Day care for adults. Camp meeting nostalgia. Who goes to pawnshops? Cool ways to stay cool. July 2012 t www.UnionLifestyle.com
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Help your child continue to learn on summer break.
Contents Union Lifestyle t July 2012
Cool ways to stay cool in HOT Union County.
Fresh veggies from the garden spell yum.
Pawnshops – sometimes as much a bank as a store.
Time is critical for CMC-Waxhaw director.
Hugh Howey Nancy E. Stephen
Foster parents put their hearts on the line for kids.
Adult day care helps families keep loved ones at home.
Is cotillion relevant in today’s world?
Bonfire Bar & Grill serves much more than bar food.
Camp meeting tents may change but traditions don’t.
18 entertaining and fun things to do in Union County.
July 2012 Vol. 1, No. 5
Editor Nancy E. Stephen
Contributing Writers Deb Coates Bledsoe Luanne Williams
Photographers Deb Coates Bledsoe
A publication of Cameo Communications, LLC PO Box 1064 Monroe, NC 28111-1064 (704) 753-9288 www.UnionLifestyle.com
On the cover A child cools down during 100-plus degree weather at the waterpark at Monroe Aquatics & Fitness Center.
Union Lifestylel July 2012 3
Editor’s Letter not yet been opened up.
Visiting Pleasant Grove Camp Ground for this issue took me back more than a few years to my youth.
Immediately, I was engulfed in the smells that reminded me so strongly of what we called “camp.” I had to pause to enjoy the moment.
It was difficult to pin down what sent me on this nostalgia trip. Was it the rustic cabins themselves, standing there with shuttered windows? Or stories about the early days of camp when no one had running water?
A slightly musty aroma, as if dampness had seeped in and stayed for the winter. But it was much more. It was like smelling your grandmother’s perfume when she’s been gone for years.
As I strolled around the quiet grounds before the crowd arrived, the sights and sounds of outdoor life reminded me of wonderful summer days at my grandparents’ rustic cabin on a river.
Occasionally enjoy, I should say; I do like my creature comforts.
Even now, I enjoy the adventure of no indoor plumbing or air conditioning and a hand pump to draw well water that is always frigid, no matter the time of year.
Brenda Lemmonds showed me her cabin at the camp ground, which she had cleaned for camp meeting. Then we went to her daughter’s tent, which had
4 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
Closing my eyes, I could see my grandparents in their rocking chairs, preparing for a night of canasta. Those truly were great times. I believe it’s time to visit camp.
Teacher Maxie Johnson assists a East Union Middle School student during math class.
Help your child continue learning over the summer
East Union Middle School teacher Maxie Johnson Jr. believes that learning doesn’t have to end when vacation begins. The 2012-2013 Union County Public Schools Teacher of the Year and seventh grade math teacher offers these ways your student can continue learning during the summer break.
Read a book All students on break should sit down and read a book for the summer. Read to learn or simply to enjoy yourself. Reading to your siblings is a wonderful way to strengthen your reading skills as well as theirs.
Organize Organize your room, then move to other rooms, such as the kitchen where dishes and plasticware might need a little organization. Ironically, this will help increase your organization in the classroom.
Play sports Join a community or neighborhood sports team, which will provide exercise to keep you healthy and allow you to practice the important skill of being a “team player.”
Learn new things Just because you are on summer break
doesn't mean you have to stop learning. Take every opportunity to learn a new skill, hobby or activity.
Help others Everyone needs a little help sometimes. Check with your neighbors and older relatives to see how you can help them. You'll feel good afterwards.
Connect with family Whether you’re attending the family reunion, going on a picnic or simply calling your aunt, make a point to really connect with your family. Imagine how much you can learn from conversations with your family, especially older relatives. Union Lifestyle l July 2012 5
Cool ways to stay cool i Winchester Pool
You might have noticed - it’s hot. Not just hot, but HOT! It’s been so hot that not only are tongues hanging out of dogs’ mouths, ours are too. Union County has lots of ways to cool down in summer’s broiling sun – some indoors, some outdoors; some with exercise, some without. Take a look and start cooling!
Water fun If you live in a town or housing development with a home owner’s association, you probably have pool privileges. But if you don’t, don’t despair; there’s cool water awaiting you in the county.
Operated by the City of Monroe 1005 Winchester Avenue in Monroe Tuesday - Saturday, 1 p.m. - 5 p.m. $1 for city residents, ages 6 - 15 $2 for 16 and older. $5 for non-city residents, ages 6 - 15 $8 for 16 and older.
Monroe Aquatics & Fitness Center Water Park 2325 Hanover Drive in Monroe Operated by the City of Monroe Monday - Friday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Center also has an 8-lane indoor pool. Membership fees, call (704) 282-4680.
Monroe Country Club for the
BEST GOLF DEAL around! Now adult offering a golf c nd junior linics .C for d etails all .
Annual memberships as low as $750! MONROE
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MONROE a heritage of progress
6 l Union Lifestyle l July 2012
Front 9 designed by Donald Ross Champion Bermuda greens Driving range and Pro shop U.S. 601 S, Monroe, NC 28112 (704) 282-4661
Cane Creek Park 5213 Harkey Rd. in Waxhaw Operated by Union County Lake swimming and boating, fishing, sailing, hiking, camping, pedal boats Hours vary, call (704) 843-3919 for details. $4 per car park entrance $2 swimming pass, ages 2-5 $4 swimming pass, ages 6 and older $3 for 30 minutes in pedal boats $2 for fishing pass, ages 6 and older
Ice skating It may be difficult to believe, but you can actually ice skate year round in Union County. The indoor temperature on Extreme Ice Center rinks stays a cool 51 degrees every day, making it a great reprieve from the heat.
Extreme Ice Center 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Rd., Indian Trail Cool Camp for ages 5 - 12 Pond Hockey Camp for ages 9 - 12 Puddle Hockey Camp for ages 5 - 8 Public skating hours and days vary. Call (704) 882-1830 or visit www.xicenter.com for details. Monday - Friday daytime skating $6.50 for adults, $4.50 for children $4 skate rental Friday evening - Sunday skating $8 for 10 and older, $6 for 9 and younger $4 skate rental Family Night, Wednesdays, 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. $6 per person Christmas in July, July 25 Parents, kids, skates, Santa and fun! $5 per person, includes skates
HOT Union County Roller skating If that skinny little blade is a mite much for you, try rollerskating. The county has two public skating rinks where you can use old-fashioned skates as well as rollerblades.
Hatley’s Family Skating Center 1705 Concord Ave. in Monroe Monday, Christian Music Night 7 p.m. - 9 p.m. $2.50 per person Friday night, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. $5 per person Saturday, 1:30 p.m. - 4 p.m. for children’s skating and small parties, $3.50 Saturday, 7 p.m. - 10 p.m., $5 a person Skate rental is included in the price, except for rollerblades, which are $3.
Kate’s Skating Rink 14500 U.S. 74 in Indian Trail Monday, Christian Music Night $2 per person, $1 with item of the week Friday, Family Fun Night $20 - $25 for families of 5, includes skate rental, pizza and pitcher of drink. Opens at 11 a.m. every day, but hours vary. Call (704) 821-7465 for details. $7 general admission $1 for regular skates $3 for speed skates or roller blades
Other cool indoor fun
If skating and swimming seem like too much work, try a more passive activity that’s indoors in wonderful air conditioning.
If you want to be passive, but still cool, drop by one of these ice cream or yogurt shops to chill your belly.
4021 Weddington Rd. Noon - 9 p.m. daily $1 per cone
1901 Skyway Drive, Suite A in Monroe Monday - Thursday, 10 a.m. - 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. - midnight Saturday, 1 p.m. - midnight Sunday, 1 p.m. - 7 p.m. Prices vary, depending on day and time. $3.50 - $4.50 per game $3.50 for shoe rental
Children’s movies at Sun Valley 14 6449 Old Monroe Road in Indian Trail Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 10 a.m. $1 admission for kids; adults are free $1 kiddie popcorn and $1 kiddie drink July 24 - 26 Hop August 7 - 9 Journey August 14 - 16 Dr. Seuss’s Lorax Information at www.Stone Theatres.com
The Cone Shop
Bruster’s Ice Cream 531 S. Indian Trail Road in Indian Trail 400 W. Roosevelt Blvd. in Monroe 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. daily
Dunkin Donuts Baskin Robbins 14055 U.S. 74 West in Indian Trail Monday - Friday, 5 a.m. - 11 p.m. Saturday -Sunday, 6 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Just Chilin’ Frozen Yogurt 6580 Old Monroe Road in Indian Trail Monday - Saturday, noon - 10 p.m. Sunday, 1 p.m. - 9 p.m.
Dairy Queen 400 W. Roosevelt Blvd. in Monroe Monday - Thursday, 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday, 10:20 a.m. - 11 p.m. Sunday, 10:30 a.m. - 10 p.m.
Is your child the next Olympic athlete? Learn to Skate classes are enrolling now for kids as young as 3!
www.xicenter.com (704) 882-1830 4705 Indian Trail-Fairview Rd., Indian Trail
Union Lifestyle l July 2012 7
Dawn Pierce examines a nailing gun that has been pawned.
By Deb Coates Bledsoe
Sometimes as much a
f you’ve not been in a pawnshop, you might be surprised at what people pawn and why.
Pawn, Savings and Loan because today’s pawnshops serve as a bank, loaning smaller sums of money than a traditional bank.
There are lots of jewelry, guns, guitars and electronics – and a bin of sockets, at least at United Pawn and Jewelry in Monroe. The sockets of all sizes have been collected from many toolboxes and dumped into a tiered bin, ready for someone to select the needed size.
“You cannot go to your bank and borrow $100,” said Dawn. “You can go to your bank and borrow $2,500, but you can’t borrow even $500 from a bank.”
Starting at 25 cents, they’re the least expensive item in the store, says Dawn Pierce, manager.
So people bring in an item, such as grandfather’s watch, as collateral for a loan to tide them over until payday. When the paycheck comes in, they return the loan – plus 22 percent interest – and pick up granddad’s watch.
At the other end of the spectrum is jewelry, a lot of diamond rings and other precious stones, some valued at more than $5,000. While much of the jewelry and other merchandise is for sale, most is pawned for a loan. Pawnshops could change their names to 8 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
“Sometimes they’ll bring in something that’s worth a lot but they’re looking to borrow less than the item is worth because they just need $40 to get them by until the end of the week,” Dawn said.
Bin of sockets at United Pawn
Owner David Waugh explains further. “We try to loan what the person needs, not
the maximum of what we could loan because they’re paying interest on what they borrow.” Eighty percent of those who pawn items come back and pick them up. A person can continue to pay on the loan for an unlimited period of time, but it becomes very expensive at 22 percent interest. Often, the person pawns the same item over and over, borrowing money to get by until payday. “A low percentage of our customers are here to sell their items,” David said. “We probably buy only about 10 percent of items.” The least amount of money someone has borrowed from United Pawn is $5, while the most is $1,800. The average amount that the Monroe shop loans is $90. There’s not a stereotypical customer or client, at least not at United Pawn. “There are people from all walks of life who come through those doors,” said Assistant Manager Kathy Griffin. “Some are here to sell, some to buy, some to get a loan.” It’s not unusual for customers to use a pawnshop as a secure location to leave valuables while they’re out of town.
watches. Owner Chris Walters advertises “top prices” for items sold, but also offers cash loans on jewelry. One pawnbroker has noticed a downturn in his business due to the economy. Gary Medlin of Golden Pawn calls the current pawn market “the worst I have ever seen. People just don’t have anything left to pawn.”
Scott Reeder of Concord examines a saxophone for sale at a pawnshop.
His business has musical instruments and newer electronics, but the business primarily buys and sells guns and gold. United Pawn and Jewelry, 421-A E. Franklin Street, Monroe. Diamond City Jewelry and Loan, 14200 Independence Boulevard in Indian Trail. Golden Pawn, 1316 Walkup Avenue in Monroe.
bank as a retail store
Deb Coates Bledsoe, a former newspaper editor, is a freelance writer and photographer.
David said one man pawned a very expensive item for $5 just to have it in a secure location for a short time. “He knew we have security, so he would pay $1 a month in interest for us to store it.” Dawn, who has worked at the pawnshop for 17 years, has developed regular customers. “There are a percentage of people who just come into shop. They never pawn anything.” Most items brought in can be summed up in three words – guns, gold and electronics. But that doesn’t mean the store doesn’t get unusual items. “If I can sell it, I’ll loan money on it,” David said, smiling. The most unusual item David received was a Conestoga wagon. The wagon is displayed in one of his stores and is not for sale. While United Pawn accepts almost anything, one local pawnbroker is a specialty store. Diamond City Jewelry and Loan in Indian Trail deals strictly with jewelry, gold and
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‘You have to put your heart out there to By Luanne Williams
new child in the family – the idea conjures images of a bow on the mailbox, a stork-shaped lawn ornament and a flurry of activity as the infant arrives home with parental hopes and plans pinned firmly in place.
there to give the children the love they deserve.”
important, being a parent or giving birth?” Lisa said.
The McMurrays are among 117 licensed foster families in Union County: 51 supervised by the Department of Social Services (DSS) and 66 under the auspices of private agencies. It's a total that officials would love to see increase.
“We knew there were plenty of children who needed a loving home with structure, discipline and security. Becoming foster parents was the obvious choice.”
“We are currently searching for new recruitment venues in hope that we find loving, nurturing families to work with us in providing a stable home for our children,” said Sandra Harkness, county DSS foster care/adoption recruiter.
But for more than a hundred families in Union County, the arrival of a child is less about fanfare and future dreams and more about providing immediate care and nurturing with no guarantees of a long-term bond. Foster families provide temporary homes for abused, neglected or dependent children when their parents or relatives cannot care for them.
Beyond the initial requirements – 21 years old, high school diploma or GED, stable, drug-free home and sufficient income for personal needs – potential foster parents undergo physical Her husband, Patrick, 39, said hurt hasn't Dave and Lisa Tilton, who began fostering seven years ago, look at a exams, submit to a changed his conviction that “you background check, have their home absolutely have to put your heart out The couple cared for 11 children the first inspected by the fire two years with stays ranging from one to marshal and complete 14 months. Since then, they’ve fostered 30 hours of training. locally and adopted a son and daughter — “For us, it was about PJ, 10, and Ella, 8. wanting to be parents “Our home is still open for more,” said and having a family,” Lisa. She said helping her adopted Your partner for financial success! said Lisa Tilton, who children open their hearts to foster began fostering with QuickBooks support Business tax returns siblings involves honesty and trust. her husband, Dave, Payroll services Personal tax returns seven years ago. After “We explain that these kids need a home Financial statements Bookkeeping services and love. We know that God’s plan is several years of always better than ours.” 4630 W. Highway 74, Suite A Monroe, NC 28110 infertility, the question (704) 289-6317 Phone (704) 283-9438 Fax www.cbmcpas.com Yvon Taylor, a single mom from Waxhaw, became “what is more “The most difficult aspect of foster care is falling in love with the children when you know that they will be going back home,” said Bonnie McMurray, 37, of Monroe. “That is the hardest part, the biggest risk, knowingly inviting pain and loss into your life, your family, your heart, your home.”
10 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
give the children the love they deserve’ said her 11-year-old daughter, adopted via the foster care system at 7, embraces other children in their home. “She realizes that if it wasn't for the fostering system, we wouldn't be together,” Yvon said. “She realizes we need to help other children the same way we helped her.” Yvon, 42, added, “Now that I'm getting older, I’m looking more at the older children because I realize that they are often left behind.” “Being a single, African-American woman, they use me as a role model for teenagers who might be getting lost or confused,” Yvon said. “I'm here and I'm open for whenever I'm needed.” She said it’s rewarding to help children see that there is more to the world than what they had experienced. “You don't want them to think that what they have been through is the norm,” she said. “You want them to realize that there is a safe haven out there.”
scrapbook of photos.
This spring, 90 percent of DSS foster parents wanted to adopt, while fewer than a dozen children in the county were cleared for adoption. Fortunately, sometimes parenting goals change. “When we first got licensed, our motivation was to adopt a child of our own. But now, after our fostering experiences, we realize that there are children who may need us just for a season or two,” said Patrick McMurray.
Bonnie McMurray said her preconceived notions of “out-of-control children who lacked discipline and manners” shattered when they became foster parents. “The delightful surprise is that these children are precious! They are amazing, resilient, intelligent and longing to be loved,” she said as she described their first placement, a 2-year-old girl who was with them for seven months, and their current foster son, a “playful and charming” 17-month-old. She also was apprehensive about interaction with the birth families. “With both of our placements, we have had such a great experience. The parents and extended families have been respectful and thankful for the care we give their children,” she said. “That was definitely a surprise.” Although they admit the process isn't “all roses” as shared parenting can create challenges when children receive weekend visits during the reunification process, these foster parents say the rewards make it worthwhile. “The greatest reward in fostering children is watching the children grow and flourish. Just like with your own children, every day is a miracle,” Bonnie McMurray said. “We have had the privilege of watching our foster son blossom. What a reward to see him constantly overcoming obstacles and hurdling over boundaries we weren't even sure he could surmount.”
“They are victims of bad choices by their birth family or circumstances,” she said. “We need to understand them and their behavior. They are scared. Their birth family is broken and sometimes cannot be repaired.” She said some children, like her son, have more than 10 placements before being placed in a permanent home. Yvon said she would encourage anyone who has considered foster parenting to let go of their fears and give it a try. “The worst that can happen is that it can change a life . . . yours as well as that of a child,” she said. “Just be willing to open your heart and your door.” Foster parents receive funding from the placement agency to help offset the cost of caring for children. Rates vary based on the child’s age and any special needs. For more about foster parenting in NC, go to ncdhhs.gov/dss/fostercare/index.htm. For information specific to Union County, call Sandra Harkness at (704) 296-4469.
Luanne Williams is a former newspaper editor and a freelance writer.
Lisa Tilton reported similar results. “When you see a child that doesn't like affection (usually because he has never been exposed to it) finally come around and receive a hug, a kiss or cuddle time . . . that is rewarding,” she said. “That is progress. That's love!” Lisa wants people to understand that children placed in foster care are not bad kids. Union Lifestyle l July 2012 11
Is cotillion relevant in today’s world? Teen says ‘absolutely’ At left, Grace Pressley and her friend Ella Hill (right) at the grand spring cotillion ball as pre-teens. Below, an older Grace Pressley as a junior dressed for the 2012 (Contributed photos) prom.
By Nancy E. Stephen
race Pressley was a bit of a tomboy in the fifth grade, which prompted her mother Susan Radford to enroll her in cotillion classes. “I felt she needed a little polishing,” Susan said. “I didn’t want her to not be a tomboy, but felt she needed to round out the girly side, too. She was not wildly thrilled about the idea; she was not jumping up and down with joy.” Grace went because “Mom wanted me to go. It was kind of a culture shock at first.” Eight years later, Grace is senior assistant for cotillion classes (officially the National League of Junior Cotillions) and loves it. “I’m very, very glad that my mother made me do it. All parents should make
their children take cotillion. It changes your life, it changes how you approach situations.” Through the years, Susan has watched her daughter and other participants go from “being completely awkward and hating being there to enjoying themselves, being so much more poised and confident.” “Anybody who has ever taken cotillion uses it for the rest of their lives. I use everything in one shape or form,” Grace says. The rising senior at Union Academy
Judge remembers being terrified of co District Court Judge Tripp Helms participated in cotillion classes “many years ago” while in the eighth grade. “I grew up when your parents told you what you were going to do. I didn’t volunteer to go, but a lot of my friends were in the same boat,” he said, drolly. “We were given the opportunity by our parents to go.” His recollection of the class? “I spent most of the time mortally embarrassed by the thing.” But he and his friends “did enjoy it, once we knew there was no escape.”
12 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
The most difficult experience for Tripp was asking girls to dance. He did enjoy the dance lessons, which ended with Tripp and his partner Lane Heath winning the freestyle dance contest. “She actually won; I just held on to her,” he quipped. Tripp recalls talking about manners, greeting and thanking others and how to act at a party and wondering, “When are we ever going to need this?” Now he knows. At 44, Tripp’s lessons have served him well and encouraged him to enroll his son Henry, 10, and daughter Zealy, 13, in classes. “I don’t know why they shouldn’t suffer, too,” he further joked.
says her training helped significantly in meeting college officials recently.
formal dining room table every night.
“When you’re in the fifth grade, you don’t see the good it will do you in the long run. When visiting schools and interviewing at colleges, I could see the benefit of my classes. You need the people skills to succeed,” Grace explains.
“Parents are taking their children to dance class, music, sports and other events. They rarely have time to sit down with their families.”
Susan proudly tells of compliments she receives about her daughter. “She’s poised, ahead of her years. She shakes hands with everybody – even teen-agers, which throws a lot of them.
Terri’s connection with cotillion is a natural extension of her early years. “I took several etiquette and manners classes,” she said because of her grandmother.
“I sometimes avoid certain situations where I’m going to have to meet people,” Susan said, “and she never does. She is more mannerly and more polished than I am.”
Cotillion students demonstrate the good manners they learned.
Teacher Terri Beeson believes that cotillion is practical education.
“She had me in charm school and in modeling school – she was serious. It was very important to my grandmother that I become a lady. “
“Manners are never out of style,” she says. “You’ll never hear ‘that person is so polite’.”
Since she is a lady, it’s natural that Terri teaches today’s children to become ladies or gentlemen.
Susan agrees. “In the business world, if children haven’t had etiquette training, they’re going to have problems at business dinners. (Most of us) are not eating multi-course dinners at home.”
She describes the two-year cotillion curriculum.
“These are things you’d do with your family if you had time,” Terri says, adding that family lifestyles have changed since families sat down at a
lines and at a funeral home. “My goal is to take the mystery out of situations. “ “We keep it really light, keep it entertaining. “ Each class has monthly sessions of 90 minutes each, broken up into 10 to 15 segments on different subjects to keep the classes interesting. Students alternate learning dance steps with RSVP etiquette, for example, then back to dancing, followed by a talk on thank you notes.
“During the first year, they learn about setting a table, basic table manners, thank yous, RSVPs, helping with doors and coats – overall courtesy.”
Terri currently teaches cotillion classes in Monroe, Stanly County, Asheville and at Firethorne Country Club.
The second year, students learn protocol during a five-course dinner, how to handle themselves in public, in receiving
Classes begin in September, ending with a graduation ball with parents in March. Call her at (704) 254-7754 for information.
o tillion, now enrolls his children in classes On a serious note, he added, “I think it’s good to have the idea of using good manners, being a good guest and learning how to act in a social gathering reinforced as much as possible.”
On a serious dancers than Inote, am.” he added, “I think it’s good to have the idea of using good manners, being goodmore guestself-confident and learning how He says both children also “areamuch thanto in They a social gathering as Imuch as possible.” Iact was. were nervousreinforced at cotillion, was terrified.”
While Tripp recalls mostly dancing in his classes, he sees a more in-depth curriculum now. “They practice at home using the phone, greeting people, introducing themselves – some things a lot of people don’t pay attention to anymore.”
While Tripp recalls mostlyhedancing his classes, he sees a Despite his initial anxiety, believesincotillion is important. more in-depth curriculum “Theyforpractice at home using “We’re not trying to preparenow. children five-course dinners the phone, greeting people, introducing themselves – some every day, but they’re learning how to act, how to use good things a lot of people don’t pay attention to anymore.” manners. Those are very important lessons.” The for his children in the early reminded At theanxiety graduation ball, Tripp danced withclasses his daughter and him wife of his classes. “I saw the same sources of stress in their faces, Amy danced with son Henry. “I was overwhelmed with how learning to do things ballroom dancing, butwas they sweet it was to unfamiliar go there and dancelike with my daughter. That did warm to it and enjoy it. They’re both better ballroom a really nice, enjoyable experience for me.”
The anxiety for his children in their early classes reminded him of his classes. “I saw the same sources of stress in their faces, learning to do unfamiliar things like ballroom dancing, but they did warm to it and enjoy it. They’re both better ballroom
Union Lifestyle l July 2012 13
This photograph shows the camp meeting crowd on August 16, 1953. Printed on
Camp meeting: By Nancy E. Stephen
ry to describe Pleasant Grove Camp Ground in Mineral Springs and its annual weeklong camp meeting, and you find that it’s difficult to put into words. It’s tradition, history, a yearly gathering of old friends who might not be in contact the other 51 weeks of the year. It’s rustic “tents,” cabins whose style ranges rough hewn logs with gaps 14 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
between them to newly-built two-story, air-conditioned structures that must meet today’s building standards. It’s dinners when the cabins spill their inhabitants onto picnic tables circling the arbor, traditional Bible school for children in the morning and evening service in the arbor for all. It’s water battles and mudslides, frog hunting and cricket catching, volleyball, softball and horseshoes games and a daily trek to “the stand,” which sells ice cream and other snacks.
Marc Caine “It’s an amazing bit of tradition when you think about it,” says Marc Caine, a native New Yorker and lifelong attendee. “You’re really talking about descendants
of a congregation from the 1820s. “It’s almost impossible to explain to someone who hasn’t been there. I’ve tried and tried and can’t do it. Everyone who visits always says ‘It’s nothing like I expected’.” The cabins, still called tents, form a large square around the property. And all have house numbers, some with a 1/2 or a B added to accommodate a new structure squeezed in between existing cabins that often are not three feet apart. Although his tent was one of the first to have an indoor toilet and shower, Marc eschews further modernization. The toilet was added when Marc’s mother told her father, “I’m not cleaning (cloth) diapers in an outhouse.”
the photo is “PLEASANT GROVE CAMP MEETING, MINORAL (sic) SPRINGS, NC.”
Tents may change but traditions stay the same With the addition of an indoor shower, their tent became very popular. “There were lines around the block, people with a towel over their shoulder just waiting to take a shower,” he explained. Now 55, Marc enjoys the lack of modernizing accoutrements, preferring to keep a floor of wood shavings in the tworoom cabin that sleeps 12 in one room. “I’m always asked ‘when are you going to put a cement floor in?’ ” His answer – “I’m not going to.” Marc is particular about his shavings. They’re changed out every year after he bug bombs the tent. “You have to remember, it’s owned by nature 51 weeks of the year. (The shavings are) perfect nests for critters.”
“I don’t feel like I’m roughing it. We have water, showers and electricity,” he said, adding, “I will not allow a TV set in the tent.” He also distains air conditioning, which he calls isolating. “When it is hot, you go out on your porch for air. Now, people stay inside” with air conditioning. “When I was growing up, I spent my summers here (in Waxhaw, then camp meeting) with my grandmother and aunts. Memorial Day to Labor Day, I was here.” His memories of camp meeting include spontaneous water balloon fights. “They’ve gotten a little formal about water fights now,” bringing in a huge tank of water for folks to dip from and toss at one another.
When he was young, “anybody who was out in the open was fair game. You had a flock of kids chasing you with water balloons; it wasn’t orchestrated. A lot of parents yelled at the kids to stop . . . We had a lot of fun,” he recalls nostalgically. He remembers “the stand,” a block building crowded with kids seeking ice cream and other snacks after evening service. “As a child, going up to the stand, that’s the big thing.” And he remembers the family-like atmosphere. “It was fantastic, it was like having a million grandmothers around. It’s as much of a family reunion as much as a religious revival. That’s what camp meeting is about – it’s for the young kids and the old folks.” Union Lifestyle l July 2012 15
“There were shavings on the floors, and you could see through the cracks in the walls.”
Marc Caine flips the power on upon entering his tent for the first time this year. His load-in each year takes about a day. He bombs for bugs first, then hoses down the interior walls, which are the inside of the outside wood. He rakes out the shavings, brings in the fresh, then makes the beds, places small throw rugs on the shavings and hangs sheets between the beds for a modicum of privacy. Marc looks forward to seeing his quasirelatives, families that may be closer than true blood relatives. “I’ve got two friends that I can trace our friendship back five generations. And now our children are hanging out together; you don’t get that anywhere else in the world.” “As a teen-ager, it’s kind of fun, too,” he recalls. “There’s a lot of campground romances going on – that’s some of the best time here.”
Brenda Lemmonds Monroe resident Brenda Lemmonds attends camp meeting with her husband, Marshall, who is 69 and has never missed a camp meeting, and her extended family. “I went there on the weekends when I was in high school,” she said. “I had friends who would invite us. It was a favorite thing to meet there, talk, go to the stand and walk the circle” of cabins. “I thought it was the craziest thing – the cabins didn’t have plumbing, there were outhouses on the outside of the circle. 16 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
Camp meeting “just gets in your blood,” she said. Marshall’s father bought a first cabin when Marshall and Brenda were just married, but as the family grew, they looked for another.
Their “new” tent is a far cry from Marc’s tent, in terms of decorations and modernity, but Brenda kept the old-time feel when she redid the interior.
so is the visitation with long-time friends. “It’s a big event. You have the same people who come every year. I appreciate seeing those people who you took for granted as you were growing up. You don’t realize how much you miss those friendships during the year. You just take up where you left off; it’s a great history of families.” A week without TV is nice, she says. “You’ve got a whole week of total relaxation, cooking and eating together, going to church, restoring yourself and your soul. Now we’re building memories for the grandchildren, all eight of them.” Traditions include making ice cream every night before service, then everyone flocks back to the cabin to enjoy the treat.
The floor may be concrete, but it’s handpainted like stones to break up any monotony, and the old metal sink enclosure also sports handpainted decoration, which Brenda and her daughter, Rhonda, did. “We wanted to keep Brenda Lemmonds’ tent reflects her artistic nature. Below, she it old and rustic peruses the campground cookbook on one of the three bunk inside,” Brenda explained. “We have antiques, but we also have an air conditioning unit, which we use with the doors open so the grandchildren can run in and out.” Her one-story cabin is basically one room, with three sets of double or queensize bunk beds at one end and a small kitchen at the other. Husband Marshall built the beds with old wood, and they installed a tin ceiling out of used metal, too. “We feel like we’re the Waltons when we’re here,” Brenda says with a laugh. While family attending is very important,
Helen Jane Murray
prompted her to build a tent.
Helen Jane Murray has attended camp meeting for more than 81 years, but just one in her own tent. â€œI went to camp meeting when I was 9 months old. Motherâ€™s father had a tent out there. Iâ€™ve missed a very, very few times.â€?
â€œTents were just like they are now, just not nice ones. Some of my friends always had a parent or grandparent who had a tent. No electricity, no bathroom facilities, no mattresses, and we slept on straw with a sheet over it.
Her younger sister, Patsy McGee and Patsyâ€™s late husband Charles, had a tent â€œand thatâ€™s where we would go. They were always so welcoming.â€?
â€œEverybody had their own outhouse and a slop jar for indoors use. Somehow, I always got elected to empty it,â€? she said laughing.
Helen Jane Murray and her daughter Martha stand in the kitchen
But last year, Helen Jane bought of their modern tent. a lot with an old cabin, tore it and air conditioning, but it was built to down and built a new tent, thanks to the keep the camp meeting lifestyle. architectural creativity of son-in-law Johnny Barnes. The kitchen has a small eating bar, so full meals are still eaten outside family style Her tent might be called the Taj Mahal of at the picnic table. camp meeting, with two stories, three separate bedrooms, multiple bathrooms
Memories of the old days were what
â€œIt was wonderful . . . we had kerosene lamps and hung up sheets for walls. We had windows, but they were cut in the wall and had a wooden shutter that you lifted to open.
â€œThatâ€™s when I get to feeling very old â€“ when I think about it. I wouldnâ€™t take anything for those memories.â€?
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Union Lifestyle l July 2012 17
Pleasant Grove Camp Ground, in the early days If the trees and tents at Pleasant Grove Camp Ground could talk, oh, the stories they could tell. The first camp meeting at the Mineral Springs site was held in October 1929 under a brush arbor. A few months later, the people decided to build a campground on the site. When the area was cleared, the grove was so beautiful that it was called Pleasant Grove. Trustees purchased 24 acres of land from Matthew McCorkle for $60 and hired John C. Rape to build a formal arbor for $125. Tradition holds that Rape was unable to complete the work for the money allotted, so local men offered assistance. Prior to the Civil War, there were more than 200 tents on the grounds. Families who regularly attended camp meetings maintained tents constructed of poles or hewn logs, with fireplaces where the cooking was done. Interest in camp meeting began to lessen around 1900, and in 1902, the trustees ordered the camp meeting closed. All tents were torn down and moved away, except for one log tent, which remained on the grounds until 1992. After about 10 years, the Rev. Henry Byrum became interested in reopening the camp meeting and urged others to be involved. People began building tents again, with Baxter Howie building the first tent. By 1935, 71 tents stood on the grounds. Currently, there are 89 cabin-type tents on the 40-acre site. Pleasant Grove is on the National Register of Historic Places.
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18 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
Everyone joins in the fun and games as well as the services at camp meeting. The traditional water fight ends with campers diving or bellyflopping and sliding through the resulting mud pit. The grounds have multiple rope swings, which even the older campers, like Hamp Howey, enjoy. Some tents sport 1/2 or B as part of their house number, having been squeezed in between others. At evening church services, ceiling fans stir the air inside the rustic arbor, but some prefer to bring lawn chairs and sit outside, just to catch the breeze.
Fresh veggies from the garden spell yum!
Summer brings hot days, water fun, vacations and, maybe best of all, garden-fresh vegetables. I can’t get enough of them! Baskets of beautiful vegetables in their bright colors lined up at a farmer’s market, that’s inspiring!
As much as I enjoy steamed or stir-fried vegetables, eventually it’s time for something else. These are two of my go-to, easy summer pies that can be adapted to your family’s preferences and the market or your garden’s abundance.
Fresh Vegetable Pie Fresh Tomato Pie Pie crust, handmade or from the store Onion, one chopped Flour Tomatoes, at least two sliced or diced Fresh basil, torn into small pieces Bleu or feta cheese 1. Lay onion in the crust, and top with a little flour. (Keeps crust from being soggy.) 2. Layer the tomatoes, herb and crumbled cheese on top. 3. Bake for about 30 minutes at 400. Variations include cheddar, swiss and/or parmesan cheese; other fresh herbs, such as thyme; adding bacon bits or diced ham or even a few black olives for a Mediterranean flair.
I found this recipe many years ago, and it’s a great easy recipe for summer. Use the ingredient list simply as a loose guide. I like a variety of vegetables in my pies, often adding cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and eggplant. Don’t worry about measuring the vegetables, just pile them in your pie plate as deep as you want. And don’t be limited by the type of cheese – pick your favorite! This pie disappears quickly, but it also freezes if you’re a small family. 2 cups chopped broccoli or cauliflower 1/3 cup chopped onion 1/3 cup chopped green bell pepper 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese (4 oz.) 1/2 cup Bisquick or Jiffy mix 1 cup milk (skim milk works well) 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper 2 eggs
1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease 9-inch pie plate. 2. Heat 1 inch salted water to boiling in medium saucepan. Add vegetables; cook about 5 minutes or until almost tender; drain thoroughly. 3. Stir together cooked vegetables, onion, bell pepper and cheese in pie plate. 4. Stir remaining ingredients until blended. Pour over vegetables in pie plate. 5. Bake 35 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes before slicing. Nancy E Stephen
Union Lifestyle l July 2012 19
Time is critical in ER By Luanne Williams
f you’re a patient seeking medical care in an emergency room, the wait time can be critical. If you’re director of a medical facility and have children, time also is important. Alicia Campbell knows how much time matters in both arenas. As a 34-year-old mother of two and the director of CMC-Waxhaw, she has learned to juggle the demands of her work with those of a busy family.
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“Faith, love and support from my family proved crucial during the quest to open the facility,” said Alicia. CMC-Waxhaw offers a range of outpatient services including a 24-hour emergency department, imaging center, observation beds for extended exams, lab services and physician offices, plus a helicopter pad to facilitate the transfer of high-level trauma patients. The days before the facility opened in December 2011 left Alicia with little free time, but inspired creative time management skills. “My husband was a single dad many nights, but I would Skype with my kids (Sydney, 7; Sawyer, 4) at night if I couldn’t be home for bedtime stories,” she said. “If I’m working late, some mornings I will work from home and take my son to preschool or I will eat lunch with my daughter at school.” Relying on her supportive husband, John, and her parents, Alicia has learned to “make the most of every minute with family.” “That has definitely been the greatest challenge to me, to balance my work and home life,” Alicia said. “The best part about my job has been seeing the people who have come to work here really come together and create something totally different. They really own their positions and want this to be the best place it can be,” she said. Their efforts have not gone unnoticed. For the first quarter of 2012, CMC-Waxhaw’s emergency department led the system with a 100 percent satisfaction rating for “overall quality of care and likelihood of recommending” based on patient surveys. “This is really a testament to the team,” Alicia said. Although she loved her prior role as a manager in imaging at CMC-Union, she wanted to join the Waxhaw project because it would have “a terrific impact” on her own community. “I live just four miles from CMC-Waxhaw and, in fact, we have treated some of my friends and neighbors,” she said. Alicia earned a bachelor’s degree in nuclear medicine in 1999 and
20 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
R and in juggling work and home life transferred to CMC-Union from CMC-Charlotte in 2004. While working on her master’s degree in health administration, she was promoted to imaging and radiation oncology manager. “I realized years ago that I was moving further away from the clinical area, but that I could impact the care of more patients by leading others,” Alicia said, admitting that she sometimes misses the hands-on role. “I can often be found on the floor talking with patients or helping out wherever I can.”
Director Alicia Campbell, sporting a bandage after donating blood, chats with Nurse Manager Brandon
She said her position at CMCHelms in an emergency room at CMC-Waxhaw. Waxhaw goes well beyond medical imaging and deals much more with the emergency To find out more about CMC-Waxhaw, located on the corner department and other areas such as laboratory services and of Providence Road and Gray Byrum Road, call (704) 667registration. She also goes out into the community to educate the 6800 or log on to www.cmc-waxhaw.org. public about CMC-Waxhaw. “People think we are either an urgent care facility or a hospital, but we’re a totally innovative concept that is neither. “We do have a fully-equipped emergency department that can handle any kind of emergency from trauma to strokes and heart attacks, so we’re not like an urgent care; but we’re also not a hospital. We don’t keep anyone over 24 hours. If you need more care, we’ll take you to the facility you need to be admitted to, based on your injuries or illness.” Alicia sees CMC-Waxhaw as a community wellness partner. “The future of healthcare is really preventative care and keeping our community healthy; providing health and wellness opportunities is where we want to be,” she said. “It’s not about being a business in Waxhaw; it’s about being part of the community, fully integrated.” Already the facility has sponsored 5-K events and offers monthly educational programs. She said the response from the community has been incredible. “In the first six months, we’ve seen over 6,000 patients in the emergency department. The community has embraced us. Many of the people we treat say they really are glad there’s an ER in their community.” Whether she is leading a tour or explaining how to download the ER wait times mobile app onto a cell phones, Alicia is committed to helping people connect with CMC-Waxhaw.
Luanne Williams is a former newspaper editor and a freelance writer.
560 local businesses have joined the
Union County Chamber of Commerce.
Have you? n Free training opportunities for employees n Member to member business discounts n A voice for business in government n Excellence in Business awards n Free business counseling n Business referrals and recommendations n Multiple networking events each month n Job postings for your business n New business contacts
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Union Lifestyle l July 2012 21
Adult day care helps families keep loved ones at home By Luanne Williams
t’s a familiar scene. A car pulls up to a child care center, Mom or Dad hustle a little one inside and dash on to the office, trusting the child will be safely cared for until day’s end.
for their participants, who enjoy structured activities that range from Bible study and bingo to exercise and karaoke. “We laugh a lot and talk a lot,” said Sandy Wyles, director at New Testament Adult Day Care in Monroe. A ministry of New Testament Baptist, the center has approximately 32 participants each day.
go to another room with a puzzle. “We want to make our folks as happy and comfortable as they can be. If they don't want to do something, we don't force them to. We just encourage,” she said, adding that the structure and constant activity help most participants retain their ability to care for themselves longer.
But what happens when the scenario is reversed? The now grown son or daughter is workplace bound, but elderly Mom or Dad can't be left home alone. For a growing number of families, the answer may still be day care — licensed adult day care designed to help caregivers keep their family members at home much longer than otherwise possible. “This is the most rapidly growing and strongly needed service in the healthcare industry now,” said Nate Huggins, executive director of Blessed Assurance Adult Day & Health Care Services in Matthews. “With the economic situation, caregivers need to maximize their dollars . . . . The cost is about one-fifth to onefourth that of long-term care.”
New Testament Adult Day Care Director Sandy Wyles enjoys game time with Vera Mae Linker and Jack Jackson. She said some have dementia, brain injury or autism, but that doesn't keep them from enjoying the activities.
“As our population gets older — Union County already has well over 16,000 seniors — the need is only going to increase,” he said.
“We have devotions in the morning, then exercise. They have a long hall to walk or we go to the gym or outside. We play bingo, trivia, give them foot baths or manicures. They don't just sit and watch TV,” Sandy said. “We have outings to Pizza Hut and Quincy's. They see the podiatrist; they get their hair cut. The activities vary, but it's structured so they have the same schedule every day.”
Directors of three local centers say their organizations — which they consider ministries — offer not only respite for caregiving families but also enrichment
Like child day care, nap time is also included at New Testament. Participants can lounge in their recliners as soft music plays or they can sit outside and talk or
According to a 2010 study by MetLife, there are more than 4,600 adult day services centers nationwide, a 35 percent increase since 2002.
22 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
“Routine is very important, especially when dementia is involved. If you don't have a structured routine and don’t have them do things the same way each time, they start forgetting how. We want them to remember so they can do for themselves.”
At Blessed Assurance, participants have a similar schedule. But in addition to social activities, it offers medical, therapeutic and rehabilitation day treatment with two nurses on staff. It is considered an adult day health care center.
“We make sure they know what is going on in the world and they love that. They want to be talked to, not talked down to. They want to keep up with what's going on,” Nate said. “All these people really want is love, attention and respect. And they want to go back to their own homes and beds at night.” Nate said his oldest participant now is 99, but the facility has had a 106-year-old taking part in the past.
“I strongly believe that these folks live longer because they are actively engaged,” he said. “It's a beautiful thing to see a 99-year-old doing aerobics.”
“If they come early enough, they can adjust very well,” she said, adding that most participants adjust quickly and enjoy the rich social life the center offers.
“Most of our participants stay until they absolutely have to go somewhere for more full-time care,” said Louvenia Coffey, who opened Tracy’s Adult Day Care in Waxhaw with her husband Rufus when her mother, who had Alzheimer’s Disease, could no longer care for herself.
“We find out their likes and dislikes and talk to them like they are old friends. We have their name tags on the table for lunch so they sit in the same place every day," she said. "Soon, when they come in, they know exactly what to do. Even if they can't call us by name, they know who we are and that they are in a safe and happy place.”
Tracy’s has nine participants and offers transportation in the local area. The facility can serve 22. Activities include devotions, Sittercise, bingo and TV game shows. Louvenia fears many people who could benefit from adult day care aren't aware that the service is available. Sandy suggests that families looking for care options check out facilities as soon as their loved one first needs supervision.
They also know they'll be hugged and loved on. “Our people are pretty spoiled,” she said. “They have people here who will sit and talk to them, which is very important. We hug them or pat them on the arm; we give them lots of interaction and human touch.” Nate said, “These folks know that they
haven't been swept aside. They realize that their son or daughter is bringing them here to give them additional help, but at the end of the day, they will be home and still a part of the family,” he said. The cost of care varies depending on the services offered. Most is not covered by insurance. Blessed Assurance Adult Day & Health Care Services www.blessedadultcare.org 13001 Idlewild Road, Matthews (704) 845-1359 t 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. New Testament Adult Day Care 2603 Goldmine Road, Monroe (704) 283-5606 t 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tracy’s Adult Daycare Home 3617 Andrew Jackson Drive, Waxhaw (704) 843-1806 t 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Luanne Williams is a former newspaper editor and a freelance writer.
“Mom’s getting more confused. She forgot to eat again.” “What if she wanders off? That would be horrible.” “We need to keep her safe at home. We need more help.” If you’re struggling to care for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other challenges with aging, we can help.
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Union Lifestyle l July 2012 23
A wife’s story: Day care gave us an extra year together As I drove into the parking lot of the center the first day, I tried desperately to put a good spin on the situation that seemed as if it would break my heart. “This is going to be great,” I choked out with a tear-laden voice, which he did not notice. “There will be lots of people here, fun activities to do, good food,” and tossing in what I hoped would be the piece de resistance, “your own recliner.” I was not taking my child to his first day of day care; I was taking my husband of 21 years. Thinking of that day more than a year later, I still feel the anguish and the burning tears. I felt totally incompetent and devastated – this was the first major adjustment to our life with dementia. My husband felt nothing of the sort. Although he was diagnosed with multiple types of dementia, my husband was content, totally unaware that he was ill or that his memory and personality were blunted. Very little distressed him, little things made him happy – which is one of the few positives of his disease. He has the disease; I feel most of the pain – but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I had visited New Testament’s adult day care center previously, talked to Sandy at great length, and she tried desperately to assure me that everything would be OK, that he’d enjoy his time there. I wasn’t so sure. We were talking about my husband, a man with a quick and logical mind – but that was in the past.
Sandy greeted him as if he were her long lost friend. “It’s so good to see you again,” she said, calling him by name as she shook his hand warmly. “Do you want some coffee? We’re about to have breakfast; we’re having eggs and grits. Doesn’t that sound good?” It sounded good to him, and she led him into the breakfast room. I couldn’t believe it. Within minutes, I was sitting in my car in the parking lot, sobbing my eyes out, calling friend after friend because I couldn’t drive – the tears were falling fast and furious. Five very long hours later, I went back to pick him up. I peered around the door to see how he was doing. The group of about 30, mostly senior citizens, was playing trivia, and I could tell that my husband was enjoying it. He had the tiniest of a smile as he called out the answer. Seriously? I had been so distressed over “what I had done” by placing him into adult day care that I was physically ill all day. He had a good time. So he went back the next day and another day that week. Although he asked every day where we were going, it was out of mild curiosity, not concern. On the few days he didn’t want to go, I told him that Sandy was expecting him, and his lifelong experiences of “doing the right thing” kicked in and we went. Very quickly, he was attending five days a week, and the experience was great for both
of us. He developed a friendship with another man who attended, and I frequently found him outside with people of different ages, sometimes talking, sometimes just enjoying the outdoors. Never – ever – was he distressed, unhappy, frustrated, annoyed or bewildered; the staff treated him as if he were their friend or family member. He frequently came home with prizes he (and everyone else) won at games and occasionally flowers to give his wife. Because my husband was in day care weekdays, I could work without concerns of his safety while he out of my sight. The time that we spent at home during evenings and weekends was easier; I was better equipped to handle the peculiarities of his new personality because the caregiving was shared with the day care. After 14 months at day care, his dementia had progressed significantly and safety became a serious concern at home. His doctors advised immediate full-time placement, and my husband moved into an assisted living facility. He transitioned well, which I believe was due to the months he had spent at day care. There’s nothing about dementia that is easy for either the patient or the caregiver, but for us, adult day care allowed us to live together for an extra year. For me, the wife and caregiver, those extra months were precious.
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Bonfire Bar & Grill serves much more than bar food
f you’re looking for traditional bar food such as nachos and chicken tenders, Bonfire Bar & Grill in Indian Trail is a good place to go.
At $9.95 for adults and $4.95 for children, it’s a great value for a family.
But if you’re looking for gourmet meals, such as sesame crusted tuna, savory crab cakes or fresh catch of the day, well, Bonfire still is a good place to go. It’s as if Bonfire has a split personality – a bar with sports on multiple televisions and a restaurant with a quieter tone. We enjoyed both a weeknight dinner and the Sunday brunch buffet, which is not highly promoted, but should be. At dinner, four women shared the spinach dip, served in a bread bowl with pita bread ($6.95). The dip was so full of spinach, it could serve as a vegetable portion in a day’s menu. It was delicious, and we would return to Bonfire just for this dip. Our other appetizer was the calamari “fries,” lightly breaded, Spinach dip deep fried and served with mustard aioli on top ($8.95). Delicious and no heavy oil taste. The special for the day was prime rib, tender and tasty, served with garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus. A delicious horseradish sauce was delivered upon request. Another woman chose the Cavaliere’s crab cakes ($14.95) for her entree. She thought they were scrumptious, ever so lightly sweet, full of crab with a mustard aioli sauce. Two three-inch cakes were partnered with garlic mashed potatoes and sauteed vegetables. With no fuss, green beans replaced the potatoes.
We recommend the Sunday buffet very highly. Served from 10 a.m. until 2:30, the buffet has an extensive array of breakfast and dinner foods, including shrimp and grits, eggs benedict, a ribeye carving station, bacon, sausage, ham, eggs, made-to-order waffles, plus vegetables, multiple salads, assorted pastries and desserts.
Bonfire Bar & Grill Sun Valley Commons 6751 Old Monroe Road, Indian Trail Open Mon-Sun: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Online at http://bonfirebar-grill.com
Crab cake Our other entree was black and bleu tacos ($9.95). The tacos were the only item that didn’t dazzle, and that’s our fault. The steak cutlets were tender and seasoned nicely, and the bleu cheese sauce and carmelized onions were fine. But the tacos looked a bit naked and would have been enhanced with a little tomato and lettuce or fresh salsa. The menu described the tacos appropriately, but our diner assumed there would be an edible garnish. Next time, she’ll ask for lettuce and tomato. On to dessert, which none of us needed as portions are generous, but we enjoyed anyway. The crème brulee and Key lime cheesecake were very good, although the cheesecake’s lime flavor was a tad too mild. Our waitress brought freshly brewed coffee when asked and answered all questions readily. The restaurant has a child’s menu and multiple vegetarian dishes to accommodate most families. A member of management stopped by all dining tables to ask if everything was good, a style we would recommend to all restaurants. That walkthrough reiterates that the restaurant is there to serve you.
Ambiance – As a combination bar and grill, Bonfire has a lot going on. If you sit on the restaurant side, you’ll experience good food in a good setting. On weekends, the late-night crowd makes the restaurant more of a bar, so time your dining accordingly. (4.5 stars) Menu – A good combination of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, entrée salads and entrées. We were happy to see 13 side dishes, although most were of the fries, potatoes variety. Still seasonal vegetables, creamed corn and green beans were available. (4.75 stars) Quality – Every dish combined fresh ingredients into a delightful presentation. Nothing resembled bar food, not even the fried calamari. (4.25 stars) Service – Restaurant management has obviously trained the staff. Our waitress described everything and was very attentive without being overbearing. (4.5 stars) Value- Prices are reasonable and a good value especially considering the generous servings. (4.5 stars) Overall – 4.5 stars
Union Lifestyle l July 2012 25
things to do in Union County
Unionville Concert in the Park
Music by Village Greene 7 p.m. â€“ 9 p.m. July At the Community Park No charge; sponsored by Lions Club
The Hatley Family 7 p.m. â€“ 9 p.m. At the Community Park Free admission; donations accepted Sponsored by the Lions Club
August Stallings Park End of July
Expected to reopen. Fountain will be on 10:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Unionville Concert in the Park
Kudzu crafts, petting zoo and more August 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Museum of the Waxhaws Adults $5, Seniors $4, Children $2, 5 and under free. (704) 843-1832 for info
First Friday in Waxhaw Shops and restaurants open late with specials. No charge
Indian Trail Sunset Series Music by Outta the Blue 6:30 p.m. Crossings Path Park No charge
Cruise-In 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Main Street, Monroe No charge
Jaars Day 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Learn more about Bible translation services. JAARS Center, Waxhaw
August Back to School Bash with Radio Disney Games, contests, prizes Noon - 2 p.m. Center Court, Monroe Crossing Call (704) 289-6547 for more information and to reserve a spot.
26 Union Lifestyle l July 2012
Music on Main Music by Pushh (70s, 80s, 90s and today) 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m Main Street, Monroe No charge
Union Symphony Youth Orchestra 4 p.m. Marvin Ridge High Sch.
Cruise-In 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. Main Street, Monroe No charge
First Friday in Waxhaw Shops and restaurants open late with specials. No charge
Indian Trail Sunset Series
Movie - The Lorax 7:30 p.m. (Dusk) Crossings Path Park No charge
Join us for our exciting seventh season!
Noon - 7:30 p.m. 7:30 p.m. (Dusk) Sept. Stallings Municipal Park Live music, free rides, food, local vendors and artists
Mystical Arts of Tibet
Sacred Music & Dance 7:30 p.m. The Batte Center, Wingate University The celebrated singers from Tibet’s Drepung Loseling Monastery perform ancient temple music and dances that are believed to promote world healing. Tickets are $25.
Boll Weevil Jamboree Downtown Marshville Amusement rides, food, games, vendors. Info at (704) 624-3183
Music on Main Music by Rough Draft (Motown, beach) 6:30 p.m.- 9:30 p.m. Main Street, Monroe No charge
Got an event the public would enjoy? Submit your activity with all the details – who, what, when, where and why – to Union Lifestyle for inclusion in the magazine and/or online. Send your information to Editor@UnionLifestyle.com.
Monday, Sept. 3 Union Symphony Youth Orchestra 4 p.m. at Marvin Ridge High School
Sunday, Sept. 30 The Answer Union Symphony Orchestra Richard Rosenberg, Conductor Antonin Dvorák, Violin Concerto, Op. 53. Yulia Zharavleva, Soloist Union Symphony League reception following concert. 4 p.m. at The Batte Center
Friday & Saturday, Nov. 2, 3 The Pirates of Penzance Wingate University Student Opera with Union Symphony Orchestra Dr. Kenney Potter, Conductor Dr. Jessie Wright Martin 7:30 p.m. at The Batte Center
Sunday, Dec. 2 A Christmas Concert Union Symphony Orchestra with Central United Methodist Festival Choir & a Community Holiday Chorus James O’Dell, Director 5 p.m. at Central United Methodist, Monroe
Sunday, Dec.16 Union Symphony Youth Orchestra 4 p.m. at Marvin Ridge High School
Sunday, Jan. 13. Bursting In Song Union Symphony Orchestra with USYO Richard Rosenberg, Conductor Dinner Music for a Bunch of Hungry Cannibals and Song of the Nightingale 4 p.m. at The Batte Center
Sunday, April 14, 2013 Union Symphony Youth Orchestra 4 p.m. at The Batte Center
Call now for best seating! Season subscriptions available at The Batte Center, Wingate University t (704) 233-8300 Section A - $75 t Section B - $55 t Senior Citizen (B) - $45 t Student - $45 Advertising and sponsorship opportunities also available. Call (704) 283-2525 or visit www.UnionSymphony.org Union Lifestyle l July 2012 27
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L-R: Penelope Hefner, associate; Dana Lehnhardt, partner; Robin Goulet, associate; Donna Stepp, partner.
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