By Ralphine Major

It was 1973, and we were young.  With our waist-length dark hair, we looked like students.  We were.  But, we were also bridging the gap between student and employee.  It was in the work place that Linda and I first met.

The Daniel & Duncan Law Firm was located in the Burwell Building by the Tennessee Theater on Gay Street in downtown Knoxville.  “Daniel” was Zane Daniel, a criminal defense attorney who had previously worked in the Knox County Attorney General’s office.  “Duncan” was John J. Duncan Jr., who had recently graduated law school.  The private law practice of the two prominent lawyers kept Linda DeMarcus and me busy handling the office duties.  There was never a dull moment—or a spare one either.  Zane continued practicing law for many years until sidelined by illness.  He passed away in 2006.  Jimmy practiced law, became a criminal court judge, and succeeded his father in Congress.

It was a special moment at the recent Grainger County Tomato Festival when I spotted Zane’s brother, Creed Daniel, who still practices law at the Daniel Law Firm in Grainger County.  We met visitors from everywhere who came by our author’s table featuring our Piddle Diddle, the Widdle Penguin books.  Some came from Gibbs, Corryton, Halls, Powell, Karns, and South Knoxville in Knox County, Tennessee.  Others came from different states including Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Florida, Illinois, California, Maryland, and Kentucky.  We even met visitors from the United States’ neighbor to the north, Canada!    I was most surprised to see my friend from 1973, Linda DeMarcus.  The long hair is gone, but her elegant beauty still shines through after 44 years!  Linda is married to James Acuff, who is a Grainger County Commissioner, Chairman of the Grainger County Republican Party, and President of the Grainger County Cattleman’s Association.  It seems ironic that Linda and I reconnected on the eve of Duncan’s announcement that he would not seek another term in Congress after thirty years of service.

The three-day festival was so much more than music, dancing, vendors, and food.  It was a wonderful time to connect with special friends—after 44 long years!