Being tempted to let down our guard

Living on Purpose: Being tempted to let down our guard Dr. William Holland Posted 2/26/24By Dr. William HollandYears ago I worked in a department of five people and one day our director was replaced with someone new. The new leader of our team brought a small radio into our office...

Mystery Plant! #763

Mystery Plant! #763 John Nelson Posted 2/21/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com¡Guacamo-le! Guacamo-le! Me gusta el guacamo-le!                                                                                       --a kids’ songThere are two basic reasons why you should make, and eat, guacamole.First, it tastes great. Guacamole, of course, comes from the avocado plant, which is native to warm semitropical forests of the New...

It’s time to do some spring cleaning

Living on Purpose: It’s time to do some spring cleaning Dr. William Holland Posted 2/19/24By Dr. William HollandDo you believe there is such a thing as good and evil, God and Satan? When something good happens do you thank God because you believe He blessed you? What about when something...

Mystery Plant! #762

Mystery Plant! #762 John Nelson Posted 2/14/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com"In an early spring we see the appearing buds;Which to prove fruit, hope gives not so much warrant as despairThat frosts will bite them."                                King Henry IV, Part 2: I: 3.I'm just like Lord Bardolph, who was afraid that just as soon...

Remembering Cale Yarborough

Remembering Cale Yarborough Tom Poland Posted 2/14/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe breaking news alert held just 29 words.“Cale Yarborough, a NASCAR great, dies at 84. Known for his fierce toughness and grit, Mr. Yarborough won the Daytona 500 four times and the Southern 500 five times.”His death brought back memories...

A New Backroad Magazine

Backroad Portfolio A New Backroad Magazine Tom Poland Posted 2/12/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net You cannot raise your ancestors from their grave, but you can appreciate how they lived. Just take a backroad deep into the countryside and perchance turn onto a dirt road. You’ll see old farms and their...

First Taste of Blackstrap Molasses

First Taste of Blackstrap Molasses Tom Poland Posted 2/9/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netMid 1950s, early morning on the farm, it was. Rivers of gold ran down the stack of pancakes on the old oak table. Butter pooled higher and higher and I expected it to spill onto the old table...

Broomstraw Brooms

Broomstraw Brooms Tom Poland Posted 2/7/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI call it broomstraw. Others broomsedge. Whatever you call it, it doesn’t kill my memories of my grandmother’s homemade brooms. About a yardstick long, they stood in corners throughout the house. That made them handy. They were simple. They were effective....

Mystery Plant 761

Mystery Plant! #761 John Nelson Posted 2/7/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIt's so Fly-Day, Fly-Day Chinatown…                                                                Yasuha, 1981This song came out 40 years ago, or so, and of course I wasn’t “hip” enough then to quite understand what it was all about. It was a rather popular song, though, in a good many...

When the Border Boys Were Young

When the Border Boys Were Young Tom Poland Posted 2/5/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netBefore the photos, Robert Clark had been photographing architecture for ten years. I had been writing scripts for documentaries. Much earlier, during a teaching stint, I submitted a paper to an academic journal. That earned me an...

Grace that is greater than all our sin

Living on Purpose: Grace that is greater than all our sin Dr. William Holland Posted 2/5/24By Dr. William HollandSince you were conceived God has wanted your attention. He has never neglected or ignored you. If you were to write down all the blessings and victories He has given over the...

Bonham House—Last Of Its Kind

Bonham House—Last Of Its Kind Tom Poland Posted 1/31/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIn Saluda County an old homeplace sits on brick piers. It’s as solid as the Rock of Gibraltar, but that wasn’t always the case. Some refer to the old homeplace as Flat Grove. Some the Bonham House. If...

Mystery Plant 760

Mystery Plant! #760 John Nelson Posted 1/31/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comOne of my favorite trees here at the University grows right behind the herbarium. It’s been there for years (the building was constructed about 1974), and is now about 25’ tall. (I’m terrible at estimating heights of trees…but let’s just say that...

Long Lost Lisbon

Long Lost Lisbon Tom Poland Posted 1/31/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net“The oak was so big, five men could link hands and not reach around it.” On a clear December day I walked where about eight feet of water had retreated. Perhaps I walked where that oak’s roots reached deep into...

The Million Dollar Quartet

The Million Dollar Quartet Tom Poland Posted 1/29/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI go back now, back to August 1, 2012. That’s the day the University of South Carolina Press published Save The Last Dance For Me. Strange circumstances united me with the Society of Stranders, those dedicated shaggers. Together, we...

A novel for now

Everything and Nothing: A novel for now Aïda Rogers Posted 1/26/24By Aïda RogersIt’s December 1916, and along the coast of South Carolina, things aren’t right. In the swamps and rivers around Georgetown, turtles and alligators sun themselves. Snakes and fish cavort in open waters. Weirdly warm, rain is long overdue.In town,...

The joy of the handwritten letter

The joy of the handwritten letter Reba Campbell Posted 1/24/24By Reba CampbellWhen I was growing up, the family mailbox was a magic chamber that delivered cards with good wishes, postcards from interesting places and an occasional gift from a far-off relative. Today’s mailboxes, however, often are more of a torture...

Mystery Plant 759

Mystery Plant! #759 John Nelson Posted 1/24/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comNot many flowers to see about this time of year, and certainly not those of woody plants. There are a few: you may know of Cornelian cherry with its very early yellow flowers, and then there a few varieties of “winter cherry”...

Do we love sin more than God?

Living on Purpose: Do we love sin more than God? Dr. William Holland Posted 1/22/24By Dr. William HollandA few weeks ago, we talked about a man named Achan and how his secret sin was not a secret to God. The book of Joshua in chapters 6 and 7 reveals this...

If A Photo Is Worth 1,000 Words …

If A Photo Is Worth 1,000 Words … Tom Poland Posted 1/22/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netWhy do we need cutlines? Simple. To better serve the reader. A cutline needs to be right. Long after the writer is gone, his work will be there for others to read. Come with me,...

Mystery Plant 758

Mystery Plant! #758 John Nelson Posted 1/19/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comIf you are a cocker-spaniel, you may not want to look at this picture!            Here’s a plant with a kind of midwinter brutal beauty, the drying leaf stalks topped with a constellation of brown, spiny burs. You might have a feeling...

Surprise At Surrender Rock

Surprise At Surrender Rock Tom Poland Posted 1/19/24By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netA Sunday before Christmas it was. With the gifts all wrapped, I had a bit of time. I wanted to see the monument where Mayor T.J. Goodwyn surrendered Columbia to Sherman on February 17, 1865. I set out for...

Mystery Plant! #757

Mystery Plant! #757 John Nelson Posted 1/19/24By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.com            The Father of plant taxonomy, Carl Linnaeus, probably had had a run-in with his editor, while working on his monumental Species Plantarum, in which he attempted to describe all the known plant species of his day....

Bring Back Honest-To-Goodness Screen Doors

Bring Back Honest-To-Goodness Screen Doors Tom Poland Posted 12/13/23By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netWith winter knock, knock, knocking on their door, people are thinking of storm doors and weather stripping. Well, drafty old screen doors occupy my mind. Recent back-road expeditions have taken me across vintage screen doors—the original air conditioning—that...

Mystery Plant! #753

Mystery Plant! #753 John Nelson Posted 12/13/23By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWhen I was a kid, our family would make an annual summer trip to visit relatives in Hanover, Virginia. This was before interstate highways, and well before air-conditioning in the car, so we'd always leave early in the morning, well before dawn....