If you watched the television sitcom “Black-ish” last week, you saw how the dad on the show, Dre, faced down his 40th birthday and threw a party. I related to the episode because I, too, (ahem, cough) am facing down 40 this year. I’ve still got several months left of my 30s, but the hill beckons me over.
March is the best. As this weekend ushers in the official commencement of spring, let us reflect on the greatness of March. This won’t be a column just about March Madness, though that’s certainly part of it. We’ll get to basketball. But first, flowers.
Call them out. Sometimes people deserve to be called out. Now, we know that the racist fraternity students at the University of Oklahoma were immediately called out, the fraternity disbanded and the university swiftly dealt the appropriate response.
On the rainy, windy morning this past Thursday, I found sanctuary in a teacup and saucer. My teacup contained church coffee. Because one of my beats is religion, I cover quite a few events at places of worship that include the requisite carafe of coffee. I’ve been to nine years’ worth of congregational gatherings that include food or at the very least, coffee. There’s always coffee.
Who were those folks complaining two weeks ago that the Triangle hadn’t gotten any snow yet this winter? Certainly, ahem, cough, not me. Oh, alright, I wanted at least one real snow to see the world in a blanket of white and full of crisp winter promise.
Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill, for all their storied rivalry and occasionally sincere dislike for each other, lets that battle of the blues fall away when it really matters. At Wednesday’s game, Duke students wore “DEAN” T-shirts — in Duke blue naturally — but with the point of an in memoriam to the late great Dean Smith, storied UNC basketball coach and legend off the court as well.
We are halfway through Black History Month, so that leaves you another two weeks to take advantage of events sharing local and national African-American history. But don’t only learn during the shortest month of the year. Concerts, classrooms, discussions, exhibits — there are a plethora of ways to absorb the knowledge now and later.
As I write this a few days before you’re reading it, I know my weekend will include helping my boy write all 21 names in his class on their “Paw Patrol” Valentines. Thankfully this is one activity that cannot become digitized. You don’t give first-graders e-Valentines. No social media Valentine’s Day wishes. It’s the print edition for Valentines at the elementary school level.
Breaking news: women like sports. I’m being sarcastic because women have liked sports forever, have played sports, have watched sports, sports, sports, sports, etc. But some advertising folks seem to think that the audience for televised sports is just men who, shall we say, are not intellectual. Or have mothers, wives or daughters. We know that’s not true. Televised sports are a cultural phenomenon that goes way beyond some guy sitting in a recliner with a beer.
While Los Angeles stands alone in its transportation issues, here in the Triangle we can also go on forever about what’s the best route to get to points A, B, C and back. I never tire of traffic talk. A few years ago I wrote about those late mergers when the Durham Freeway merges onto Interstate 40, and got some of the more salty comments from readers who also do not like those who, ahem, cut in line at the last minute when the rest of us were waiting patiently.
I never chose an ACC North Carolina allegiance, but my son has. It is Duke. This will please the Duke fans who wrote to me after my column about Duke football games being affordable, urging me to consider Duke as my local team. This will not please all you UNC fans, obviously. Which includes my sister, even.
A year ago this month, Antonio Dixon was shot and killed in Durham. I covered a vigil for Dixon held in May at Spaulding and Linwood streets behind the Lincoln Community Health Center. Dixon was shot nearby on Jan. 14, 2014. Less than a year after Dixon’s death, a good friend who spoke at his vigil would also die, his life ended by an allegedly drunk driver.
The holidays are almost done and the new year upon us, which means one thing: time to write those thank you notes.
It’s time for my seasonal attempt at humor, in the sort of format of “A Visit from St. Nicholas (’Twas the Night Before Christmas)” by Clement C. Moore. But first, a “The Simpsons” reference. My writing below does not exactly fit the definition of a limerick, so I’ll call it a lime rickey, which is close enough. A lime rickey is a drink I heard of because of Mr. Burns. So enjoy this written lime rickey. Season’s greetings, ya’ll.
“Frosted windowpanes, candles gleaming inside, painted candy canes on the tree…” As Frank Sinatra sang it, I’m ready for all of it. The frosty windows, the candles, the painted, well, the made-in-a-factory candy canes on the tree. I’ve only just started putting candy canes on the tree even though I haven’t had a dog in 20 years. Growing up, our dog Tootsie would definitely eat candy canes or any other ornament that appeared to be food. In third grade, I made an ornament that used glue, foam, fabric and an old ice cream cone. Guess who ate the cone right off the tree? Lesson learned.