April/May 2012 O.Henry

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T U E S D AY N I G H T S P E C I A L : SKILLET FRIED CHICKEN & SONGS FROM A SOUTHERN KITCHEN Chef Jay Pierce’s traditional skillet-fried chicken & drink specials, dinner begins at 4 PM Live compositions and renditions by Laurelyn Dossett and friends 6:30–9:30 PM ( no cover charge ) 1 4 2 1


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M A G A Z I N E Volume 2, No. 2

“I fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090

227A North Spring Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director andie@ohenrymag.com Ashley Wahl, Associate Editor Cassie Butler, Photographer/Graphic Designer Contributing Editors David C. Bailey, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser, Deborah Salomon Photographers Sam Froelich, Cassie Butler Contributors Anjail Rashida Ahmad, Tom Bryant, John Derr, Jack Dodson, Junius Greene, Bill Hass, Robyn James, Sara King, Meridith Martens, Lee Rogers, Stephen E. Smith, Mary Novitsky, Tim Swink, Stacey Van Berkel, David Wilson


David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales Manager 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt 336.601.1188 Laura Morris 336.471.4237 Kathryn Murphy 540.525.0975 Perry Loflin 910.693.2514 Circulation 336.617.0090 ©Copyright 2012. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

4 O.Henry

April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Begin your own tradition.

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April /May 2012

9 Hometown Friends From Another Life By Jim Dodson 12 Short Stories Greensboro’s Good and Varied Life requested recipe 19 Most Why Granny Was Right By David C. Bailey 21 the City Muse Why the Caged Bird Sings By Ashley Wahl 23 the Buzz The Bonnaroo Playlist By Jack Dodson 24 artist at work Pure Jabberbox Joy By Maria Johnson 29 The Omnivorous Reader Waiting for Moses By Stephen E. Smith 32 gate city icons The Perfect Picture of Home By Jim Schlosser 37 Street Level The Man with the Red Carnation By Jim Schlosser 41 hittting home Allergies By Dale Nixon 43 Vine Wisdom Blended Families By Robyn James 45 The Hophead Beer Church By David C. Bailey 49 The sporting life Sam’s Place By Tom Bryant 53 The pleasures of Life Dept. The One That Got Away By John Derr 55 The Evolving Species Lessons on Lee Street By Deborah Salomon 98 Arts Calendar

106 GreenScene 111 Life’s Funny Lost But Found By Maria Johnson 112 O.Henry Ending Where All The Flowers Bloomed Features



Poem By Anjail Rashida Ahma

62 The Bubba Letters

By Junius Greene

April is here. Time for a little fun, ya’ll.

American Triumvirate 72 By Jim Dodson

Bonus book excerpt

Cover image by Tim Sayer Photograph this page by Stacey Van Berkel 6 O.Henry

April/May 2012

By Tim Swink

78 Cue Fools

By David C. Bailey

Four “animals” on an eight-hour quest to find and rate the best local barbecue

True Southern Comfort 84

By Ashley Wahl

Edwards House, Kay Cashion’s historic Sunset Hills home, speaks of the language of family

So Close, So Far Away 92 By Lee Rogers

The glory of UNCG’s gardens

Almanac 95 By Noah Salt

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Friends From Another Life By Jim Dodson


here are just three of them left now, old friends from another life. One is a big country girl. Another a pure classical beauty. The third just wants to sit and play the blues. Most of the time they sit patiently in a corner of my home office, gathering dust, waiting for me to notice them. When visitors see them, they often say with surprise: “What beautiful guitars. I had no idea you were such a serious musician. Do you still play?” Here I draw a breath and slowly release it, a little embarrassed. “Yes, well — not much anymore, I’m afraid. It’s honestly been years. I’ve forgotten so much. I just play for fun.” It’s well deserved modesty. But the gospel truth. Once upon a time, in another life that feels ages ago, the guitar was my deepest passion, the first thing I felt would drive and shape my life. My first one, a junior Harmony, arrived when I was five. We lived in Gulfport, Mississippi, where my father owned a small newspaper and my mother — a former West Virginia beauty contestant who once made a record and was offered a Hollywood screen test — sang Cole Porter songs to my brother and me in the bath and at bedtime. To manage his paper’s loading dock, my father had a man everyone called “Blind Jack,” impossibly old but supposedly the best guitar bluesman between Mobile and New Orleans. He’d been to jail and made records. On warm afternoons Jack would sit on a rickety dining room chair on the loading dock and play his guitar, which he called Miss Betty. I decided I wanted to be like Jack, a man who played the Delta blues on a Stella guitar. That Christmas, Santa brought the Harmony. Jack showed me my first chords. In Florence, South Carolina, where we lived for one strange but wonderful year and I started the first grade, my mother was recovering from a late-term miscarriage, and a black woman named Jesse May looked after us in the afternoons. She ruled us with an iron fist, shopped and cooked and always played the transistor radio while she was preparing supper, favoring a gospel music station and — on very rare occasions — a local DJ who played what she called “roadhouse” music. It was mostly black rhythm and blues artists with a little Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis thrown in. Among other things, she showed my brother and me how to dance by making us stand on her feet as she did the steps to the “shake and shimmy” in our kitchen. She called this “feet dancing.” I loved Southern gospel and sang in the junior choir at the Lutheran Church but oh, I wanted to play music at a roadhouse. Weeks after we moved home to Greensboro, I received a new Stella for Christmas. I took my first formal lessons and learned to play hymns, the kind of Baptist hymns that made my Grandmother Taylor smile and nod — “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” and “Old Rugged Cross” and others. That next Christmas I accompanied the junior choir on “Silent Night.” By then I was addicted to the Flatt and Scruggs Show on weekends, live The Art & Soul of Greensboro


from the stage of Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee, home of the Grand Ole Opry — and fell hard for bluegrass music. The other show I never missed was the Porter Wagoner Show, which featured mainstream country stars like Ernest Tubb and the Texas Troubadours and a very young and talented Dolly Parton. I taught myself to play every song on Johnny Cash’s “I’ll Walk the Line” straight off the album. My dad was friendly with the general manager of the Greensboro Coliseum, which meant I’d sometimes go backstage and meet visiting artists after a performance. In this way I got to meet Peter, Paul and Mary, the Dave Clark Five, George Jones, Roy Orbison, Eddie Arnold, Ray Charles and even the great Johnny Cash. By junior high I was playing classical guitar, and by my sophomore year in high school I was working for Mr. Weinstein at the Lawndale Music Shop, giving guitar lessons on an Aria for the princely sum of four dollars an hour. I quit playing organized sports then because the money was so good and I planned to be a professional guitar-picker anyway. Somewhere about that time I went to see a pretty UNCG nursing student named Emmylou Harris perform at a coffeehouse near the college. I spoke with her briefly and clearly remember her telling me she was heading to Nashville. By this point I owned a secondhand Gibson and a new 12-string Yamaha, and I thought I might go that same way myself. After all, I sang in Grimsley’s choir and the Madrigals and played guitar in a well-known quartet called the “Queen’s Men.” We performed all over the Piedmont and once went to Atlanta for a concert. I was frequently asked to perform before school assemblies, doing my own covers of James Taylor, Dave Loggins and Gordon Lightfoot. About this time I purchased a brand new Alvarez Yairi guitar from Mr. Weinstein, a gorgeous jumbo model with amazing sound, mother-of-pearl inlay, and a finger action that was like touching velvet — the same guitar David Crosby and Graham Nash played in Crosby, Stills and Nash. With my employee discount, it cost me close to three-hundred dollars, a lot of bread back in 1971. I took this guitar thing off to college, where I grew my hair and worked on the student newspaper and played for beer money with a couple of other fellows at a popular student hangout. I wrote several songs and entered a songwriting contest that netted an encouraging letter from a Nashville music publishing company. Two very different directions seemed to be opening up — that of a cub reporter following his father’s footsteps into journalism, or that of a country music musician who had a little bit of every kind of Southern music in him. After graduation, I’d made up my mind to head for Nashville and find work as a studio musician, but first I went home to spend the summer writing new songs and working my second stint as a newspaper intern. I enrolled in the graduate writing program at UNCG figuring that would give me a little more time to figure things out and produce some fresh songs. April/May 2012

O.Henry 9


The Builders Your Friends Are Choosing

Whether you are looking to build a new home or remodel your existing home, call the builders your friends are choosing at the Greensboro Builders Association. Our contractor members are licensed builders and remodelers dedicated to the highest standards of quality and building ethics. They work with a team of industry professionals including suppliers, trade contractors and service providers that are also members of the Greensboro Builders Association. From the Builders Your Friends Are Choosing...to the Professionals the Builders Trust...begin your search by utilizing our online membership directory. GBA is the official sponsor of the following annual home tours. April 28-29 & May 5-6 | 1-5 PM

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www.GreensboroBuilders.org 10 O.Henry


One day an editor from the News & Record offered me a job and I took it. Not long after that, a good friend named Jim Jenkins said he wanted to introduce me to Dolly Parton after one of her big concerts in Greensboro. She invited us into her trailer and pulled off her wig. We sat and had the most delightful conversation, and I let slip that I’d just been offered a job on the same magazine where Margaret Mitchell had worked — which meant I would probably never chase my dream to play guitar in Nashville. Dolly Parton slapped my knee. “Oh, honey,” she declared with that infectious down-home laugh of hers, “you made the right decision. Stick with writin’. This racket will make you do the craziest things to your body and make your hair fall out!” Please don’t feel sorry for me. Perhaps you had another life, too, one that gives you both comfort and a bittersweet twinge to think about. In my case, a wonderfully diverse and rewarding career in journalism led me to a family in New England and literally took me around the world — probably much farther than country music ever would have. But the music stayed in me, and my guitar love was always there. During my years in Atlanta I got to tour with a famous gospel choir, meet Gladys Knight, James Brown and Jimmy Buffett, hang out with the great Mac MacAnally (the brilliant Mississippian who wrote many of Alabama’s greatest hits) and have a rib dinner with the Rev. Al Green and friends. I even got to jam (for five minutes) with Ernest Tubb and his Texas Troubadours. A few years after that, a national magazine sent me to live in New Orleans for a month and write about the city’s love of jazz and blues. Another time, also on assignment, I spent all night riding with Isaac Tigret in his private rail car from New Orleans to Memphis. We sat up all night drinking bourbon and listening to blues music, talking about the rock and roll stars he’d known who inspired him to create the first Hard Rock Café. We finished the evening at B.B. King’s blues place on Beale Street, talking to the guitar legend between his sets. At one point he invited me to play Lucille, his famous guitar. I was a kid again. My wife Alison gave me a lovely 40th birthday present, a beautiful Takamine classical guitar. Our children grew up listening to this little beauty, learning songs off Disney films and hearing the bedtime folks songs I grew up with. When they began singing in school talent shows — even on the radio at a Portland country station — I was pleased to be their guitar accompanist. Not long after their mom and I divorced, I bought my daughter Maggie a beautiful blue Dean guitar, a real Sweetheart of the Rodeo instrument with a pearl inlay of leaping dolphins, and I also picked up an Ibanez Fender knock-off for her younger brother, Jack. Because I signed them up for lessons, and the store owner caught me eyeing a ruby-red Ibanez hollow-body number that reminded me of King’s Lucille, he made me a deal I couldn’t refuse. I took her home and named her Ruby. Last year, following my daughter’s college graduation, I drove her great-grandmother’s poster bed, my favorite leather chair, and Maggie’s Sweetheart of the Rodeo guitar up to her in Vermont. I’d been caretaking it for several years and often found myself reaching for it instead of my three surviving guitars, probably because it made me feel closer to my daughter, who was hundreds of miles away. She says she’s finally ready to learn to play it, but meanwhile she’s heading to New York to hunt for a job. “Everything has a season,” I like to say to her. “You’ll make beautiful music when you’re ready to learn.” I picture her someday playing folk songs from her childhood to a flaxen-haired child. Brother Jack, meanwhile, may be the family’s true guitar man. He took up playing at about age fourteen and has never looked back. Within a year of starting he was better than his teacher and today can play almost anything — jazz, blues, anything by a rock group. I listen to him play and just marvel, and then I reach for one of my three old friends, realizing I chose the right life after all. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com

April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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short stories Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

a Bright Idea

Greensboro cyclist Earle Bower is sick of hearing stories about drivers who hit cyclists because they don’t see them. “I want to take away that excuse,” he says. So Bower has developed highvisibility cycling jerseys called See Me Wear. The shirts are printed with fluorescent yellow, orange and lime green stripes in a chevron pattern that pops. Bower, a retired ad man, has studied the visibility of colors on cyclists. It turns out that reds and blues disappear in the shade, and clothing made with fluorescent dye is five times more visible than nonfluorescent clothing. “I wanted to raise awareness among cyclists,” he says. You can order Bower’s made-in-North-Carolina shirts for $59.95 — no charge for shipping — at www. seemewear.com. Bower donates his profit to Rails-to-Trails Conservancy to create safer places to cycle. MJ

Masters of Biscuit administration

take these Out to the Ball Game

Call me a nut, but when it comes to peanuts, I’m a total snob. Like corn or tomatoes, fresh and local peanuts are immeasurably better. And make mine large. Carolina Select Premium Peanuts are “super extra large” and cooked — not overcooked like some peanuts — in their redskins by Greensboro’s Kathy McKeithan, not in a mechanized plant somewhere. The seasoning is simple — and simply delicious. It’s baseball season. Think about smuggling some into your next home game. McKeithan’s peanuts are available in retail outlets for $4.99 for half a pound or can be ordered from www.carolinaselectnuts.com starting at $9.95 for three half-pound bags. For more information, call (336) 549-2702. DCB

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April/May 2012

Greensboro-based Biscuitville wants area college kids to help develop a biscuit to appeal to the 18–35-year-old market. (A biscuit with unlimited texting? A five-hour energy biscuit? A biscuit guaranteed to land you a hot date? Or a job?) The winning team gets $5,000 for their school, a private breakfast with Biscuitville president Burney Jennings and the glory of having their creation sold at area Biscuitvilles. The contest — formally known as the Brand Your Biscuit Product Development Challenge — is part of an April 16–21 celebration of all things light and fluffy. The Greensboro Collegiate Biscuitville Bowl — a project of Opportunity Greensboro, synerG and the biscuit maker — includes entrepreneurial programs for local college students and a 5K relay race that requires runners to army-crawl through strawberry jelly, high-step through tires filled with grits and slide across plastic sheets coated with buttermilk goo. Details at www.biscuitvillebowl.com. MJ

New Growth

April showers bring May flowers, locally grown produce, handmade wares and live acoustic music, at least for those who visit the South Elm Urban Market. The new Sunday market will sprawl across the Elm-McGee parking lot in downtown Greensboro beginning May 6 and running through Nov. 25. Who says there’s nothing to do here on a Sunday afternoon? Hours are noon to 5 p.m. For more information, go to southelmurbanmarket.com. AW

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Short Stories sauce of the Month

the Bigger Picture

The works of several Guilford County artists will be featured in Sacred Space for the City. The art exhibit runs simultaneously with a four-day Co-Creation conference put together by the Servant Leadership School of Greensboro and two large urban churches, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church and First Presbyterian Church. The other partners include FaithAction International and Temple Emanuel on Greene Street. Ceramics, sculpture, mixed media, paintings, textile art, photography and prints will be on display, along with personal statements by the artists, who were asked to describe how their work speaks to the conference theme — “The Spirit’s Call to Evolve.” The art exhibit’s multiple locations include the Haywood Duke Room and Broome Hall at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church, the Myers Loyalty Room at First Presbyterian Church and Temple Emanuel on Greene Street. Art walk is open April 12—14 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, April 15 from noon to 5 p.m. For details, go to www.servleader.org/sacred_space. AW

eat, Pipe, Drum

If you bleed Scottish blood, you probably know that North Carolina is home to more Scottish descendants than anywhere else in the world. But you may not know about the Triad Highland Games, which will be held April 27–28 at Greensboro’s own Bryan Park, 6275 Bryan Park Road. Festivities commence on Friday evening with a 7 p.m. concert by Celtic rock band Rathskeltair, followed by the traditional “Calling of the Clans” at 9 p.m. The Highland Games kick off at 9 a.m. on Saturday morning. Learn how to throw a battle-axe, don a kilt or simply enjoy the unparalleled sights and sounds of bagpipes, Border collies, heavy athletics, and piping and drumming. Plus the savory Scottish fare, of course. Tickets: $12. For more information and a complete schedule, visit www.triadhighlandgames.org. AW The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When New Orleans native and Ragin’ Cajun Jay Pierce introduced his voodoo sauce to Greensboro five years ago, it was his a first step toward turning Lucky 32 into a a Southern kitchen. At the time, a prominent local pit-master and cookbook author told him that voodoo sauce would get a chilly reception here. “Change the name so so it’s more reflective of the Piedmont,” he said. After serving an estimated 650 gallons of it on everything from voodoo pig bread to crunchy sweet-potato hush puppies, Pierce has bottled the stuff ($5.95 a pint, available at www.lucky32.com or at any Quaintance-Weaver restaurant or hotel). What’s the secret? It’s sweeter and less spicy than the Creole tomato glaze that inspired it, Pierce says, and Texas Pete is an integral ingredient. “When people say, ‘Ooo, voodoo. Is that spicy?’ I say, ‘It’s not any spicier than Texas Pete, so people know what to expect.’” If you haven’t tried it, expect the devil to do a tap dance on your tongue with tangy tomato, garlic and mustard notes in the background, which makes you want just one more splash — if you don’t eat it with a spoon as I do. DCB

reaching summits

Jennifer Thompson, co-author of The New York Times best-seller Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption, will tell her story of resilience, forgiveness and healing at the Junior League of Greensboro’s 2012 Women’s Leadership Summit, scheduled for May 18 at the Elliott University Center at UNCG. Thompson co-wrote Picking Cotton with Ronald Cotton and journalist Erin Torneo. Thompson accused Cotton of rape when she was a college student in Alamance County in 1984. After Cotton’s conviction, DNA testing showed he was the wrong man, and he was released from prison after serving more than ten years. At the summit, Thompson also will participate in a question-andanswer session for VIP ticket holders and will lead a session on eyewitness testimony. Tickets for the summit start at $75. For more information, click on jlgwomensummit.org. MJ

April/May 2012

O.Henry 13

Short Stories

O.Henry Writing Contest

the Hills are alive

In honor of the 150th anniversary of William Sidney Porter’s birth, O.Henry magazine and the Greensboro Public Library announce the 2012 O.Henry Magazine Short Story Contest. This annual writing contest is open to all residents of Guilford County. Awards and cash prizes will be presented to winners in three different categories:

Over sixty bands are scheduled to take the stage at the tenth annual Spring Shakori Hills GrassRoots Festival of Music & Dance from Thursday, April 19, to Sunday, April 22. Check out Leftover Salmon and The Red Clay Ramblers, along with local favorites like Holy Ghost Tent Revival of Greensboro and Papa Jim Avett, whose folk-rocking sons, Scott and Seth, make up The Avett Brothers band. The festival will also feature local crafts, vendor food, children’s activities and workshops on environmental sustainability. Four-day passes are $95 in advance; $100 at the gate; $55 for youth. Day passes range from $25-$45 per adult; $12-$20 for youth. Kids 12 and under are free. Tent and vehicle camping available. Located on 72 beautiful acres at 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road in Silk Hope, go to www.shakorihillsgrassroots. org for more details. AW

• O.Henry Magazine General Non-Student Category Open to any resident of Guilford County • O.Henry Magazine Student Category Open to all high school and college students of Guilford County • O.Henry Magazine Young Writers Category Open to all grammar through middle school students of Guilford County Contest Guidelines: • All submissions should be no more than 2,500 words in length. • All entries should be submitted with self-addressed stamped envelope. • Winning entries will be published in O.Henry magazine. • Winners will be announced on O. Henry’s 150th Birthday in a special celebrationat the Greensboro Public Library. • All entries must be received by no later than July 1, 2012. Due to an editing error, two dates were mistaken in the story about the Lake Brandt eagles in the last issue of O.Henry. The eagles have had 24 eaglets since 1994, and the first female in the pair died in 1999. Urban Dance Theatre image on page 21 of December/January O.Henry should be credited to Toni Shaw.

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April/May 2012

O.Henry 15

Short Stories

One Hoppin’ Great Season By Bill Hass

There’s an atmosphere about an opening-day baseball game that is unmatched in any other sport. Even in the minor leagues, the sense of excitement is palpable. Fans who haven’t been to the ball park since September are anxious to see a new crop of players, most of whom weren’t with the team a year ago. And there’s something about the way things look that seems so appealing to the eye — the emerald green of the grass, the bright white chalk around the batter’s box and along the foul lines, and the brick red of the pitching mound and the infield dirt. This spring, something else will please the home team’s eyes when the Greensboro Grasshoppers open their 2012 schedule on April 5 against the Lexington Legends. On display will be the Hoppers’ gleaming trophy that represents their winning the 2011 South Atlantic League championship. It has been twenty-nine years since a Greensboro franchise won a championship. In 1982 the team, then known as the Hornets, won its third straight league title. Those were powerful teams, ones that flattened the opposition. As the seasons unfolded, the team underwent ownership changes and different affiliations. The Hornets became the Bats, and then the Bats became the Hoppers when they moved to their new stadium in 2005. The one constant was no more championships. The 2011 team didn’t seem destined for anything special at first. But in the second half of the season, it put on a surge that likely would have been rejected even in a Hollywood script. The Hoppers pulled out one improbable victory after another, winning in nineteen innings and staging seven-run rallies to pull out even more wins. They won eleven of their last twelve games to qualify for the playoffs, including going to extra innings to beat Kannapolis — on the road, on the final day. In the playoffs, they beat Hickory in fifteen innings when 19-year-old Christian Yelich belted a two-run home run. In the championship series against Savannah, they won in the bottom of the ninth on Mark Canha’s two-run single. After all that, they found themselves down to their last strike, trailing 9–8 in game four. That’s when Noah Perio swung, and missed badly, at a curve ball. “I didn’t want it to end that way,” Perio said. He stepped out of the box, collected himself, then delivered a single that scored the tying run. The Hoppers went on to win in the eleventh inning to tie the series. They won it all the next night, beating the Sand Gnats 7–3 to earn the trophy. There may be other championships for the players and fans, but it’s not likely they will be won with the kind of drama and flair displayed by the Hoppers in 2011. “We never gave up,” Yelich said. “That wasn’t in our vocabulary.” Opening day for the Greensboro Grasshoppers is Thursday, April 5. Call for details: (336) 268-2255. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 17

Ben Owen III is a Master potter from Seagrove and will present some of his new colorful glazes and forms to celebrate Spring. Bill has been making extraordinary paintings focusing on the beauty of our state for more than 35 years. Join us for this outstanding artistic exhibition and opportunity to add to your art collection. This is an event that you don’t want to miss! An opening reception will take place the evening of May 3rd, rsvp please.

2166 Lawndale Drive • Greensboro, NC


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Why Granny Was right

Most Requested Recipe

A divine custard casserole from First Lutheran’s Faceout Group by DaViD C. bailey


ou know,” Sharon Ricketts’ grandmother used to tell her, “you can eat good if you’re not lazy.” As a child, watching her grandmother Dugger cook over a wood stove in her kitchen in the Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, Ricketts wasn’t altogether sure of just what she’d meant. “As I got older, it began to make sense,” she says. “She was up in the mountains, and she had to raise what they ate. You couldn’t just pop down to the store and get something.” And, too, Ricketts realized what a labor of love cooking is. Although Ricketts has 60-some recipes in Loaves & Fishes & Heavenly Dishes/ A Century of Tastes & Traditions from First Lutheran Church, the only recipe from Granny Dugger is rhubarb pie: “My grandmother didn’t write down any recipes. They died in her head,” she says. “She never looked at a recipe. She started cooking when she was 4. They put her on a stool.” Ricketts adds, “I only got the rhubarb pie because she verbally told it to me, and I wrote it down.” That was a lesson for Ricketts, who made a point of collecting her mother’s recipes, many of which she submitted for Loaves & Fishes & Heavenly Dishes. “My cooking is not to my credit, it’s to my mother’s credit. Look at the recipes. It’s my mom’s crab supper pie. It’s my mom’s lasagna; mom’s, mom’s, mom’s.” Not that Ricketts’ mom was overjoyed about seeing her recipes in print. “I thought ‘What an opportunity to have all these recipes together in one place,’ but my mom said, ‘You’re giving away all my recipes.’ And I said, ‘People are not going to be able to make them the way you do.’” Besides, there are certain ingredients that are family secrets, like the Kahlua that her mom puts in her banana-nut cake. “That’s not in the recipe in the book. I just know to do that,” Ricketts says. Besides, she says, “Most people don’t really want to cook. They like food made for them.” Granny was right. A lot of people are lazy nowadays when it comes to home cooking. That’s why cooking for others is such a gift of love. Just like her grandmother, Ricketts puts up jellies, jams, pickled beets, chutneys, beans, tomatoes, applesauce and peaches during the summer and then gives them throughout the year as gifts. She also volunteers to cook for the First Lutheran’s Faceout group, seniors who meet each Tuesday so they get their faces out and about. Their most requested recipe? Chicken Custard Casserole. But not really. “I had to lie when they asked me for the most requested recipe,” Ricketts says. “I said, ‘How would I know?’ They like everything we fix. They never complain.” Further inquiry, though, suggests the recipe is a winner and often requested.

Chicken or turkey Custard Casserole Start with a baked or stewed 5-6-pound chicken, saving the drippings to use in the recipe (or you can use turkey leftovers from the holidays). Remove bones and cut into bite-sized pieces less than 2 inches long. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

STuFFiNG BASE 1 16-ounce package Italian stuffing mix or crumbled-up cornbread 1 large onion, chopped 1 apple, chopped 1-2 stalks of celery, chopped 1 hard-boiled egg, chopped 2 tablespoons parsley 2 tablespoons dried chives Poultry seasoning to taste Salt and pepper to taste Mrs. Dash or Crazy Salt or both to taste Mix first five ingredients together, adding some drippings or chicken broth until the dressing is moist, but not wet. Lightly spray two Pyrex baking dishes, one 9” by 12” and one 8” by 8”. Press dressing mix in baking dishes. Place meat evenly on top of dressing. Sprinkle seasonings over meat. Set aside while making custard. CuSTARD SAuCE 1/2� cup melted butter �1/2 cup flour 2 cups chicken stock or pan drippings 2 cups milk 3 eggs, well beaten Salt and pepper to taste 1 cup breadcrumbs mixed with 1/2� cup melted butter Mix all ingredients together, except for eggs and breadcrumbs mixture. Cook and stir with whisk over medium heat until mixture begins to boil and thicken. Remove from heat. Stir about 2 cups of sauce gradually into 3 well-beaten eggs and then pour into custard mixture. Stirring constantly, bring to boil. Remove from heat and set saucepan in ice to cool quickly. Finish off by pouring cooled custard over the dressing-and-meat mixture (when cooled, the custard will sit on top of meat instead of soaking into it). Spread about a cup of breadcrumbs that have been mixed with 1/2� cup of melted butter over the top of the custard. Bake at 350 degrees 30-40 minutes. Casserole is ready when hot in the center. This is great frozen and baked later. Serves 12. Cookbooks available from First Lutheran Church, 3600 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro, (336) 292-9125 Do you have a favorite local cookbook? We’d love to know about it. Email us at ashley@ohenrymag.com April/May 2012

O.Henry 19

The City Muse

Why the Caged Bird sings Crystal Bright’s dark brilliance and a funny girl’s famous nose by aShley Wahl


cloaked figure stands center stage with an open book. Aside from a single spotlight: total darkness. A disembodied voice booms from above. “These stories are but seeds. And you are meant to be the soil...” says the mysterious creature, who appears to be reading from a book of fables. “They are tales of the trials and tribulations that all women must undergo in some form or another. Hers may be different from yours. But the lessons are the same... You are her, she is you, you are me and I am you. Together we will emerge from the depths of the mind.” That voice must belong to Crystal Bright, a local musician whose band, Crystal Bright & the Silver Hands, is releasing their new album in a performance that combines live music and interpretive movement theater — Illuminating & Transcending the Shadow, written by Bright — which kicks off Greensboro’s 10th annual Fringe Festival at the City Arts Studio Theater. Dark, whimsical scenes accompanied by the band’s campy, carnival-like music create dream-like tableau. A little girl in a white gown plays a sequence Photograph by Bonnie Stanley of shrill notes over and over on a toy piano — even after a beating from her angry father. An older girl is locked away in a golden birdcage. In the background of several scenes, she never sings. Feeding me worms when I’m meant to eat lilies, Violets, chickweed, and hay I can no longer be this way, if I ever want to live again... Bright’s operatic voice teems with ethereal beauty. And then there’s the music — the eerie whistling of the saw, the slow and raspy breaths of an accordion, the eclectic sounds of a gypsy punk-rock cabaret. (Find Muses & Bones, their new CD, online: crystalbrightandthesilverhands.com.) The shadow of oppression is ever-present — a lanky figure in a black overcoat, brimmed hat and bird-like beak mask. He slowly creeps around the stage, ultimately making his way to the gallery where he lurks from row to row and stares, at least it seems, into each spectator’s soul. The barrier between fiction and reality is broken. You are her, she is you, you are me and I am you. Is this a dream? I’d like to wake up now, please. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Funny Girl is showing at the Carolina Theatre — the first of three films in a Barbra Streisand marathon. “Hello Gorgeous,” says the Jewish woman in the leopard skin coat, a character who has overcome adversity both on and off-screen. People wonder why Streisand never got a nose job. Ever wonder why the caged bird sings? Or what’s wrong with today’s culture? “In my earlier periods, when I would have liked to look like Catherine Deneuve, I considered having my nose fixed,” the singer told Playboy magazine in 1977. But fixing her deviated septum, she says, could have ruined her distinctive voice. Sure hard to imagine “Don’t Rain on My Parade” sung any other way. Besides, Streisand said later in an interview with Barbara Walters, “My nose [goes] with my face, ya know.”


DJ duo Duck Sauce had hipsters chanting Barbra’s name when their catchy disco house track, “Barbra Streisand,” became one of the most requested dance tracks in the indie music scene last year. Until the song aired on the Fox hit series Glee last season, that is. That’s when the song exploded into somewhat of a national anthem — for “Gleeks” if not for the rest of the English-speaking world. Minus the hipsters. Fun fact: Barbra Streisand loves Chinese food. So do Armand Van Helden and A-Trak of Duck Sauce. Hence the name.


Suddenly I crave Chinese takeout. A friend suggests China’s Best. How incredible! The finest Chinese cuisine on the planet is right here in Greensboro — smack in between Happy Feet and Music City on Lawndale Drive. English poet William Blake saw the world in a grain of sand. I see it in a China’s Best spring roll, with warm, paper-thin skin and delectable vegetable innards too good for duck sauce. The duck sauce, by the way, is made in New Jersey. The sesame chicken combo is superb. But there’s no fortune cookie. Is this some cruel joke? I imagine my guiding words would read like this: You have been gypped. Your fortune is $7.42 less than it was before consuming this delicious, sodium-packed meal. At least you skipped the duck sauce. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer. April/May 2012

O.Henry 21

Meticulous attention to detail

is the pattern of excellence.


High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem

The Buzz

the Bonnaroo Playlist It’s not too soon to begin planning for the South’s biggest indie music festival by JaCk DoDSoN


or the most dedicated — or should I say those ardent fans who can afford it and snag the time off from work — the second week of June is one of the highlights of the year in music, the four-day muscial explosion called Bonnaroo. For thousands of festivalgoers, June 7-10 means pitching a tent on a giant farm just outside Manchester, Tennessee, enduring heat, dust, biblical-sized crowds and glorious live music, all in the company of friends and strangers. Beginning its second decade of life, Bonnaroo 2012 is shaping up to be a steller gathering of top recording names, headlined by Radiohead, Phish and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, though in recent years the multi-stage, 96-hour lineup has included some surprising acts like Eminem, Weezy and Tenacious D. Even so, festival organizers like to say it’s all about music and social diversity, and the vast crowds generated would seem to concur. Everyone has his or her favorites, to be sure. But for this veteran of the festival, Bonnaroo feels truest when LCD Soundsystems is playing at 4 a.m. and there are people dancing in the grass with light-up Hula-hoops. Or when folk-rock artist Lissie plays a fantastic cover of Lady Gaga to an excitedly tipsy crowd in the beer tent. Or an impromptu break-dancing competition between Gumby and a six-foot-tall rabbit. You’re likely to see just about anything at this sweet, dusty gathering of the indie music tribes. This year’s lineup, which was released in mid-February, features its ususal mix of major acts and lesser-known stars and surprises but seems to hearken back to the festival’s original indie roots. In other words, no one on the list stands out as being a musical outsider. From top to bottom, the list is pure indie bliss. Final verdict: Whether you’re a fan of the big names or a hard-core indie lover, there’s something at this edition of Bonnaroo to dazzle and entertain you, including peoplewatching your fellow festivalgoers. One suggestion: Pack your gourmet food and bring lots of ice and beverages. Lines are long and food isn’t cheap. Just to whet your appetite a bit, I offer my own Bonnaroo road music playlist for 2012 — the perfect warm-up, in my view, as you’re planning your big June trip to Manchester. We’ll start with a Radiohead track that seems appropriate to kick off any music festival. Not quite Hendrix — or really the same song — but somehow perfect. OH

• Radiohead — “The National Anthem” • Red Hot Chili Peppers — “Wet Sand” / “Venice queen” • Phish — anything with Trey Anastasio from Crossroads Guitar Festival • Bon iver — “For Emma, Forever Ago” / “Holocene” • Feist and Kings of Convenience — “The Build-up” • The Avett Brothers — “Salina” / “When i Drink” • Beach Boys — “Help Me Rhonda” / “Sloop John B” • The Shins — “September” / “Sleeping Lessons” • Foster the People — “Helena Beat” • Dispatch — “Here We Go” / “Bang Bang” • The Roots — “The otherSide” / “What They Do” • Ben Folds Five — “Jackson Cannery” / “one Angry Dwarf and 200 Solemn Faces” • Childish Gambino — “Heartbeat / “That Power” • tunE-yArDs — “Lions” / “Powa” • St. Vincent — “Surgeon” / “Cruel” • Two Door Cinema Club — “Something Good Can Work” • young the Giant — “My Body” • Battles — “Atlas” • Phantogram — “When i’m Small” • The Kooks — “Seaside” / “Always Where i Need to Be” • The Antlers — “i Don’t Want Love” / “Bear” • ALo — “Girl i Wanna Lay you Down” • Fruit Bats — “When u Love Somebody”

Jack Dodson is a senior at Elon College and news director of the school radio station.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 23

Artist At Work

Pure Jabberbox Joy

Brief puppet nudity and bawdy African queens provide the hilarity — and wonder — of a true homegrown theater troupe

By Maria Johnson Photographs By Cassie Butler


he girls are playing at Debby’s house, making puppets in a sun-filled room upstairs. Marianne, who likes flash and bling, has decided that her puppet needs pink feathered trim on her ball gown, so she is sewing it on by hand. And Debby — Marianne calls her The Engineer because she can make anything — is working on a puppet tux. They are chattering away when all of a sudden Marianne, who has finished her sewing — or enough of it to make her antsy — jumps up and starts shaking her society matron puppet, singing at the top of her lungs in a hoity-toity voice. “I COULD HAVE DAH-NCED ALL NIGHT! I COULD HAVE DAHNCED ALL NIGHT!” “Look at you!” Debby says, laughing. Marianne dips her free hand into a plastic grocery bag filled with fabric scraps and pulls out a piece of pink tulle dotted with pink sequins. She drapes it around her puppet’s neck and smooths it into place. “This will be her stole,” she says proudly. “I will put lip gloss on her.” Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to the scenes behind the scenes of

24 O.Henry

April/May 2012

Jabberbox Puppet Theater, an adult puppet comedy troupe composed of Marianne Gingher and Debby Seabrooke, two Greensboro women who are old enough to know better and wise enough not to give a hoot. The feeling is mutual among the nearly 1,000 grown-ups who have seen their sold-out shows in the last two years. The first season, Jabberbox stayed at home with salon-style performances in Seabrooke’s Lake Daniel home and Gingher’s Fisher Park home. They also played in the living rooms of family and friends in Chapel Hill and Wilmington. Last year, they added a venue — the downtown clothing store Mack and Mack — during the Greensboro arts festival called 17 Days. This year, they’ll add another site: The Garage, a Winston-Salem club that also hires burlesque acts and sword swallowers. “They support any kind of wacko art,” says Gingher, who happily counts herself among the wacked. Maybe it has to do with her getting promoted to full professor in the department of English and comparative literature at UNC-Chapel Hill a few years ago. No more proving her literary bona fides. “I can do any cockamamy thing I want,” she says. That would be puppets. It all started on an airplane. Gingher and Seabrooke — buddies since they met in the graduate writing program at UNCG in the mid-’70s — went to The Art & Soul of Greensboro

visit Gingher’s son Rod, a Peace Corps volunteer, in Zambia in 2008. They amused themselves on the 22-hour trip with books, Mad Libs, alcohol and the imagined personas of two Greensboro society women, Beej and Fuzzy, who headed to Africa full of preconceived notions. “They were two Irving Park ladies with sticky buns accents,” says Marianne, referring to the buns served at a local country club. “Marianne has always been able to do the sticky buns accent,” says Debby. “It’s so scary to me,” says Marianne. When they got back, Debby, a part-time literature and writing teacher at UNCG, told Marianne how much she’d enjoyed the Beej and Fuzzy characters. What if they wrote a play about them? Go for it, said Marianne. Debby mentioned the idea to her friend Al Brilliant, owner of Glenwood Coffee and Books, who suggested doing the play in a home-based puppet theater like the one he’d seen in New York in the 1950s. The Little Players, created by Francis J. Peschka and W. Gordon Murdock, was one of New York’s longest running repertory theaters. Debby pitched the idea to Marianne, who caught it and ran with it. “I guess I was just bored with my life,” says Marianne, who is cutting fabric for another costume. “That was me,” says Debby, who is working on a fish-head puppet. “I was looking for something to do.” “I was just looking for something that someone wasn’t doing,” says Marianne. “I didn’t know anyone who did it,” says Debby. They wrote African Queens, made some big-head puppets from 20-ounce soda bottles and papier mâché and hauled the whole shebang to a puppet convention in Atlanta. Debby convinced Marianne to do open-mic night. “We thought everyone would be gaga about our puppets,” says Debby. “No one laughed.” “They were such puppet nerds,” says Marianne over her scissors. But the convention taught them that their play was too wordy, and it showed them what kind of stage they needed — a collapsible one that would fit in the back of Debby’s Toyota station wagon. Debby’s neighbor, wood wiz Michael Gleason, built it. Another friend, Jim Ritchey, mixed a CD for the show. Debby’s son, George, recorded a lion’s roar.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“We couldn’t figure out how to do it,” says Debby. “We needed a zip drive or some horrible thing,” says Marianne. African Queens opened in 2010 to mostly positive reviews. Marianne heard of one person who left at intermission. Later, he told someone the puppets were the stupidest thing he’d ever seen. “Fine,” says Marianne. “We’re going to do it anyway,” says Debby. Last year, they put on Little Town, Big Stars, which they advertised as “a delicious comedy about science, politics, anarchy, the quest for identity or fame and gingerbread.” They made enough money to cover their expenses, to send themselves to another puppet convention and to replace their boom-box sound system, which they once bungled during a show, playing live radio news of the Libyan uprising instead of pre-recorded puppet music. They also made a donation to their favorite charity: the Zambian school they visited on the trip that inspired African Queens. This year, Beej and Fuzzy — the original African Queens — are back in Rumpus in Rome, which is set in, you guessed it, Rome, with asides in Africa and America. It seems that Fuzzy is now the American ambassador to Italy, and she is throwing a ball for the Queen of England, who is visiting Rome during her Diamond Jubilee year. Alas, the Queen disappears at the same time Fuzzy’s father goes missing from his nursing home stateside. Fuzzy calls Beej for help and the fun begins. Like all Jabberbox shows, Rumpus in Rome is not recommended for children because it features “brief puppet nudity” — breasts and other parts stuffed with panty hose. “We’re experimenting with buttocks,” says Debby. “I made two butts,” says Marianne, exposing the backsides of two puppets. “We’re not sure the butts work.” “We’re not sure they work from a distance,” says Debby, scrutinizing them from across the room. The male genitals do work. From a distance. And up close. Debby picks up a puppet, Sir Cecil Bigger-Figg, to demonstrate. She and Marianne shriek with laughter. The puppets take them back to a time when Debby was doing puppet

April/May 2012

O.Henry 25





26 O.Henry

April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

shows in her basement on Long Island and to a time when Marianne was making up plays at Sternberger Elementary School in Greensboro. There was no nudity in their youthful imaginings — none that their parents knew of anyway — but the feeling then was the same as it is now: the pleasure of being lost in play. “We make ourselves laugh a lot,” says Marianne. “It puts us in touch with our child selves, and that’s really valuable.” So valuable that they raid their homes and the general landscape for raw materials. That brown angora scarf Debby bought in Italy? It was snipped to pieces and glued to one of Marianne’s old knee socks to make a dog for last year’s play. Those bendy straws at Marianne’s mother’s retirement home? They’ll be twisted into an old person’s walker in the new play. Are you finished with that oval tissue box? Because that would make an awesome teapot body. What about that steel wool? It would make the perfect hair for one of the characters. From October, when they start writing a new play, to May, when the show opens, the women spend eight to twelve hours a week on the show. They make nearly everything from scratch — script, puppets, costumes, props, backdrops. The shows are such a good thumbnail of theater that Marianne is thinking about studying puppetry as part of a prestigious professorship — read: time and money — that she won in Chapel Hill last year. She could see teaching a class on the subject. “We’ll see how many eyebrows go up,” she says. Her neighbors’ eyebrows have relaxed. The folks on Hendrix Street expect to see the women unfurling muslin in Marianne’s driveway and painting the backdrops with rollers and brushes. They are used to watching scenery dry on the clothesline. “They know the puppets are in town,” says Marianne. “It’s sorta like the circus.”

Artist At Work

As show time approaches, the women get super busy, especially with the shows in their homes. They round up chairs, distribute fliers, send emails, line up their friend Michael Frierson to shoot a DVD of the show and book Debby’s neighbor, 9-year-old Nick Gleason, to tap dance on a piece of plywood at intermission. They bake desserts — cream puffs, éclairs, lemon pies, chocolate pound cakes — to serve their guests. They stock up on wine. They bag popcorn. Just before showtime, they post Debby’s husband, Charlie Headington, out front for crowd control. He herds everyone in from the porches, welcomes them, tells them where the bathroom is. Then the small curtain parts, and Marianne and Debby go back in time, just as they are right now, in the corner room upstairs. Debby The Engineer sits at an old Singer sewing machine, pressing a foot pedal, stitching together a small jacket. Marianne scoops up Kippers the butler, eyes his plain blue fish head and heads for a bag of glitzy trim. “I want to see how these sparkle things work.” OH Jabberbox’s Schedule: • May 18-20 and May 25-27, Debby Seabrooke’s home, 515 North Mendenhall Street, Greensboro. June 22-24 and June 29-July 1, Marianne Gingher’s home, 301 East Hendrix Street, Greensboro. Friday and Saturday performances are at 8 p.m.; Sunday performances are at 2 p.m.; doors open a half-hour before the shows. Tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances are $15 and include homemade dessert and a glass of wine; Sunday tickets are $10 and do not include refreshments. For information, call (336) 273-7292 or email jabberboxpuppets@gmail. com. For additional dates in Winston-Salem, Chapel Hill and Wilmington, see the company’s Web site, jabberboxpuppettheater.com or their Facebook page, www. facebook.com/jabberboxpuppettheater.

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The Omnivorous Reader

Waiting for Moses An engaging journey into Southern neo-Gothic fiction By stePhen e. sMith


o say that Wiley Cash’s first novel, A Land More Kind than Home, is a work of Southern Gothic fiction is to disparage the author’s higher intent. Certainly the requisite Southern trappings are in evidence — the use of dialect (sans the g dropping, thank goodness), a strong sense of family and place, macabre religious practices, ruthless characters, etc., all the elements that the scholars who relish the quirks of Southern literature would have readers acknowledge — but Wiley sides more with Flannery O’Connor then Erskine Caldwell when he focuses on the passions of the human heart and the misery human beings bring upon themselves. Cash manages this transcendence while particularizing the locale for his story. Set in Madison County, North Carolina (the county was known as “Bloody Madison” during the Civil War) in the mid1980s, Sheriff Clem Barefield, a native of Flat Rock, acknowledges the particularities of the Madison natives and the encroachment of the mainstream culture. “Most of the people up here claim they’ve got Irish or Scottish or some kind of blood in them and I think that’s probably true, especially if you listen to the folks who’ll drive up here from the universities to tell you all about the culture that they say’s disappearing. Then they’ll go and knock on cabin doors looking to get some jack tales on their tape recorders...” Written in the first person, Cash’s three narrators are ingenuous but reliably forthright. Adelaide Lyle is the local midwife and a true believer whose life revolves around a country church that’s been taken over by the false prophet Carson Chambliss, a convicted meth merchant who leads his flock in the handling of serpents and the laying on of hands. Jess Hall is an inquisitive 9-year-old boy whose mute brother Christopher is the subject of a deadly healing ceremony. Clem Barefield is the wise but jaded local sheriff who is forced by circumstance to resolve the many-faceted intrigues instigated by preacher Chambliss. Cash is at his best when crafting characters. His narrators live and breathe and cast discernable shadows, and the stories they tell are hardedged and plausible, each vision of the truth casting light upon the various mysteries that propel the plot. Ben and Julie, Jess and Christopher’s parents, have drifted apart and Julie has been having an affair with Chambliss. While spying on his mother, Christopher discovers the infidelity but is incapable of telling Jess what he’s seen. Not long after his unhappy discovery, Christopher dies in a healing ceremony in which one of his ribs punctures a lung, and a tragic momentum is set in motion. More than a Southern tale, A Land More Kind than Home is a story of small-town America with its many kindnesses and cruelties. Madison

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

County could be any of a thousand such locales where there are no secrets and where lives are entwined beyond happenstance. Sheriff Barefield’s son died years before in an accident involving Ben’s alcoholic father, Jimmy, and he carries with him the loss of his only child. Adelaide Lyle has delivered many of the children in the community, and she is a central link in the lives of most of the characters. Ben was a would-be college football player at Western Carolina University who was forced to drop out because his ne’er-do-well father couldn’t afford tuition. Cash’s writing is lucid and engaging and his narrative is sprinkled with those precise details that give fiction a semblance of reality. The setting is beautifully evoked and the mountain seasons, especially the winter snows, add a quiet touch of drama to characters who find themselves isolated in the moment. A drunken country doctor drives his truck into a winter storm and ends up in a river when he falls asleep behind the wheel. He’s rescued by Adelaide Lyle, but his abandoned truck remains in the ravine. “It’s a new bridge there now, but if you drive down through Summey and cross over the Laurel and look down over the side you’ll see the truck. There’s branches hanging over it now and it’s almost covered in moss, but I can tell you it’s there.” And central to the narrative is a flashback not unlike Warren’s history lesson in All the King’s Men but detailing Adelaide Lyle’s life before settling in Madison County. If there are weaknesses in Cash’s novel, it’s a heavy-handed use of symbolism, as when a rattlesnake continues to strike after it’s been decapitated. And certainly the character of Chambliss could use more development to provide motivation for what is otherwise a storybook villain. But these are small transgressions that in no way interrupt the narrative current of the novel. The final chapters are likely to leave readers with questions regarding Cash’s thematic intent. Is religion a healing force or merely another scam intended to manipulate the unwitting? What is the source of evil? It is, after all, Chambliss’ exploitation of his followers that leads directly to the tragic death of Christopher and Ben — and to his own violent demise. Is healing possible? Is forgiveness necessary? Cash isn’t insistent about providing answers. As Adelaide Lyle says, “This is good news now without no snake boxes, no musty smells of shed skin, no noisy rattles kicking up from places you can’t see. . . . The Israelites had a Moses to lead them out of the wilderness. We’re still waiting on ours.” Is this an immutable truth or a touch of subtle irony? The answer is for the reader to discern. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com. April/May 2012

O.Henry 29

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Gate City Icons

The Perfect Picture of Home The 113-year-old Alderman Company specializes in creating images that speak to the American consumer By Jim Schlosser


IGH POINT — Most people would say, “Get on with it! Click that Canon. Gee whiz, the subject is merely a drill sold at Home Depot, and the photo will appear on cheap newsprint ads found at checkout counters at the hardware chain.” But no, photographer Justin Saunders and Jennifer Hudson, art director at Alderman Co. for the Home Depot account, keep sizing up the drill from different angles, snapping numerous shots. If they rushed it, perhaps 99 percent of the viewers wouldn’t notice, at least not consciously. But the Home Depot marketing people would, and they’d raise hell. Alderman photographers and designers do (or have done) work for such clients as Martha Stewart Living, actress/furniture designer Jane Seymour, Macy’s, Braxton Culler Furniture, LG appliances and electronics, Princess Diana’s brother Lord Charles Spencer, Broyhill and even a bank. They try to make the ordinary, such as a hardware store drill, appear extraordinary — and transform the extraordinary into something even more spectacular. High Point and Greensboro seem to have little in common. Alderman is an exception. It is by far the oldest and best known of the many photography studios in and around High Point begun initially to serve the furniture industry. But Sidney Alderman, born in 1860, started his company in Greensboro in 1898. Before that, beginning in the late 1880s, he was a portrait photographer. His studio was over the downtown drugstore where a few years before another Sidney, William Sidney Porter, worked as a pharmacist and soda jerk. Porter later became world famous as the short story writer, O. Henry. Later, as High Point emerged as a furniture manufacturing center, Alderman noticed salesmen coming to Greensboro. They hauled bulky furniture samples in their buggies to show them off to potential buyers at local furniture stores, such as C.O. Forbis on South Elm Street. Alderman decided to go to the factory loading docks in High Point and photograph pieces of furniture from different angles. The salesmen could then take photographs instead of heavy samples on the road. A business began, with Alderman later opening a branch studio in High

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Point, and then moving the whole operation there in 1921. It eventually became what one newspaper called the world’s largest indoor still photography studio. During the past ten years, the company has reinvented itself as it began the transition from photographing with ancient, box-shaped Deardorff film cameras. Photographers stuck their heads under hoods and viewed the image upside down. The camera of choice now is the top-of-the-line Canon digital 35-mm camera. Alderman has expanded its services. It’s now an advertising agency, a Web site developer, a branding expert and a video producer. From “concept to completion,” the company boasts. “We have changed more in the last ten years than in the previous one hundred,” account director Patrick Tillman says. That has meant a name change, from Alderman Studios to just Alderman Co. Tillman says the company doesn’t just take pretty pictures anymore, though plenty are still made. And during the past twenty-five years, Alderman’s Greensboro connection has been renewed. After Sidney Alderman died in 1931, the company remained in his family until 1986. Alderman was then bought by a group headed by Eugene Johnston, an entrepreneur, lawyer, accountant and former member of Congress. He lives in Greensboro, in a beautiful Irving Park house, which Alderman has used, as it is doing more often, when it goes on location to photograph furniture, furnishings and other products. The vast majority of the company’s work, though, takes place in a 250,000-square-foot building on an 18-acre tract in High Point. Action stays constant in five mammoth studios with forty-four sets. “We build more sets and change them more than we ever have,” says Kathie Pendergras, vice president of design and creative services. “Clients want it kept fresh. You don’t want new furniture in the same set.” A newspaper once reported that on its sets, “Alderman has designed, constructed and photographed the equivalent of more than 15,000 six-room houses.” That was written in 1966. The figure now is anyone’s guess. The company stopped counting. The sets — which carpenters, painters and designers turn into living The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs contributed by Alderman Company

rooms, dens, bedrooms, kitchens, porches, garages (even a poker parlor) — cover a vast warehouselike complex and stand out like oases of beauty. The setting resembles a motion-picture sound stage, where make-believe looks real — or at least in an ad in a magazine or catalog. There are even tall director’s chairs, with “Alderman client” lettered on the back so clients can watch productions in progress. As in Hollywood, “Quiet on the set” is now being heard at Alderman more and more. For instance, last year Alderman videotaped a commercial for Winston-Salem-based Piedmont Federal Savings Bank that TV viewers saw during the holiday season. In collaboration with Piedmont, which has been in business since 1903, Alderman created a replica of the bank from the iconic Christmas classic It’s a Wonderful Life. The commercial featured Piedmont President Rich Wagner coming out of an office into the bank’s lobby, just as Jimmy Stewart did in the movie in which he portrayed bank president George Bailey. The set was still in place the other day. The bank vault door looks as solid as the real thing, but it’s really a plywood prop covered with a sign for the Bailey Brothers bank. The set features period desks with old typewriters, phones and a Burroughs adding machine with a crank on the side of it. Pendergras says Alderman designers achieved such detail by “watching the movie a zillion times.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

All aspects of the Piedmont project, starting with a concept meeting, were carried out at Alderman. Nothing was outsourced, not even the props, which were pulled from the company’s enormous prop room. “That’s what makes us unique,” Tillman says of the company’s ability to handle all details, without the need for outsourcing. He says this one-stop service enables the company to turn around projects quickly. He walks through an imaging department in another part of the building. There, gigantic photos are produced for clients for use in trade shows and retail store displays. Tillman passes a large stand-up photograph of Ernest Hemingway, created a few years ago for a Hemingway line made by Thomasville Furniture Co. Innovation has finally forced the retirement of a piece of equipment that defined Alderman for decades. Gone are the ancient Deardorff cameras with mahogany frames. The cameras remained unchanged from the time the Deardorff company of Chicago started making them in 1923. Alderman gradually phased them out, though some were still in use well into this decade. The famous outdoor photographer Ansel Adams lugged a Deardorff to Yosemite and other remote locales to produce landscape photos that bring high prices today. The Deardorffs competed well for a while against digital cameras, which started appearing in the early 1990s. The quality of film was superior to April/May 2012

O.Henry 33

Gate City Icons

digital, especially when large enlargements were needed. But more recently, digital technology caught up with film. Larger, higher quality blow-ups can be achieved — and made almost perfect via computer software. Going digital has meant the elimination of a vast film-processing department, freeing up space for new ventures such as ad agency work. No question about it: Film was labor-intensive. Kathie Pendergras says when she joined Alderman in the mid-1980s, the company employed 400 people. Today, the staff numbers about 100, down because of technological advances, not because of a sluggish national economy. Indeed, a shooting schedule posted on the wall indicates that the sets are saturated with shootings for clients that include Home Depot, Broyhill, MasterBrand Cabinets and others. “We are almost ashamed,” Pendergras says of the amount of business that keeps the photographers and designers often working eleven hours a day and coming in on Saturdays. “We have been blessed, really blessed.” Pendergras and Jim Green, senior vice president of studio operations, take a visitor on a tour of the studios, the prop room, the model makeup room (with space for infant models), the greenhouse that produces fresh flora for sets, the carpentry and paint department, the laundry, the sewing room and the 50,000-item prop room. They pause at a set containing a kitchen used for a recent Martha Stewart Living shoot. Another set is being broken down after completion of a MasterBrand Cabinets project. In yet another set is a replica of a garage. Green sometimes drives his car through the studio and into the garage to add another touch of realism. On this day, the object being photographed isn’t the garage. It’s a Home Depot automatic door opener mounted on a wall. Across the way, a painter works on a staircase and a foyer of a house, only the rest of the house isn’t there. This will be featured in an ad for paint at Home Depot, which is such a big client that a team of Alderman employees is exclusively dedicated to the account. Elsewhere, a photographer blocks out all available and natural light by

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April/May 2012

shooting through a wall behind which are carefully lighted swatches of fabric made by Richloom Fabrics. On another set a painter spray paints a room for a Broyhill Furniture shot. The room has already been photographed in one color. Clients often want the same photograph but with alternate paint schemes. As to where these photos will wind up, the Alderman staff often has no idea. It could be Architectural Digest, Veranda, Martha Stewart Living and or other so-called “shelter magazines.” “We’ll be flying through magazines and see something and say, ‘Hey, we did that!’” Pendergras says. In addition to the studio work, trucks are being loaded with camera gear and props for on-location shooting. Macy’s often likes its furniture and bedding shot in private homes. That means renting a house, usually in a tony development such as Irving Park in Greensboro or Emerywood in High Point. Sometimes exotic locations are used, including Florida, Charleston and Savannah — or even abroad. Workers remove the owner’s furniture and replace it with that sold at Macy’s. “We are using the architectural detail and natural light,” Pendergras says of the advantages of going on location. “You could do it in the studio but it would be more costly.” Green has been to England, where he photographed furniture and accessories at Althorp, the country estate of Lord Charles Spencer’s family for 500 years. The furniture manufacturer, Theodore Alexander, has reproduced pieces in the house for its Althorp Collection. Green’s photographs appear not only in slick pamphlets but also in eight coffee table books that Theodore Alexander published about the collection and the history of the Althorp estate. While in England, Green went to Jane Seymour’s castle to photograph her furniture and accessory designs. Green, who had just returned the night before from San Diego for a Home Depot shoot (which had him in Charlotte the previous week), walks with Pendergras along a section Alderman people call “ Wall Street.” That’s The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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because it’s lined with walls and architectural pieces that can be quickly moved to a set. This fast action means the company’s six carpenters won’t have to build a whole set from scratch — something they do plenty of already. With new furniture, washing machines, lawnmowers, kitchen sinks and counters arriving daily by truck, the sets keep turning over. One has been only partially torn down while the rest of it is being incorporated into a shoot for a kitchen that has been added. Behind the kitchen window are trees that look amazingly real. This is made possible by photographic technology that enables Alderman to create the image of woods, lawns or even a backdrop of a city scene, be it San Francisco, New York, or anywhere else that’s been photographed. When a shot is finished, the work goes to the quality-control department for retouching and computerized manipulation. Manipulation may sound like cheating, but it’s now an accepted part of commercial photography. A photograph made from a set or from on-location may include three chairs. Designers or the client may decide the scene would look better with two. Presto, with the click of a mouse, one chair is removed. Chairs can be added as well. The studio would come to a halt without its prop room. It contains rows of dishes, trays, wine bottles, knickknacks, artwork, a cup filled with pencils for a desk display, framed photos with anonymous people used for desk and table decorations. Sometimes clients insist on putting photos of themselves and their families into the frames. Stacks of Architectural Digest magazines on a shelf aren’t there because they contain Alderman photos, though some do. The magazines are accessories for coffee tables. When Piedmont Bank wanted to make another commercial, this one featuring an old-timey toy store (shot in a former shoe store in Winston-Salem), all the antique toys were found in the prop room. Prop room items add what Alderman people call lifestyle. It might mean taking a pair of women’s high heels from the prop room and placing them haphazardly on a set. The shoes enforce a sought-after image, the suggestion that someone actually lives there. The perfect illusion of home. Maybe Alderman could have survived by continuing to confine itself to furniture and accessory photographs. But the company didn’t wish to take that chance and in recent years has worked with clients in a way that would probably have been unimaginable to its Greensboro founder. The company likes to think of itself as an old company thinking young. “I would call us,” Patrick Tillman says, “a 113-year-old startup company.” OH

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2/24/12 12:39 PM

Jim Schlosser is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 35


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Man With the Red Carnation

Street Level

J. Van Lindley was a visionary businessman and North Carolina’s first great entrepreneur. His silent legacy is everywhere in Greensboro. By JiM sChlosser


t’s just as well that business consultant Joseph Carlin wasn’t around in the late 1860s to give advice to John Van Lindley of Greensboro, his ancestor by marriage. Carlin says he just might have told Lindley his ventures were doomed. Growing peaches in the lousy soil of the Sandhills? What a ridiculous idea! Luckily, Lindley wasn’t listening to anyone except himself. He trusted his instincts. “He came from no wealth, had virtually no education, and look what he was able to achieve,” says Carlin, whose wife, Shirley Stovall Carlin, is the great-granddaughter of Lindley, who died in 1918 at 79 and is buried in New Garden Friends Cemetery. “He was tenacious, steadfast, attentive to details and accomplished a great deal,” says Carlin. Lindley started his rise to riches during the turbulent economic years of Reconstruction following the Civil War. What’s more, he was branded a scalawag, a pejorative term Southerners spewed to describe fellow Southerners who served in the Union Army during the war. And, in fact, Lindley had been a member of a Northern cavalry unit. “He was a Quaker who could not support slavery,” says Carlin, who has just self-published a book, J. Van Lindley: Quaker, Nurseryman, Industrialist/ His Ancestors, Life and Legacy, available at the Greensboro Historical Museum gift shop. But Confederate Army veterans in Greensboro apparently got over Lindley’s Yankee allegiance. They joined him in business deals and recruited him to serve on the boards of their businesses. Lindley was once the largest nurseryman in the South, planting 50,000 peach trees on about 1,000 acres in Moore County. He also owned nursery land in Harnett and Forsyth counties. In Greensboro, he helped start a terra-cotta factory, founded an insurance company, served as a vice president of a bank and was a director of a cotton mill. He built a public school and helped transform a boarding school into a college. He recognized the importance of the automobile when horses and buggies were far more numerous. Then, starting in 1899, he was instrumental in the formation of the Good Roads Club of Guilford County. Though the Lindley name is readily recognized in Greensboro, few people know who he was. They think of him in terms of places. And his name does grace the Lindley Park neighborhood, Lindley Park Pool and Lindley Park Recreation Center. From the late 1920s to the late 1970s, Lindley Junior High School enrolled thousands on Spring Garden Street in buildings that have since been turned into apartments. Lindley built the school as Pomona High School, with the city later converting it to a junior high. Still open is John Van Lindley Elementary School, founded in 1922. Lindley was the only person in Greensboro with two schools named after him. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

After the Civil War, Lindley’s main concern was saving his father Joshua’s nursery business, which was heavily in debt, despite the elder Lindley’s talent as a pioneering pomologist, a person who’s an expert on fruit trees. J. Van Lindley worked ten years to pay off his father’s debts. After that, the younger Lindley never found himself in a financial bind. He changed his father’s company to J. Van Lindley Nursery. He then proceeded to buy up about 1,000 acres for growing trees on both sides of the tracks of the North Carolina Railroad Co. and also along a post-Civil War rail line that ran to what’s now Winston-Salem. The Winston-Salem line split from the N.C. Railroad at Salem Junction in an area that’s now well inside of Greensboro’s city limits. Lindley renamed it Pomona, for the ancient goddess of fruit trees and orchards. He even served as Pomona’s postmaster for a number of years. Pomona remains the name for this section of Greensboro. Carlin says the railroads proved a godsend to Lindley’s business. Knowing that the new N.C. Railroad line from Goldsboro to Charlotte would run through Greensboro when it was completed in 1856, the elder Lindley had moved his business from Chatham County to Guilford in 1852. He realized that in Chatham, which lacked a railroad, tree distribution would be limited to how far a horse and buggy could carry a load in a day. According to Carlin, Lindley and his growing number of employees leveraged the railroad’s advantage by memorizing complicated timetables. By 1890, more than 50 passenger trains with cars for carrying cargo, not to mention numerous freight trains, stopped in Greensboro. The city had become a rail hub, hence the nickname Gate City, coined that year by a newspaper editor. The railroads allowed Lindley to ship trees within a 500-mile radius of Greensboro. Lindley recruited 100 salesmen and published a 40-page catalog, which he sent to 22,000 people. Lindley also built, in 1901, a number of greenhouses along the railroad for another innovative business, shipping freshly cut flowers to distant places. Lindley used early refrigeration cars to keep the flowers fresh. The flower business provided Lindley with a signature personal ornament. Each day, says Carlin, he went to a greenhouse and clipped a red carnation for his suit lapel. In the Sandhills, Lindley overcame blight and other problems to produce bumper crops of peaches from his 50,000 trees. Carlin says Lindley took advantage of April/May 2012

O.Henry 37

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April/May 2012

Street Level

the railroad through Southern Pines to supply New York City with peaches. In 1885, Lindley took an interest in Quakerfounded New Garden Friends Boarding School, where he had been a student for a brief semester. He became a leader in a movement that in 1888 transformed New Garden into Guilford College. He was a large donor to campaigns to build new buildings and to increase the college’s endowment. He served on the board of trustees until his death. The first half-century of Lindley’s life was mainly devoted to his nursery business. After he turned 50, he expanded his interests. He was a founder in 1886 of Pomona Terra Cotta Co. Lindley’s primary interest was to make piping to irrigate his orchards. Later, Pomona Terra Cotta supplied sewer pipe to Greensboro when city fathers decided to install a sanitation system. Pomona Terra Cotta’s kilns eventually produced pipes that carried sewage in cities throughout the United States. Lindley also served as a director after the founding, probably on nursery land, of Pomona Cotton Mill. The mill building survived until a few years ago when it was demolished for a massive apartment complex at the corner of Spring Garden Street and Merritt Drive. After the start of the 20th century, Lindley became incensed that Greensboro people kept buying insurance from northern companies. Although Lindley had served in the Union Army, Carlin says as a businessman he despised Yankees. He was determined to stop the flow of insurance premiums from Greensboro to the North. In 1902, he was president of Lindley-founded Security Life and Annuity Co. It merged in 1912 with another Greensboro insurance company and then with Jefferson Standard Life of Raleigh. Under the merger, Jefferson Standard moved to Greensboro and the merged companies operated under the Jefferson Standard name. Lindley became a vice president and a major stockholder. J. Van Lindley, Carlin says, “made so much money in so many different ways. He could be described as one of the first entrepreneurs in North Carolina in a large way.” For instance, in 1903 Lindley gave the city’s new electric street car company 26 acres of nursery land for an amusement park located at the end of the streetcar line on Spring Garden. The park closed in 1917, and the land became a residential development that remains one of the city’s loveliest and most desirable neighborhoods, Lindley Park. Lindley also provided land for the Masonic and Eastern Star Home on nursery land at what’s now Holden Road and Spring Garden. He also gave 60 acres to the city for what is now Lindley Park. After Lindley’s death, his only son, Paul, a future Greensboro mayor, continued the nursery business and bought land in Friendship Township along the railroad tracks to Winston-Salem. He donated The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

the land for what became Lindley Field, where in 1927 Charles Lindberg landed the Spirit of St. Louis on a visit to Greensboro. The field is now part of Piedmont Triad International Airport. When J. Van Lindley’s widow died in 1925, the family divided the Lindley holdings. Paul Lindley continued with the nursery and land associated with it. The floral business went to Archie Sykes, who had married John Van Lindley’s daughter, Pearl, grandmother of Carlin’s wife. Sykes Florist had greenhouses beside what’s now West Friendly Avenue near the airport. Carlin remembers sitting through family dinners and hearing his mother-in-law and other relatives recite stories they had heard from her mother, the daughter of J. Van Lindley. “They were always talking about John Van Lindley this, John Van Lindley that,” he says. After Carlin retired as an executive with IBM and became a business consultant, he linked up with two direct Lindley descendants who had gathered information about Lindley and his ancestors and descendants. The three hired a genealogist to help them research the Lindley clan. Later one of the direct descendants died, and it was at the funeral that Carlin decided to write a book using the material they had amassed over the years. Carlin spent hours in various libraries adding to the research. He also found a load of information by simply Googling Lindley’s name. The results often were obscure journals connected with horticulture, including actual quotes in a reprinted speech that Lindley had once made to a nursery group. He found that Lindley men possessed a common trait. They were introverts. J. Van Lindley wasn’t flamboyant and lived a quiet life in a big house on Oakland Avenue across from what’s now the Pomona rail freight yards. His grandson, Jack, was reclusive and secretive about his business practices. When he died in the 1990s, everyone thought he was worth millions from selling land around the airport. It turned out he had borrowed heavily against his property holdings and was nearly penniless. His son, John Van Lindley III, was almost a hermit when he died a few years ago. The elder Lindley, his son Paul and grandson Jack, who helped shape the merger of a Greensboro and a Charlotte bank to form what’s now Bank of America, “had a great deal to do with the growth of business in Greensboro. They founded businesses that produced jobs. J. Van built a school and helped build a college,” Carlin says. Oddly, one of J. Van Lindley’s most cherished legacies, at least to plant lovers, doesn’t even bear his name, though it occupies land that was once part of Lindley Nursery — the exotic flora, fauna and trees of the much-visited Greensboro Arboretum. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 39

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April/May 2012

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40 O.Henry

Wondering where we’ve been all your life?

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

www.ohenrymag.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Hitting Home

Certain things just make my nose run

By Dale niXon


oday, one out of every five people suffers from some form of allergy. People are allergic to everything from dust to peanuts. I have a few allergies myself. But I don’t need to take a skin test or give a sample of blood to know what they are. There are some things you just know. I’m allergic to people who try to talk to me before I’ve had my first cup of coffee in the morning. I’m allergic to women who require no makeup. I’m allergic to people who have no children but tell me how to raise mine. I’m allergic to weather broadcasters who predict snow or snow flurries on the six o’clock news, making me scurry to the nearest grocery store to buy milk and bread. Guys, keep it to yourself until you see the white stuff falling from the sky. I’m allergic to rudeness. It takes only a minute to be polite. It’s the Southern way. It’s the only way. I’m allergic to merchants who display Christmas lights before Halloween. I’m allergic to men who play golf in the rain and then complain about getting wet. I’m allergic to “new” country music. I’m allergic to “new” beach music. I’m allergic to slimy stewed okra, root beer and anchovies. I’m allergic to zircons. A diamond is a girl’s best friend. I’m allergic to anyone who believes wrestling is fake.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

I’m allergic to garments that read, “Hand wash only.” I’m allergic to men who smell better than I do. I’m allergic to doctors (or nurses, or receptionists) who leave me sitting in a waiting room for more than an hour for an appointment. I’m allergic to teenagers who sleep until noon. I’m allergic to people who are constantly on a diet and repeatedly refuse my dessert. I’m allergic to reruns of Three’s Company. It was bad enough the first time around. I’m allergic to Perrier, gourmet popcorn and pâté. Let’s face it: No matter how you say it, water is water, popcorn is popcorn and liver is liver. I’m allergic to MTV, Hoarders, Toddlers and Tiaras and The Bachelor. I’m allergic to the young ladies vying for the hand of The Bachelor. I’m allergic to Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Jersey Shore’s Snooki and the Kardashian sisters — Kim, Khloe and Kourtney. Who cares? I’m especially allergic to the mother of the Kardashian sisters — Kris. Who cares? As I told you, I don’t need to take a skin test or give a sample of blood to know what my allergies are. Just writing this column has made me reach for a tissue to dab at my runny nose. I would go to a doctor for treatment, but . . . see item about being allergic to waiting rooms. There are some things you just know and some things you just have to stay away from. OH Columnist Dale Nixon resides in Concord. You may contact her by email at dalenixon@carolina.rr.com. April/May 2012

O.Henry 41

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Blended Families

Vine Wisdom

With summer on the horizon, several white blends offer wonderful taste, variety and value By Robyn James

Photograph by Cassie Butler


always feel like wine is so much like art and music, it doesn’t lend itself to generalizations. So, debating over whether blended wines are “better” than singular grape wines is much like debating whether playing the guitar is “better” accompanied by drums, or not. See what I mean? You just can’t say. It might be better and it might not. But, it will be different and different can often mean interesting. Nothing wrong with interesting. The French understand that your ZIP code strongly determines whether you prefer blending or not. If you own a vineyard in Burgundy or Loire, you are a purist, focused on the regality of one grape. No question about it, chardonnay from the great Burgundy region of France should not be blended with anything else, nor should the great sauvignon blancs from Loire. If your vineyard is in Bordeaux or Rhone, on the other hand, you are all about the blending. And, if you are a blender, remember that each vintage brings you a completely different wine; your “formula” for blending should never be the same because the climate, temperature and conditions will each have a separate effect on each grape type used for blending. Before buying a bottle, we all want some idea of what it holds in store, and we often look to the grape variety for clues: chardonnay will likely be creamy and rich, sauvignon blanc crisp and herbal, viognier will bloom with exotic fragrance. These white grapes are what I call “stand alone” grapes; they are awesome by themselves or as “anchors” for blends. In Bordeaux, sauvignon blanc is the white grape anchor. Some white Bordeaux may be 100 percent sauvignon blanc; others, usually, may have added semillon and/or muscadelle de bordelais, grapes contributing grassiness and perfume nuances to the sauvignon blanc. Many California vintners are now experimenting with the centuries old blends of the northern and southern Rhone regions of France. The white wines are gorgeous blends of marsanne, rousanne, grenache gris, bourboulenc and viognier. Fragrant, textured whites that wow you with or without food. Roberto Anselmi, the Godfather of Soave in Italy, shockingly forfeited the right to label his wines “Soave” in order to blend unauthorized grapes into his wine because he felt it would greatly improve the quality and complexity of his wine. Spain has long been a huge proponent of blending white grapes. Not only do they blend their delicious Cava sparkling wines, but their crisp Verdejos with Viura and sauvignon blanc to add even more nuances of acidity and grassiness. A domestic favorite, Pine Ridge from California has always produced a great little chenin blanc/viognier, that is full of character and flavor. Chenin blanc particularly plays well with others; it can be sweet, dry, sparkling, light bodied or dessert heavy. Here are some examples of my favorite white blends: The Art & Soul of Greensboro

NAIA LAS BRISAS, VERDEJO, VIURA & SAUVIGNON BLANC, SPAIN, $12 “Medium straw-colored, it offers an amazingly complex perfume for its humble price. Aromas of fresh herbs, spring flowers, baking spices and white peach lead to a ripe, concentrated, nicely balanced wine that way overdelivers for its price points.” RATED 89 POINTS, ROBERT PARKER, THE WINE ADVOCATE ANSELMI SAN VINCENZO, ITALY, $16 The fruity san vincenzo, a blend of garganega, chardonnay and trebbiano fermented in steel, exhibits aromas of lemon blossoms, minerals and wet stones. With impeccable finesse, elegance, and flavor authority, this is a light, refreshing offering. The san vincenzo represents an excellent value. This wine will be remarkably flexible with an assortment of cuisines. CHAPOUTIER LA CIBOISE, LUBERON, FRANCE, $14 “Offers a stony edge to its bright peach and melon notes, with a brisk, mouthwatering green plum-tinged finish. Its elegant poached pear and grapefruit notes are medium-bodied, fresh, lively and quite dry and crisp. Grenache blanc, vermentino, ugni blanc and roussanne.” RATED 87 POINTS, THE WINE SPECTATOR PINE RIDGE CHENIN BLANC, VIOGNIER, CALIFORNIA, $13 The perfect cocktail wine, dryish and acidic, yet enormously rich in tangerine, peach, lime and honey flavors. So easy to like by itself, yet will drink well with semisweet Chinese and Vietnamese fare. OH Robyn James, formerly Robyn Shields, was in the wholesale fine wine industry in the Triad for 12 years prior to opening The Wine Cellar & Tasting Room in Southern Pines. April/May 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Beer Church

The Hophead

Coffee shop and bar owner Allen Tyndall stands behind the counter ready to serve both hot and cold delights with Cafe Manager AJ Jones. By DaViD C. Bailey PhotograPh By Cassie Butler


t’s a sunny Sunday morning, so clear and bright that the tops of the gray, wintry oaks look etched against the blue sky. And yet Hunter Church and I are sitting in the dim light of Sessions doing something I said I’d never do: having a beer for breakfast. “I saw the Beer Church sign and said, ‘I’m there,’” says my fellow congregate, who had, unlike myself, just come from a real church, Hope Chapel across Spring Garden Street. “I usually go to Emma Key’s and have burgers and a beer after the service,” he says, but the concept of Beer Church got his attention, as it did mine. So here we are, sharing in the communion of beer lovers, drinking our first libation, a crystal chalice of draft barley wine, brewed in the Netherlands by Emilisse brewery. And, oh yes, in the realm of things spiritual, it weighs in at 10.5 percent. Pontificating about the subtleties of barley wine is Sessions’s owner Allen Tyndall, who explains how Emilisse was aged in Jack Daniel’s barrels. Cloudy, burnt-orange, this Sunday’s offering is a lot like sipping carbonated bourbon. With zero advertising and little fanfare, Tyndall opened Sessions on New Year’s Eve in the same space Coffee Break had occupied. His concept? A combination coffeehouse, wine bar and craft-beer hall. For beer geeks like the Hophead, the fact that Sessions serves draft rather than bottled beers is huge. Often unfiltered, sometimes unpasteurized and occasionally live (which means it’s getting stronger and stronger), draft has the advantage over bottled beer of being fresher. Tyndall’s 20-some taps gush with an everThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

rotating choice of unheard-of brands of imported and domestic craft beers and ale. From Belgium alone he’s featured a palate-tingling Gulden Drak, a hop-intensive Popering’s Hommel ale and “quadruppel” strong La Trappe abbey ale. Yes, many of the names are Flemish and prone to tie your tongue in knots before you’ve had beer one, but think of Tyndall as your intermediary on the way to discovering how a higher power can alter your consciousness — sometimes quite literally — with the majority of his beers weighing in at over 8 percent. Beer and Belgium, ales and abbeys have a long and shared historical connection, Tyndall points out. “Think about the ale and beer styles that we’re accustomed to now,” he says. “Ninety percent of the beer that I get originated in a monastery or abbey. All of your Belgium styles, even the sour mash and the farmhouse styles from outlying areas, were originally Catholic-based.” Not that the originator of Beer Church in Greensboro is particularly religious: “My only exposure was Catholic Mass, twice a year when we visited my father’s parents,” he says. But that doesn’t stop him from prosthelytizing on the heavenly nature of little-known beverages made by celibate monks: “If you’ve never had a Belgium golden, try Stella. If you’ve never had a monastery ale, try Chimay. But for the love of God try something else too.” Tyndall, 34, opened Sessions after a sort of post-divorce life crisis. “It was a big game changer,” he says. “It made me revaluate where I was in the world and how to handle the next ten years.” Tyndall first came to Greensboro in 1996 to attend art school at UNCG. Recounting memories of Red Oak growlers and home brewing at an April/May 2012

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The Hophead underground fraternity that had lost its charter (“It was very Animal House”), Tyndall’s tone suddenly becomes dead serious: “I didn’t have a good grasp on what I needed to accomplish and how I needed to act,” he says. “I moved back to Wilmington after the first year and a half at the end of ’97 and worked at Wilmington Brewing Company on the bottling line and as an apprentice brewer for two years until I left for the Coast Guard.” As a shipboard electrician, firefighter and engineer, Tyndall says the Coast Guard “straightened my ass out. It really instilled in me the work ethic that I have today. I served in every country in North and South America with a coastline, including Nova Scotia and Alaska.” He also spent a fair amount of time in the Seattle area at a time when Washington state, which now has 143 breweries, was really hoppin’. And yet, when he got out of the Coast Guard in 2004, instead of going back into beer, he decided to partner with his father, Bill Tyndall, who owns and operates Carolina Chemical Systems. As it happens, the company specializes in supplying cleaning and sanitizing chemicals to the bottling industry, including Duck Rabbit Craft Brewery in Farmville. Tyndall also got interested in wooden boats and sailing. After he got divorced in 2010, he says, “It really came

down to either my doing this or checking out and sailing around the world.” In the end, he says his family — and someone new that he met and then married, Jennifer Tyndall — kept him here in Greensboro. At first, Tyndall was determined to locate downtown, but an unrelenting series of upsets and obstacles had him driving his pickup truck around in frustration one afternoon in December when he saw a “For Rent” sign in the window of what was then Coffee Break. “I got the keys on the 26th of December,” he says. After a fresh coat of paint and some light remodeling, he opened on New Year’s Eve. He was amazed that he got his ABC permits in less than a week and a half, something he would not exactly recommend anyone else trying: “I figure people didn’t want anything new on their desk going into the new year.” Beer Church opened its doors in January and the Hophead was in attendance. The service, by law, can’t start before noon. There’s no sermon, no hymns, no prayers. But ritual plays an important role at Sessions, which is named for German beer sessions, which the German Beer Institute describes as “relaxing over a couple of brews as opposed to having one beer with a meal.” First of all, there’s the ritual of the proper chalice: “Each glass is designed for a different style of beer,”

Tyndall says. “There’s tulip, there’s choked tulip, there’s chalice, there’s a straight-walled goblet and a curved-wall goblet. It’s all about exposure to air, temperature and head-development — or the lack thereof.” Also at Sessions, ale (which is topfermented and can be brewed in days or weeks) and lager (which ferments on the bottom and is best when aged for weeks if not months) are chilled in four distinct coolers, each with a different temperature ranging from 38 to 48 degrees. Tyndall generally serves his ales in the 40-degree range to preserve their distinctly yeasty character. Beer’s better a little colder, but as he pours me my second serving of communion beer, he holds forth on the sacrilege of iced beer mugs. Beer Church’s communion and fellowship come from whomever gathers to celebrate Tyndall tapping, at the crack of noon, the two or more new kegs he’ll be serving the rest of the week. Tyndall serves 22-ounce, imperialpint pours (though 8-ounce beers are available). These highly alcoholic, imported ales or specialty microbrews are expensive, going for $8-10 an imperial pint. On Sundays, though, you can get a sample of anything on tap for $3, an economical way to get to know some of the very eclectic brews that Sessions has on tap. Plus, if you don’t like a particular beer — and believe it or not, this

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The Hophead has happened with even the Hophead — you’re not stuck with 20 ounces of, say, cardamom or strawberry-infested beer. “There are a lot of bars where you go to get drunk,” Sam Shumaker, fellow communicant and the executive chef of Nico’s, was telling me during Beer Church. “But you come here to get a really good beer. It’s a real craft-beer bar.” We’d been talking about how the brain yearns for stimulation, complexity, novelty and challenges. I was finishing a goblet of Monk’s Café Flemish sour ale that Tyndall had warmed up with an immersion heater, just like the grog I’d read about people drinking in Dickens, where the ale is heated with hiss from a fireplace poker. Hot ale, something I’d never tried, made me completely revise my view of coffee as the world’s finest hot beverage. As the ale cooled, the character of the beer kept changing and new notes cascaded forward. “I like beers that taste alive,” Shumaker said, working on a Talented Mr. Orangutan imperial stout from Evil Twin Brewing Company. Warmed by an infusion of Flemish ale and having made several new friends, I walked home from Beer Church past Our Lady of Grace, where I often envy how the post-service celebrants pour out of their un-Beer Church filled with joy. Despite its tradition as the beverage of choice among monks, I couldn’t help reflecting that drinking beer in a bar on a Sunday morning seems to be, well, wrong. What would my mother and daddy have thought? In fact, my parents sort of disapproved of beer, though they drank cocktails with pleasure. They saw beer as a blue-collar beverage. Tyndall, in fact, had observed astutely during Beer Church that “beer does seem to be the bad boy of the alcohol subculture, the James-Dean-motorcycle, Steve McQueen of alcoholic beverages.” (But it does provide a “Great Escape” at times, eh?) “Isn’t it wickedly wonderful?” Tyndall had asked with a twinkle in his eyes that was almost fiendish as I savored the last of my “hot-now” Flemish ale. It was certainly not my daddy’s Schlitz. But after I got home and sat down to Sunday lunch, I couldn’t help feeling as if I’d shared in a rich fellowship of kindred souls, that I’d been part of a tradition that dates back hundreds if not thousands of years, that I’d somehow improved myself and had actually done something worthwhile. If Beer Church is saving the world one beer at a time, as one congregant asserts, save a spot at the bar for me. OH David Bailey’s first “real” beer was in a pub in Oxford, England, while hitchhiking across Europe. He was 16. The beer was warm and bitter. “I’ve never looked back,” he says.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Sam’s Place

The Sporting Life

Where the fishing was like a dream By toM Bryant


he plan was to climb over the ridge from the little trout stream where I had been fishing all morning, pick up the Bronco, then drive up the mountain to Tommy’s place for a quick lunch. After a short nap, I’d get back to the stream to fish the south fork until dark. Yep, that was the plan. Then I saw the boulder hanging out over the creek like a hammock. It was the perfect place to lie back and enjoy the scenery, which is just what I did. Listening to the sounds of the water rippling over the rocks soon put me to sleep, though, and when I awoke with a start, I thought, Man, this is going to put a crimp in my afternoon plans. I’d better get a move on. When I came out of the brush to the little gravel road where I had parked the Bronco, I was surprised to see an older man leaning up against the vehicle. I walked up slowly to the truck wondering all the while who he was and, more than that, what he wanted. The mountain community where our son lives is relatively unpopulated and has a private road serving the area. It’s rare to see anyone on foot, especially someone of this individual’s age. “Whaddaya say, partner?” I said as I came up to the back of the Bronco, raised the window and put the tailgate down. “Something I can do for you?” The old gentleman came around the corner of the truck and said, “You sure can, sir, if you have the time. I’m hoping you can give me a ride back to my cabin, which is just on the other side of the mountain. I started off fishing early this morning, and it seems as if I’ve sprained an ankle.” The old guy was dressed in the traditional mountain fly-fisherman’s outfit: vest, khaki shirt, old moleskin trousers and hip boots of a style I hadn’t seen in years. He limped rather severely, holding on to the Bronco all the while. “Sit up on the tailgate,” I said, “and I’ll help you off with those hip boots. He climbed up slowly, grimacing a little. “You wouldn’t happen to have a cigarette?” he asked. “No sir. I quit smoking more than thirty years ago.” “Me too,” he replied. “I quit a long time ago, but I made up my mind today that the next person I meet who has some cigarettes, I’m gonna bum one and try it again.” He was looking at me with an amused glint in his eyes as I gently grabbed the heel of his hurt ankle. “I don’t know, Bubba,” I said. “This could hurt. Maybe I should run you down to the hospital and let them take a look at you.” “No sir,” he replied. “That’s too much trouble. I’ve sprained this same ankle before. You know how once you hurt an ankle, it’s always weak. I’ll just wait till I get back to the cabin, and we’ll try to get it off there. It’s an old boot and if need be, I’ll just cut it off. No smokes, huh?” “That’s right,” I replied. “No smokes.” There was something strange about the old guy that I couldn’t quite put a finger on. He seemed out of place here on the side of the mountain, and yet he looked familiar. “Have I met you somewhere before?” “I don’t think so,” he replied. “I haven’t been down in this hollow in several years. You know, about those cigarettes, isn’t it funny how the things we enjoy the most are either not good for you or illegal. I smoked a bunch and enjoyed it a bunch but quit because I was smart enough to know that they could kill me. And drinking, now I enjoy a slight touch of fine Scotch The Art & Soul of Greensboro

as much as the next guy. And even if the doctor says it’s not good for me, I’m still gonna have a toddy in the evening.” The old timer was on a roll, and he was also cutting into my plan for the afternoon. “Well, I tell you what, old sport. Let me help you into the Bronco. We’ll get on back to your place and I’ll help you get settled. Is anyone there to give you a hand? I wish you would let me take you to the emergency room.” “I’ll be fine,” he said. “When we get to the house, I’ll get us some lunch if you have the time. I’ve got a few trout I’ll fry up, and I’ll make us a great salad with fixings I got down at the farmers market. How did you do this morning?” I had broken down the gentleman’s fly rod, an old bamboo one, and put it along with his creel in the back. While doing it, I noticed that his equipment was well worn but expensive. “Oh, I caught several six- and seven-inchers. Nothing I would want to keep.” I cranked the Bronco and eased up the mountain trail. “You’re gonna have to show me the way.” “It’s not too far. Just keep on this road till it forks at the top of the mountain, then down to the little wooden bridge, ford Call Creek, and it’s just a short piece from there.” He noticed the expression on my face when he said ford. “Don’t worry, the creek there is only six or eight inches deep. By the way, my name is Sam Call. I own most of this mountain. Been in the family for years.” On the ride to his cabin, we talked about trout fishing, hunting, the mild winter we just had, and anything two perfect strangers would converse about. “There’s the fork, about a mile to the little bridge and then across the creek and home. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate this.” “Glad to help out,” I said. “You live in a pretty area.” “Yeah, it’s about time for the laurel to bloom. It really will be beautiful then. Kinda quiet up here. I like that.” We got to the little wooden bridge over the creek. “I had to build the bridge. The creek’s too deep to cross here. The ford is right up ahead.” The small gravel road, more like a path, was overhung with low limbs from the brush on both sides. It was like entering a tunnel. When we came up over the rise, there sat his cabin, nestled on a low ridge. The scene was as picturesque as any postcard. His house was a two-story structure with a porch that wrapped around April/May 2012

O.Henry 49

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The Sporting Life the entire building. The ground floor was made of logs, and the second level was covered with bark siding. The entire setting was unbelievably striking, and I expressed that to the old fellow. “I’ve enjoyed it here. As a matter of fact, I haven’t been off the mountain much, just for supplies and materials when I was building the cabin. Come on in. I want to give you something for helping me out today.” “You don’t have to do that,” I said as I unloaded his fishing gear out of the Bronco and helped him up the stairs to the front porch. “Let’s try and get those boots off.” He sat down on a rocker right by the front door and I gently pulled the boot, expecting a yelp at any minute. It slipped right off. “Well, how about that,” he said. “Seems as if the ankle has gone down some.” I helped him off with the other boot. “Well, old sport, I appreciate the lunch offer but I’m gonna try to get in a little more fishing this afternoon. So I’m back over the mountain.” “Wait just a second,” he said. “Come on in. I’ve got something for you that’ll help in your trout fishing.” I went in the cabin with the old gentleman and he hobbled up the stairs. I was awestruck by the stone fireplace that stretched across one wall of the main room.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“It took me a year to build that fireplace,” he said as he came back down the stairs leaning heavily on the banister. “It’s beautiful. I’ve never seen anything like it.” “I hauled the rocks in a horse-drawn wagon from the creek we crossed. It was a labor of love. Here, I know you’re in a hurry. I want you to have this.” The old guy deposited a fishing fly in my hand. “I tie them myself and I use feathers from wood ducks. That style is one of my favorites. It’ll catch you a trout. Now you come back when you have more time, and I’ll show you some photos of nice catches I’ve made in Call Creek. Tonight, to celebrate finding a new friend, I’m breaking out my Cuban cigars and I’ll have one with a touch of single malt before bed.” I thanked him and said good-bye, climbed into the Bronco, stuck the fishing fly up over the sun visor on the passenger side and hustled on back to Tom’s place to grab a bite. After my late lunch, I found the afternoon was too far gone to do any serious fishing, so I decided to wait until Tom got home from work, then we would ride over to Blowing Rock for supper. That evening, during a great dinner at Canyons Restaurant, I told him about my morning experience and the old guy I had met.

Tommy looked funny at me and then laughed and said, “You’re pulling my leg, Dad. You must have been dreaming longer than you thought down at the creek. When we get home, I’ll show you an old magazine from 1965 featuring Sam Call and how he died in a cabin fire. They seem to think he fell asleep smoking. The only thing left from the blaze was the giant stone chimney. I think it’s still there.” Needless to say, the rest of the evening was spent in pondering what I thought had happened. The only answer was that I’d dreamed the whole episode while napping by the creek. Maybe, we finally decided, I had read the story in a magazine on an earlier visit to Tom’s house and forgot about it, thus creating fodder for the dream. The next morning, still thinking about the previous day’s events, I headed home to catch up on some overdue chores. The sun was blazing out of the east, and I reached over to the passenger side sun visor and lowered it. A hand-tied fishing fly, unmistakably made from wood duck feathers, fell on the seat. OH Tom Bryant, who graduated from Elon and lived in Alamance County for decades, is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henry’s Sporting Life columnist.

April/May 2012

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The One That Got Away

The Pleasure of Life Dept.

His big dream was to play for Greensboro’s White Oak Mill team. But fame got him first By John Derr


n a warm spring day in 1942 America had learned to lock its doors. That is why the Greensboro Daily News was off-limits to all strangers. The young lady by the phone bank was our first line of defense. Late in this waning afternoon, she called me in my second floor office, the sports department. “There’s a young boy here who says he knows you and you know him and his sisters, Nell and Lois. His name is Lockman, Carroll Lockman. Do you know him?” “I think so, but it’s been four or five years since I’ve seen him. Find out what he wants, to give me some time to think if I know him.” “He wants to talk with you about a job playing baseball in Greensboro.” In a couple of moments, he stood by my desk — no longer the skinny lad of about 11 years old, but a young man of maybe 16. He was tall, muscular and showing a maturity far beyond his years. And he still had that cunning smile that I’d always remember. “So you are looking for a job in baseball, I understand.” “Yes, sir. I’ve played a lot since you’ve seen me. Outfield and first base. You never saw me play. If you remember, I was the kid your older boys made retrieve the foul balls.” Yes. I remembered him, and I had some remembrance of his young sisters. Carroll continued, “I’ve been playing around home. A lot with local textile mill teams after school. There are several good teams in Gaston County but I think I would do better somewhere else. The White Oak Mill team here is the one I would like to hook onto. Do you know the White Oak manager?” “No,” I said and immediately sensed his disappointment. “I cover the Class D league that has teams in Virginia and Carolina. Most are farm clubs of major league teams and that might be worth something if you want to move up. It could be a way.” Carroll’s main target was a cotton textile mill team where he would play ball and also have a job at the mill. I could not decide whether his indifference to a try at Class D was fear of failure or a reluctance to be away from friends and home cooking. But there was some hesitation. At that moment an idea exploded. “Carroll, I said, “you may have more luck than you know. Tomorrow I start my preseason tour of all the league cities, and tomorrow I will be in Leaksville, observing the Tri-Cities squad. Andy Anderson, the manager, is a good friend of mine. He’ll give you a look. So you go over to the YMCA, get a good night’s sleep, eat breakfast and I will pick you up at 8:15 tomorrow.” “Thanks a lot. That would be fine. Do you think that job would pay better than the textiles? You know some players make good salaries there.” “Bring your shoes and glove, and I will see you in the morning.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

I felt I had not sold him on Class D ball, but he would get a tryout. At the tryout camp of Tri-Cities, Anderson made us feel welcome. I explained that Carroll had developed into a good player in school, but my evaluation of his professional potential might have had some outside influence. He understood. Andy was a smart fellow and great baseball man. Carroll was taken to the locker room to change into his working clothes, put on his spikes and meet the other candidates. After lunch with Andy, I resumed my tour and waved good-bye to young Lockman as he headed toward left field. A postal card from Anderson awaited me when I returned after my tour. The skipper wrote, “If you have any more friends you would reluctantly endorse, please send them to me. Lockman had a double and two homers in his first game with me.” His career in organized professional baseball had begun — and he never looked back. Nearby Richmond was home to a New York Giants farm club. They heard about Lockman in the Virginia newspapers and then the New York press discovered him. Carroll Lockman suddenly became Whitey Lockman. He was brought to the Giants around his nineteenth birthday in the mid-1945 season. Was he ready? They would soon find out. Yes, in his first time at bat as a Giant, he stroked a home run. The likable Tar Heel who once dreamed of playing ball for a textile mill team in Greensboro eventually scored 113 more home runs, but it was a double to deep left field that made him a baseball legend. During the final game of the 1951 World Series, New York was trailing the Dodgers, 3-1, in the ninth and gloom settled over the Polo Grounds. With one out and one on, Lockman faced Don Newcombe. The first swing produced a foul. Lockman waited, liked the next pitch and drove it to deep left field, sending Newcombe to the showers. Ralph Branca was brought in to face Bobby Thomson. Lockman watched Thomson’s ball clear the fence, then trotted home with the tying run and stood by to cheer Thomson as he circled the bases. Lockman’s double had kept the rally going and the Giants were champs. The textile mill leagues were now only a vague memory. His career as a player lasted 15 years, but Lockman became an executive with several clubs and spent 50 years in the major leagues. He had done it all as a player, manager and executive, an All Star and a hero. While his recognition brought a loyal cadre of fans, Lockman never forgot his start or his friends down in North Carolina. He kept the lines of friendship open and acquired Giants tickets for many who took the Carolina caravan to the Polo Grounds to see a friend again. The White Oak manager? I never even met him. OH John Derr, 95, is a broadcasting legend, having worked for CBS Sports for more than half a century. April/May 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Evolving Species

Lessons on Lee Street xxxxx

By DeBorah saloMon


he first nine summers of my life were spent on Lee Street, in the simple clapboard house in which my mother was born in 1902. My mother taught school in New York City so she had summers off; my father stayed behind in the city to work and serve as an air raid warden. Although my ailing grandparents clearly appreciated and benefited from the long visits of their eldest child and only daughter, I sometimes wondered whether my momma just wanted to escape a cramped Manhattan apartment for her parents’ wide porch, broad lawn, ancient pear tree, grape arbor and huge garden where Granddaddy grew vegetables for Nanny to put up — though the house could be musty and sweltering. This arrangement didn’t suit me at all. I had no friends, just cousins who came from Winston and High Point on Sunday. Fear of polio meant that I had to steer clear of swimming pools, movie theaters, ice cream parlors and other public places. My entertainment consisted of Nanny’s cat Sicily, Granddaddy’s dog Snowball, Sears Roebuck catalogs to cut up for paper dolls and a handcrank Victrola under the attic eaves. Lee Street was pure hell, twice as hot and no fun for a smart-ass kid reared in a progressive private school up North. Yet the lessons learned there are with me still. The butter-and-egg man came on Wednesdays with his pre-teen son. They wore clean overalls but smelled “country.” In his basket were rounds of butter wrapped in white butcher paper and eggs with yolks the color of the setting sun with which Nanny made pound cakes. Words do not exist to describe how good they were. I asked if the boy could stay while his father delivered back door to back door. He was a nice boy. We made paper airplanes and

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

drank Grapette. The adults exchanged worried looks, told me to be careful. On Lee Street I learned that disability is nothing to fear, that children with Down syndrome are just ordinary kids who like to play airplanes with other kids. On Lee Street I learned about metallurgy — and danger. Granddaddy, a retired bricklayer with a fourth-grade education and sharp mind, deemed this city grandchild’s education incomplete without a daily walk to the train tracks. He knew the schedule. As the train approached, he positioned two nails and a penny on a rail. He held my hand tight as we stood way back until the train passed, leaving a flat metal icon. I can still feel the rush, hear the whistle and clatter, smell the railroad smell. Today Granddaddy might be jailed for child endangerment, but I feared no harm. Granddaddy was holding my hand. On Lee Street I learned that sweet old grannies really do kill, pluck and eviscerate chickens for the dinner table. But at least they were happy chickens, delicious chickens, now called grain-fed free range. On a lighter note, I learned how to remove the peel from an apple in an unbroken spiral (with a pocket knife — another life-threatening instrument) and build a coal fire in the grate. On Lee Street I learned about war. Miz Bagwell lived next door with her adult son, a wheelchair-bound paraplegic injured in North Africa, wherever that was. He chain-smoked and wore a skimpy undershirt revealing tattoos on muscular arms that compensated for his withered legs. Miz Bagwell’s son waved cheerfully as he rolled down the ramp to the sidewalk, but even this second-grader recognized bravado. When the grown-ups gathered on the porch at night, he told stories that I wasn’t supposed to hear. Go catch lightning bugs in a jar, they said. But I listened. On Lee Street I learned useful people skills. Dr. Ravenol was the pediatrician my mother found for her scrawny child. I loved him — hair that reminded April/May 2012

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 73

The Evolving Species

me of black patent leather, a charming Southern drawl, a Rhett Butler with little black bag. For an upset tummy Dr. Ravenol prescribed sips of tepid Coca-Cola. My mother forbade soda because I didn’t drink enough milk. So whatever else was wrong with me, I pled collateral damage. Dr. Ravenol winked and wrote down the remedy on his prescription pad. My mother had to comply. I worked Nanny the same way for Nehi orange. Bad choice; the artificial color stained my mouth, a dead giveaway. On Lee Street I learned about race. My mother noticed a tall, slim, quiet 18-year-old black woman sweeping up hair at the beauty shop. Annie kept an eye on me while Mother had her perm. My mother asked around, then hired Annie to live with us in New York and take care of me while she worked. Annie and I shared the tiny second bedroom. She became a force in my life. We traveled Manhattan on the subway and bus. She told me stories about her childhood that I didn’t understand. Freed from race restraints, Annie developed confidence — “uppity” was the word some used back then. On her days off Annie took classes — French, not typing. During the summer she visited her family in Greensboro, and I languished on Lee Street. Sometimes we’d go uptown on the bus. Annie took my hand and led me to the back because it was cooler there, she said. After I started school, Annie was snapped up by another family, then another. By then, she looked like Naomi Campbell. In time, she worked as a governess for millionaires’ children, sailed on yachts, rode in limousines, traveled to Europe. Somewhere, I have postcards and one last picture of Annie — tall, slim, her white hair pulled back in a bun, her shoulders draped in a challis shawl like a Russian ballerina. Annie taught me how to plot a passage and follow through — all the way to the front of the bus. I witnessed the ugliness of urban sprawl on Lee Street. In the late 1940s the city appropriated my grandparents’ front lawn to widen the now-industrial thoroughfare. They cut down the old shade tree and ran a sidewalk a foot from the front porch. This broke Nanny and Granddaddy’s hearts. Mine, too. Nanny died soon after, then Granddaddy. Then my uncles sold the property and fought for years over the proceeds. The house is long gone, but you know what? Although I gave up soda I can still kill a beetle between my thumbnail and forefinger, like Granddaddy taught me in his garden behind the dusty, worn-down, memory-impregnated house on Lee Street. OH Deborah Salomon is a writer for PineStraw and O.Henry magazines and grew up visiting her grandparents in Greensboro. She can be reached at debsalomon@nc.rr.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 73

First Impressions Do Count

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 73

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60 O.Henry

April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry April/May 2012 palming she sifts through the house gathering a notion of what it is. its careful dimensions, a lean-to of creamy, clean-shaven walls, sinewy doorframes and jagged, cleft angles. she has exchanged eyesight for hands that brighten along edges and surfaces telegraphing a synapsed twist back to what memory recalls at the finger tips. eyesight, once convexed, curls into her cupped palms then flattens around the lean-edged skin of the world its husky presence loud as an imprint. day after day, her hands retrace the dimpled trails along bookshelves and plated windows, the roughhewn fireplace stones, the incidental cobwebs that eyesight used to search-out. every inch announces the fabric of cognition, the loose holes, the sense of an object’s existence that only reappears at the slightest touch. – Anjail Rashida Ahmad

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O.Henry 61

The Bubba Letters


certain unnamed presidential candidate whose brain resembles a busted watermelon recently told a bunch of millionaire supporters: “What this country really needs is a great corporate CEO — not a gentleman farmer-philosopher.” Well, those of us who proudly hail from good rural North Carolina farm stock naturally shook our heads at such a dumb-ass thing to say. We actually believe a philosophical gentleman farmer — like, say, the country bumpkin who wrote the Declaration of Independence — is EXACTLY what this country needs to put it back on the right rack. Not long ago, we heard about just such a fellow living out in beautiful Climax, North Carolina, a retired soybean farmer and rural renaissance man of letters named Junius T. Greene who goes by the friendly nickname of “Bubba.” As the following real letters to political hacks and various corporate big shots attest, Bubba Greene is a man who dearly loves his country and the rural Ilium he calls home. He is, among other things, a prodigious letter-writer and original thinker in the tradition of Thomas Payne, an endless watering hose of splendid ideas. As this political season grows more tedious by the hour, we asked Bubba if we might share a few of his clear-headed letters to selected corporate and political types. Being the gentleman farmer he is, Bubba not only gave us permission to do so but also a nice big basket of poke salat.


Mr. Tim Cook, Chief Ex ecutive Officer Apple Inc. One Infinite Loop Cupertino, CA 95014

Dear Mr. Cook, My name is Junius Gr eene, a retired soybean farmer who now lives Inez and her husband Do with my baby sister yle, who is a part owne r of our local farm supp famous in these parts fo ly store and sort of r being a real “chicken whisperer,” widely know being able to calm agita n for his talent of ted hens on laying day. (Doyle claims his gift one bit, I guess becaus do es n’t work on Inez e she’s naturally high str ung. Ha! Ha! But that’ if you know what I mea s a whole other story, n.) Anyway, I just though t you’d like to know th at I am one happy user tastic MacBook Pro lap of your fan-dangtop computer. You mig ht even say that I’ve be fool on this thing. come a letter writing Please permit me to ex plain. Late last year wh en I retired and was pa to my hometown of Cl cking up to move imax, my buddies in th e Lost Creek Fish and and bought me an Appl Hu nt Club chipped in e MacBook Pro laptop computer as a going aw that once I got used to ay gift. They swore writing on this thing I’d be hooked on staying in Between you and me, touch with them. Mr. Cook, I had my do ub ts about this. In fact I th their money on someth ought they’d wasted ing I would simply neve r use. (I’d much rather Branson, Missouri, or have had a trip to even Dollywood.) But, brother, were they ever right! Since I figu red out how easy it is wr emails and such on this ite letters and laptop of yours, why, I’v e been writing everybod of people I don’t. In a y I know and lots nutshell, sir, this wond erful machine has chan Since December I’ve se ge d m y entire life. nt personal letters and emails to everyone fro state to the president of m the governor of this a major candy company . I’m thinking of even minister of England ne writing to the prime xt – just to prove I can! Anyway, to cut to the chase, I just read in the Time Magazine that yo $46 billion in just thre u made a record e months of selling yo ur wo nderful Apple computer amazing but doesn’t su s, which is truly rprise me one bit. My point is, if you’d ever computer in our farm su lik e to sell your pply store (where I no w run the checkout co pleased to personally sp un ter part time) I’d be eak about the possibili ty to my brother-in-law imaginative thinker. La Doyle. He’s a pretty st year he put in an auto matic cappuccino mac have about plumb worn hi ne that customers out. Anyway, please think about it and thank you for your time. Your friend and bigges t fan,

Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-91 53

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

JUNIUS GREENE Jim Perdue, Chairman Perdue Farms P.O. Box 1656 Horsham, PA 19044-6656 . I recently Dear Mr. Perdue, re in Climax, North Carolina he e liv I d an e een Gr ius Jun My name is itched sooner. Perdue Chicken. I wish I’d sw to en ick Ch son Ty m fro only er switched ov s, if I may say so, are second ng wi en ick ch ur yo d An or. to Your poultry is far superi l by the taste that you’re good tel can u Yo ! gs! eg d kle pic to the my sister Inez’s is because your chickens. you how good your chicken is, l tel to n tha er oth g, itin wr the The reason I’m other morning when some of the th wi up e cam I a ide an se I’d like to propo Go after breakfast. We were & t Ge the at er ov eze bre fellows and I were shooting the ed that Beverly d such, and someone mention an ess sin bu d an cs liti t po t ou talking ab ction. Now, I know this migh ele refor g nin run be t no uld en. Perdue, our governor, wo about was your delicious chick nk thi uld co I all t ou ab t bu gured sound strange to you, y relation to your product. I fi an d ha r rno ve go the if ng eri the case. Then I started wond uldn’t surprise me if this were wo it d an , ed ard reg hly hig nnection to you’re both very not Beverly Perdue has any co or r the he W . ing nk thi me t Then it go ether? After the two of you to team up tog for rt hu it uld co at wh , y en ick Perdue Ch — and tell me who won’t bu eam Dr can eri Am the ts en res North all, Governor Perdue rep en sales would spike here in ick ch ur yo t tha e nte ara gu t ctible that? I could just abou e Chicken product with colle rdu Pe ” ev “B n itio ed d ite lim a ctors would Carolina if you sold for a limited time only. Colle ce offi in be ll wi she as ts, ings, as a lot packaging of sor uld increase Bev’s approval rat wo it e sur tty pre I’m d An !! say it would gobble that up s pulled out. I guess you could ha she t tha set up are ax im Cl of folks in kill two birds with one stone. t your beak I’ll ew on. Either way, you can be ch to ing eth som t jus ay, yw An (Perdue Chicken 2012!!) continue to eat your chicken. Your faithful Perdue Chicken


Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

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April/May 2012

O.Henry 63

JUNIUS GREENE Justin Lambeth, Chief Marketing Officer The Quaker Oats Company 555 W. Monroe St., Floor 1 Chicago, IL 60661-3605 Dear Mr. Lambeth, I am writing to suggest an improvement. e is Junius “Bubba” Greene and I live in First allow me to introduce myself. My nam beautiful city of Greensboro which as you Climax, North Carolina. Climax is near the might know is a big Quaker area. that was started by Quakers and I have We have a school called Guilford College ut the ses there. One of the things I like best abo attended several continuing education clas , and that is what gave me the idea. college is its mascot, the Fighting Quakers morning and studying your box when it I was sitting there eating my oatmeal one s on front does not look very fired up. He look ured pict man ker Qua the that me to d occurre our oats ly the idea you want to get across – “Eat kind of calm, even a bit wimpy. Is that real and be calm?” s ker Oats or better yet a Fighting Quaker Oat But what if you ate a bowl of Fighting Qua ly. Then g more in the cookie and bar direction late energy bar as I have noticed you are goin ner k you should give your Quaker man a mea you would be ready to kick butt. I also thin of rty libe kers are winners too!” I took the look, like he is saying “Bring it on, we Qua so onto your oatmeal box and taking a picture taping a Guilford College Fighting Quaker ld be. you can see what an improvement this wou lem with you using their name and mascot, prob I do not think the college would have a is 336-316-2000. but you can check. Their general number rite would be enough for me to honor my favo I do not expect any credit for this idea. It school. Please let me know your opinion. Sincerely, Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

JUNIUS GREENE The Honorable Robbie Perkins Mayor of Greensboro 101 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 601 Greensboro, NC 27401 Dear Robbie, Now that you’re in office, you nee d to correct an irritating spelling error that makes me irate. Greensboro is named for Ge n. Nathanial Greene — not as ma ny citizens, perhaps including yourself, believe for the green landscape that makes the city so pretty. So let’s spell Greensboro right - GreenE sboro. It would look so much mo re distinct and end the confusion with all those other citi es that sound like us, especially Gre enville, NC. and S.C., as well as those other Greensbor os in places like Indiana, Alabam a and Georgia. Let’s be consistent, Robbie. Gre ene Street contains an “e” It’s nam ed for the general. Same for Greene Township. Down here in Climax, where I live , I went to nearby Nathanial Gre ene School. Note the use of the “e.” Now some of my former classmates may find it fun ny tha t I’m writing a letter correcting a spelling error, since I wasn’t such a hot speller in school — or much of a student for that matter. But I’ve been working hard on my spellin g over the years and gotten pretty darn good. I can hear you grousing about all the green (without an e) that wo uld have to be spent changing signs, stationery and bus iness cards to say Greenesboro. Sho w some fortitude, Robbie. Raise hell by raising tax es. I’ll tell you what. You spell the city ’s name right and I’ll personally go to the expense of paying for that added “e” to be painted on, although as far as I kno w I’m no kin to the general. Hell, no. He was, egads, a Quaker. I’m an evangelical Ba ptis t. Us Baptists believe in fightin’. Oh, I forgot, Gen. Greene was a fightin’ man. Well, that just shows he made a bold move, going against his religion. It’s tim e you too made a bold move, Ro bbi e. Get right with history by correcting the spelling of your great city. Historically yours,

Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 65

JUNIUS GREENE John Mars,Chairman Mars Candy Incorporated 6885 Elm Street McLean, Virginia Dear Mr. Mars,

call me Climax, North Carolina. Friends ul utif bea in live I and ene Gre My name is Junius Guilford High ut anything. One is Southeastern abo t jus n tha re mo gs thin two e y Bubba. I lov dy! (Go peanut M&Ms!) The wa can M M& is er oth e Th s!) con dy plain School Basketball! (Go Fal world – those who love M&M can this in ple peo of ds kin two are re I look at it is the nuts myself! you can probably tell, I’m totally As s. nut h wit ’em e lov o wh h (rich se and tho other night against Grimsley Hig the e gam ern ast the Sou big the Anyway, I was at whatever the silly nickname is the “Whirlies,” ir the – o bor ens Gre rby nea m le city kids fro ind the visiting team so I can ratt beh ht rig do ally usu I ere wh sack of heck that might be) sitting amazing thing ever in my jumbo st mo the nd fou I en wh ls, cal them with my hog s peanut M&Ms. state of North Carolina! Why, it wa the like ctly exa ped sha dy can nut It was an M&M pea M&M in n’t believe me so I have enclosed the wo you w kno I e! blu r the Pan a even Carolin off. I got so question. . Sorry a piece of the shell broke ow bel d che atta dy can ual act (You can see rs to find it.) ers and had to get down on all fou ach ble the er und it d ppe dro I new excited you are always on the lookout for w kno I a. ide ell sw one me e Anyway, this gav fifty states! ldn’t make M&Ms shaped like all cou you if red nde wo I so Ms a kinds of M& itical bickering going on in Americ pol the all th Wi ! too , ors col L as my baby Maybe in school or NF ng us all together! Really sweet, bri to g thin the t jus be ht mig these days, this M sister Inez likes to say! I just wanted to show you the M& er. eith dit, cre any me e giv to e You don’t even hav when everybody uable contribution to my country val a de ma I say can I so all it that started m. world!!! and their cousin is hooked on the favorite candy in the whole wide my g kin ma for and e tim r you Thank you for Your friend and biggest customer,

Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

, huh?

hirlies.” Bet you’re not surprised

against those “W P.S. Southeast won its big game

e how I to my M&M candy. Still not sur es com it en wh ” list ona diti “tra P.S. (again) I’m a mess with my making, but please don’t EVER ’re you Ms M& l tze pre new the feel about chocolate and candy-coated nuts!

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

JUNIUS GREENE The Honorable Lee Leffingwell, Mayor P.O. Box 1088 Austin, Texas 78767 Dear Mr. Mayor, Speaking for the people of Greensboro, even though they don’t know I am, I’d like for your city to send Greensboro all of the stuff in your O. Henry museum — for keeps. O. Henry is Greensboro’s greatest native son. He was born just outside town, grew up in the city and stayed out of trouble here. It’s only fair that anything he possessed that you now possess, even old liquor bottles, be transported to his genuine home city. I’m pretty sure O. Henry didn’t have fond memories of Austin. He got in trouble with the law there, although it sounds to me your town gave our favorite son a bum rap, making him a convicted felon. Some big shots at the bank, the one from which he is said to have taken money while working as a teller, may have lost the cash through sloppy bookkeeping. That’s my guess, anyway. After he left Texas for prison, Bill Porter, as I like to call him, never returned to your state to the best of my recollection. He did visit North Carolina, living a spell in Asheville and marrying a girl he once courted when they both lived in Greensboro. By the way, I don’t live in Greensboro. I live nearby in the sweet little community of Climax. Quit your snickering! We don’t see anything funny about our wonderful little rural community’s name. O. Henry was born nearby along Polecat Creek, which, unfairly, is named after skunks. His family moved up to Greensboro when he was just a babe. Let’s face it, sir. Austin just isn’t O. Henry country. Besides, your city has lots going for it and will hardly miss the O. Henry stuff. I understand you have a nice river. Greensboro doesn’t have a river. It wants one, and there was even talk of building one through downtown. But folks here don’t have money gushing from those oil wells like you Austin people. I also understand from a former neighbor who moved to Austin that your city has more eligible males of marrying potential than any other U.S. city. My former neighbor, an attractive female divorcee, moved there for that reason. What with all the cavorting she and others are doing down there, who has time for seeing the O. Henry stuff? Your namesake, Stephen F. Austin, I believe has a connection to Greensboro. Whoops. Excuse me. I’m thinking of Stephen A. Douglas, the fellow from Illinois who debated Abe Lincoln. Douglas married a girl from Reidsville, just up the asphalt from Greensboro, and has descendants here. Anyway, if Douglas was still oratin’, I bet he’d holler hard for sending O. Henry relics back to Greensboro. Lincoln, too. Hope to hear from you as soon as possible so you can arrange with UPS or FedEx to ship us the stuff — at your expense, of course. You can afford it; we can’t. Thanks a bunch,

Junius “Bubba” Green P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

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April/May 2012

O.Henry 67





ues Roads

q thers, Anti Keno Bro c/o WGBH eet t Str One Gues A 02135 Boston, M

ow t believe h o n n a c I . show n the ques Road st dressed people o ti n A f o ed n a e a huge f are the b ose so-call os, s m th n y a e f o I o b K t e a r u a o m th e y o y D , s in. S , let me sa orth. Also mera zoom a c First of all me of that crap is w e th n e y mother ’s ey so k good wh m n o t o u lo m . o s s h g y il c a a u in n m eir lean s alw your hand up on how to clip th ently found. I was c ot know this, but show and c e e tn . ething I r eed to bon You migh . m n b o ” s u ts n R r limax, NC o o e C p p e a x ic in V “e v e d ’s v a k li ub r ic ke you to where I sed VapoR ld jar of V u t o x r n e e a n th I would li s t o s h o m r ig c NC, r s. My when n I came a ly the ’40 my chest eensboro, r ib to s G s it o in p house whe d d , e s r te 0 s my e 195 d plaste was inven flannel an when I mis r is from th f y ja o VapoRub a d e is c th is ie t p th a is th on a e. To My guess . She put it ith my mother ’s lov . id k a s a w good price ll w en I e a h t m e s w g t e a n m a . th c e n o iated ing if que if I k in tim ld. I assoc m wonder nd go bac h this anti a a it I s . w k d t e r ic s a I had a co V u p f r been willing to pen a jar o e has neve id s in mother I o y is money and I am b u R Vapo at it? e r this. n and the Still, mon uld pay fo ws so you can look io o it w d t n a o c th t iles in min or museum to one of your sho out 200 m r b a to c is e The jar is t ll a o h c yes, I will bring this in June. T ointment I y h a c s ld a u e u o o B h y e s f there is a tl – uble. I to Myr on is this rth the tro o re coming a w My questi u ’s o it y t best. w a o gs are the told me th nless I kn in u e n w ip o ir e tr e e m h o th T S ke tle. hate to ma Joe’s in North Myr away so I r e Hamburg take you to , Yours truly ene ubba” Gre Junius “B it. I 159 ng smell to o tr s 3 a P.O. Box 5 s 1 a 9 h it still C 27233 ou can see y Climax, N o s r e tt n the le apoRub o V le tt li ood a ed “To Our G e k P.S. I dabb not hurt the value. li g in th y some did hope this ou all? Sa nice. y f o e r tu t would be d pic a e h h T p a .” r s g s to au ricele ld I get an But Still P d e k c a r C P.P.S. Cou s I bba, Who Friend Bu

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

JUNIUS GREENE James G. Ryan, PHD, Fo unding Dean Joint School of Nanersc ience and Nanerenginee ring 2907 East Lee Street Greensboro, NC 27401 Dear Mr. Ryan, I am writing to say I supp ort your new school 100% . As I understand it, the pu your school is to study na rpose of ners. It is about time. Na ners have never gotten the they deserve. People know res pect that all about naner pudding, naner bread, naner nut mu naner milkshakes. But did ffins, and you know that naner skins can be used to polish yo Another thing most peop ur shoes? le don’t know is that hang ing a plastic bag of nane window will attract butte rs by your rflies. Unfortunately it wi ll also attract wasps and is just the kind of thing we racoons, but that need to do more research on – how to keep varmint naners in the home and ga s away from rden. I can tell you first hand tha t naners are good for ulc ers. Some people claim peels will get rid of warts that naner . I have never had much luck with that one but ma left the peel taped to my yb e I have not nose long enough. I am more than happy to dona science if you want to loo te myself to k into it more. As you may guess by no w, I am big on naners. I started eating them abou when my doctor recomme t 10 years ago nded them for leg cramp s because they have a lot Now I eat about six nane of potassium. rs a day and I never have leg cramps though I am times. a bit bloated at There is one question tha t I am dying to know. Di d Chiquita know about yo of nanerscience when the ur school y decided to relocate to Ch arl otte, because if they did should call them right no not, you w and let them know. M aybe they will change the can steal some jobs from ir mind and we Charlotte. Ha! If we play our cards right, Greensboro could be the Naner Capital of North Am I would love to be a part erica and of it. I live in Climax, wh ich is right down Highwa so I could be there licke y 42 1 from you ty split or maybe I should say naner split! Please let me know how I can help.

Junius “Bubba” Greene PO Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 69

JUNIUS GREENE Dolly Parton Dollywood 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd. Pigeon Forge, TN 37863 Dear Mrs. Parton, I am writing to suggest an idea I hop e you will find interesting. But first let me give you two thumbs up on your movie “Joyful Noise” wit h Queen Latifah. She cracks me up and so do you. I have been a huge fan of yours eve r since your Porter Wagoner days. I cry every tim e I hear “Coat of Many Colors” and you were by far the funniest one in “9 to 5.” Also I hav e heard that Dollywood is a very goo d amusement park though I have not bee n there due to the motion sickness I get every time I ride a spinny ride. A great idea came to me while I was watching “Joyful Noise.” Here it is — it would be perfect if you would buy The Wo rld’s Largest Chest, which is for sale in High Point, NC, and make it your personal museu m. I say this with all respect and adm iration of your dimensions. I live near High Point in a small tow n called Climax, NC. I know it sounds too good to be true but look it up. The joke here is if you can’t make it to Climax, Hig h Poi nt is the next best thing. Ha! Ha! The chest is actually a building with an office inside. It was built in the 192 0s as a symbol of High Point’s furniture ind ustry. For a while, it was the “bureau” of info rmation. There are a couple of socks hanging out of the drawers to represent textile s but you could easily change that to a brassiere. High Point could really use the tourism that a museum with your name would bring. I am enclosing a copy of the newspaper article about the chest being for sale . I do not expect any money or fame for this idea but I would like to know your opinion. Als o if you could send me an autographed picture, the boys over to the Get & Go would get a charge out of that. Just say something like “To My Good Friend Bubba. I’ll always rem em ber our night in Climax. XXXOOO, Dolly.” Yours truly,

Junius “Bubba” Greene P.O. Box 159 Climax, NC 27233-9153

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ENE JUNIUS GRE Richard C. Seban fficer Chief Marketing O Executive VP and Hostess Brands r., Suite 600 6031 Connection D Irving, TX 75639 about ling so hard. I read gg ru st n, is ba ss Se ne si r. M bu Dear rry your untry when to say I am very so wrong with this co d ba is ng hi First of all I want et m y. So d it makes me angr morrow. your bankruptcy an adison. I ongs being there to D g in D ur yo brands is Dolley M on ur t yo un of co e ot on nn , ca ow u oro, yo was from Greensb help you. As you kn ay on is m ad at M th y ea le id ol D an I have cause the real oud of this fact be pr . en be s ay w al have called Climax, NC n w to ies of this a in e liv I where honor the First Lad to s ke ca k ac on. sn NC, which is near on include Mrs. Madis e of Dolley Madis ld lin ou w w ne ey a th is se ur ea id My akes and of co hair styles, ld be called Ladyc ted with different ou ra w co y de he d T an y. tr ad un he co lady’s l be the shape of a The cakes would al y hair d so on. she had brown curl rings, necklaces an as ea , ad th he ou r m he , se on g no , in n ic eyes ns. If I was you could use brow w for her gold chai llo ye d an e For Dolley Madison ug ssro u some sexual hara as she wore lots of yo e ks us ee ca ch r ht ig he r m fo at d and re e area as th e in cake. ay from the clevag aw ay st ld ou w cost you a lot mor I ld u nest, ou yo w it on is ad honor. Let’s be ho Mrs. M to of s ie se ad ca L e t th rs Fi in t us ment. Pl ther deciding wha e famous ones. Ano problem could be t or es m e gg th bi e do th d k ul in co th r I ry Taylor? But you Obama changes he . ha rs ac M Z s . rs ow M t kn ou ly ab on e. Lords who cares hair style do you us ch hi w be d ul co m proble what eek. I would like to know t w y bu er ea ev id t is ou th ab r ir fo ha ition y money or recogn I do not require an you think. Best Wishes,

reene (Big Junius “Bubba” G P.O. Box 159 9153 Climax, NC 27233-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Twinkie fan too!!)

April/May 2012

O.Henry 71

k o o


s U on


Prologue: Ode to Billy Joe


et’s begin with perhaps the most memorable Masters ever played, the last time Sam Snead, Byron Nelson, or Ben Hogan won a major golf championship. The year was 1954, and the unlikely star who outshone the three greatest players since Bobby Jones was a genial, wisecracking, thirty-twoyear- old lumber broker from the foothills of North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, an unknown amateur named William Joseph Patton — “Billy Joe” to his friends back home in tiny Morganton. Prior to his unlikely summons to Augusta, the most outstanding items on Billy Joe’s résumé were lone victories in the Carolina Amateur and the Carolina Open and a somewhat surprising appointment as an alternate to the 1953 Walker Cup team, which netted him the Masters invitation. He was known for his sharp wit and infectious storytelling, his blazing backswing and go-for-broke style of play that often sent his drives anywhere but the fairway. His buddies back at the Mimosa Hills Country Club were almost as amused as they were impressed by his unexpected new honor. Several made a point, in fact, of asking Billy Joe to at least bring home an autograph by Ben Hogan or Sam Snead. Five decades later, not long before he passed away, Billy Joe Patton sat on a pretty terrace at the retirement home where he lived in Morganton, and recalled the most remarkable week of his life. “I drove down to Augusta on Monday of Masters week very excited that I would finally get to meet Snead, Hogan, and Nelson. I’d only seen Byron and Ben play in Greensboro and Asheville. I also decided that, with nothing to lose, I would just try to have some fun. The instant I turned up Magnolia Lane, though, my heart was racing like you can’t believe. “In those days, players parked right in front of the clubhouse. So I parked and got my clubs out of the trunk and noticed a Cadillac convertible sitting nearby with a fella wearing a banded straw hat sitting there talking to a lady. ‘Oh, my God,’ I said to myself. ‘That’s Sam Snead.’ I tried not to disturb them,

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but as I passed Sam Snead looked over at me, winked and tipped his hat. “I knew it was going to be a fun week,” Billy Joe recalled fifty-five years after the fact, with a roguish little twinkle in his eyes. “That was the first time I ever saw Sam Snead.” But it wouldn’t be the last. With a homemade golf swing that was quicker than a frightened hummingbird, Billy Joe entered the tournament’s annual long-drive contest on Wednesday afternoon and won it with a poke of 338 yards, the first time an amateur had ever done so. Members of the press swarmed around the well-dressed Carolinian with gray-flecked hair and neat rimless eyeglasses, discovering a fellow who was not only having the time of his life but also charming fans with every utterance and unorthodox swing. “Are you planning to hit the ball that hard in the tournament?” one of them demanded. Billy Joe smiled. “Well,” he drawled pleasantly, “I didn’t come this far to lay up, that’s for sure. You didn’t pay to see me play it safe.” He followed up this disarming swagger by shooting 70 on a cold and blustery opening day to tie veteran E. J. “Dutch” Harrison for the first-round lead. Only two other players in the field, Lloyd Mangrum and Jack Burke Jr., managed to shoot under par that day. Defending champion Ben Hogan got around the course in 72, former champion Sam Snead in 74. And Byron Nelson, who retired from competitive golf at the end of the 1946 season but never missed an opportunity to compete in the Masters, split the difference between his great rivals with an opening 73. Going in, these three were the unchallenged favorites at golf’s most prized invitational event, more or less in that order. Each, after all, had won the Masters twice. Between them they owned twenty-one major championships, nine Vardon trophies for the year’s lowest scoring average, eleven Player of the Year honors, fourteen Ryder Cup appearances and no fewer than thirteen PGA Tour records. But on the heels of his extraordinary year in 1953, when he won five of the eight events he entered and captured the Masters, U.S. Open, and British Open, Ben Hogan had announced his plans to dial back his appearances and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A m e r i c a n T r i u m v i r at e

join his longtime friend and rival Byron Nelson in retirement. Many felt Slammin’ Sammy Snead wouldn’t be far behind. Though he still displayed the silkiest natural swing ever seen in championship golf, within a month he would turn forty-two, an old man by tour standards. For the record, Byron had already reached that mark, and Hogan would hit it later that year in August. “There was an unmistakable feeling that an era was ending that year at Augusta,” says Bill Campbell, the other outstanding amateur in the field that week, a thoughtful West Virginian playing in his fourth Masters. Something of a protégé of Snead’s, he would go on to anchor eight Walker Cup teams and eventually serve as president of the United States Golf Association. “Everyone knew why Sam and Ben and even Byron were there. Each one wanted one more major title, ideally the Masters, because they each owned two titles and together they had more or less put the Masters on the map. Everyone was watching to see who would take the rubber match, so to speak. But that’s what makes what Billy Joe accomplished all the more wonderful. He stole the show from the three greatest players who ever played at one time, on the greatest stage in golf.” On day two, when the weather turned colder and gustier, Harrison carded a 79 and Hogan slipped back a stroke to 73, leaving Billy Joe alone atop the leaderboard at the halfway mark with 144. Cary Middelcoff, who was five strokes off the lead, took a glance at the board with the easygoing amateur in first and sourly grumbled, “If that guy wins the Masters, it will set golf back fifty years.” One veteran wire service reporter aptly dubbed the colorful amateur the “Falstaff from the Foothills.” The fans couldn’t have disagreed more. As he strolled Augusta National’s lushly groomed fairways, at times twirling a club and whistling out loud, Billy Joe waved to friends from back home in the gallery and exchanged warm greetings with any stranger who cheered him on, and shook every hand offered from behind the ropes. “Always wink at the crowds,” he advised a young player making a similar debut decades later. “That way everybody thinks you’re winking at them.” Ben Hogan wasn’t the least bit pleased to be paired with the talk of the tournament for his third round. Since his miraculous return from a terrible car accident that nearly took his life in late 1949, he had won six major championships and achieved mythic stature in American sports. Long considered the coldest and most methodical player who ever played, and quite possibly the finest shotmaker of all time, he was a legend whose personal omerta was a code of silence that suffered no fools and certainly not a gabby amateur, and everything Billy Joe did that day irritated the poker- faced Hogan, starting with the fact that he, like millions of Americans, seemed to play golf purely for the fun of it. For Ben Hogan, golf wasn’t merely a source of livelihood and fame; it was his sole means of survival. Fun never entered the equation. The amateur’s first big sin was outdriving his playing partner on the opening holes. Then, as they were walking together to the fourth tee, one of his High Country pals playfully called out, “Hey, Billy Joe, who’s that little guy in the funny white cap?” The comment probably wasn’t meant to be malicious or insulting, most likely just an attempt to help keep his friend loose and free-swinging. But as Billy Joe predictably began spraying his drives right and left, the “Wee Ice Man” — as admiring Scots in 1953 at the British Open had nicknamed Hogan — refused to pay the amateur any attention, and his expression grew even more glacial after Billy Joe executed several near- impossible recovery shots from deep trouble to save par, prompting Hogan to mutter as he trudged off the ninth green, “I can’t stand this.” True to form, however, Hogan buckled down and finished with a 69, while Billy Joe ambled into the house wearing the same catfish smile, lucky to have carded a 75, but still the new darling. “Billy Joe had put on a wonderful display,” Bill Campbell remembers, “but the feeling around the tournament was that it was time for the amateurs to step aside and let the legends take over and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

settle the matter. That would most likely be Sam or Ben.” Snead’s third- round 70 could easily have been three shots better, but he was still in the thick of it. Nelson, on the other hand, followed an untidy second-round 76 with a 74 that pretty well took him out of contention for a third title. He would, however, rally in the final round and finish tied for twelfth, not bad, Herbert Warren Wind later noted, for a man who’d retired nearly a decade before. As Ben Hogan strode down the fairway of the fourth hole in the final round, bound tightly in adhesive leg bandages from groin to ankle and wrapped in his own secure world of absolute mental isolation, a thunderous roar came off the sixth hole ahead, causing him to do something he rarely did in the heat of competition. Spotting a wire service reporter, he walked over to ask what had just happened. The reporter held up one finger. “Billy Joe just made an ace on six,” he said. Hogan showed no emotion. At the sixth tee, a second sustained roar echoed through the pines. Billy Joe, Hogan learned, had just birdied the eighth hole. And after his drive on seven found the heart of the fairway, he heard another roar come from the direction of the clubhouse. That turned out to be Billy Joe’s birdie at nine. The greatest player of the age and the amiable amateur were now tied for the lead in the eighteenth edition of the Masters. As Hogan stood on the eleventh tee, Billy Joe hit his drive on the famous par-five thirteenth, a low slice that stopped in the pine trees bordering the fairway. From this spot, most experienced players intent on winning a major championship would choose wisdom over valor and lay up short of Rae’s Creek, allowing themselves a short pitch to the green and a decent shot at birdie. Billy Joe, however, hearing the summons of the gods in his ears, gambled on a different path to glory. All week long his fans had been issuing glandular rebel yells and patting him on the back, urging him to go for every risky shot on this notoriously unforgiving golf course. One bit of fanciful Augusta lore holds that as he was trying to decide between going for the green or laying up, a big-time gambler — who stood to lose a fortune if one of the favorites got upset by some good-time hacker — took Billy Joe’s elbow and informed him that his mama had been rushed to the hospital back home, hoping this news might derail his freight train. No one knows for sure if that really happened, but Billy Joe chose to go for the green and knocked his second shot into the creek. After retrieving his ball from the water, choosing to play the chip in his bare feet, he slipped and dumped his ball in the water for a second time in ten minutes. The huge gallery went deathly quiet, witnessing every amateur’s nightmare being played out before them. Unsmiling for the first time that week, Billy Joe wound up with a double-bogey seven on the hole. Back on hole eleven, meanwhile, unaware of Billy Joe’s troubles ahead, Hogan made a rare tactical error by attacking a flag tucked in the lower front portion of the green; his approach shot trickled into the pond, producing a Greek chorus of groans from the vast galleries assembled on three pivotal holes in what Herb Wind would soon christen “Amen Corner.” Hogan took six there, but Billy Joe’s adrenaline and poor choices resulted in a costly bogey on fifteen. As he was tapping in for his seven at fifteen, three holes ahead Sam Snead finished his round with a workmanlike 72 that put him in the house at 289 — and, for the moment at least, in sole possession of the lead. His partisans were going crazy up on the hilltop by the clubhouse. Just under an hour later, however, Hogan limped home with an unhappy 75 that tied him. At this stage of his life and career, the last thing Ben wanted to endure was a playoff — especially against his greatest remaining rival. On the other hand, he was relieved that he wouldn’t have to battle an amateur with a wild swing and a free spirit for his third Masters title. By that point, Billy Joe Patton was standing under the famous oak tree by the clubhouse, enjoying a cold beverage and signing autographs and soaking up the congratulations of every Masters patron who passed by. A few minutes April/May 2012

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before, having just missed an eighteen-foot putt for birdie that would have put him in the playoff for the 1954 title, Billy Joe had dropped his head in disappointment — but quickly raised it again and beamed at the crowd, as if he still heard the angels singing. “They all wanted to shake his hand,” remembered CBS broadcaster and fellow North Carolinian John Derr. “Billy Joe was suddenly every ordinary golfer’s hero — a guy who’d nearly beaten the two finest players of the age on what was becoming the single most admired setting in golf.”


he next day’s playoff shaped up like a golf junkie’s dream come true, the two reigning titans of the game in a head-to-head rubber match for glory with all the intimacy of a country club match-play final. As events unfolded, however, they both played careful and fairly uninspired golf through twelve holes, but Snead made his move by making a birdie at thirteen. Showing visible signs of fatigue, Hogan three-putted on sixteen for a bogey four. During their match, it would be remembered, he reached every green in regulation whereas Snead hit only fourteen. But he needed thirty-six putts against his opponent’s thirty-three, and therein lay the winning margin. Ben shot 71, Sam a stroke better. At the presentation ceremony, as they posed with Bob Jones for a photograph with the real star of the week — the tournament’s low amateur — Snead grinned and said, “Hey, Billy Joe, you damn near got the whole turkey.” “Well, Sam, I gave it my best.” Billy Joe was still in a daze, he admitted later, because he’d learned his performance meant he would be invited back next year. Snead turned to Hogan. “It’s nice of you to let me have another one,” he drawled as Bob Jones helped him slip on his champion’s green jacket, then added playfully, “Hey, brother, I thought someone said you were going to retire. Did you forget?” Hogan smiled, always gracious in defeat. “Only how to putt, Sam,” he replied. The comment was telling. Neither man would win another major championship. From this moment, an officially “retired” Ben Hogan’s public appearances became much rarer events, highlighted by a pair of near-wins in the next two Masters and a trio of breathtakingly contested U.S. Opens in ’55, ’56, and ’60. He would win only one more tournament — his fourth Colonial National Invitational in 1959. At this point his vaunted skills would sharply taper away and his tournament entries would dwindle until they ceased altogether in 1971. The seemingly ageless Sam Snead, on the other hand, enjoyed something of a playing renaissance, winning fourteen more tour events and another six times on the senior tour. Similar to Hogan, he made bold runs at four more major championships only to come up just shy. Before he was finished, however, he would win five World Senior titles and continue to tour and give exhibitions until he became the pro emeritus at his beloved Greenbrier Resort in West Virginia, the first man to win a PGA event in six different decades. Whatever else is true of the 1954 Masters, the real winners that remarkable week were the Masters tournament itself and the game’s popularity in America at large. Patton’s play and the hugely anticipated battle royale between Hogan, Snead, and Nelson generated more press coverage around the world than any time since Jones left the game — confirming a growing belief that the Masters had finally achieved major parity with the British and American opens and the PGA Championship, bringing out the best in pro and amateur alike on a course that would soon be familiar to every golf fan on the planet. Billy Joe’s smiling mug appeared on the cover of Newsweek magazine, and golf writer Charlie Price declared that golf had a new “Give ’em hell people’s hero,” the kind of guy any fan could relate to. In the tournament’s afterglow, golf clubs across the land reported a significant uptick in membership inquiries, while driving ranges and public courses that summer reported record

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turnouts. The end of an era that Bill Campbell had sensed was real. In the same summer, a younger Coke-swigging amateur from western Pennsylvania won the United States Amateur Championship in Detroit and decided to try to make a living in professional golf. He, too, had a go-for-broke style that every golf fan could relate to. In some ways, Billy Joe Patton had merely been the warm- up act for Arnold Daniel Palmer. Within two years, the Masters would be televised for the first time; and two years after that Palmer would capture his first green jacket and the hearts of millions of American golfers.


f a single golf tournament ever had a more magical week I simply can’t name it,” Herb Wind told me one cool April afternoon in 2001, during what had become an annual post-Masters lunch at his retirement village north of Boston. “I agree with those who say Billy Joe’s Masters represented a turning point in the game of golf. Ben, Sam, and Byron, after all, had set the stage for golf’s greatest period of expansion. But they were just leaving that stage, passing the torch, if you will, to Arnold and Jack Nicklaus and eventually all the rest. Now we have young Tiger Woods.” Woods had won his first Masters in 1997, and this was our third spring luncheon, but I wasn’t there to talk about golf’s most exciting newcomer. I was there to collect Wind’s thoughts about Ben Hogan, Byron Nelson, Sam Snead, and the era of golf he perhaps understood better than anyone. Not long after I helped Arnold Palmer write his memoirs in 1998, Ben Hogan’s estate invited me to write an authorized biography of the most elusive superstar in the game’s history. Before I officially said yes, I wanted to talk with Herb in depth about Hogan’s career and to see if he shared my growing belief that Hogan, along with Snead and Nelson, had shaped modern golf in a number of ways. This wasn’t just my own theory. During my decade at Golf Magazine, and another ten years as golf correspondent for Departures, I’d spent a nice chunk of time interviewing early tour stars like Gene Sarazen, Henry Picard, and Paul Runyan, as well as a host of younger pros including Tommy Bolt, Cary Middlecoff, Jack Burke Jr., Mike Souchak, Bob Rosburg, Dow Finsterwald, Dave Marr, Don January, Ken Venturi, Jack Fleck, Eddie Merrins, amateur legends Bill Campbell and Harvie Ward, and, of course, the incomparable Arnold Palmer. To a man, in some form or another, they pointed to the galvanizing effect that Hogan, Snead, and Nelson had on the game. In 1994, I spent two days chatting with Byron Nelson at his Fairway Ranch in Roanoke, Texas, ostensibly to gather insights for the fiftieth anniversary of his remarkable year in 1945, when he captured eleven tournaments in a row and won a total of eighteen in all. Much of our conversation dwelt on Byron’s early career and his relationship with his leading two rivals. Remarkably, they were all born in 1912 and broke through in quick succession to revive public interest in golf in the midst of the darkest days of the Great Depression. A few months later, I called on Sam Snead at the Greenbrier and enjoyed two days of golf and conversation with one of the most colorful, beloved, and controversial players of his time. Sam’s seven major titles and eighty- two official victories made him the winningest player in PGA history, but I sensed that, not unlike his old rival Byron, he felt a little forgotten by writers and fans of the modern age. When I pointed out that I had just been hired to help Palmer write his long-awaited memoirs, Sam laughed and said in a low growl, “Well, you tell Arnold if it hadn’t been for me and old Ben and Byron, hell, nobody would’ve ever heard of him!” He graciously invited me to come visit him up at his home in Hot Springs, Virginia, when I finished this project so we could “talk some more.” I assured him I would love nothing better. This was the background for my lunch visit with Herb Wind in 2001, when I wanted to hear what the dean of American golf writers, and coauthor The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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of Ben’s best-selling Five Lessons: The Modern Fundamentals of Golf, had to say about his mythic friend, but also about Sam and Byron. Herb laughed when I told him what Sam had told me to tell Arnold Palmer, and smiled rather knowingly when I suggested it was a shame that up until then no one had produced major biographies on Sam and Byron like the one I was embarking upon with Ben. The deeper I got into my subject, the more I realized the critical roles Snead and Nelson played in shaping Hogan’s life and golf game — not to mention reviving the game at a time when professional golf could easily have slipped back to little more than a second- rate sport. “You’re quite right. Both Byron and Sam, I think, perhaps feel a little forgotten in light of the so-called Hogan mystique.” He paused to taste his chilled cucumber soup in the empty, sun-filled dining room. We were sitting by a large picture window, and through the glass the first brave tulips were poking up their heads to face yet another reluctant New England spring. “There’s no question that Sam feels slighted by history and the golf establishment at large. Most of that stems from his painful record in the Opens. He never won our Open and, in fact, managed to lose several of them in the most agonizing ways possible. Generally speaking, no player is regarded as truly great unless he wins the tournament believed to be the hardest of all to win — our own Open. Sam could easily have won several of them, five or six by his own count, but he always seemed to author a different way to lose it. In doing so, he became convinced, as he once told me, that he was terribly jinxed. That’s why winning that final Masters in 1954 meant so much to him.” I asked if Sam’s colorful personality might have contributed to his image problems. Growing up in his adopted home of Greensboro, I’d heard enough darkly amusing stories about the Slammer to know that while his unfiltered backwoods showmanship appealed to millions of fans, some of his less savory comments and antics rubbed others the wrong way. His off-color humor, for instance, was legendary. At one point, I asked Arnold Palmer about the annual Champions Dinner at Augusta, a tradition Ben Hogan started with money from his own pocket in 1953. Arnold smiled, shook his head, and said, “The dinner is never complete until Sam displays his physical prowess by kicking the top of the door and tells an even worse joke than the year before — at which point Byron politely excuses himself and goes home to bed.” At the other end of the spectrum, however, I knew from many conversations with Sam’s closest friends that he was a man of uncommon generosity, quietly assisting groups and individuals who needed a financial boost — belying his popular image as that of a wealthy skinflint who kept his money safely stashed in a tin can buried in his backyard. If you scratched the surface of town life in Hot Springs, one found such stories were quite commonplace, almost always involving a local youngster, family, or organization in financial need. Moreover, I knew from my own experiences around him that, depending on his mood and the circumstances, Samuel Jackson Snead could be as charming and smooth as a Spanish diplomat — or as chilly as the January wind. “The darker side of Sam’s large charisma,” his longtime friend Bill The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Campbell told me one winter afternoon at his home in West Virginia, “is that Sam is possibly the most unfiltered and honest fellow you’ll ever meet. Sam never left any doubt about how he felt about a person or circumstance. In this way he was pretty simple — and yet, to my way of thinking, he might have been the most interesting and complex of the three.” Herb nodded. “Sam was an original, no question about it. That’s what endeared him to so many at a time when the game desperately needed a bonafide star and headline maker. The tour was really struggling when Sam broke through out west and won a flurry of tournaments on the winter tour in 1937. He was a complete unknown, a plainspoken hillbilly from the Blue Ridge Mountains, as they portrayed him — but he gave golf a legitimate star at a moment when the tour could easily have gone under. That same year, Byron won his first Masters and Sam nearly won the Open. People really started to pay attention to them, and interest in professional golf suddenly grew. Two years after that, Byron Nelson won the Open and the year after that, of course, Ben broke through at Pinehurst and won three tournaments in a matter of weeks. Suddenly you had three hot players making headlines.” Herb sipped his cucumber soup again and added, “There’s something else I find fascinating, and no one has really written about this effect. If you look at the long history of golf, any time there were two or three great rivals in the game, the game flourished. In early Scotland you had the famous challenge money matches of the Morrises, young and old Tom, and Allan Robertson and later the Dunns from North Berwick. Then came Britain’s Great Triumvirate of Vardon, Taylor, and Braid. They created golf’s first popular golf boom and exported the passion for the game to our shores. We soon had our own homegrown stars and great rivals in the form of Bobby Jones, Walter Hagen, and Gene Sarazen. Golf grew in boundless leaps during these periods — and so, I might add, did the technology. That seemed to advance significantly any time there was a trio of stars.” “So how,” I asked bluntly, “do Sam, Byron, and Ben rank in terms of trios of rivals?” He looked up at me, glanced out the window at the emerging tulips, pursed his lips, and gently shook his graying head, his spoon hovering midair. Every year, I knew from his caregiver, Herb’s brilliant mind was a little more fragile. But his eyes had a sympathetic, alert look in them, and his mind seemed to be happily roaming the fairways of his glorious reporting days. It would be the last lunch we ever had together. “Perhaps I’m not the most neutral of observers on this subject, but I always felt there were never three better players who came along at the same moment — and did so much to propel the game forward. Any one of the three would have made that time remarkable. But the fact that Sam, Byron, and Ben all three appeared at the same moment and effectively changed how golf was perceived in this country — not to mention launched it into the modern era in terms of equipment and the many things they innovated — sets them apart, at least in my judgment, as the finest trio of any time.” April/May 2012

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Before I could agree with him, my host added, with visible emotion, “You know they were all three born the same year — 1912. What a remarkable year. Fenway Park opened and the Titanic sunk. The fact that two of the three came out of the same caddie yard down in Texas is extraordinary. Equally important, I think, is the fact that their individual personalities, playing styles, and personal values couldn’t have been more different. That’s why each generated his own large group of die- hard followers. They shaped the game and influenced every generation of players that followed them. They introduced practices and ideas that are commonplace today.” “I keep thinking somebody should write about them,” I heard myself say, something I’d been thinking about for months. “A book, I mean, about the effect their trio had on golf.” “Theirs is an extraordinary story that deserves to be told,” he said, then looked at me and smiled again. “I think of them, in fact, as our great triumvirate — the American Triumvirate.”


hen I mentioned Herb’s comments to Byron a few days later in Roanoke, he merely smiled. His second wife, Peggy, had made us a delicious lunch and lit a crackling fire in their den. After lunch, he showed me some beautiful woodworking projects he was working on out in his shop — one of them being a small chest for Tom Watson’s daughter, Meg — and now we’d settled in his den to continue our conversation about the early days of the tour. The afternoon had turned gray and cold and Peggy had placed a beautiful plaid blanket on her husband’s legs. “That’s very kind of Herb to say,” said Byron. “Looking back, it was an amazing time in golf. But I sometimes feel like it happened to someone other than me. I really think Sam and Ben deserve the lion’s share of the attention because they won more tournaments than I did.” “But only because you retired so early,” I suggested. The official PGA Tour record book spoke for itself. Sam Snead is credited with eighty-two tournament victories, a number that includes seven major championships. Ben Hogan’s official number is nine majors and sixty wins, spanning a career that reached its celebrated apogee atop golf’s Mount Olympus in 1953. Byron Nelson’s total of fifty-two wins and five major championships takes on deeper significance when you take a closer look at his historic final year: he won eighteen out of thirty tournaments, collected seven second-place finishes and produced a scoring average of 68.33 that stood as a record for more than half a century. A common but false assumption is that Byron, who was deemed unfit for active military service due to a congenital blood disorder, pulled off the feat while much of his competition was away in the service. In fact, Sam played in twenty-seven events in 1945 and Ben played in eighteen. Both stars played in more than twenty-seven events in 1946 while Byron — preparing to officially retire and start his cattle ranch — scaled back to twenty-one. Between the resumption of the tour in 1944 and his final appearance in late 1946, Byron won an astonishing thirty-five of his last seventy- six tournaments. Moreover, between 1945 and 1953, at least one member of this American Triumvirate won a tournament or finished in the top three more than 60 percent of the time. The record for the most wins in a season was, of course, owned by Byron, with eighteen, but the second and third names on the record list belonged to Ben (thirteen in 1946) and Sam (eleven in 1950). Not even

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Tiger Woods has ever come close to these marks. Finally, recordkeeping was at best sketchy and at worst nonexistent back then, and in fact all three won dozens more tournaments than they were officially given credit for by the modern Tour. Sam’s partians, for instance, insist he won more than 135 tournaments: he himself claimed the PGA Tour should have at a minimum recognized 115 wins. Likewise, Byron captured at least two dozen two-or three-day events that aren’t included in his total, and Ben told friends he won eighty-five tournaments of some sort or another. So a rough count suggests some 276 victories between the three of them. Byron Nelson was in his prime, just thirty-four, when he walked away from the game, not unlike his friend and hero Bobby Jones. So one can only imagine what his “official” number would have been had he competed another dozen years. Something else to consider is which of the three men — at his peak — was actually the best player. Fans of Byron point out he had five major championships under his belt when he retired in 1946 — two Masters titles, two PGAs, and one U.S. Open. Entering that season, Sam had laid claim to only one major title, the 1942 PGA, but went on to win the British Open at St. Andrews. Ben won his first major championship that summer, too, the first of his two PGA Championships. “If Byron had wanted to keep playing,” Bob Rosburg once told me, “I have no doubt the record everyone would be chasing today would have belonged to him.” True to his gentle, self-effacing nature and deep Christian convictions that regarded earthly achievements as secondary to matters of personal faith, Byron shrugged off these points as I politely raised them in his cozy den. “You know,” he said in his flat Texas drawl, “I know this may sound kind of strange to some folks, but I always considered the things I did after my playing days ended really more significant. I became a good rancher and very active in my church life. I had time to help a few young players who were coming along about that time. Eventually I became a broadcaster and became involved with the golf tournament over in Dallas. I know folks remember me for that eleven in a row, but to tell the truth, nothing meant more to me than helping people.” Unlike Sam or Ben, who enjoyed sweetheart deals with leading golf clubs and resorts that required little more than the use of their names, Byron remained an active head club professional almost up to the day he left the Tour, making his professional feats even more impressive. The young players he worked with included Frank Stranahan, Ken Venturi, Harvie Ward, Dave Marr, Johnny Miller, Corey Pavin, and Ben Crenshaw. His work and close friendship with Tom Watson preceded Watson’s breakthrough and evolution into a major champion. “There’s no question that Byron unlocked the mystery of the modern golf swing,” Venturi told me over the phone a few days before I ventured out to see Byron in Roanoke for the final time. “As far as I’m concerned, he really is the father of the modern golf swing. His golf instruction books — like Ben’s — shaped thousands of young golf swings, including my own, and they’re still doing it today. But more importantly, Byron is the finest gentleman and perhaps the greatest ambassador golf has ever had. He represents everything that is good about the game and the people who love it. In that respect, he touched untold millions.” Indeed, his knowledge of the swing — and mastery of it — prompted the USGA to nickname its own testing robot “Iron Byron.” Perhaps the straightThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

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est driver of the ball ever, he is credited with developing the techniques that moved golf from the hickory shaft to the steel shaft era. “Byron’s divots are so straight,” Dave Marr once remarked, “they look like dollar bills.” The first player to become a full-time TV commentator, he led the way for Venturi, Miller, and several others. Then he focused his energies on the tournament in nearby Dallas that became the first PGA event to be permanently named in honor of a player, the Byron Nelson Classic, helping the Salesmanship Club of that city establish the model of charitable giving that’s standard on tour today. His tenure as an honorary starter at the Masters lasted twenty years, almost a decade longer than anyone else. During our last afternoon together in 2001, Byron seemed both eager to help with my Ben Hogan biography and pleased and a little surprised when I told him that Herb Wind had given me a broader idea, the story of an American Triumvirate. “I will say this,” he told me as we stood outside in a warm Texas wind before we shook hands and said goodbye. “It always struck me as unfortunate that Ben Hogan never really permitted the world to see who he really was — and by that I mean to say not just the cold and intimidating figure so many people think of. But the nice man I knew growing up, and the friend I grew close to when we traveled the early tour together with our wives. We had some wonderful times. And Ben has been both a friend and an inspiration to this game. Millions have tried to copy his golf swing. Every year seems to bring a new book about his secret. That should tell you something.” “And what about Sam?” I had to ask, recalling Arnold’s remark about the Champions Dinner, inwardly bracing for the response. But Lord Byron just smiled. “Sam is Sam. People either love or dislike Sam. There’s no in between. Part of it is Sam doesn’t care for strangers. But if he knows and trusts you, he can be the sole of charm. He’s a lot more complex than most people think, and I’ve always believed he’s a little misunderstood. He was very good for the game — the first serious athlete who kept himself in top shape. They all do that on tour these days. But Sam was the first. There’s never been a more gifted natural player.” Then he winked at me and added, “That’s why he and I still show up to hit the first shots at Augusta every spring, you know. Sam still tries to outdrive me, though I tell him, ‘Why shouldn’t you, Sam? I’ve been retired from golf for over fifty years!’”

f A little over a year after Ben Hogan: An American Life was published, I stopped off in Latrobe during the 2006 U.S. Open to see the new house my boyhood hero Arnold Palmer had built for his new wife, Kit, a gracious lady from California. Following the Saturday afternoon telecast from Winged Foot, Arnold and I went to dinner at the country club where he’d grown up and his father, Deacon, had been the professional. We sat at a small table by the window and talked about his grandson Sam’s pending matriculation from Clemson to the Tour, my recent relocation from Maine to my native North Carolina, and how Tiger Woods now owned the PGA Tour and it seemed only a matter of time before he bettered Jack Nicklaus’s record of eighteen major championships. Arnold seemed pleased to learn I was happy to be back in my old boyhood stomping ground — where I’d first seen him play at the Greater Greensboro Open — and congratulated me on winning the USGA’s Herbert Warren Wind Book Award for my biography on Ben Hogan. Ironically, Herb Wind had passed away just one week before the start of the Open at Pinehurst in 2005, the event that prompted my relocation home to North Carolina. It felt as if a circle had been completed for me — though, as I admitted to Arnold, thanks to Herb, I still had some unfinished business with Sam, Byron, and Ben. I told him about the triumvirate idea and wondered if he felt, as I did, that these three remarkable sons of 1912 — so utterly different in every respect — The Art & Soul of Greensboro

had collectively saved the ailing professional golf tour, elevating it to heights it hadn’t enjoyed since the days of Jones and Hagen, and set the stage, as it were, for the coming of a king. Arnold pondered for a moment. “You know,” he finally began, “when I decided to turn professional, as Pap warned me, there wasn’t a great deal of money in the professional game. Only a handful of players made a good living at it. It was still something of a vagabond’s life. Most guys went broke out there. But the three guys we all looked to were Sam, Byron, and Hogan. They’d proved you could make a good living just playing golf and they did things that nobody else had ever done before.” “Such as?” “Well, let’s start with Sam. I met him first. We had a lot of fun playing together. Sam was a serious athlete who made the game look easy and fun to play. People were naturally drawn to that. He was always clowning around, making people smile, which made him all the more popular. I was an athlete, too, and in that respect he became a role model for me. I saw how he took care of himself and extended his career for decades. When talk about starting up a senior tour got serious, Sam was the first guy they called. He’s one reason I supported the senior tour so enthusiastically — now called the Champions Tour, of course. Sam was great for golf.” “Byron?” “Well, for me, Byron was the definition of a gentleman, the greatest ambassador of the game I ever saw. There’s no question his golf swing took the game into the modern era, and his year in 1945 will never be equaled, period. The work he did on TV and with his charity tournament were the models for those who came after him. Byron’s real gift is for people. He loves people and they love him. Don’t believe he’s ever turned anyone down for anything, including an autograph or a speaking engagement. He cares deeply about the traditions and he’s inspired so many great young players in the game. I’d say he really influenced me the most of the three.” “How about Ben?” Arnold smiled. A commonly held view is that Hogan resented this brash and upstart kid from Pennsylvania whose style left nothing in the bag and the massive galleries he quickly generated — an army on the hoof, so to speak. Tellingly, in my presence at least, Arnold always referred to Sam and Byron by their first names, Hogan by his last. “You know, Hogan and I actually liked each other. We had our differences but certainly had great respect for each other. He was a true professional in every respect of the word. I think the essential difference between us is that Hogan didn’t need anyone but Hogan and I was more like Sam and Byron. I needed the fans. Still, you can’t argue with the things he accomplished — the way he meticulously practiced and prepared for a tournament, the ability he developed to summon whatever was necessary to win, not to mention the really fine equipment company he created after he left the game. These were all important improvements, things taken for granted in golf today. And the difficulties he overcame also can’t be overstated. Unless you’ve won a Masters or a U.S. Open or a British Open, you have no idea how difficult that is to do. Hogan earned his glory — and in doing so he made a lot of people pay attention to the game of golf.” Before I could ask him another question, Arnold said, “There’s no question in my mind, they paved the way for the rest of us.” “You mean the Big Three?” I asked — referring, of course, to the triumvirate of Palmer, Nicklaus, and Player that dominated golf through the 1960s and early ’70s, yet further proof of Herb Wind’s theory about the power of three. “No,” Arnold came back. “I mean all of us. You. Me. Anyone who loves golf. Even Tiger Woods. We all owe them a big debt of gratitude.” This, coming from the most charismatic and influential figure in modern golf history, really meant something. And it seemed like both a good ending point for a fine evening with my boyhood hero and a great starting point for American Triumvirate. April/May 2012

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Cue Fools An eight-hour road trip — belch — in search of the perfect local barbecue


By DAVID c. BAIley • PhotogrAPhs By MArk WAgoner

t 9:30 a.m., four of us are sharing a plate of “crunch” for breakfast at Country Barbecue, with a cup of “dip” on the side. To any of you who might be uninitiated in the mysteries of Tar Heel barbecue, crunch — or brown, as you sometimes hear it called — is the sheared-off, seared-tocrispy-perfection exterior of a pork shoulder, cooked low and slow for 12 hours. Not every cue joint serves it. And, FYI, dip is the thin vinegar-and-pepper sauce that the barbecue has been mopped with during the last hour or so of cooking, available only upon request. I wanted my elite producttesting unit to try what, in my not so humble opinion, is the

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best crunch in the Piedmont. And by the way, the barbecue we’re having for breakfast at Country is the first of seven meals I’ve scheduled for my crew on this sunny Wednesday. O.Henry Editor and Greensboro native Jim Dodson, whom we’ll call the Badger, is a complete stranger to crunch, and he’s seriously chowing down on it, dousing it with the dip, which he pronounces “sweet with some pop to it.” Raised on Eastern cue in Greenville, O.Henry Publisher David Woronoff (just call him the Fox for his lean and hungry look) is particularly surprised when he learns that Country Barbecue isn’t cooked over hickory coals, though hickory chips are used in its preparation. “I really like the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

brown, and I didn’t think I would, slabbed off like that,” the Fox observes. Our photographer, Mark Wagoner, who’s tall, expansive and constantly curious, like the big, friendly Bear that he is, agrees with my assessment of Country’s crunch. His studio is just around the corner and he’s partial to Country’s chicken. The Badger tries another few forkfuls of cue with the Lexington-style house sauce, but prefers the dip, as I do. “The fries are merely OK,” he says. “Pace yourself,” I advise Badger. “We’re not even judging fries and we’ve got six more plates to go.” Just think of me as a wise old Owl. And to tell the truth, I do have, in all honesty, a little bit more experience in eating and judging barbecue than my fellow diners. I completed extensive oral exams with the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) at Greasehouse University at the World Series of BBQ, aka the American Royal in Kansas City, Missouri. Then I went on to judge the Jack Daniel’s World Championship in Tennessee. “Often judges come to eat, not to judge,” Ed Roith, the KCBS’s authority on grilling, once advised me during a class on judging barbecue. “If you consume everything that’s put on your plate today, you’ll eat two� pounds of meat. Now who wants to do that?” (Actually, a fair number of barbecue judges take a stab at it. KCBS T-shirts come in no smaller size than L and are available in XXXXL.) But the point is that a truly contest-hardened judge takes a very small portion, then smells, savors, slowly chews it, and immediately records his or her impression. And then stops eating. Sounds easy, but it’s really tough when a big plate of magnificent cue is singing a come-hither siren’s song. Next stop, Stamey’s on High Point Road. “This is my home church,” the Badger announces as he tucks a napkin under his chin and pops several hush puppies into his mouth. “Taste that perfect red slaw,” he says, shoveling it in. “I’ve eaten a pint of it before.” Stamey’s barbecue slaw is tangy and crisp, as good as we’ll eat all day. The hush puppies are crunchy and not overly sweet. “Look at me and you’ll see Stamey’s barbecue,” the Badger tells our waitress, pointing to a “barbecue belt” north of his waistline. On the side, the Badger is also working on a bowl of Stamey’s iconic peach cobbler. We all agree that Stamey’s cue has a wonderful smoky sweetness that’s perfectly complemented by a classic vinegary sauce that has only a hint of tomato in it. Stamey’s barbecue, the Bear observes, is benchmark, and, above all else, consistent. Compared with Country’s crunchy cue, Stamey’s is almost refined. We’ve all finished our barbecue and the Bear is taking close-ups of this and that while the Badger is rhapsodizing about the cobbler’s tangy-but-sweet appeal. The Fox gets a text message from his coach: “Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” There’s nothing left on the table except one lone hush puppy and some thick, orangish peach-cobbler juice in the bottom of the bowl. The Badger goes for it, sopping up the juice with that one lone puppy. “Not bad,” he says. In the van on the way to Asheboro, the Badger and the Fox allow as how they, too, are veteran barbecue judges. The The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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event? The Carthage Buggy Festival, not that I’m dissing either Carthage or buggies. Their training? Instead of the hours I spent in a classroom and in the field with world famous barbecue chefs, they were shown which end of the fork to employ, they were seated before 23 plates of barbecue and told to dig in. “What else do you do when someone puts barbecue in front of you?” the Badger says. “You eat it.” As the plates kept coming, the pair kept tucking in — until the horizon started shifting. “I felt the Earth moving beneath my feet,” the Badger admitted in print recently, “and had to make haste for a remote corner of the festivities where, as they say, I got to taste all that barbecue a second time.” The Fox boasts that staying hydrated kept him from a similar fate. At Blue Mist, we find the slaw superb, the sauce sassy and the surroundings as if time has stood still since 1948. We all agreed later that the barbecue, though nicely infused with hickory smoke, was a bit too sweet and moist for our taste — which didn’t stop the Badger from revisiting it several times because he liked the sauce so much. After picking up the check, the Badger tells us about an exchange between two of the waitresses at the cash register. “Everything is original here, exactly like it was in 1948, even the bathrooms,” he says one observed. “Except now the toilets flush,” the other waitress shot back. As we head toward High Point, the Fox observes, “Jimbo, you’re as green as a leprechaun.” The Bear wonders whether opening a window might help, obviously a bit concerned about his van’s interior. “On the way back from the Buggy Festival,” the Badger admits, “the highway started to move up and down and I’ve never been the same since.” But all it takes is a Coke at Kepley’s in High Point to bring the Badger back to life. None of us has visited this consummate BBQ joint, a converted World War II Quonset hut that is literally smoking when we get there. The slaw’s super creamy. The dip is almost atomic in its intensity. The cue is classic, every bit as good as Stamey’s. A dish of blackberry cobbler gets the Badger’s attention. Me, I can’t resist the skin sandwich. An almost paper thin piece of pork rind is fried only moments before it is sandwiched in a bun with slaw. Its marvelous aroma, a blend of fried pork and vinegary slaw, tickles my nostrils as it resounds with a crunch heard all across High Point. “Ewwww,” groans the disapproving Fox. The gospel of Kepley’s Cue, according to owner Bob Burleson: “Mr. Kepley, he was from Salisbury and he got his recipe from the eastern part of the state and started a place he called the Red Pig. Then he moved to Albemarle and ran a place down there. When he came here, he just kept the same recipe and, of course, I went to work for him when I was 16. I also worked for Warner Stamey for a while, back when I was young. I worked over there in Greensboro in front of, well, the Coliseum wasn’t there then, there was a big ball field there back then. “I kept the same recipe as Mr. Kepley here, just like it was then, and now it’s a historical site and it would be foolish to

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

change anything. It’s an old Army Quonset hut, a barracks that the men slept in. “My sauce hasn’t got ketchup in it. It’s got more of a sour twang to it. It has red peppers in it. That’s what makes the red-hot sauce. This here’s the dip and you put that on when you chop it up. And when you serve it, some people shake on the red sauce to make it hotter. We cook it overnight, about 10 to 12 hours — hams, shoulders and Boston butts. Two or three come in during the night and keep it going. “We’ve been here 64 years and we’re still doing the same thing. Now I have done a lot of other things, but I keep coming back here because I like it. I’m 80 years old and I just sit here and run this thing.” There’s not much chatter coming from the Badger and the Fox as the van rolls up and down hill country on the way to Madison and Fuzzy’s. The Bear allows as how just thinking about the upcoming stop at Short Sugar’s has made him hungry. The Fox chows down at Fuzzy’s and praises what he calls “hot dog slaw.” He also munches away at the hush puppies, which are small and longish, but tasty. The cue’s a bit on the sweet side, we agree, and too moist for some of us. Not even a big bowl of banana pudding rouses the Badger from his torpor. He groans as we cruise on to Reidsville. Short Sugar’s Pit Bar-B-Q is home base for both the Bear and myself. What’s really distinctive about the place, other than its classic drive-in diner style, is the sauce. For barbecue traditionalists, there’s just one way to describe it: weird. It’s jet black. It doesn’t contain tomatoes or red pepper to any appreciable extent. And it’s almost as sweet as molasses, which some conjecture is a main ingredient. (Local lore has it that the streets of Reidsville once ran with molasses when a tanker truck on the way to Short Sugar’s had a wreck.) But it is peppery and, as the Badger now discovers, addictive. First, he squirts some on his finger and licks it. Then he jets some onto the cue, which he forks into his mouth. Now he’s daubing hush puppies with it. The Badger’s gotten his second wind, maybe based on our decision to postpone our planned visit to Hursey’s in Burlington until later. At each location, I’ve tasked my testers with coming up with a noteworthy dish well worth the calories. At Short Sugar’s, we’re drawing a blank. Overcome by a wave of truthfulness, the waitress tells us that nothing else other than the slaw and cue are house-made or uniquely delicious. Having eaten at Short Sugar’s for decades, I’d have to agree. The Bear, who still drops into Short Sugar’s whenever he visits relatives, does not. “I’m going to get the same side I always got in high school,” he says. “A hot dog.” Fox, Badger and the wise old Owl are quite literally speechless, but the Bear isn’t: “One dog, mustard and chili.” Wait for it: “Me too,” the Badger blurts out, “but all the way.” And as I watch the pair of them tuck into their hot dogs like, well, a couple of animals, I realize that all the training and experience in the world can’t hold a candle to being able to drop back into the unrestrained mindset of a starving teenager. OH

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s will immediately be obvious to anyone who knows Piedmont North Carolina barbecue, this survey of cue joints within a 25-mile radius of Greensboro is not by any stretch of the imagination comprehensive. We tried, however, to include places whose reputations are nothing short of legendary. The lowest score, two piggies, doesn’t mean we didn’t like the place or the barbecue served there. In fact, we’d highly

recommend you try every single place on the list. It just means that we liked some cue and some places better than others. And our measure for transcendent barbecue and authenticity will be different from yours. In coming up with a final rating, food categories such as the barbecue itself, the slaw, the hush puppies and the sauce were more heavily weighted than ambience, service or even sanita-

Kepley’s Barbecue

Stamey’s Barbecue

since 1948, 1304 North Main Street, High Point, (336) 884-1021 www.kepleysbarbecue.com

Country Barbecue

since 1953, 2206 High Point Road, Greensboro, (336) 294-2570 www.stameys.com

since 1975, 4012 West Wendover Avenue, Greensboro, (336) 292-3557

Ambient aroma

Mighty strong

Fills the air


Exterior and interior decor

Nothing short of historic

Pleasantly rustic

Nothing to brag about

Classic Eastern-style, not too sweet

Lexington-style, with a hint of sweetness

Outside meat is wonderfully crunchy with Lexington-style sauce

Tart and crisp

Tangy and spicy, with an excellent crunchy texture

Spicy and fine-textured

Pork skins available




Noteworthy dish

Blackberry cobbler

Peach cobbler

Tenderloin biscuit

Outside or crunch available




The cue itself

BBQ slaw Creamy slaw Hush puppies

The house sauce

General ambience, friendliness and service

Overall score

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April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

tion. In rating each place numerically, our product tasters also considered factors such as size of the woodpile, the number of pickup trucks in the parking lot and whether paper over china service is favored. (We like cue served on paper trays.) Finally, we took into consideration the overall “barbecue experience” and utilized an “authenticity quotient” in scoring each restaurant.

Short Sugar’s Drive In

Fuzzy’s Bar-B-Que

since 1949, 1328 South Scales Street, Reidsville, (336) 342-7487 shortsugarsbar-b-q.com

since 1954, 407 Highway Street, Madison, (336) 427-4130

That said, I’ve never written about barbecue without ruffling a whole lot of feathers. Tell us what you think and we’ll share it with our readers. And we promise this won’t be the last time barbecue gets sandwiched between the pages of O.Henry magazine. Send your suggestions of other spots to be featured to bbq@ ohenrymag.com.

Blue Mist Barbecue

Hursey’s Pig Pickin’ Bar-B-Q,

since 1948, 3409 US Highway 64 East, Asheboro, (336) 625-3980

1834 S Church Street, Burlington, (336) 226-1694 hurseysbarbecue.com

Just a whiff




Authentic diner-style

So very 1950s

Locked in time

Imitation rustic

Imbued with the signature black sauce

Sweet and moist

Moist and sweet

Outside meat was dry and a bit overcooked





Creamy and fresh

Excellent, a lot like beach slaw

Very tasty, sweet-and-sour






Hot dog

Hush puppies


Strawberry cobbler





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Story of a House

True Southern Comfort For Kay Cashion and her family, the historic Edwards House is a work of art worth preserving — and living in every day By Ashley Wahl • Photographs By Stacey Van Berkel

“A house that does not have one worn, comfy chair in it is soulless.” — May Sarton


oors swung open and slammed shut. Slumber parties stretched from the formal living room, across the foyer and into the dining room. The walls positively pulsed with music. “This has always been a place you can live in,” says Kay Cashion of her historic house in Sunset Hills — the grand old neoclassical home on the corner of West Greenway Drive and Madison Avenue in which she raised four children and has spent nearly four decades growing an extensive art collection, accruing mementos from various community engagements and, of course, rearranging furniture. Worn, comfy chairs included. Meet Kay Cashion: county commissioner, interior decorator, mama, grandma, humanitarian. Wearer of many hats. In 1973, Kay and her former husband, Sonny, happened upon this stately gem, which was built in 1926 by Charles Edwards, president of the Gate City Motor Company. Most recently, it had served as a parsonage for a Congregational Christian church. The wallpaper didn’t suit Kay’s taste. But structurally the place was sound. And perfect, she thought, for a family of six. “I had looked at a lot of houses before walking through this one,” Kay The Art & Soul of Greensboro

remembers, desperate to find a home with enough bedrooms for each of the kids to have his or her own. “This was the first house I’d found that I would not have to add a room here or tear down a wall there to suit our needs. I loved it the way it was.” Or almost: Down came six layers of wallpaper. In moved six Cashions. Adieu, they said, to their house in Lake Daniel. Exhibiting architectural characteristics typical of neoclassical house plans — such as the grand two-story portico and stately symmetrical design — the Edwards manse was one of several substantial dwellings to be erected in Sunset Hills during the neighborhood’s infancy in the late 1920s. The imposing structure, which calls to mind a Gothic mansion, is credited to architect Lorenzo Simmons Winslow, who practiced architecture in the Gate City for a dozen years before moving to Washington, D.C., where he served as architect for the White House for two decades. Andrew Leopold Schlosser, experts speculate, did the stonework. Kay points out an “S” on the false chimney. Architectural quirks abound. Note the classical columns and second-level wrought iron balcony; ditto the handsome stone sheathing, done with North Carolina granite from a quarry in Mount Airy. Beveled glass windows frame the front door. Inside: Mahogany doors with satin wood inlay and original crystal hardware, original light fixtures, quartersawn oak floors, plaster crown moldings and arched entryways. All juxtaposed with Kay’s Southern flair, of course — luscious satin and faille curtains, floral patterned such-and-suches, and warmcolored rugs, upholstery, and, yes, even wallpaper. An open floor plan joins the foyer with formal living and dining rooms. From the living room: French doors open into a cozy, curved-ceiling den with original broken tile floor, granite walls and a decorative granite fireplace feaApril/May 2012

O.Henry 85

turing masterful grapevine masonry. The sunroom on the opposite wing lives up to its name. Find four bedrooms and two baths (with original tile and fixtures) on the second floor. The master suite downstairs has a black-and-white tile bathroom and one-person shower. The first floor alone offers space enough for Kay to entertain upward of a hundred people — which she does. Guests sit in the spacious living room, dining room, breakfast room and den. Live entertainment sets up in the sunroom. As for the kitchen? “A kitchen is a kitchen,” Kay says of the modest space, complete with walk-in pantry and old appliances. “I’ve never felt the need to renovate,” she says. “Mine works just fine.” She did, however, install two rustic wooden ceiling beams, which, complemented by warm wooden cabinets and simple plaid shades, give the kitchen a “country-French” feel. “I brought them in from an old barn,” she says, suddenly reminiscent of her childhood. Kay grew up milking cows and working on her family’s tobacco farm in Caswell County. She was the second oldest of nine children. And yes, she tells her grandchildren, she walked a mile-and-a-half to the bus stop each day. “I came along right after the Depression into a family who had lost all of their money and had to start all over again,” says Kay. “You learn how to innovate.” She learned how to sew. And in home ec, absorbed the basics of interior design. “My mom used to joke that when she’d leave me at home with the children, she never knew where she might find her bed when she got back. I was always moving around the furniture,” she says. Some time after graduating from the Woman’s College (UNCG) with a business degree, Kay met Sonny. She was living in an apartment on North Mendenhall Street. The Cashions moved into the house across the street. They fought for parking spaces. First came milkshakes. Then came marriage. When Sonny’s father became terminally ill in 1970, he wanted his wife by his side. Kay was called in to manage the family business. When she and Sonny divorced in 1990, she bought out Sonny’s share and became sole proprietor of Cashion’s Furniture and Decorating. “I didn’t want our differences to be a problem for the children,” says Kay, who stayed friends with Sonny and, after his death, sponsored a bench at Lake Daniel in his honor.

Left: The formal living room is a showcase of Cashion’s style — subtle, Southern elegance. Right: Arched entryways, antique light fixtures and symmetrical wings make for a grand entrance.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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A charming breakfast room — stocked with quaint china and handmade wares — conjoins dining room and kitchen.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Vertical grass paper in the formal dining room makes wall art pop.

Kay’s clientele describe her style as “subtle, Southern elegance.” Seems to fit her personality fine too. And the way she talks, peppering her sentences with quintessentially Southerly exclamations. And her home, for that matter, which is neither stuffy nor antiseptic, but comfortable, with décor fit for a Southern belle. Nearly every piece of furniture has a story. Many came from estates. The camelback sofa once belonged to an ambassador. A Victorian sofa was part of a package deal — “all I really wanted were a couple of chairs and mirrors,” Kay says. An upstairs bedroom hosts a bed frame crafted by Caswell County’s famous African-American furniture maker, Thomas Day, which Kay found in an antique store on South Elm Street several years ago and bought on a layaway plan. “I didn’t need it. But I sure wanted it.” French and English chairs wear their original tapestry. “I wouldn’t dare change it. It’ll just have to disintegrate there.” And then there’s her art. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I just don’t know how I could ever do without my art.” Vertical grass paper was used in the dining room to create a backdrop for Kay’s art. But there’s artwork everywhere — an eclectic collection giving the walls a gallery-like impression. And what an array. A pencil Picasso is dated from 1904. Somewhere hangs a pseudo Dali. There’s a David Bass collection and several other works by local artists, including Bruce Shores, Harrison Rucker, Jack Stratton and Bill Mangum. A pair of watercolors came from an antique shop in Edinburgh, Scotland. “Actually, they were being unloaded from a truck out front when I spotted them,” Kay says, and they reminded her of a trip she took to London. Portraits of her daughters also decorate the walls: Susan is above the grand piano — a 1926 Baldwin; Nancy is in the hallway. As a commissioner, Kay has been delighted to pursue several of her interests. “Trouble is, everything interests me,” she says with a laugh. Kay credits her father for never allowing her to say, ‘I can’t.’” Thus, maintaining the old Edwards House is her only option. “It distresses me when I see older homes being torn down,” she says. “You couldn’t build this house again.” The old furnace was replaced two years ago. The radiators work just fine. Thick walls help to further insulate, although Kay’s afraid the house won’t be as cool this summer. “I lost a huge oak tree just before Christmas that shielded the two rooms upstairs,” she explains. The Edwards House will be among a handful of homes of the Roaring Twenties to be featured on Preservation Greensboro’s Tour of Historic Homes in Sunset Hills on May 19 and 20. During the tour, experts will share the history of the home. But for Kay, history is her children sliding down the banister. Or her daughters sunbathing on the flat roof out back, and tossing bouquets off the front balcony. Of course, the grandkids come every holiday to fill the house with music and to put the grand piano to good use once again. From her seat in the living room — an upholstered bench done in muted aqua zebra print — Kay rests perfectly manicured hands on her lap and reflects on the house she calls home. “This house is for living,” she says. “When the grandchildren come, they know they can sit here or play there. They can do whatever they want to do, but they respect everything. Nothing is off limits.” Even the comfy old chairs. OH Cashion loves the floral-patterned wallpaper found in the home’s master suite — a room fit for a Southern belle. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 91

So Close, So Far Away

By lee rogers


hen I was a young plant geek visiting the UNCG campus on a field trip 25 years ago, I never imagined that I would eventually move to Greensboro and be within walking distance of a gorgeous wildflower meadow. Be still my beating heart! You should drop everything and rush over to see it in bloom today. The spring mayhem of the brilliant red corn poppies together with the blues and purples of the larkspur and ragged robin will make you go crazy. On a recent afternoon, UNCG’s grounds superintendent, Chris Fay, drives me around campus on a golf cart, talking and gesticulating nonstop. He tells me that the meadow project was initiated in 2009 by the sports-turf division of his grounds management team. “We’re doing some great things. We’re looking at prairie grasses on campus and trying to convert turf into prairie,” says Fay — which would mean less mowing and more wildlife for the biology department to study. Fay tells me they are hoping to expand the wildflower program, possibly even trying a controlled burn. (No, this is not a student prank, but a standard agricultural practice for maintaining wildflower meadows and forest understory.) The meadow is nestled right in the middle of historic Peabody Park, the crown jewel of the campus. Sadly diminished by university growth and development to 34 acres from the original 125, the land was set aside in 1901 to serve as an educational park for the students of Woman’s College. During its first fifty years the students also used the park for elaborate May Day

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celebrations and “daily health walks.” In the 1940s they dammed up Buffalo Creek to make a lake and amphitheater where the meadow is today. You can see a photo of the girls in their skirts and twinsets paddling their canoes if you look up the biology department’s Peabody Park Web site. Who knew? Now I love a wild corner in the center of the city where you and your dog can walk in the woods searching for trilliums and hepaticas and other spring wildflowers. But if you prefer more manicured gardens, stroll through the park and cross the steel pedestrian bridge to the Music Building, where you will find the very elegant Elizabeth Herring Music Garden. No dainty wildflowers here! The plants in this area were selected for their architectural qualities, and please note that they are used to make patterns of color that relate to the rhythmic nature of music. They descend down a hillside alongside a sinuous brick walkway that terminates in a very quiet reflecting pool. A stone water wall weeps into a pond surrounded by gravel terraces and boulders that you can rest on. What a fine idea it is to incorporate built-in seating into a patio or retaining wall. This garden was built by Tim Apple of New Earth Designs. Lappas and Havener out of Raleigh won an American Association of Landscape Architects Award of Excellence in 2003 for designing it. Wandering farther through the campus you can find all kinds of artfully planted nooks and pocket gardens, such as the curvilinear, bluestone terrace beside the Taylor Garden Pond. Right next to the pond is a sunken garden with bluestone pavers outlining a rectilinear herb and flower bed. There is something compelling about a sunken garden, and I love that this one is dedicated to the secretaries of Alumnae House. Everyone needs a garden view to inspire and acknowledge his or her work, especially under-recognized secretaries. Behind this The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs By David Wilson

UNCG’s Peabody Park is a garden oasis of beauty and surprises in the blooming heat of the city

building is a quiet nook planted with a combination of ‘Patriot’ Holly, hydrangea ‘Nikko blue’, autumn fern and dwarf mondo showing off its fabulous iridescent blue berries. This charming pocket garden, affectionately known as the love garden, was funded by the class of 1960 and when their alumnae came for a reunion weekend, Fay naturally took them to see it. “I was kidding them and I said, ‘You know, it’s the love garden,’” Fay says. “And they said, ‘Yeah we KNOW it’s the love garden.’ And they were all like giggly and bubbly.” Well, OK. You can wander next to the Minerva Garden beside the popular swing set at Elliott Student Center. It’s a good thing that the grounds superintendent loves the students because the ongoing practical jokes involving the statue of the Greek goddess of wisdom are ribald, to say the least. “Let’s just say that the students love to put things in her hands,” Fay remarks. They’ve also been known to, you guessed it, put suds in the fountains, but Fay takes it all in stride. I think he even gets a kick out of such pranks (except that it’s sort of hard on the pumps). There’s a neat little water garden tucked beside the campus ministries house. You would never know it’s there just passing on the sidewalk, but there’s a place in the hedge where you can duck through. Or you can enter the building as you’re meant to and admire it from inside. There is a placid little waterfall surrounded with ferns and lichen-crusted boulders. Nice! The Rachel Hull Garden north of Aycock Auditorium features rosemary bushes in full bloom — a joy to see and smell. But you’ll need a Latin lesson to understand what’s growing there: Lush masses of Charleston green Cephalotaxus prostrata foreplanted with Itea virginica ‘Henry’s Garnet’ with its splendid drooping sprays of white flowers make a nice counterpoint to the two magnificent mature ginkgo trees. I can’t wait to see this in October when the ginkgo leaves turn golden and the Itea shows its true garnet colors. I also discovered a steel mesh wall entirely covered by a very healthy evergreen Clematis armandii. If you’ve ever tried to grow one of these vines, you will understand why keeping it beautiful is such an accomplishment. This was a brilliant idea for concealing the ugly underpinnings of a concrete staircase, and I plan to try something similar at my house to hide the AC units. I couldn’t leave without admiring the rooftop gardens at the Spring Garden Street Apartments, which were designed by Southern Landscape Management and also installed by New Earth Designs. The river of boulders, bermed plantings of Arizona cypress and trellises of Carolina jessamine are all supported by an elaborately engineered roof structure that covers a parking garage. From the street you can’t even tell it’s a roof garden! I really love the contrast between the vertical forms of the icy blue cypresses, the floppy cascades of golden flowers and green foliage on the trellises with a brown carpet of Zoysia grass tying it all together. Once upon a time, grounds maintenance involved mowing, keeping the weeds down and removing trash. Nowadays, parents and students expect beautiful and inviting campus landscaping, and superintendents have to manage with a tighter budget. When I started in the landscape gardening program at Sandhills Community College, my intention was to become a grounds manager of an institution or estate. Then I decided that such a career would be too creatively limiting because you would always be working on the same property. But after following the UNCG grounds superintendent around for half a day, I see that the job is complex, interesting and requires a high degree of creativity. In fact, Fay confided in me that being grounds superintendent is second only in importance to being chancellor! So I am reconsidering my career choice. Look out, Chris. I want your job! OH Lee Rogers, a landscape designer in Greensboro, last wrote about camellias for O.Henry magazine. Contact her at lee@leerogersdesign.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 93

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94 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April’s Shining Star Show

By noAh sAlt

The Garden Philosopher “There is of course no such thing as a green thumb. Gardening is a vocation like any other — a calling, if you like, but not a gift from heaven. One acquires the necessary skills and knowledge to do it successfully, or one doesn’t. The ancients gardened without guidance from books, by eye and by hand, and while I am a devotee of gardening books, and love to study and quarrel with them, I don’t think they are a substitute for practical experience, any more than cookbooks are.” From Green Thoughts by Eleanor Perenyi

April, like its autumnal opposite October, is simply a great month for planet watching. Several planets put in some of their brightest appearances, including Mercury, which can be seen just after sundown in the western sky slightly below a much brighter Venus. On a clear evening, a good set of binoculars will reveal the disks of Venus quite nicely. Later in the month it climbs much higher. When it’s fully dark, Mars can be seen almost directly overhead, twinkling with bits of cosmic red. On the eastern horizon, meanwhile, you should see Saturn rising. In order to see Jupiter, the largest of our solar system and named for the chief god of the Romans, you would need to rise just before sunrise — as it appears just ahead of the sun on the eastern horizon. Jupiter fact: If you weigh 100 pounds on earth, you’ll weigh 264 pounds on Jupiter. Fortunately they don’t have a known bikini season.

The Spring calendar

monarch of the Spring Woodlands The glorious warmth and longer days mean peak bloom time for azaleas and tulips and many other flowering bulbs. But for our money, you can’t beat the great flowering trees that herald spring in North Carolina, reaching peak bloom from late March through late April. With its luminous pinkish purple blooms, the colors of ancient royalty, the Eastern redbud, Cercis canadensis, the gentle monarch of the native woodlands, makes one of the earliest most striking entrances in the early spring. Mature redbuds grow to about 30 feet in height with a similar spread, but unfortunately have a relatively modest life span of about 30-40 years. Popular varieties include “Forest Pansy” with its distinctive reddish leaves and beautiful “Appalachian Red” with bright pink blooms, plus a new cultivar, “Heart of Gold,” which was developed at the J.C. Raulston Arboretum in Raleigh. April means a profusion of dogwoods in bloom as well, the aptly chosen state flower of North Carolina, Cornus florida. But the deciduous magnolias offer some of the first and finest spring blooms of all, adding beautiful splashes of white, pink and purple to the landscape’s color palette. Our favorite is the Saucer magnolia, sometimes called the Tulip magnolia, which rivals the redbud for beauty and lengthy bloom in the awakening woodlands of the Triad.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 4, 12, 28: Private spring tours of the spectacular North Carolina Botanical Garden are on offer — 60-minute walking tours that reveal the splendors of native woodland plants and wildflowers. Members: Free; non-members: $5. The NCBC — located at 100 Old Mason Farm Road in Chapel Hill — features 14 collections and display gardens and over 2,100 species of native plants, including 30 endangered ones, located on 800 acres of university-owned land, featuring wetlands and old growth forests. The garden will also feature a special Earth Day wildflower walk on Sunday, April 24, 2 -4 p.m. For more information: (919) 962-0522 or www.ncbg.unc.edu April 19: “Starlight Serenade,” special Omnisphere Concert with the UNCG Spartans, Greensboro Natural Science Center, 8 -9 p.m. Tickets: $5. (336) 288-3769. April 21-22: Greensboro Council of Gardens Home and Garden Tour, featuring a tour of two outstanding homes and gardens plus three additional gardens. Tickets: $15/ advance; $20/ at the door. Information: (336) 282-4940. April 23: “An Evening with Peter Hatch.” The curator of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Gardens celebrates the publication of his new book, A Rich Spot of Earth — Thomas Jeferson’s Revolutionary Garden at Monticello. Hatch is a distinguished alumni of Sandhills Community College and a splendid raconteur of the garden — a treat not to be missed if you happen to be in Charlottesville. Reservations required. (434) 984 9880. April/May 2012

O.Henry 95



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April/May 2012

Arts Calendar

April 1

April 4

April 9

AVENUE Q. 2 – 4 p.m. A cast of eleven puppets and three human characters interact in a Sesame-Street-meetsSouth-Park style. Contains adult content and profanity. Tickets: $10-$30. Broach Theatre Co., 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7470 or www.ctgso.org.

GENDERED FILMS. 7:30 p.m. A series of short films by women filmmakers. Elliott University Center, UNCG. Info: Emily at (336) 580-2341.

RED HOT CHILI PEPPERS IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Featuring special guest Santigold. Tour supports I’m With You album. Tickets: $35.50, $55.50. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

THEATRE. 2 – 5:30 p.m. Man and Superman. • UNCG Written in 1903 by George Bernard Shaw, the plot centers

April 5


on John Tanner, a confirmed bachelor despite the pursuits of Ann Whitefield and her persistent efforts to make him marry. Directed by John Gulley. Brown Building Theater, 402 Tate St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 334-4601 or performingarts.uncg.edu.


UNCG OPERA THEATRE. 2 p.m. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Don Giovanni. Presented by UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Tickets: $23/adults; $18/students, seniors; $15/UNCG Alumni and groups of 10+; $10/UNCG students. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4849.


ASL IDOL. 2:30 p.m. “One Hit Wonders.” Performers of popular music compete using American Sign Language in a format similar to American Idol. Admission: $5. Elliott University Center, UNCG. Info: Sam at (336) 256-1217.

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 & 10 p.m. Taxi Driver (1976), starring Robert DeNiro, Jodie Foster and Cybill Shepherd. Rated R. Running time: 93 min. Tickets: $6/ adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605.

FIRST FRIDAY. 6 – 9 p.m. Self-guided tour of Downtown shops, art galleries and studios, museums and alternative art venues. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www. downtownfridays.com.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 10 p.m. Pride of Self. A collection of nudes, a celebration in conjunction with Triad Pride. Exhibit runs through April 28. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: (336) 420-4810.

LOCAL ANTIQUE COLLECTORS TALK. 7 p.m. Collectors Thomas and Sara Sears will speak about their experience as collectors and how they have helped save part of Guilford County’s own Francis Simpson House. Talk followed by a special tour of the Museum’s Mendenhall-Simpson Room. Free admission; reservations requested. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or www.greensborohistory. org.

April 7


“Break the Spell” Tour, in support of the multi-platinum selling rock band’s third album. Tickets: $30.50, $40.50, $50.50. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com; www. daughtryofficial.com.

VISITING ARTIST PUBLIC •• LECTURE. 7:30 p.m. Featuring New

York-based installation artist Phoebe Washburn, who creates monumentalscale works from discarded and recycled materials. Guilford College, Bryan Jr. Auditorium, Frank Family Science Center. Info: (336) 316-2483.



98 O.Henry

Performing arts

April/May 2012

45-minute art class units (visual arts, drama and dance/ music) for three age groups (5-7, 8-10 & 11-13). Theme: West Africa. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7475 or www.greensboroart.org.

April 6

April 3

• •

CULTURAL ART • •• •–HOME-SCHOOL DAY. 9 a.m. 12 p.m. Three-hour program includes three

7 p.m. Minor League Baseball. Greensboro Grasshoppers vs. Lexington Legends. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 268-2255 or www.gsohoppers.com.




April 10

OPEN MIC AT THE IDIOT BOX. 8:30 – 10 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic for some great comedy. Tickets: $5. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.

COMEDY SHOW. 7 – 9 p.m. Presenting veteran comedian James Gregory. Storytelling at its best: ribtickling reflections on life from the front porch. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: $25.50/ adults; $23.50/students, seniors and military. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

• • Film


• • Fun


CAROLINA CLASSIC FILM. 1:30 & 7:30 p.m. An American in Paris (1951), starring Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron. Running time: 113 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/ seniors, students, military. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

April 11 – 15

TOURING THEATRE OF NORTH CAROLINA. 8 p.m.; 2 p.m. (Sunday). Presenting Lee Smith’s “Tongues of Fire.” Tickets: $15. UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.ttnc.org.

April 11 – 21


BROACH THEATRE COMPANY. 8 – 10 p.m. Social Security by Andrew Bergman. Hit Broadway comedy. Tickets: $20/adults; $18/seniors; $16/groups of 10 or more; $10/students. Broach Theatre Co., 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 268-6759 or www.broachtheatre. org.

April 12

SYNER-G ON TAP. 5:30 – 8 p.m. Free, informal networking event for young professionals held every second Tuesday of each month at different Greensboro restaurants and bars. Everyone goes dutch. Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co., 345 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3790821 or www.synerG.org.

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April /May Arts Calendar •

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 & 10 p.m. Raging Bull (1980), starring Robert DeNiro, Cathy Moriarty and Joe Pesci. Rated R. Running time: 129 minutes. Tickets: $6/ adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

April 14

WALK TO DEFEAT ALS. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. Join a team, • start your own or walk as an individual. Walk brings hope to ALS patients, brings the community together, and raises money to find a cure. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: web.alsa.org.

ROBOFEST. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Robots & Recycling. A • celebration of science and technology that offers hands-on

UNCG PERFORMING ARTS. 8 p.m. Evidence, A Dance Company, On Earth Together. Featuring the music of Stevie Wonder. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu.

April 12 - 14

HARRY POTTER EVENT. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Special menu; raffle and free treats available from 2 - 4 p.m. Guests dressed as Huffelpuffs will receive a free gift of Helga’s special blend of tea. Secret Tea Room, 412 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 271-2998 or www.thesecrettearoom.com.

April 12 – 15


fun for the whole family. Tickets: $8/adults; $7/children and seniors; children 2 and under are free. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

BLACKSMITHING DEMONSTRATION. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. All ages welcome. Free admission. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or www.highpointmuseum.org.


CO-CREATION 2012. A conference featuring cutting-edge speakers and writers on contemporary Christian spirituality.

Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage. org.

April 16

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Celebrate rhythm • and rhyme every third Monday each month. Open mic. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2471.

April 16 – 21

GREENSBORO COLLEGIATE BISCUITVILLE • BOWL. A week-long series of events for the collegiate com-

munity, including entrepreneurial programs, biscuit branding and a 5-K race. Info: biscuitvillebowl.com.

April 17

BOOKUP. 6 – 8 p.m. Inspired by Seattle’s silent • Reading Party, the BookUp is a Triad gathering in a public

place where it’s B.Y.O.B. — Bring Your Own Book. No charge; ordering drinks/refreshments encouraged. Bin 33, 324 S. Elm St., Greensboro. See the FB page: The Bookup.

April 17 – 22

UNCG THEATRE. In the Blood, by Suzan-Lori Parks; • directed by Christine Woodworth. A shocking tragedy based

Held against the background of “Sacred Space for the City: A Celebration of Arts and Spirit,” a four-day festival offering concerts, art-walks, labyrinth-walks and other culture events held on the north side of downtown Greensboro. Info: www. servleader.org/co_creation_conference.

April 13

Iconic country music legend Merle Haggard. Tickets: $37.50, $44.50, $57.50. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. No partner or experience necessary. Introductory jitterbug lesson included with the price of admission at 7:30 p.m., followed by dancing to Karon Click and the Hot Licks. Cost: $10/nonmembers; $8/members and students under 21. Vintage Theater, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE. 7:30 p.m. Henry • Ingram Memorial Concert. Anthony Dean Griffey, tenor;

April 14 – July 8


ART EXHIBIT. Matisse and the Decorative Impulse. Following the French master’s precedent, the artists featured in this exhibition likewise examine the possibilities of robust design and the restorative contemplation of beauty. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Gallery 6, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770.

Warren Jones, piano. Tickets: $18/adults; $15/seniors; $5/ students. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 638-7624 or www. musicforagreatspace.org.

Featuring wildlife biologist and Animal Planet TV host and live animal encounters. Family-friendly program includes question and answer session with members of the audience. Tickets: $12-$38. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www. greensborocoliseum.com; www.ncsciencefestival.org.

April 15

FORENSICS FOR CRIME WRITERS. 2 – 4 p.m. “The Real CSI.” Part of the Writers & Readers Series from Triad Sisters in Crime, featuring Joanne Morrisey, Senior Forensic practitioner, who served with the Metropolitan Police Service in London for more than 16 years, now with High Point Police Department. Free admission. Pennybyrn Conference Room, 109 Penny Rd., High Point. Info: skillbuild@aol.com.

April 15 – May 13

TRIAD STAGE MAINSTAGE. Aint Misbehavin’. The “Fats” Waller musical show. A swingin’ musical conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz. Presented in collaboration with North Carolina A&T State University’s Jazz Ensemble. 7:30 p.m. (Tues. – Thurs.); 8 p.m. (Fri. – Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) Tickets: $10-$44. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Key:

• • Art


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


on The Scarlet Letter. Tickets: $18/adults; $15/students & senior citizens; $12/UNCG alumni and groups of 10+; $7/ UNCG students. 7:30 p.m. (Tues. – Thurs.); 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) Brown Building Theater, 402 Tate St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 334-4601 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

April 18

GREENDRINKS GREENSBORO. 5:30 – 7 p.m. • A social networking event that celebrates green living and sustainability. Meetings held every third Wednesday of the month in alternating locations. Info: greendrinks.org/ nc/greensboro.

April 19

HERB & PLANT • SALE. 7:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.

Annual sale conducted by the N.C. Unit of The Herb Society of America. Includes herbs of all sorts: culinary, fragrant, medicinal and ornamental, all grown in North Carolina. Proceeds add to the community through scholarships and grants. Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Rd., Greensboro. Info: Connie at csaul@triad.rr.com.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. Roy Nydorf: Four Decades. A mid-career retrospective of a Greensboro artists whose works figure in the collections of the Hirshhorn Museum, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Honolulu Academy and the Weatherspoon Art Museum. Includes drawing, printmaking, painting and sculpture. Free and open to the public. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. TRIAD STORY EXCHANGE. 7:30 p.m. Practice •• the art of storytelling every third Thursday of the month. City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Suite 101. Info: (336) 373-2026 or www.meetup.com/

Sports April/May 2012

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We’re more than just great wine. With a selection of small plates like panko crusted nc shrimp, calamari tossed with wasabi glaze and seared sea scallops, 1618 Wine Lounge has something for everyone. Paired with one of our many micro brews or a glass of your favorite wine, 1618 Wine Lounge is the perfect place to begin your night out.

Irving Park Plaza | 1724 Battleground Ave., Suite 105 | ph. 336.285.9410 | www.1618winelounge.com

April /May Arts Calendar

prints and ceramics by eight senior art majors. Exhibit on display through May 5. Founders Hall Gallery & Commons, Guilford College, Greensboro. Info: (336) 316-2450.


GREENSBORO ASTRONOMY CLUB •• MEETING. 7:30 p.m. Each meeting brings a new speaker

and astronomy topic. Open to the public; guests welcome. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

SKETCH COMEDY. 8 – 9:30 p.m. “Something to • Say.” Admission: $6. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro.

MONTI STORYSLAM. 8 – 10 p.m. Open mic for anyone with a story to tell. Eight volunteers from the audience take the stage to share five-minute narratives on the show’s theme. Stories are scored by a panel of judges. Tickets: $12/ general admission; $10/members. UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.themonti.org.


ROBERTA FLACK BENEFIT CONCERT. 8:30 – 10:30 p.m. “Set the Night To Music.” Carolina Theatre Command Performance 2012, an annual gala to benefit the Carolina Theatre, will feature four-time Grammy Awardwinner and North Carolina native Roberta Flack. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

Info: (336) 274-2699 or www.idiotboxers.com.

April 21

GUILFORD MILITIA ENCAMPMENT. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. A Revolutionary War Reenactment group. All ages welcome. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or www. highpointmuseum.org. MIKE CROSS IN CONCERT. • 8 – 10 p.m. North Carolina native Mike Cross returns to the Carolina Theatre stage with a unique mix of folk, blues, rock, country and Irish spiked with a good dose of wonderfully warped wit. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

OPEN MIC AT THE IDIOT BOX. 9 – 10:30 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic for some great comedy. Tickets: $5. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699. HILLS GRASSROOTS FESTIVAL. ••60SHAKORI Over bands will play at the tenth annual spring Shakori

Hills Grassroots Festival of Music and Dance. Music, local crafts, vendor food, children’s activities and workshops on environmental sustainability. Four-day passes: $95/advance; $100/at gate; $55/youth. Day passes: $25-$45/adult; $12-$20/ youth. Kids 12 and under are free. Tent and vehicle camping available. Located on 72 acres at 1439 Henderson Tanyard Road, Silk Hope. Info: www.shakorihillsgrassroots.org. LUNCH & LEARN WITH ARTIST • LIBBY SMART. 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Watch

the artist in action. Cost: $20 (includes light lunch and demonstrations). Tyler White Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com.

ARTIST’S RECEPTION. 6 – 8 p.m. New, colorful works from Libby Smart & Connie Winters. Meet the artists. Exhibit runs through May 12. Tyler White Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2791124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com.

GALLERY FUNDRAISER. 6 – 9 p.m. “100 for 100” features 100 works of art on 10x10-inch canvases by 100 local artists for $100 each. Proceeds benefit the Center for Visual Artists educational and gallery programs. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or www.greensboroart.org.


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

The Little Mermaid, Mary Poppins, Aladdin, The Lion King and more. Tickets: $22-$38/adult; $10/student. Westover Church, Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

NSC VOLUNTEER APPRECIATION NIGHT. 7 – 9 • p.m. The Natural Science Center will celebrate and recognize

all the volunteers who help make the museum and zoo a wonderful place to visit. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. GoodFellas (1990), • starring Robert DeNiro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. Rated R. Running time: 146 minutes. Ticket: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

WINE TASTING BENEFIT. • 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Enjoy prime rib,

shrimp cocktail and other hors d’oeuvres; up to 15% discount on wine purchases. Tickets: $30. Proceeds benefit The United Arts Council of Greater Greensboro. The Fresh Market, 1560 Highwoods Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: www.UACarts.org.

April 27

Elton John, Third Eye Blind, Will Smith, Celine Dion, No Doubt and more. Tickets: $5. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

VAN HALEN IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Rock and • Roll Hall of Fame inductees return to the live stage. Tickets:

$29.50 and up. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

April 22

CENTRAL LIBRARY BOOK DISCUSSION. 3 •• p.m. An eclectic group of book lovers meet the fourth Sunday of each month to discuss monthly selection. Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

WORLD BOOK NIGHT. •• A nationwide grassroots effort to

April 27 – 28

TRIAD HIGHLAND GAMES. Heavy athletics, •• piping and drumming, Scottish dancing, food vendors,

NORTH CAROLINA WRITER’S NETWORK •• CONFERENCE. 8 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Workshops in fiction,

April 23 - 27

• • Fun

Beversluis, piano; Kelly Burke, clarinet. A Faustian fable from Rusian lore, translated into vivid music oozing with character by the great 20th century master. Humor, passion, dance, sexy tangos, doubt, trickery and penance come through the music. Triad Stage, UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

April 28

spread the love of reading, person to person, by giving away books. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www. us.worldbooknight.org.


THE LISTENING ROOM. 8 p.m. Stravinsky L’histoire • du Soldat for trio. Featuring Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin; Nate

children’s activities and more. Festivities begin Friday with a 7 p.m. concert by Celtic rock band Rathskeltair; “Calling of the Clans” follows at 9 p.m. Saturday: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tickets: $12. Bryan Park, 6275 Bryan Park Rd., Greensboro. Info: www.triadhighlandgames.org.

April 23

• • Film

non-scripted, freewheeling discussion following the 7:30 p.m. performance. Triad Stage, UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

LASER MAGIC OMNISPHERE SHOW. 7, 8 •• & 9 p.m. Laser light show featuring popular music from

EARTH DAY. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Bring unwanted china, • pottery or glassware for recycling. Tea cups, dessert plates,

senior thesis art exhibit featuring sculptures, paintings, Key:

April 26

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: POPS • POSTSCRIPT SERIES TALKBACK. Join the cast Series Concert. 2 p.m. & 8 p.m. “The Magical Music of Walt •• of Triad Stage’s MainStage production, Ain’t Misbehavin’, for a Disney.” Program includes music from Beauty and the Beast,

April 19 – 22

April 20

soup bowls or nine-inch dinner plates equal $2 discount off meal. One trade-in per visit. Secret Tea Room, 412 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 271-2998 or www.thesecrettearoom. com.


creative nonfiction, poetry, children’s writing and publishing, led by distinguished writing faculty. Elliott University Center, UNCG. Info: (336) 293-8844 or www.ncwriters.org.

COOKING WITH TEA. 10 - 11 a.m. Chef Jason • Magee will demonstrate how to add flavor to your soup

Sports April/May 2012

O.Henry 101

April /May Arts Calendar without the fat. Cost: $10. Limited seating. Secret Tea Room, 412 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 271-2998 or www. thesecrettearoom.com. BLACKSMITHING DEMONSTRATION. 10 • a.m. – 4 p.m. All ages welcome. Free admission. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or www.highpointmuseum.org.

FIBER FAIRE. 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Featuring spinning, •• weaving, knitting and crocheting demonstrations; yarn vendors; classes. Cost: $6. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or www. highpointmuseum.org.


NAME THAT TUNE. 6 p.m. Join Maestro Dmitry Sitkovetsky and comedian Adam Growe for an outrageously fun re-creation of the game show Name That Tune. From the Penthouse of Vanessa and Roy Carroll overlooking Center City Park. Includes heavy hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and live auction. Benefits the education programs of the Greensboro Symphony. Tickets: $200-$300/individual seating; $2,000-$3,000/tables of 10; Cocktail attire. 201 N. Elm St. Penthouse, Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456 x 222 or greensborosymphony.org.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. No partner or • experience necessary. Introductory Jitterbug Lesson included

with the price of admission at 7:30 p.m., followed by dancing to The Mint Julep Jazz Band. Cost: $10/nonmembers; $8/ members and students under 21. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www. piedmontswingdance.org.


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102 O.Henry

Performing arts

April/May 2012

MARCH FOR BABIES. 8:30 a.m. – 2 p.m. Walk benefits local programs that help moms have healthy, full-term pregnancies. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 231-3766 or www.marchforbabies. org. BLANDWOOD BALL. 7 – 11:30 p.m. A Roaring • Twenties themed ball to benefit the city’s only National

Historic Landmark house. Cost: $250/individual; $500/ couple. Blandwood Mansion, 447 W. Washington St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-5003 or www.blandwood.org.

May 3

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 5:30 – • 7:30 p.m. Influences from Nature. Featuring the works of

April 30

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7 & 9:30 p.m. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011), starring Chris Evans, Hayley Atwell and Tommy Lee Jones. Rated PG-13. Running time: 124 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

May 1

THE X FACTOR AUDITIONS. The search to find • the best new solo artists and vocal groups in America. The X

Factor Season Two winner will receive a $5 million recording contract with Sony Music. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.thexfactorusa.com/ articles/season-2-auditions.

May 2


p.m. Free outdoor fitness classes offered on Mondays and Wednesdays, May through September. Visit website for schedule. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.




Seagrove Master Potter Ben Owen III and watercolor artist William Mangum. Exhibit runs through June 3. William Mangum Fine Art Gallery, 2166 Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. RSVP: (336) 379-9200. Info: williammangum.com.

CULINARY GALA & AUCTION. 7 – 10 p.m. “Wine• Dine with Win-Win” is a fundraiser supporting bully prevention and year-round mentoring programs for children ages


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April /May Arts Calendar 6-18. Black-tie gala includes pairings of food and wine from Guilford County’s finest restaurants. Tickets: $100 (includes valet parking). Center Pointe, 201 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 230-1232 or winwinresolutions.org.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 10 p.m. April Showers Bring May Flowers. A bountiful collection of flora and fauna focusing on the influence nature has in art and design. Through May 26. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: (336) 420-4810.

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 & 10 p.m. Stand By • Me (1986), starring Wil Wheaton, River Phoenix, Corey Feldman and Jerry O’Connell. Rated R. Running time: 89 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Masterwork Series Concert. 7:30 p.m. Program: “Arias” from Don Giovanni and Macbeth, Richard Ollarsaba; Beethoven Symphony NO. 9 “Choral”; Greensboro Choral Society. Tickets: $22-$38/adult; $5/student. War Memorial Auditorium. Tickets/Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

May 4

FIRST FRIDAY. 6 – 9 p.m. Self-guided tour of • Downtown shops, art galleries and studios, museums and alternative art venues. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.downtownfridays.com.

runs through June 1. Center for Visual Artists Gallery, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or www.greensboroart.org.

• • Art


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

ART EXHIBIT. 7 – 9 p.m. • Vidan One Man Show. Featuring



• • Fun

May 5

CELEBRATION. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. •ANIMAL “AniMania” celebrates animals of all types and connects people with animal-based resources available in Guilford County (shelters, rescue, adoptions, care and services). Event features exotic animals, K9 dogs, rescue animals and animals up for adoption. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

private residences and exciting model homes. Includes luxury condominiums, well appointed apartments, townhouses, a penthouse and a Bed and Breakfast. Tour goers will receive a special pass with exclusive discounts to downtown shops and restaurants. Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: $12.50/advance; $15/day of tour (limited). Info: (336) 379-0060 x 22. Tickets: Triad Stage Box Office at (336) 272-0160.

Light and Bohensteil. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

• •

Program: Bach Sonata Trio from The Musical Offering; Brahms String Sextet op. 18 in B flat major. Ticket: $30/ adult; $5/student. UNCG School of Music Recital Hall, corner of W. Market and McIver streets, Greensboro. Tickets/ Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

DOWNTOWN HOME TOUR. 10 a.m. • – 4 p.m. A behind the scenes tour of Downtown

original and limited edition works by figurative artist, Vidan. Fine wine and heavy hors d’oeuvres. The Art Shop, 3900 W. Market St., Greensboro. RSVP: (336) 8558500. Info: www.artshopnc.com.

FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE. 7 • – 10 p.m. Live music from Lauren

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 9 p.m. • Invisible Man. A solo exhibition by Maurice Moore. Exhibit


SCHOOL OF GREENSBORO BALLET’S ANNUAL STUDENT CONCERT. 7 p.m. A showcase of classical ballet and jazz. Free and open to the public. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7480 or greensboroballet.com.

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: • Sitkovetsky & Friends Chamber Series Concert. 8 p.m.



April/May 2012

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April /May Arts Calendar ••••

SUMMER CAMP FAIR. 1 – 4 p.m. Learn about dance, art, music and drama. Summer camps offered by various art organizations located in the Greensboro Cultural Center, available for ages 3 – 18. Fair includes children’s activities and raffles for free summer camps. Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7480.

and bars. Everyone goes dutch. Location TBA. Info: (336) 379-0821 or www.synerG.org.

St., Suite 101. Info: (336) 373-2026 or www.meetup.com/ ncstorytelling/.

May 11

TRIAD BEST OF BROADWAY SERIES. Cats. 7:30 • p.m. What began as a musical about cats after Andrew Lloyd

Webber picked up a book of poems in an airport bookshop has become one of the longest running shows in Broadway’s history. Tickets: $45, $50, $55. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets/Info: (888) 418-2929 or www. TriadBestofBroadway.com.

One of the most versatile comedy actors in film and television. Tickets: $39, $59, $69. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

May 12

WALK TO END ALZHEIMER’S. 9 – 11:30 a.m. •• Bring family, friends, co-workers, children and pets and walk


SOUTH ELM URBAN MARKET OPENING. 12 – 5 p.m. A new Sunday market featuring locally grown produce, flowers, handmade wares and live acoustic music. Market runs through Nov. 25. Elm-McGee parking lot, downtown Greensboro. Info: southelmurbanmarket.com.

take the stage to share five-minute narratives on the show’s theme. Stories are scored by a panel of judges. Tickets: $12/ general admission; $10/members. UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.themonti.org.

May 18

KEVIN HART STAND-UP WOMEN’S LEADERSHIP SUMMIT. 8 a.m. – 3 • • COMEDY. 8 p.m. “Let Me Explain.” p.m. “Developing, Supporting and Encouraging Passionate

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: Masterwork Series Concert. 8 p.m. Program: “Arias” from Don Giovanni and Macbeth, Richard Ollarsaba; Beethoven Symphony NO. 9 “Choral”; Greensboro Choral Society. Tickets: $22-$38/ adult; $5/student. War Memorial Auditorium. Tickets/ Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

May 6

MONTI STORYSLAM. 8 – 10 p.m. Open mic for •• anyone with a story to tell. Eight volunteers from the audience

to end Alzheimer’s disease. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 285-5920 or act.alz.org/gso2012.

Women.” Includes training sessions and headline speaker Jennifer Thompson, co-author of The New York Times bestseller Picking Cotton. All women of the Triad ages 22+ welcome. Tickets start at $75. Elliott University Center, UNCG. Info: jlgwomensummit.org.

LUNCH & LEARN WITH ARTIST. 11: 30 a.m. - 1 • p.m. Watch the artist (Zoot, aka Terry Zash) in action. Cost: $20 (includes light lunch and demonstrations). Tyler White Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. No partner or • experience necessary. Introductory jitterbug lesson included

GREENWAY RIBBON • •DOWNTOWN CUTTING. 2 – 4 p.m. Celebrate the dedication to the next

one-quarter mile section of the Downtown Greenway, known as Morehead Linear Park, connecting Lee Street north to Spring Garden Street along the East side of Freeman Mill Road. In addition to the quarter-mile trail, the Downtown Greenway will unveil four significant public art installations. Info: (336) 379-0821 or downtowngreenway.org.

ARTIST GALLERY TOUR. 2:30 – 3:30 p.m. Four Decades with artist Roy Nydorf. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

with the price of admission at 7:30 p.m., followed by dancing to vintage era tunes from decades past. Cost: $8/ nonmembers; $6/members and students under 21. Vintage Theater, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

May 13

MOTHER’S DAY CELEBRATION. 10 a.m. – 4 • p.m. All moms get half-priced admission with purchase

of a child’s ticket at regular prices and get 10% off all gift shop items. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www. natsci.org.


May 8


HOME-SCHOOL CULTURAL ART DAY. 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. Three-hour program includes three 45-minute art class units (visual arts, drama and dance/music) for three age groups (5-7, 8-10 & 11-13). Theme: India. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3337475 or www.greensboroart.org. NOON @ THE SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute tour of • new exhibition: Matisse and the Decorative Impulse. Free and open to the public. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Gallery 6, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770.

TEA. 2 – 5 p.m. Served similarly to traditional English afternoon tea, on fine china with fruit and scones. Charity tea is free to the public; donations will be accepted to benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a global leader in the fight against breast cancer through its support of innovative research and community-based outreach programs. Replacements, Ltd., 1089 Knox Rd., McLeansville. Info: (336) 697-3000 x 2233.

May 16

CAROLINA CLASSIC FILM. 7:30 p.m. Field of • GREENDRINKS GREENSBORO. 5:30 – 7 p.m. Dreams (1989), starring Kevin Costner, James Earl Jones and • A social networking event that celebrates green living and Ray Liotta. Rated PG. Running time: 107 minutes. Tickets:

ART RECEPTION. 6 - 8 p.m. New works by • Elizabeth Darrow, Kim Kesterson Trone & Zoot (Terry

Zash). Meet the artists. Exhibit runs through June 20. Tyler White Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2791124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com.

GREEN ACRES GALA. 7 – 11 p.m. An evening •• of live music, dancing and delicious food and spirits from local restaurants. Benefits the Greensboro Children Museum’s Scholarship and Educational Program funds. Tickets: $50/person. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 200 N. Church St., Greensboro. Sponsorship opportunities available. Info: (336) 574-2898, ext. 308 or www. gcmuseum.com.

GREENSBORO ASTRONOMY CLUB •• MEETING. 7:30 p.m. Each meeting brings a new

speaker and astronomy topic. Open to the public; guests welcome. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

$6/adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

sustainability. Meetings held every third Wednesday of the month in alternating locations. Info: greendrinks.org/nc/ greensboro.

SKETCH COMEDY. 8 – 9:30 p.m. “Something to Say.” • Admission: $6. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

May 10

May 17

SYNER-G ON TAP. 5:30 – 8 p.m. Free, informal networking event for young professionals held every second Tuesday of each month at different Greensboro restaurants

CENTER CITY CINEMA. 8:30 p.m. Raiders of the Lost • Ark. Free. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro.

City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie

TRIAD STORY EXCHANGE. 7:30 p.m. Practice •• the art of storytelling every third Thursday of the month.

• Key:

• • Art


104 O.Henry

Performing arts

April/May 2012

• • Film


• • Fun


(336) 274-2699 or www.idiotboxers.com.

Info: www.centercitypark.org.

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April /May Arts Calendar

May 19

Weekly Happenings

CAROLINA BLUES FESTIVAL. 1 – 11 p.m. The 26th Annual Carolina Blues Festival, presented by YES! Weekly. Festival Park, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 5802341 or www.piedmontblues.org.


LIVE MUSIC AT LUCKY 32 SOUTHERN •• KITCHEN. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken &

Songs From a Southern Kitchen. Featuring Chef Jay’s skillet fried chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Info: 336-370-0707.

May 19 – 20


Roaring Twenties located in Sunset Hills. Tickets available at Blandwood Mansion, 447 W. Washington St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-5003 or www.blandwood.org/ TourofHistoricHomes2012.html.

Wednesdays May 26

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. No partner or expe• rience necessary. Introductory Jitterbug Lesson included

May 20

MYSTERY READERS RAP. 2 – 4 p.m. Part of the • Writers & Readers Series from Triad Sisters in Crime. An

informal discussion of your favorite mysteries and authors with other readers and writers. Free admission. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: skillbuild@ aol.com; www.murderwewrite.com.

with the price of admission at 7:30 p.m. followed by dancing to live swing band music. Cost: $10/nonmembers; $8/members and students under 21. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2471.

WEEKLY WINE TASTING. 5-7 p.m. New flights • featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

WOMEN IN PHILANTHROPY. 11: 30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Women united, with one voice, to promote community resources that advance family issues. Featuring keynote speaker Karen Walrond, photographer and author of The Beauty of Different. Tickets: $35 (including lunch entrée). Greensboro Marriott Downtown, 304 N. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: United Way of Greater Greensboro at (336) 378-6607.


FINE WINE FRIDAYS. All wines by the glass are $5. • WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

BOOKUP. 6 – 8 p.m. Inspired by Seattle’s silent • Reading Party, the BookUp is a Triad gathering in a public

Fridays & Saturdays

WEEKEND WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. Live •• music at WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141,

place where it’s B.Y.O.B. — Bring Your Own Book. No charge; ordering drinks/refreshments encouraged. Bin 33, 324 S. Elm St., Greensboro. See the FB page: The Bookup.

Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.); 8 p.m. • (Sat.). Actors create scenes on-the-spot and build upon the

May 23


ART LECTURE. 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. Lecture on Roy Nydorf by Christopher Benfey. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillcenter.org.

May 26-27

CONTEMPORARY CERAMIC ART SHOW. • 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (Sat.); 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Sun.) Bulldog

Pottery presents “Cousins in Clay,” a pottery kinship based on shared appreciation for the pursuit of excellence within the diverse language of clay. Featured potters include Bruce Gholson, Samantha Henneke, Michael Kline, Ron Meyers and Judith Duff. Seagrove, NC. Info: www.bulldogpottery.com.

May 27

CENTRAL LIBRARY BOOK DISCUSSION. 3 • p.m. An eclectic group of book lovers meet the fourth

May 24

TRIAD BEST OF BROADWAY SERIES. 7:30 p.m. • Riverdance. Internationally-acclaimed celebration of Irish

music, song and dance. Tickets: $47.50, $52.50, $57.50. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets/Info: (888) 418-2929 or www.TriadBestofBroadway.com.

May 25


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

Sunday of each month to discuss monthly selection. Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

FRESH MUSIC FESTIVAL. 7 p.m. Celebration of • the best in R&B, hip-hop, soul and comedy. Featuring

Doug E. Fresh, Keith Sweat, K-Ci & JoJo, GUY and SWV. Tickets: $45, $55, $65. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www. greensborocoliseum.com; www.freshmusicfestival.com.

LASER BEATLES OMNISPHERE SHOW. 7, 8 & 9 p.m. Laser light show featuring Beatles songs. Tickets: $5. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org. Music/Concerts

Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-1123.


May 22


WEDNESDAY NIGHT BLUES JAM. 8 – 11 • p.m. Local Blues musicians perform at the Summit

acoustic music by AM rodeo. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: 336-379-0699.

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Celebrate rhythm • and rhyme every third Monday each month. Open mic. Free

• •

Bruce Piephoff (May 16); Dana and Susan Robinson (May 23); Sam Frazier (May 30). Free. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

MUSSLES, WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. •• Mussles for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live

May 21


TUNES @ NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from local • musicians Steve & Chuck (May 2); Lacy Green (May 9);

• • Film


• • Fun



ideas of others. Performances based on suggestions given by the audience; each show is one-of-a-kind. Saturday 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. Tickets: $10/$7(students). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/RSVP: 336-274-BOXX.

NIGHTMARES AROUND ELM STREET. 8 p.m. • A 90-minute historical candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Open Year-Round. Cost: $15/ adults; $13/children 8-12. Children 7 and under are free. Group rates and online discounts available. Info: www. carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.


CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR. 11 a.m. Dynamic lead• ers in our community conduct story hour. Make-and-take arts activities follow. All books are written for children, especially ages 5-12. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www. sitinmovement.org.

WEEKLY WINE TASTINGS. 4 – 6 p.m. New flights • featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

To add an event, e-mail us at ohcal@ohenrymag.com by May 1 for the June/July. April/May 2012

O.Henry 105

GreenScene Book Lovers’ Social at Greensboro Central Library February 29, 2012 Photographs by Ashley Wahl

Linda Anderson

Carolyne Burgman

Joan Anderson

Ronald Headen

Lois Williams, Lindy Howell, Leslie Brunson and Cassandra Gladney

106 O.Henry

April/May 2012

Kathy Sample

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Battle of Guilford Courthouse Reenactment Saturday, March 17, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

The Ultimate Driving Machine


John Isner & Crown BMW.

The Drive of a Winner.

Sarah Young, Elizabeth Woodford, Holly Young, Alex Woodford

Michael, Roy, Noah Draa

Kennedy & Phillip Ramsey

Melanie & Charlie Woodford

Logan Bender, Christian Goldstein, Jim Bender, Tyrus Martin

-John Isner

Great financing & leasing offers available. INTRODUCING THE ALL-NEW BMW 3 SERIES Stan & Dot Harper

Amy & Mareena Pafford, Wesley & Kim Holcomb

Jennifer & Randy Jardere

Gordon & Morgan Markham

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Nancy Boyd, Hayden Jesserer

Charlie & Barbara Harvel

Don Seaquist, Lou Harned, John Butts, Tom Welsh

Peter & Meredith Uber

Crown BMW 3902 W. Wendover Ave. GSO, NC 27407 336-323-3900 www.crownbmw.com

Qualified customers only. Available at participating BMW centers through BMW Financial Services NA, LLC. Applies only to specific models and only for specific model years.

April/May 2012

O.Henry 107


St. Patrick’s Day in Downtown Greensboro Photographs by Sam Froelich

Laura O’neal, Elizabeth Reilley, Reem Smallz

Ladonte’ Garrett, Shannon Reeves

Jason Vandiver, Crystal Vandiver, Brooke Allen

Jason Kopp, Jennifer Sperduti, Melissa Snow, Ken Mcminn

Mike Clancey, Kay Windham Teressa M. Stephens, Shon Collins, Maria Hatfield

Jim Bellows, Sharon Kerr

Tony Fair, Tonya Fair, Barry Bluinquist

Andy Scheidler, Kevin Yee, Tom Shasta

Cornelia Corey, Sloane Woltz, Ray Mccoy

Brandon Fields

Donna Myers, David Craft

Kristin Keever, Ryan Glenz, Nicole Gonshorowski

Dylan Depasquale, Reegan Carbone, Erin Hoerner

108 O.Henry

April/May 2012

Sabrina Willets, Noene Addington

Ashton, Michael, Lexton & Lydia Hallisey

Jeanie & Bill Eastman and Chuck & Gail Kendall Jane Creech, Sylvia Altensen, Caroline Creech

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sharon Daniel, Karen Stone


Taylor Aerin, Kelli Anderson, Lindsay Hewitt

Mitzi, Ted & Mya Koontz

Jimmy, Sam & Nancy Allison, Christian Wilson

Kristi, Ian & Joao Castro, Ruth & Ben Estes

Attire: Black Tie & Blue Jeans TICKETS ON SALE NOW at www.gcmuseum.com Join us as a sponsor! Contact Leigh Satalino: lsatalino@gcmuseum.com or 336.574.2898. x313 Kristine Hogh, Grey Moller Kristensen, Lena Shi, Rana Jallad, Anne Fonsler

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April/May 2012

O.Henry 109

Arts &CULTURE Chill out to the cool sounds of the Triad’s hottest choir.

Saturday, April 28, 8:00 PM & Monday, April 30, 7:30 PM Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N Holden Rd, Greensboro Tickets and more information:

336.333.2220 or belcantocompany.com

110 O.Henry

April/May 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Lost But Found

Life’s Funny

The story of a well-chewed family By Maria Johnson

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The boy already had named him Rio, for the restaurant where they’d eaten. Cured of worms and an eye infection, Rio gained energy. And an appetite. For shoes. And gloves. And sofa cushions. And remote controls. When he was outside, he wanted in. When he was in, he wanted out. He paced. He whined. He loosed his baritone yodel. “Bah-ROOOO . . .” The mom thought about placing a new ad: “Soon to be Lost . . .” A colleague suggested calling a friend, a dog breeder and trainer. The trainer talked the mom down out of her tree. Get a wire crate. Get a gentle leader. Have your son exercise him vigorously. If you raised a beagle from a puppy, you can do this. The mom needed to hear that. She relaxed. She went, yet again, to the pet store. You probably can find her there today. In the rawhide department. She has become friends with the clerks. She has struck up the most interesting conversations with other customers. Dog people, she has decided, are the friendliest. They will sniff anyone. And they learn from their animals, just as she has. Back home, she buries her receipts. Not that the dad cares anymore. He calls the dog “Bud” and brags about the ultimate canine accomplishment: “He hasn’t peed inside once.” They have a routine now. The boy takes him for a run before school. During the day, the dog snoozes in the sun — or in his crate, to the sound of a clicking keyboard. The mom walks him and takes him to a dog park. The boy runs him after school. They chase around the squirrel-free yard. The boy has taught him to sit, to lie down, to fetch and return. Sort of. They are a happy, well-chewed family. The mom thinks back to her first glimpse of the dog, a springing sylph in a parking lot. She never had picked up a stray before. Why this one? She can’t explain it. There was something different about him. She watches two figures now. A lithe boy and a lithe hound dodging and sprinting, stopping and starting, rolling and wrestling in the fading light of dusk, both of them young and beautiful. It’s a movie that she will replay for the rest of her life. They come to the backdoor breathless — the boy and his hound, who was lost and then found. OH April/May 2012

O.Henry 111

Photograph By Jordan Timpy


he three of them — mom, dad, boy — had just eaten at a Mexican restaurant. They were driving away when the mom saw a quick motion in a nearby parking lot. Something loping through a cone of light. “Is that a dog?” she said. “That’s what I was wondering,” said the dad, turning his wheels that way. Indeed, it was a dog — a tall, handsome, bony hound. He bounded up to the car, wagged his tail, fixed his whiskey-colored eyes on the family. “Let’s get him!” said the boy. “He probably lives around here,” said the dad. “He’s not wearing a collar,” said the mom. “He’s pretty skinny. Someone might have dumped him.” “Who would dump a nice dog like that?” said the dad. “Let’s get him!” said the boy, who’d always wanted a big dog to romp with. At home, there was a huge yard and a sweet, white-faced beagle, but her romping days had passed. “We don’t need another dog,” said the dad. He pressed the accelerator. The dog chased the car to the road. They talked about him on the way home. Maybe he had slipped his collar. Maybe he belonged to someone who worked in the shopping center where city opens into country. Maybe. The car pulled into the garage. The garage door went down. Minutes passed. The garage door went up. The car backed out. Inside the house, the dad shook his head behind a crossword puzzle. “You know he might not be there, right?” said the mom as she drove. “I know,” said the boy. Neither one breathed as they rolled into the parking lot. The dog stood where they’d left him. In the backseat, he curled into a tight ball and fell asleep before they got home. The next day, they did the right thing. They took him to the vet, who found no microchip. They posted fliers, checked kennels, called rescue folks, took out a classified ad. They waited. They told themselves not to get attached to the dog, who sprang through their yard like a gazelle; who staked out a favorite resting place behind the rosebush next to the birdhouse; who tussled with the boy and stretched out for belly rubs; who slept in the sunroom, in a cut-down Fender guitar box lined with an old blanket. The old beagle grudgingly approved. A henchman as tall as the kitchen table could be useful. A hunter called about the ad. The mom’s heart stopped. Then started again. The hunter wasn’t missing a dog, but he was interested — until he heard that the boy had fallen in love with the dog. “If your boy loves him . . .” he said. “I’d shut it down and give him a name.”

O.Henry Ending

Where All The Flowers Bloomed Four tulips, rising every spring, remind me of Frank By Tim Swink


’m really not sure what drew me to Frank. Or him to me. A softspoken, gentle man, he was thought to be odd by most who knew him . . . a short man, bald on top, someone who walked with his hands clasped in front of him, moving his lips as if he were talking to himself (which he probably was). But I liked and respected Frank. I liked the quiet, peaceful way he went about his life. And for some reason, he liked me. He and his wife, Margie, owned Spragg Gardens, a botanical nursery located on Scott Road in Browns Summit. Prior to her marriage to Frank Spragg, Margie Scott came from a large family that lived along Scott Road. Several of the Scott brothers made their living with their hands in the soil, same as Frank and Margie. Only the Spraggs didn’t raise cows or crops. They raised potted plants in their two greenhouses. Plants that would become irises, carnations, petunias, azaleas, roses and tulips. Spragg Gardens was unique at the time, being one of the first nurseries in Guilford County. They catered to the local country folk, as well as the city’s affluent. It was something of an oddity seeing Cadillacs, Lincolns and Bonnevilles parked alongside Scott Road out in Brown Summit. Those silver-haired ladies listened intently as they followed Margie around in the garden’s beds, her pointing with dirt under her fingernails, her chalk-board scratching voice explaining what was what, and the proper care and watering of each. Many Irving Park and Starmount Forest homes were adorned for their garden parties with flower arrangements that grew and were harvested from Spragg Gardens soil. In 1971, Uncle Sam and Vietnam were nipping at my heels. I opposed the war and had some serious decisions to make. I grew up just down the road and around the corner from Spragg Gardens. I had dropped out of college and needed a job. Thoughts of working outside, in Frank’s garden, appealed to me. I was looking for some answers in my life and the thought of hanging out with gentle Frank Spragg in that setting felt right . . . might even help me resolve some questions. Frank hired me, but I don’t think Margie approved. I seem to remember her telling Frank they didn’t need any help at that time. Surprisingly, Frank stood his ground. As I said, for some reason, I felt he liked me. One of my jobs was to mow in between the beds and keep the weeds down. On this particular day, Frank had asked me to mow around two specific beds. Unbeknownst to me, he was cultivating a hybrid grass in one of those beds. It was inside the bed but still, it was grass to me and I mowed Frank’s experiment down to the nub. The first to notice was Margie. Her high-pitched caterwauling was the first indication I had done something terribly wrong, although the verbiage coming from her mouth was unintelligible. At first, I was embarrassed. But truth be told, the more

112 O.Henry

April/May 2012

she howled, the more my embarrassment turned to resentment. I wanted to say, “My God, it was a mistake, lady! I didn’t mean to!” Finally, Frank appeared at the end of the bed, hands clasped in front of him, his head bowed looking down at the nubs. His simple reaction was, “My, my. Oh my.” His gentleness, in that moment of post destruction, was not lost on me. The realization seeped in that I had met her anger with anger. But Frank’s gentle protest turned my anger into compassion. I remember thinking to myself, You’re gonna remember this for the rest of your life. This incident will follow you long after you’ve left this garden. And it did. The memory is written on the page. Frank developed Parkinson’s disease, which caused him to lose much of his considerable strength and stamina. The illness brought on a gait in which he walked tip-toed with a slight forward lean, appearing as if he might tumble forward onto his face with his next step. I went back and visited him from time to time. One of my last memories of Frank was the image of him on his knees at the end of a bed, trying with difficulty to work his hands into the soil, but his hands were not cooperating. He told me once during this time that he tired easily and had to go to the house and take a nap several times a day. I remember helping him to his feet and watching as he teetered back up to the house to take his rest. Maybe that was the last time I saw him. I don’t know. The disease took him in August 1980. Margie followed four years later. I didn’t have to go to Vietnam. I resisted and eventually got out of the draft with the help of draft counselors at the American Friends Service Committee at Guilford College. That was a very trying time for me and for many guys of my era. At 18, boys were pushed into becoming men, ready or not. Decisions had to be made. Some of us went. Some of us didn’t. Those of us who didn’t had drawn our lines in the soil. Frank and Margie have been gone over thirty years now. But when I drive out to our home place, I always take the Scott Road and ride by where Spragg Gardens once stood. A boarded up cinderblock building, which housed the office, stands near the road. That’s all that is left of Spragg Gardens, except come spring. That’s when I take my ride to the country and go by Spraggs, without fail, and I see them . . . a cluster of four lone tulips that rise from the warming ground, blooming on the land where Spragg Gardens used to be. I’m sure Frank planted those bulbs. I like to think their first bloom coincided with my own, back in that early spring of ’71. OH Tim Swink, who grew up in Greensboro, recently completed his first novel, Curing Time. Illustration By Meridith Martens The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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