McFadyen Musings

McFadyen’s Musings: The Wedding Gift

BY: BILL MCFADYEN As a concession to our whirlwind engagement, Susanna and I did not register for wedding gifts at the conventional and more elegant places that brides usually choose. Instead, we registered at a farm supply store, figuring we could guiltlessly retain a new wheelbarrow and steel-handled shovel in the event of an equally […]

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McFadyen’s Musings: Bay Rod

BY: BILL MCFADYEN In the early part of the school year in 1975, Dad purchased an oceanfront house at Emerald Isle. It had been owned by the bank as a result of someone else’s financial misfortune. I confess that I did not spend much time praying for them to have better days. All I wanted […]

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McFadyen’s Musings: Find Yourself a Faith

For decades at Fayetteville’s First Presbyterian Church, we have fed any of the members who would come on Wednesday nights. (Or to my way of thinking, actually Wednesday late afternoons, but I am told that I will one day outlive my desire for late suppers and adopt an Early Bird Special way of life.) During […]

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Tears from a Catfish Farm

Between Greenville and Washington, North Carolina, lies a little burg named Pactolus. It is recognizable mostly from the grain silos behind Davenport’s Store – the newer version, not the one across the road, where I asked James Hudson if he would please endorse my marrying his daughter three weeks after I met her. Just east […]

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Dumber Than a Chicken

BY: BILL MCFADYEN The loss of my favorite bird dog last winter was sad, but no shock. Thirteen years is blessing aplenty. I don’t know how many times people have asked if I have gotten back into the puppy business. The answer is “no.” I just have not had the desire for a new dog, […]

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McFadyen’s Musings: Tales from a Flat-bed Truck 

In 1890, J. Scott McFadyen Sr. was born on sand so poor that the only things it grew well were Scottish settlers and long leaf pines.  His son (my Dad) always said that “whether you were rich or poor, it is nice to have money.”  So great-grandfather Dugald McFadyen (I guess they were too poor […]

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MCFADYEN’S MUSINGS – CORN AND PEACHES

By Bill McFadyen Hurley Randall of Falcon went to work for my Dad at McFadyen Music about the time I entered the world. He stayed on the payroll until he left this world in 1990. His original role with the business was selling Wurlitzer pianos displayed at the Gillespie Street location, the store we always […]

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McFadyen Musings – MORE THAN 100

One of the rites of spring in a culture such as mine is the grasping of a varnished length of cane.  Knotted onto its wispy end is a strand of thin monofilament line of approximately the same length as the cane itself.  Threaded onto the line is the smallest of natural corks, the kind with a thread […]

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McFadyen Musings: Paper Products

Most of society, me included, shares an acute awareness of the negative medical and financial effects of the COVID pandemic.  Many have lost or at least have had suspended their employment.  Landlords have lost their rents.  Businesses have shuttered.  Worse still, and most significantly, people are dying.  Many more are locked away in their homes, […]

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McFadyen’s Musings: Making lemonade from lemons

One of the benefits for me in exercising my responsibilities of fatherhood was the adoption of other people’s kids.  Those adoptions started with Maggie’s toddler friend Emma McCauley at First School.  Today, I still consider Emma, at age 21, as mine.  With our two boys, I began adopting their friends on father/son hunting and fishing […]

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McFadyen Musings: The last day of Summer

  I woke fairly early on that last day of Summer.    It was the morning following the last of the flash-floodish rains from the two days prior.  Our front yard was the catcher’s mitt for the overflow from the little irrigation hole that sits in the lowest point between our and the neighbors’ backyards. […]

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Remember Uncle Owen?

One of the saddest but most useful lessons I learned in living alongside an Alzheimer’s patient was that I could not bring her to where I was in time. A lifetime of memories appeared to still float around inside my mother’s head.  However, the pathways that connected the memories in an orderly fashion were irreparably fractured. Sometimes, we could navigate around the potholes in her mind. […]

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THE DOWRY

THE DOWRY   By: Bill McFadyen At age 34, my mom suffered daily angst over my bachelor status. I on the other hand was persevering through it bravely.    From out of nowhere, a girl appeared at the sales counter of McFadyen Music in Greenville, North Carolina, on a Friday. I asked her to marry me on Monday and 11 weeks later, we were husband and wife. […]

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Squash Casserole and Chemotherapy

Squash Casserole and Chemotherapy  By: Bill McFadyen My wife, Susanna, routinely suffers a great injustice while entertaining at our home. She goes through a mental list of potential guests. Once chosen, their attendance is confirmed, at which time my wife plans a menu representative of all the food groups with starters, main courses, side dishes and desserts.  From about mid-day on the day of the event, […]

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A Letter from Mom

 A Letter from Mom  By: Bill McFadyen   It has been five years since I told her “Happy Mother’s Day.” I doubt she remembered the last one, as dementia had eroded her ability to retain things. In fact, during those last few “Happy Mother’s Days,” she was struggling to appear nonplussed hour by hour, while inside she was […]

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The Cornbread Skillet

THE CORNBREAD SKILLET   By: Bill McFadyen   Hearing of Mamma’s death was nothing like when Granddaddy died. Riding in the backseat on the way to the coast to fish for Spanish mackerel, I had heard my uncle tell his fishing buddies that Granddaddy would live a normal life after having received a lung cancer diagnosis. To […]

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$75 a Month

By: Bill McFadyen There is no arguing that it was indeed a very cool condo. Eighth floor, facing west toward Molokai and the sunset, and looking down on a coral reef below the surface a hundred yards off the beach. But then, everything on Maui bordered on beautiful. Still, $900 a month in 1984 was big rent. The only way to mathematically tackle it on the wages made […]

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THE DOG DAYS of SUMMER 

Growing up, we never had a dog. We had a calico cat for a very long time and I had a quail for a couple of years. Not dogs. It seems an odd omission to me now for such a traditional family as were we.  In adulthood, though, I had dreams of owning a great quail dog. A lot of that vision came […]

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I Thought It Was Just A Party

By: Bill McFadyen It would never happen in today’s more competitive world but somehow, in 1979, I managed to secure a spot as a freshman at the prestigious Davidson College. Their expectation was that I be a part of the graduating Class of 1983. The miracle is not that I got in; that was just a mistake on the part of someone in the Admissions Office who was foolish enough […]

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Another Productive Day

By: Bill McFadyen My wife did a fantastic job of compiling a list of chores for me to accomplish that Saturday while she would be in town shopping for Back to College items for our rising sophomore. There was, of course, the yard to be mowed. The destruction of the old boy’s club in the barn had stalled out since […]

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