One of those moments — the Rolling Stones

I bought my first record when I was 11 years old — a 45-rpm single by the Rolling Stones called “Angie” — at the Roses in Galax, Virginia. My Uncle Elgin used to drive Aunt Lillie and Mamaw over there to do some shopping, and if I was staying over (as I often was), I’d go with them and look at comic books and get myself a giant cherry Slushie. 

There is no middle ground with Covid

With the Delta variant raging across the state and school systems in every direction hurriedly moving to mask mandates for students before school begins, the Haywood County Board of Education called an emergency meeting on Friday afternoon … to do nothing. Unless creating the illusion of having done something counts. 

Sometimes the plan is to not have a plan

There is the dream my wife has every so often that haunts her. She’s on vacation and it’s the last day, time to pack up and go back home, and she realizes with this profoundly sick, panicky feeling that she hasn’t been to the beach even once and now it’s too late. 

Chickens make a stand despite our efforts

Five chickens appeared one bright summer morning in our driveway. I was still half asleep, stumbling through my morning routine of grinding and brewing the coffee, and then stepping out onto the front porch to water the fuchsias in matching hanging baskets on either side of the front steps. 

Summer nights: baseball, dogs and workout prep

There are three dogs in this bed: a very old miniature dachshund curled up on one corner, a very young miniature dachshund attached to my hip like a pistol, his head under the blanket but his feet sticking out and pointing skyward like the Wicked Witch of the East, and, finally, an asthmatic chihuahua perched on the pillow behind my head, rasping in my ear like a chain smoker asking for a light. 

As consultants, beach week is a bit calmer these days

Edisto Beach, SC — As if this year weren’t already weird enough, my son is in the bathroom of our rented house shaving for the first time. His mom has been onto him about needing to shave and for reasons known only to a teenage boy — or maybe not even known to him — he has chosen this moment, just after a twilight walk on Steamboat Landing to look for little frogs and then watch dolphins from the pier, for this milestone.

Wishful thinking won’t get us out of this

Before wading into the murk of America’s bizarre tug of war with itself in the year of COVID-19, let’s first stipulate one thing: we’d all love for this to be over. Wearing masks, social distancing, arguing with people on social media over who and what to believe, some of us sweating out every decision on where we can go and who we can see and what we can do and not do any time we venture out of our little quarantine cocoons, others proceeding with their lives as if not one thing has changed. We’re just over it, OK?

Walter moves on to a far greener cow pasture

Maybe we should have named our beagle-mix Lazarus, so often did he seemingly come back from the dead over the years. But we named him Walter and we figure he must have turned 18 earlier this year. There have been days when we didn’t think he could get up, days we found him on the porch flat on his belly, his legs splayed in opposite directions like a beginning skier who has fallen and can’t figure out how to get back up. We’d sit with him, give him more Glucosamine, scrub his ears, discuss our options, and hope for the best.

Language has changed but racism remains

Though we are as divided as we have ever been as a country, the one thing we seemed to be able to agree on is that recent deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd were heinous, both reminders that the evil of racism still exists in America. We shared this “common ground” for about five minutes before the waves of protests and rioting began, and then the sudden abrupt shift in focus by one group from the murders to the reaction to the murders revealed that we had not, after all, reached some new level of mutual understanding.

The oh-so-sweet sound of bat and baseball

When our son, Jack, joined the high school marching band, he promptly announced his official retirement from baseball, unceremoniously closing the book on a 10-year career — from tee ball to senior league — that included at least a hundred games and untold thousands of practices, including those earliest ones in our back yard, where I taught him, among other things, how to turn his glove to catch the ball and how to shift his weight when swinging the bat.

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