Arts + Entertainment

Happy birthday, Captain Trips.

On this day (Aug. 1) some 75 years ago, Jerome Garcia was born in San Francisco. You might not recognize the name Jerome, but a lightbulb may click on when you remember him by his nickname: Jerry.

I kept glancing over at the signs.

Strolling the long and busy corridors of the Folkmoot Friendship Center (Waynesville) this past Sunday evening, I couldn’t help looking at the signs posted on the walls next to the doors. “Argentina.” “Israel.” “Russia.” “India.” “Taiwan.” All of these foreign countries, these ambassadors from every corner of the world, each with their own set of social and economic issues, many mirroring our own.

This one? This one hurt.

When I heard Thursday afternoon about the tragic suicide of Chester Bennington, lead singer for Linkin Park, I was taken back, as if someone had punched me in the chest. Suddenly, dozens of memories started flooding my field-of-vision. I remember listening to their groundbreaking mix of hard rock and hip-hop in middle school, seeing them in Montreal in high school, and always blasting their melodies before track-and-field meets all throughout my adolescence and early adulthood.

I was about an hour late.

Rolling up to the Swain County Business Education & Training Center in Bryson City last Saturday morning, I slammed the brakes of the old truck into the parking space, grabbed my box of books and headed for the front entrance.

Those who forget history, tend to...

Well, you know the rest. Nowadays, it seems each morning we awaken into another national and international crisis. Be afraid of the Russian influence on America. Be afraid of nuclear war. Be afraid of presidential and political scandals. Be afraid of the Middle East and terrorism. Be afraid of racial and social divides. Be afraid of economic depression and lack of employment.

I remembered those places, and those faces.

Scrolling through Facebook — through the “fun in the sun” Fourth of July photos — in my office on Monday morning, I couldn’t help but have this feeling of longing to see and interact with friends and family celebrating the holiday weekend back home in Upstate New York.

It’s the hardest part of this gig.

As a journalist for just about a decade, I’ve been lucky enough to interview and photograph hundreds of folks, from all walks of life, that, perhaps, I may have never had the chance to interact with had I pursued another career path.

I look forward to it these days.

Calling my dad at the end of the day. With my parents still living in my native Upstate New York, I find myself dialing the old man almost every night, just to shoot the bull. With our conversations normally hovering around the matters of the day — politically and socially — we then knock it down a notch, talking about sports, family, or simply telling one tall tale after another, usually with some hearty laughter echoing from the other end of the line.

I’m exhausted.

I think y’all out there reading this can attest to the pure exhaustion — of body, mind and soul — these last couple of years. If the presidential election wasn’t physically and emotionally draining enough, it feels like every morning I get up, well, it’s another go-round on this rollercoaster of an administration, of a modern world struggling with its identity and priorities.

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