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July 28, 2014

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100 Knoxville Blessings

So today is the big day, that’s right I’m 30. This is a big day for me as it is the deadline of several life goals. A little history, I grew up in Knoxville, went to Ole Miss, and moved to Denver, CO for 3 years, before coming back to my hometown to start my business with my father. I stumbled upon a few Knoxville blessings in my 30 years, below are 100 blessings of a 30 year old Knoxville Native, in no order. I could list more, but tried to keep it fun, not too sappy, and true to what we discuss on Knoxify.

  1. God’s breath blowing on me as I stand alone atop Mt. Leconte and yes I have seen everything from there…one of the few not socked in days of the year.
  2. My wife, every ounce of her. We were High School sweethearts, man she has put up with me for a long time..love you honey!
  3. The birth of my daughter at Parkwest
  4. My parent’s hard work to raise me in Knoxville, teach me how to set goals, and support me at every turn. True parenting, that’s a real blessing, thank you.
  5. Realizing I am “actually” Jeans Clarke’s brother and being so proud of that
  6. Tailgating with my aunt, uncles and cousins, so many places, so much fun
  7. My wife’s extended family, man is it extended.
  8. Fort Sanders, I still own that b-ball court, just part of the knee brace crew
  9. Coach Mike Edwards and some lifelong friends
  10. Running cross country races at Lakeshore, the same track that is now paved, but it always smelled bad.
  11. Turkey Creek, where we used to take my jeep 4-wheeling. Now its “Turkey Creek”
  12. Fly-fishing the Clinch, the tight, cold Smoky Mountain streams, Hiwassee River, the Holston river, and of course that secret pond with the best fishing in Knoxville, you know I can’t tell all of Knoxville where the honey hole is..Coughlin and Burger
  13. Mountain biking Haw Ridge, Concord park, and yes Icy King
  14. Road biking all the way out to Calhoun’s on the River in Lenoir (Lenwa, its FRENCH, just wear a helmet and watch out for flying screwdrivers).
  15. Calibur Car Wash, what a blessing
  16. Trips to Pilot AND Weigels
  17. Red Food, then Bi-Lo, now Food City, but we all know Fresh Market and Butler Bailey is where its at
  18. Trying to sneak into the Tap Room when I was 16
  19. Aubrey’s, then Sunspot, then Barleys, then Bistro By the Tracks (Where I took my wife to prom, moved and was bought by Randy. Anything he does turns to gold in my book…and bonus is he gives back to community
  20. I was the first and last high school student hired by Prestige Cleaners, Eddie Mannis is still my boy though!
  21. I learned to wakeboard on a skurfer behind an aluminum bass boat called the Bass Attacker at 6 AM in the morning before summer work at American Boat Center and the Wakeshop Glass baby!
  22. Throwing Frisbee to my dog at Anchor Park
  23. I remember how dead downtown used to be, no one went downtown. But now community exists, it took 30 years, but wow, great job downtown!
  24. Concerts, my show was Widespread Panic, but I have seen tons of concerts – the strip during my college years, later blue cats, barleys, AC Entertainment has brought Sexy back, there is always a good show – Garth Brooks in Thompson Boiling that’s a funny memory, what’s his name now..?
  25. The UCLA game when the temp was 110 degrees, I think Smokey passed away that day…I think
  26. Watching UT run through the T, even living in Oxford, MS and in Denver I still got chills when the Orange took the field. No more explanation, one of the biggest thrills
  27. Shooting Hoops with Alan Houston
  28. Best football lines – Give him 6 and Peyton’s Staying!
  29. Catching the last out in the farm league all star game at Farragut Baseball fields
  30. Watching Bruce Pearl, maybe he will rap this year
  31. All the friends and all the parties, too many too mention and too many we forgot especially Rob’s Christmas party
  32. Matt Damon and Ben Affleck came to Farragut to study student high school life before launching one of my favorite movies “Goodwill Hunting”
  33. The Knoxville K-Jays, that’s history
  34. Buying Duck Heads at Goody’s, can’t believe I admitted that
  35. Bothering Scalpers, I almost died once
  36. The house they tore down and built a parking lot on off the strip…Jones, Rob, Bailey, O’connor, that house got what was coming
  37. Cades Cove is great, but pointing at wildlife for 5 minutes and watching the tourist behind you from Ohio get out of their car and stop traffic for another 20 minutes that’s priceless. Next time Bear suit.
  38. Outlet shopping in Pigeon Forge and people watching, did you know sweat pants seem to be a requirement for shopping in Pigeon Forge?
  39. Teen Wolf car surfing with Paylor, Hicks, and Schimmel’s
  40. Kingston Pike, Northshore Drive, Pellissippi….that’ll never happen, but it did
  41. Big Eds – I eat a large special by myself, seriously
  42. Running Concord Hills, Fox Den, The Boulevard, Forest Brook, Greenways, Northshore…now that’s dangerous
  43. Not Dollywood, but Magic World
  44. Teaching Eric Bell to run cross country, he will find that funny
  45. Young Life, Andrew Huck lives hard!
  46. Picking my boxer, Cooper up in Lenoir City one Christmas with my wife
  47. The Worlds Fair, yeah I remember it
  48. Ok, the Sunsphere, the Knoxville staple, right
  49. Sam and Andy’s Vol Burger and Fries
  50. The Bearden/Farragut Basketball game bench/stand clearing brawl!
  51. Charter Petition, I voted “YES” on 3 and 4, you should too!
  52. Watching county government work till 1 AM in the morning several times
  53. The beauty of the reconstructed Tennessee Theatre, I have been going there since Kirk Trevor
  54. The Bijou, acoustics
  55. Dogwood Arts Festival, this year will be the best one in 10 years. This is a month long festival, and with Lisa Duncan leading the way, I bet it makes a huge comeback. Don’t miss it!
  56. A few Knoxvillian over-achievers who have been a big part of my life Jeannie Dulaney, Laurens Tullock, John Worden, Laura Heinz, Alan Lowe and Brad Maynard
  57. Being a part of a men’s movement in Knoxville sweeping the country “The Fight for Manhood”
  58. The employees at John Bailey Company and working for a family business
  59. The American Museum of Science and Energy
  60. The Museum of Appalachia
  61. The Church of Ascension
  62. Teachers…Mrs. Black, Ms. Ward, Mrs. Jones, Mrs. Curry, Mrs. Driver, and of course Stansberry!
  63. Watching Broadway and Central/Old North and Fourth and Gill blow up
  64. Alpine Bagel Company, not here anymore but that was a bagel shop!
  65. Mr. Gattis buffet
  66. Video Movies to go, best ever, no longer there, that’s old
  67. Opportunity to speak and help the Chamber of Commerce
  68. Launching a non-profit (YPK – Young Professionals of Knoxville) with a great group of young people – We did it! One of the hardest things I have ever done…ever launched a non-profit, few people believe in you.
  69. Coffee on the porch – Knoxville fall 55 degree morning
  70. Real firewood popping on a snowy Knoxville night, what happened to those?
  71. Sledding, the flexible flyer sledding…think it was the years of 1982, 83, 84, 85, 86…haven’t seen a street that covered in ice/snow around here in a long time.
  72. Tubing, the sinks, jumping off the cliffs on Fort Loudon Lake the flats, Boomsday by river, the little river
  73. Mullets at Boomsday! Best in the country!
  74. Frat parties at the Sigma Chi and Pike house, do they still have those..?
  75. My first pair of Jordans from Athletic House, no longer there.
  76. Watching Michael Jordan and the elite 8 in Thompson Boling
  77. Running 2 Knoxville Half Marathon, The Turkey Trots, The Jingle Bell Runs
  78. The old News Sentinel building downtown, that seems old.
  79. Harolds Deli – Reuben, gone.
  80. The Piers…what happens at the Piers…
  81. Bonner’s Parties, wow seriously that really happened. Crazyness!
  82. Frisbee Golf
  83. Carl Cowan high dive, now there’s not even a pool
  84. Toddys in college
  85. Roosters, OCI, Doghouse – no longer
  86. Keep it real!
  87. Nama, Greg White experience brought sushi to Knoxville
  88. Hearing people order FIL-LET MIG..NON, CHIMICHAAAANGA
  89. Moonshine, white lighting no hangover!!!
  90. Listening to Rocky Top at every wedding or concert I have ever been too in ktown!
  91. I have made many friendships with several young people who are no longer with us, I miss them. Charlie and Keith, love you guys!
  92. Swimming 3 miles in Fort Sanders pool, flip turns and no breaks
  93. Sports Unlimited…hah that’s old school
  94. The dollar movie, when it was a bargain, not cheap
  95. The Joe, been kicked out of that place more times than I can count.
  96. Chet Ringgold, The Ktown Daddy show on cable and prank calling them
  97. West Town Mall – Gap, Abercrombie and Fitch is coming to town?
  98. Tennessee Twang, down yonder, ya’ll, you’ens
  99. Fat Tire coming to town, Pumpkin Spice Beer at Sunspot
  100. Casey Peters, a random stranger who is now a close friend. We launched YPK and then the second project Knoxify on Dec 29, 2007. What’s our next project, maybe next year we can release a new site, take global, not hyper-local, no blog this time, maybe we will bring some friends along, maybe…just maybe its coming soon! More info, coming later.

Creative Commons License Photography by duncan

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  • http://Word JoeFiz

    Word, no JBC love?

  • thewife

    I think the is one place you have to give a shout out to…Time out Deli!

  • bcknoxify

    @thewife: yeah thought about that, but some things we keep on the downlow, real low

  • bcknoxify

    @JoeFiz: Joe Fiz, you know your number 58 http://www.johnbaileyco.com/blog

  • Erik Petersen

    Nice list my friend!

  • http://www.jigsha.com Jigsha

    Nice post, Brandon.

    And more importantly, Happy Birthday!

  • bcknoxify

    Jigsha thanks I had fun with this. And Erik you have been there for most of this…glad you stopped by to be a part of this, as I know you KNOW whats up!

  • Earl

    WOW what a list and a lot things I wish not to forget and some I wish I had. Great memories. Happy 30th

  • bcknoxify

    @Earl: Earl there is one thing I did forget…the brew crew! How could I forget that!

  • http://www.jaopro.com JAO

    Happy Birthday Brandon!

  • bcknoxify

    @JAO: Thanks buddy, appreciate it!

  • http://allaroundktown.com Suzy

    Happy belated birthday! 30 is just when things start getting really good, too.

  • bcknoxify

    @Suzy: I believe that!

  • Jeremy Cook

    Nice List! Happy belated birthday!

  • bcknoxify

    @Jeremy Cook: Thanks Cook, we need some Hellifino!!!

  • http://www.ctocphotography.com Nicholas

    I am making it a point to visit Knoxville at some point, I am also turning 30 in January. I would love to visit so I just need to learn where to go and places to visit and it would help to find a place to ride and photograph.

  • http://lkcd Lisa Duncan

    Brandon, Sounds like you had fun the first 30. Wishing you love and laughter forever. LD

  • bcknoxify

    Lisa, looking forward to Dogwood Arts Festival this year! Thank you for bringing Dogwood back, Knoxville is ready!

  • bcknoxify

    @Nicholas: Just read Knoxify.com and you will find all the answers… Thanks for stopping in!

  • http://www.candacegarner.com Candy Garner

    I got here a little late, but this is great! I’m definitely adding this site to my favorites!

  • bcknoxify

    Candy, glad to hear you enjoy our site! We promise to keep the post coming!

  • Michelle

    Wow…what a great list! Although technically an Oak Ridger, I lived in Knoxville long enough to consider it home. And while I’m currently in the Mid-West, I can’t wait to move back home. Glad I stumbled on the site, I’ll defintely be adding it to my reader.

  • bcknoxify

    @Michelle: Thanks Michelle, we hope you will come back.

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About the Author

Brandon Clarke – I am Vice President of John Bailey Company (Insurance Agency) and
Co-Founder/President of YPK. I believe in people, projects, and passion.
Knoxville native, Ole Miss grad, 3 year – Denver resident, till coming full
circle back to God’s Country – Knoxville, TN…oh yeah I love my wife
(Lauren) and baby girl (Emerson) too!

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