Tuesday, April 5, 2022




The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest is a salute by the author to a lifetime of outdoor experiences in eastern North Carolina and beyond. It encompasses 14 true short stories about family, friendships, and the emotions involved in hunting, fishing, and other outdoor-related topics. It is not a how-to book, nor just a compilation of hunting and fishing stories, it describes how simple family and personal interactions, with the outdoor sports and unmatched natural beauty as a backdrop, can result in treasured memories like perhaps no other pursuits. If you hunt and fish or grew up enjoying histories of family traditions and friendships revolving around either of the sports—whether it be in North Carolina, or elsewhere—The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest is for you.

Book Details:

Title: The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest

Author: Bill Fentress

Genre: sports/outdoors/hunting and fishing

Publisher: William C. Fentress (February 3, 2022)

Print length: 272 pages



Things you love about writing: it is emotional and cathartic for me.
Things you hate about writing: it is a little frustrating when it is not clicking. My last story in the book was like that. Then, finally I got it. But actually,  no story is ever “finished.”

Things you love about where you live: New Bern is a beautiful small town. And I am close to my boyhood farm and the nature I crave.
Things that make you want to move: only the Rockies.

Favorite foods: the Edwards chocolate pie my wife buys every Thanksgiving.
Things that make you want to throw up: Brussel sprouts. I am a collard man.  

Favorite song: “Love Song” written and performed by my daughter, Sarah.
Music that make your ears bleed: Rap.

Favorite beverage: Diet Sun Drop.

Something that gives you a pickle face: Sardines . . . still remember seeing those little fish being eaten by traveling salesmen in our country store . . . looks like cat food to me.

Favorite smell: wood stove smoke.

Something that makes you hold your nose: skunk on my dog, and then in my truck (numerous times).

Something you’re really good at: being a smart aleck with my wife.

Something you’re really bad at: understanding that she can be a better smart aleck than me when she wants to. 

Something you wish you could do: hand tie a fishing net. I still remember seeing men in yards during my boyhood mending their nets. I was always curious how they could do that. Still am.
Something you wish you’d never learned to do: nothing . . . wish I knew how to do more. Love to learn new things . . . as long as I want to do them.

Something you like to do: have intelligent conversation and laughter around a fire pit with good friends.

Something you wish you’d never done: handled a few personal situations the wrong way.

Last best thing you ate: my chickens’ eggs.

Last thing you regret eating: ham my wife left in fridge for my dog Luke. It was 3 months old, and I did not realize it was for the dog . . . woops.

Things you’d walk a mile for: view around Silverton, Co., or to get to a good, scouted bow stand . . . or behind any good bird dog with quail in the hedgerows .
Things that make you want to run screaming from the room: Roto calls.

Favorite places you’ve been: Grand Canyon and San Juan Mountains in Colorado.

Places you never want to go to again: never been there.

People you’d like to invite to dinner: my daughter Sarah and her idol, Taylor Swift, just to listen and watch . . . and make Sarah happy. 

People you’d cancel dinner on: pretentious people—of course I doubt if they would ever invite me. Pretty much set in my ways and they could probably  tell.

Favorite things to do: spend time with my family; hunt; fish; piddle on my farm with my tractor.

Things you’d run through a fire wearing gasoline pants to get out of doing: inside painting.

Things that make you happy: walking my farm with my wife or daughter or dog.

Things that drive you crazy: not much drives me crazy anymore. I just deal with it. As you get older the trivial things seem a lot less important. I do hate the loud mufflers some of the young bucks have on their trucks though. But then again, they will never sneak up on a turkey in a rig like that . . . so that’s good.

Proudest moment: birth of my daughter—by far. Nothing close.

Most embarrassing moment: asked a friend if she was pregnant, in a restaurant, in front of people—she wasn’t. Yep, did it. That’s me. Yessir.

Best thing you’ve ever done: marry my wife.

Biggest mistake: not meeting her sooner.

Most daring thing you’ve ever done: wrapped a boa around my neck to get a customer to join the Chamber of Commerce.

Something you chickened out from doing: retiring from banking sooner.

The last thing you did for the first time: write a book.

Something you’ll never do again: ask ANYBODY if they are pregnant.


       There is something special about hunting, that sears in place our memories with others. Maybe it’s the vivid nature where our grand experiences take place or the team efforts we go through to make it all happen? Maybe it’s the getting up early, the black coffee, the smell of eggs and bacon in a cabin, the swoosh of ducks over decoys or the violent uprising of a big covey followed by the delirium of released bird dogs? Maybe it’s the sunrises, the sunsets, the gobbles at dawn, the split oak fires or the oysters? Maybe it’s the bonds we have over lifetimes? I’m not really sure.  But I do know we’re blessed when these partners come into our lives.

Like many boys, my first hunting partner was a dog, Pepper. I wish I could say Pepper was the granddaughter of King Rothschild’s Sire of Pepper Creek, but I cannot. Pepper was a fittingly, albeit not uniquely, named black and white pointer-mix stray who took up at Miss Jo’s house in Bayboro. Somehow, through either constant brow beating with her pathetic brown eyes or via her constant hanging around the back door looking for food, Pepper convinced Miss Jo to call me—not my mother, her friend—but me.

“Billy,” she commanded, “I have a beautiful dog you would just love!”

Of course, I immediately got off the phone and begged Mom to take me to Bayboro. “Miss Jo’s got a dog she says I need!” I always thought Miss Jo should have led many of the sales classes I attended in my banking career. Let me tell you, she talked directly to the buyer, and went right around the secretary. While I’m not sure how long it took for Mom to talk to her again,  we came home with Pepper in the Chevy wagon and me with a smile as broad as the cuff on my dungarees. Pepper was one of the smartest dogs I ever owned. She followed me everywhere—from our store to Grandmamma’s house to the woods behind our house to the tractor shelter woods across the road, down Swan Point Road, and of course behind our neighbor’s house. Pepper was smart enough to look both ways before she crossed the road. Don’t smirk; I saw her do it a hundred times. She also knew how to be quiet as I planned a sneak-up strategy on the local robins and wrens. But her mind absolutely took the day off when it came to our neighbor’s chickens.

--- Excerpt from The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest by Bill Fentress.  Copyright © 2021 by William C. Fentress. Reproduced with permission from Bill Fentress. All rights reserved.


Bill Fentress is a retired banker and current Finance Officer in eastern North Carolina. He graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill with a BS Degree in Geology in 1983 and worked all over eastern North Carolina in the banking business for 26 years. He grew up in Pamlico County where many of his hunting and fishing experiences in The Yellow Honeysuckle is the Sweetest  take place. He has enjoyed nature's beauty and God's gifts of family and the outdoors throughout his  lifetime, in North Carolina and elsewhere.

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