By Ralphine Major

A rose from Spain.  A koala bear from Australia. Venetian glass from Venice. From Puerto Rico, a butterfly—the symbol of new life. Ornaments from Japan, Prague, China, and the list goes on. The magnificent ten-foot Christmas tree is the focal point upon entering the home of Carolyn Jensen. It is adorned with ornaments from 68 countries!

Carolyn is well known in Knoxville and beyond. I first met her in the nineties when she worked in the Bicentennial Office of Mayor Victor Ashe. She has worked in numerous executive capacities in her career, including Senior Field Representative for former Senate Majority Leader Dr. Bill Frist. In 1964, Carolyn took a group from the YWCA on a tour of Europe and visited 11 countries. Tom Jensen, her late husband, was prominent in his many roles as well. Jensen, a pilot and Executive Director for National Safe Skies Alliance, served 16 years on the Airport Authority. From 1966 to 1978, he served 12 years in the Tennessee General Assembly as State Representative for Knox County and was Minority Leader for eight years.

A tour through the Jensen home reveals fascinating treasures of their life including pictures from Knoxville, Nashville, and even the White House!  The beautiful Christmas tree is decorated with 68 exquisite ornaments, every one a special memory. Celebrating the Christmas season in the Jensen home was a special memory for our family as well. Enjoying the beauty of such an unusual tree, tasting a fresh-baked apple cake, and making friends with a little rescue dog named Reagan created special memories for us this Christmas!

May each of you be surrounded by family and friends during this holy celebration of the birth of Jesus; and may you find much peace, great joy, and immeasurable love throughout the Christmas season. Merry Christmas!