Tomorrow - - Tuesday - - would have been North Carolina author Robert Ruark's 100th birthday.
I only discovered Ruark a few years ago, but his The Old Man and the Boy and The Old Man's Boy Grows Older have quickly earned a place on my shelf of favorite books. They are a pure distillation of nostalgia for his upbringing in coastal North Carolina, specifically the Cape Fear region around Wilmington. I've spent a lot of time down there myself, seeing some of what Ruark saw, although the area is far more developed than he would recognize these days. He'd probably recognize the area around Fort Fisher, though, and maybe shake hands with descendants of people he fished with off of the Kure Beach fishing pier, and once into a boat and away from the crowds on shore he'd probably be quite happy revisiting the marshes, islands and beaches of the Cape Fear area. If you've never read The Old Man and the Boy, you're missing a great coming-of-age story and a primer on how to be a good man, even if Ruark himself often ignored the advice his grandfather gave him.