Ground Hog Mountain, Virginia -
I had to smile when I noticed that 8 years had transpired in between my final post in 2013 and the two latest ones from this week. After spending an amazing decade plus in the Northern part of God's own Valley I ended up off the Coast of Washington state in the San Juan Islands. There were a number of reasons that took me as far away from the Valley as one can go without actually leaving the Country but once Life allowed me to return we came back to the Old Dominion at the start of 2021.
A few things that have changed include the location of the family as following the passing of my beloved parents I wanted to return to their roots. Both of my parents grew up off different parts of US-58 that runs across the bottom of the state. Dad spent his early life in a spot near Buggs Island Lake, just outside of Clarksville while my Mom was raised at the other end of the 500 mile long highway near the Cumberland Gap. Harrogate, Tennessee might be the closest cluster of folks and Middlesboro, Kentucky would pass as the nearest "Big Place" unless you wanted to wonder out of the comforts and head all the way down to Knoxville.
I happily reached a point in my life where I could relocate to any spot in the Country or World for that fact and I decided on heading to a part of the Country that goes by the name Appalachia. I embrace the word Appalachia in the same manner that I did when someone would call me a Navy Brat as we were growing up. Loyalty is a BIG word in my World so trying to stay true to my upbringing by returning to a little place on the side of a mountain in between Mount Airy, North Carolina and Hillsville, Virginia.
Now that my work career is officially over I can devote my time to the one great passion that I have had in life - searching out special people and trying to tell their story, assuming they want it to be told! I have been writing for over 40 years now and the one constant is I always write in a positive light, with no exceptions. The early years of my life were heavily influenced by the words of one of the All-Time great storytellers in Jimmy Buffett.
Years before Buffett made a name for himself with his legions of Parrot heads he penned a song about how he would NEVER make his music for money but instead always make his music exactly how he wanted it to sound. If Buffett writes that same song now it would be laughable with his storied career but he wrote it when he was broke and just wanted to play his guitar and sing.
My path down the road of writing had a very similar start in that I was fortunate enough to get a chance to cover Sports for a large 7-Day newspaper while still in High School. I loved what I was doing and how I was doing it when my editor instructed me that if I wanted to be taken serious in this business that I would have to learn how to write in a manner that sounded like criticism. I proudly stood my ground and stated I would never write in a mean spirited manner. The conversation ended with my boss suggesting to me that I head down to the end of the street and apply at the weekly newspaper, were my passion for "Fluff" might find a home.
Switching over to the neighboring St. Charles Journal allowed my writing style to continue for the remainder of my high school days but a serious career in journalism would never be in the cards for me. Just as my early mentor Buffett stated oh so elegantly roughly 50 years ago - I want to do my writing for me (and the subject of the writing).
Over the years I have managed to have my work appear in close to twenty different publications across the Country and even managed to be the Sports Editor for a weekly publication in Virginia for a year. If I will mention that Buffett played a role in my writing style I would also need to mention that the person that bookends him is Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin is often ripped for writing too smart which is simply hilarious to me as I can only hope to write half as smart as Sorkin has done for the past 20 to 30 years.
There are no sponsors in connection to my blog and there is no plans for that to change. There is no concern for the ratings, if you will allow a couple of The Newsroom phrases to be dropped in from time to time. As Will would say throughout the 25 episodes - "I'm on a mission to civilize!"
I welcome any and all readers to check in from time to time as I have but one goal in mind, search for POSITIVE stories and try to be as uplifting as possible every single day !!