We Are All Local - Little Worlds


Robert Peebles, PawPaw, Madison County, NC 1983


Another March. Another March Madness.
But this year has special resonance as
It's the 35th Anniversary of NC State winning the championship.
Our friends Robert and Jane are diehard Wolfpack fans,
And their boys are in the tournament again this year.
So, here's to NC State and Lorenzo Charles.
May they be victorious.
And may it happen quickly.
So the rest of us can change the channel.

We Are All Local - Marshall 1983

Daisy Worley Black (left) and Ruby Roberts at Roberts Pharmacy, Marshall, Madison County, NC 1983
- Thank you Cynthia Niles


This was a stressful period of time in my life. I won't go into the gory details except to say I had just opened a studio in the empty warehouse space on the third floor of the Flow Building. It would prove to be a cold and hot place to work. On most cold mornings I would wander down to Doc Niles's place, Roberts Pharmacy. They had an old fashioned counter with a soda fountain and would serve breakfast and lunch. Invariably, I would order biscuits and gravy, two eggs, sausage and coffee. Enough carbs and warm playfulness to keep me going all day.  


We Are All Local - Selfies A'plenty, Selfies Galore


I don't do many selfies although photographers will tell you their photographs are mostly about themselves. But today is my 70th birthday, despite what Facebook may tell you, and I felt I deserved a selfie or two. I needed to look at myself more closely at this age and then subsequently decided that you viewers needed to see me too.

The wrinkles amaze me although I certainly not one of those people who thought they would never appear. They have and I do delight in flexing my arms and hands and legs so I can then watch the  wrinkles dance in time to whatever tune I'm humming. Part of the 70-year old package is being easily entertained.

I look at my feet a lot because of my diabetes and my doctor tells me they are doing well. I had some burning for a time, but vitamin B12 and cannabis cream in the morning have done the trick. 

I've just given up on my belly. Except for the hair I'm proud to say I can mimic most any pregnancy. 

My head remains gnarly, probably more so since any of you last looked at it. What has interested me are the strands of hair sprouting up there like a badly seeded lettuce patch. Normally, I would shave these random, longish growths, but I'm finding I like them. I've decided there's memory in them of long ago, but not so long ago, too. Memories of a wrinkle-free, painless, no itchy skin, hairy time.



We Are All Local - Family

In My Great-grandparent's Crypt, Letojanni, Sicily, 2005


When I meet new people I usually get around to asking them how they got here. What was the route they took with their life that brought them from wherever, California, Georgia, the upper Midwest, to here, Madison County? I get a variety of answers mostly having to do with getting out of the rat race, wanting something smaller and slower, or perhaps to be closer to children who have settled here. Legitimate reasons all. 

My great-grandparents, Caterina and Vincenzo, had three children in the small Sicilian village of Lentini. Their two sons, Giuseppe and Carlo, left as teenagers for the United States and never returned to Sicily and never saw their family again. Their daughter stayed behind to care for the elders, which is the Italian way.

I think about this kind of stuff a lot, probably more often than I should readily admit. But I'm taken with our goings and comings, as individuals and as cultures. It's not something new to humans, we've always moved and migrated to lands new to us. Places we liked better. Or places with more opportunities. Or places, as Nilsson said, "where the weather suits your clothes." I understand the motivation. It's what brought me here, the desire to be in a place I perceived to be better than where I grew up, or anywhere else for that matter.

Yet I also wonder about those left behind. Caterina and Vincenzo without their sons, my parents when their children left home, and perhaps us, as our children look to new places. We are a fortunate people with our ability to choose. It isn't the case for most people.