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Volume 26, Number 7 — July 2019

Book features Local Tales of Tennessee

J.S. Moore has written a series of books called
J.S. Moore has written a series of books called "Understanding Apples," as well as a couple of children's books. Among his latest is "Mending Walls." UJoe Tennis/Bristol Herald Courier)

By Joe Tennis/Bristol Herald Courier | November 13, 2012

In the world of J.S. Moore, we are treated to tales of Tennessee — mostly around the Kingsport area, where he was born, but also stretching to Greeneville, where Moore now lives.

We meet characters like Pal Barger, the founder of Pal's Restaurant, the popular hamburger chain that promises you "sudden service."

We also hear how Moore 's grandfather, Judd Moore, secretly grew marijuana among his corn and how moonshine came from the Long Island of the Holston in Kingsport .

Moore, 38, does not call himself a writer. In fact, he makes that plain in 2006's "Understanding Apples" — his release of stories, poems and photos with a large focus on his "Papaw Judd."

"If anything, I would consider myself a storyteller," Moore writes. "But I am surely not a writer — at least not a great one. In some circles, storyteller means liar, but where I am from it means just what the title is meant to imply."

That's what he tells in "Understanding Apples."

The series title reflects choices.

"Apples, throughout history, have come to symbolize choices — from the story of Genesis with Adam and Eve sampling the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and defying God to the fairy tale of Snow White, bound by the laws of hospitality, accepting a poisoned apple from the haggard old crone."

Continuing the series, Moore's 2012 release, "Mending Walls: Understanding Apples/Book Four," does not contain solely works by Moore but borrows from others, like R.C Grogg, who contributes the story of "Hard Luck Hannah," and Chaplain Bill G. Richards, who writes of "This Side of Heaven."

Still, the affable Moore offers plenty of himself in this 195-page book, including his thoughts on health care; respect for veterans; and how life lessons may not necessarily be learned with a college education.

"My Papaw Judd had two days' worth of schooling before he was made to work on the family farm and he was one of the most brilliant thinkers and 'knowers' I've ever met," Judd writes. "He could name any tree or shrub or flower I could point to. He knew when to plant and when to harvest."

And, as Moore tells us "Mending Apples," as well in the first book of the series, Papaw Judd certainly understood apples — and all of life's lessons, quite well. | (276) 791-0704

>> FOR MORE: J.S. Moore's books are available at the Colonial Heights Pharmacy in Kingsport , Tenn. , just off I-81 Exit 59. To order, email or visit

A! ExtraTopics: Literature