Merry Christmas to us all


Cherished Gentle Readers, you may not know this, but you are not alone.

In addition to writing for the Chatham News and Record, I also pen columns for the newspapers in Sanford and Henderson.

I don’t have the words to explain how gratifying it is to me. When I write, sitting in my Jimmies on my comfy plaid chair, I picture you in my mind. The picture looks something like a 1970s coffee commercial: a family sitting around the breakfast table with mom and dad each reading the newspaper. Or Hepburn and Tracy, in sensible yet chic pajamas, reading the paper out loud to each other.

But this column is going out to every pair of eyeballs that reads my scribbling.

Chatham readers, let me introduce you to Sanford and Henderson, and vice versa. And I also want to say “thank you.” Thank you to my long time readers, new readers or readers who don’t slow down at my column and even those readers who’ve read my stuff and would rather not, not ever again, please.

Because the important thing is that you are all newspaper readers. In the 21st century that may seem somewhat anachronistic, yet newspapers (either in paper form or online) are vital. They are vital for informing a community and bringing it together.

For a democracy, they are its life blood. Organizations whose mission is to speak truth to power and illuminate which many would rather keep in the dark are the bellwether of liberty. An informed society can make informed decisions.

So, keep reading and supporting your local paper. This work can be dangerous, even sadly, deadly. Let them know how important their work is to you and how much it’s appreciated. Because to put out a truthful, thoughtful newspaper these days is an act of heroism that can sometimes feel like a one is lone voice on the wind.

A country with a free press is by definition a free country.

Thank you to those Gentle Readers who have reached out to me. When I include my address each week, I don’t do it because it’s what one does. I do it because I hope that you will actually write back to me. A dialog with a reader is as good to me as plate of potato salad and a side of Dewey’s cake.

And thank you for everyone’s support in this year of drastic change for me. The only feedback I have received concerning my journey has been unreservedly kind and encouraging.

As my holiday thank you gifts to you, Gentle Reader, I leave you with a photo of my 4-year-old self in my flannel Christmas nightgown, and a favorite family candy recipe: buckeyes.

I often give these as gifts. I make up the peanut butter balls, and then freeze. When I need some, I just coat with chocolate, without even thawing them. Use a toothpick to dunk them, then smooth out the little hole you’ve made. The wax is a cheat to substitute the difficult and time-consuming chore of tempering chocolate. It keeps the chocolate glossy and gives it a crisp shell, but you won’t taste it.

Thank you, Gentle Reader, for absolutely everything.

Contact me at


5 ½ cups confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 cup creamy peanut butter

½ lb. (2 sticks) butter, softened

1 teaspoon salt

Caviar from 1 vanilla bean

½ bag semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ bag milk chocolate chips

About ¼ cup canning paraffin wax, finely chopped

Blend butter, peanut butter, and vanilla. Add sugar and beat to dough-like consistency. Form into balls with small scoop and chill or freeze. Melt chocolates and wax in microwave on 20 second intervals, stirring after each, until almost fully melted. Then stir until completely smooth. Double-dip balls in chocolate, leaving circle of peanut butter showing. Makes about 6 dozen.