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I’m inviting you to read something different this week; It’s about an old friend, A. C. Snow, who retired after writing a weekly column, Sno’ Foolin’, in the News & Observer for many years. I always looked for his column in the Thursday edition until he retired several years ago.
My wife, Peggy, and I got to know him through annual meetings of the N.C. Press Association in Chapel Hill. On Saturday mornings before we left the Carolina Inn for the day’s sessions, a bunch of us got together there for breakfast and a time for “shooting the breeze” together.
Our group grew from just the two of us with Tom and Jean Boney from The Alamance News in Graham to four more, and then two or four more again when they heard us laughing so much. And after starting together there was no quitting — we all had such a great time telling and hearing something humorous, one after another. We all looked forward to another meeting after breakfast in following years.
Recently reading his book “Leave Only Footprints” prompted me to write about A. C. Snow. Peggy bought a copy when he had a book signing sale at a Raleigh bookstore years ago in the mid 1990s. We stopped to buy a copy of his then new 200-page book with a column for every two pages dated on the second page.
Peggy was tickled with his note to her which read “To Peg-O-My-Heart, a friendship that spans time, mountains, newspapering, and fall sessions of the first quality. Sincerely, A. C.”
She enjoyed the attractive book with a great, colorful photograph of A. C. on the cover shot on the beach with him sitting on a large white sand-covered mound.
I was amused by his thinking for a good name for this latest book after printing three others titled “Dust of Snow,” Snow Flurries,” and “Comfort Me With Apples.” We have at least one other book, his first one, “Dust of Snow.” A.C. (I don’t know his first or second names because he doesn’t like to tell anyone. But that’s O.K. with me. I don’t particularly like my middle name — it’s Whitney. I used to tell kids at grammar school that I was named after Eli Whitney, inventor of the cotton gin).
Even knowing A.C. as long as I have, I learned some interesting things from his biography printed with the book. He is a native of Surry County in the N.C. foothills and graduated from Dobson High School. And here’s a historical tidbit I found interesting — A.C. was a member of the only class to graduate from the county courthouse because somebody burned down the school. I bet the old-timers in Surry County still remember that! Drafted shortly thereafter, he served a couple of years with the Air Force in the South Pacific during World War II.
He attended Mars Hill Junior College before enrolling at the University of N.C. where he graduated Phi Beta with a degree in journalism. He worked for seven years on the Burlington Times News before joining the Raleigh Times in 1957. He became city editor, news editor, and associate editor of the Times before being named editor in 1974, a post he served for 16 years until the Times closed in 1989.
During his newspaper years in Raleigh, he won 15 N.C. Press Association awards, 10 of which were for his ‘Sno Foolin’ columns that have been written for more than 35 years. Four collections of his columns have been published in book form: “Dust of Snow,” “Snow Flurries,” “Comfort Me With Apples,” and “Leave Only Footprints.”
Four years ago he was inducted into the North Carolina Journalism Hall of Fame. Some of you readers may remember Peggy and I gained that same honor in 2006. It was the first time a husband and wife had received this honor. Peggy had passed away several months prior to the presentation.
He is married to the former Nancy Jean Hill, who teaches at N.C. State University. They have one daughter, a granddaughter, and a grand-dog.
I just finished reading this latest book, and I can say it held my interest so much that I gave up on a lot of TV. I wonder what other treasures are tucked into my bookcase.
Bob Allen, publisher emeritus of The Wake Weekly, invites comments at 984- 235-7294 or firstname.lastname@example.org.