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Sunday, November 23, 2014
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: 169
    Email address: email
    Subscribe to my RSS Feed: http://likethedew.com/author/Tom Poland/feed/

    Posts by Tom Poland:


      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.”

      Interactive Journalism At Its Most Delicious

      Summer Sensations

      by | 3, Add your Comment | May 19, 2013
      Summer Sensations

      Last Thursday, just before I took my daily two-mile run/walk hunger struck. A few bites of watermelon did the trick. When I bit into that cold sweet watermelon a flood of summer memories rushed in. I recalled the great tastes of summer and with those memories came warm images of youth in the Georgia countryside. I saw stacks of dark green, striped watermelons, red, ripe tomatoes, and heard the beautiful grinding of a hand-cranked ice cream churn. Recalling the great tastes of summer I thought will make a good column.

      Enough Is Enough

      A Public Service—Business Writing 101

      by | 5, Add your Comment | May 15, 2013
      A Public Service—Business Writing 101

      None other than the Harvard Business Review reports that the ability to communicate is the number one trait top executives possess. The ability to communicate trumps ambition, education, sound decisions, and a capacity for hard work. It’s too damn bad the folks on top can’t delegate their talent.

      Way too many business people cannot write. How well I know. My eyes glaze over at their attempts. Check out most corporations’ mission statements and you’ll need a café latte with an extra shot of espresso. Here’s a snoozer for you:

      SC Writers' Essays

      A New Book—Favorite Places

      by | 7, Add your Comment | May 9, 2013
      A New Book—Favorite Places

      Your favorite place … For many it would be home, that safe harbor we have shaped to our own needs and likes, that refuge from the world’s ills, stresses, and bothers. Home makes for an easy choice. Suppose, however, an editor asked you what your favorite place is other than your home, and what if she said, “Write about it and we’ll put it in a book.”

      That’s precisely what happened to me.

      Pass The Rice Please

      Carolina Gold Conquered The World

      by | 1, Add your Comment | Apr 30, 2013
      The "Avenue of Oaks" approach to Mansfield Plantation (Thomas Namey) http://www.nameydesign.com

      “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.” —William Faulkner

      Early this spring I spent two days in ricefield country over near Georgetown. Working on a new book, Reflections Of South Carolina, Volume II, (USC Press) I went to Mansfield Plantation to time travel. Turning off Highway 701 onto Mansfield Road I hurdled three hundred years into the past.

      When Folks Made Do

      Genuine, Original Survivors

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 27, 2013
      Genuine, Original Survivors

      A crisis or two from disaster … That’s how most folks live. Modern conveniences have spoiled the self-reliance right out of us. Thanks to stores like Kroger and Publix you can get most anything you need. Ease, however, extracts a price.

      We’re nowhere as self-sufficient as our grandparents were. They lived in an era when folks made do. Not us, we drive to the big box grocery stores and plop down a credit card or sign a check. That’s how we keep life moving forward. It’s a tenuous way to live.

      Southern Food

      Saturdays Meant BBQ

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 23, 2013
      Saturdays Meant BBQ

      And that meant a trip to Bud Hawes … I can’t quite place exactly where Bud Hawes’s pit-cooked barbecue operated when I was a kid but I still see the place. I know it was close by the telephone office off South Peachtree. My sister, Deb, tells me a parking lot covers the spot. What a shame.

      When I was a boy Saturdays were special and not because school was out. No, they were special because…

      Nostalgia

      Hung Out To Dry

      by | 10, Add your Comment | Apr 14, 2013
      Hung Out To Dry

      You didn’t have to plug it in but it worked like a charm… all you needed was sunshine. Who can forget the clothesline? Starchy, fresh, and sanitized by sunlight, the blue jeans, shorts, T-shirts, and sheets of today hang out with the clothesline no more.

      Today’s jeans, Ts, and sheets tumble round and round. Throw in some synthetic fabrics and static electricity glues the whole mess together. Clothes hiss, pop, and cling as you separate them. Sometimes it’ll make your hair stand up on end.

      Old South of Long Ago

      Down In Rice Plantation Country

      by | 4, Add your Comment | Apr 8, 2013
      Down In Rice Plantation Country

      Last week I spent two days in rice plantation country over near Georgetown, South Carolina. Photographer Robert Clark, friend and co-author, and I went to several old rice plantations: Mansfield, Weehaw, Millbrook, and Estherville. If you’ve never explored an old rice plantation you owe it to yourself to do so. Glimpses of the South before the Civil War are yours for the taking. It’s like walking back two- to three-hundred years.

      Time Marches

      Give Me That Old Time Religion

      by | 0, Add your Comment | Apr 1, 2013
      Give Me That Old Time Religion

      Take Me To The River… I was down home for Easter with my family. We went to our church, New Hope. As I sat listening to a special music program it was hard not to stare at the church’s baptismal pool looming over the choir. As hard as I try to accept that pool as part of the church’s interior I cannot. While staring at it my thoughts turned to four pivotal days in a church we can never forget: the day we accept Christ, the day we’re baptized, the day we get married, and the day we lay a loved one to rest…

      1916

      The Great Augusta Firestorm

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 25, 2013
      The Great Augusta Firestorm

      When I was growing up life found all kinds of reasons to send us to Augusta. Then as now we found it necessary to make many a pilgrimage to the big city but we weren’t unique. In the CSRA all roads have always led to Augusta. The city of Masters fame has long represented the center of civilization as smaller outlying communities go.

      Lincoln County was home, of course, but the late 1950’s Augusta was much more—Sears, cinemas, car dealerships, and great hamburger joints in the days before Ray Kroc and his cookie-cutter McDonald’s took over.

      Otherworldly

      Carolina Bays—Nature’s Mysterious Landforms

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Mar 16, 2013
      Carolina Bays—Nature’s Mysterious Landforms

      During World War I, aerial photography sent in-flight artists scurrying to the breadline. Overnight, aerial sketches were old hat. Following the war, aerial photography, needing new markets, turned to non-military purposes and that led to a remarkable discovery. In 1930 the Ocean Forest Company of Myrtle Beach contracted Fairchild Aerial Photography Corporation to survey Horry County. Droning along, drawing eyes upward, Fairchild’s FC-2 Cabin Monoplane crisscrossed the coastal plain. What its photographer must have felt when he focused on the mysteries below.

      Connections

      We Called Him Kilgo

      by | 12, Add your Comment | Mar 12, 2013
      We Called Him Kilgo

      Does Life Have A Secret Plan? … Is one’s destiny planned all along? After one too many consequential coincidences you get the feeling that something mysterious is at work. Call it fate. Call it predestination. Attribute it to God. Whatever the force it reveals your true path. Such was the case with my most memorable teacher at the University of Georgia. It was mystifying how the man kept coming back into my life … even after he died. And writing was the connection.

      Before Cell Phones

      Breaker, Breaker, Heartbreaker

      by | 9, Add your Comment | Feb 18, 2013
      Breaker, Breaker, Heartbreaker

      What A Blessing A Simple Radio Was … In the mid 1970s I made long lonely drives up to Charleston, West Virginia for several years. A town called St. Albans to be exact and more precisely a home at 55 B 10th Avenue. My daughters, mere toddlers, lived there and once a month I made the eight-hour drive up to Wild Wonderful West Virginia to see them.

      It was Woeful Woebegone West Virginia back then because my youngest girl didn’t know who I was for a while. Those trips about killed me. The visits were bittersweet: a mix of joy and heartbreak. Leaving work early around two on a Friday, I’d arrive at 10 p.m. or so and stay in a roach motel.

      Unvarnished History

      Boom Along Baby Boomers

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 27, 2013
      Boom Along Baby Boomers

      Who We Come From … What We Truthfully Remember

      A Note To Baby Boomers: My daughter, Beth, is building a family tree using Ancestry.com in part. The other part involves questions to family members and independent research. She seeks to better know family members from the past. Her work will be of great worth to those who follow. She emailed me. “Can you tell me the birth dates, full names, and death dates of your grandparents?

      Swallowing History

      Ghost Towns: Petersburg, Lisbon, & Vienna

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 22, 2013
      Map of the Upper Savannah River in 1795 (public domain via wikipedia.org).

      Lake Waters Bury An Unparalleled Political Record

      Growing up I watched old cowboy movies about ghost towns out West and even went to Ghost Town in the Sky up in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Tumbleweeds rolling through Dodge City kept me glued to the television. Well, I was a clueless lad. Little did I know that if you grew up in Lincoln County you lived in an area with ghost towns nearby and they were real, and what politics and history once lived there.

      Moments

      The Power Of A Photograph

      by | 2, Add your Comment | Jan 6, 2013
      The Power Of A Photograph

      The young daydream of exotic careers. Something far from the ordinary. A calling that perchance will elevate them above the masses. For me that career would have been that of a photographer. I can’t say what started this desire to capture images but I can tell you it never materialized. My good fortune, however, was that life kept throwing me around people who are photographers, and I would learn to appreciate a photo’s ability to tell a story.

  • Worthy of Comment



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    Have We Turned a Corner?

    By: Monica Smith

    Money, the life-blood of the nation Corrupts and stagnates in the veins Unless a proper circulation Its motion and its heat maintains. – Jonathan Swift For the first time since 2009, the rate at which the dollar moves through the economy on its way to becoming part of the Gross National Product has increased. The Federal Reserve data collectors had to extend the number out three digits to get there. But, from a low of 1.381, we’re now up to 1.386. The high point for the rate was in the third quarter of 1981, when it reached 3.5 and the country was not only awash in pap  Read on →

    Growing Up and Growing Old with Surge

    Growing Up and Growing Old with Surge

    By: James N. Maples

    This morning, my friend Lusy stopped by my office with a nasty cold and a warm, sixteen ounce can of Surge; I gladly hugged him. As he sat the Christmas-colored can of heavenly proportions on my office desk, I thought to myself, “There it is.  My childhood is sitting on my desk.” Waves of memories flooded my mind. I closed my eyes and remember frozen nights spent sipping Surge by the fireside even as the frost formed on our shivering backs.  I recalled the punch drunk pleasure of all-night binge gaming sessions, playing Diablo II with now-lost friends and my seemi  Read on →

    A World of Randomness and Ambiguity

    A World of Randomness and Ambiguity

    By: David Evans

    As part of my winter endeavors, I have ventured off with Dante on a journey through The Divine Comedy. So far, so good, but as my wife often asks, “Why?” I am not a religious person, at least in the conventional way, so why indeed am I stumbling along in a fourteenth-century conceit of a man’s mid-life crisis? As it turns out, I am following a Georgetown University on-line class which is serving as my guide, my own Virgil. As we finished The Inferno this week, our professor posed the question that Dante was ultimately trying to answer, “Who Am I?” Entering into Dant  Read on →