Where Ma Rainey and Beethoven once unwrapped their bed roll
Tuba players now rehearse around the flagpole
And the National Bank at a profit sells road maps for the soul
To the old folks home and the college FROM “TOMBSTONE BLUES” by Bob Dylan.

TOMBSTONE BLUES WAS ON ALBUM–HIGHWAY 61 REVISITED. 1965, He wrote it when he was 25 years old.


Veterans of the World Series of Poker will tell you that more big money games, or “side games”, are off camera.

Side games show up in various arenas. Several years ago we attended a recreation basketball game my oldest grandson was playing in. First time to see a game for me. However as my son opened the door to the gym we were met by Spider Man. Lingering a moment he, at 5 years old DEMANDED of my son and grandson. “Where’s Lennox?” Lennox was Spider Man’s right hand bower, Son Tee explained. Just watch him. Spider Man was our coaches son. The coach said he wore his Spider Man suit everyday. “Sleeps in it.”

At the next game we took #2 grandson, Lennox ( at 3 and 1/2) along. Watch these guys Son Tee advised. They ranged from 5 to 7 years old and no holds were barred. Whatever their self designed contest required Lennox and Spider Man hung tough. Time out for crying, peeing, and first aid. I couldn’t have been prouder.

Every high school football game has a side game for younger brothers and stout hearted . While all towns differed in 1946 the side games were very similar. Called “tackle the man with the ball” or the unquestioned “smear the queer.” No ball no rules. Maybe a wadded up paper cup and whoever had it was fair game.

As a second grader, I suffered my first permanent injury in Madison, N.C. The Wildcats, on a dirt field, with about ten sixty watt light bulbs, Foot Feynolds (quarerback) led Coach Raymond Cure’s team —featuring Leon Tucker and Lee Anglin. Our game with about twenty kids was on the west end, parallel to the goal post.

Ball ( cup) in my possession, goal not to be felled as long as possible, an unknown lowered his forehead and found my newly minted right front tooth. It almost fell out so I pushed up it with my thumb. Now on the disabled list, I sat in the stands hand to mouth thumb pushing upwards. It stayed in! Might have ushered in the new popular color, charcoal grey, as time went by. As an adult with a little money, I had Dr. Billy Boles cap it and close the natural gap to where it looked pretty good. And served me well for a long time.

As the tooth darkened I told my parents reluctantly what happened. But I begged out of the dental exam. There was hardly any one my Dad’s age that didn’t “come up poor”. His lack of upper teeth age 45 confirmed his back ground. That upper plate in a glass of water scared hell out of me but not as much as our dentist, Dr. McAnnally of nearby Walnut Cove. Nothing has ever generated a fear or pain next that Ballpean hammer of a drill. Nothing. Those who ducked this with the advent of flouride should genuflect daily for that discovery.

Alas the crowned and altered tooth fell to a crust of pizza. Looking like the “what me worry kid a.k.a Alfred E. Neuman, my local Swansboro dentist . Cratg Brown, skillfully drilled and posted me to a new front bumper. The nurse warned me not to bite apples and hard food choices. “This is not a biting tooth. It is a smiling tooth!”

I’m running out of teeth. My left “backuns” are only singular now. And it’s a little shaky.

And on the right my heavy duty, root canal gold cap gave up after thirty years. Dr. Dickie Hogan did the deed for $900. $3 a year i figure. All in all I guess I’m lucky with dentists. Br. Bill Crouch in Elon was good. He didn’t like me calling him Dr. “Ouch” Crouch. Wilson’s Dr.Dwight Johnson caused the least pain, but that was because assistant, Nancy Tyson, was so rough cleaning them you were glad to see Dr. Johnson.

Eating is tricky now. With only a sore side, a gold capped one too far gone to save, and smiley, I have to think hard to locate food with a chewable remainder. Quite a contest. A side game.

“…a man should shed his (‘testicles’) and keep his teeth. hell, he NEEDS his teeth!” (Country’s uncle, Roma Boykin)


Like other retirees I remember that before long I began to feel “the pressure” ease off. Little by little sighs of relief drifted in.

Similarly the anger that has swallowed many of us is easing off. Married to a nurse. I shuddered at what was being thrust upon all the health care people. My wife worked for twenty years as a nurse, then taught Health Occupations for twenty years in two public schools. But her real love came as a hospice nurse, first as a volunteer, then called on to work full time. Later a bone marrow courier . Still hospice owned her heart.

I became a new person with my children’s growth. “Are you Dan’s father? Tee’s? Once at an Elon basketball game a man I had seen a hundred times approached me and asked “Are you Margaret Parham’s husband?” He then told me how she had cared for his dying mother. “No one in our family could or do what she did.”

One of our women’s basketball coaches, the late Anne Lashley, was with me and when he left I mentioned to Anne: You know coach, that’s happened a lot since Margaret began working with hospice— people speaking to me for the first time because of Margaret! Coach Lashley busted me: ” Sorry, Coach, but it has been that way all along.”


Occasionally the same scene with Margaret present went this way. “Mrs. Parham, thank you from our family. How do you do this remarkably tough job? She never says anything but “…it is a gift I have.”

I am good at holding grudges. “W”,Cheney and Rumsfeld, et. al. got us in that Irag war which led to bloodshed and loss of treasure that galls me. Still it stings. For 10 months what has been asked of Americans, particularly nurses and teachers and those who have lost love ones, has infuriated me– knowing large portions of death, suffering and despair could have been avoided.

Trump’s fund raiser (denying he lost) doesn’t anger or puzzle me. If those saps want to pay off his lawyers, carry on. After a lifetime in the sports world, blaming every loss on the referees is nothing new. Neither is “Im gonna my ball and go home.”

Hopefully the nightmare of the last four years will ease off. Forgiveness and anger?

P.S. Trump had a golden opportunity to be the man on horseback. He blew it. By 360 degrees.


They say prayer has the power to heal
So pray from me mother
In the human heart an evil spirit can dwell
I am a-tryin’ to love my neighbor and do good unto others
But oh, mother, things ain’t going well.



More Americans have died from Covid-19 in nine months than in combat over four years in World War II. The virus death toll exceeds 292,000, compared with 291,557 American World War II battle deaths. (New York Times- December 12, 2020).

Yuval Harari in HOMO DEUS contends that mankind will conquer all foes except war, famine and disease. Then those will be eradicated. Pre-election my contention was we must deal with three immediate dangers : Covid, Trump and racism. The deficit, as always, delayed. True climate change, national division, among others loom ominously.

There is hope. Donald is in the rear view mirror. The vaccine was approved last night. Biden has already appointed more good people than the other bunch.

THE CITIZENS OF LONDON by Lynne Olson features the influence Gilbert Winant had in winning WW11. I was unaware of this outstanding man and his quiet leadership. One point in the book features a speech by Winant to British miners. About to strike, Winant called for their solidarity in a speech, copied in large part later. What struck me was that as sure as we were at war in 1943, we are at war today. We face an entirely different foe. Not a country, religion, or ideology or political party, but a virus. My belief is that the same unity called for by Winant is now necessary to defeat the microbes, bigots, ignorance, currently and in the future.

Hear what Winant said:

He “…equated the battle against fascism with the fight for social democracy. The miners and other workers, he said, were on the front lines just as much as soldiers in the field, with the same responsibility to continue the fight. “You who suffered so deeply in the long Depression years know we must move on a great social offensive if we are to win the war completely. It is not a short-term military job. We must solemnly resolve that in our future order we will not tolerate the economic evils which breed poverty and war.” Winant added: “this is not something that we shelve for the duration. It is part of the war.”

“What we want is not complicated,” the ambassador declared. “We have enough technical knowledge and organizing ability….We have enough courage. We must put it to use. When the war is done, the drive for tanks must become a drive for houses. The drive for food to prevent the enemy from starving us must become a drive for food to satisfy the needs of all people in all countries. The drive for manpower in war must become a drive for employment to make freedom from want a living reality….Just as the peoples of democracy are united in a common objective today, so we are committed to a common objective tomorrow. We are committed to the establishment of the people’s democracy.”

“We must always remember,” he said, “that is the things of the spirit that in the end prevail. That caring counts. That where there is no vision, people perish. That hope and faith count, and that without charity there can be nothing good. That by daring to live dangerously, we are learning to live generously. And that by believing in the inherent goodness of man, we may meet the call of your great Prime Minister and ‘stride forward into the unknown with growing confidence.’ “

John Gilbert Winant American Ambassador to Britain during WW11


The southeast is experiencing lots of colleges dropping of sports. Men and women’s tennis teams are among the first to go it seems. The Intercollegiate Tennis Association is trying to stop the bleeding. Here are a few personal observations:

Scholarships: International college tennis players, men and women. are usurping the scholarships. College tennis sold its soul to winning.

Diversity: Coaches hitched on to the popular gravy train of “diversity”. Diversity in college tennis became an American with a large scholarship.

Facilities: The big question is why do athletics directors cut non revenue sports with tiny budgets and paying customers. In our area the schools who have cut tennis often need new, competitive facilities. The price tag has gone up for these. The schools in our area who have dropped tennis all seem to need new facilities. (Appalachain, East Carolina, Winthrop, High Point for a few).

In my active career as a tennis coach I found a sympathetic ear from my athletic directors about saving grants for Americans.

“I’m gonna bring that up at the convention!”) Post convention apologies went like this—“Tom, I’m sorry. The football and basketball problems are so big we forgot about tennis.”

2020 and the squeeze is on and the A.D’s and President’s may be thinking differently: ‘Wait a minute! We are giving eight women’s and 41/2 men’s grants to almost all foreign kids. They eliminate Americans who often pay the freight? Plus we don’t have a reasonable facility and we’ve promised them one for years. More and more are building larger more expensive, arms race courts. And my coach say we can’t be competitive without an indoor facility. What’s that 12 and 1/ 2 times 50k a year in foreign aid. Six hundred thou, plus? Then indoor and outdoor courts, another 3 million?

Conclusion: The only revenue of sizable amount from non-revenue college sports is when an American parent writes that check for 50k.


‘Small, Special and Family’ – Barton Celebrates 90-Year Affiliation With Conference Carolinas


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WILSON, N.C. – As the only remaining original member of Conference Carolinas, Barton College serves as the shining beacon on the athletic hill as the league celebrates its 90-year anniversary on Dec. 6, 2020.

Founded as Atlantic Christian College in 1902, the school did not field an intercollegiate sports team for the first five years of its existence. Then in 1907, a rag-tag group of baseball student-athletes, under the auspices of first-year coach James (J.J.) Walker, became the first team to represent the college on the athletic field of competition.  

In what amounted to a half cup of coffee, Atlantic Christian posted a 0-2 season record. So much for grand openings.    

Yet, the school continued to add sports to its modest athletic program over the next two decades, including men’s basketball (1914), football (1920), boxing and men’s tennis (1928).

According to unofficial sports historian C.J. Holliday, the football team unveiled a first-ever Bulldog mascot in 1928. Named “Mutt,” it should be noted that the dog was not an English Bulldog full breed but, indeed, a mutt.

Then at the height of the Great Depression, the school joined its first-and only-athletic conference. Atlantic Christian College President Howard Stevens Hilley, a Rhodes scholar and Oxford graduate who would preside over the college for 29 years (1920-49), attended a meeting of school Presidents from Appalachian State, Catawba, Guilford, Elon, High Point and Lenoir-Rhyne at the Washington Duke Hotel in Durham, N.C. on Dec. 6, 1930. When the meeting adjourned, the North State Intercollegiate Conference (the forerunner to Conference Carolinas) was born.

For Barton College (renamed in 1990), it’s a marriage that has lasted 90 years. To put that into proper perspective, Duke and North Carolina have belonged to the Atlantic Coast Conference for 67 years (ACC was founded on May 8, 1953), while South Carolina accepted the invitation to join the Southeastern Conference on Sept. 25, 1990.

Beyond being the elder statesmen of Conference Carolinas, Barton continues to thrive in league competition. The Bulldogs captured the conference’s coveted Joby Hawn All-Sports Cup three straight years from 2002-03 through 2004-05, and claimed national championships in tennis (1979 and 1984 NAIA) and men’s basketball (2007 NCAA Division II).

A church-affiliated school with an enrollment of 1,200, former four-time NAIA Tennis Coach of the Year Tom Parham credits the school’s athletic prowess and longevity to two words: humility and pride.

We are such a small school with a limited budget compared to many of the other programs,” said Parham, who steered Barton to a pair of NAIA National Championships and 11 consecutive conference crowns during his tenure (1964-83). “Wilson was a nice little tobacco town filled with teachers and preachers. Not a lot of big money folks. But we still managed to be successful. It was the quality people at Barton that made the difference.”  

Parham, who also served as Barton’s athletic director from 1983-85, was the architect behind the school’s first national championship in any sport when his 1979 men’s tennis team ran the table in the NAIA Tournament.

In many ways, that national title opened the door for many Barton athletic teams to bust down barriers and flourish.

I think we made a real statement to the other sports on campus,” said Parham. “We showed our kids that you can be as good as anybody in America. Of all the legacies I left at Barton, this one is the one I’m most proud of.”

And unlike most college tennis programs, that 1979 squad was composed primarily of American-born players. One of those student-athletes was Tom Morris, a two-time All-American and the No. 1 singles player for the Bulldogs for four straight seasons.  

Morris, who was inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 2010, later enjoyed a sterling coaching career. He was a four-time Conference Carolinas Coach of the Year in leading Barton’s men’s team to six conference championships and women’s squad to four league crowns. He later coached East Carolina’s women’s tennis team to the most victories (320) in school history over 22 seasons and also guided the men’s team for the Pirates to 68 wins in six years.

Parham said Barton’s culture in athletics began to turn in the early 1970’s with the hiring of David Atkins as Athletic Director in 1972.

We were overmatched for a long period of time,” said the legendary tennis coach. “I think we were eighth out of the eight conference teams in overall sports success for 20 straight years. We went through the tough Vietnam era, where our previous Athletic Director wouldn’t let the student-athletes wear long hair or even jeans. When Atkins came in, he supported women’s athletics and the recruiting of minority and international athletes to the school. Before long, we went from eighth to first in the conference.”

Barton, which has held the mantle of last surviving charter member of Conference Carolinas for the past 31 years when Catawba departed in 1989, also benefited greatly from the unswerving leadership of former Athletic Director Gary Hall, who assumed the reins the same year Catawba left the conference. Hall is  the longest-tenured AD in school history (1989-2015) and still holds the title of Emeritus Athletic Director.

Also serving as chair of the physical education department and head men’s soccer coach, Hall oversaw the expansion of intercollegiate sports from nine to 23 (including cheer and dance) that are offered today. His experience at Barton actually started in 1978 when he enrolled as a student, so he has been a keen observer of the growth of Bulldogs athletics for 42 years.

One of the real pivotal moments at Barton was when we and Conference Carolinas changed our affiliation from NAIA to NCAA Division II in 1995,” said Hall. “I was chairing the league’s AD Committee at the time and I’m very proud of the fact that all of the schools wanted to move as a unit because it was in our best interest to seek Division II affiliation.”

Hall harkens back to the 2002-05 period as a seminal time in Barton’s athletic history.

Years earlier, we decided that we wanted to be competitively successful, not only gender equitable but sport equitable across the board,” he added. “We set the goal of winning the conference’s all-sports award. When we won the Hawn Cup three years in a row, I remember us taking a photo in front of the Bell Tower on campus featuring all our student-athletes, support staff and coaches. That photo became a banner that hung in the gymnasium for quite some time. It was very rewarding because everyone pulled for each other, fulfilling a very unifying goal.”

Hall credits coaching continuity as key to consistent success for Barton’s sports programs.

Another goal that emerged significantly during those years was finding stability in head coaching positions,” said Hall. “We began to have people serve for longer periods of time. They stayed and produced results. And we hired and retained good support staff as well.”

The other catalyst for Barton was when its men’s basketball team won the 2007 NCAA Division II Championship in Cinderella fashion, erasing a seven-point deficit in the final 39 seconds in the title game to beat Winona State, 77-75.

Hall remembers the incredible swell of support for the team upon their return to the Wilson campus.

Our mayor, Bruce Rose, called me up right after the game. He said the city had just purchased an automated phone notification system and asked if I was okay with him testing it by notifying the community of the team’s itinerary coming home. I said yes, but little did I know that thousands of residents would respond by lining the highway and gathering on campus!

Another person with long ties to Barton athletics is Russell Rawlings, whose first memories of the school’s teams came during childhood.   

I grew up in Wilson and first started going to basketball games in the mid-60’s when Wilson Gymnasium first opened,” said Rawlings. “I‘ve had an affinity for Barton athletics ever since.”

It’s no wonder Rawlings is such a Barton fan. His life has been intertwined with the college for seven decades. He attended then Atlantic Christian College from 1974-78 while also covering its sports teams for the local Wilson Daily Times. Then he joined the school as Alumni Director in 1984, serving in that position for four years. Later, he moved to Barton’s public relations and development offices for a 10-year stint from 1990-94. Since then, Rawlings has served as an athletic board member and volunteer alumnus, and has filled the master of ceremonies role at the school’s annual Athletic Hall of Fame banquet for the past 35 years.

With that breadth of institutional knowledge, Rawlings is eminently qualified to make comparisons of Barton athletic teams over several generations and eras.

I think the growth and visibility of the athletic program has been the biggest change,” said Rawlings. “And beneath that are individuals and teams that bookmarked that transition over the years. I credit the administrators for their awareness, dedication and importance placed on athletics, which has made it all possible.”

The former sports writer expressed a particular fondness for the 1979 Bulldogs’ men’s tennis team that won the NAIA National Championship and its colorful coach, Tom Parham.

It was the first Barton team to win a national title,” he said. “I was particularly close to that team and the coach, as I covered it for the newspaper. Parham took a program from the ground and showed the school and the town what was possible. Beyond being a great coach, Tom was such an interesting person. He was a brilliant scholar who also loved music. He tried to hide his amazing competitive spirit, but I would get a glimpse during matches. We’re still good friends to this day, and as far as I’m concerned, the line for great Barton coaches will always form behind him.”

While he still cherishes those Bulldog teams of his childhood, Rawlings claims the school’s athletic prowess has made a quantum leap in the 21st Century.

Barton sports have grown exponentially in the last two decades,” he said. “The 2007 national basketball champions generated more enthusiasm in the community and on campus and there’s greater support now. I’m also very impressed with the current administration. We have the perfect president (Dr. Douglas N. Searcy) for the time we’re in. His enthusiasm, leadership and ability to get things done is tremendous. He and our Athletic Director (Todd Wilkinson) are a great combination.”

Rawlings also credits the school’s investment in improved facilities, more scholarships and notable coaches as a major part of the equation.

In those early years, we had no facilities. The teams played at the local high school or recreation center. I think our affiliation with the conference also spurred growth because the league provided a measuring stick for us. You could point to the other schools in the conference and say ‘this is where we want to get to.'”

Adding yet another veteran voice to the Barton conversation is C.J. Holliday, the unofficial sports historian whose 50th Graduation Reunion at the school was postponed this year due to COVID-19.

An avid researcher of Barton sports, Holliday has been known to dig deep into old newspaper files and game programs to unearth new findings about his beloved Bulldogs. He speaks fondly of his days as a student when he became a fan.

It was very exciting,” he said. “We played Appalachian State, Western Carolina, High Point and other good teams. Back in those days, there weren’t many NCAA Division I schools, so NAIA coaches had a chance to recruit some really quality players.”

Such future NBA stars like Lloyd “World B.” Free (Philadelphia 76ers) and M.L. Carr (Boston Celtics) played in the conference in those days.

When schools like Western Carolina came here, the gym was filled,” Holliday recalled. “We beat some good teams like Georgia Southern and Old Dominion. Atlantic Christian had a run-and-gun reputation and played an exciting brand of basketball.”

Now some 50 years later, Holliday continues his love affair with the Barton Bulldogs. He offers an explanation for his long-time affection and loyalty to the program.

For me, it’s just about being a fan,” he said. “I just love the college and the people there. It’s a small, special place. Even as a fan, you’re treated like a big fish in a small pond. You have an opportunity for so much access and recognition. You become part of the family.”

The same can be said for Barton’s 90-year affiliation with Conference Carolinas. Small, special and family. The Bulldogs have set the example as the conference’s patriarch member since 1930.

Bob Rose is a longtime sports public relations executive who has worked for the San Francisco Giants, Oakland Athletics, the NFL Cardinals, Cal, Stanford and other organizations. Conference Carolinas’ official storyteller, Rose will incorporate unique features through his “Body, Mind, and Soul” series into the 90th anniversary celebration.Print Friendly Version


“All of humanity’s problems stem from man’s inability to sit quietly in a room alone,” wrote the French philosopher Blaise Pascal.

I live on an island. It is about thirty miles long. We are one mile from the western end. Sunsets descend over Bear Island or Hammocks State Park, another barrier island. The beach at the end wasn’t a beach at all unless you count sandbags. Only a few years back you could safely dive off them into deep water. When we became permanent residents (retired ding batters according to local “hoi tide” knockoffs), little did we foresee the god send coming.

The channel between Emerald Isle and Bear Island connects the Atlantic to the inland waterway. Dredging the channel to provide deep water access caused a tremendous change in our neighborhood. Sand in huge volume created a whole new end of island. Now you can drive on our new beach with the shoreline hundreds of yards from where the sandbags were. Now four wheel drives can enter and navigate for 13 miles.

One sad fact is that former beach front properties are now “way back” from the now beach. Or the “our beach” as was staked out by boaters who quickly realized any number of fun possibilities dawned: Fishing, swimming, families cooking out, port-o-pots no less, BBQ, and boom boxes. Some weekends, 100 boaters. Shades of Jimmy Buffett.

Too far to walk grandma and the inflatable shark to shore, “the point” became mostly the boater’s haven, with exception of labor day to memorial day. Driving time!! For 100$ and a 4wheeler you can get a sticker. 60$ for residents and zip for us 65 and older property owners. Picnic day for teddy bears.

Once Margaret (wife-type) had ridden on the beach it was pretty clear I had to find a 4wheeler… I knew where to look. Joe Robinson sold me “Joebelle”, a classic jeep Wagoneer popularized by The Big Chill. What an engine. Even though it smelled like Joe’s lab, it was a work horse. Which leads to one of the more interesting facts of beach driving. People get stuck. We got stuck. People do crazy things that get them stuck. Many don’t understand the tide and the wind. Bad mistake (s). Double bad is to get stuck in exit/entrance. Double that if the red drum are biting and Billy Bob can’t get to em. Here are several scenarios about getting stuck:

A. Once Margaret realized what a tow stud Joebelle was, she looked for stuck ones. We bought all the shovels and boards and tow ropes it would carry. One fundamental about getting stuck is that” they” are always there. You may not see “them” at first, but like throwing bread to invisible seagulls, it won’t be long before “they” appear. “What’s wrong there? See you got hung up a little. Roy–go get the tow rope. Here–let me driove er .”(hio tide for drive her.)

Only once were “they” stumped. A pickup up to her axle in the exit. Nothing budged it. Dark approaches. Margaret volunteers for the third time. Same answer- “-little lady we’ll have er out in minute.” Not so, and finally she is up.

With Joebelle already outside, and spotting a grid of thin boards on the top of the exit, Margaret got the wagoneer’s back tires on these boards. She made a good first try but still a tough mire to conquer. I noticed an older man approach Margaret. She nodded and together they located Joeballe with an added ten yards of slack in the tow rope. Margaret revved up dropped her into ultra low, and put the pedal to the metal.

It sounded like the bottom frame was being yanked off and for a moment I feared the jeep would pull the pickup over itself and Margaret. She did a Nascar like peel off, and acknowledged the applause of of grateful gathering of off/on waiters. The old guys shook her hand and she hugged them. I don’t think I’ve seen her happier.

***If you get stuck and don’t know what to do, or don’t have a needed piece of gear, don’t panic. just walk around the vehicle, look puzzelled, scratch you head.”They” will wander out of the dunes. Hey fellow, need some help?

B. Last week a youngster drove through a tidal pool too fast. Took an hour to get him out. Drew a crowd of 100.

C. A yankee knew not the tide . A Red jeep totally under.

D. One caught on fire. No way. Black frame all that remained.

E. Two personals to admit. Watched a deep sunset. Newer red 97 Jeep Sport (Joebelle fizzled) would not crank. Had to get beach wrecker to get to exit, another to get to repair.(250$)

Last week we over worked Red at high tide. Overheated, she quit right in the Black Skimmer exit. Let er cool and she will go again, but we are blocking the exit. Performed the wander around method mentioned above and sure enough a young marine drove up and volunteered ” I’ll get you out” and he did. Margaret tipped 15$. ” He said it was his birthday.”

*Local tip that worked on Joebelle. If your radiator leaks try this: Pour 4 oz. of ground black pepper in the radiator. Start the vehicle and let it run a while. Pepper will rise to the leak and plug. I swear it worked. For a while.

One elderly couple drove their Chevy in to the sand. No sticker, 4wheel drive, nothing. Only us there, the glow kicked on in Margaret’s eyes. Hi Oh Silver. I knew it was bad and wistfully watched as another Jeep with a young couple rounding the dune. I could quickly see and recognize the “I want no part of this look” on the driver’s face. But then his conscience got him and he drove over. Neither of the couple exited the Chev. We three approached them to volunteer when it became apparent they were both deaf and stunned. Communication limited at best. Nothing worked. Plus a game plan was difficult. We finally decided to rope the two vehicles with the young ones dragging seniors backwards. We convinced the old man the Jeep would drive as hard as he could. As the lead jeep gunned off Margaret and I began to scream as loud as we could. This, of course, did no good and in horror we watched the Jeep tear out south as the confused Chevy took off due North. As the rope distance ran out of slack both vehicles bounced straight up about a foot. Both of the old ones were crying when we got there.

Finally we found a solid path. Jeep driver told them just to sit still and put the car in neutral. He turned to us and whispered “…I am going to drag them to the exit as hard as I can and just maybe I can pop them to the top”. I told him he needn’t whisper.

By god it worked. As the Chevy crested the exit top it wobbled down to asphalt. The old man gave the young man some money. All drove off. Margaret said “…you know he gave him a 100$ bill!” I said —twenty minutes ago he would have paid a thousand to get back to New Jersey.

A big moment last week was taking Bubba John McClean riding on the point for the first time. While his granddad, W.B. McClean, was the ramrod that led seven piedmonters to buy from Salter Path to the point, Bubba said he was afraid to drive on the beach. Surprising, as Bubba is a master deep sea diver and a diver at the local aquarium. Bubba, two weeks from having the dreaded bends, liked the tour and hopefully he’ll beach ride now.

**Locals will think I dissed W. B. He was a trip. Get Bubba or his Dad to tell you about Mr. McClean. The one I liked was when he bought the lion from the Hoke County Carnival.

Bubba is like all of us. We know we’ve got some dangers nearby. “If you can see the ocean, it can see you.” Think they call it Bear Island for nothing? Just wander around the nearby Croatan National Forest. Alligators? A 17 and 1/2 footer got hit by a car near Camp Lejuene. Had to get a forklift to get him off Highway 17. One man asked a garden store worker if that alligator yard ornament was for sale? The clerk jumped over the customer when the 7 footer blinked at them. (“probably came up out of the white oak river”)

When you go in the ocean you are no longer at the top of the food chain. Sharks are showing up more, But still rarely. Sting rays are real. Nothing compares to rip tides. Sadly our area has its victims. Still, dolphin are abundant. One lady calls them daily, Swears she can communicate. Once in a while a whale is spotted. The birds are the stars of the show. Pelicans, Seagulls, Geese, All kinds of patterns and migrations are delightful.

When I first got down here, before beach driving, I wandered around on Bogue Banks Pier. Nothing beats seeing young girl or boy catch their first fish. When a school of Red Drum come through, it is close.

One morning at 11am I walked up the pier and the Mullett were running. Forty yards across the green sea was black. They came down the shore line but would not swim under the pier. Around the end, back down the other side of the pier and on down the shore line. I asked how long they had been running and a man said “I’ve been here since 8am. They were coming then”.

An old technique of the local fishers is to put a large net (100yds?) out offshore. Leave it overnight. When the mullett run comes they loop one end around them, attach both ends to tractors and pull the net, loaded, to those who shovel the fish into truck loads. I’ve seen it once. They don’t advertise.

Back to the point and the points. Nature provides blessings and burdens. We have a new, free playground. It is beautiful and fun. Kite surfers do flips and bust the speed limit (20 mph.) Fishing, or looking like you are fishing. Bocce Ball, bait fishermen from the north with coolers and nets. Kites, Lakes formed by high tides. Tidal pools when they subside. One five year grandson started in the shallow pools and now body surfs with his Dad. He has his his own wetsuit and goes in through now (Late November). True, it scares me.

I suggested earlier that there are some more points. True the virus has made us look for ways to wait it out. I believe I contact local owls. I am dough popping the dog ass online Pokerstars free game. We housed a ton of carpenter bees that I fought daily with a badminton racket. Deadly backhand got a lot of them. Then, there is and I bought the last carpenter bee trap from Ace Hardware. Kept a daily tally and watched the battles in the trap jar.

The most important point is this: We are witnessing two opposite meteors. as the virus spirals out of control, the best scientists in history are predicting a cure. Soon.

Hopefully the vaccine will be a reality.

Sit tight.

One fisherman’s tee shirt read “I really like fishing, and maybe three people!”


“…the wicked witch is dead.”

Nightmare over.

Fog lifted


Never should we have been happier. Our soul, spirit.

Got God back.

Look at black friends again

Can sincerely smile at my grand children

Hire good Republicans or those who stood up. And Faucci ,and Steele of RNC.

Flush trump swamp.

Find out what really happened

People who I couldn’t understand, nor they me. (YOU SEE IT FROM YOUR WAY, AND I SEE IT FROM MINE. dylan–

Compromise. What will I give. What for?


Ding-dong! the merry-o sing it high, sing it low
Let them know the wicked witch is dead.

*********************TOP TEN TRUMPS













I might as well pee while I’m here.

its not coffee or whiskey or beer.

Doesn’t take sage to know its old age,

nope, the problem it is really quite clear.

I quit carrying a modern cell phone

Every one I carried got lost.

but maybe a similar case

not quite as small, for seniors a

to conceal a portable urinal.

Some friends are now in diapers.

They come in his or hers.

The name of brands when read,

simply advise , dear friends, “GO AHEAD”!

Never blest with great speed in youth,

things still get slower in truth.

To open my fly, find myself and let fly,

not only in haste, but target forsooth!

The midnight trips to the head,

filled with fear and the dreaded more “goes”,

I’ve worn out the carpet

rushing in darkness, I’ve broken both pinky toes.

Old age doesn’t mix well with hurry,

be sure a growler is near.

so just to head off the flurry—

I might as well pee while I’m here.