Ten million thanks to Rebecca Keefauver Alexander for taking time from the campaign trail to pen a guest blog for me. Rebecca is running for the Seventh District in Tennessee’s State House of Representatives. Regardless if you live in the Seventh District – and most of you don’t – Rebecca’s thoughts are classic and timeless. They are definitely worth the time it will take you to read them.
I first met Rebecca when we were both active members of the Junior League of Johnson City. I can’t remember which committee we served on, but Rebecca was a great addition to the Junior League. Since then, she has spoken several times at my church, and I’ve been blessed to hear her in that venue. Truly, she is multi-talented.
Let’s read what Rebecca has to say in her guest blog post, which she has entitled “What ‘Home’ Means Here…..”
That word conjures up a simple meaning for other people, but for me, it goes beyond just being a house or even a family. Here, it’s so much more—“home” means having a rich, encompassing life that is rooted in these hills like an ancient tree, offering shelter in storms, fruit for growth, and arms that reach to the heavens.
How privileged I am to have grown up in Washington County! My life as a child was an idyllic experience. Life on a dairy farm was never easy, but it was good. We always had plenty of food (and milk!), fresh air, family ties, and faith. I had a blast in 4H, raising my own pet cow to show off at countless Appalachian Fairs. I had so many lovely friends, and my sisters were the best of them.
But of course, you can’t truly appreciate your surroundings until you have some comparison. Like many young adults, I was lured away to bigger cities and enticed by the exotic appeal of travel to foreign countries. It took a jet-setting career in management with a Fortune 500 company to make me realize what I was missing. And when I met the man who would become my very best friend and husband, Howie, whose family business is firmly grounded in Jonesborough, I knew I was home for good.
I love Tennessee, and I believe Washington County is its “crown jewel.” It’s steeped in history, filled with colorful characters like Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett. It’s a patchwork quilt of family farms, going back generations to the pre-revolutionary days of King George III of England. My own ancestors, the Keefauvers, were among the first settlers in Boone’s Creek, carving out a place in the rugged wilderness to offer a better life for their family. Before there was a “United States” and “Tennessee,” people here put their lives on the line for liberty, joining the Overmountain Men and marching miles into battle to secure freedom for us today.
Our county is blessed with majestic mountains, crystalline creeks, green valleys, lush waterfalls, and crisp air. Our people work hard, love bluegrass music, cheer loudly for sports events, and offer up some of the best home cooking anywhere.
Our landscape is dotted with beautiful, sacred churches where we worship the God who created us and who continues to guide our lives. We have excellent schools with outstanding educators—as a former schoolteacher here myself, I so appreciate our teachers’ efforts to enrich the lives of our children and launch them into a promising adulthood.
I hope to continue giving back to this amazing community through public service. We need economic growth but without urban sprawl that encroaches on our beautiful farmland. We need better access to up-to-date technology. We have the responsibility to support our educators with adequate resources and compensation. Our small businesses need to be relieved from the burden of government regulations and oversight.
Yes, we have much here to treasure in Washington County—like a precious garden to be protected and nurtured for growth. I hope you will join me in keeping it a wholesome, productive, and vital part of our state’s heritage and future.
Copyright July 18, 2020 by Rebecca Keefauver Alexander and Rebecca Henderson.
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