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no room for hipsters

the occupation of Ashley and Levon

We have too many friends in Knoxville for me to start mentioning without getting in trouble for leaving some out.  This has been our fourth city in our near seven years together and our tenth time to move if you include the twice in one week Nashville episode to the country and back.  We’ve by far experienced the most community here in Knoxville. 

What I’ve learned that makes community work is that it has to be intentional.  People made an effort here to include, befriend, and help us get on our feet.  We weren’t asking.  New people will seldom ask. 

Because I can’t name or thank everyone, I’m going to tell you about one friend that I mean to metaphorically account for many of our friends in Knoxville.  We’ll call my friend Steve.  I first got to know Steve at a men’s retreat where he and I were two of the last survivors drinking beverages around a campfire talking about his kids my age and my parents his age.  We talked about my house projects that were puzzling me and his house projects that he’d mastered along the way.  Once I ran into Steve in the Lowe’s parking lot with a handful of supplies and he told me that not only was I about to mess up, I could do virtually anything better around the house with cabinet shims.  (Maybe more on this later.) 

At a lake house party last summer the hosts had a 6 foot Yamaha grand piano (not a baby grand, mind you) beside a wall of glass that overlooked the lake.  Steve, a child of the 70’s, and I bellowed through the every Elton John and Billy Joel song I could think of, and maybe even some Seger.  We didn’t know we had an audience even down the ridge on the dock.  

At my 27th birthday/going away party he and his wife brought me a Christmas card with a recorded greeting, as well as some leftover cake from their daughter who is ironically one day older than me.  The card will  forever stay with me.  In a lovely tenor, its Steve singing Elton John; “Levon wears his war wound like a crown.  He calls his child Jesus, because he likes the name, and he sends him…..   (from the original) We wish you a Merry Christmas! We wish you a Merry Christmas….”

In some other words of Elton, “I thank the Lord for the people I have found.”  

But in the words of Billy, “I’m in a New York State of Mind.”  

And then in the words of Elton, “I grow my own seeds, shall be sown in New York City.” 

Alas, the last word goes to Billy, “I’m movin’ out.”



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