My story is typical. I was born a poor, Black child. I survived the mean streets of the Buffalo suburbs and four straight losses in the Super Bowl, grew into a mature adult and pillar of the community, and made my parents proud. OK, well, part of that is true. I was indeed raised in the Buffalo 'burbs...North Tonawanda, to be exact. The rest? Well, can't a guy dream?
Here's some highlights. I was a big baby. Like, 20 lbs. Maybe a few less. Mom always reminds me of the pain. The guilt ensures she gets great birthday presents. I have a brother two years older, and he used to make my life a living Hell, like any good brother should. That stopped when I turned 12, and was bigger than him. I spent most of my formative years annoying my elders. That includes parents, teachers, and the police. If I wasn't in after-school detention, I was being questioned for the latest neighborhood "incident". Looking back, it a was all pretty harmless. Well, maybe not the thing we did to our Spanish Teacher. But that's a story for another time. Sports helped keep me out of any serious trouble. Get suspended...and you were kicked off the team. So that only happened once. Maybe twice. With hopes and dreams, and a suitcase filled with Molson Canadian Lager, I headed off to college. Less than a year later, and a plea agreement with a reduced sentence (like I said...never convicted), my college experience wasn't exactly going as planned. But, with threats of bodily harm from Mom solidly in my back pocket, I managed to graduate from Gannon University in Erie, PA, and looked forward to a lucrative career in broadcasting. Soooooooo...I've bounced around from station to station in such vacation hot spots as Clearfield, PA, Joplin, MO, Evansville, IN, and Fayetteville, NC. In February of 1999, I took the job that I have now (more or less).
I never did find that pot of gold, but I've had a lot of fun along the way. And moving here was the best thing that ever happened to me. I met my beautiful wife, Stacy, while watching a Bills game at what used to be Damon's on Tunnel Road, and we were married in September of 2001. I lost my wedding ring in a bizarre chicken wing incident (true story), so I really have no proof. But I think she'll vouch for me. We don't have any children, but we do have cats...lots and lots of cats. I'd love to tell you exactly how many, but I lost track. Seriously, I started counting them the other night, but had to stop after I'd used all my fingers and toes. I was plum out of digits.
So that's my story. Of course, some of the sordid details have been left out due to pending legal action. But, Judge...I swear I had no idea that pig was your pet!
I'm almost becoming jaded to all the national publications that crow about all the cool things in Asheville. The fact of the matter is; it is pretty cool. There's lots to love here. But instead of welcoming the compliments (which can only help boost our national profile and increase tourism, which is a good thing), I find myself critiquing them.
The latest to sing our praises? The Huffinton Post, with "5 Things To Love About Asheville".
I feel the need to point out, that while they got it mostly right, they erred in their mention of our beer scene, which they mentioned as "Beer and Wine". First of all, we don't really have a wine "scene" beyond having many restaurants with good wine selections. We're not Northern Cali or even the Finger Lakes Region of NY. There's just a handful of small vineyards. Beer, on the other hand, we do quite well. Probably as good as any city our size, in the country.
So, did they suggest a visit to any of our MANY breweries? No. They mentioned a beer store, Bruisin' Ales. Let me say that I really like Bruisin' Ales. They have a great selection and do some nice tastings. But to include them and not one of the many places making beer?
So, because they didn't, I will:
Asheville Brewing Co., Highland Brewery, Green Man, Lexington Avenue, Pisgah Brewery, Wicked Weed, French Broad Brewery, Oysterhouse, The Wedge, Thirsty Monk, and Altamont...CHEERS!