banner
Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Colorful Carolina Characters

Posted September 7, 2007 8:52 a.m. EDT
Updated September 7, 2007 12:41 p.m. EDT

Who are your favorite Carolina Characters? These are people who stand apart from the mainstream. With their unique and colorful personalities they know how to make us laugh, think and enjoy life. They're different. They see things from a fresh perspective.

Some would argue that most of the characters are all gone in these days of political correctness and behavior altering medication.

Many of my favorite characters have already passed.  Senator Sam Ervin left a legacy as a brilliant constitutional expert but he was also a marvelous storyteller with an uncanny sense of timing and a photographic memory.

Remember Secretary of State Thad Eure with his bright red bow tie, eloquent expressions and ravenous appetite for wild mountain onions?  He called himself "The Oldest Rat in the Democratic Barn." 

And the Sodfather. Jim Graham was the cigar smoking, donkey kissing and female hugging Commissioner of Agriculture for many years. I miss him, too.

One of my father's best friends was a real character, the late Buster McConnaughey of Red Springs. Buster loved to walk down the street playing his bagpipes and exchange colorful stories with passersby.

My mother's best friend was the bubbly Laura Avery who dated the same guy in Burke County for more than 50 years but never could get around to making a marital commitment.

Present day characters I admire include Ira David Wood whose mischievous brilliance produced the hugely popular “A Christmas Carol,” Rick Dees, my college buddy, whose wild and wacky personality has made him one of the greatest radio stars of all time and Mark Roberts, WRAL's troubadour of traffic, and a man with amazing ability to surprise and delight with his storytelling.

What about you? Who are your favorite Carolina Characters?