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Columns

  • Let there be (Christmas) lights

    Christmas is one of my favorite times of the year. The smell of pine in my nose and the dazzle of Christmas lights twinkling in my eye make my soul jump.

    I have always been enamored by decadent holiday light displays. They beckon many fond memories of my childhood.

    Over the years, my father toyed with outdoor lights from the multicolored to the classic white, but nothing says home for the holidays like the candles in the window and the spotlighted wreath on the front door of my parents’ home.

  • Does political correctness now trump common sense, sanity and Christmas spirit?

    I am a pro-life Christian. Chances are, if you’ve ever read the words that usually occupy this space, you’ve probably already assumed as much. But I tend to steer clear of such topics.

    By their inherent nature, these topics also tend to be loaded topics, and one usually has little chance in persuading his or her readers to change his or her mind about his or her stance on life, so, like I said, I’ve found it’s best to avoid the subject.

  • Post-Thanksgiving frenzy enough to make some people freaky on Friday

    In light of this year’s horrendous shopping incidents, Black Friday ought to be re-christened “Wacky Friday.”

    But what do we expect, when the lure of after-Thanksgiving bargains has people rising at ridiculous hours—or not even going to bed at all?

    Sleep deprivation could have been a culprit when one California woman, hell-bent on getting her hands on a bargain Xbox before anyone else, got a bright idea to clear the decks to the deal by pepper-spraying competing shoppers.

    Or maybe she was just plain crazy.

  • Generations separate us, but technology links newfound friends

    We are unlikely pen pals.

    He’s a World War II-era veteran who has tales to share about his service as an Army Air Force medic. 

  • When you fall, make sure you fall forward

    It is so easy to look around and find things in my life I wish were different. There could always be a little more money, a little more food in the pantry, a little more gas in the truck, a little more time off work, a little more time to write, five more minutes to sleep.

    I could make a list a mile long of all the things I want.

    This week as I attempted to write my column I thought a lot about what I am thankful for and the list ranges from my health, a roof over my head, family and friends to the sand in my bed and the meowing of my cats.

  • A heartfelt thanks for Thanksgiving and a community challenge for Christmas

    With super committees and debt ceiling debates, presidential primary politics and economic woes, it’s easy to get caught up (and fired up) with today’s political and economic climate.

    It’s easy to get frustrated, wishing your hard-earned portfolio didn’t take a nosedive every time someone in Europe sneezed. Perhaps it’s pushed back your retirement another few years. Maybe you can’t sell your house to get out from under an upside-down mortgage.

  • Rescuer deserves (and gets) a bigger boat for heroic, life-saving effort

    Last year, Connelly Phelps “C.P.” Parker Jr. lost his boat and nearly his life when he ventured out into the ocean to rescue a drowning man off the coast near his home in the Cherry Grove section of North Myrtle Beach, S.C.

    This year, Parker, a superintendent with Blue Sky Building of Shallotte, was awarded a national Carnegie Hero Medal for his brave Aug. 14, 2010, rescue of 59-year-old Rick Bennett of Charlotte. Bennett was being swept out to sea while trying to swim with friends across Hog Inlet.

  • The difference in those who want it all rather than give it all

    I saw something on Facebook the other day that really caught my attention. No, it wasn’t a free iPad offer or people posting random fruits or colors in hopes of expressing some cryptic message with their closest 700 friends.

    It was a picture, well, two pictures really, probably aided by Photoshop or some other photo-editing software.

    If you’re on Facebook, you’ve probably seen it by now. Two photos, side by side, the first a group of what appear to be World War II soldiers, the second a group of Occupy Wall Street protesters.

  • It's almost Election Day—do you know who you're voting for?

    There’s nothing like taking a week off to zap a soul back to reality—my soul, that is. And my reality.

    After five luxurious days consisting of a fantastic (car) cruise to Wilmington (for food and essentials), carpetmen transforming my worn floors and assorted de-cluttering (which I’m still working on), I had to face the inevitability of the following back-to-work Monday this week.

    And approaching elections—how could anyone covering southern Brunswick County forget about those? Certainly not me—except during that blissful week off.

  • Homeless: Nowhere to turn for help

    Last week I received a phone call from my editor saying she thought there was a homeless couple sitting in front of the entrance to Walmart. She knew I was working on a story about homelessness in Brunswick County and suggested I check it out.

    I was just leaving the Beacon for the evening and decided to head over. As I arrived I saw a couple that appeared to be about my age. They were sitting on the ground holding a sign that read “Please Help.”