Back in 2001, I stumbled on to a TV series called, Christy which aired on the Hallmark channel, totally by accident. And it happened to be one of the best episodes of the entire series, “Amazing Grace”. How fortunate for me. I was sucked in immediately. The backdrop of the The Great Smoky Mountains was visually stunning. And the music was gorgeous. The quality of acting was unbelieveable…Tyne Daly, Kelly Marin, Tess Harper, Emily Hope Webster, just to mention a few. The costuming was dead-on turn of the century and the writing was excellent. I hadn’t seen such quality in TV series EVER!
I was fairly new to the internet community so I did a quick search on the TV show and had lots of results. I headed on over to a Christy forum/message board and wonder of wonders, there were many Christy fans all over the world. Instantly I discovered that there were Doc fans and Preacher fans. I learned that the series aired in 1994 and 1995 and ended suddenly when CBS cancelled it, for mysterious reasons, most of which hinged on the Christian theme that was the mainstay of the series and the book upon which it was based, Christy by Catherine Marshall. Surprisingly enough, I found that a festival celebrated the series in the Tennessee town where it was filmed, Townsend. Now THAT was cool!!
Being the detective that I am, I also did some research on Catherine Marshall. I wondered why I had never read this book since it was released in 1969. The answer was easy: at that time, I was working full-time and knee-deep in college English Lit, Biology, American History, etc. There was little time for pleasure reading. Then I married and had three little boys and somehow, Christy just slipped past me. Even the TV series went unnoticed around here, probably because I was working full-time at our local high school, coaching cheerleaders, baking cakes, going to basketball, football and baseball games AND keeping a semi-clean house. Sort of.
So when I finally discovered Christy, I found myself immersed in her story, Mrs. Marshall’s life, Townsend, the Smoky Mountains…and the Christy fans, who seven years later, were still protesting the way CBS ended the series and actively trying to get it back on a network. But the fans were the best. What a wonderful bunch of people!
Although I desperately wanted to go to the festival, known as ChristyFest, that summer of 2001, we were expecting our first grandchildren, twins, that same month, and NOTHING was going to make me miss that spectacular event!!!! So, I waited until 2002 to go to TN, which is a whole nuther story as I went by myself and was extremely nervous about meeting perfect strangers much less, spending 4 days with them. What if we didn’t click? What if they were freaks? What if they hated me? What if….well, you know the bit.
The thing is, I was 52 and had never been anywhere by myself. EVER. Really never. The main thing is..I went to TN. I learned lots and met some fantastic people and including the actors, producers, writers and even set carpenters who were all a part of Christy.
And here it is ten years later, and now I’m on the planning team for the festival for…heck…Scarlett, how long have we been doing this? We still have fun! We still meet new people every year. We still love Christy! Come July 26th, we’ll mosey on over to Tennessee again!!
You can find more out about Christy here.
More to follow….