Local Musings

Stories and observations about my hometown and surroundings.

Southern Snowphobia II

January 25, 2016

Last night under a clear, moonlit sky–Blum’s Almanac said the moon was in maximum declination (which either means full or just about full)–the news was all keen on the pending “snowpocalypse” today.  There was snow on the ground when I woke up but my meteorological sixth sense was telling me that this was not going to be a 12 inch day. Nevertheless, it stayed sub-freezing and spent the rest of the day putting a coat of sleet on top.  I would still be able to [read on...]

My other film festival

November 8, 2015

It’s about the eighth year (consecutive, at that) I have looked forward to the first weekend in November when I travel to Charlottesville for the Virginia Film Festival.  I still pledge first allegiance to my hometown’s own Riverrun International Film Festival.  But granted, there is just something nice about a road trip and leaving your worries behind.  And I have to confess, Charlottesville is a great destination. The first three years I went (tagging along with some friends [read on...]

Are we bike friendly?

July 28, 2015

Winston Salem has many signs of being a bike-friendly community with competitive cycling races, recreational bike rides on roads and greenways and even biking commuters pedaling to and from work. Biking falls into three categories: competition, recreation and transportation.  When I was about nine or ten, my dad got me my first serious bike, a Schwinn Tiger sold then by the Harley Davidson dealer on Brookstown Avenue.  You could say it was for recreation, but at that age, it was my freedom [read on...]

Cool factor

June 26, 2015

Today I had the pleasure to hear Eric Tomlinson, president of the Wake Forest Innovation Quarter. The area, that has a major focus on biotechnology, is undoubtedly a fortuitous replacement for the tobacco industry that we have always been known for. Now, innovation hopes to put us back on the map again. Interestingly he gave serious attention to a city having a “cool factor” in order to attract the professionals it needs to support an innovation and creative economy. And I believe [read on...]


May 3, 2015

When score is tied–or just close–in the top of the ninth inning, I get nervous. This could mean extra innings. And nine is gracious plenty for me. Needless to say, I’m no sports junkie. And the fewer the overall points the particular sport creates, the greater my attention span is tested. So baseball should be a challenge for me as a spectator. However I’ve probably attended more live baseball games in my life than football, basketball or any other sport. I wonder why [read on...]

Curtain call

April 17, 2015

Despite all of the discontent of going to school, I guess it did instill a few things in me that I do not regret.  My first exposure to the theater was no doubt grade school bus trips our classes would take to the children’s plays at the city’s Little Theatre.  I can’t name a single play I saw but there were many.  In fact, all I remember is the children’s theater mascot–someone, oddly, dressed in a rabbit costume. Yet now, in my adult life, I undeniably looked [read on...]

Heritage tourism

April 3, 2015

The visitor center often provides “step on” services for bus tours that come to our city. That is where one of us on the staff boards the bus to provide some narration to the sights. The first one that I got to do was an interesting one as it requested an African American focus. So, in addition to my trepidation as a first time tour guide, I had to do a little extra research. Winston and Salem were two separate towns until their consolidation in 1913. Religious settlers, the Moravians, [read on...]

Southern snowphobia

February 28, 2015

Around here, it’s like this. There is the slightest hint of snow or frozen precipitation in the news. Panic spreads. Grocery stores sell out of bread and milk. People anxiously start wondering how, or if, they will make it to work the next day. Closing listings appear on your TV shows with startling beeps and scrolling marquees across the bottom of the screen. And we wait. For the end of the world. In Winston Salem these events could happen less than twice a year. Sometimes not at all. It [read on...]

Pawn of a new age

February 21, 2015

Is it odd that my friends from Cincinnati know more about the local pawn shops in my city than I do? Is it odd they even go to pawn shops at all? I wouldn’t normally peg them as typical pawn shop clientele. Maybe that shows you how much I know about know about these businesses. The last time they came to visit, I thought I might just tag along with them after we had lunch at Sweet Potatoes. They wanted to noodle around the shops downtown and I knew a pawn shop would certainly be on their [read on...]

Event thunder

February 15, 2015

A number of years ago, there was a multi-staged downtown event showcasing a number of pop, rock and roots music acts. The organizers had high hopes but the turnout was disappointing. The conclusion was that the day had too many conflicting events already scheduled and better calendar planning should have been considered. “Too much going on” seemed to be kind of a good problem to have for a city wanting to make a successful go of revitalization. But if it was just a coin toss to see [read on...]
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