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Bill Leslie's Carolina Conversations

Tattoos, Tofu & Tobacco

Posted May 14, 2009 10:52 a.m. EDT
Updated May 14, 2009 4:27 p.m. EDT

First off, I love Asheville. My godfather, Henry Colton, lives there. So does pianist Bill Covington, one of the finest musicians I know. The mountain setting is gorgeous. Asheville has a thriving downtown area and some wonderful restaurants including my favorite Rezaz in Biltmore Village. And if you’ve ever spent a relaxing weekend at the Grove Park Inn, you know what I mean. Asheville is an awesome town.

That’s why I chuckled the other day when a gym friend told me about her weekend in Asheville. She was in the Land of the Sky for a wedding. “What was it like,” I asked.  “Well, it was an interesting combination of tattoos, tofu and tobacco!”

The bridesmaids wore beautiful strapless dresses which revealed a wild collage of colorful tattoos. The food at the wedding reception was grade A granola or top notch tofu. Very organic, if you get my drift. But afterwards the wedding party seemed to negate their wholesome culinary regimen by puffing away on cigarettes. I guess it’s hard to give up all vices but in this day and age smoking seems to be one of the worst.

Many years ago when I was in radio I smoked. I realized I had a problem one night while working with Rick Dees at WKIX. I looked around the newsroom and noticed that I had three different cigarettes lit at once. I vowed then to quit. Eventually I did. Cindy added an incentive by saying: “I’ll never marry you if you keep smoking.” I did give it up but it was one of the toughest things I have ever done.

Today I report on a new smoking ban approved by the Legislature. Governor Bev Perdue is expected to sign a bill barring smoking in most restaurants and bars statewide. As the old Virginia Slim commercials used to say: “We’ve come a long way, baby!”  We really have and I’m glad to smell the fresh air again.

What are your thoughts about the smoking ban and the quirky personality of Asheville? I would love to hear them.