, hogs, and tobacco. All five kids worked the farm before and after school, and from sun-up to sundown in the summer. It was John’s responsibility to keep the tobacco fields plowed with the help of a team of mules, Charlie and Kate. The girls tended the family garden and processed almost all of the food the family ate.
Dr. Forgety’s determination and hard work growing up served him well. He is a graduate of Carter High School in east Knox County, and nearby Maryville College with a degree in Health and Physical Education. While attending Maryville College, Dr. Forgety was an offensive guard and captain of the football team. He also received his M.A.ED.s at Tennessee Tech University, and his ED.d at Nova University.
Dr. Forgety started teaching and coaching in 1968. Says Forgety of his more than forty year career in education, culminating in four terms in the Tennessee House of Representatives, “if you can affect public policy that will help young people grow and prosper and help them in a positive way – what a legacy!” Thousands of students have benefitted from this philosophy … not only in McMinn County.
Dr. Forgety also served in the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment of the Tennessee National Guard with headquarters in Knoxville. The Company mascot is Smokey the Blue Tick Hound, and officers are referred to by Smokey plus a number. First Sergeant Forgety’s call sign was “Smokey 7,” with the Company Commander being “Smokey 6.” Dr. Forgety was deployed for Iraqi Freedom III, Operation Thunder Road. The walls of his home office are covered in commendations and medals for meritorious service, but it is the children of Iraq that he talks about.
During one of Forgety’s deployments, the 278th went on a mission to Saddam Hussein’s palace. The brutal dictator had been captured and the 500 acre compound of palaces enclosed by a large granite wall, became headquarters for U.S. troops. Dr. Forgety describes the decadence of the dictator’s palace. “The fixtures in the bathrooms were made of gold, the commodes were inlaid with 21 K gold, palace floors were marble, and rooms adorned with French chandeliers. The concubines had their own palace as did the Hussein sons, although much smaller than Saddam’s. They were living large while right outside the granite wall were dozens of children who never had enough to eat. These children didn’t have anything. It’s hard to fathom how people like that think.”
Dr. Forgety was the Superintendent of McMinn County Schools during his last deployment. He was able to collect thousands of items needed by Iraqi children from the students and teachers in his county, including 30,000 pencils, tennis shoes, magic markers, color books, books, and notebooks. He and his men then delivered the school supplies in a 5 ton truck to several schools. Says Dr.
Forgety, “it was important to us that the kids know we weren’t all bad and were trying to help them.”
When Dr. Forgety retired as School Superintendent, he set out to accomplish two items on his bucket list. First, he went to school to become a licensed auctioneer and realtor. He says, “growing up, I went to auctions all the time with my dad and really admired the talent of the auctioneers. I knew that I wanted to do that someday. Dr. Forgety uses his auctioneering skills to conduct auctions of donated items at community events. Although his service has helped raise thousands of dollars for local organizations, the price for his service is right. “All I ask in payment is a cold diet coke.”
The licensed auctioneer then successfully ran for the Tennessee State House of Representatives, and is nearing the end of his fourth term. “I have enjoyed every minute of this and have gotten to know so many wonderful people. Chairing the House Education Committee has been a blessing after 40 years in public education.” A sign on the wall in his Nashville office sums it up pretty well, “We teach our children about Life, but our children teach us what Life is all about.”
John Forgety will retire from public service in November to spend more time at the Forgety Farm, “Leather & Lace, ” with his wife and best friend of 31 years, Faye.
Thank you, Dr. Forgety, for your incredible service!
One of the best traditions in our family is that birthday celebrators get to pick what kind of cake Jenica Reedy Henson will make for them. The cakes are always created by Jenica’s vivid imagination and always wonderful. But, this year Layne Vaughn’s birthday cake, “took the cake.”
1. Bake in 3 round cake pans.
2. Cool layers.
3. Put caramel on top of first layer, then ice cream.
4. Repeat for second and third layers.
5. Drizzle caramel on top of last layer.
As far back as the 1930s, there are documented instances of locals referring to the small town of Englewood as Saginaw. While the nickname is deeply rooted in the town’s history, there appears to be no one who can give a definitive answer as to its origin. Nevertheless, the name has stuck and over the decades and has been displayed on everything from Englewood School’s gym floor to shirts and uniforms. From time to time it has even been known to be the inspiration for some local body art.This well-known moniker will now have a place in the town’s yearly festival when the Community Action Group of Englewood puts a new spin on an established local favorite. As CAGE hosts the 33rd Annual Englewood Celebrates on June 30, 2018, they will feature a unique addition to the celebration called the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival.The idea for the Sweet Corn Festival came after a conversation between CAGE members Gail Anderson and Frances Powers about “freshening up” Englewood Celebrates.“We are so proud of what Englewood Celebrates has become and how it has continued to grow,” Anderson said. “I just felt like it was a good time to do something outside of the box and really expand the event. Given Frances’ experience with Niota’s Fried Green Tomato Festival, I knew she would be the right person to consult.”Powers said she was very happy to offer suggestions and to help get the Sweet Corn Festival on its feet.“I told Gail that what I believed CAGE needed was a festival that highlighted some kind of southern cuisine,” Powers said.“It actually just came to me during our conversation that no town around us has a corn festival.”With sweet corn playing such a crucial role in southern life and Saginaw being a uniquely Englewood name that many locals connect with, the two felt like the idea was a homerun. After the initial meeting, Powers was off to the races to make the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival in to a roaring success. The festival is expecting approximately 75 food and craft vendors, numerous musicians as well as the Peaches and Cream Beauty Pageant for young ladies. All food vendors will feature a sweet corn dish at their booths.CAGE Vice President and co-coordinator of the Sweet Corn Festival Bobbie Dickson, said she is especially enthusiastic about the increased number of vendors.“Having so many new merchants who are cooking and selling various items for the Sweet Corn Festival will really give Englewood Celebrates a larger feel,” Dickson said. “I think our regular festival-goers will be pleasantly surprised at the increased number of visitors at this year’s event.”Along with the many new things taking place at the 2018 Englewood Celebrates, attendees will also experience many of the traditional favorites such as the pancake breakfast, bluegrass music, tractor show, Sockhill 5K and the evening Square Dance on Main Street.Although there are many new additions to the festival, Anderson said Englewood Celebrates will serve the same purpose as it did 33 years ago.“Englewood Celebrates started as a part of the Tennessee Homecoming 1986 initiative by Governor Alexander to bring small towns together to celebrate their culture and history,” Anderson said. “While this year’s event will have a little bit different look it will have the same goal as it has had for over three decades. The people of Englewood never let us down, and I can’t wait see how many folks come out to celebrate with us.”The origin of Englewood’s nickname will continue to be debated and discussed for many years to come. Although the story of Saginaw will likely remain a mystery, it is the hope of the Community Action Group of Englewood that people will always remember when and where the Saginaw Sweet Corn Festival began and the positive and lasting effect it had on the town.
Nearly every town has an “icon” – the one business that has been around for so long, everyone knows about it. In Sweetwater, The Lily Pad Boutique is an icon 40 years in the making, poised to make its way into the annals of history as a pillar of women’s fashion.
The Lily Pad Boutique began in 1978 when Brenda Bryan decided she wanted to start a business that would allow her the flexibility to work while her children were at school. Upon recognizing a need in the area for better ladies’ wear, she set up shop in the lobby of a hotel off of newly constructed I-75. As the years progressed, her client base grew. She moved to a strip mall on Highway 68 before later buying the current building in downtown Sweetwater.
At the heart of The Lily Pad has always been Brenda’s passion for merchandising and fashion. She truly cares about creating a unique experience for every customer. This focus on the customer is reflected in the store itself, which features large dressing rooms, a coffee bar and even a seating area for friends (or husbands) to lounge.
Offering a customer-centric experience is not the only reason The Lily Pad has enjoyed so many years of success. According to Brenda, “At The Lily Pad, we are constantly striving to become more diverse and offer services our customers want and love.” One example would be Renee, their on-staff makeup artist. She has more than 30 years in the cosmetic industry both nationally and internationally. She came to the Lily Pad five years ago to launch her own makeup line and also does closet organization and personal wardrobing. Renee is available by appointment to share her extensive knowledge and expertise.
Another service the staff at The Lily Pad loves providing is Facetiming with customers. They will actually walk you through the store, showing you whatever you’re in the market for, and then pack up your “Lily Pad Fix-in-a-Box” and ship it to you. If there’s anything you don’t like upon arrival, just return it!
The Lily Pad’s broad collections of ladies’ attire range in size from x-small through plus sizes, so there is something for every size and every age. Their goal has always been that if three generations come shopping together, everyone can leave with fashions that are age appropriate.
Don’t miss your chance to enjoy this Sweetwater icon – stop by The Lily Pad today, and see what 40 years of fashion-minded experience can do for your wardrobe!
The story of the Barn at Faith Farms is one of vision, flexibility, creativity, faith, and hard work. Above all else, it is a story of love.It began with a “love at first sight” moment for James Lowry. He was a new employee at Ag-Central when he spotted a beautiful young woman also working there. Right then and there the usually level-headed James, told a co-worker, “one day I will marry that girl.” And, a few years down the road, he did marry Marissa Shamblin. James owned 22 acres of land adjacent to his parents, Mike and Tammie Lowry, in Niota. It is a beautiful pastoral setting bordered by a creek with a huge rambling old Osage Orange Tree dominating a grassy field. There was no doubt in the couple’s minds that this is where they would live, and that it would be a unique and meaningful experience to be married in their future home. The plan was to build a shell of a barn for the wedding, and turn it into a home with a lot of rustic open space and a view of the creek.The Lowry/Shamblin wedding occurred according to plan in the shell of a barn built large enough to accommodate very large parties. It was after the wedding that the plan abruptly changed course. When the couple arrived home from a short honeymoon, they were bombarded with requests from people who had attended their wedding and would dearly love to have their special day in such a magical setting.Says James, “We believed that the Lord had put this in our path, and with hard work and faith, it would all fall into place.” The Lowrys moved to a small house in town, and finished the barn – and their home adjacent to it. James and Marissa did much of the work themselves. Growing up, James’ Papaw, Jim, and his dad, Mike, taught him how to build. “I look back and remember all the good times we had working together. In fact, Faith Farms is the name of Papaw’s farm near Kingsport.”While they worked on their construction bookings kept coming in. The Barn they built is both breathtaking and inviting with its natural wood ceilings, whitewashed barn wood walls, big framing timbers, and open floor plan. The décor is the result of Marissa’s taste and creativity. It is a cross between elegant antiques and rustic countryfurniture resulting in an atmosphere that is at once enchanting and cozy. James and Marissa personally work every event and have learned from each one. Their “hands-on” approach has given them great insight into what it takes to make each event a blessing. To this end, Faith Farms continues to grow. The first addition was a cozy and comfortable rustic home complete with kitchen, full baths, and separate dressing rooms for the bridal party and groomsmen. The “Guest Nest,” as Marissa calls it, also accommodates overnight stays on the eve and day of the wedding.A large deck in back of the barn was added to accommodate overflow of people and allow outdoor space for dancing and visiting. Currently, James and Marissa are creating a covered “courtyard area” out from the deck featuring a 105 foot long stacked stonefireplace. The couple often works well into the night after working all day to accomplish their dreams.The Lowrys plan to progress and grow through the years, “Lord willing, or however He sees fit.” On the horizon they plan to build a separate cabin for groomsmen including a pool table, TV, and kitchenette; and a gift shop built to look like a country church with a steeple. The shop will add yet another option for a wedding site in addition to the Barn, The Osage Orange Tree, and Creekside. They also plan to landscape the entire acreage with different garden focal points, pebble walkways, and a centrally located fountain.The Barn at Faith Farms has already grown beyond James and Marissa’s wildest imaginations. Says James, “If I didn’t have Marissa, I wouldn’t want all this. It’s too much without having someone to share it with.” He went on to say, “life is about progression– it’s leaving a legacy.” The couple then revealed that they are expecting their first child. It will take quite a large family to keep up with the Lowry’s “work in progress,” which may eventually need to change its name to “The Village at Faith Farms” to reflect all there is to offer.For further information on The Barn at Faith Farms, visit: thebarnatfaithfarms on Facebook.