More From Columns

January 22, 2017

“It was a dark and foggy night,” sounds like the beginning of a detective novel — especially when the follow-up line is “and a woman sat alone on the side of the road in her broken-down car.”

Sadly, this is not the start of a thrilling mystery — it is the story…


January 21, 2017

After hurting myself over a plastic bag recently, I discovered two things: That I can still pass out from the sight of blood; and that my wife will step over her husband's lifeless and bleeding body to ensure food-product preservation.

First, a word to food producers: Please resist the urge to…

January 15, 2017

A new Presidential term begins, but to the dirt it’s more of the same. Governmental detritus has already left a 240.5 year mark in the District of Columbia, adding our short patina of civilization to 150 million years of alternating swamp and sea and surface soil in the rock record of the…


January 14, 2017

My oldest daughter has joined the workforce — finally — and it’s no pie job, either. In fact, it’s an after-pie job. She’s a dishwasher.

This is the moment every parent dreams of: When the same child who complains bitterly about having to spend two minutes emptying…


January 08, 2017

OK people, listen up. I know many of you have already made your New Year’s resolutions — be kinder, switch to e-cigarettes, give up foods that end in “ieto” — but the truth is you may be focusing on the wrong things. Sure it is important to be healthy and to stop…


January 07, 2017

It has been nearly eight years since Johnson City purchased a large farm just down the road from my family’s home place. The new owner has yet to plant the first row of corn.

The Tennessee city, of course, did not buy the 55-acre Keefauver farm with farming in mind, but for parks expansion.…

December 26, 2016

Here’s hoping you got more gold than coal in your stocking!

Both gold and coal have had moments of greatness in North Carolina. Unlike frankincense and myrrh, which are the saps of shrubs not native to our climate, gold and coal have Tar Heel history.

The United States stretched only as far…


December 25, 2016

Standing on his hind legs, steely gaze sweeping across our back patio and yard, my tiny Yorkie mix Einstein is every inch the watchman. Not a leaf stirs without his knowledge; not a pine cone thunders to the ground without being viewed with suspicion.

But make no mistake, the foliage of fall is not…


December 24, 2016

When our daughters announced to their Tennessee cousins last year that we were going to become permanent neighbors, one of the cousins was a little sad. “We won’t get to look forward to seeing you anymore,” she said.

I understand. Looking forward to being with cousins is one of…

December 17, 2016

Sometime before Christmas, while my wife and I were dating, I brought her an abandoned kitten that had wandered off the street and into my office. More than 20 years later, another abandoned kitten wandered into Sharon’s office. It’s almost déjà vu all over again.

I do not…

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