Early in his career, the late, great writer and humorist Lewis Grizzard was sports editor for the Chicago Sun-Times. Grizzard rose quickly in the newspaper field — from Athens, Ga., to Atlanta and then on to bustling Chicago. But, young and successful, he didn’t particularly care for life in the big city. Securing an opportunity to return to Atlanta, he sped south and never looked back.
The celebrated columnist referred to his years spent in the North as the time he “was held prisoner of war in Chicago.” Proud of the South — and particularly his home state — he later authored a book titled “If I Ever Get Back to Georgia, I’m Gonna Nail My Feet to the Ground.”
Peach State residents don’t have a monopoly on enthusiasm about their home. We’re just as proud of Tennessee as Lewis was of Georgia. In fact, a Tennessean might argue that we have a lot more to be proud of in the Volunteer State.
Tennessee Electric Cooperative Association employees spend a lot of time traveling throughout the state in support of our electric cooperatives. Our co-ops serve members from the Mississippi River to Mountain City. That makes for a lot of “windshield time” as we drive to and through our communities. There are some roads I know as well as my own driveway. But the drive is always worth the trip — Tennessee is a beautiful state, from the cotton fields of West Tennessee to the forests of the Appalachian Mountains.
The Tennessee Magazine staff travels the state searching for fascinating places and intriguing people. From guitars to powwows, we try to balance entertaining with educational, always searching for stories that are worthy of a closer look that our co-op members will find interesting.
The magazine staff plans their editorial calendar months in advance, collecting story ideas from a variety of sources. The next step in the process is research and travel, conducting interviews and taking photographs. The resulting stories allow you to learn more about your state and never leave the comfort of your home or your computer screen. And we’re making that easier; see the next page for details about our newly enhanced online presence.
This month, we’re encouraging you to travel to some of those places in person. Our special travel section is divided into the familiar “three states of Tennessee,” listing varying destinations and activities. Depending on where you live, you can either stay close to home or go across the state to explore something new. At the end of the section and online, you’ll have the opportunity to register for several prizes
Whether you’re interested in Elvis or Elizabethton, I hope you’re able to visit a few of the places from the pages of the magazine this month. Lewis Grizzard had to live in the “coldest place on earth where polar bears don’t roam free” before he truly appreciated his home. All you have to do is jump in your car and hit the road. Enjoy the beauty of your home state and see why millions make Tennessee their vacation destination each year.