I am old enough and comfortable enough with my shortcomings to just admit it: I am not very good at Halloween. I never really have been. In my youth, other kids my age would imagine and then design — or have their crafty soccer mothers design — elaborate costumes with imaginative accessories. Little Evel Knievels and their little red-white-and-blue outfits with the stars and stripes and big collars, or little Calamity Janes with their cowboy hats, flannel shirts, boots and spurs, threatening the residents of our neighborhoods with their cap pistols until the neighbors turned over their caramel apples or at least a cupful of miniature Snickers.
My 18-year-old son, Liam, departed the mountains for Charlotte two weeks ago when his fall break had ended.
He’s our youngest, the last to fly the coop, and so my wife, Lori, and I had anxiously looked forward to his first visit from college. As one might expect from a growing boy, he wanted some of mom’s cooking, and that meant we would enjoy dinners together. We also spent mornings catching up and talking, visited relatives in Asheville, did some mountain biking, and caught a movie.
I recently wrote a blog post about September being the worst month of my life. One day seemed to awkwardly stumble over the next with no rhyme or reason emotionally or logistically. I was in a grief-induced fog, feeling a lot of anger and isolation, just basically trying to take each day in its singular form and not worry about what was to come.
I am at the salad bar, evaluating the freshness of the broccoli and spinach, deciding whether I want croutons or sunflower seeds sprinkled on top, when I perceive a short, stocky man with dark hair sizing me up from the other side. I can already sense what is coming. Am I a confederate? Or, shudder, a liberal? Maybe apolitical, though how could I be — how could anybody be — with so much at stake in this election? He approaches, and I turn to acknowledge him just as I spear my second radish.
“That damn Hillary Clinton is out to ruin this country, you know it?” he says, leaning in a little. “If she gets in, we won’t recognize America two years from now.”
By Dave Waldroup • Guest Columnist
Legendary former Chicago Bears head football coach Mike Ditka has now joined the chorus of protesters who bash San Franciso 49’ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick for his peaceful protest against racism in America today. His protest is by kneeling (in prayer) while the national anthem is being performed prior to National Football League games.
There were left hooks and right uppercuts. The crowd couldn’t look away as they cringed with each blast and low blow. There was cheering and there were muttered remarks of disgust under the tongues in this presence of this public spectacle. It wasn’t a heavyweight match. It was the second presidential debate in the 2016 election this past Monday evening.
Lately I’ve been hanging out at The Open Door in Frog Level and I have to admit, it’s my new favorite joint in town. After my mom passed, I began to feel overstimulated in traditional settings like ballgames, street festivals, and even crowded restaurants. All the noise, clanging, and happy sounds were so discordant with my melancholy; I would leave feeling exhausted and agitated.
Cruel. That was it, that’s the word that defines why I think Donald Trump is unfit to be president. Obviously, some others have already come to that conclusion.
Like many Americans, I have spent too much of the time I have left on this earth cringing while listening to what Trump has said since he started seeking the highest office in the land, wondering how he has gotten this far.
Western Carolina University’s faculty has wrestled through months of both tedium and spirited debate in devising how best to manage a controversial gift from a politically charged foundation, and in doing so has apparently succeeded in doing a better job than any university in this country in protecting academic freedoms and its own integrity.
It’s a lofty achievement, one that deserves praise (and emulation from other institutions) and one that should make its faculty and this region proud.
We are still near the dawn of the Internet age. We can get just about any information we desire in a matter of seconds, so much information that a simple Google search on practically any subject will turn up literally thousands and thousands of “hits.” This has obvious advantages if you are looking for the best restaurant in, say, Hickory, or if you want to know who won the Dodgers game last night, or if you are trying to find out why your dog is sick by typing in her symptoms. It is all there for the taking.