As I walked through the garage I passed car after car, some BMWs, a Mini or two and numerous Porsches. Eventually I found myself in the main part of the building, surrounded by hydraulic lifts and a special car I never thought I’d lay eyes on in my lifetime, a Ferrari 430 Scuderia.
Knowing the 430 Scud price tag hovers around $285,000 and the limited availability of even owning the car, I had to know what Knoxvillian had the privilege of stabling a prancing horse. So, I turned to my friend who was escorting me through the building and asked him. When he whispered that he would tell me but I had to keep it a secret I actually wasn’t surprised. I had heard mysterious ownership stories many times before.
That car story took place several months ago and the reason the Ferrari owner didn’t want to reveal their identity was because they didn’t want others to judge them. They wanted to hide their “flash”.
When Knoxville Magazine recently questioned the identity of Knoxville it caused me to pause because my idea of Knoxville didn’t quite match up with theirs.
To me, Knoxville is a place where what you see is exactly what you get. Sure, it’s “the landscape, the weather, the riverfront…” and more, as T. Wayne Waters described in the magazine article, but I didn’t see a vivid call-out to the key ingredient, the people.
They’re blue collar and white collar. They’re lifetimers and they’re transients. They’re East, West, North, South and Downtown. They’re sweet and sometimes a little sour. They’re leaders and followers. They’re friends and neighbors.
Most importantly, they’re authentic. They take their “flash” and toss it to the wind, revealing a genuine character that glows all things Knoxville.
They love Knoxville and nobody can take that away from them.
If you ever find yourself wondering what Knoxville stands for, look around at the faces. You might be surprised.
As for the owner of the Ferrari, their secret is safe with me.
Great article, CP. As a transplant Knoxvillian (from Middle TN via AL-south FL-Washington DC), it didn’t take long to figure out that Knoxville’s people and the corresponding culture is unique. The geographic and features of the area have much to offer, but their is true community and citizenship here.
Great take on Knoxvillians; I certainly appreciate the variety of backgrounds and typical genuineness that our townspeople offer. However, I’ve got to say that the idea of anyone that buys said Ferrari “hiding their flash” is a little nutty. The Stig is probably the only person that could actually get by with that.
Thanks, CP, for your inclusive focus on the human beings that make Knoxville not only what it is to other places, but also who it is in its own right.
I can’t wait to visit Knoxville this Fourth of July!