Things that Are Close and Things that Are Far Away


Clinton, South Carolina, Friday, November 2, 2018, 9:56 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

Election Day is Tuesday, and I can’t remember the last time I ate a McRibs. I don’t think there is any relation between elections and McRibs except that both are being enthusiastically advertised.

The best meal I’ve had in the week to date was a hamburger steak at The Hub in Laurens on Wednesday night after taking photos of trick-or-treaters at “Boo in the Park.”

(Monte Dutton photo)

My viewing habits have changed suddenly this week on account of the end of baseball. From April through October, I watch the Red Sox … a lot. Now, all of a sudden, I’m choosing between old movies on TCM, around-the-clock news, documentaries on PBS and reading books. It’s never a good sign to realize that, while editing news releases, the Accuweather Channel has been droning in the background for an hour.

More changes will occur after the election. In the short run, I anticipate that things will either get a little worse or a lot worse. That’s why every vote counts.

I wondered what it would be like if Oprah came to my front door, and I decided that, after coping with the initial surprise, I’d reluctantly have to tell her this is the wrong state.

(Monte Dutton photo)

High school football is almost over. There are no playoff games tonight. The devastating effect of Hurricane Florence on the lower half of the state caused the High School League to postpone the playoffs for a week so that game that were literally washed out can be made up.

Laurens District High is the only county team that made the playoffs. The Raiders play in Rock Hill next week. The county has been historically successful in football. This year LDHS, Clinton and Laurens Academy combined to go 9-21.

I feel confident in proclaiming that basketball will be better.

A major goal between now and Christmas is to complete the first draft of my next novel, which is about an ex-major league baseball player and scout who finds an extraordinarily talented young prospect and tries to turn him into polished player. Clyde Kinlaw and Taiquon Wattson are presently en route from South Carolina to Texas, where Taiquon is going to play for a semipro team known as the Sherman Bucks. The working title of what will be my ninth novel is The Latter Days.


The Barrie Jarman Adventures (Gabe Whisnant photo)

If you become a patron of mine, you’re supporting writing like this as well as my mostly NASCAR blogs at If you’ve got a few bucks a month to spare, click here.

Another way I cobble out a living is with my books, a wide variety of which is available for sale here.

(Steven Novak cover)


The new novel, my eighth, is called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Lightning in a Bottle is now available in an audio version, narrated by Jay Harper.


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