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What about Bob? Here’s your answers

on Tuesday, 28 May 2019. Posted in Columns, Opinions

By: Bob Sloan

Introductory columns are not my strong suit, although I’ve had considerable practice over the course of the last couple of decades. Folks in Cheraw and Hartsville have already read or heard the “Hi, I’m

Bob, the new editor,” spiel before. Some might even recognize the name from my bylines in another Florence paper. To all of you folks, I simply say, “Surprise - I’m back again.”

To the rest of you: “Hi, I’m Bob, the new editor.”

 All the basic “What About Bob?” information, the formalities, if you will, of name, education, previous positions, and family, can be found last Wednesday’s edition What I hope to do in this column is to let you get to know the less formal, more personal stuff.

I may not look it, but I am an old surfer dude who grew up in the Tidewater area of Virginia. Hampton, to be specific. I was never really good at surfing, but I tried. If I attempted to stand on a board now, long or short, a trip to the ER would likely follow.

I dropped out of high school (what?) and joined the Marine Corps in 1979. Can’t do that anymore. To become a jarhead, and I say this with great pride, is best decision I ever made. Once a Marine, always a Marine. Semper Fi.

During my five years of active duty I traveled the world (or at least part of it), earned my high school diploma (and a GED – not many can say they have both), and saved money for college. Those were the prerequisites I had to swear an oath to in order to get mom to sign the enlistment papers.

After the military, I attended the University of Virginia until my college funds were depleted. It did not take long. I then transferred to Clinch Valley College, a branch of UVA located in the aptly-named town of Wise in the Appalachian Mountains of Southwest Va.

College degree in hand, I ventured south to Charlotte where I landed my first newspaper gig as a stringer covering high school and small college sports for The Charlotte Observer. And thus began a 25-year newspaper career that now continues following a brief hiatus.

I am 57 and have been single now for three years (two divorces, but let’s not talk about those, please.) For the most part I raised two wonderful daughters on my own after the first wife left. I lost my oldest daughter, Tracy, three years ago to a drug overdose. She was 26. There is no greater pain than to bury a child. My youngest, Amanda is gradually working her way toward school to become a registered nurse. She is my pride and joy.

I have two grandchildren from my oldest daughter, Julius, who is 9, and Lexi, who will be 4 in August.

I have proudly served and continue to serve as the pastor of two local churches – Patrick Presbyterian in Patrick, and Society Hill Presbyterian in, you guessed it, Society Hill. I don’t consider myself the most powerful or eloquent “preacher,” but on occasion I can come up with an inspiring message. My love is simply serving God and His people. I extend to all of you an open invitation to join either of the congregations on any Sunday morning.

At the top of my “likes” list is baseball, specifically the Chicago Cubs. Nov. 2, 2016 – a day that will forever live in the hearts of all Cubs fans. I try my best to make an annual pilgrimage to “The Friendly Confines” of Wrigley Field every season. It’s only the best place ever.

I love all kinds of music, but singer-songwriters, a guy or gal with only a guitar and tune, are my favorite. Lots of John Prine and Guy Clark are found on my Apple playlist. You’ll also find the Foo Fighters, Eric Clapton, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Toby Mac, Lauren Daigle, Tom Petty, Jimmy Buffet and Bob Marley. If you haven’t heard of either Jamie Lin Wilson or Courtney Patton, two independent singer/songwriters from West Texas, I suggest you give them a listen. Good stuff.

Some of my favorite authors are Mitch Albom, Jodi Picoult, Brennan Manning, Henri Nouwen, and C.S. Lewis.

Other likes – Colby (my Frisbee-chasing black lab), jelly beans, Jeopardy, the beach (who doesn’t like the beach?), hiking, traveling, craft beers, the antics and acting of Bill Murray, and Sunday afternoon naps.

I’ll finish with the words that mean the most to me. No surprise, it happens to be scripture:

1 John 4:7-8 – “Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.”

When in doubt, choose love.

So there you have it. Bob in a little more than 800 words. I look forward to us getting to know each other.

Keep smiling.

Contact Editor Bob Sloan at editor @ florence newsjournal.com

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