A.C. Snow

Waiting by the phone for a call from the college student

By now you should be getting used to the empty chair at the dinner table.

Yes, as the song says, it’s been crying time in households across the country as babies that too swiftly grew into adults headed off to their first year in college.

There are still moments when Mom feels a lump in her throat over little signature signs of the son or daughter gone to live a new chapter in his or her life: a poorly made up bed, a pair of jeans left lying across a chair, a note of farewell scrawled on the little blackboard in her room, etc.

But you’ll feel better as the calls from college start coming in.

I particularly remember a call from my older daughter after a day or so at Carolina.

“Guess what, Daddy,” she said excitedly, “I’ve just finished a bunch of aptitude tests that tell me what profession I’m best suited for.”

“And?” I asked with bated breath.

“The tests say that I’m best suited to be a priest!”

“Honey, priesthood is a noble profession. Nevertheless ... you go right back in and keep taking those tests until they tell you that you’re best suited to be a doctor, lawyer or plumber!” I ordered. “I doubt that priests make much more money than newspaper reporters.”

There were other calls, of course, including some complaining about her freshman roommate from Atlanta.

If the yearning for the sound of your college student’s voice gets to be too much, for you, remember, you’re only an iPad away.

Fear of flying

I had not flown for a couple of years until a recent trip to New York.

When I was in the Air Force, I was perfectly comfortable airborne, perhaps because I knew and trusted the pilots. Or it may be that I just felt the immortality of youth.

Since then I’ve had two or three harrowing experiences during commercial flights that left me feeling uneasy when I leave terra firma.

The bigger the plane, the more at ease I find myself.

So when I boarded the mid-sized Raleigh to New York shuttle, I moaned inwardly. I didn’t feel any better when I discovered that our seats were one row up from the toilets. I thought to myself, “I’m going to speak to Patti (our travel agent) about this.”

Fortunately, the rides up and back were without incident and fairly free of turbulence.

Reader Robert Baker, knowing my dislike of air travel, commented on it in an e-mail.

“Regarding your fear of flying, I’m an aeronautical engineer, a licensed aircraft mechanic and a multimillion mile commercial flier.

“I have three fears. That I’m seated near a crying baby, that the stewardess runs out of bourbon and that ALL of my luggage doesn’t arrive with me. Two out of three is OK.”

Robert might well add a fourth fear to his list: that a deranged pilot might impulsively decide to crash the plane into the side of a mountain.


It was hot. I was in a hurry, and the Stonehenge supermarket parking lot was packed to the gills.

Then suddenly, I spied an open space marked “Veteran Parking” almost at the supermarket’s front door.

It was the first time I had encountered this type of veteran’s benefit! Thank you, Harris Teeter, for your thoughtful gesture on behalf of veterans.

Trump marches on

Donald Trump, once thought to be an impostor in the GOP presidential race, is now a force to be reckoned with, almost filling football stadiums with his wildfire rhetoric.

A Mobile, Ala. pipe-fitter described Trump as a “breath of fresh air.”

No matter candidates’ party affiliation, when politicians get behind a lectern, it’s hard to tell whether the are dispensing fresh air or just hot air.