Saturday, July 6, 2013

North Carolina, The Friendly State

As to biographical information, i. e., who I am; well I'm still trying to figure that one out. For more than half a century, I've hidden behind words, first as a news and sports reporter with a BS in Journalism from UT-Knoxville, my hometown.

Following that career, a quarter century was spent writing historical non-fiction.  So, it was with a lot of naiveté and way too much self confidence that I decided some five years ago to write a novel, a mystery. I managed to get a well-known mystery writer with some forty books published to review my first manuscript.  He sent me an eleven-page, single spaced letter. The first page and a half told me what I had done correctly.  The other nine and a half pages listed the things I needed to learn. I am still learning.

THE PROVIDENCE OF DEATH can be ordered as a POD trade paperback through Amazon, B&N or your local book stores, as well as an ebook for your Kindle.



First, I must say thanks to Kaye for letting me again be a part of Meanderings and Muses. As her list of guests dwindles, it is truly an honor to remain among the annual contributors.



North Carolina, The Friendly State
by Bronson L. "Bo" Parker

I know an argument could be stirred up by saying this, but I now live in one of the friendliest states in the union. I’ve not spent time in all fifty, but to my way of thinking, there simply cannot be one where the folks are friendlier than in North Carolina.


Not too long after I arrived the week after Thanksgiving last year, I made the comment to my son how friendly I found everyone. He response? “Now you know why I moved down here twelve years ago.” He was born and raised in Hampton, Virginia, the family home for nearly fifty years.


He continued by saying. “Down here, even the clerks in the stores are so friendly you feel guilty if you don’t thank them.”


These are two personal opinions. What have others said about the state?


Warren Bull, who grew up in Rock Island, Illinois, enjoyed a career as a licensed psychologist before becoming a full time, award-winning author of more than twenty published short stories, as well as memoirs, essays, and a novel.

Part of his graduate training in psychology was at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He still speaks fondly of his experiences from more than thirty years ago. “I remember moving to a small town in North Carolina and learning to slow down the speed of my speech and practice more politeness.”

Warren also said he loved the local sayings. He passed on one example. “Cute as a speckled puppy barking in the rain.” Let that roll off your tongue a time or two, and it’s impossible to not smile at the image.


Beyond personal opinions, at least one institution of higher learning weighed in on the subject. Researchers at England’s Cambridge University determined several years that North Carolina was one of the “friendliest and most dutiful” states in the union.


That study resulted in this reaction from Jason Tomberlin, North Carolina Research and Instruction Librarian at the Louis Round Wilson Special Collections Library. He suggested that in addition to nicknames such as The Tar Heel State, The Old North State, and Land of the Longleaf Pine, the state could be called “The Friendly State.”


The Cambridge study prompted the state’s governor at the time to give this quote to the Raleigh News and Observer. “I’m happy to see that others are learning what we have known for a long time—that nothing could be finer than to live in North Carolina.”


That last line was a reminder of a song that been around for the better part of a century, one of the first songs I can remember hearing as a small child.



Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning,

No one could be sweeter than my sweetie when I meet her in the morning.

Where the morning glories

Twine around the door,

Whispering pretty stories

I long to hear once more.

Strolling with my girlie where the dew is pearly early in the morning,

Butterflies all flutter up and kiss each little buttercup at dawning,

If I had Aladdin's lamp for only a day,

I'd make a wish and here's what I'd say:

Nothing could be finer than to be in Carolina in the morning.


What is going on in North Carolina to create this state of friendliness? I have learned that is does not come from its native-born citizens alone. Some of the people who give the state this quality were born elsewhere, including our own Kaye Barley who was born in Maryland. To my way of thinking, she is the epitome of what my word cobbling is about.


So, how do the citizens of North Carolina achieve this level of friendliness? I found this as a quote in a state magazine. It had no attribution. But maybe it contains the answer in amongst what some might call fighting words.


 “It has been written of North Carolina that when the essential unpretentiousness of its citizenry is contrasted with the vanity displayed by Richmond aristocracy to the north and the haughtiness manifested by Charleston gentry to the south, the state can be viewed as “a vale of humility between two mountains of conceit.”




One final comment on another subject.


To the many folks who have been asking about the next Joe McKibben book, I can tell you the second one is nearing the point where I’ll be looking for test readers who want to be a part of the process. A wee bit of physical inconvenience got in the way.


It’s the story of how the retired detective handled, or mishandled, certain issues in his life during the year after he tracked down the man who killed Whitey Wheeler; a fellow retired detective and his close friend since academy days.


 It was a time during which Joe quit smoking after fifty years; become what some would call a wealthy man; and for a short period of time, experienced the feeling of being a suspect in a homicide. Last but not least, he and Marsha Fielding, the widow he met in Kent County, Maryland, moved past their long-distance, platonic relationship




Kaye Wilkinson Barley - Meanderings and Muses said...

Bo, my friend, it is always a pleasure having you here - welcome!!! and thank you, once again, for the kinds words.

Mike Orenduff said...

Great news that the 2nd McKibben is near. Now if we can get a 2nd from Kaye, that will be two books for the top of my TBR pile.

Now I'll see if I can make out those ridiculous squiggly letters that are required because some people don't have anything better to do than foul up the Internet.

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Bo! How lovely to see you here! I agree with your comments and feelings about NC. I moved to Burlington, NC, in the 5th Grade and we lived there til I was sent to a village named Buie's Creek for the 8th Grade, while my parents moved to Norfolk, to try to decide what their future would be. I lived, as a 12 year old, in the college dorm of Very Baptist Campbell College ( where Margaret Msron's mother went to school - not at the same time - ) with a college girl aged 18. The school was High Baptists and the college kids often had me on the floor praying for my soul. One of my classmates was Anne Green, niece of Paul Green, and I enjoyed their family home on occasion. Paul Green was a nice man, I only found out later how famous he was. My friends were all college kids - but I enjoyed it. I was supposed to be 8th Grade Class Valedictorian, but as I was a girl and new, they wouldn't let me be that - so they made me Class poet and I still recall the poem I read to the huge college auditorium: " Touch me not, o death, o pass me by." ( Wow !)
When I was a grown up I spent several wonderful summers at Nag's Head in the Outer Banks, which, to blow a horn, is one of the settings of my current WIP Smoke Screen. Now, I'll shut up and re-read your charming post! I really look forward to your next book and am deelited Kaye invited you here today! Thelma Straw in boiling NYC

Prentiss Garner said...

Bo, I look forward to the next book. You are a wonderful storyteller.

Earl Staggs said...

Bo, except for a few fishing adventures to the Outer Banks, I haven't spent much time in North Carolina. Now, tho, I have two people to visit there. I'm sure you'll understand why Kaye will be first. She's prettier. I enjoyed your piece and wish you continued success with your books.

Lisa Richardson/ said...

Bo, I look forward to the second book, as I definitely enjoyed the first one! And, hopefully your physical problems are a thing of the past. As you moved to the great state of NC, my sisters recently moved to Virginia, and seem to be loving it. I will have to schedule a visit. Best to both you and Kaye! Thanks for a lovely read today.