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Storytelling takes center stage at senior center

Submitted By
Meg Dickens

Johnson County is rich in local lore and history. The Johnson County Senior Center makes a point to pay tribute to the past. These memories inform the future and are a foundation for both the area and those that frequent it. As a part of this, the center has been putting a strong focus on storytelling. Since October, the organization has attended two events and has several more coming. Two couples have opened up their homes to share personal and area history.
On October 19, seniors headed over to members Bob and Minnie Miller’s home to hear their stories of Forge Creek and Cold Springs. As Minnie explained, they focused on local history with a splash of folklore, which included two ghost stories. Both Millers have lived in the area for almost their entire lives and are well aware of its history. For example, the local third district was reportedly referred to as the “Bloody Third” because of incidents in the Civil War where Confederate soldiers tried to force Union soldiers into changing sides, which occasionally became bloody upon refusal.
On November 4, members traveled to the Donnely House, owned by local
legends Kody and Mary
Rachel Norris. For those who do not know, the
couple is part of the bluegrass band The Kody Norris Show and graced the cover of
Bluegrass Magazine this October. The couple explained the history of their micro-manor, which they officially moved into in November 2019.
“We want to make history in this place,” Mary Rachel explained while sharing history on her home, which included two prior deaths. “Hopefully not that we died in this place.”
The beautiful home has been used as an Air B&B and now a wedding venue. It is currently decked out in Christmas decorations, and one living room is open each Sunday in December from 2 pm to 4 pm for those who would like their photo taken. Anyone who would like to set up a professional shoot can speak to Mary Rachel at (423)439-0792 for more information.
Both couples focused on their love and connection to Johnson County. They stayed true to the adage there’s no place like home. Despite traveling and job requirements in the past, both couples were always happy to make it home.
“Nothing can equal coming back home to the mountains,” Minnie noted. “Bob said “Ill drive the rest of my life before I leave Johnson County.”
“In my business, we get a lot of publicity,” Kody shared. “I like coming home to Mountain City and getting to be just Kody.”
For those interested in local history and lore, two more storytelling events are coming up. The Loveable Ladies Tea on December 1 will feature Evelyn Cooke’s story on the Christmas she learned to give. The center will also host its annual
open-mic Thanksgiving
storytelling event on
November 23 and a storytelling class for anyone in February 2022. For more information about the Johnson County Senior Center and its events, visit or call (423) 727-8883.