Driven by his avid interest in science and the outdoors, Harris returned to North Carolina and went on to college and received the first PhD in animal ecology ever given by North Carolina State University. His PhD opened the doors for a career as a college professor, and after 26 years of teaching, Harris retired and returned to Hyde County, North Carolina where he turned his attention to commercial fishing, real estate, and finally, writing his memoirs.
By this time, Harris had already been married and divorced three times, figuring he had “been there, done that,” with no visions or intentions of marrying again. Yet fate often intervenes when we least expect it. Harris signed up for a creative writing course to help him along with his memoir at the same time that Donna Ange signed up for the same class. Sixty-six-year-
When Ange first met Harris, there was no immediate connection or interest; she thought he seemed like a nice man. Then, as a part of the class, Harris began to read from his manuscript and Ange started paying attention. “His words pulled me in. His memoir was filled with the stuff you read in adventure novels. He experienced freedom as a child and young man that we can’t imagine today. I was in love with the poetic way he wrote and wanted to learn more about the man behind the words.”
Then Harris asked Ange out, and their first date was dinner at her house where they sat up until midnight as she read aloud the draft of Harris’ memoir “Born on a Buzzard’s Stump.” Ange’s enchantment with the man next to her grew as she became mesmerized by his words and his amazing life experiences. As she read, Ange kept asking “Did you REALLY do this?” and “Did that REALLY happen?”
As Ange read, Harris sat listening quietly beside her, becoming more and more enthralled with the woman who read his words, hearing his story as he had never heard it before. That night, the couple began a connection that turned to love and took Ange into her first marriage, Harris into his fourth, and both of them into their last. “It was my words that first captured her,” Harris admits, “but it is the daily connection that we share that keeps our love strong and growing.”
While they both admit that they are as “different as night and day,” they also know that they are true soul mates whose lives are enhanced by being together. Harris’ manuscript is now a published book – Born on a Buzzard’s Stump: The Epic Saga of a Man and His Myth,” published by BQB Publishing, and available through both online and brick and mortar bookstores, and Ange (now Mrs. Harris) is his marketing manager and still his biggest fan. The book has a true deeper meaning for them both as it was the catalyst of their falling in love with each other. Harris is also in the process of writing his next book “Winter Love.”
Struggling with Parkinson’s, Harris’ body doesn’t allow him to experience all of the adventures that his life was once filled with, but his mind is as sharp as ever and his charisma has never faded. His wife laughingly admits that “Women of all ages fall in love with my husband. He’s simply irresistible.”
Terri Leidich, BQB Publishing