Entries by Randall Franks

The one that got away

Grandma Kitty pulled her shiny case knife from the pocket of her blue apron. She reached down far to the bottom of the cane pole and cut it. “This will make a good one,” she said, as she handed it to a three-year-old me. Then she cut one for herself. As we walked to her […]

Striving through negative anniversaries

Often in life we find ourselves looking at the calendar and it fills us with emotions of an occurrence on that date somewhere in our past. On some occasions it is a good memory or emotion. My grandmother’s birthday still sticks in my head for some reason although to the best of my memory, we […]

A little fig goes a long ways

There were several things that folks could depend on in the valley below the Gravelly Spur Mountain, one was that the cool clear water of the Frog Leg Creek trickled its way from the springs upon the mountain and flowed crystal clear throughout the valley insuring that no one went without the liquid of life; […]

A comb, mirror and a brush

As young Pearl sat quietly on the edge of the bed, the red, white and green patchwork quilt wrapped around her feet to ward off the chill of the January frost laying heavily upon fields of brown grass around the homestead below the Gravelly Spur mountain, she stared endlessly over the shoulder of her mother […]

Being brought into focus by Bill Monroe

As I stepped on the blue bus, I wondered whether I could measure up to the task ahead. I had spent much of the last decade learning to play the fiddle and violin. I listened to every record and learned hundreds of fiddle licks that helped me take these steps. I had already performed for […]

Appalachian youth finding their way to the top

When I was a child beginning my music career, the opportunity to record was a dream that could have not come true without the support of many adult mentors. Musicians including Eugene Akers, WSB Barndance stars Cotton and Jane Carrier, performers John and Debbie Farley, Roy Westray, plus numerous parents who wished to invest in […]

Place and time sometimes matter

One never knows what God has in store for each day. I was recently returning from a day of volunteering a couple of hours from home traveling up the interstate only to find myself in slowing traffic which is not out of the ordinary. What made this late night commute out of the ordinary was […]

The seeds of wisdom spit forth

This past week I gathered with kin beside the stream that flows by my late grandparent’s home in the mountains of Tennessee. The area is now a state park, in the stream one of our cousins placed a watermelon to chill its bright red innards. We shared so much fun that day, as we cleaned […]