Growing up in the 1960s and 70s, I spent a lot of vacation time in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Even as a little guy, I could spend an entire afternoon paddling around a lake. White pines and tulip poplars towered over the bank. Lake Summit was such a huge place, it never felt crowded. I was always discovering new places.

photos: Tom Haynie

The environmental dynamics of lakes also interested me. For instance, a dozen streams fed Lake Summit from high up in the pristine mountains of Pisgah National Forest. Some of the streams flowed into the Green River before entering the lake. They all flowed southeast across the body of the lake, then exited through a sluice-gate below the lake, continuing the fifty-eight mile long Green River again. The water  from the bottom of the lake is always cold as hell, which tubers and kayakers love.

In college, Lake Summit was a great place to meet people my age, but it also led me into some hairy situations and sexual rivalries that caused me a lot of grief. Not surprisingly, I exercised poor judgment on a number of occasions. I would not have done it any other way, in hindsight.

I had never engaged a professional photographer before. My parents had used a photographer for Christmas family pictures but did not involve us children in the planning. My photographer set up his equipment, and I was self-conscious the whole time. I stood, I sat, I smiled or grimaced, and felt pretty disappointed when I saw the results. Tired out, I plopped myself on the bench in the living room. As so often happens, the photographer took one last picture, and it was the one I used for the book.

 

  photo: Doug Deas


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September 30, 2022

Rolexes and Wealth

I remember the day my eighth-grade teacher arrived at school wearing his new wrist-watch. We saw this guy for the 180 days of the school-year and knew him pretty well--as well as anyone did. We noticed that, among his other mannerisms, he tended to look often at the watch during class. We thought he was keen to know the time on a regular basis. Now, I believe he was just admiring his new watch.


September 28, 2022

Family-life is not a Democracy

I ran into a problem yesterday when I returned to Germany. On my first evening, I wanted to slake my thirst for German beer, big-time! So I ordered a liter-serving right off the bat; but I knew I also wanted some wine and ordered a carafe of it, as well. Shamefully, I have to admit to not finishing either. I slaked my thirst, but had to leave some of it undrunk. I hate wasting anything, but I had work to do and wanted to operate on all my cylinders.


September 24, 2022

Violence in the Real

This article appeared last July in the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine newspaper, by the newspaper's expert on hip-hop music, Florentin Schuhmacher. He regards gangsta-rap, and its sub-genre Drill, as a legitimate art-form. He can understand the reservations that law enforcement, parents, and teachers have toward music that glorifies gang-life, describes the rush of killing one's enemies, the pleasure of drugs—as a source of wealth—and demeaning women; but Schumacher also says the police cannot simply censor it. They must distinguish between art and criminal acts, shooings, and robberies.


Lloyd Bowers

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