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Nothing could be finer

For a month now, I’ve been working at North Carolina and South Carolina Lawyers Weekly. I think it’s time for a proper introduction.

I’m a neighbor one state to the north. For the past 27 years, I’ve served as publisher and editor-in-chief at Virginia Lawyers Weekly, based in Richmond. I’ll be doing the same gig here on an interim basis.

I practiced law in Southwest Virginia for three years back in the 1980s; I’ve practiced journalism since 1988. For one more month, I serve as national president of the Society of Professional Journalists, the largest and most broad-based group in the profession.

While my roots are in the Old Dominion (I went to William & Mary and got my law degree from Washington & Lee), they also run deep in North Carolina. I was born in Asheville. My wife, whom I met in law school, grew up in Johnston County and went to Guilford College.

As I sat down to tap out this column, pinpoints of images from trips to the Carolinas over the past 30 years kept reminding me that nothing could be finer …

  • Mining gems in Franklin.
  • Running down the dunes at Kill Devil Hills.
  • Enduring a fun but queasy coaster ride at Carowinds.
  • Porch-sitting and watching hummingbirds at my sister-in-law’s house in Mount Olive.
  • Walking the Battery in Charleston.
  • Making the obligatory stop on the way home at a Food Lion for fridge-packs of Cheerwine.
  • Kite-flying on the beach at Duck.
  • Attending a wedding reception in Raleigh that was a pig-pickin’.
  • Exploring the decks of the USS North Carolina in Wilmington.
  • Enjoying the lights in Myrtle Beach.
  • Wandering through Tryon Palace in New Bern and tryon not to compare it to the Governor’s Palace in Williamsburg.
  • Savoring peaches from a roadside stand in South Carolina.
  • Surf-fishing at Topsail Island.
  • Making sure I pronounced “Beaufort” properly, depending which state I was in.
  • Making the obligatory stop on the way home for barbecue from The White Swan in Smithfield after a visit to my wife’s family (the two dozen hush puppies we would buy rarely made it to the state line).
  • Getting lost in the books at a shop in Chapel Hill.
  • Climbing the steps to the top of the lighthouse at Corolla.
  • Watching a joyous Charleston Riverdogs game on a sweltering night in August with my son.
  • Watching an Asheville Tourists game a few summers later. They played the Savannah Sand Gnats and baseball imitated life — the Gnats won.

Over the next few months, I hope to add to that list.

I look forward to working with the excellent team at NC and SC Lawyers Weekly. The mission here in the Carolinas is the same as in Virginia: to bring you the news, case digests and other information that you need to practice law better, more efficiently and more profitably.

By the way, I’ve already started comparing barbecue places on my visits to the NC/SCLW office. I’d appreciate any suggestions — just send them to paul.fletcher@nclawyersweekly.com. Thanks.

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