Surely February 7, 2019 set some kind of record when temperatures reached about 80 degrees or higher for our hometown, and then had to endure high winds with crashing curtains of colder weather.

Perhaps the groundhog is right about an early spring and at least it seemed that way last Thursday. My source is Punxsutawney Phil, but he has been wrong before. The local groundhogs seem to still be underground at Grassy Fork, as we approach mid-February.

The sunshine and balmy day called me away from the recliner and to the mountains. It so happened that one of the roads that got my attention was Williams Road, off Gulf Road before you get to the Martha Sundquist State Park. A tall, stout fellow was working in the road near his home.

So I stopped and found out it was Boice Williams, son of Roscoe Williams. Boice assured me that this clan is not related to the Newport Williams family or the Cosby group either. I found Boice to be interesting and promised to return to hear some stories.

I was surprised to learn that former Cocke County Sheriff Kin Holt grew up off Williams Road. Boice promised to tell me about the Holt family and others living in that secluded mountain area. He pointed to a small cabin in the distance on a mountain ridge and told me a fact that will astound you. More about this all soon.

You know the Cashen family of Parrottsville. Seems I have known them every since starting with the Newport Plain Talk in the early 1970s. I’m almost sure I met grandpa Lloyd Cashen, father of Ronnie Cashen. In case you didn’t know, both men were truck drivers.

Ronnie used his smarts and education to become a teacher and computer whiz after working during his early years for Stokely Brothers cannery. Perhaps the smartest thing he did was to marry the former Diane Ottinger, who spent about 30 years at Edgemont teaching.

I got all this information in a delightful chat with Candi Overholt, whom I really only knew through stories published in the Plan Talk about her various achievements in education, medicine, and now with Empower Cocke County.

Let me step back a day earlier before meeting Dr. Overholt to tell you that I also chatted with Dan Overholt and loved this update because his father, Joe Overholt, is one of my favorite people. His claim to fame is being a pioneer in the shop at home TV network business. I’ve written several stories about him and wife, Charlotte.

But back to Ronnie and Diane, both retired and full time helping take care of the Overholts’ children. Candi said that Ronnie retired from Cocke County High School in 2009 to “play with the grandchildren.” The Overholts live off Good Hope Road not far from Bethel Baptist Church.

I must also mention the late Lloyd Cashen’s widow, Ida Ruth (Southerland) Cashen. She is 95 and remains active and surrounded by the love of 14 grandchildren and 27 great grandchildren. If the count is wrong, blame me. I must meet her soon.

The children of Lloyd and Ida Ruth are: Fred, Ronnie, Dorothy Peeler, Pat Gass, Linda Black, Sandy Starnes, and Donna Gilland.

While my talk today focuses on Candi, I do plan to tell you more about Dan and also his parents. She is a 1998 graduate of CCHS and then continued at Walters State Community College and East Tennessee State University. She thanks her biology teacher Glen Anders for getting her excited out the possibilities of life sciences and medicine. As a youth she spent time at Dr. Thomas Conway’s office and also shadowed surgeon Dr. Mack Gray. The doctors at Family Practice Center have been kind to her.

She graduated from the University of Tennessee at Memphis Medical School. Then she began her residency for internal medicine at Wake Forest, Winston Salem.

By her early 20s she married Dan and they were living at Johnson City at the time. Dan got the computer electronics gene from his Dad and now does contract work with businesses wishing to join the Amazon Cloud computing/storage world.

Candi is beholden to professionals, Dr. Ken Johnson, Dr. James Foster, Dr. Conway, Dr. Tony Daniel and others to insure she succeeded. By 2009 she started her medical career with Tacoma in Greeneville where she still practices internal medicine.

Her specialty areas focusing on chronic diseases include helping those suffering with diabetes, heart and lung diseases, arthritis and others. She and I share the importance of diet, eating right. I also learned that I am not unusual as a senior citizen in not having much thirst.

She sees many seniors who are dehydrated, because they do not consume enough liquids, especially water, every day. But her unique blend of medicine includes healthy doses of God and spirituality, social connections, and mental fitness.

I asked the status of Tacoma and she explained that it is part of the Ballad Health hospitals found in Greeneville, Johnson City, Kingsport, Bristol, and Abingdon. Ballad came about by the merger of Wellmont and Mountain State hospitals.

I could tell that one of her real loves aside from medicine is Empower Cocke County. It is now a coalition of about 30 local churches to help families and individuals make wise lifestyle choices. That means no drugs and alcohol plus strong families, churches, and schools.

She is appreciative of all the work volunteers and church communities have done for Empower Cocke County. She had especially nice words for minister Rick Clevenger and his wife, Susan, a Newport Grammar School, teacher, because they and their church, Crossroads Community, helped put the power in the program.

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