My Patti Playpal Christmas

tamrawilson Uncategorized

TBT.  “Throw Back Thursday” in Facebook language. This past week, I threw myself back to 1960. There in a black-and-white snapshot is my five-year-old self and Patti Playpal, the life-sized doll Santa brought. I remember seeing her for the first time beside our tinsel-draped tree on Christmas morning. In the snapshot I’m standing at the back door in my navy blue …

Keep those cards and letters coming–and going

tamrawilson Uncategorized

If you’re Old School like me, you know early December is Christmas card season. If you have several out-of-towners on your list, you’re preparing a holiday letter too. By cards, I’m not talking emailed Jib Jabs or eCards by Jaquie Lawson. I mean old-fashioned stamp-it and mail-it cards. Determining who to receive your holiday greetings isn’t rocket science, but if …

Doing the Thanksgiving shuffle

tamrawilson Uncategorized

Those who dread a lonesome holiday, listen up. It’s possible to find a friend and trade hosting. I know this because Nov. 26 marks the 30th time we’ve swapped hosting. Our swap began when a friend, Nancy invited us for Thanksgiving turkey in 1986. She and her husband didn’t have family close by either. At the time there were four …

Here come the stink bugs

tamrawilson Uncategorized

A while back a friend from Maine told me that she did not know what a stink bug was. I was incredulous until I realized that a few years ago I didn’t know what one was either. Think of the devil in insect form, I told her—a medieval gray shield buzzing around your home, alighting on white surfaces, hovering near …

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 …