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Columns

  • Dear Santa: Strange and great gifts for children

    A few nights ago, my sister-in-law shared a photo of my nephew, who’s 3, and niece, who’s 9 months old, sitting with Santa. It reminded me to ask her and my kid brother what I should get their children for Christmas.

  • A lot can happen in a decade — looking back 10 years ago

    This December marks the 10th anniversary of my beginning as a full-time employee of The Brunswick Beacon — on Dec. 17, 2003, to be precise.

    I know it’s hard to believe — where did the time go?

    In other ways it seems like a long, long trek. So much can happen and has happened in a decade.

    And as newspapers are wont to do when filling up space, now is as good a time as any for me to do a “looking back 10 years ago” column.

  • Shallotte teen sends message, sets example for holidays

    On Black Friday this year, the only thing many of us wanted to do was brave crowds of shoppers and find the best bargains or stay put at home, safe and sound with our Thanksgiving leftovers.

    All 17-year-old Kaitlyn Shook wanted to do was raise awareness about how good we have it and how many others — including some of our neighbors — aren’t so fortunate in this season of celebration.

  • Maps help clear path through writer’s block

    I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve got a Thanksgiving gluttony hangover or because last week’s column left me exhausted, but this week I’m facing a wicked case of writer’s block.

  • Thankful for friends who become family

    It’s funny to me that we should have a story on our front page this week and last with a connection to my old stomping grounds of Darlington County, S.C. It’s where I lived for most of the past two decades and where I met the man who became one of the best friends I’ll ever have in my life.

    It’s only right as we celebrate Thanksgiving this week for me to introduce you to Dwight Dana, who inspired the name of my weekly column.

  • Enjoying the cold is far better than having a cold

    Now that I’ve spent most of my life in the Carolinas, I tend to dismiss weather forecasts that call for snow, even in November. Most of the time, it seems, it only takes the rumor of a few flakes to send the natives scurrying for bread and milk. Then, if there’s a possibility of the slightest bit of accumulation, schools and businesses consider delays and closings.

  • Some of us still remember where we were when JFK was shot

    “Where were you when JFK was shot?” was the question that used to resonate throughout the country as a standard reminder of a time-stopping event nearly every American could recall.

    But the 50th anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination looming this week is a stark reminder how time has soared ahead.

    I still remember.

  • Celebrating my oldest, dearest friend’s birthday

    Until my kid brother Jim married and started a family of his own, the birthday of every member of my immediate family fell in the fall. My mom and dad had their birthdays (and wedding anniversary) last month, and Jim’s birthday was this past week.

  • Explaining what we don’t do so you know what we do

    The caller was frustrated, yelling as he took issue with our recent news coverage.

    “What do you people do there?” he asked angrily.

    I was taken aback — and insulted. What do you mean, what do we do? We report the news! Oh, and field the occasional furious, confusing or delusional phone call.

    I tried to explain how and why we report the stories we do, but he wasn’t having it. He’d made up his mind to be mad, and nothing I said was going to change it.

  • If only every day could be Halloween

    A week or two ago, one of my friends from back in Florence, S.C., posted online a photograph she’d taken recently of a woman standing in a checkout line at a store somewhere around there. The woman had long pink and black hair and was wearing a long Renaissance-style black dress with lace around the hem and long sleeves with the shoulders cut out — punk rock hair and a witch’s outfit. My friend told the woman she liked her costume. The woman replied, “It’s not a costume.”