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Mine Creek Revelations: Number, Please

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YES, I AM STILL HERE peeking out of the newspaper’s window on Main Street and I am reminded of fun days of times gone by from a note sent by pharmacist Karon Baxey.

He’s been looking through some 1953, ‘54 and ‘55 phone books and shares this historical information because “It might be of interest to current and former Nashville residents.”

These are some business numbers — bigtime businesses that no longer exist.

The operator would say “Number please,” and you’d respond:

“1” for City Meat Market (located somewhere near where Chamber of Commerce building is now.)

“2” for Dr. J. Owen Bryant optometrist.

“3” Hill’s Jewelry.

“4” Hayne’s Irrigation.

“5” Norwood McRae Gro. & Mkt.

“6” Barton & Castleberry Cash Gro.

“7” Schirmer Tire & Parts (this was a nice name for Mr. Earl Schirmer’s junk yard).

“8” Southern Ice Co.

“9” King Truck & Tractor (Dr. Joe King’s father sold International trucks and tractors).

“10” Quality Shoe Store

Karon writes further that his parents, Dale and Mildred, did not get a phone until late in 1957 when he was 10. The Baxleys could be reached by telling the operator “520-J-3. The 3 signifies, I believe, that there were three on that ‘party line.’ Most phones were on party lines — numbers shared by several homes. There were no secrets in the town when there were party lines.

If you wanted to call the ‘Nashville News’ to complain that you didn’t get your paper, you’d tell the operator “26.”

My parents’ home phone at first was 626, then “531-J.” Everyone’s prefix was sometime later changed to “Tilden” plus the number.

I’m sure it drove them crazy, but kids who didn’t have a wristwatch could call the operator and ask “What time is it?” And you’d get a cheery, polite and accurate reply.

Progress comes slowly. We lost those cheerful, efficient operators.

Nashville was among the last to get rotary dial phones which meant we were among the last to get phones with numerical keypads, later.

At the old ‘Nashville News’ on South Main the only phone was in an actual wooden telephone booth because of the noise of the various presses and machines involved in printing.

It took only one time for me to learn a lesson. I went into the phone booth and called my fifth-grade girlfriend for a real important chat lasting about 30 minutes until my father — needing the phone — looked into the phone booth and found me squatting below the door window. Sharing sweetness with Sandra.

Thanks, Karon. Now I won’t be able to sleep until I can remember for sure where Hill’s Jewelry was located.

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SHOP WITH A COP. It’s become a Christmas tradition here. Nashville police officers go without shaving in November and ask for sponsors. The money collected is used to buy Christmas gifts for kids. Lt. Clinton Tedford got the most donations.

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A CHRISTMAS SEASON miracle. We’ve gone more than five weeks and there have been no official police reports of anyone running into or over the downtown Christmas Tree.

Blink, and you’ve missed it. Welllllllll ….. maybe not.

Public Works Director Larry Dunaway told the city council, last Monday, that the tree would come down “the day after Christmas.”

I figger he really meant Monday, Dec. 27, as a takedown date. But wait, on the 29th the tree was still up, and that morning someone passed just a little too close and the impact bent some of the tree’s frame and scattered a few of those priceless ornaments. However, the doggone tree is still there, held in place by sandbags.

Having the tree in the middle of Main Street would be so so so so much much safer if there was a responsible armed, uniformed and officially sworn adult J-Turn Enforcement Officer on patrol. Do yoou know of anyone who would take the job?

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PLEASE GET the Covid-19 vaccine. Do your part to stop the spread of the virus. You can be a good example for others. Or bad.

Former President Donald Trump announced to a rally crowd that he had taken both the vaccine and a booster. Here’s your chance to be JUST like a president.

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THINGS I LEARNED from opening email.  According to the Redneck Book of Table Manners: “If drinking directly from a wine bottle, always hold it with your fingers covering the label.”

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WORD GAMES. The twins: Sweet and Low. Sometimes called Sweet ‘n Low. They’re either a gospel song or a sugar substitute.

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HE SAID: “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.” American statesman Benjamin Franklin

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SHE SAID: “My New Year’s Resolution List usually starts with the desire to lose between ten and three thousand pounds.” Nia Vardalos, Canadian screenwriter

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SWEET DREAMS, Baby

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