Edward M. Swcatt and Carolyn H. Swcatt Piilylishtrs
Edward M. Swcatt Editor
Susan Usher Ntivs Editor
Doug Ruttcr and Terry Pope Staff Writers
Johnny Craig Spurts Editor
I'egfiy Earwood Qllke Manager
Carolyn H. Swcatt Adiitlistiig Director
Tlmberlev Adams & Cecelia Gore Advertlslr ig Representatives
Dorothy Hrennan 1 Graphic Artist
Wllltarn Manning Pressman
Brenda Clemmons M?x>re Photo Technician
Lotinle Sprinkle Assistant Pressman
Phoebe Clemmons and Frances Sweat t Circulation
PAGE 4 A. THURSDAY. SEPTEMBER 5, 1991
Inflated Egos Spoiling
Calabash Mixing Pot
The resignation of seven planning board members last week in
Calabash caught a lot of people off guard. But it really shouldn't have
come as a big surprise.
As they pointed out in their
joint letter Of resignation, plan
ning hoard members and the town
commissioners who appointed
them haven't seen eye to eye
since the Kurd was formed 18
The seven planning board
members who resigned said they
didn't receive the support and
guidance the\ needed from town commissioners. Also, they said there
w as a lack of communication between the two boards.
In my humble opinion, though, the mass resignation had very little
to do w ith a lack of support, guidance or communication.
Those planning Nurd members quit because they either didn't real
ize their role as members of an advisory board or weren't w illmg to ac
A few of those former planning board members would have run the
town w ith an iron fist if they had the chance. They would deny it to
their grave, but all of the recent problems between the planning board
and town commission came down to a power struggle.
Granted, there should have been better communication between the
two boards. Town commissioners should have supported the planning
board and let them know what was expected of them.
But the planning board members should have been more willing to
accept their role as advisors.
Planning hoards are supposed to study issues, make recommenda
tions and get out of the way. It's up to the town commissioners who
w ere elected to take action and bear the brunt of any criticism.
If the planning Kurd members who resigned las: week care as much
about the community as they say they do, they wouldn't have quit.
There's no way that resigning can be in the best interest ol Calabash.
It was rather crowded in the town council chambers last week when
the resignations went down. It must have Ken all those inflated heads
in one small room.
When the old Town of Calabash and Carolina Shores merged two
years ago. I thought it was the K*st thing that could have happened for
1 never thought inflated egos would spoil the Calabash mixing pot.
but that's exactly what has happened.
Most Carolina Shores residents moved there alter living most of
their lives somewKrc else. A lot lived in the Northeast.
Many of the residents were attracted to the area because of the golf
courses, Kaches, fishing and mild climate.
They probably didn't move here because they wanted to spend hun
dreds of hours in a stuffy K>ard room wading through pages of unneces
In fact, big government is probably one of things they had hoped to
gel away from in tin\ Calabash. Certain zoning rules and planning are
vital to a bright future.
But there's a few commissioners and former planners who need to
move to New York City or Washington. D.C., for three months and real
ize how lucky they are to have found the place long known for its
shrimp boats and seafood.
I hate to say it. But it seems that Calabash might have Ken Kuer
off w hen nobody really cared if someone put up a sign in front of their
Calabash survived several generations without regulations on yard
sales and landscaping. I imagine it could survive several more genera
tions w lthout one lick of government interference.
It's ume some people realized they need Calabash more than
Calabash needs them.
It's Good To Drive A Familiar Road
Al a recent Sunsei Beach Town Council meeting, one member shared a
description visitors use for some of our local roadways. They call them the
"litUe black roads."
Seems they tend to get lost, wan
dering about in search of the right
road to the right golf course, and miss
their tee times. Apparently, that is not
good if you arc a golfer.
1 wish some of those guys could
have been on the roads Don and 1
traveled last week while in the
Shenandoah Valley of northern
We were in a resort area north of Harrisonburg. Talk about little roads'.
The interstate* were nice lor simply getting someplace, but once off of
them, it was another story, for better or worse.
We took back roads from where we were staying over into West
Virginia anil to surrounding towns.
Many of the roads we were on must have been built back when mo
torists didn't expect to meet oncoming traffic; they were that narrow, limit
up and around mountains or over cow paths, they wound over and around
themselves, narrow, curvy and built for an average driving speed of 35
Some of the roads didn't even have center lines. Others had solid cen
ter lines, no passing for miles and miles and miles of curving black stream
ers laced with yellow ribbon.
En route from Harrisonburg to Richmond one day, my husband decided
to iajt,e the scenic route instead of interstate. We took what had once been
the main connecting highway between the two cities, crossing over the
mountains and winding through a number of picturesque small towns.
What we had estimated as a 2- to 2 1/2 hour trip look closer to four
hours to complete. I imagine we felt like a lot of folks have when traveling
U.S. 17. You keep expecting Comer to slick his head out, grin and say,
"Surprise, surprise, surprise!"
Luckily, as on other outings, we were just riding and looking for the
most pan. so we were okay. And these roads offered at least one redeeming
quality: sometimes spectacular views from atop a ridge.
But if we had been running late for a golf match or other appointment,
any of those roads would have been a rude awakening.
Wftile my sympathy for golfers wandering the South Brunswick Isles
was steadily increasing, Brunswick County's worst roads also were l<x>k
ing better every minute.
It's great to get away, but gee, it's nice to get home to a familiar
bed and to roads whose curves and whims I know like the palm of my
< "* a. A
How Can You Be
Southerners are very peculiar
about col larils. which I am not par
ticularly fond of. When a deer wan
ders into the garden and eats up ev
erything but the collards. that
should tell you something.
But not to a southerner. Critici/e
collards, okra or mustard greens and
you're in trouble. I was born and
raised right here in Brunswick
County and have seen w iih my own
two eyes and smclled with my own
nose enough to make this condem
nation of the plant.
There is a garden space behind my
house now that's getting ready lor
the planting of fall collards. While I
gel all nostalgic over the clearing
away of summer's dead vegetable
stems and the birth of a new crop, I
want you to know that this was none
of my doings. It's my parents who
are hoiked on the plant.
I'll eat a helping every now and
then just to keep my allegiance to
the family, but that's about it. When
they start pulling out Ziploc bags of
green clumps of frozen collards
Terry | ~
from the freezer that arc said to be
heller warmed over ih;in ihey were
before, leave me out of it.
There was a crisis around the
house tins past week. Nobody could
make u to the fanner's market early
enough before the hunches of col
lard seedlings were all sold.
Each morning a new load ol
plants is delivered to the market,
and by each afternoon they are all
gone. People are grabbing the plants
by the hundreds these days. They
are planting rows and mws of them
now so the plants will be green and
leafy when the first frost arrives,
which is said to make the plants
taste much better.
All of the rain lately has set col
lard lovers behind in Brunswick
County this summer The plants
should already he in the ground, but
most gardens are stil I mudholes. 1
had cleared a garden space earlier
and made it fxirt of the yard because
lite two pear trees planted there
have done so well litis year.
The grass sure loved the ram. too,
and it quickly look over the former
garden plot. But in competition with
the turf and pears, col lards won out.
They were rewarded three rows on
top of my cleared space, right be
neath the hanging pears.
You see, collard growers can't
just have a few plants and enjoy a
lew cookings and let it be history.
They have to have a whole field. 50
plants for every man, woman and
child in the house. Just ride up and
down the highway and look 111 peo
ple's gardens. It's embarrassing.
The collard lovers will march up
and down the rows and pick a few
leaves oil of each one. like cropping
tobacco, rather than cut the rascals
down (stem and all) ami put ihem
out ol their misery.
With our iiiiKI winters, the plants
will he around lorcvcr, until it's time
to plain spring collards. Ilien the vi
cious cycle starts all over again.
There will be more worries about
getting lite plants on tune, choosing
the right time to plant and that dread
ed late frost, which lor some reason
won't hurt tall collards but will kill
spring col lards. Now why is that '
Then I'll start to feel nostalgic
again over the planting ol a new
crop. The trees will blossom, the
a/alcas will bloom, the butterflies
will flutter past the pear trees and.
I'm afraid, the collards will be in
the ground, right outside the win
dow where I sometimes stare
out looking for inspiration to
write 1)1 is column.
President Bush got into a heap of
trouble by criticizing broccoli a
while back. I wish he had put the
had word on collards instead. He
would have been my hern.
Reading Opens Window Into The Universe
A door into ihe value of reading, a window in
to the universe, was first opened 10 inc one sum
mer afternoon when 1 happened upon a live
I was K years old anil soon to enter the third
grade. My family lived in a small community on
the east side of Fayctteville in a house minus in
door plumbing. I was of an honest, blue collar
family; at best we finished high school, then
went on to a career as truck drivers, carpenters or
factory laborers ? the backbone of America. But
there confronting me was a 2-foot-long snake,
the creature I had been taught from birth to fear
The snake was solid green and slender. 1 didn't
think it was poisonous. I held the snake down
with a stick, caught it and carried the serpent
home where I put it in a Mason jar. Next, 1
walked to the public library and checked out a
book on snakes and began to read.
Reading had never been emphasized in my
family. My mother read us Bible verses at night,
and saw to it that we did our homework, but in
her toil of raising five children and stretching my
father's check from week to week, little lime was
left for pleasure books. My father had quit school
in the seventh grade to go to work, and though he
could read, books were not one of his pleasures.
That first book on reptiles opened the world of
words to me. Until that time, I had marginal in
terest in reading. In class 1 drifted in the middle
level of readers.
But when I began reading about snakes, I
slowly but surely learned that a lot of what I had
been told about snakes was simply not true. They
were not the incredible, vicious, diabolical crea
tures lore made them out to be, most no more
dangerous than a rabbit or squirrel. A few species
just happened to be poisonous.
From that time forward, 1 began to seek out
the truth in other areas of life, and not to lake for
granted every thing I was told. By the end of the
third grade I had moved into the advanced read
Today, my world revolves around books. 1
write b(H)ks and teach writing to college students.
I cannot comprehend lile without reading, but
sadly, many thousands ol teens and adults live in
North Carolina Unlay who stumble through chil
dren's Ixxiks. Thousands more cannot read at all.
My first novel was set in east Fayctteville and
told a story about people much like the ones I
grew up with. Many of my friends quit schix)l.
opting to work rather than suffer the humiliation
of being behind the achievements of their class
mates. One day I ran into a friend of mine who
hail dropped out of schix>l the day he turned 16.
He asked me was I writing a new lxx>k.
"I had my wile read me some of your book," he
said, "and man, you told it how it was. Some of
the time 1 could swear she was reading about me."
He was smiling, but the smile slowly tailed
from his lace, as he realized his admission.
"I never got i<x> good ai reading," he stam
I changed the subject to lessen his embarrass
Ignorance is a word olten misinterpreted.
Ignorance means simply the lack of knowledge
of a subject. I like to look at ignorance of a sub
ject as a challenge to delve into an unexplored
area in life. Ignorance ol reading is nothing to be
ashamed of, but should become a challenge to
open one's mind to the wonders of the written
Here in North Carolina, nearly a third of all
high school students drop out minus a diploma.
The reasons are various and complex, but all of
us know one or several people who got behind
early in school and was dragged deeper and
deeper into a quagmire of ridicule, criticism and
class scorn. Probably some readers of this essay
were of this unfortunate group.
North Carolina is rapidly becoming a state that
demands better and better reading and writing
skills to get a good job. Many of our tobacco
fields and forests are being paved over for the
construction of factories and research centers. A
non-reader misses not only the knowledge and
pleasure gained from books, but is steadly and
rapidly being pushed to the bottom of the job lad
der where often crime or drugs become lucrative,
but dead-end alternatives.
Recently I was asked to visit a 15-year-old
young man who was in a camp for troubled teen
agers. He had been stealing beer from conve
nience stores anil lighting. He was failing in
schix>l, although tests showed his intelligence to
actually be quite high. A counselor had told me
he liked to read.
The kid was hard-muscled and cocky. One arm
and shoulder sported crude tauos. From his open
ing words. I could tell he was used to talking
with counselors and psychologists, knew just
what to say and what not.
1 gave him a txxik 1 had brought, one of adven
ture anil travel in distant lands. As he thumbed
through the pages, his altitude changed and he let
down some barriers.
"You know reading, man," he said, his voice
taking on a thoughtful tone, "it lakes me away.
"Someumes I read about what somebody did
in a book and I say I could do that. I could do
just as good."
Illiteracy in North Carolina is a serious prob
lem, but it is a problem that is being actively con
fronted by the government and people of this
suite. Libraries, schix>ls and many civic organiza
tions oiler programs where volunteer readers are
learned with non-reders.
Volunteers are only asked 10 give a lew hours
a week. Most find lliai the pride and joy reflected
in a person's eyes who reads his lirst sentence lar
exceeds ilieir own modest commitment.
Ignorance of the written word is nothing to be
ashamed of. But as we move toward the 21st
Century, illiteracy will become a growing blight
upon the future of our state.
If you are a non-reader or marginal reader,
seek help. There are many people who care. If
you are a lover of books, volunteer to help anoth
er learn to share your pleasure.
The gift may seem small to the average citi
zen, but to a non-reader a door will be opened to
them to a universe that can only be limited by the
boundaries of the human mind.
Kditor's Note: Tim Mclaurin served as a
Marine and a Peace Corps volunteer, salesman,
carpenter and carnival snake handler before turn
ing to writing, lie has written two novels, The
Acorn Plan and Woodrow 's trumpet, and the
soon to be released autobiography. Keeper of the
Moon. His essay is one in a series made available
by the North Carolina Press Association.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Better Late Than Never
To the editor:
I he State Port Pilot asked that subscribers
note the date their newspapers were received
beginning with the July 24 edition. Since both
the Beacon and Pilot arrive on or about the
same date. 1 am providing the date of receipt
ol the Beacon in case you are in contact with
the Postal Service concerning delivery.
It would seem U) me tliat with each postage
rale increase the service gels slower. 1 recently
received a letter postmarked in Raleigh which
u*)k five days to be delivered to me in
Lakeland, Florida. I remember being stationed
on Saipan, Mariana Islands in 1967 to 1969
and receiving mail from my mother in Supply,
N.C. in less time thai that.
Here is ihe information showing the issue
date and the delivery date:
Issue Dale Delivery Dale
7-25-9 1 .8-1-91
X-X-91 X- 14-9 i
8-15-9 1 X-24-91*
1 was on vacation and my mail was held
and placed in my box on X-24-9 1 .
Before 1 close I wanted to add that I enjoy
receiving and reading the Beacon, even if it is
a week old when I receive it.
M. L. Sellers