NC bike rack at nc capital

I like calling North Carolina Home…

Sunday hanging out at the pool with my friend Ileana we started talking about a conversation our friend Virginia started explaining her love for North Carolina in light of all the negative press she’s been getting of late. After their great posts, here is my humble attempt at expressing gratitude to my home…

I like calling North Carolina Home…

Many of you are too young to remember that commercial jingle, popular in the ‘70s, but I sure do, and it is a sentiment that has fit my mood all my adult life. Many of you are too young to remember that NC has seen her share of embarrassing moments, but I sure remember those times as well; Jesse Helms, The Klan Massacre of peaceful protestors in ’79, the unspoken segregation that existed even through my teen years…It would be easy to say that what NC is going through these days, as if our state’s elected officials are keen on seeing us on The Daily Show every night is more of the same, but it’s not. In many ways it is WORSE because when it happened before in those long ago days it was just that, more of the same. Now what we are seeing is an undoing of so many years of progress, of so much promise.

I realize I’m starting off on a weak foot here, sounding as though perhaps I DON’T like calling North Carolina Home, but I do, and I always will. My people all but sprang up from the red clay of the Carolina Foothills, and staked DEEP roots there, roots that exist today. I feel a connection to this state like nowhere else I’ve ever been, and I’ve been a lot of places. Sometimes in my travels people have misconceptions about the land of my birth. In a club in Spain for instance where a young couple couldn’t believe that I could be from “The South” because the south was full of ignorant people that never traveled. I pointed out at the club to hundreds of kids dancing to a remix of Nina Simone. “Who do you think all those kids are dancing to? She’s from NC.” How about every time I’m flying somewhere and I see someone reading a David Sedaris book? Or the time I was in Vancouver meeting friends of a friend for the first time in her boutique and the Rosebuds came on her store music mix. “HEY! I know those guys! They’re from where I’m from!” It was funny the reaction I received, as if no way something that cool could come from such a backward place. But that’s what I LOVE about my state, that SO much cool comes from a place that yea, not that long ago, was part of that big thing called “The South”, and that so much cool change was made to bring us up out of that tradition.

It’s not only the James Taylors or the John Coltranes, the Nina Simones or the Shirley Caesers, the Rosebuds or the DBs that have made me love this place, but the people that have given their time and sometimes their all to bring this state forward. Those kids at that lunch counter in Greensboro for instance…I ate many a grilled pimento cheese at that counter when I was at UNC-G and there was always a solemnity, a hush brought on by the significance of where we were. Those people are still hard at work today, fighting to take back our state. I am blessed to live in downtown Raleigh some 20 years now and I have never seen the Legislative Building (my favorite architecture in the state, btw) so ENERGIZED. Sure, we’ve slipped a little, but mark my word, we are going to once again stand tall and sure before the rest of the world. I believe in the people of NC, and THAT is yet another reason I like calling NC home.

I’ve been fortunate enough to work in every county of this great state, and I can honestly say that I have never left one of those counties without making at least one friend. I can’t say that for every place I’ve ever been but I can for NC. In those counties I’ve seen some amazing things; the waterfalls of Transylvania County, the trout streams along Wilson Creek, the wild ponies of Shackleford Banks, that Legislative Building…we’ve all seen them. We all know that we are spoiled for beauty in this state. Let’s not take it for granted, just as I know we won’t take it for granted that we cannot affect change in the coming election cycle. I know I’m not alone in loving calling North Carolina home so let’s make it a home we can be proud of…again.

I can’t end this without one ridiculous thing that makes me SO proud to call NC home and that is no matter where I go in this country when people find out that I’m from NC they always want to know: “Do you prefer Eastern or Western style bbq?” HA! I’m an Eastern man (with apologies to my grandparents) but I do love me some red slaw. I’d always made the joke about Texas bbq that it ain’t bbq, it’s brisket. My first foray into the brisket side of bbq was in a strip mall in Abilene, TX where the smoke house was a cinderblock shed in the middle of the parking lot. I was in there taking some photos when a BEAR of a man walked in wanting to know just what in the hell I was doing! When I explained that I was from NC and that this was my first bbq experience in texas he grinned and said “Hell, I’m from Charlotte…” My first texas bbq and it was made by a Carolina boy…

Yea, I like calling North Carolina home…

This was my story about North Carolina and why I love it so much. Here are some more stories:

Please don’t give up on North Carolina by Virginia Ingram

North Carolina, I wish I knew how to quit you by Ileana Rodriguez

Home at Last by Angela Salamanca

Why my permanent address will always be North Carolina by Anna Adlard

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