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Columns

  • Thanksgiving requires a big serving of decisions

    Anyone older than about 3 can recite the history of Thanksgiving. Newcomers to America got together with the natives in 1621 and celebrated a harvest. About 240 years later, Abraham Lincoln established it as a holiday on the last Thursday of November. About a hundred years ago a guy named Gimbel suggested that a parade that day would be the opening of the Christmas season. About 100 months ago, somebody named Walton decided that you didn’t need Santa’s arrival in that parade to get the merchandising ball rolling and keep it going all day and all night and all weekend.

  • CHARLTON: ‘Tis the season to battle over the holidays

    In addition to the usual battles over how stores greet customers (merry Christmas or happy holidays) and how much we do or don’t keep Christ in Christmas, the past few years have added a new battlefront – the encroachment of Black Friday sales into Thanksgiving Day. Last year, a number of retailers began Black Friday sales very late on the evening of Thanksgiving. This year some are opening their doors even earlier on the day, raising the hackles of many.

  • The day the world stopped

    In the middle of a Friday afternoon in November a sixth-grade student came bursting through the gymnasium doors at Simpsonville Elementary and moved quickly to speak to our teacher, who was standing in front of the stage and watching us play basketball or generally run That someone came into the gym distracted us to a point of pause, because it was so out of the ordinary, but what happened after that let us know why the extraordinary was in order, even if for a while we didn’t understand truly.

  • SOUDER: Nobody’s perfect
  • A writer’s truest benchmark

    More than 20 years ago, a friend handed me a paperback and told me that it would be the most amazing thing I ever had encountered.

  • CHARLTON: Be careful about bowing to prayer issue

    Once again, prayer has found its way to the U. S. Supreme Court.

    On Wednesday of this week the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case Town of Greece, New York v. Susan Galloway, Et. Al. The case began when two citizens of Greece, N.Y., objected to the practice of clergy – primarily Christian clergy – offering prayers at the beginning of monthly city council meetings. They filed suit against the city, seeking to stop the practice of prayers before the meetings, and the case is now in the hands of the Supreme Court.

  • Shelby County's most wonderful import from England

    We were maybe 7 years old when we first heard that elegant accent, something so foreign as to be indefinable to our uncultured, tone-deaf ears. All we knew was that this wasn’t the flat twang heard all around Shelby County, which in those days was dead to any sort sound of elsewhere.

    But those of us who hung around Simpsonville soon learned that the words and dialect of a friend’s mother were in fact the King’s English, perfected in the British Isles and brought to America to sing for us on just about any occasion.

  • Our Halloween frocks of froth

    Lesson No. 666,666 that I am becoming a curmudgeon: Halloween costumes.

    Have you been to a costume store this fall looking for the best way to deck out your little ones for the annual Halloween sugarfest?

  • Filling a gap in our history

    When you visit historic sites – particularly those that dealt with the founding and discovery of our great nation – do you conjure what that place must have been like for the persons who first trod in your footprints? Have you wondered about the hardships they experienced, how they first encountered the vistas you so simply accessed?

  • A confession of true colors

    There is a confession that I must scrape from my heart and address publicly for the first time. I do so with temerity and humility, because this is not something you or I like to admit. I ask your acceptance and beg your tolerance, because only recently did I come to understand this blemish on my character.

    I come from a heritage of mixed colors.

    There, I’ve said it, and it wasn’t easy. I don’t even think my parents have realized this, that my history is not as clear as I had grown up believing.