1938 seems ages ago, but for me it is like a few yesterdays.  I was born in Eastern North Carolina that year to a South Georgia share cropper couple with very little education.  I was raised “good” and taught to respect and save just about everything.  My parents taught themselves, and encouraged me to get as much formal education as possible and then moved us to Charlotte, North Carolina in 1947 where I grew up.   

      With relatives and friends in North Carolina and south Georgia who relied upon the “Hive” and the “Vine” (Muscadine/Scuppernong  grapes) for honey, juice, jellies, etc. they provided me with good examples and the incentive to be involved with our valuable little honey bees and the Vitus Rotundifolia since adulthood. 

      An undergraduate and a law degree from UNC-CH (Blue Heaven), enabled me, for over 47 years, to enjoy the courtroom as a trial lawyer and I was fortunate at the same time to spend 25 years in the political world, 20 years of elected office, including 14 years in the North Carolina Senate. 

      I was married to my high school sweetheart, Jane Lowe, for 39 years.  She bore us 4 wonderful children.  She died in 1999 from pancreatic cancer.  In 2002 I married Carmen Hooker Odom the widow of Michael Hooker, Chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Between our merged families we have 6 children and 11 smart, beautiful grandchildren.   

      I am one of very few men who can truthfully state, “Twice in my life I married way above myself.”   

      For over 40 years, off and on, I have worked with honeybees.  My brother, Jimmy Odom, and I have 25 hives in North Carolina. 

      Because of developing arthritic problems in my left foot and left knee I became interested in Apitherapy. In 2003 my orthopedic doctor said I had arthritis, and he could only prescribe aspirin or Tylenol.  I attended the Apitherapy course in Salt Lake City, Utah with brother Jimmy.  With his help and this new therapy, within 3 months I was pain free and able to get back on the Racquet ball court and on the golf course.  I am still working on doing the same for my left thumb which is really being very stubborn. 

      I have continued my interest in the Muscadine and Scuppernong grape by the formation of 2 corporations: “The MotherVine, LLC” and “ The MotherVine Nutraceutical Co., Inc.”  The former has a vineyard near Rose Hill, North Carolina and we produced our first wine in 2008.  You can learn about the MotherVine Scuppernong wine on our webpage: TheMotherVine.com.  The later corporation is pursuing production of health products from the Hive and the Vine. 

      The extremely high anti-oxidant properties in our beloved Muscadine and Scuppernong grapes, which are indigenous to North Carolina, are very beneficial to our health.  I am convinced that taking the whole grape extract (skin, seed and pulp) from these grapes over the past 16 years as well as a daily 500 mg of propolis, helped me recover from my serious cancer bout in 1993. 

      In support of the Vine I suggest you go online and watch 2 prominent television news shows which aired this year.  One on 60 Minutes with Morey Shaffer and one on ABC with Barbara Walters.  They are: 

(1)  CBS 60 Minutes with Morey Shaffer: youtube.com; search “60 Minutes” or  R3TGKDQeTr 

(2)  ABC Barbara Walters: youtube.com/watch?v=b7nuENf5Ful  

      There is so much good health and medicine from The Hive and The Vine.  When my days are over (hopefully not soon) my ashes shall rest at my already installed Tombstone with this future epitaph: 

He got a lot done!!!  Some of it was worthwhile.  Especially his work with The Hive, The Vine and the preservation of thousands of acres of land in Mecklenburg County and across N.C.  “He had a lot of fun.” 

      My wife and I spread our time across North Carolina (Charlotte, Manteo and Newland) and New York City (where she serves as President of the Milbank Foundation).   

      We stay busy but have a great time!!

March, 2009