As we embark on the longest stretch of winter, with a polar vortex on the horizon, I’m remembering back 25 years to the biggest winter event in my lifetime, and one of our country’s most devastating on record: the Blizzard of January 6-8, 1996. Over those days, a massive winter storm plastered our entire state,…

Share This:
Read More

2020 was certainly a year that changed our lives. So many developments of global proportions; so many seismic shifts in our everyday existence. Will life ever quite be the same? In any event, it’s worth recalling some of the ways – good and bad – that 2020 will forever stand out in my memory. Here…

Share This:
Read More

Lessons from Quarantine Here’s a few things I’ve learned during this recent season of life. Food delivery apps are good. Interestingly enough, we had never used such apps before this year. (Yes, yes, I know, welcome to the 21st century!) This is not the place to argue the comparative merits of DoorDash, GrubHub, and UberEats.…

Share This:
Read More

“Tonight I am going to give you a lesson in Astronomy. At dead of night two noble planets, Tarva and Alambil, will pass within one degree of each other. Such a conjunction has not occurred for two hundred years, and you will not live to see it again. … Look well upon them. Their meeting…

Share This:
Read More

In 1907, scarcely a generation removed from the Civil War, the South was marked by widespread racial discrimination, Jim Crow laws that disenfranchised black voters, and constitutionally enshrined segregation through the “separate but equal” doctrine (which in practice established anything but equality).  One hundred years later, in 2007, the final Harry Potter book was published,…

Share This:
Read More

Christmas season 2020 is here, and if it follows the course of the rest of this year, it will be unlike any other Christmas in our lifetimes. Fortunately my kids are up for the challenge, and have been busy inadvertently modifying Christmas songs just to accommodate a Covid Christmas. Please take no offense to any…

Share This:
Read More

Following the pattern of loosely interpreting “Roanoker” to mean someone who has influenced Roanoke’s development, let’s consider…  Dr. Charles T. Pepper (1830 – 1903) A doctor and pharmacist from nearby Rural Retreat, Dr. Pepper is renowned for his greatest medicinal creation: a concoction of herbs, roots, and… you guessed it… carbonated water. This beverage would…

Share This:
Read More

Wet and Wicked Weather in Western Virginia – Part 1 Roanoke is my adopted home, not my birthplace. I am, however, a proud native of the mountains of western Virginia, despite the time I spent down in the flatlands in that other city that starts with an “R”. When we moved to Roanoke, one fact…

Share This:
Read More

Next in the list of illustrious Roanokers is someone who was actually not native to Roanoke, but critically important in its growth. Let’s meet… Mr. Frederick J. Kimball (1844 – 1903) Mr. Kimball was in a literal sense the man who put Roanoke on the map. A life-long railroad man, Fred was one of the…

Share This:
Read More

The Virginia woods abound with wild edible treasures, and here is one of the most common, most delectable… and most finicky: The American persimmon – native to eastern North America – has been called the “Fruit of the gods”, perhaps because as it develops, its character shifts as wildly as a temperamental Greek deity. Before…

Share This:
Read More