After a couple of months settling in, I’ve decided to start the official features section column.
I’ll use this space to focus on local events. But I also want to keep you informed about things that happen outside the community that interest you. I want to leave the column open to explore just about anything.
Allow me to introduce myself. I grew up right down the road in Charlotte. I can hear everyone muttering to themselves what a big place Charlotte is. I only know a sliver of the city — which is just about all you need to know. You could spend your whole life there and not know everything about every building. Yea, it’s big, but it’s not a foreign country.
Before coming to Lumberton, I picked up some experience at a newspaper in Gilroy, Calif., where I helped start up a new section of a small newspaper there. We covered events and entertainment. The town was located in Northern California near San Francisco Bay, but it was a world away from all the glitz and glamor of the big cities on the bay like San Jose — better known as Silicon Valley — and San Francisco.
Gilroy is most famous for growing and processing garlic. They process more garlic there than any place in the world. Every year they have a garlic festival, which is featured on the Food Network. It also smells like garlic when you arrive in the city on the highway.
In the three months I’ve been back to North Carolina, I’m pretty sure I’ve run all of my clothes through the laundry at least once to rid them of the potent stench of subterranean vegetables.
I’m confident that I’ve gotten all the stink off my shirts. But I’m glad to be back for more than just nose-related reasons. I’m glad to be back where the breeze is fresh and doesn’t remind me of sitting in a pizza parlor. It’s nice to see water in a riverbed again, it’s nice to see green grass and it’s nice to sit in the shade of a tree — all things that were hard to find in California. I’m also happy to be closer to my family and friends who were difficult to see while I was on the West Coast, 2,500 miles away.
I’ve finally got caught up enough with work that I got out to the Writer’s Rally last week at Osterneck Auditorium to see David Shaffer speak about his work as a private investigator and author. The turnout was great, the room was full and library director Bob Fisher had to set out more chairs for folks.
Shaffer talked about his days as a private investigator and some of the cases he is pursuing now. He even excited the audience with stories about staking out a place that seemed so action-packed yet in reality involved sitting in a car in the middle of the night alone. No wonder he became a writer.
He ended the night with a quote from one of his books:
“It is the dim haze of mystery that adds enchantment to the pursuit.”
I came to Lumberton with that in mind, he just said it much better than I was thinking it.
I figure that there isn’t much point to doing something if you know what the outcome will be. What’s life without an adventure and mystery.
Right now, Robeson County is something of a mystery to me. But, there is always something to learn, whether it’s in a classroom or out and about. People do things differently here, and I intend to find out how.
I look forward to learning more about Robeson County with all of you. If you have a story idea, call me at (910) 272-6149.
Neal Timpe is the Features editor at The Robesonian. Contact him at (910) 272-6149 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.