Historic Preservation

Historic preservation has been around forever. In one form or another, people have always wanted to maintain the past – the old homeplace – while at the same time inviting in the new.

The New Old Normal

It’s not over. The pandemic. But it’s close enough to almost being close enough to almost being close enough to being over. Or maybe it’s inching toward as-over-as-it’s-going-to-get land.

Masking Down in the New Not-Normal

For all y’all who’ve gotten your shots, and in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new masking guidelines, this week I’m offering…

This Column is a Yawn

How can you get more zzzzs and feel more rested? And do you really want to wait till you get all the way to the end of the alphabet? As we have previously explained, good sleep is essential…

Let’s Go to the Beach

One of the benefits of living in North Carolina is our long, hospitable coast. From Corolla to Sunset Beach, miles of beaches with inviting names: Waves, Southern Shores, Emerald Isle.

Welcome to the Midway

The Chapel Hill-Carrboro border, one block east of where Franklin Street melds into Main Street, is home to a concentration of creative energy and retro-innovation where the businesses are chic…

The Pocket Shrine: Mom in a Matchbox

In my hand I hold a matchbox. The old school kind — wooden matches with cherry red tips inside. But that’s not all that’s in this matchbox, nor is setting a fire its function.

To India With Love

As the pandemic rages across India, I find myself worrying about a perfect stranger. Her name, where she lives, her situation in life now — of these facts I am totally ignorant.

Sleeping On It

We wake up in the morning and talk about how we couldn’t sleep during the night. My wife notes that she woke at 1:45, 3:19 and for good at 6:53. Competitive as always, I counter…

An Elusive Bird Draws Crowds

The Brumley Nature Reserves (North and South) are popular recreation sites for walkers, hikers, nature observers and birders. Springtime is especially nice when the birds fill the air…

Taking a Busman’s Holiday

With shots in arms and no ill effects and, thus, feeling giddy with liberation, good wife Lynne and I have done what so many other pent-up septuagenarians have done…

Bringing Tourism Back

Like spring itself, the world feels like it’s rising again, about to bloom in the coming summer sun. In this new and brighter light we have an opportunity to see what’s changed and how we can do what we did before in new and better ways…

Our Southern Spring Unfolds

I love the long unfolding of our Southern springs. My daughter, Lilli Brown, and I recite all the multisyllable Greek goddess-like names of the flowers as they emerge — camellia, hellebore…

Little Big Man 1967

The young boy sits astride his tricycle like a judge holding court. Barefoot, he affixes the photographer with an intelligent, penetrating gaze. Maybe he is thinking…

The Real College Deadline

By now, most kids in Chapel Hill and in other quaint little towns and big cities across America have already chosen their college. Or, if they’ve decided not to attend college, they’ve joined the military or, at the very least, have planned their next big bank heist.

Falling Into Place

As we get older, there are many challenges we have to deal with, including fading eyesight, failing memory and an inability to break dance. Then there is the risk of falling.

Comfort Foods – Vegan Style

It is said that food is medicine. But food also brings with it powerful connotations and memories that may be unrelated to health.

Easter 1950

All dressed up for Easter Sunday church and holding a Bible, Nick Lauterer, posing heroically in a hand-me-down suit, grins at the camera with confidence and happiness.

Mobile Home Zoning Succeeds Elsewhere

Opinion: On March 10, Chapel Hill Town Council Member Hongbin Gu petitioned the council to consider a zoning change that would restrict the use of certain land, including the mobile home park on 1200 MLK Jr. Blvd…

The Boom in Zoom

Can you hear me? We’re Zooming for a friend’s virtual birthday party. We’re Zooming after months and months of Zooms — family Zooms, business Zooms, book club Zooms, doctor Zooms.

You’ve Got To Be Carefully Taught

As I was raised in the shadow of World War II and the Korean War, my first childhood impressions of Asians were negative: They were the enemy and to be feared.

The Eno River’s Ribbons of Color

In 2020, a time of deep reflection, recovery and desire for open spaces, more than 1.1 million people took to Orange County’s great outdoors and…

Hearth and Home, of Thee I Sing

It’s been raining now for three days straight — that cold nasty chilly winter rain. I’d prefer honest snow any day — the kind we had during my 10 years at Penn State, where Pennsyltuckians understand the…

What’s the Fishy Smell? It’s an AURA.

Opinion: Have you heard of Trinsic Residential Group? It’s a pretty considerable Texas real estate outfit seeking to build a large mixed-use development (400 apartments and townhouses; 650 parking spaces) called AURA…

What We Owe Our Dogs After the Pandemic

I never had a dog when I was growing up. For years, we left Chapel Hill to spend summers in the U.K. where my father taught at a university, and a dog was too much of a complication.

We are off to another season.

In Orange County we are feeling a renewed appreciation of spring. Sun and longer days bring hope and light of better days ahead.

Anyone seen my vaccine?

I’ve gotten my vaccinations. I was fortunate because I had finally qualified for the shots, having been moved from Tier 2, subdivision C, paragraph 9.1, footnote j, to Tier 1b, folder 3D, group IV6, Boy Scout Troop 384. Signing up for the shots, as most of us know, was a fairly easy process, assuming…

‘Reelin’ in the Years,’ Senior Night 1984

Last Saturday’s drubbing of Duke on UNC’s Senior Night conjured up a similar image from years past. It is March 3, 1984, and that year’s farewell men’s basketball game celebrated seniors…