Exploring Harper Lee’s Southern wisdom

tamrawilson Uncategorized

Roxboro, NC is hosting a community read about To Kill a Mockingbird. Recently the Person County Public Library asked me to discuss the book as my work as a Road Scholar with the North Carolina Humanities Council. I shared how Harper Lee’s seminal novel set the standard for what we’ve come to expect not only in a child-narrated story, but …

What I learned in Kansas

tamrawilson Uncategorized

There’s nothing like a long road trip to put life in perspective. That’s especially true for the Great Plains. I’m not talking flyovers, but driving an SUV across Kansas, feeling every turn and bump in the road. Tym and I took this trek on our recent Western excursion. Kansas was our first leg of a three-week journey to San Francisco–1,500 …

Beach or mountain, it’s your choice

tamrawilson Uncategorized

Beach or mountain? Like the debate over Carolina barbecue, the question forces you to answer where you stand, literally. This either-or question reminds me of the Wizard of Oz, when Glinda, the witch of the North, asked Dorothy, “Are you a good witch or a bad witch?” “I’m not a witch at all,” Dorothy replies. And the munchkins titter because …

The lure of the food beauty pageant

tamrawilson Uncategorized

There was a 489-pound pumpkin at the Catawba County Fairgrounds this year. There it sat like a manatee in plant form, next to prize barley and canned goods and needle craft projects in the exhibit hall. The blue ribbon didn’t reveal the winner’s name, but it was one honey of a fruit. In case you missed it, here’s the photo. …

Mom was right. Skip white.

tamrawilson Uncategorized

Labor Day is this Monday, and my friends have already seen my alert. No white shoes after Sept. 7. My tongue-in-cheek Facebook post underscores a rule learned back when women wore hats and gloves to church. Clothes have seasons and you should know what time it is. My mother taught me this Old School rule. White footwear should be worn …

Homemade ice cream a ‘grape’ idea

tamrawilson Uncategorized

I remember my first dish of homemade ice cream. I was five years old and my parents had been invited to a preacher’s house. Adults sat on webbed lawn chairs while the minister and others took turns cranking the metal handle attached to a wooden bucket. After an eternity, the canister was opened. Inside was the most wonderful soft vanilla …

Another day, another song

tamrawilson Uncategorized

My brain is a morning jukebox, thanks to XM radio. As a Sirius subscriber, I listen to more music now that I’m paying for it. It’s commercial free, which means I’m hearing more songs per hour. The upside or downside is that I’m wake up every morning with a different song in my head. No, not an earworm, but strains …

Behold, the hornworm cometh

tamrawilson Uncategorized

The dreaded tomato hornworm. Manduca quinquemaculata—a wickedly long name for a gardener’s Enemy Number One. Beware. He has designs on your tomato patch. One day you have a picture-perfect tomato on the vine. You let it grow one more day, to get a little more juicy and vine-ripened. And the next morning you wake to see the tomato half eaten, …

My eyes on ‘Watchman’

tamrawilson Uncategorized

July 14 marked one of the biggest literary events of the year: release of Harper Lee’s other book, Go Set a Watchman. “Discovery” and publication of this earlier-than-To Kill a Mockingbird novel has spun the reading world into a dither. Publishing is about money. Publishers exist to stay in business. That’s why it’s called the publishing “industry” instead of the publishing …

Battle flag: The right to be wrong

tamrawilson Uncategorized

Last week a Facebook friend posted a photo from the July 4th parade in Charleston, IL. A pickup appeared bearing the Confederate battle flag. Facebookers were indignant. “Stupid! Copperhead traitors! Disgusting! Dumbass cracker! Just leave him to his wife/sister and their uncle/dad to their inbreeding.” I could have kept out of the fray, but I didn’t.  “What part of the …