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home : opinion : e-opinion January 20, 2022

11/9/2021 1:04:00 AM
A Fork In The Road
Going Plaid In A Solid Gray World

Tammy Wilson
Guest Column

Fans of this column are in luck. My book Going Plaid in a Solid Gray World: Collected Columns is out from Red Hawk Publications, the publishing arm of Catawba Valley Community College.

A portion of proceeds will benefit The Corner Table, a soup kitchen in Newton. In fact, executive director Summer Jenkins wrote the foreword. Copies are available on my website,, as well as from Redhawk Publications, Amazon and my own website, Copies are $20 each ($25 shipped).

About a year ago, I toyed with the idea of turning my columns into a book, and then found the perfect excuse being part of the Corner Table’s Bakers Dozen women’s fundraising society. Since March, we “Bakers” have cooking up ways to raise money for the Corner Table that does a great job feeding people in need. The agency also manages the school backpack program for Catawba County.

The Going Plaid title came from an essay published in 2017. At the time, my husband and I were in process of replacing our plaid loveseats that were getting a bit overused. No, overused isn’t quite right; the springs were shot. Tym said the seats were like sitting in a hole.

Oblivious to high style, we soon realized that plaid was barely available in 2017. Furniture had taken a turn. Every other piece of upholstery was beige or gray or charcoal. Turned out that going plaid was all about bucking the urban rustic trend and finding a way to replace our old plaid pieces without settling for a neutral color.

I found “going plaid” it to be a metaphor for much of what I’ve done or not done in my life. I’ve rarely worked “the system”. I’m not good at politics or popularity, and neither is my home. The red and green plaid bucked the trend and we were happy to keep our cozy, vintage look. And in these unsettling days of COVID, cozy has served me well.

It’s not easy being plaid, but it’s all about not following the crowd. It’s speaking ones’ own mind, standing ground. Not settling.

This collection of 135 essays covers the gamut from county fair canned goods to Walmart fashions to why folks paint their porch ceilings haint blue. There are other equally pertinent topics such as hornworms in the tomatoes, spooky coincidences and when that creepy goings on that makes you think ghosts are real.

And there’s a piece about the time my Dad chased what he thought was a UFO and the time I signed the guest book at Buckingham Palace and a discussion of where the such-and-such used to be—a review of local places that have changed since 1979. A lot has changed in the past 42 years.

My opinions don’t necessarily reflect those of The Corner Table, its staff, volunteers or board. Going Plaid reflects my personal take on things. I support their mission, and I hope you will too.

I’ll be signing copies of Going Plaid during a book launch celebration at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 at the historic Lyerly House, 310 N. Center St., Hickory. It’s an historic house a block south of Frye Regional Medical Center. The public is invited.

If you can’t make it, please visit my website for more information:  Shoot me an email. We’ll work something out.

---Tammy Wilson is a writer who lives near Newton. Contact her at

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