March Madness!

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, March 2009 ~~

There comes a time every year in Carrboro, when the daffodils are unfurling and bare dogwood branches are studded with buds that dramatically pause before bursting into dazzling bloom. It is a magical time, replete with the accompanying cheery trill of birdsong. And, yet, somehow I miss it. Instead of the glories of purple crocus and the flush of redbud, I am watching an orange ball go through a metal hoop against the hallelujah chorus of squeaking sneakers. Screw spring.

God, I love the sound of basketball shoes on polished wood. Continue reading

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Rock ’em, sock ’em

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, November 2008 ~~

My people are North Carolina people. Mountain people. My mother’s mother went to high school with Andy Griffith in Mount Airy. Mimi’s daddy, Quilly pack, was the original “Floyd” the Barber. My father’s mother’s father actually was the Deputy Sheriff in Pilot Mountain. I mean, Mount Pilot.

When Grandma Pack wanted some Yuletide mistletoe, she used her shotgun to blast some out of the treetops. And my father’s father’s father was a bootleg moonshiner. There’s a story about him shooting up the police station to break out his son. Or something. The details are a bit sketchy. Continue reading

The town, it is a changin’

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, October 2008 ~~

Sometimes I miss Golden Skillet. I’m sure I am better off since they’re not around, but it was fun when my mom would drop the old family truckster off at Sparkle Car Wash on Ladies’ Day and we could all sit next door and eat crispy, delicious fried chicken, waiting for the car to be cleaned. No, that is not my stomach growling. You must be hearing things. Continue reading

Burger envy

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, August 2008 ~~

I love a good burger. In fact, I fancy myself to be a bit of a burger connoisseur. There is something so completely visceral and just, well, satisfying, about eating something so decadent that must be gripped solidly with both hands. Fighting to wrap your mouth all the way around it. Trying to get all the goodness into a single mouthful. And though heaven knows you need a napkin, you really don’t want to stop and put it down to reach for something to wipe your chin.

A good burger, done well, makes a bun mandatory for soaking up the juices. A good burger, done well, will be seasoned just so – to let the flavor of the beef come bursting through. And a good burger, done well, will never be well-done. Continue reading

I like to ride my bike

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, April 2008 ~~

I was a child of the seventies. So the bike I remember most vividly was banana yellow with, of course, a yellow banana seat. The white plastic basket on the front had one pink daisy and one blue, both with yellow centers. For fun I put neon-colored straws on the spokes of my wheels.

I lived on Booker Creek Road, the last street in Lake Forest in Chapel Hill, in a J. P. Goforth house. I went to Seawell Elementary, which was the new school in town. I knew all the words to Free To Be You And Me. In the winters I prayed for snow. In the summers I smelled of lake water. Continue reading

Welcome to Carrboro Free Press

~~ Originally printed in Carrboro (NC) Free Press, October 2007~~

It is 6,342 steps across Carrboro.

Along the way, you will pass McDougle School and the Carrboro Branch Library, two streets called Oak, two grocery stores, and Fitch Lumber Company, where Marc, Mike, and Marshall are ready to ring up your purchase of six picture hangers, three switchplates, two duplicate keys, and a fire extinguisher.

Along the way, you will see eight cyclists, six runners, three city buses, and eleven people waiting at bus stops, including three women jostling babies and bags of groceries and wishing there was a bench to sit on. Continue reading