Doing What is Required

June 16th, 2015

Winston Churchill said “sometimes it is not enough that we do our best; we must do what is required”. That got me thinking about a lot of things that happen in our life.  My husband Ken had a stroke in 2010 and was in a wheelchair and required 24 hour care.  He passed away in 2014 from leukemia.  I cared for Ken and ran our family business for 4 1/2 years.  Several people stated, “I don’t know how you do it”. I did it because it was required and I loved him and wanted to take care of him.

Sometimes life throws us a curve, either in our personal life or in our business life, but the survivors do what is required.

National Donut Day

June 5th, 2015

It is Friday and National Donut Day. My greatest pleasure in my childhood was to go with my Mother to downtown Knoxville and get a donut. Doesn’t sound like much these days but we lived in the country, it was West Knoxville, but in those days very much in the country. Trips to town were infrequent and even then I did not always get a treat, so maybe that is why it was such a big deal to me. Another treat was to go to the dime store and get a small bag of peanuts. They had a machine that kept them hot and they were oh so tasty. I still love donuts and peanuts to this day. It is hard for me to turn them down when they are in the house.

Line Fork Kentucky

March 25th, 2015

This picture was taken at the Kingdom Come Park in Cumberland Kentucky. The valley below is where my Daddy, Odes Robinette grew up. Kingdom Come is significant because missionaries started a school in Line Fork, where my Daddy attended, and the name of the school, which is still there today, is Kingdom Come School.  When my Daddy was a young man the only way to get to Line Fork was by horse back.  In fact, the first time my Daddy saw my Mother was on horse back, as she had rode over the mountain with some friends.  That area is so beautiful and I have many fond memories of visiting there when I was a child. I was born in Lynch, Kentucky but I was just a baby when my family moved to Oak Ridge, where we lived behind the fence, and Daddy worked for Union Carbide on the Manhattan Project.

We Are A Family

October 17th, 2012

Open House Bar-B-Q

This is a picture of our Open House Bar-B-Que at Burns Mailing & Printing, Inc.  If it looks like a family picture it is because that is what we feel about each other…our other family.  Most of us have worked together for many years.  We support each other, yes we sometimes have disagreements, but doesn’t every family.  Collectively among this group is many, many years of printing and mailing experience.  We don’t have a lot of turn over so everyone knows their job and things move through the shop smoothly.

Having graphic design, printing and mailing…all under one roof keeps our customers from running all over town. They are also assured that their mailings meet postal specifications, have the lowest available postage and have fast delivery due to being bar-coded.

We handle the details so that our customers don’t have to worry.

50th Anniversary is August 8, 2012

August 2nd, 2012

Next Wednesday, August 8, 2012, Ken and I will celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.  It also marks Ken’s 50th year in the printing industry. We were 19 years of age.  I know, I know you should not get married that young, but things were different 50 years ago. I was actually a nursing student at East TN Baptist Hospital.  In 1962 if you were a student nurse at East TN Baptist Hospital you could not get married and stay in school.  Ken and I went to a neighboring town and got married and kept it a secret.  Ken had planned on joining the Air Force and start a military career while I finished school.  We decided that we could not stand being apart for two years so I quit school and we left Knoxville for Cocoa, Florida That is where the printing comes in.  Ken got a job driving a truck for Brevard Printing in Cocoa.  He learned how to run the presses by working on Saturday for free in order to get the experience.  Shortly after, I got a job at Pan American Airways at Cape Canaveral and Ken later worked at Cape Canaveral for a printing contractor.  After about five years, we moved to Marietta, GA where Ken worked at Lockheed Georgia in the graphic arts department.  After about two years and the birth of our first child, Kathy, we moved back to Knoxville when the offer of a job presented us the opportunity to come back to Knoxville and be near our family and friends.  Our second child, Joy was born in 1970 and our little family was complete. We never regretted that move.  In 1981 we started our company in our garage.  I supported the family while Ken built the business.  After two moves into leased buildings, we built our own current location in 1994.  In 1990, I left my job as Vice President at Toyota of Knoxville to work full time in the printing business with Ken.  We had two daughters in college and for us it was a big step.  I even borrowed $20,000 and put it in the bank, just in case it did not work out and I needed to pay the mortgage or college tuition.  I later invested that money in the company.

I worked everyday with Ken for 20 years. We ate every meal together, planned the business together and as one of our vendors would describe, “we were joined at the hip”.  We got along so well because Ken had his responsibility and I had mine.  We were too busy to mess in each others business.  Sometimes we did not see each other  until lunch time, as he would be back in production and I would be up front taking care of sales and administration.

All of that came to a screeching halt on February 28, 2010.  Ken was sitting in the living room talking to me when he started to slur his words.  I realized he was in trouble and called 911.  Ken suffered a massive stroke.  He was in rehab hospitals for three months and thankfully after three months he was able to come home.  He is not able to work in the business any longer, but with the help of my wonderful employees, Burns Mailing & Printing Inc. is going strong.

We have a favorite song that we will play at our anniversary party.  It is called Silver and Gold by Claire Lynch. The words just seem to describe our love and our journey. Sometimes we are tested with fire when we least expect it but true love will prevail.

1 Corinthians 13:4

Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy. It does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude. It is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

I will end this blog with another special song for us by Vince Gill, called Look At Us.  My favorite line sums it up, “if they want to see what true love should be, then just look at us”.  To Ken, my soul mate, Happy 50th Anniversary!

Miss Nancy, The Baby and Peach Preserves

March 2nd, 2009

Crisco Baby

Crisco Baby

Miss Nancy, who is in her 70’s, works part time in our mailing department.  Everybody loves Miss Nancy.  She is a great cook and is especially good at making homemade jelly and preserves.  A couple of years ago, she brought me a jar of her peach preserves.  They were the best peach preserves I had ever put in my mouth.  My youngest daughter, Joy, who lives in Brentwood, TN, was visiting and tasted some of the peach preserves on my homemade biscuits.  I have been making biscuits for 46 years, every morning for 35 years, until Ken, my husband, had to have four heart bypasses.  That was the end of that and now I make them occasionally.  Joy said, “that is the best thing I have ever tasted out of a jar.”  She wanted to learn how to make the preserves and so we formulated a plan that when we came back from our vacation in Florida, we would stop at Durbin Farms in Alabama and buy peaches. She would come to Knoxville and we would learn how to make Miss Nancy’s peach preserves.  The peaches have to ripen for several days after purchase so about 5 days later Joy came to Knoxville.  Miss Nancy agreed to come to my house to teach us how to make her famous peach preserves.  Miss Nancy had told us to get four bushels of peaches, two for her and two for us.  When she saw the amount of peaches that we had purchased, she was shocked because she was thinking boxes, not bushels so we had twice the amount of peaches that we should have had.  We are thinking this is not a bad thing because we really liked the preserves.  Did I mention that Joy has a baby that at the time was 12 months old.  She is the peach of our life for sure.  So here we are making peach preserves, the baby is crawling around and having fun.  We decided that after about two hours that we know what to do so Miss Nancy leaves to work on her own peaches.  I was chopping the peaches and Joy was cooking the preserves, which had to be timed for a certain amount of minutes when I glanced over at the open pantry where the baby had found a large bottle of Crisco oil. The bottle was plastic so I thought it would be fine to let her just play with the bottle. Was I ever wrong!  I glanced over again and she had the lid off the bottle and was pouring it out all over the floor and on her.  Joy could not stop cooking the peaches that she was timing, so I was on my own with the oil and the baby. I just pulled her little dress off and sat her in an empty peach box until I could wipe up some of the oil off the floor.  In the meantime she decides that she likes the feel of the oil and starts rubbing it in her hair and on her face.  We had to stop making peach preserves and give her a bath and scrub the floor.  Have you ever tried to get a bottle of Crisco off the kitchen floor?  Not an easy job, but finally I used Dawn dish washing detergent and it took the grease up.

We made 95 jars of peach preserves that day and we are still enjoying them.  Miss Nancy has also given us her recipe for homemade apple butter that she makes in a crock pot. Another trip to Florida and Durbin Peach Farms is in the works for this summer.  After tasting the peach preserves that we made, my oldest daughter, Kathy wants to be in on the peach preserve making this summer.  I think we have started a new family tradition. I will be sure to hide the Crisco oil.