Top Ten Things I Will Miss About Knoxville

Top Ten Things I am going to miss about Knoxville

The family and I am preparing for our move out of Knoxville to the great city of Cleveland, not Ohio, Tennessee. Knoxville has always seemed like one of those cities that is in the midst of an identity crisis. It is a city? Is it a southern town? Does it want to be like Nashville (country music started in these hills)? Does it want to be like Asheville? Or does it want to be like Chattanooga (I mean we have a river too, but look what Chattanooga has done with theirs)? Knoxville doesn’t know who it is. I have always said that if God didn’t want me here I wouldn’t mind moving, but now that the move is getting close there are a lot of things that I am going to miss about Knoxville. Here is my list of the Top Ten Things I will miss about Knoxville

10. College Football

I love college football. What makes it even better is that my wife loves college football even more then I do. No seriously. Anyone who has ever been to our house during a Fall Saturday evening can attest to that fact. I love college football and I love living in a college football town. Even though I have lived here 12 years and can count the number of UT games I have been to on one hand, there is just something about being in Knoxville on a cool Fall Saturday and listening to the game on TV that is just awesome. I also love the fact that sports radio shows talk about UT football all year round. We can even hear the fireworks at the stadium when UT scores a touchdown. Funny, we didn’t hear them that much last year.

9. Seasons

I love the fact that Knoxville has seasons. I don’t think I could ever live in Flordia or Arizona. God meant the Earth to have different seasons and Knoxville is a place you get to experience all five of them. Yes, five. Spring, Summer, Summeridity (95+ degrees and 150% humidity), Fall (the best of all seasons), and Winter.

8. Snow in Knoxville is an event

Snow in Knoxville is an event. Bread, Milk, Eggs, check. Snow in Knoxville is news. Not just a part of the weather forecast during the news, but it takes up the whole half hour of news. Special reports, reporters that go outside to tell us that it is snowing, radio stations shut down playing music to tell us endlessly about what the roads look like, we get reports from the guy whose job it is to manage salt trucks, the deadly black ice on that one patch of parking lot at the church that the teenagers keep doing dough-nuts in..Priceless

7. Local News

Number 8 is really isn’t about the snow that much, we don’t get that much anyway. It is really about number 7. The seventh thing I will miss about Knoxville is local news. Why? Because it is so bad. My friend Chad uses the term “local news” as a term for something that is lame. Like UT’s football team is so “local news” right now. He is right, but I love it for its lameness. It is so bad it is good. For example, you have all the reports that I talked about in number 8. Add to that the reporting on the mundane as if it were a news story. Like the other night, they did a story about a fire that broke out, in a building…no, in a, in a five foot space of grass, YES! Seriously, they talked about a five foot piece of grass that caught on fire. According to the reporter, can you say “intern”, they still don’t know what the cause of the blaze was, but they do think the used firework debris found in the grass might have something to do with it.

You think? Great job guys. I already miss the best part about the news…”The Heartland Series”. Sarah once worked with a boy that had Autism and he had the best line ever: “Knoxville would be Snoozeville without The Heartland Series”. Well, Knoxville you better get a shot of espresso. In all seriousness we can be thankful that the news is lame. I would much rather hear a story about the mysterious grass fire, then murders, thefts, and destruction.

6.  Knoxville is directionally challenged

Another thing I will miss about Knoxville is the way we refer to different areas of town. Check me out on this one. Get out a map right now. Areas we refer to as North Knoxville are really more East then North. West Knoxville is just as south as South Knoxville is but it isn’t called Southwest Knoxville. South Knoxville is really Southeast Knoxville. I love it.

5.  One word: Boomsday

Only in Knoxville would we spend a million dollars, close off a major street for a couple of days and blow stuff up. The same fireworks, the same music, the same fireworks waterfall, the same Jaws theme, and the same fun It never gets old. The best part about it all. If you can’t make it down there, don’t worry, local news has you covered and will be reporting on it all. If you don’t get this refer to number 7.

4.  Rocky Top

The only place in the world where a bluegrass song can get every person from every age range and every demographic dancing. It is like Knoxville’s version of “We are the World”. Gideon still wonders how people get “their corn from a jar”. Any suggestions on what to tell him?

3.  Our neighbors

Sarah and I don’t live in a “fancy” West Knoxville (really Southwest Knoxville) neighborhood. Our neighborhood isn’t part of a nice development planned out by architects, contractors, developers, or the like. It is a small neighborhood close to downtown Knoxville. Yet we have something people have forgotten about and wish they had: true neighbors. Like Mr. Stanley across the street. Mr. Stanley is 50+ years old and lives with his parents. It is not because he can’t make it own his own. It is because he has sacrificed his life to take care of his two elderly parents so they don’t have to live in a nursing home. Stanley’s dad Howard fought in WWII, came back from the war, bought their house after the war, and raised three boys in a 950 sq. ft home. By all accounts they are happy. They have no Ipod, only one car, and live within their means. They have put our trash by the road when we were out of town, let me borrow dozens of garden tools, brought us tomatoes from their garden, and have shared their lives with us. Stanley and I have talked out on their porch about the weather, football, life, weather, football, and religion. Usually in that order. Or there is Ms. Ramona. The 83 year old woman that lives across the street. She has watched the house for us. Called us when she thought there was someone suspicious in our driveway, sorry Nathan, and has joyfully entertained Gideon as he tells her about his day, even though he tends to step on her oxygen tubes.

2.  My family

Growing up I didn’t get to see my Aunts and Uncle very often. They all lived out on the West Coast. So it has been a joy to get to live in the same town as one of my brothers, his wife, and my nephews. I can’t describe how fun it is to walk into their house on a lazy Saturday and hear screams of “UNCLE TODD! YEAH UNCLE TODD IS HERE!”. Van Dyke Family Fun Nights, Saturday BBQs, and growing up with my older brother right beside me. This one is going to be hard to get use to.

1.  Our Church

I could write at length about this one, but I will be brief in saying that our church has been everything a church is called to be in the Bible. They have strengthened us, challenged us, taught us God’s Word faithfully, directed us, shepherded us, and will not be replaced this side of eternity. Though my description of this one is short, our gratitude is not!

In the end, it is the people and relationships that make a place a home. We will always have the ones we made here. They are not based upon geography, but based upon a mutual devotion to Jesus Christ. That is why we will never be away from home.

Did I miss something? Let me know your choices that should have made the list. Stay tuned for the “Top Ten Things I Won’t Miss about Knoxville” coming soon.


About Todd Van Dyke

Father, Husband, Son, and most of all lover of Christ.
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9 Responses to Top Ten Things I Will Miss About Knoxville

  1. Lisa Ellenburg says:

    Top 10 things I will miss about the VanDykes living in Knoxville: (not in any particular order though…)
    1. Seeing Gideon and Ellis every week. (this is from M, C and A)
    2. Being walked out to my car with an umbrella at the Little Gym.
    3. And that you call it “TLG.”
    4. Making Todd and Sarah laugh.
    5. Hearing Todd and Sarah laugh.
    6. Bear Gryll’s impersonations by SVD.
    7. Knowing that at any given time you may just drive by my house to see that solitary candle burning.
    8. Blueberry picking this July. (Unless Sarah wants to go before Monday).
    9. Worshipping with you all every week.
    10. My children being taught by you all in Sunday school.

    Lovings! Lisa

  2. Ashley Baker says:

    You made me laugh out loud when I read the part about the local news. I thought maybe I was the only one who felt that way. So funny! We will miss you guys.

  3. Mark Baker says:

    #8: HA! I remember this winter they sent a team up to the TN/KY boarder to film what the snow was looking like up there: but there was never any snow! They were out there all day long–poor guys… Definitely ‘coverage you can count on!’

  4. Kaki Hurley says:

    WOW! i am glad i read the “things you will miss” list first. And then this – as usual I do things backwards. I knew a lot went on in your brain, but let me just say i had NO IDEA! the van dyke family is one of the most precious treasures God has ever created! You all will be deeply missed and visited often by many! I loved the neighbor one – it actually made me want to move in. Please post that in the MLS system – if you put it on the market! And i completely agree with the “local news” comments however once you get past the “Treacherous winter storm warnings” they have been known to cover some great things! ha!

    • tvd1016 says:

      Oh yeah. I forgot about that story I heard one time about this awesome couple that decided to have their baby in a Toyota Forerunner. That was local news at its finest.


  5. Barbara H. says:

    I came over from a link at Challies to the fairy tale, and looked around a bit while I was here. This post was one that caught my eye as we just moved to the Knoxville area from TN. We already caught on to the football craze. We’re not football fans in general, but I like that the area is so supportive of their team — even though they’re not doing too well, from what I hear. We’re used to snow being a big event as it is in SC as well. I am loving fall here so far. And we love the church we have found, too. You’ve given me some other things to keep an eye out for!

    I was wondering how your blog name came about.

    Now I am off to read what you won’t miss about Knoxville.

    • Thanks for stopping by Barbara. Knoxville and East Tennessee is wonderful, especially in the Fall. The blog name is about as random a name as can be. I told my friends that I wanted to start a blog and was looking for the most random name I could find. A friend of mine suggested “A Moose at a Full Gallop” or “A Beached Whale” I thought the Moose one was the most random and the rest is history. Enjoy Knoxville.


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