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Columns

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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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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May 29, 2018

The importance of East Carolina hosting an NCAA baseball regional can be traced back to a telling moment during coach Cliff Godwin’s first season leading the Pirates.

He and a few of his players sat down for their final postgame news conference of the 2015 season and they looked exhausted.

It…

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May 27, 2018

When I was in school, late May and early June were a long, dull hallway I had to trudge down to get to summer vacation. Most classrooms in my naive Michigan did not have air conditioning, so the steamy days at the end of the year were particularly unbearable. We sweaty and sullen students used to…

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