Among the many gifts my parents gave me, both the most powerful and the most mysterious were the books that lined the shelves on either side of our stone fireplace. My dad built the fireplace as a source of heat in the large room that he added to our trailer, and its heat and light provided an ideal place for a child to read the books that arrived through the mail in boxes with exotic labels like Works by Jules Verne or Disney’s World of Fantasy. Even the books I could not read haunted me with the words I deciphered on their spines, such as Native Son, The Way of All Flesh, and Sense and Sensibility.

Caught you being good

My dad called the other day and said he had a fun Christmas surprise for my boys. Knowing my dad this “surprise” could have been anything. This is the man who gave my older son a fake zippo lighter when he was 2 years old. When you popped open the top, it said, “Get ‘er done.”

There are still plenty of children in need this Christmas in Swain County and your donation to the Swain County Family Resource Center could help.

Two years ago, David was a different person than he is today. At 14 years old, his moods rapidly bounced around from extreme feelings of anger to unbridled energy. He couldn’t concentrate at school and didn’t understand why he couldn’t control his emotions.

Several parents made it clear during a recent Swain County commissioners meeting they want to have more recreational opportunities for their children.

What started as a discussion about private vendors selling concession items at the rec department during youth sporting events quickly became an airing of grievances regarding the lack of programming for residents at the rec center.

Play, it is said, is the work of children.

But a substantial population of disabled kids who’ve up until now been excluded from playing with their peers — peers of all ability levels — will soon have much work to be done.

I should have been ready for it, but I wasn’t. My daughter’s sixteenth birthday couldn’t have come as a shock to me, and yet it did. I have had all these years to prepare for this day, but I am not sure there is any way that you can really prepare for it, that day when your child places one foot squarely into the swampy chaos of adulthood, with the other foot all too soon to follow. Because, brothers and sisters, once they get their driver’s license, it’s the beginning of the end.

Expectant mother Caitlin Austin of Balsam never imagined giving birth to her second child in a car. 

Mission Health leaders finally agreed to hold a meeting in Franklin to discuss their controversial decision to close the labor and delivery unit at Angel Medical Center, but the public and the media were not allowed to attend.

It must have been a mom who coined the adage “time flies.” I swear it feels like last week when I was a seventh-grade teacher having contractions in the Waynesville Middle School cafeteria and barely making it to the hospital before my water broke.

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