The Great Dividing Line

The Great Dividing Line Tom Poland Posted Jan. 18, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netYet another dud weather storm forecast teaches me something. When the next Ice Age arrives, its frozen sheet will grind to a halt where I-20 crosses the Southeast. (Assuming civilization lasts that long.) Winter forecasts prove over...

Miss Lucy, Childhood Legend

Miss Lucy, Childhood Legend Tom Poland Posted Jan. 3, 2022By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSmall towns have that one eccentric person people long remember. Lincolnton, Georgia, had Miss Lucy Glaze. As I write I see a woman dressed in black, like Granny Clampett, racing down the sidewalk brandishing a rake. My...

Remembering Smokehouses

Remembering Smokehouses Tom Poland Posted Dec. 13, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netI wrote about old hand-dug wells not long ago. Many old wells had a companion nearby, smokehouses. I’ve written about these farm icons before, but a good topic always deserves more coverage. Smokehouses live in lore as fragrant places...

The Old Hand-Dug Well

The Old Hand-Dug Well Tom Poland Posted Dec. 6, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netDriving a country road, I passed an old well house. It didn’t look like a wishing well. It looked rustic, more like a shed, a practical structure. I stopped and took a photo of the well. Right...

A Vanishing Coastal Icon

A Vanishing Coastal Icon Tom Poland Posted Nov. 1, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netPhotographers love to shoot them at sunrise. Riding a glittering golden sea, shrimp boats strike a classic silhouette with that orb of fire rising behind them. A shrimp trawler working coastal waters ranks right up there with...

That Legendary Everlasting Plant, Rabbit Tobacco

That Legendary Everlasting Plant, Rabbit Tobacco Tom Poland Posted Oct. 26, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netShe smoked it as a kid. Said she smoked grapevines too but it was Pseudognaphalium obtusifolium, one of the everlastings, she talked about most. She and her brothers and sisters smoked rabbit tobacco. She was...

Elusive Butterfly Of Fall

Elusive Butterfly Of Fall Tom Poland Posted Oct. 19, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netDecember 1965, that’s when a catchy tune debuted. Bob Lind’s “Elusive Butterfly” used a butterfly as a metaphor for love. Some of you survivors of these modern times might remember Lind’s line, “I chase the bright elusive...

Star Light, Star Bright

Star Light, Star Bright Tom Poland Posted Oct. 14, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netBack in the late 1980s and early ’90s, I’d leave on a Friday afternoon and head for the mountains, the Blue Ridge species. My monthly drives from Columbia, South Carolina, to Buchanan, Virginia, took me to family....

My Last Dog

My Last Dog Tom Poland Posted Sept. 28, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netShould you walk our family land in eastern Georgia, you’ll come across several cemeteries. No, they’re not ancestors. You won’t see headstones. You’ll see wooden crosses and one brick-like stone of quartz. Unlike ancestors we never knew, loved...

Catching Gators

Catching Gators Tom Poland Posted Sept. 17, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIf you’re going to get ‘et,’ be brave and get ‘et.’Like a lot of eastern Georgians I grew up with no contact with gators. My writing career, however, would put me around gators far more than I ever imagined.Two...

The Good Old Days Are Gone

The Good Old Days Are Gone Tom Poland Posted Sept. 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netLast Friday night some grandparents went to watch their grandson play in a high school football game. They were in for a shock. Paying for the old and reliable paper ticket had given way to...

Who’s The Queen Of Flowers?

Who's The Queen Of Flowers? Tom Poland Posted Aug. 30, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net Orchids.There were days I wore them in my lapel for formal events, but those days are gone. I’ve not seen many in the wild, but I have seen yellow-fringed orchids in Carolina bays where they...

Long Lost Treasures, Heirloom Seeds

Long Lost Treasures, Heirloom Seeds Tom Poland Posted Aug. 11, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netMetal detectives seek old coins and treasure, and many folks look for arrowheads. A rare breed seeks long-lost seeds. Old coins and arrowheads won’t make you healthy but heirloom produce can.Monday, August 9, I spent the...

A Southern Writer: Mississippi’s Willie Morris

A Southern Writer: Mississippi’s Willie Morris Tom Poland Posted Aug. 11, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSeveral years back, I attended Edgefield’s Camellia Tea. As I was leaving, a lady in a red blazer walked up. “You’re that fellow who writes about the back roads of South Carolina aren’t you?”“Guilty as...

A Haunting Postscript
Missing Caskets

A Haunting Postscript Missing Caskets Tom Poland Posted Aug. 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netRecently I wrote about finding my great granddad’s old farmhouse, but I left out an eerie aspect that would be suitable for a Halloween column. The last line in my previous column read, “But of this...

My Family Quest: Discovering a Homeplace

My Family Quest Discovering a Homeplace Tom Poland Posted Aug. 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe past means much. As family property goes, however, no one or anything remains from my childhood. Fires, real estate deals, and a bitter sibling feud took away every home and acre I recall as...

For The Birds

For The Birds Tom Poland Posted July 20, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThis makes the second time I’ve used “For The Birds” as a title. “Contacting the dead through a Ouija board? That’s for the birds.”No flippancy here. “For the birds” implies just what I mean. I suspect many of...

What’s The Big Rush?

What’s The Big Rush? Tom Poland Posted July 12, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netMy back-road trips of late have been good but not as pleasant they usually are. Too many people. They drive like madmen. They pass on hills. They cut me off. They force me to hit the brakes....

The Parking Lot Of The Dead

The Parking Lot Of The Dead Tom Poland Posted July 7, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netEven in death they cling to dignity. Left to rust, they bless the rare visitor with awe and mystery. Just how did old trucks and cars end up in a cemetery of sorts, “the graveyard...

Librarians Are Angels

Librarians Are Angels Tom Poland Posted July 7, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netNon-textbooks got our attention, and grammar school trips to the library always perked us up. We’d form a line and head to the library where a wonderful librarian, Miss Sarah, read to us and taught us the Dewey...

My Mother’s Bible

My Mother’s Bible Tom Poland Posted June 22, 2021 By Tom Poland A Southern Writer www.tompoland.net tompol@earthlink.net After Mom died, my sisters and I began to go through her and Dad’s belongings. Quite a task that surprised, amused, and puzzled us. Lots of “stuff.” Our parents grew up in the...

Ospreys—Nature Never Quits

Ospreys — Nature Never Quits Tom Poland Posted June 14, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netNoon sharp, a hot, humid Monday. Just twenty yards away a tremendous crash like a rock hitting water got my attention. There sat an osprey with spread wings, its lunch too big to lift. The look...

Hemp & Kudzu, A Good Summer Combo

Hemp & Kudzu, A Good Summer Combo Tom Poland Posted June 9, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIt was like stepping back into the 1960s, sitting in that cool, refreshing gazebo up North Carolina way. Its vines and emerald green leaves, translucent and bright, revived memories of my Granddad Walker’s front...

Years Lost To Time, The Silent Thief

Years Lost To Time, The Silent Thief Tom Poland Posted May 28, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netGrowing up I could hear the tick of my church’s old Regulator wall clock. I can’t hear it today, but my hearing’s good. All that keeping of time must have silenced the Regulator’s tick...

Flee Civilization For A Preserve

Flee Civilization For A Preserve Tom Poland Posted May 19, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.net  Needing adventure, I took back roads and made my way to a tract belonging to nature. It’s a place where man is a guest, Stevens Creek Heritage Preserve. It’s in McCormick County, close by Edgefield County.There’s...

History Surrounds You

History Surrounds You Tom Poland Posted May 13, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netHistory really does surround you. You just have to slow down a tad and open your eyes. It will help if you turn off the TV and go touring. I often write you can drive by a place...

Every State Needs A John Mulhouse

Every State Needs A John Mulhouse Tom Poland Posted May 4, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netEvery state needs someone to record what it’s lost. Every state needs a John Mulhouse. I’ve never met John but we’re in touch and we share much—the beauty of abandonment, UGA grads with Augusta, Georgia,...

Compelled To Pick Up Rocks

Compelled To Pick Up Rocks Tom Poland Posted May 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netDo you pick up rocks? I do. I feel compelled to pick up rocks. And so do others. Many people take rocks home and create a sort of geologic museum. In my office you’ll see a...

The Oldest Profession

The Oldest Profession Tom Poland Posted April 23, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netHauling two wire cages of stacked stone, the flatbed turned right and crept uphill. Cormac McCarthy wrote that the oldest profession in the world is not prostitution. It’s stacking stones. Well, you can stack stones as they are...

Breaking The Cult of Difficulty

Breaking The Cult of Difficulty Tom Poland Posted April 12, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netMany tell me how difficult they find writing to be. Well, they speak the truth. It’s difficult to write at a high level, and that’s why while watching Ken Burn’s documentary on Ernest Hemingway, a comment...

The Allure Of Copper

The Allure Of Copper Tom Poland Posted April 12, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe hills were red. Barren, like some alien landscape. Nothing green. Could have been Mars.I was just ten or so when Dad drove us through Copper Basin. I saw the results of copper mining that one time...

William Bartram’s Wild Azaleas

William Bartram’s Wild Azaleas Tom Poland Posted April 2, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netBlooms, blossoms, and bracts splash color everywhere you look this time of year. Daffodils and now dogwoods and azaleas add their voice to the spring symphony. They proclaim spring is here despite the late cold snap.In yards...

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon

By The Light Of The Silvery Moon Tom Poland Posted March 31, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSunday night the moon hung full and bright over treetops. Like some silver dollar hurled into the night she floated full and beautiful, though pollen gave it a gold cast. Tonight’s a perfect night...

A Seashell Tradition

A Seashell Tradition Tom Poland Posted March 29, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThere it was. A grave covered in seashells. It’s as close to a burial at sea as an inland dweller will get. My sister, Deb, told me about a small cemetery deep in woods. “You’ve got to see...

A Chapel and a School

A Chapel and a School: The Historic Sweet Easy Tom Poland Posted March 17, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netSmith Chapel found me Sunday. Though it’s on Smith Chapel Road and sounds like a no brainer, directions for my first attempt led me astray. That day I turned left when I...

The Clothesline

The Clothesline: The Gentle Cycle Tom Poland Posted March 10, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netA neighbor suggested I join a community website where people post about restaurant openings and closings, shady repairmen, and snakes. “What kind of snake is this?” The answer is always, “I don’t know but it looks...

The Flower World’s Beautiful Blonds

The Flower World’s Beautiful Blonds Tom Poland Posted March 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netDaffodils. They’re the beautiful blonds of the flower world and if it’s possible for a flower to smile, daffodils do. They bring to mind young women standing together making plans for a party or a trip...

Winter’s Lush Green Carpet

Winter’s Lush Green Carpet Tom Poland Posted February 22, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIt’s an unusual plant. No flowers. No roots, but what a green velvety plant. Green moss mystifies me. When I come across it I stare. Always. Why can’t my lawn look like that? I don’t know much...

A Natural Motown Mystery-Miracle

A Natural Motown Mystery-Miracle Tom Poland Posted February 10, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netIf you think this story is about Berry Gordy’s 1960’s record label that gave us “Baby Love,” “My Girl,” and “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg,” you’re wrong. It’s about the wheeled products Motor City has long shipped...

The Stoves Of My Life

The Stoves Of My Life Tom Poland Posted February 3, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netEarly on, my grandmothers cooked on wood-burning stoves and, later, electric ranges. Cooking with electricity. That must have seemed a marvel to them. I never, however, saw them use a kerosene oil stove. In fact, I...

The Badwell Trilogy

The Badwell Trilogy Tom Poland Posted Feb. 1, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netFaint, yet menacing, came the sound. I stood still as the stones around me and listened. From woods northeast it came again. Coyotes. Well, it seemed fitting that their ghostly yelps and cries come to me. I was...

Tough Guy, Soft Heart

Tough Guy, Soft Heart: Jack Palance—A City Slicker Tom Poland Posted Jan. 22, 2021By Tom PolandA Southern Writerwww.tompoland.nettompol@earthlink.netThe book world brings interesting people my way. Some are nobodies. Some are famous. Jack Palance was famous, a Hollywood tough guy, a tough guy with a soft heart. He wrote a book...