I am always asked about where I live. Generally, I reply, “I live in a county with one stoplight up near the Cumberland Gap.” Most folks have no idea what the Cumberland Gap is let alone what the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) stands for. They have no idea about the Rural Electrification Act and more on point, while many folks take XBox for granted, many of us up here rely upon coiled, copper tubing and sugar to produce a product that actually created the opportunity for NASCAR to exist. With that said, the reality is that in addition to growing incredible tobacco; on top of making some of the most potent and pure Shine this side of Heaven, the reality is that we are world renown for our tomatoes. What, you might say? Yup, while many folks out there find me to be a simple rebel rouser, the truth is that we know more than one way to skin a cat.
Tamar Alexia Fleishman, Esq., has a great article which premiered back in August, 2014 in the Examiner, that gives a great lo down on why the Mortgage Field Services Industry both loves and hates me, vis-a-vis, tomatoes.
Even in Baltimore — where we can get tomatoes from Maryland’s Eastern Shore — Grainger County, Tennessee tomatoes are highly prized: you can buy John Mixon’s Rutledge tomatoes at Fresh Market in Baltimore County (I do!). At Virginia farmers markets you’ll see Grainger County, Tennessee tomatoes displayed like fine jewelry. You can read about the virtues of Tennessee tomatoes in vintage Southern cookbooks. So, I was very excited to go to the Grainger County Tomato Festival!
I have been to Grainger County several times, include another visit to the fest. RoCK is a direct descendant of the first White settler of Tennessee and settler of Bean Station, Tennessee, William Bean. Bean Station was the original town of the county. Several of the Beans — though Revolutionary War vets, pioneers and friends/in-laws to Daniel Boone — were known to be rowdy, womanizers, saloon-keepers and even breathtakingly violent. One was arrested by Andrew Jackson when he was Circuit Judge!
I don’t share or talk a lot about where I live or precisely what we do up in here. Predominately, we are some extremely back woods folk. There are some fairly prominent folks whom will tell you there are sections of our Area of Operations we cover that Contractors have been shot in. Fortunately, we are locals and a beard and a bottle of true Shine goes a long ways. In fact, an unnamed Florida Firm had come up for vacation and had no sooner entered the County and we called him. Asking how we knew where he was, I laughed and said, “Word gets around rapidly.” When he finally made it here, he realized the truth in that statement.
As opposed to the technocratic society which blows by us at a rapid rate; a rate which we rarely notice when out on the porch of the #ForeclosurepediaGHQ sipping on a Mason Jar of Clear, the reality is that I rarely, if ever, miss the concrete jungles and melange of suit and tie bullshit compacted into BMWs roaring feverishly down asphalt ribbons. In fact, I am out of place there. I enjoy the whispering breeze of the wind rolling in through the pines as the sun rises over the sheets of fog along the Smokey Mountains. The reason is that up here, if there is a problem, one simply handles it through conversation and a Mason Jar. Out there, the reality is that people have no time to spend on conversation as they are slaves to the rat race.
I had a couple of Jewish gentlemen out here three years or so ago, from New York. That story in a minute. Many believe that I am a racist or an Anti Semite. The reality is that I have referred more people over to the NAACP with respect to racism in this Industry than anyone else in the combined history of the Mortgage Field Services Industry. I probably understand Torah and Talmud; interpret Chalaka better than most of those out in the Mitzvah Tanks, and have forgotten more about Judaism as a religion than most secular Ashkenazi will ever learn.
What I despise the most is poverty pimp racism — the flavor that Al Sharpton and his crew perpetrate. Make no mistake, though, when necessary, I refer my Clients straight away to Al and Jesse. Why? It works. True irony, there. Simply ask around in Atlanta about some of my crusades. With respect to Judaism; with respect to the digs I take at Robert Klein and Amir Jaffa, these guys — and those around them — appear to utilize Judaism as a convenient crutch. Oh, they probably are all kashrut about shit, but I would guess that Purim is probably their favorite holiday. In actuality, I am an agnostic — a person who believes that nothing is known or can be known of the existence or nature of God or of anything beyond material phenomena; a person who claims neither faith nor disbelief in God.
Anyway, so we pick the gentlemen up at the airport with me dipping Grizzly Wintergreen Longcut, Country Music blaring, and in a 4 door, white Dodge Ram 1500. Knoxville rapidly whisked by and we began our climb into the narrow, switch back roads towards the #ForeclosurepediaGHQ. When we arrived, I had taken the time to ensure that there were Kosher snacks all the way down to the water. We all pulled up chairs in the gravel driveway as the redneck boys across the street at the garage stared, mouths dropping. My newly arrived friends with their black yarmulke kicked somewhat to the side and I in bib overalls must have looked like a parody of Deliverance — that’s a Burt Reynolds cult classic film which you should research to understand where I live.
What is important to the story is this: People, from two entirely different walks of life, were able to sit down without the aid of high tech terminals nor the pitter patter of feet in and out of cubicles, to establish a meaningful relationship. While I will not mention their names, if you ask around they will tell you two things: First, I was far more familiar with Judaism than even most Ultra Orthodox Congregants; and second, even to this day I keep the details of our conversations secret.
You see, that is the key. At the end of the day, publicly excoriating those whom you have had relationships with is the epitome of insanity. You see it all the time in this Industry. Hell, I just went through it and while on a defensive footing, I remained silent about information which would have proven catastrophic for multiple parties. Even now, as I type, the hits continue coming publicly and yet I stand by 3 Principles which guide what I do: To Know, To Dare and To Keep Silent — a Druidic Triad.
Those of us whom reside rurally have a different set of values; our values are very black and white. Most of us have served in the US Military and many of us have paid the ultimate price. We have a very low threshold for bullshit and an even lower benchmark to hold fast talking, college degree toting assholes to. The reality is that most of us do not care. East Tennessee is one of the MOST DIFFICULT areas to cover for any Portfolio. The reason is that most of us here measure time by the Mason Jar as opposed to whom posted what how many hours ago.