The following is one of several Collegeside member profiles written by Donna Smith over a period of several years. They tell the personal stories of some of our long-time members, some of whom are living and some of whom have gone on to be with their Lord. Their personal stories are an important part of the historical fabric of Collegeside.
Jim and Maxine Drake still fight the classic struggle between the North and the South, or as they call it, the Green Beans War. Maxine, who is from Kenosha,Wisconsin, says that green beans are skinny vegetables that should be minimally cooked so that they taste like green beans. Jim, who grew up right here in Cookeville, likes his green beans—the kind with actual beans in them—to be simmered and seasoned with fat.
The couple may be the classic example of how opposites attract, as they claim, but they agree that the friends they made as they moved around the country are treasures in their lives.
Jim and Maxine met while they were working with the FBI in Washington,D.C. Jim’s work as an agent with the FBI and later as an attorney with the Corps of Engineers and the Small Business Administration took them to cities and towns such as Springfield, New York City, Cadiz, Nashville, Atlanta, Miami (where they first met Velva Burch, who moved to Collegeside in 2001, and her husband Jim), and Cookeville. Each of their three children was born in a different state.
Everywhere they went they made friends who are still their friends. Maxine says her theme song could be, “Make new friends, but keep the old.” She still regularly visits the group of girls she grew up with in Wisconsin, including Barbara Olsen, a friend since she was six years old.
The Drakes’ ties with Collegeside began early. Jim served communion during the very first worship service at Collegeside. He had grown up at the old Broad Street congregation, and he and Maxine lived in an apartment near the new church when he practiced law in Cookeville with his brother-in-law, Dick Mitchell. Maxine, who had never heard of the Church of Christ while she was growing up in Wisconsin, was one of the first to be baptized at Collegeside. Ray Kinslow, who baptized her, and James Murphy were taking turns preaching during that time.
They returned to Cookeville and to Collegeside in 1984, purchased a log house and 13 acres, and opened a bed and breakfast. Jim says he doesn’t miss the country since they moved to the town four years ago. Maxine says he is an extremely contented man. He never gets bored!<!–more–
Jim keeps up with his old friends from his boyhood days. He reminisces about his family home located where the Hooper and Huddleston parking lot on North Jefferson is today and remembers that he was paper boy for half the town back then.
He enjoys historical writing, but he doesn’t think too much of the FBI stories on TV. Most of the work was drudgery, he says, and the TV shows just hit the highlights. For example, 50 agents could work a big case and would cover every imaginable lead. Looking for answers was important work, but it was not as fast-paced as the entertainment industry would have you think.
Jim and Maxine celebrated 53 years of marriage last month with their children and six grandchildren: their daughter and son-in-law, Barbara and Dan Fenlon with their children Amanda and Drake; their son Jimmy with his family, Kim, Andy, and Laura Beth from Memphis; and their son Gilbert with Janet, Hannah, and Leah from Nashville.