Favorite Season

 Featured, General, Kings Mountain, Places, Tampa  Comments Off on Favorite Season
Sep 302009
Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct

Blue Ridge Parkway Viaduct

OK, I know that about this time every year I write something about Autumn being my favorite time of year. I know, Tampa, FL is not the place to be thinking about Autumn. I think we get our Autumn here in January, the time of year when these nasty live oaks dump a big portion of their leaves. Still, there is a rhythm that comes with the seasons no matter where one lives, and I love this time of year for the sense of “settling-in.”

There is always the hold-over of the school cycle when students and school employees all head back to their routines. The Summer vacation season is mostly over, and people start getting back into regular routines. With grandparents who were a farm family, I’m familiar with that time of year when the cash crops and the garden vegetables are all “coming in.” Lots of picking and canning going on.

A cool front has come through to help me at least pretend Fall has arrived here in Tampa (at least for a couple days).

Then, if one lives in the right region, there are the colors of Fall. The Piedmont North Carolina region where I grew up can boast of a beautiful Fall, but nothing compares with the Appalachian Mountains for a spectacular display. I do miss not being able to get to the mountains more.

The huge old oaks around Mom's

Fall Colors in Shelby, N.C.

Here’s a poll asking about your favorite season of the year.

What is your favorite season of the year?

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Apr 292009

U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx represents the congressional district that includes my alma mater, and she has attended ASU events and activities to advance her political career and give her an undeserved credibility. Over the past several days, Rep. Foxx has made a number of inflammatory statements during the House’s consideration of the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. Today, Rep. Foxx crossed a line when she took to the floor of the House, claimed that Shepard was killed as part of a robbery, and called the hate aspect of the crime “a hoax.”

Kenneth E. Peacock, Chancellor
Office of the Chancellor
Appalachian State University
ASU Box 32002
Boone, NC  28608

Subject: ASU’s association with U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx

Dear Chancellor Peacock:

I had the honor of meeting you some weeks ago at an alumni reception in St. Petersburg.

I was born, raised and lived most of my life in North Carolina. I am extremely proud of that upbringing, and am a very proud Mountaineer. The lessons I’ve taken from my upbringing and education have, I believe, served me well. I was incredibly impressed by your presentation and your enthusiasm for the University, and recognize the current budget pressures you must confront.

At the reception, I noted I’d been lucky enough to receive a small bonus from work, and promised to share that with the University’s program for the financially disadvantaged students. Perhaps, with the deepest regret I’ve ever felt in my life, I cannot continue my support of Appalachian State University. Even my pride in North Carolina is shaken, and I can no longer be proud of my home state.

Boone and the University are, as you know, in the Fifth Congressional District, and Virginia Foxx is the representative for that district. I have seen, on Rep. Foxx’s congressional website, a number of photographs with her appearing at ASU functions behind and beneath the ASU Banner.

Unfortunately today I saw a video of a statement made by Rep. Foxx on the floor of the United States House of Representatives opposing the Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act. It was the vilest, most hate-filled, hateful, and un-Christian statement I believe I’ve ever heard come from a U.S. Representative. (And that is a pretty high bar.)

Obama_Shepherd.jpgTo advance her political career, Rep. Foxx claimed that Matthew Shepard was killed merely as part of a robbery. This is a lie, and Rep. Foxx is, or ought to be, aware of the record before making such a statement. The Laramie Police and Prosecutors said the two men lured Mr. Shepard from a bar by pretending to be gay, beat him to pulp, and left him hung, still alive, on a fence post for over 18 hours. The men attempted to use a “gay panic” defense during their trial, and one of the defendants admitted to beating Mr. Shepard because he was gay. How is that not a hate crime?

Yet Rep. Foxx had the gall to stand on the floor of the United States House of Representatives and say, “It’s really a hoax.”

Chancellor Peacock, I recognize the political reality with which you are faced, but as a gay man, who, while never having suffered as did Mr. Shepard, has been subjected to threats and discrimination, must also stand up to the very real face of hate. I have seen that in the face and words of Rep. Foxx, not only today, but in previous statements. So while I understand you will be able to take no action on this matter, I can act. I cannot, and will not, support any person, organization, group or institution that even associates itself with Rep. Foxx. A person with Rep. Foxx’s spirit of hatefulness and lack of integrity should not be actively exposed to the diverse group of young people under your charge as part of any University sponsored event

I hope you will appreciate that this is an extremely difficult decision on my part, but until such time as the University publicly denounces Rep. Foxx’s statement and bans her from access to the Campus or any University sponsored event, or until such time as the voters in her district recognize her for the hateful, dishonest person she is and vote her out of office, I will make no further contributions to ASU.

Again, I regret this decision, and hope that the time will be short when I can resume my contributions to my beloved Alma mater.

cc: Rep. Virginia Foxx

Thanksgiving Summary

 Culture, Family, General, Holidays, Kings Mountain, Places  Comments Off on Thanksgiving Summary
Dec 022007

I know it’s a bit late, but I thought I’d write an update from our Thanksgiving trip to North Carolina.

We couldn’t leave until Wednesday morning because of Lay’s work schedule. We did get away at 7 am, but just about an hour north of Tampa, we came to a dead stop for an overturned car. This put us a tad later getting to Atlanta, so traffic was heavy by the time we got to the north side.

Frying the Bird Thursday we had a great dinner. We tried a turducken roll and a fried turkey. We decided the fried turkey was better than baked, and while an interesting taste, we agreed the turducken wasn’t as good as the fried turkey.

Friday we made our annual trip to Boone / Blowing Rock to meet up with my friend Glenda. Mom even felt good enough to go along this year. It was cold, and actually snowed very lightly that morning when we first arrived. This was Lay’s first time actually seeing snow fall. It was so lite it never layed, but it was fun to see.

We drove home Saturday, and it was a disaster. We were making very good time with only one of the usual delays south of Atlanta, but there we kept moving. Then at Forsyth, GA, a tire blew out. It took nearly an hour for AAA to get someone there. Then we got to Gainesville just as the Florida-Florida State game was letting out. That combined with an accident really set us back. We took nearly two hours to go 1 1/2 miles. We had left about 9am, but didn’t get home until 1:3o Sunday morning.

Cold In Tampa

 Culture, Family, Holidays, Kings Mountain, Places  Comments Off on Cold In Tampa
Nov 172007

It remains dry, but it’s been very cool the past few nights, getting into the 40’s. There could be some frost tonight north of here and inland. It’s definitely given things an Autumn feel. Looking at the web cams earlier today, I see that Appalachian Ski Mountain is already making snow like crazy, as has Sugar Mountain. There was a light dusting of snow up in the North Carolina mountains, but it sounds like it will be a bit warmer when we are up there Friday.

Lay’s nephews are over to spend the night, as two of them have birthday’s next week. We won’t be here. Lay and I will be traveling to North Carolina. While I’m taking the whole week off, Lay will be working Monday and Tuesday, so unfortunately, we’ll be on the road Wednesday. I am not looking forward to that.

Soon, I’ve got to take some time off that doesn’t involve travel, family obligations or anything else.  I just need some quiet downtime…next to impossible to get when Lay is also off. While the work load at work is down some, overall stress in my life in general remains a bit high, and I’m just really worn to a frazzle due the lack of vacation over the past couple years, and most especially this past year.

Hopefully, I can find some time to continue catching up on my blogging Sunday and early next week.

Nov 222006

I drove up to North Carolina Monday to spend time with the folks over Thanksgiving. Lay is flying in Thursday morning, and we’ll drive back together either Friday or Saturday (definitely not Sunday).

I went to the mountains yesterday to meet my friend Glenda and her husband and sister. We’ve developed a bit of a tradition of meeting up in the Boone Blowing Rock area each year around Thanksgiving. At first we went up on Friday. Due to scheduling, one year we went up on a Tuesday, and discovered we really liked that. While a few of the shops downtown in Blowing aren’t open that day, we basically have the place to ourselves. That Friday, as you might imagine, downtown Boone, downtown Blowing Rock at the Shops on The Parkway are just packed, and you forget about eating at our favorite restaurant in Boone, Pepper’s.

The weather was very cool and clear, and they’d had a dusting of snow the day before. The sky was a beautiful sharp blue with high wispy clouds, and the wind was calm making to cool temperatures very tolerable. It did get very cool once the sun went down.

One of the places we visited was the Cone Mansion up on the Blue Ridge Parkway outside of Blowing Rock. The Cone family bequeathed the manor and a 3600 acre tract of land to the public. It’s now part of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

As we were leaving, we were walking across the very large front porch. I asked everyone to stop and just think a minute about the days when the Cone family used the house. I could picture them sitting out on the porch in the old wooden rocking chairs on a summer’s evening with their maid bringing out lemonade, while they soaked on the cool mountain air and looked down across the valley and lake. I could picture the carriages coming and going with their guests coming in to visit for a week or so. The Cone Mansion is certainly no Biltmore House, but it still must have really been something.

I found Christmas presents for my sister and for our Friends Mike and Jeff. (Can’t discuss those, as they might read the blog.) Glenda and her sister found several things, and I bought Lay and I ASU T Shirts while in downtown Boone.

Boy the campus sure has changed a lot. It’s really grown, and they’ve replaced a lot of buildings with newer facilities. They have even taken over the Methodist Church that was right on the edge of the campus downtown. I would still so love to have a place up there, and time to spend there.

Remember The Late Night College Bull Sessions?

 Friends, Fun Stuff  Comments Off on Remember The Late Night College Bull Sessions?
Oct 282006

You’d be sitting around with some of your friends on the hall, and maybe have your inhibitions lowered a little having had a couple of beers…and you’d talk about the most deep topics. I think we often loose that when we get older. Maybe part of it is a fear of opening yourself up; part probably comes from becoming cynical and maybe a little less trusting of others. Maybe it becomes too important that we be seen as strong and independant…rather than exposed and thoughtful.

In Eggers dorm at ASU, because I was a Resident Assistant, I’d often find myself hanging out in the Resident Director’s apartment with friends chewing over the great questions of life. (At least when Larry “Rainbow” Johnson was the RD.) Anyway, I want to try to get back to just a little of that. While sitting around in the same room isn’t so practical in this forum, at least this opens the discussion to a lot of people.

So here’s the challenge. I want you all to use the comments section and tell us all about the 10 minutes of your life that you would like to live over again. A span of 600 seconds that was so meaningful, you’d love to do it one more time.

Let the discussion begin….