More From Columns

June 24, 2018

When I was in France recently, Anthony Bourdain, also in France working on his popular and influential food and culture program for CNN, took his life.

Bourdain was in one of his favorite regions, Alsace, which was controlled by Germany for 50 years until the end of World War I.

I was on the other…


June 24, 2018

It’s a cobbler year for mulberries.

Out in the backyard, dark red dollops rain down like pinata candy at every breeze. The lawn is mulched with a magenta mess. Mulberry pawprints track squirrels from tree to tree. It’s harvest time in the cul-de-sac.

Mulberries have a a regal history as…


June 23, 2018

After two years of planning, my wife and I finally broke ground last month on a project to build our forever house. The plan was to install a metal roof so that we hopefully won’t need to address that particular maintenance issue again during our lifetimes.

That plan might not be economically…


June 17, 2018

I recently sampled from the menus of 10 restaurants in Jacksonville, Snead’s Ferry and Swansboro, leaving the choice of dishes to the chefs and owners.

Not surprisingly, I was served shrimp and grits at eight of the 10 — at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

This has become a recurring theme…

Bob Garner

June 17, 2018

His face first popped up in my Facebook feed — shaggy gray fur, big brown eyes and a pink, lolling tongue.

His name was Miles, and a local rescue organization was trying to find him a home.

Miles was an older dog, abandoned at the animal shelter with a host of health problems. He could barely…


June 16, 2018

In one of my favorite pictures of my father and me, I’m kissing him on the cheek, and he’s looking at the camera with an expression of tired surprise. It was at the end of a weekend visit, and we were saying our goodbyes outside the restaurant where we’d met for breakfast.

I see…


June 10, 2018

Pitt County is home to world-class eastern North Carolina barbecue.

But there probably aren’t many who realize that different branches of the same family have cooked and sold barbecue in the Ayden area alone for more than 150 years. In fact, two of the best barbecue joints in North Carolina…

Bob Garner

June 09, 2018

My wife is a fantastic cook. She's done so well over the years at providing a wide variety of meals for our daughters that they expect the same kind of service even when she’s away from home.

It is during those lean-table times when my children will actually call upon dear old Dad to come…


June 03, 2018

The 15-year-old boy came to the house for dinner after a long morning of plowing behind a mule.

He washed at the hand pump on the back porch and decided on a quick smoke before being called to the table. There was just enough Duke’s in his drawstring pouch for one cigarette.

A younger sister…

Bob Garner

June 02, 2018

My oldest daughter, Carly, is about to do what nearly every other person in this corner of Tennessee has done after high school graduation: Head for Myrtle Beach.

“Everyone is going, Dad,” she said.

Of course they are. They always have. I even made a practice run the year before…

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