To love is to learn

"The giving of love is an education in itself."

- Eleanor Roosevelt

A friend came to visit last week.

For two days I showed her around. I explained (more than once) why I love living here, why Cabarrus County is the only place I call home, despite my Midwestern origins.

I brought my friend to downtown Concord and introduced her to store owners I know. It's not only still possible to know the folks you buy from here; it's also likely that a visit will take longer than you expect.

Why? Because there's catching up to do, of course. How is the family? How is the business going?

We looked in on MacPherson's Diamonds & Designs. My friend delighted in stones and earrings and the Sacred Threads collection at Little Feather. We stopped at Mud Slingers Pottery (where, as their motto announces, they encourage throwing things) and chatted with folks at Chef's Choice Gourmet Pastries.

We had Cuban coffee at Havana Carolina Café and strolled in the Memorial Garden on Spring Street.

We drove down to Reed Gold Mine State Historic Site, where I could walk my friend in and around the paths that border the place where the first documented discovery of gold occurred in U.S. history.

The hills and little valleys in the south and east of the county are my delight. In the fall, the golden light of the Piedmont shines over the fields in scenes so peaceful and idyllic that it takes your breath away.

That glow illuminates all the earth, creating a warm set of greens and yellows touched by the turning of leaves ever so slightly, ever so sweetly.

I have written this column for 17 years.

"On Common Ground" was born because I fell in love with Cabarrus County and its people. Every year, I am privileged to write about the home I love.

Greg Faggart taught me courage last year when he agreed to speak with me about his struggles with depression. It has made a difference: People who thought they were alone contacted him and found solace.

Remembering the fellows from the Concord Fire Department who helped me clean up the gasoline leak on my driveway, told me cat climbing stories and admired our 1978 Country Squire station wagon still makes me smile.

This past year, I got to explain how wonderfully exotic rugs and furniture from all over the world landed in Kannapolis at an unprepossessing store called, simply, Rug and Home. (That's Rakesh Agarwal's story.)

I also interviewed the leaders of Men for Change, the great guys who lead an annual program to raise awareness and money for CVAN domestic violence program.

Each year that I write this column about where I live and about the people and places of my home deepens my affection. Loving this place has taught me well.

The giving of love is an education in itself.