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Thursday, September 3, 2015
Southern Weather Radar


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  • Writer Login


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    Tom Poland

    Tom Poland
    A Southern writer, Tom Poland’s work has appeared in magazines throughout the South. He’s published five books and more than 800 columns and magazine features. In 1996, Reckon magazine published his literary feature, "Deliver Me from Leviathan," on James Dickey. Excerpts were published in The World As A Lie–James Dickey, the Dickey biography by Henry Hart. The University of South Carolina Press has published three of his books, most recently, Reflections of South Carolina, now in its third printing.
    For six years, Tom worked as a scriptwriter and cinematographer, working primarily along the South Carolina Lowcountry and its barrier islands. While filming on a primitive barrier island one evening, fog rolled in trapping him overnight. That experience led to his novel, Forbidden Island, and the mythical Georgialina. Currently, he’s working on two nonfiction books.
    A Lincolnton, Georgia, native and University of Georgia graduate, he lives in Columbia, South Carolina. Read more at www.TomPoland.net.
    Favorite Quotes On Writing and Creativity:
    "Writing is a kind of smoke, seized and put on paper. "— James Salter
    "I never wanted to be well rounded, and I do not admire well-rounded people nor their work. So far as I can see, nothing good in the world has ever been done by well-rounded people. The good work is done by people with jagged, broken edges, because those edges cut things and leave an imprint, a design." — Harry Crews
    Number of posts: 185
    Email address: email
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/Tom Poland/feed/

    Posts by Tom Poland:


      do so with caution

      Ravenous? Sick? Eat Some Good Georgia Dirt

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Mar 30, 2014
      Ravenous? Sick? Eat Some Good Georgia Dirt

      Once again a memory from my boyhood days working at Clifford Goolsby’s store digs its way to the surface. That store was a portal to a sometimes-strange world, and one of the stranger things I heard came out of the mouth of Bill Goolsby, a true character. Bill ran the register at Mr. Clifford’s. He was a good-humored fellow and a prankster who soldered a quarter to a nail and drove it into the wooden floor near the register. How many laughs …

      lap of luxury

      The Finest Hotel You Ever Saw

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Mar 18, 2014
      The Finest Hotel You Ever Saw

      What a sumptuous hotel the Ocean Forest was, described by one writer as “the finest hotel between New York and Miami.” From NYC to Myrtle Beach it’s 558 miles. From Miami to Myrtle Beach it’s 554 miles. Slap dab in the middle as we say around these parts. Built in the late 1920s the hotel’s price tag came in around $1 million. The “million-dollar hotel’s” goal was to create an East Coast haven for well-heeled folks in New York and Miami. They built it and the rich they did come. The location and the hotel’s grandeur, many insist, made Myrtle Beach the tourist destination it is today.

      atomic paradise sequel

      How To Break A Town’s Heart

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 14, 2014
      How To Break A Town's Heart

      During a recent trip to Savannah River Site I toured the ghost town of Ellenton. Since I wrote “Atomic Paradise” Ellenton, an apparition, haunts me. An entire town … moved. In researching “Atomic Paradise” I examined the unexpected exodus of Ellenton’s residents and two things caught my attention. One involves nature; the other human nature.

      Nature first. The afternoon I saw Ellenton brushy undergrowth grew where homes had sat. Where people once slept…

      savannah  river site

      My Atomic Paradise

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 14, 2014
      My Atomic Paradise

      Savannah River Site, the bomb plant, sprawls across the land near Aiken—a 61-mile drive from where I grew up. When I was a boy I discovered the woman next door, Miss Ann, made the 120-plus-mile round-trip five days a week. A peacekeeper of sorts, she’d gotten on at the bomb plant. For a long time I knew little about this nuclear reservation.

      Years passed. One July day in 1986, a self-assigned writing project took me to Savannah River Site…

      good intentions

      Culture Night

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Feb 23, 2014
      Culture Night

      In my outings around town I often see people in their thirties socializing. They run in packs and hop from bar to bar like fleas. They cluster up at festivals watching passersby, pointing, and laughing at others. They run together as couples and they break into male and female packs seeking adventure sure to banish boredom. This phenomenon is not new. We did it when we were in our thirties. Some of you did too. It’s been happening as long as men and women itch to escape the same old same old.

      gave gouthern boys a fine ski

      Florida’s First Theme Park

      by | 6, Add your Comment | Feb 11, 2014
      Florida’s First Theme Park

      Back in the 1960s when I hung out at Georgia’s Elijah Clark State Park, the cool guys were into water skiing. I got into it too and learned to slalom. That was a big deal. Learning to take off from shore standing on one leg was an even bigger deal, and I did that despite my most ordinary ski’s limitations. No matter how well you skied though, not having a big name ski rubbed a lot of luster off your accomplishment. A Dick Pope Jr. ski, however, carried cachet. A cheap ski? It might as well be a plank.

      life rises from the earth

      Somewhere Along The Catawba River

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 31, 2014
      Somewhere Along The Catawba River

      The day breaks gray, cold, and wet. Rain and mists swirl and shift like apparitions as winds whip them across the highway. Like twin metronomes, my windshield wipers lay down a steady beat … driving north, driving north, driving north. I’m driving to Lancaster, South Carolina, to interview a Catawba potter. To get there I drive up I-77 and peel off on SC Highway 200, a two-lane road running through pine-clad hills. It runs through hard times too.

      going viral

      Follow-Up: How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 28, 2014
      Follow-Up: How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

      If you didn’t read my column about how a mule’s kick ended up killing eight people, you are in the minority. Of all the columns I’ve written over the last four years none have generated quit a stir like this one. It began to show up on Facebook. People began to share it all over the place and Augusta radio personality Austin Rhodes came across it. He read the entire column over the air on WGAC. The floodgates opened up.

      physician heal thyself!

      Bring Back The Little Black Bag

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Jan 26, 2014
      Bring Back The Little Black Bag

      When I was in college, the hippie kingdom railed against the hated Military-Industrial Complex. The MIC, they felt sure, was more than happy to wage war in Vietnam and rake in beaucoups of money. Making bombs to make a buck. Oh the outrage. Well where are hippies when you need them?

      Today we have another MIC wreaking havoc on us: the Medical-Insurance Complex.

      every scar tells a story

      Remembering Dr. Weems Pennington Sr.

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 24, 2014
      Remembering Dr. Weems Pennington Sr.

      Back in a simpler, better time… In my case, five scars bring back memories of Dr. Weems Pennington Sr., a doctor who epitomized what a family physician should be. He was smart, kind, funny, and kept many of us rolling despite an excess of maladies, ills, and accidents. He had a way of teaching you to be courageous no matter what bedeviled you. He’s been gone for seven years but he lives on in the hearts and minds of many, and he always will.

      book banners be warned

      Pat Conroy’s Letter To The Editor

      by | 3, Add your Comment | Jan 21, 2014
      Pat Conroy’s Letter To The Editor

      It’s a memory that refuses to die and it took place on the front steps of the old brick high school that overlooks Buddy Bufford Field back home. Angry classmates swarm around Skipper Hardin and me, furious because we had the gall to read Charles Darwin’s books on the theory of evolution. Even worse we were so bold as to talk about Darwin’s theory in class. Blasphemy! They thought Darwin’s books should be not just banned, but burned.

      quality of life

      Running For My Life

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 15, 2014
      Running For My Life

      From the time I was ten running and biking were part of my life and that led to football quite naturally. Like many Lincoln County boys, I played for the Red Devils. Ran track too.

      Not long after graduating from Georgia youth-induced laziness set in. Why exercise when you are young and weight gain is no big deal? I went through a stretch of seven years where I did nothing as exercise goes. Then one afternoon a couple of guys asked me to run with them.

      overcoming primal fear

      The Last Great Snake Man Found Salvation

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jan 13, 2014
      The Last Great Snake Man Found Salvation

      Few animals arouse primal fear like snakes and yet as citified as we are we seldom see ’em. Other than a green snake scooting through the lawn few people encounter snakes, and even fewer cross paths with industrial-strength venomous snakes. The kind that can send you to the next world.

      you can't make this up

      How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Oct 27, 2013
      How A Mule Kick Killed Eight People

      You can drive by a place 1,000 times and be unaware of its history. Such was the case for a small country store on Highway 378 in Edgefield County. Over the years I’ve passed the little store you see with this column 1,000 times and not once did I stop. That changed Sunday, October 13. I did pass it but I turned around, curious to see what the price of gas was on the old rusty pump, leaning like an old man with a cane.

      oops

      It Fell From The Sky

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Oct 8, 2013
      It Fell From The Sky

      I must have been around eight when Uncle Carroll handed me a shard of metal. I couldn’t believe what was in my hands. That jagged piece of silver metal, the skin of an aircraft, was about the size of a postcard but in my mind it was big. Really big. A jet had crashed in northeast Georgia and Uncle Carroll had retrieved a piece of it. Holding a remnant of a fighter jet in my hand was one of those moments I’d carry the rest of my life. That torn metal might as well have come from an alien spacecraft. I held it and marveled. “It came from a wing,” I thought.

      the night life changed

      The December 1, 1969, Draft Lottery

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Oct 2, 2013
      The December 1, 1969, Draft Lottery

      People talk about life-changing events and most of the time it’s a dramatic event: An accident, a religious conversion, marriage, the onset of illness, the birth of a child, and such life changes generally affect people right away. Sometimes, though, it’s an event whose life-changing implications lie far off in the future. You just can’t know the path fate has chosen for you. And sometimes the change targets a select group of people.

      old-time religion

      Time Honored Faith & Fellowship At The Campground

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Sep 14, 2013
      Time Honored Faith & Fellowship At The Campground

      I had heard such places existed but had never seen one. Now I was just two miles from seeing one. Just off I-26 near Ridgeville, South Carolina, I began to see signs. I followed them, took a side road, and the place came into view. Time for a deep breath. Old photographs of Nazi concentration camps came to mind. It was an illusion, of course, created by the way the old cabins sit shoulder to shoulder. Dark clapboards, rusty tin roofs, and stark chimneys strengthened the impression.

      weaving life

      Down By The Sweetgrass Highway

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Sep 2, 2013
      Down By The Sweetgrass Highway

      Charleston’s sweetgrass basket weavers are legendary. They are as much a part of the Lowcountry as she crab soup, Spanish moss, sea oats, and a crashing surf line. Their baskets please the eye with their symmetrical lines and khaki and tan patterns. A princely sum will buy you a basket but if you think spending $1,195 for a hand-woven basket is too much, hold on for a bit. There’s much to know about that basket and all that goes into it. For starters a rich history attends sweetgrass baskets.

      saving a species

      Along The Dune Line

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Aug 26, 2013
      Along The Dune Line

      In 1980 I wrote a fifteen-minute film script about a subject most people give little thought to: sand dunes. The stars of this natural history documentary were sea oats, pelicans, shorebirds, and loggerhead sea turtles. The goal? Show people how important sand dunes are to wildlife and man. Because of scheduling issues and bad weather, however, a vital part of the film never got shot. Sand Dunes: Guardian of the Coast hit the screen without its true stars, child prodigies you could say.

      pit cooked over hickory

      Down Home BBQ

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Aug 13, 2013
      Down Home BBQ

      One day when you’re starving for traditional pit-cooked BBQ make the drive to Jackie Hite’s Barbecue just off Highway 23 in Leesville, South Carolina. You’ll know you’re in the right place when you park by the tracks and smell the delicious aroma emanating from hogs sizzling over hickory coals. Look for plumes of smoke back of Hite’s wide white restaurant. Inside look for the patriarch of pork, Jackie Hite

      a half-day off.

      Wednesdays, Closed At Noon

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jul 30, 2013
      Wednesdays, Closed At Noon

      For a long, long time most stores down South have closed at noon Wednesdays. Mexico has its siestas and we have Wednesday afternoons. Closed at noon Wednesday. It’s a custom praised by insightful folks as a more civilized way to live, a way to give everyone a half-day off. All my life I’ve known that Wednesday afternoons were sacred in towns of all sizes. Round about noon places close and the infamous old slow Southern life style crawls to a stop.

      small town america is dying

      The Onset Of Dust

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jul 25, 2013
      The Onset Of Dust

      The small town is hailed as a place where values and virtues die with the greatest of reluctance. Mayberry comes to mind. It was a sleepy little town where good people and memorable characters lived. The Lincolnton and Lincoln County I remember from the 1950s and 1960s had the Mayberry touch. Folks who long for the Lincolnton and Lincoln County of the 1950s and 1960s can still have it. “Vintage Lincoln County,” a Facebook page shows familiar places and people long gone. Its creator, Garnett Wallace, refers to it as a “community scrapbook.”

      that southern classic

      Let Us Praise The Tomato

      by | 11, Add your Comment | Jun 27, 2013
      Let Us Praise The Tomato

      Like the red poinsettia, the red, ripe tomato comes to us by way of Mexico by way of Peru … except that it starts out green. And it’s not a vegetable. It’s a berry, a beloved berry. Botanical correctness mandates that you refer to the tomato as a fruit and being pulpy with edible seeds classifies it as a berry.

      Dad's Day

      Feuds, Fathers, & Forgiveness

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Jun 15, 2013
      Feuds, Fathers, & Forgiveness

      There’s something about being a writer that leads people to confide in me. Think about that. Why tell a writer, a person who uses life itself as raw material, your deepest secrets. But tell me they do, and sometimes their secrets break my heart.

      Through my writing and books, I meet a lot of people. Some become friends. I’ve come to know women who confided in me just how much they hated their father. They had reason. So they say. Several told me…

      Shoals, Smoke & Spirits

      Down A Graveled Road, Part II

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jun 11, 2013
      Down A Graveled Road, Part II

      Early Thursday, May 30. Robert Clark and I strike out on day two of our western South Carolina explorations. As I drive into Carolina we’re both quiet, thinking.

      “Her sun went down while it was yet day,” Jeremiah 15:9. I couldn’t get that epitaph out of my mind. Nor could I forget the photos a woman showed me on a bluff overlooking the Calhoun Mill damn the evening before. Wearing a two-piece yellow swimsuit laying bare the requisite tattoos she walked over, more than a trace of beer on her breath.

      Rendezvous with History

      Down A Graveled Road, Part I

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Jun 7, 2013
      Down A Graveled Road, Part I

      With a few holes to fill in our new book Robert Clark and I headed to western South Carolina Wednesday, May 29. We went directly to Lincolnton where we used sister Brenda’s home as a base camp. After a visit with my mom we set out for McCormick. As soon as we turned off Highway 220 onto 378 the sky turned a menacing yellow. Soon the smell of burning woods filled the car and Robert spotted a cloud a bit different from the rest.

      Southern Places

      The Past, Price’s Mill & Polk Salad

      by | 6, Add your Comment | May 27, 2013
      The Past, Price’s Mill & Polk Salad

      It Was Good Enough For Folks Like Annie

      I left the Empire State of the South the day after Mother’s Day and headed to the Palmetto State. The border, mere minutes away, brought to mind the Allman Brothers’ “Blue Sky.”

      “Goin’ to Carolina … won’t be long til I’ll be there.”

  • Worthy of Comment



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    On the Brunswick, Georgia Waterfront with the Incredible Brothers Koch

    On the Brunswick, Georgia Waterfront with the Incredible Brothers Koch

    By: Monica Smith

    About a quarter century ago, when Hercules Specialty Resins was still spewing its sulfurous emissions across the marshes of Glynn to be dissipated by mingling with the off-shore breezes, local wags dubbed the odiferous environment “the smell of money.” They may have been more right than they thought. For, within a decade, all profits had apparently gone up the chimney, even as every rain storm deposited more toxins to poison the marsh. That profitable enterprise depends to a large extent on avoiding waste is a lesson the new owners of Pinova seem to appreciate. On the other side of town, the  Read on →

    Looking For a GOP Soul

    Looking For a GOP Soul

    By: Jeffry Scott

    San Clemente, Calif. – The back yard of Richard Nixon’s old Western White House seemed like as good a place as any to start the search for a Republican soul, said researcher Ed Whitfield as he prowled the grounds with a metal detector late Wednesday afternoon. “Any kind of beep, and I’m getting aroused, I’m telling you that right now,” said Whitfield, a retired entomologist who is among scores of GOP volunteers scouring the nation for any trace of a Republican soul. “If it turns out to be a belt buckle, well then, that’s one less place to look, that’s progress, that’s the way I look at i  Read on →

    Reason

    Reason

    By: Robert Lamb

    I think of myself as a realist. A diehard realist. I believe I am truly a child of the Age of Reason. But can reason explain all things, unlock all mysteries? Don’t think so. My Uncle Lehman, for instance, my Aunt Mary Grace’s husband, could talk warts off. As I write this, I can see you shaking your skeptical head. Well, I didn’t believe it, either. Nor did Meredith, my first wife, who once was his “patient.” But he did it anyhow, and it couldn’t be called faith healing, for the subject’s disbelief was no deterrent to the cure. You ready for this? We go by their house one night in   Read on →