Arts + Entertainment

When I was just about the same age my son is now, my dad took me to Atlanta to see the Atlanta Braves take on our favorite team, the Los Angeles Dodgers. I wore my blue plastic Dodgers batting cap and was thrilled not only to see the players I knew from television and newspaper box scores in person, but to be there with my dad to see my first Major League baseball game in person.

Supermarket flowers

My mom loved fresh flowers. It was a fun routine for my dad, sister and I to pick up a bouquet from Ingles or Trader Joe’s or whatever supermarket we happen to be visiting. Her face would light up when we walked in the door holding a rainbow of petals. She would smile to herself while arranging the flowers just the way she liked.

Over the past year in the wake of my mom’s death, I’ve written a lot about her and my grief in this column. As I stumbled along, month by month, trying to remember and forget at the same time, life and work propelled me forward.

Edisto Beach, South Carolina – I will never forget the pictures. The day after Hurricane Matthew plowed through — and plowed up — Edisto Beach last October, I found a series of photographs someone had taken of the devastation along Palmetto Boulevard, which was no longer visible underneath a deep layer of sand and debris. Beachfront decks had been reduced to heaping mounds of kindling, street signs snapped like match sticks slanting this way and that, the twisted and jagged remains of patio furniture and wind-blasted beach umbrellas resembling giant, metallic insects, various and sundry decorations that had once adorned quaintly-appointed residences, now strewn haphazardly across the landscape like toys in a child’s playroom.

We got to the stop sign at the bottom of our mountain in our fully loaded truck — bikes, camping gear, clothes, food, coolers, books, magazines — and we had to make a decision: left or right. On the fly, we chose left.

Left meant Interstate 40 and the route up through Knoxville, Lexington, Cincy, Toledo and eventually to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Right would have taken us up I-26 and eventually through Columbus, Ohio, before turning west and then north to make our destination. GPS programs touted the I-40 route as shorter, but travelers we had talked to said the other way was often faster because you avoided so many large cities.

I’ve known Ted Carr many years, and he is not a liar.

That charge has been leveled against him by at least one supporter of the five members of the Haywood Republican Alliance whose loyalty to the party has been called into question.

Since my mom’s passing almost a year ago, my dad and I have become very close. Without her here as our anchor, we’ve relied on one another. I now talk to him about things once reserved for my mom or sister.

The chairman of the conservative House Freedom Caucus says there could be a government shutdown if money isn’t included in a spending bill for President Trump’s border wall with Mexico.

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), the caucus chairman, said Monday that conservatives will block any spending bill that doesn’t include the funding.

Half a year into his presidency, it seems pretty clear that Donald Trump would rather continue campaigning — or golfing, or both — than actually governing the country. Who can blame him? It is so much easier and more gratifying to stir up the troops with snide remarks about Hillary Clinton or the free press and to make exciting promises about reforming health care and lowering taxes than it is to confront a fundamental truth: the Republican party has had years to consider, craft, and deliver a health care plan that would supplant the much maligned Affordable Care Act, and the best they could do was offer a plan that guts Medicaid to the tune of $830 billion to fund a huge tax cut for the wealthy, while leaving millions Americans without any health care at all. Brilliant.

I call myself an adventurer.

While I do love to travel, adventuring isn’t just about experiencing new places and seeing new things. In my mind, a true adventurer works to find novelty and excitement in the seemingly mundane, in her everyday surroundings.

As I sit to write a day before Independence Day, it seems I keep hearing voices questioning whether the shared American identity that has driven this country through so many travails will survive what the modern world is throwing at us.

It’s hard to define just what that shared identity is. Is it our very basic belief in freedom and the will to protect it at all costs? Is it that every person should have the opportunity to rise to the level of his or her ability? Or the belief that honor, justice and morality as enshrined by the founders set us apart from other nations? Corny as it sounds, those statements ring true for me.

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Reading Room

  • A strange mix of books crosses my desk
    A strange mix of books crosses my desk The first weeks of 2018 have seen some offbeat books shamble across my desk and into my fingers. First up is John Buchan’s Mr. Standfast, also known as Mr. Steadfast. Buchan, a Scottish novelist and politician who served as Governor General of Canada from 1935…
    Read more...
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