On a recent Valentine’s Day in Carrboro, a husband brought home to his wife a dozen roses “bundled in red crepe paper and tied up with a pink satin bow” and a small box of “ebony hearts and dense chocolate squares topped with sea salt like cut glass.”
Sounds nice, but nothing special, maybe you are thinking.
But this was a first for this long-time married couple. In the past “each year without fail” she had given him presents on this day, but he had never before reciprocated. And the presents she had given him, “cologne and shaving cream bottles,” were neatly lined up unopened under the sink. “Nearly identical shirts and sweaters” were still hanging in his closet, untouched.
“Down East” in North Carolina does not mean what you think it means.
Orange County is blessed, they say, with many great writers who call our area home. Of course, many moved here from some other place. Daniel Wallace, for instance, grew up in Alabama, where he set his first novel, “Big Fish.”
Then there are others who grew up with us and then moved someplace else, like Jay Leutze, who now lives in Avery County. It is the scene of his compelling and highly praised “Stand Up this Mountain,” a non-fiction account of a long, complicated, and successful effort to save a treasured mountainside from a quarrying operation.
The good news for all of us in North Carolina is that the unemployment rate is declining and the increase in economic activity is opening up new jobs to replace some of those we lost during the recession.
“Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave, I am the dream and the hope of the slave. I rise. I rise. I rise.”
This quote from Maya Angelou helps us remember how closely connected “Black History Month” is to the history and the horrors of slavery.
A headline from The Hollywood Reporter could be read to send the same message: “Oscar Nominations: ‘12 Years a Slave’ Remains the Film to Beat.”
What happens to a promising young athlete’s career when it comes to an end earlier than expected or hoped?
If you were Hillsborough’s Allan Gurganus, you would probably want to kick back and rest a little bit after touring around the country visiting book stores and book groups to talk about the new book, “Local Souls.”
The three novellas in the book have gained glowing critical attention across the country.
Reviewer Jamie Quatro wrote in The New York Times, “It’s been 12 years since Gurganus last published a full-length work -- but if there remains any doubt of his literary greatness, his fifth book, ‘Local Souls,’ should put it to rest forever."
“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me.”
These words from Isaiah 6:8 inspired the daughter of a pre-Civil War Southern slaveholder to travel to Africa as the wife of a Baptist missionary to bring the Word of the Lord to the Yoruba people in what is now Nigeria.
When she was a little girl, Jodi Magness did not dream of growing up to be a movie star.
From the time she was in the seventh grade, she says she dreamed of being an archaeologist. She made that dream come true. Today she is Kenan Distinguished Professor for Teaching Excellence in Early Judaism at UNC Chapel Hill, the leader of important archaeological excavations in Israel, and the author of several important books on archaeology.
What could you learn from a trip down the Cape Fear River?
H.G. Jones knows how to put a mark on important historical events. He spent a lifetime doing it for others, serving as curator of the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill for many years. Before that he was director of N.C. Department of Archives and History.
A recent day at Galloway Ridge in Fearrington Village marked another important event, his 90th birthday. Not content to celebrate only with his friends, he joined with two fellow Galloway residents, Lee Stillman, who also became 90 this month, and Ted Reyling, who became 95.
Their friends and families packed the largest room at Galloway Ridge.
When Franklin McCain died last week, I remembered how often his acts and his words inspired me.
Finally there is good news again about Chapel Hill in The New York Times and other national media.
After raking our university over the coals last week and then blowing on those coals to keep the story alive, today’s Times turns favorable attention to our town. The Times Sunday Book Review heaps praise on “Starting Over,” the new book of short stories by Chapel Hill author Elizabeth Spencer.
Famed Chapel Hill author Elizabeth Spencer has proved a North Carolina rule again.
“Ninety is the new 60.”
Around here in Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, any news about Lee Smith is big news.
It is not only because she is such a prominent citizen whose writing brings favorable attention to our towns from her fans across the world. It is more because she has earned the friendship of so many by her generous contributions of her talent and fame to so many good causes in our community. She has been a promoter, mentor and best friend to most of the many writers and aspiring writers who live here.