Stories by Jim
Purely on a spring lark the other day, or simple folly, I Google-viewed my old house and garden in Maine and briefly lived to regret it.
We were deep in the mountains last Saturday night, my oldest friend and me, sitting by a large crackling fire under a vault of bright stars, mere yards from one of the finest - and last - true wild trout streams in the East.
Forget the sequester, gun control, even Dennis Rodman's budding bromance with Korea's nuke-happy troll doll Kim Jung Un.
During a recent weekend phone conversation with my daughter, she casually mentioned that she was thinking of checking out Riverside Presbyterian Church some Sunday morning this spring.
I dropped in on Cousin Junior the other day to get his perspective on the news. February has been a rich month for news junkies like me. But listening to human hot-air balloons like Al Sharpton and Bill O'Reilly makes me wish television had never been invented.
On a cold Friday in late January of 1975, I skipped a senior history seminar class at college and drove three hours home to surprise my father for his 60th birthday, bringing him a bottle of his favorite Napoleon brandy.
Frenchman Nicholas Garreau thinks he has me outfoxed in the romance department.
Cassie and Kira, the super-smart, culturally savvy young women who sound as if they're named for classical goddesses and make our office run so brilliantly, sometimes laugh out loud when I throw up my hands over a major vexing computer challenge - like how to turn my laptop back on after a sudden power loss - and declare, "That's it! Get me out of here! By Jove, I belong back in the 19th century!"
Today, as I write this, my mom would have been 93 years old, and I walked a mile or so down the beach to where, half a century or so ago, just this side of the original Johnny Mercer pier, she taught me to swim in a small lagoon on the sound side of the island.
A good friend phoned from his annual spiritual retreat to Florida the other day just to say hello and hear a friendly voice. For a solid month he does nothing more than fast, read books and walk the beach, losing weight and gaining perspective - virtually all in silence.
Owing to a pitiful track record on the matter, I gave up making New Year resolutions years ago.
Someone over pie and eggnog the other night asked me about Aunt Emma. They remembered me writing briefly about her some years back.
Several years ago, my wife and her mom took off on a family research trip to central Ohio, hoping to find out more about Irish ancestors who migrated west in the 19th century. Theirs was a family of schoolteachers, and their research in courthouses and libraries around Findlay, Ohio, proved bountiful. They were able to connect names and faces to real people they'd only known only from family stories and scrapbooks.
And so the waiting continues, or maybe it’s just beginning. We’re waiting for the old year to run out — or down — like a dear old mantel clock whose springs simply need winding.
It was a slow Monday, my first day back in the office after Thanksgiving. I was nursing a doozy of a hangover from too much turkey and pumpkin pie, trying to decide between writing a column or taking a nap.
Reading before dawn and eating my wife’s homemade pies are two of life’s finest pleasures, and Thanksgiving is the one day I fully indulge myself.
They came out of the darkness the other night devouring everything in their path.
Anchoring a shady crook of Dogwood Road in the heart of the self-described “Home of Golf in America” since the day it opened for business Nov. 1, 1913, the inn’s simple unfussy bedrooms feel as if they might have been designed by your grandmother
Long ago and far away, the arrival of November used to really fire up the sports fan in me.
The result has been a love affair — and spiritual and cultural nexus — between the Mourne District and the Sandhills that grows exponentially with every passing year.
They were the last voices I heard in the fog that night —the ones that will always be with me wherever we live and roam.
He's my oldest friend and might be the closest thing I know to a Renaissance man: an expert fly-fisherman and serious outdoorsman, a crack businessman, a devoted husband and father, a student of history and philosophy, serious oenophile, respectable golfer, skilled guitarist, even a beloved Sunday School teacher.
As “Ike’s Bluff” reveals, Eisenhower’s great ability to properly read his adversaries and make unexpected allies of them, is one of the great under-told stories of our time and the reason you should put Evan Thomas’ fabulous book on your bedside reading table this noisy and disappointing political season.
As the lights of home came into view, I couldn’t help but wonder, though, if the Beanpole would remember this night, the night he made such a brilliant catch over the shoulder and a glorious run to the end zone. The night he was briefly immortal in a world that is still falling apart at the seams.
It was the kind of small but endearing gesture of acknowledgement he’s made to adoring galleries for nigh on seven decades, and the reason Arnold Palmer’s the closest thing golf — for that matter, America itself — will ever have to a king.
“A long life may not be good enough,” wrote Benjamin Franklin as the autumn of his days approached. “But a good life is long enough.”
Down here, having resumed a Southern life once so familiar, it’s cooler weather and college football that makes these shortening September days so sweet.
Welcome to the world of the lonely Sunday columnist.
Half an hour before sunrise one morning last week, I was coming back from an hour’s hike along the beach when I glanced up and saw a shooting star, my first in decades, passing just above a very bright Venus and below a serene waning moon.
The games of the London Summer Olympics end today, and already all some people can do is say, “Crikey, what a relief!”
The last time we tried a family beach gathering in August, it worked reasonably well though ended rather horribly.
There has to be a place in the world, after all, for an aging prude to creatively express his or her utter and complete contempt for certain events and circumstances.
Swirling winds, stinging rain, waving hayfields and friendly ruddy-faced natives greeting you like a lost brother as you hoof along a narrow path.
For better or for worse, in sickness and in health, till death do us part, I hail from a clan of serious Southern cooks and consumers.
The big story around our house this week was Man against Nature, or maybe Woman against Itch. Or maybe The Big Scratch.
Not long ago, my friend Ron Crow dropped into the PineStraw world headquarters with something in a bag.
My son and his girlfriend came for a surprise overnight visit this week. It was a bittersweet goodbye of sorts, the kind a parent both dreads and looks forward to.
Over my lengthy journalism career, there are only three famous folks I secretly hoped to someday meet and get to know. One was Arnold Palmer, my boyhood sports idol.
The summer blockbuster season is upon us again like an alien with a bad attitude.
This weekend marks the de facto beginning of the summer vacation season. Earlier this month, USA Today reported that a record 179.4 million passengers will fly between now and Labor Day.
There really is no such thing as failure. It’s only the universe’s way of sending you down a better path or teaching you the value of revising the project until you get it right.
This Mother’s Day I would like to thank the mother of my journalism career, a classy lady, Juanita Weekly.
Every morning on my laptop I receive something called a “Reminder from God” that comes from, well, God only knows. The Internet may be the ultimate mystery.
It was a funny little plant, growing wild among the weeds of a neglected terrace planter when we moved into the house that April.
It was so nice to slip the harness and vanish to the shores of the Pamlico River over Easter weekend, if only to get away from my unanswered emails and a constantly ringing cellphone.
Book tours are funny business. Many established authors I know detest them, owing I suppose to the stress of travel and rigid appearance schedules, unprepared interviewers, and any number of unpredictable circumstances from lumpy hotel beds to disappointed fans.
There are just three of them left now, old friends from another life.
It happened again the other day at lunch in Aberdeen. I’m still not sure what it means for the future of America, but I’ve noticed this happening everywhere lately.
By the luck of the Irish and the grace of God, I was blessed to have a wonderful lying uncle. His name was Carson Jewel, and he was every bit that.
The reason I finally gave in and watched “Downton Abbey” is flatly twofold.