Showing posts from May 15, 2010

Southern Blizzards and Sweet Tea

Despite the presence of “North” in its name, North Carolina is undeniably a part of the U.S. better known, collectively, as “The South”. As such, the name tends to conjure up certain, predictable mental images: that of graceful antebellum mansions; huge old trees laden with heavy flowering branches, swaying gently in the warm summer breeze; and tall glasses of sweet tea (or perhaps something with a bit more kick, like Mint Juleps) being sipped by persons seated calmly on wooden swings or rockers, out on their sweeping outdoor verandas with views of the wide, quiet, sun-dappled streets. Always accompanying this pleasant picture of gracious Southern gentility are the mellifluous tones in slow, measured cadences of the local folks as they converse. One no more associates cold weather and blizzards with North Carolina than one would brownstones, Redwoods, deep-dish pizzas, or clipped Yankee accents. It came as the most delightful sort of surprise, then, to find that Michael Malone’s Uncivi…

Abandon All Hope, Ye Who Enter Here

Perhaps Jack Reacher and I would get along smashingly, were we to meet through some twist of fate in an out-of-the-way diner... two people who happened to be eating solo, until we happened upon a more pleasant way to pass the time by munching our burgers or grilled cheese together, chatting companionably in a vinyl-covered booth. Or maybe we’d be standing next to each other in a dimly-lit, down-on-its-heels bar one evening, waiting to catch the sullen bartender’s attention, and we’d strike up a friendly discussion about the poor service--only to find the conversation turning naturally to other things, and continuing in just such a convivial manner for the next few hours. We might talk of mutual interests, or about places we’d been or people we’d met... or maybe we’d just be content to ramble on about nothing much at all. Yes, it pleases me to think that this fascinating, enigmatic man and I would be able to while away a little idle time together, in such a way that left each of us wit…