Axios Charlotte

Picture of the Charlotte skyline with CLT written across it.
June 18, 2022

Hello, Saturday. It's Michael, wishing a happy 87th birthday to Axios Charlotte member Hugh McColl, one of the fathers of modern-day Charlotte.

☀️ Weekend weather: 90° and sunny today, according to our partners at WBTV. Downright chilly at 86° tomorrow.

🎂 Happy birthday also to Hugh's fellow Axios Charlotte members Julie Adams, Summer Baruth, Ashley Cooper, Rachel Eldridge, Justin King and Art Riddick.

  • And happy early birthday to our members celebrating on Sunday: Steve Jegier, Jon Morris, Rich Robles, Emil Spiegel and Kelly Telljohann. And to those whose birthday falls on Monday: Irene Carroll, Jane Craft, MU Miller, Robin Nitsche and Brandon Smith.

Situational awareness: We're off tomorrow and Monday in observance of the Juneteenth holiday. Hence, all those early birthdays up there.

Today's newsletter is 734 words — a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: 💕 What Dad taught us

collage of pictures of young children with their fathers
Clockwise, from top left: Alexis Clinton and her papa bear, Rick Mcmillan; Alexis Clinton and her dad, Michael Clinton; Mike Mahoney and Ashley Mahoney; Michael Graff and Fred Graff;  Roger Chemtob and Danielle Chemtob; Dr. Spurgeon Webber III and Symphony Webber; Emma Way and Tom Way.

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there. Put down your phones and enjoy the weekend ... after reading this.

Inspired by our colleagues' Axios Finish Line newsletter, several Axios Charlotte staffers shared "1 big lesson" from each of our fathers.

What Alexis learned: Put your treasures where your heart is.

  • I’ve been blessed with two fathers, my dad (Michael Clinton) and papa bear (Rick Mcmillan), in my lifetime. Their treasured love comes through more than in words but in actions, like the time my papa bear drove two hours in the night to pick me up from college when I was sick.
  • My dads would move mountains whether I needed to cry or an extra push. More importantly I’ve been spoiled with the most priceless gift of all — their quality time.

What Ashley learned: Football is life.

  • My dad, Mike Mahoney, has coached soccer for as long as I can remember, and he’s even been my coach. I remember falling asleep on his lap watching North Carolina and former U.S. Women’s National Team head coach Anson Dorrance coaching videos on VHS.
  • He inspired my unhealthy obsession with the game, but also taught me it could help pay for college, introduce me to lifelong friends and take me to places I could never imagine.

What Michael learned: Take pictures with your mind.

  • Fred “Fearless Freddie” Graff grew up with an abusive father and found freedom as a sport parachutist. He jumped out of a plane 1,120 times. Once, on a solo trip to Iceland in his 20s, he was snapping photos when an older man tapped him on the shoulder and said, “Take pictures with your mind, son. They’ll last longer.”
  • That advice proved true late in Dad’s life: After strokes stripped away his short-term memory, he could recall the old skydiving days clear as yesterday.

What Danielle learned: Follow your dreams, but laugh along the way.

  • My dad, Roger Chemtob, has always been my cheerleader, from the moment I started doing the high school newspaper to my first real journalism job.
  • But his sense of humor always reminded me not to take life too seriously, because yes, there’s joy in the big milestones — but also in the little moments, like games of I Spy on a long road trip, or feeling the wind in your face on a bike ride.

What Symphony learned: Do your best and leave the rest.

  • My dad, Spurgeon Webber III, told me that as long as I'm giving things my best effort I should feel proud of that.
  • This mantra was passed down from my great-grandparents to my dad and then to me, so it means a lot knowing that I’m making my ancestors proud simply by doing my best.

What Emma learned: Prioritize fun.

  • My dad, Tom Way, taught me from an early age how to merge my passions with work so that life never feels like a slog. An occasional magician and full-time professor, his last day of class every year is him escaping from a straight jacket in front of the students. Now that’s fun.
  • Thanks to him, we share a favorite craft brewery — Delaware-based Dogfish Head — and we believe you’re never too old to laugh at a whoopie cushion.

Thanks for reading, feel free to share your own lessons in a reply.

Also, if Father's Day is difficult for you, whatever the reason, we're thinking of you, too.

Full story: What we learned from our dads.

2. 5 non-dad things we learned this week

spray ground with water flying and the Charlotte skyline in the backdrop
First Ward Park has one of several spraygrounds that are open to the public. Photo: Emma Way/Axios

1. It. Was. Too. Damn. Hot.

2. You can live in the old Cheerwine Bottling Co. building in Salisbury.

3. Paul McCartney, a strict vegetarian, once asked that all the leather furniture be removed from his room at the Dunhill. (h/t to pal Tommy Tomlinson for that one.)

4. Chef Greg Collier did Charlotte proud even if he didn't come away with the James Beard Award.

5. We gotta go to Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham.

  • On that last one: Just a quick note to say how much fun I'm having working with Lucille Sherman and Zachery Eanes on the Axios Raleigh newsletter, which is now seven weeks old. They're talented, relentless, ambitious, and an added bonus: They have absolutely no idea how good they are.
  • Sign up for Axios Raleigh here.

Level up your lunch 👇

Bojangles chicken sandwiches
Photo: Alivia McAtee/Axios

Bojangles may not have made the first chicken sandwich, but they did make the perfect one (right down to the custom flavor-preserving box). 

  • Even better: Make it a BLT or add pimento cheese. 🤤

Don’t forget the seasoned fries and Legendary Iced Tea ®. Order ahead in the app.

3. 😎 What to do this weekend

Illustration of the June 2022 calendar with the Juneteenth flag filling the Monday the 20th square
Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

ICYMI: Symphony has your list of 25 things to do in Charlotte this Juneteenth and Father's Day weekend.

4. 🥰 1 more Father's Day thing to go

three photos of a dad and son -- one of both frowning, one of both smiling, and one of both expressing surprise
George and Michael. Photos: Michael Graff/Axios

My favorite copycat.

I'm listening to John Prine's "When I Get to Heaven," because the lyrics are all lines my old man would've said. No doubt, if there is a heaven, he's smoking a cigarette that's nine miles long right now.

  • We'll see ya Tuesday.