This must be the place: ‘Look in the mirror, who do you see?’

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.

This must be the place: You say ‘covfefe,’ I say ‘who cares?’

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.

This must be the place: Get me to the church on time

Editor’s Note: After heading to his native Upstate New York last week to give the eulogy at his aunt’s funeral, Garret was also asked to marry off his best friend, Andy, this past weekend in Knoxville, Tennessee. Andy and Garret crossed paths almost five years ago when both relocated to Waynesville for work at the same time. Being strangers in a new town (Andy moved from Knoxville), with no familiarity nearby, they became fast friends, ultimately best friends. About a year later, Andy met and began dating Ashley, the love of his life. He then relocated to Knoxville, with Garret visiting the couple often. When Andy proposed to Ashley, he decided, being an only child, to ask his father to be his best man. With that, Andy and Ashley then asked Garret to be the officiant, who would bring them together in holy matrimony in front of their closest friends and family members. Below is the speech Garret wrote and gave in front of the congregation before the rings were exchanged ...

This must be the place: Going home and saying goodbye

The roaring of the plane engine shook me awake.

Coasting into the skies over Newark, New Jersey, the flight was headed to Knoxville, then it was another hour-and-a-half car ride back to Waynesville. It had been a long week, and an even longer year, as I sipped my screwdriver and got lost in my thoughts.

This must be the place: Ode to Steve Sutton — banjo legend, dear friend

It came as a shock that has had a ripple effect within music circles around Western North Carolina and beyond.

This must be the place: That face in the mirror? Own it.

I didn’t know what to say.

Standing in the doorway of the music venue, he said it so casually. 

This must be the place: ‘In my heart, I am just a boy …’

It was during the first sip of my second beer when it struck me.

“Let’s go see Dave Davies.”

This must be the place

It was immediately familiar. 

Stepping into the Canton Middle School last Friday morning, the sights, sounds and smells of the building transported my mind back to when I was 13 years old some two decades ago. There was the sights of teachers and administrators meandering up and down long corridors, sounds of young teenage boys and girls playfully teasing and laughing with each other, smells of an old gymnasium and predictable cafeteria food.

This must be the place: No time for eggplant parm, let’s talk the cosmos

I had just reached for the eggplant parmesan sandwich when it was asked.

“What do you think about God?”

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