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The last time I changed employers, George W. Bush was president.

To be more specific, Bush was still president, and Barack Obama wasn’t even the Democratic nominee yet. John Edwards was still in the race at that point. So was Hillary Clinton.

This week, as I packed up my office in Davidson and closed the chapter on just shy of nine years of fundraising work there, I happened upon the letter first offering me a job at the college. It was dated on the same day I’ll start my next endeavor, which is to serve as Vice President for Advancement at Mitchell Community College.

This all began back in September, when I got a couple of emails about the opening at Mitchell, one of which I forwarded to Kel. I spent a little time thinking about it, then a couple of days later, I called the firm running the executive search process to ask a few questions. I was in Chicago at the time.

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snow backyard

The Common Refrain of a Snowy Weekend


The obligatory house-in-the-snow picture. Processed with VSCO with a6 preset.

When it comes to dealing with a winter storm, we all seem to follow the same script.

It’s entertaining to see how similar we are in extraordinary–if not unexpected or familiar–circumstances.

I’m talking, of course, about what we do when it snows in the South. We thin-blooded folk follow predictable routines, flooding the grocery stores in the preceding hours of precipitation to obsessively purchase bread and milk. Further, based on my own trip to the market, we also keenly stocked the ingredients for chili–though not as barren as the bread aisle, the holding places for kidney beans, ground beef, sour cream, and shredded cheddar cheese were noticeably sparse.

Many people my age joke about needing to stock up on wine. My mother, who works at a nursing home, packs an overnight bag in anticipation of working multiple shifts and not being able to make it back to the house. 

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It wasn't all about basketball. But there was a lot of basketball.

In which I say goodbye to dear friends.

In the fall of 2007, I was an English teacher struggling to make it through a semester at a high school in upstate South Carolina. Among my challenges: teaching an Intro to Theatre Arts class whose students had desperately little interest in theatre. Even more challenging was a trio of exasperating young women in the class named Faith, Hope, and Tequila, the latter of whom was particularly more adept at managing my class than I was.

This wasn’t the first time in my life I’d contemplated leaving teaching, but it was the most serious. I wasn’t making much money, and I had little clue what else to do with an English degree, but soon enough I began Googling job openings at colleges around Statesville, and read with great interest the job description for one Annual Fund Gifts Officer position.

I had no idea what I was applying for, but the job sounded fun—it meant working for a college, a good one at that. It meant traveling around the country, something I wasn’t able to afford much as a young teacher. It meant no more Faith, Hope, or Tequila. (Although the drink makes an appearance before the end of the story.) So I applied and interviewed, and over the course of what felt like an eternity but in fact was only a modest Davidson hiring cycle, I one day opened my flip phone to hear Maria Aldrich on the other end offering me the job.

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