“Shortly after I arrived in North Carolina [from Texas and Colorado] in 1991, I was talking to my editor at the [News & Observer] when she said something about ‘beach music.’ It was the first time I had heard the phrase, which I found puzzling. And so I responded with a variant of the same question a half-century’s worth of clueless transplants have asked.
” ‘ “Beach music”? Is that like the Beach Boys?’
“My editor laughed, emphatically shook her head no and then become the first (but far from last) person to bestow that most Southern of putdowns upon me: ‘Oh, bless your heart.’ Truly, that conversation was a gateway to all things North Carolina in more ways than one.”