Mystery Plant! #699

Mystery Plant! #699 John Nelson Posted December 29, 2022By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comWinter hasn’t even started yet, but it sure looks like it in my backyard. Practically all of the leaves are fallen, and we’ve had two hard frosts here in central South Carolina. I am grateful that in my part of...

Mystery Plant! #701

Mystery Plant! #701 John Nelson Posted December 29, 2022By John Nelsonjohnbnelson@sc.rr.comSome of my best botany field trips have been to supermarkets and produce stands. There's always something interesting to see, and it makes an easy way of bringing classroom botany close to home (and the kitchen). Now, I’ve never taken...

Rivers I cross

Rivers I cross Tom Poland Posted December 19, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netRivers make me say things out loud. As I drive alone over a river I often say its name. In fact, some rivers’ names beg to be pronounced. On trips to Florida, I cross the Altamaha. Saying its...

Things I have left undone

Things I have left undone Tom Poland Posted December 12, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netEach Christmas my mind goes back to a June day in Valdosta, Georgia. I was driving through slash pines to interview Robert “Bob” Clyatt. A defense lawyer, Bob represented employers and insurers. He was on the...

The Word Merchant Highway

The Word Merchant Highway Tom Poland Posted December 6, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netUpon taking a writing position long ago, the boss of bosses shot me a sideways look, “So, you’re a word merchant.” Clever, I thought, but as time wore on so did he. A tyrant, nothing he said...

If people were leaves…

If people were leaves… Tom Poland Posted November 30, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSuppose people changed colors like autumn leaves. Would it be a better world? It just might. For sure it’d be more colorful. Think about that. Say it’s late November, and your fingertips redden. The tips of your...

Time

Time Tom Poland Posted November 22, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netYou know the song. “Time Is On My Side.” The Rolling Stones released it in 1964. Time was on my side back then, yes it was. It’s not today. And so for some reason, songs about time play in my...

Pancho Villa’s Fighting South Carolina Gamecocks

Pancho Villa’s Fighting South Carolina Gamecocks Tom Poland Posted November 15, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI’ll file this column under the category, Fowl History. Did Mexican Revolutionary War General, Pancho Villa, ride a train to Calhoun Falls, South Carolina to buy fighting gamecocks? Did he? Read on to unravel this...

The Forsaken Land 

The Forsaken Land Tom Poland Posted November 9, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netKudzu covered its outbuildings. The farm was lonesome so I turned around and stopped to visit it. Right off I saw a dusty mule collar hanging on a stable wall. The farmer and his mule were long gone,...

Love Story

Everything and Nothing: Love Story Aïda Rogers Posted November 9, 2022By Aïda RogersThere are all kinds of love in this world, and the one I’m in love with right now is right across the street. It involves my neighbor, Sharon, and Fancy, her cat.If you laugh I excommunicate you.As happens with...

The Colors Of Childhood

The Colors Of Childhood Tom Poland Posted November 3, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI haven’t seen the old homeplace in a while. Not my homeplace, mind you, my childhood friend’s. That would be Sweetie Boy, he of the sweet temperament that spurred Granddad to nickname him. His Christian name is...

School using rivalry to tackle hunger

School using rivalry to tackle hunger Bob Sloan Posted November 2, 2022By Bob SloanWith both Clemson and South Carolina in the midst of winning seasons and driving toward a huge showdown on Nov. 26 in Death Valley, the in-state college football rivalry has everyone showing their true colors –orange and...

A place of sanctuary

Everything and Nothing: A place of sanctuary Aïda Rogers Posted October 26, 2022By Aïda RogersThere are many words to describe the times we’re living in, and most connote noise. What a relief, then, to find a place where the noise is turned down, where vitriol won’t work, where collaboration, not competition,...

The Bygone Era Of Refinement

The Bygone Era Of Refinement Tom Poland Posted October 25, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netPrevious eras impress me. When I tour historic homes, for instance, the refined lifestyle their owners enjoyed stands in marked contrast to lifestyles today. The presence of fine china and sterling silver attest not just to...

The Beauty of A Dry Dirt Road

The Beauty of A Dusty Dirt Road Tom Poland Posted October 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe creeks dribble. Shorelines drop. Leaves crunch. Colors fade. Birds queue up around my fountains. The lack of rain robbed us of a lot of fall color. I drove through the countryside this week....

Fear Of Flying

Fear Of Flying Tom Poland Posted October 14, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIt’s a good thing titles cannot be copyrighted. With apologies to Erica Jong, I title this self-confessional column, “Fear of Flying.” I cannot say I fear flying, but I am a most reluctant air traveler. I have reason to be. I’ve had two close encounters with...

The Dignified Mule

The Dignified Mule Tom Poland Posted October 11, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netLike Halley’s Comet, I’m predictable. I come around to the same subject matter every so often. When I do, it’s because something triggered memories. A few days ago I drove past Washington, Georgia’s Mule Day Festival at Callaway...

The Lost Art Of Making Do

The Lost Art Of Making Do Tom Poland Posted October 6, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netHe was twenty-six when the Great Depression arrived, thirty-six when it ended. A decade of doing without taught him something about survival. “Keep something seven years and you’ll find a new use for it.” Granddad’s...

Lincoln Street

Lincoln Street Tom Poland Posted September 28, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netOne word. That’s all it takes, and the brain’s mystifying chemistry swirls past and present into an amalgam we call life. Phases pass before us in an experience akin to schizophrenia. We’re different people as we navigate life’s phases....

An Effigy Of Rock

An Effigy Of Rock Tom Poland Posted September 27, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSomething like sixty years had passed since I saw it. This time, however, I saw it from above. The WPA built a beautiful tower of stone so you can get a birds-eye view of a bird of...

The Relentless Grind: Football’s Hidden Injuries

The Relentless Grind: Football’s Hidden Injuries Tom Poland Posted September 14, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netWinter Haven Florida, February 1996—I covered Cypress Gardens’ 60th anniversary for Ski World magazine. It was Florida’s oldest theme park, one where Southern belles wore hoop skirts, skiers leapt from ramps, and women skiers built...

The Feared Invader

The Feared Invader Tom Poland Posted August 30, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netLet’s talk invasive species. One will bite you. You can bite the other. You can eat it, but given time it will entomb all you possess. Fire ants or kudzu? Which do people fear most?I believe kudzu tops...

The CCC: FDR’s Tree Army

The CCC: FDR's Tree Army Tom Poland Posted August 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIf my mother didn’t like something, she’d tell you. If she liked something, you knew that too, and she liked the Civilian Conservation Corps, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Tree Army.” That arboreal moniker resulted from the CCC’s...

Blink Book Review #11: A Double Dose – “Enough Already” by Valerie Bertinelli and “Back to the Prairie” by Melissa Gilbert

Blink Book Review #11: A Double Dose - “Enough Already” by Valerie Bertinelli and “Back to the Prairie” by Melissa Gilbert Reba Campbell Posted August 17, 2022By Reba CampbellMy recent beach reading consisted of memoirs by two actresses from my childhood – Valerie Bertinelli (Barbara on “One Day at a...

Book Event Season Is Upon Us

Book Event Season Is Upon Us Tom Poland Posted August 11, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netShe asked, and I told her. “What’s the writing life like?”“It’s a sentence to solitary confinement. You work in isolation for long periods, and that’s a good, peaceful day most days.”However, the day comes when...

The Power Of Moonlit Imagery

The Power Of Moonlit Imagery Tom Poland Posted August 2, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netHerman Melville created Moby Dick, the great white sperm whale that bit off Ahab’s leg. James Dickey had a 12-point white buck that swam from island to island in moonlight. And I recall boyhood tales of...

Blink Book Review #8
“Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR” by Lisa Napoli

Blink Book Review #8 “Susan, Linda, Nina & Cokie: The Extraordinary Story of the Founding Mothers of NPR” by Lisa Napoli Reba Campbell Posted July 27, 2022By Reba CampbellThis book is the story of four women from vastly different backgrounds who converged on a fledgling radio network in DC in...

The Dark Corner

The Dark Corner Tom Poland Posted July 27, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI’d been there many times but never realized just what a dark history existed until I visited a legal distillery up that way. “Folks still go in there and disappear,” and old timer told me. Maybe so.I asked...

Blink Book Review #7: “Swimming with the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing and One Hell of a Ride” by Jim Sonefield

Blink Book Review #7: “Swimming with the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing and One Hell of a Ride” by Jim Sonefield Reba Campbell Posted July 20, 2022By Reba CampbellMemoirs can often fall into two categories – hugely self-aggrandizing or humbly honest. Jim Sonefeld’s recently released book, “Swimming with the Blowfish: Hootie, Healing...

The National Park Nearest You

The National Park Nearest You Tom Poland Posted July 19, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netHere in the classic South, we have two choices when it comes to national parks. We have the Great Smoky Mountains National Park in Tennessee and we have Congaree National Park near Columbia, South Carolina. Chances...

Blink Book Review #6 – “Confessions of a Southern Beauty Queen” by Julie Hines Mabus

Blink Book Review #6 - “Confessions of a Southern Beauty Queen” by Julie Hines Mabus Reba Campbell Posted July 13, 2022By Reba Campbell“Confessions of a Southern Beauty Queen” opens in 1968 with Patsy Channing awaiting suspension from the Mississippi College for Women, known as “The W,” following an alleged violation...

Ferns, Nature’s Colonists

Ferns, Nature’s Colonists Tom Poland Posted June 28, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netFerns bless us with classic Southern settings but doing so isn’t always easy. Random winds pick up fern spores and scatter them, their destiny determined by fate. Many end up lost at sea. Some fall on barren places...

Vintage Enamelware

Vintage Enamelware Tom Poland Posted June 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI was visiting the past at the Lincoln County History Park when I spied a graceful blue enamelware pot sitting among fire logs. Warm memories came from that cold enamelware. Yes, that forgotten pot sent me reeling through the...

Thistles, A Prickly Subject

Thistles, A Prickly Subject Tom Poland Posted June 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netWe’d be walking to a farm pond in quest of bream when Grandmom Poland would spot a thistle. “Watch out for that nettle.” She’d hardly break stride leaning over to yank it from the earth. Thus, I...

Boneyards

Boneyards Tom Poland Posted June 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netTheir name belies their beauty, though its definition rings true. “Boneyard, | ˈbōnyärd |Noun, informal, a cemetery.” A cemetery they are, the resting places of maritime forests conquered by the sea. I’ve written about boneyards, now and then spelled bone...

Aldo’s Bench

Aldo’s Bench Tom Poland Posted June 21, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe bench you see overlooks an estuarine creek. That creek snakes its way into a wider creek, Pine Creek, I believe, that snakes its way into the Hampton River, which spills into the Atlantic near Pelican Creek Natural Area....

Bob’s Store

Bob’s Store Tom Poland Posted June 6, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe store’s filled to the brim with antiques. They hang from the ceiling. They fill aisles. It’s a place I could check out for hours. Why there’s even a …Wait a minute. I’m ahead of myself. Antiques didn’t catch...

A Peach Of A Summer

A Peach Of A Summer Tom Poland Posted May 31, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netFrom my orchard of memories a lonely peach tree stands in the front yard of my youth. The tree looked sickly and produced fruit a tad bigger than a golf ball. The tree stood in the...

Icie’s Secret

Everything and Nothing: Icie's Secret Aïda Rogers Posted May 27, 2022By Aïda RogersIn her wonderful new book, Liz Newall does something many of us say we’re going to do but don’t: She researches her family history to solve a mystery that's pestered her since childhood. It’s a secret wrapped in scandal,...

Porch Sitting

Porch Sitting Tom Poland Posted May 24, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIt’s a vanishing art, porch sitting. There was a time, though, when folks retired to the porch just to pass the time. As a boy, I sat on my parent’s screen porch and counted the trucks going by. When...