Saturday, June 18, 2011


One of a Kind Father

by Lynne Brandon

My father was born on August 6, 1932. He entered the world during the depression when times were tough. This rude start to life helped him to survive the cruelty in the Korean War as a young man of only 18. Later he became a conqueror on the football field when he became a high school football coach, the great passion of his life, aside from his wife and three girls.

He is still called "The Coach," and in Surry County he is referred to as "The Godfather of football," a label he laughed at but took, nonetheless. He coached many great all-star athletes in Florida and North Carolina during his long career, went to coaching clinics that Bobby Bowden attended, and was mentioned in Bear Bryant's book. It was always about the love of the sport and not money or fame. He turned down more lucrative, prestigious coaching positions to return home to Mt. Airy, NC, to care for ailing parents. He was a good son, and did the right thing.

The tall, imposing man with the soft heart of boy, and charismatic smile that always charmed, found his way in life by coaching, track, swimming, tennis, and basketball. But no sport, captured him like football and teaching young boys to do their best on the field. He was respected and kids thought he was cool. He didn't care then or now what people thought of him. He just did what he thought was right and stood up for principles. Sometimes he fared worse for stating his opinions but that was his way.

Dad is a still a voracious reader, and he opened the world of books to his daughters with our first library cards. He likes quirky, outrageous movies that make him laugh, good food, watching sporting events, and time spent with family. He inspires supreme loyalty in his faithful dog, Brutus, a Great Pyrenees, who follows his every step and rides shotgun on the back of his truck.

My father did everything with gusto in life and still has the same spunk and fire, even if toned done a bit. He still exercises, keeps up on current events, and enjoys life with my mother in the quiet countryside. He will be 79 this year and I hope that the best is still to come for the wonderful father I look up to and call, "dad."


A Gift for Our Great Guys

by Doc Lawrence

Dad is my hero and life mentor, a combat veteran who still despises war. He is a rock-solid citizen and family man who is dedicated to good things like food, friendship, fine wines, cocktails, and his country. He leads by example and has an open mind. Through him, I earned an education, received badly needed discipline, learned the importance of a work ethic and was instilled with the unyielding belief that love triumphs over evil.

I found a few gifts that should bring a smile, hoping that these inspire readers to remember our grand guys on Father’s Day.

If he’s a virtuoso at the outdoor grill he will enjoy his name on personalized barbecue tools and even a mug (from TempFork Thermometer is the grill master’s best friend and will digitally tell him when the delicious pork loin is done. The handsome stainless steel Grill Mill from William Bounds crushes peppercorns or sea salt rather than grinding them. When the weather isn’t cooperating, the George Foreman Control Temp Grill-Griddle with fat-reducing elements, two removable non-stick grilling plates and a griddle for whipping up eggs and bacon will keep Dad happy. It actually removes up to 42% of the fat from 80/20 ground chuck beef.

The Ninja Master Prep Professional is a revolutionary 6-blade device that allows Dad to evenly chop, mince, dice, blend and puree in seconds. Perfect for the home chef who believes in speed without sacrificing quality. Another kitchen helper is the Black & Decker Powerful Die-Cast Blender, a sleek design featuring 750-watts of power and digital controls. Gotta love the 1-oz. measuring cup. (At Target.)

Always well groomed, Dad is a snappy dresser who glows decked out in nice clothes. Monogrammed cufflinks (from is an elegant gift. For shaving and skin care, the Double Play Kit (from, or G for Men does wonders for the shaving experience. ( The high fashion Dad loves functional watches. Casio has the Edifice Black Label Collection black timepieces with slight color accents designed in a racecar motif. A rugged, stylish timepiece, Casio’s new Pathfinder PAW-5000-1 features self-charging, self-adjusting technology, tough solar power and Wavceptor Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping Technology, adjusting automatically for daylight savings or leap year.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Greenville Chefs Change the Culinary Landscape

Restaurants Offer New Twist on Old Favorites

Greenville, S.C. – Eating in Greenville used to involve visiting the local mom and pop joints or a chain restaurant that offered mediocre food. Now thanks to a new vision for the town, restaurants are chef owned and inspired, offering cuisine often found in larger cities. Three restaurants are serving up unique food experiences: a new gastropub, top shelf steak house and Mediterranean inspired eatery showcase the diversity of flavors that has put Greenville on the culinary map.

Nose Dive, a part of the Table 301 restaurant group, is one of the city’s newest food adventures in the gastropub category. At the hand of Executive Chef Rodney Freidank, also Corporate Chef at Soby’s, old favorites are being dressed up. Freidank was lured by the entrepreneurial vision of Carl Sobocinski and joined the Table 301 Group where he found his place in culinary heaven.

The creativity espoused by Nose Dive and the luxury of experimentation were balm to a cooking soul and magic started in the kitchen. “We get to create what we want; we are not held back,” said the long-time chef. “We make bratwurst from scratch, one of the restaurant group’s first hamburger, sandwiches with vine ripened tomatoes and a New England lobster roll, for starters.”

Freidank enjoys the total kitchen experience but admits to getting a special charge from braising meat. The self-described “big guy who likes to eat,” said, “I love to take a cut of meat and turn it into something beautifully delectable by searing it until golden brown and bringing out the flavor.”