Confession is good for the soul, and I had so much fun with my first seven secrets on Facebook that I decided to divulge more here as my memory is prodded, my soul is convicted, or the statute of limitations runs out.
Not that anyone else should care. Eavesdropping on my confession could be bad for your soul. But spies, gossips, and biographers may be interested to know:
- I took the sunrise photo at the top of this blog—took it without permission but with gratitude from Peter Larkins' now-extinct Amphibolite website. That's the dawn of Sept. 25, 2004, viewed past Elk Knob from Snake Mountain. Sometimes it's just better to ask forgiveness.
- I had the same banjo teacher as two of the world’s best pickers, Charles Wood and Kristin Scott Benson. RIP, Al Osteen.
- I forgot to get a haircut for my wedding. Mary kept me anyway. She's my good'n.
- Awards include the coveted Jabba trophy as a lifetime non-winner of the Greenville News alumni golf tournament (thanks, Mike Hembree), a game ball from Byrnes’ 1986 state champion team (thanks, Bo Corne), and my picture on the wall at Skin’s Hot Dogs (thanks, Matt Thrasher).
- Most influential words I’ve heard: “It’s Easter Sunday, for goodness’ sake—what kind of Christian are you?” –Rick Barnes, when I knocked on his front door in Clemson in 1998 and interrupted a phone call from Texas. It was a good question, even if he didn't mean it that way. I mulled that for a while and decided I would no longer be the kind of Christian who chased coaches and recruits for a living. By next Easter, I was in Boone and safely out of the newspaper business.
- Speaking of bad career moves, I met the president of Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, on the same day he was indicted for war crimes.
- My cars: 1968 Mustang, 1970 Mustang, 1979 Triumph Spitfire, 1986 Hyundai Excel, 1995 Saturn, and now a 1998 Honda Accord. Still waiting for my odometer to roll over to the 21st century.
- Never had a headache.
- Never had a heartache, not even in 2003 on the day of my heart attack.
- Unable to wink.
- I don't eat anything that looks like the animal it came from.
- My greatest athletic moment? Goaltending in a pickup basketball game at Mizzou about 1978. The Flying Pig half-marathon in 2010 (thanks, Mark Speir). Climbing Mount Guyot to complete the 100 county highpoints of North Carolina.
- My worst athletic moment? Getting fired as the official scorekeeper for an American Legion baseball tournament in Anderson in the mid-1970s. I was a know-it-all after keeping the scorebook for Jim Rice's senior season at T.L. Hanna High.
- My first and maybe last autograph: Coach Frank Howard.
- Blessed Assurance, No. 269, and Just As I Am, No. 240, were the songs sung from the Baptist Hymnal on November 15, 1972—the night that I walked the aisle of Concord Church, confessed my teenage sins, and began my walk with Christ. Come walk with me. Confession is good for the soul.
- I've held the throttle of a locomotive in Pelzer, the yoke of a DC-3 plane over Darfur, and the reins of a camel in Timbuktu.
- I like to hide puns in my prose. Sometimes, I intentionally leave them unhidden.