Tommy Pewitt

Every Sunday after church in the fall to late winter there was a staple dish I looked forward too. It was ” Sweet Tater Punkin’ “.

Aunt Madea giving the best advice


Loretta Lynn: Coal Miner’s Daughter To Queen Of Country Music

Nostalgia and Now

A young Loretta Lynn early in her career

Loretta Lynn was born Loretta Webb on April 14, 1932 in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky. Loretta was named after actress Loretta Young.  She was born to coal miner Melvin Webb and his wife Clara Ramey.

She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn at the age of 15 in 1948. They moved to the state of Washington and she began, to sing while living in Washington.  Her sister Crystal Gayle also became a well-known country artist. She was also related on her mother’s side of the family to Patty Loveless.

  • Betty Sue Lynn, birth date: November 26, 1948 died July 29, 2013 (age 64)[5]
  • Jack Benny Lynn, (1949-12-07)December 7, 1949 died July 22, 1984 (age 34)
  • Ernest Ray Lynn, April 12, 1951-
  • Clara Marie Lynn (Cissie), April 7, 1952-
  • Peggy Jean and Patsy Eileen Lynn (twins; latter named for Patsy Cline), August 6, 1964

Lynn became a…

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My introduction to the Basset Hound breed was pet sitting for a friend of mine. She had 4 dogs all total. I agreed to babysit the four legged kids while their ‘Mama’ went on a vacation. The way it would end is not something I saw coming.

Heidi was a Black and Tan dachshund and a pig at heart.  Honey was a mixed terrier little sweet soul. Chi-Chi was a chihuahua. Then there was Spike the Basset. This is where my heart really started to melt. I’ve been a dog lover all of my life. I can honestly say this was the sweetest dog I have ever met. He was about seven years old and, I soon realized, pretty much a clown on four legs. Over the next 5 or 6 days I was so impressed with this breed of dog by the time my friend got back from vacation I told her, “I’m having one of those dogs!” I researched as much as I could about this loyal, stubborn, full of emotion ‘but the eyes don’t show it’ breed.


The year was 2007. The ad in The Tennessean read ….”Basset Hound puppies for sale” with a Camden, Tennessee phone number. I Googled the phone number and it belonged to some people I had known all of my life. I had not seen or heard from them in years and didn’t know they bred Basset Hounds.  The familiar voice on the other end of the phone asked about my Daddy and Mama. She told me she would send me pictures of the puppies that she would have for adoption.

Dottie at 8 weeks old june 25, 2007

Dottie West was born on Thursday, April 26, 2007. Her daddy’s name was Cunning Cletus

Kay’s Cunning Cletus
Kay’s Cunning Cletus

and her mamas name was Leaping Lena.

Leaping Leana

I picked Dottie
out from the pictures that the breeder had sent me. For some reason I picked her out immediately. I just knew from that picture she was the one. Dottie was 3 or 4 weeks old whenever  I first got to go see her. She was perfect!  She was a tri-colored female and her back was black except for a white patch in a diamond shape. She came from West Tennessee, had a spot on her back, and that’s where her name came from…….”Dottie West”.  A lot of people thought I named her Dottie West on purpose, knowing how much I love music but that wasn’t true. I was thankful the name came together like it did. I don’t know, but I believe Dottie West herself would’ve been proud of “Dottie West”.

Dottie West


At 8:00 on Friday morning, June 08, 2007,  I went to pick up my best friend.  I drove from Camden to Dickson with her on my shoulder.  I had to work that day but I was off the weekend I could not get finished with work fast enough. Anyone that’s ever bonded with a dog will understand when I say we immediately bonded.  At the time on the IAMS dog food website, you could search for what your dogs name meant. “Dottie” meant, “a gift from God”, and that she absolutely was!



Dottie taught me a deeper meaning of patience than I had ever known.  A ‘test of the wills’. Bassets are thought to be lazy and not so smart. Not so. They’re just very stubborn and live on ‘Basset Standard Time’ which means “whenever the hell they get ready”. 

She was a blessing from the word go. Like any ‘parent’ I thought she was the smartest and cutest thing there was. Bassets have an expression on their face that only a Basset owner could ever relate to. They have a look most of the time like they could care less if the sun ever shines when actually they don’t miss a trick. She had the eye rolling down to a science!

The Basset Shuffle

There’s an art and an act that goes into giving one of these ‘Clown on four legs’ a bath. Try keeping a sixty pound dog in the tub stopping every chance they get from sliding out and calling an end to the to torture of soap and water!

After the spit and shine the Basset Shuffle is ON! Running wide open through the house at 100 miles an hour knocking over God knows what, and ears flying in the air with each lap. I laughed everytime the bath was over. 

One thing she loved was getting her teeth brushed with chicken flavored toothpaste! You wanna see something funny try that sometime! It’ll only take about thirty minutes and you’ll be worn out. 

It’s In The Books……
“Bassets are notoriously hard to housebreak”…… was in every book, website and discussion board that I read. I cannot stress to you enough, whoever made that statement knew exactly what they were talking about! 

Dog Years are not fair…….

On Sunday, June 2, 2013 around 4:30 pm, I was out in the yard with Dottie. We walked around a little longer than usual but I never gave any thought to it since the one thing I can tell you is Bassets do teach you one thing……patience!  As we were coming back to the steps to go inside I noticed she was having trouble going up. As I leaned down to say ‘uppy’, a cue for going inside, her back legs had given out. By the time I carried her inside she quickly got worse. In my gut I knew this was not good but I was sure not prepared for what lay ahead.

When Dottie was about 2-3 months old, I woke up one night and couldn’t find her anywhere in the bed with me. I jumped up out of bed and there at the foot of the bed, on the floor, was Dottie spread eagle on her belly. I was sure she was dead. She seemed fine and unharmed and I never gave it another thought. (This would prove to be a detriment to her I’m sure.).

I rushed her to the vet scared to death.  The vet that met me at the office said in the span of 30-45 seconds that what had happened was her spine had been affected either by genetics or at some point probably from an old injury. Right then my gut sank I knew this was not good but something wasn’t right, the vet never offered to do an X-ray, and I was in no state of mind to think to ask for one. Then she told me this happened with long bodied dogs like Bassets and came on very suddenly just as this and my best bet was to put Dottie to sleep. To say that I refused was an understatement.

This ‘Vet’ had no bedside manner and not a drop of compassion. I immediately took Dottie to another vet for a second opinion. The second vet actually did x-rays that showed bone growth on Dottie’s spine where extra bone spurs were growing on her vertebrae and pushing up into her spinal column which is why she was paralyzed.

The second vet gave me hope and a plan for treatment that she hoped would work. Dr Lindsey prescribed steroids to reverse the pressure on her spinal cord. I gave Dottie her medicine as I was told, around the clock. I absolutely refused for her to be in any pain at all. My cousin would come down during the day and give Dottie her medicine and sit with her. That meant the world to me. By the end of July she had not improved at all. I don’t believe Dottie was ever in pain but bless her heart she didn’t understand why she couldn’t stand up. I could also see signs that told me she was not going to have any quality of life.

Dottie had been right there for me and her loyalty never wavered, nor mine. I would’ve taken a bullet for her with no thought at all. Now the day had come for me to love her enough to let her go. I’d always said that if she ever got to where there was no quality of life, then I owed it to her to give her the peace that she deserved. I just never expected to have to face that decision in just six years. I still stand by that today because I sincerely believe, if the tables were turned she would’ve done it for me.

On Saturday, July 27, 2013 I went to find Dottie a grave. I knew I had to give her PEACE. My cousin helped me pick out and dig a gravesite for my best friend. The place was perfect and one of the most serene places I’ve ever been. There are those places, smells, people, etcetera when you find them you don’t have to be told you’re witnessing peace, resolve and ease. I call those places and things “God moments”. Perfect stillness………..

The view above Dottie’s grave

On Monday morning July 29, 2013, I gave my best friend and soulmate the eternal peace she would have given me. Six years, three months and three days is nowhere near the age I thought she would have lived to be.

There will never be another one like her and I don’t intend to try to look for one. She was God sent I know without a doubt.

It is my belief that if we as human beings could ever learn to love as purely as a dog loves us, there wouldn’t be any hate left in this world.

“….Are you still with me?” 

I went directly from high school graduation straight to jail!  At the time I started dispatching, I was two months into being 18 years old and ‘green as a gourd’ in the sense of worldly knowledge. That soon changed! With that job, I would soon have an extended family of coworkers that treated me as family and I believe looked out for my ignorant butt on the way to becoming an adult. I didn’t realize how sheltered I really was. 

The responsibility and seriousness of the job laid the foundation for my train of thought to this day. Life101 was taught everyday in abundance.  

Thinking  quick on your feet was a necessity, thank God I was able to do it.  As of this writing, dispatching was and is my favorite job that I’ve ever had. It was also the hardest, but in a good way. There is something in that line of work and the people you work with that never leaves you. It is a ‘take care of your own’ line of work. 

I went about learning dispatching the way I do everything, “by the seat of my pants”. To really appreciate what I want to share, let me describe the ‘Office’ to you.

It was the summer of 1986, before Caller ID and any type of computer system on site. Although I did learn to use a walkie as if I’d always used one. Most of the time we were like a restaurant, we had our usuals. On the white board to the left of the doorway was a list of the current occupants. To the right hung the keys to ‘lockdown’.

“The Desk”

The 10 codes poster took up much of the wall to my immediate right. There was an electric typewriter and the Inter-City radio that was used for county to county communications. The  Desk was actually a wrap around counter for easy access to different equipment and log books that were routinely used. 

In front of me was a telephone that had a long cord and three lines, a log book and complaint cards for logging each call as needed. The main radio we used was positioned in the corner with the desktop mic in front of it. 

I’ve lived in Humphreys county all of my life, but there were hills and hollers I’d never heard of. Landmarks like a place where a tree or a house USED to be, or “….you remember that time we had a call there by the….well turn left right there.”, were important in day to day and night to night communication. 

2300 – 0700

I worked the most with Vernon. He was a mess. One midnight shift in particular scared the shit outta me! A call came in around 0130 and I heard, “….there’s a bomb inside the jail, at 3:00 it will go off!” I called Vernon at the Pilot and told him about the call. He just laughed…..HARD! 

I watched the time ease painfully by and there I sat, waiting to be blown up. I thought if I’m gonna die, I’m not dying hungry. A bologna sandwich and a glass of sweet tea is every rednecks dying meal. 

It never dawned on me to EXIT the building! God, I was dumb….and 18!…..Did I mention I was 18?!  

When Vernon got back in the car he radioed, “….are you still with me?” In an instant I went from paralyzingly scared to pissed and said, “GIVE ME A SIGNAL SIX!”

We played countless card games, told dirty (and I do mean dirty) jokes, shot the shit and whatever else could be talked about at 3 and 4 in the morning. Looking back I think he was looking out for me. 
As serious and dangerous as an officers job is, there were plenty of laughs and good times. 

Vernon meant the world to me. He was like me, terrified of snakes. Why all people are not afraid of snakes I do not know. 

As a creature of habit around 0300, he would take a break and swing by the jail. In that hour of a midnight shift you’re either wide awake going wide open or dead still smoking cigarettes, drinking BLACK coffee to fight the lull that comes at that hour of your shift with nothing going on. One night after the bomb had failed to go off I decided it was payback time. As I heard the patrol car ease to a stop and the engine go quiet, I waited for the slam of the car door. I had eased the long, coiled phone cord out of the phone and was ready. As he walked in, I reached under the desk to open the security gate when he crossed the doorway, with his back to me, I flung that phone cord at his neck and it hit him perfectly and wrapped its way around to his chin. I hollered, SNAKE VERNON SNAKE!!!”

I’ve never seen a sleepy deputy wake up so fast! I think he forgot he had to pee!
I made friendships with some of the best people during that time that have remained to this day. 

The “Office” has been changed. Dispatch now comes from one location with what looks like enough buttons and lights to electrify half of our small town. 

The things you never expect to stay with you are the very ones that will. What a wonderful learning experience this was and still is. And God bless the ones I worked with. They must’ve had the patience of Job. 

Just…Loretta Lynn…


“Coal Miner”
 “Turn that DAMN thing off!” Those were the words that I heard coming down the hall from my Daddy. I was about two years old and what I heard on the record player was a steel guitar and a piano. Then, the ‘dead-on’ pitch of her voice came thru those tiny speakers. 

I can remember standing in front of that little record player and the speakers were covered in a silver blue screen, watching that rainbow logo of Decca records going clockwise hour after hour, song after song, most of the time it was the same song, hour after hour. 


Panther Hall, Fort Woth, Texas
To this day what I listen for in music is the piano, the edge of a snare drum hit with a drumstick, steel guitar and fiddle.

What I heard, I later would learn, was the unmistakeable sounds of a piano played by Floyd Cramer a steel guitar played by Hal Rugg and Drums by Buddy Harman. The contribution on their part is unsurpassed in the talents of musicians today.

 It was not uncommon for us to go riding around on Saturday or Sunday afternoons when I was growing up and it just seemed natural for my 4 to 5 year old brain that everyone had someone famous living in the same county they lived in just like I did. It was always special for me that the person living close to us was my favorite. 
As far back as I can remember anything I would search the only three channels we had on TV every Saturday evening to see if my “neighbor” was gonna be on ‘Hee Haw’, ‘That Good Ole Nashville Music’ or ‘The Porter Wagoner Show’!  If she was, my butt was in the floor glued to the TV screen until Loretta was done.

                Hurricane Mills, TN



The Old Bridge in Hurricane Mills was lost to the flood of 2010. 

Flood of 2010 takes out the bridge in Hurricane Mills, TN


The Old Bridge in Hurricane Mills was lost to the flood of 2010. 

  The clap of the wooden planks could be heard in the car as we crossed the bridge there.  It was closed to traffic several years ago but was used by people to walk across to Western Town. 

I don’t believe Humphreys county has done enough to appreciate the fact of who lives here and the business that the Ranch and Loretta herself bring to Humphreys county. The Motocross is a huge economic draw for the area. 

You can go anywhere else and see a concert of hers but when she is at the Ranch, there’s just something special about those concerts.  Who else can drive 7 miles from home, see a concert like that and be home in ten minutes?  I’m lucky but I realize it. 

 A movie changes everything……..

          “Coal Miner’s Daughter”

The movie changed everything. The local walk in movie theater ran the movie for 18 straight days. I saw the movie all 18 of those days and haven’t kept up with the number of times I’ve seen it since. 

I was twelve years old when the movie came out. For two hours, eighteen nights in a row, I was AMAZED at the actress playing ‘Loretta’ as were a lot of people. No one could’ve done it better. 





 ……to be continued……..

🎨 Hair Color 101 and 2 or 3 🎨

Trust me when I tell you there are only three primary colors.  Red, yellow and blue.  After reading this I hope to make it clearer and less intimidating, the basics of hair color and the principles that will never fail you if you do your analysis honestly. So hang on, this may be a long one but I promise you, you will have a better concept and not be afraid of color.  Be it paint, hair or whatever else. “BASICS NEVER CHANGE!”

 In the mid 1990’s I was in Lithonia, Georgia for a color workshop to learn how to educate other salon professionals on how to use Aloxxi Hair Color, a Nexxus product. 

Aloxxi color by Nexxus

Now I’m a skeptic at heart but, it was obvious from the first sentence I heard that this product, its concept and the person teaching this class were top notch. I used Aloxxi Chroma Color for years. It is a reliable and fantastic product. It is always a ‘what you see is what you get’ color line.  Gary Travis, educator for Nexxus, is one of three salon professionals that I knew from the start, “had their act together” The way he explained the concept of Aloxxi, the confidence of the consistence of the quality and ‘what you see is what you get’ with this color line, made for the first time, a click go off in my hard headed brain. It made sense then as it does now. I have used that formula every single time from that very day until this one. The formula he explained so plainly works with any professional haircolor. You can rest assured that the formula will work EVERYTIME as long as you are honest with your analysis of the color you are wanting to achieve. 

Gary Travis broke it down.  ‘You’ve got to know where you’re starting and where you’re going, for the middle of the two to make sense.’  Simple, I know.

Never ASSUME anything when dealing with artificial pigment. Do your homework, think the color through. Remember that “BASICS NEVER CHANGE”. 

The other two people who laid the foundation for me were my instructors in beauty school, JoAnn Akers and Rovene Akin. I haven’t forgotten one thing they taught me. JoAnn was one of the best teachers of ‘Work Smart Not Hard’.  That was one of her messages to us students. I use her and Rovene’s practical side of the business on a daily basis. JoAnn practiced what she preached. She was very informative to the point she kept it real. She always knew how to pinch a penny and taught us the very same. She also put confidence in a hard headed twenty year old that needed it. I hated school from kindergarten until the day I left (yes, with a diploma). 🎓Beauty school was different because it was a choice of mine, not something I was made to do. Do you see the stubborn streak showing? 😎

God Bless Rovene Akin! The first two weeks of beauty school I couldn’t stand her. What was I gonna do with this woman who told me from day one what was expected of me and what WAS to be done the WAY she taught it. Something changed and I started to realize she was a very smart person there to help me learn. From the third week on she was my friend, my helper  and my teacher that allowed me to think for myself.  She was very direct, very blunt but kind at the same time. You could not help but love her.

Rovene was very good to me and really everyone. She had poise, grace, and was just ‘good people’. Rovene was, well let’s just say she was ‘old school’ before ‘old school’ was ever heard of. She only wore her heavily starched pure white uniform with her ‘Miss Clariol 33R Flame’

Miss Clairol “33 R – Flame”
neatly in ‘waves NOT curls’ updo.  She once told me, “Tommy, you’re the only person I’ve ever seen that wanted to learn everything in one day!”  I said, “Well, I didn’t come over here to live I came to learn and get out because I’ve gotta get moving with this and get a job!”  She read me like a book and I loved her for it.

Rovene put the ‘Professional’ in Salon Professional. JoAnn and Rovene were both the finest examples in their field. They dont make instructors like them anymore.

Everything in life always goes back to basic principles and haircolor is no different.

The human hair is made up of three layers

The three layers of hail
Cuticle (outer), cortex (middle)and medulla (center). The medulla or third layer is where the blood supply comes in from the scalp.  The cortex or second layer is where the color or pigment is located. The cuticle or first layer is made up of fish-like scales.  The cuticle layer is actually transparent. What you see when looking at a person’s hair is actually the cortex layer.

Put The ‘p’ to the ‘H’

Potential for Hydrogen – that’s a mouthful of discombobulated words, ain’t they?

The pH scale goes from 0-14.  0-7.0 is acidic. 7.0 is neutral. 7.1-14 is alkaline.

Virgin or healthy hair will have a pH factor of 4.5 – 5.5  There are two forms of hair manipulation. Physical and chemical. Physical in the form of blow drying curling straightening anything to manipulate the hair physically. Chemically in the form of chemicals such as permanent waves, relaxers or color. It’s important to remember anytime you chemically alter the hair of it’s structure, there is always some degree of damage.

This is where our friend ‘Porosity’ comes in. I use the term friend, loosely. Porosity refers to the ability of the hair to accept or reject moisture. In regards to haircolor under normal daily ‘wear and tear’, porosity is not always on the extreme. Damaged, dry, brittle hair is treated differently. Uneven porosity to me is like a paved road with potholes in it. You’ve got fill the holes if you expect the pavement (color) to stick and remain even. 

An example of normal hair is shown here with little porosity. Notice the blue particles on the hair strand, that is moisture. The condition of this hair strand is normal. The cuticle layer is parallel to the hair itself.

This would be small to moderate damage. The cuticle is raised allowing moisture and artificial hair color to escape and/or more receptive (porous). The cuticle layer is the key element to holding the pigment or color in. With even a small amount of cuticle damage, some of the cortex is exposed and will result in average loss of artificial pigment.  

Lastly, an image of badly damaged cuticle with cortex exposed.  


Color in/ Color Out:

Molecular weight has to be taken in consideration. Each primary color has its own molecular weight.

Blue – the smallest molecular weight of the three (first in/first out). 

🚗 🚗
Red – the next largest in molecular weight (second in/second out)

🚕 🚕🚕
Yellow – the largest in molecular weight of the three (last in/last out)

Haircolor today is on a calibrated system. That is to our advantage and takes a lot of the guess work out for us. There are LEVELS and TONES. Levels range from 1 (black) to 12 (white). Tones range from warm to neutral to cool. For example a level six neutral brown is the same level as a level six red, the difference being the tone.

Just like there are three primary colors, there are only three things you can do with color. LIGHTEN, DARKEN and CHANGE THE TONE. 

   🚗🚕🚙 🚗🚕🚙 🚗🚕🚙🚗🚕🚙

Lift and Deposit 

Lift refers to the opening of the cuticle layer to expose the cortex where melanin (pigment) is. It is the opening or ‘lifting’ of the cuticle and removal of natural pigment with peroxide.

Deposit refers to the addition of the artificial color. Standard over the counter color is packaged with the equivalent of 20 volume peroxide for a ‘lift and deposit’ result.

There are four types of haircolor. Temporary, Semi-Permanent, Demi-Permanent and Permanent
Temporary color refers to a liquid with pigment solution with no peroxide whatsoever. It is strictly a cosmetic used temporarily until it is shampooed out.

Semi-permanent color is known as a deposit only meaning 10 volume peroxide or less is used. The cuticle is not opened to the degree that is needed for permanent color.

Demi-permanent is simply a longer lasting semi-permanent color. The volume of peroxide used is around 15 volume.

Permanent color is literally NOT permanent since it has to grow out. It is referred to as permanent because it lifts the natural color and deposits the artificial color.

If there is anything you need to remember more than anything else it is this:  

Artificial color does not take out artificial color……….I’ll repeat it again…….


There’s nothing ‘Nice ‘N Easy’ about ‘Nice ‘N Easy’

You’ve been there haven’t you? Where all those perfectly colored examples of the color you’re dyeing  for right before your very eyes in that brightly fluorescent lit ‘waiting for my prescription to be filled’  haircolor aisle deciding on that box that sells for $8.99 ($6.99 each if you buy 3 or more). 

Covering your gray hair is not a potential problem if it’s just that, gray hair. On anything other than solid white hair the color on the box, with its snap on ‘developer’ and Saran Wrap gloves, the 30-45 minute wait for the perfect shade in your head, can be an illusion when you raise up out of that sink and look, with no thump in your heart at the orangey blonde or brown you hadn’t planned on. Not the color you wanted? So back to the aisle in ‘fluorescent perfection’ to pick out a lighter color that will ‘lighten up’ your unexpected color malfunction. It’s not your fault. The fault belongs to the manufacturer of that ‘NutrisseNiceNGarnierColorSilkPreferenceEasyExcellence’

Am I mad because over the counter color has taken my color clients Behind Closed Doors? No……….

What makes me mad I’ve said for years and still say the color manufacturers should have on hand a swatch book in the store so the honest, well-intentioned buyer is not misled. 

…… be continued. ….

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