Category Archives: School

School, universities, colleges, high school

A Game Called Salisbury, Susan Barringer Wells, review by Professor George Tex Wood

Professor George Tex Wood of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has provided a review of “A Game Called Salisbury”, the new book by Susan Barringer Wells:

“…Faulknerian in its revelations and observations of human nature, clearly spotlighting the question of real responsibility not just for active human evil, but also for spawning its activity. Those PEOPLE in the media (not some amorphous Media) are held to account. I doubt they’ll appreciate seeing that fact bared, so I doubt we’ll see many reviews of this thorough indictment. Wells shows us that lynchings were (and are) the tip of the iceburg, the cruel result of calculated manipulation of our base human natures and our cowardliness in not confronting evil when we see it, either now or then.
While this book lacks Twain’s humor, it rivals his incisiveness.”


NC history news, oldest European colony in US found

The Lost Colony in Manteo North Carolina. Most people, including myself, believed the English colony to be the first European colony in the US. However, recent archeological finds near Morganton NC have revealed a Spanish colony settled in NC 30 years prior to The Lost Colony. The Spanish built Fort San Juan in the Catawba River Valley near Morganton in the foothills of the NC mountains. Archeological finds match up with written descriptions from Spanish history.

To find out more about the history of the Spanish in NC and
Fort San Juan visit:

UNC TV, NC public television, will have a segment on Fort San Juan, Thursday night, January 31, 2008. The show is a regular feature and is called “Exploring NC”.

To learn more about  North Carolina Click here

Sam Ervin, North Carolina, Watergate and NC influence

I just got through watching a documentary on NC Public
TV about Senator Sam, Sam Ervin. Sam Ervin is best known
for chairing the Watergate Committee, his knowledge of the
Constitution and his down home wit. He was known to say “I
am just a simple country lawyer from North Carolina.” Well,
he was from NC, but he was a Harvard Law School Graduate,
with honors, and extremely intelligent. Sam Ervin was also
influenced by his religious upbringing and by the values of
his community in Morganton NC.
Watching the documentary brought back memories of the Watergate Hearings and Sam Irvin but also brought back memories of other famous and not so famous people from NC. We were all influenced by those surrounding us and I can say with a high degree of confidence, that I was surrounded by some of the most decent and caring people to be found anywhere. From my parents, grandparents, teachers, pastors, neighbors and people I ran into, there was that spirit of community, morality and caring that comes through on the Andy Griffith Show. I guess that on some level I realized this as a youth but it is only now that I really appreciate how fortunate I was to grow up in North Carolina.

To learn more about  North Carolina Click here

Greensboro NC, Tate Street, Old Sam

I wrote briefly about Old Sam, Laurence Sams, the “can man” of Tate Street in Greensboro NC recently. I found my copy of the article written by Jim Schlosser of the Greensboro News & Record and together with the article and my many memories of Old Sam, decided to write more about him. Thousands of students at UNCG and many others encountered Old Sam at Tate Street Coffee or hanging out along Tate Street or just driving by. Sams could be seen from early in the morning to early evening collecting cans and walking continuously in the area. Sams did not need a weight loss program. Many a morning I would arrive at Tate Street Coffee Shop and be seated at the coveted front window seat. Old Sam would often arrive by 7:30 and look up at me and almost always comment about the weather. He was a man of few words, but sometimes he would pause for a few seconds and converse. What impressed me about Old Sam was not the talk but how he kept on keeping on in all kinds of weather, from extreme heat to cold. His perseverance was inspiring. There are a lot of UNCG (University of North Carolina at Greensboro) graduates out there and I am sure there are many memories of Old Sam with you. However, most of you do not know the rest of the story.

Old Sam, Laurence Sams, grew up on a farm near Danville Virginia. He served in the army and worked for a lumber company. He collected cans when he had a job and continued when the company shut down. He attended First Baptist Church on Friendly Avenue and many Sunday mornings I would see him walking there. Sams lived simply and owned no car. Debra Craig bought the old house with apartments in 1985 that Sams lived in. She sold the house in 2000 but with the stipulation that he have a lifetime right to live there. She would bring him takeout meals from time to time. David Taylor, another fine human being, gave Sams a coat and kept an eye on him.

Old Sam was found dead by another good person, Bob Beerman, who helped him. Sams had the flu and Bob came to remind him of a doctor’s appointment. Beerman found Sams sprawled on the floor. Sams was 79. He had looked weaker in recent months.

Many lives were touched by this simple man. I can still remember that unpretentious grin. Many people thought that he was poor because he lived simply, but he left an estate. However, his biggest legacy is the lives he touched and the example of perseverance that he gave us. 

To learn more about Greensboro and  North Carolina Click here


Greensboro NC, Tate Street Coffee, UNCG, friends

My favorite coffee shop in the world, and one of my favorite places in the world, is Tate Street Coffee Shop, near UNCG, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Tate Street Coffee is a great coffee shop but it is more than that. It has a lot of the atmosphere of “Cheers”, where everybody knows your name. I have many friends and acquantances there and I cannot wait to visit when I come to Greensboro. I have many memories of great conversations and warm friendships. Here are some of my favorites:

Matt and Ann own and run the coffee shop and do a superb job. I consider them friends. Several years ago, when my dad was in declining health and then passed away, they were very supportive and even came to the funeral service. Just the other day, Matt helped a long time patron, an older gentleman with some home chores.

The older gentleman I just referred to, Larry, was active in journalism and activism. We don’t agree on everything, but we have a lot of common ground and respect each other. Just this morning, Larry told of his long time correspondence with Julie Harris, the famous actress. We discuss a wide variety of subjects and our favorite is the mathematical probabilities that go out the window with “chance encounters”.

One of my best friends Taylor (first name omitted) is a prince of a guy and very interesting. He has invented a clever new board game. Several years ago we were sitting at the coffee shop discussing a variety of topics when the subject of rocket propulsion came up. It turns out his uncle, Theodore Taylor, was a famous scientist that came out with the idea of tiny nuclear explosions to propel spacecraft.

Jimmy is one of the funniest and smartest people I know. He raises money for an organization that works closely with the school systems. He always puts a smile on my face and that is priceless. Jimmy also came to my dad’s funeral.

My friend Nas is originally from Syria. He played soccer in France years ago and gave me the perfect pass years ago allowing me to score my first goal (I played goalkeeper all the time). I just spoke to Nas, who by the way became a US citizen last year. He married a woman in Syria and is trying to get her over here. It is taking a long time and it is very complicated. I wish him well. He is a great guy.

My friend Mark is a special friend with a wide variety of talents. Through hard work, sacrifice and wise decisions, He has an incredible home on the desirable southside of downtown of Greensboro and owes very little on it. He is a great father and friend. He was at the gravesite for my dad’s funeral.

Old sam, as everybody called him, was a fixture around Tate Street and the coffee shop. His real name was Laurence Sams. He passed away last year at an advanced age. He walked all around the area collecting cans to recycle. I would see him early in the morning at the coffee shop and he would always comment on the weather. He was an inspiration to many people. In all kinds of weather he would continue walking and never complain, even though he was old. The story goes that years ago he lost his job when the company went out of business. He had a small living area in part of an old house near Tate Street. The house was being sold, but the lady selling it made a stipulation, that Old Sam would have lifetime residency rights. That is one of the reasons I love Greensboro and Tate Street Coffee. There are some wonderful people here.

There are many more stories and people to write about. Over the years I have increasingly felt the urge to write a book about people I have encountered and how they have touched my life. Perhaps this is the first step.

To learn more about Greensboro and  North Carolina Click here


Mukilteo Booksellers, Mukilteo WA, Puget Sound

Ok, I know, this blog is all about North Carolina. However, we are still in Everett Washington and I am going to post one more article about this area. We just got back from Whidby Coffee Shop, which overlooks the Puget Sound across from the ferry landing. This is one of my favorite coffee shops in the US with great coffee, a world class view and friendly people. We even recognized a mother and daughter from Whidby Island who played in the first annual music festival there a few months ago. The daughter is a superb violin/fiddle player and aspires to be a symphony conductor someday.

After we left the Whidby Coffee Shop, we visited the Mukilteo Booksellers next door. I have traveled over much of the US and I do not remember a better used book store. The selections were varied and of a higher quality than I usually encounter. Everything was organized well and the furnishings were appealing. The proprietor was very friendly and we discussed a variety of topics including our mutual love of books and books that we recommend. In addition to the wonderful selection of used books, there are new books and I bought one. I highly recommend the Mukilteo Booksellers and the combination of this great bookstore, coffee shop and scenery makes this a must visit location from Seattle or points beyond.

To learn more about Mukilteo Booksellers, visit

Chapel Hill Rathskeller restaurant closes

The Rathskeller restaurant in Chapel Hill North Carolina, a legendary hangout for UNC and other college students  for many years, has closed. Apparently, the business and contents were seized for non payment of taxes. The fate of the restaurant is unknown. The restaurant, on popular Franklin Street, has a lot of problems including a dilapidated building. The restaurant had been in business for almost 60 years and I can remember it being a hot topic in Greensboro when I was in high school.

To learn more about Chapel Hill and  North Carolina Click here