• Cleanliness closest to Godliness? How about sanitizing in church?

    My great-aunts Ruthie and Kathleen sat on the front porch swing. I watched them as they rocked, talking non-stop. They were gossiping as they frequently did on warm days. But since Ruthie and Kathleen had a name for gossipers--newstoters--they were just “catching up.”

    I was sitting below them on the steps, pretending to play with my boring paper dolls, absorbing every word.

  • Some say Maco Light is legend, but one man says he’s seen it several times

    Some people may think the ghostly Maco Light is no more than a local legend, but Bob Johannesen believes it’s real.

    He’s seen it several times himself.

    Johannesen, who lives near Greensboro and has a home in the Holden Beach area, vividly remembers going to the Wilmington & Manchester railroad tracks in Maco (near the U.S. 74/76 and N.C. 87 intersection) several times as a kid.

  • Stand up for freedom of information, vote out those who don't

    Forgive me if I sound like a broken record.

    If you’re tired of reading about the public’s right to know, freedom of information and responsible government, you might not want to continue reading.

    But if you’re tired of irresponsible government, behind-the-scenes decision-making and shady, if not unlawful behavior, by public officials, this column might interest you.

    Here comes the broken record part—public business should always be discussed, deliberated on and decided in public.

  • Illiteracy comes home to roost

    It was a wintry day during 2001 in Pristina, Kosovo, when as an U.S. International Police Officer for the United Nations, I was dispatched to a routine call for broken windows at a high school.

    That day generated my continuing interest in education for the disadvantaged and abating the tragic effects of illiteracy right here in Brunswick County.

    Beginning in Kosovo

  • Let's get back to our roots and turn up the bluegrass

    With the popularity of the 2001 movie “O Brother Where art Thou?” came a resurgence of bluegrass and other “roots” music: songs made for singing with your family and friends on the porch at night, long before anyone knew about a recording industry or $40-a-head concerts.

    It’s similar to what happened in the 1960s when the bluegrass duo Flatt and Scruggs wrote songs for the movie “Bonnie and Clyde” and the theme to “The Beverly Hillbillies,” except this time, it was more about the music than the artist.

  • What’s the story? Looking for folk tales from Brunswick County

    When writer Renee Sloan got back from covering a ghost walk in Southport for our last Island Living of the year, she knew I’d be interested.

    She shared some of the stories of the county’s coast and gave a play-by-play of what happens on the nighttime history and paranormal discussion presented by the Old South Tour and Carriage Company around downtown Southport.

  • It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game

    Oftentimes, we let competition get the best of us.

    How many times do you see athletes make an unnecessary scene when a play goes wrong or when they don’t agree with a call? (I’m talking to you, Serena.)

    How many times have you been at a community sporting event and witnessed a parent or a coach engaging in the same reprehensible behavior? How many times have you personally gotten angry, said or did things you later regret while playing a simple game?

  • Joy of Coke, Pepsi, plastic quickly fizzling and melting

    It wasn’t that long ago sipping soda from a bottle—Coke, Pepsi or Cheerwine—was about as American and North Carolinian as you could get.

    As a kid, I lived for the times when my mother would let us go fetch a little bottle of Coke tucked in a secret place in the kitchen or down in the basement.

    Fond are my memories of perching at the counter at Woolworth’s or discovering the wonder of the new McDonald’s with an icy soft drink as a tooth-busting complement.

  • Bye-bye, daytime. Hello, on-demand

    “The Guiding Light” began its life as a 15-minute radio serial in 1937 and was on the air in one form or another until its final episode, broadcast last Friday, Sept. 18.

    That’s 72 years of life for a daytime soap opera, and it’s an accomplishment that deserves some respect.

  • Memories of Hurricane Floyd are greater than images

    My dad pulled up outside the Police Station on Oak Island. I was nervous, but I wanted to do it.

    “You want me to go with you?” he asked.

    “No! That would look dorky,” I said. “I am a grown-up now. I’ll be fine.”

    As I said that, I was shaking inside. It was my first real experience working for a newspaper—well, sort of.