April O.Henry 2014

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April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2014



Curing Daffodils


The Secret Love Letters of Dolley Madison


9 Hometown

12 Short Stories 15 Doodad

17 The City Muse

19 Life’s Funny

A sensational find, published here for the first (and last) time

By Jim Dodson


The Old Rebel’s Last Stand


A Fine Wee Madness

Poetry by Dr. Harold Spangler By Emily Frazier Brown By Maria Johnson

21 Omnivorous Reader

25 N.C. Writer’s Notebook

By Stephen E. Smith By Sandra Redding

43 Sporting Life

47 Game On

51 Street Level

55 The Evolving Species

59 Life of Jane

By Tom Bryant By Lee Pace

By Jim Schlosser

27 Best Reader Memoirs 2014

29 Lunch with a Friend

33 In the Soup

34 Pleasures of Life Dept.

37 Artist at Work

98 113 117 127

41 Birdwatch

128 O.Henry Ending

By Beth McAlhany By Noah Salt

By Deborah Salomon By Nancy Oakley By Bill Hancock

By Susan Campbell

Photograph this page by John Gessner

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April 2014

Poetry by Connie Ralston


By T.X. Dodger

By Jane Borden

Arts & Entertainment April Calendar Worth the Drive GreenScene Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova

82 90

By Steve Cushman


By Bill Hancock With his stove-pipe hat, round-rimmed glasses and infectious grin, George Perry still holds a place in Greensboro’s heart.

By Harry Blair The Triad Highland Games — sketched and skewered by Greensboro’s own Harry Blair.

Three-Part Life

By Ogi Overman Philosopher, preacher and photographer, Jim Dollar takes nature photos from a poet’s perspective.

Story of a House

By Maria Johnson One family’s fountain of happiness

Garden Art

By Karen M. Alley Where trash meets — and becomes — treasure.

April Almanac

By Noah Salt Plants with benefits & the Green Man Cometh

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sunning tortoises.

Art for Eyes | Eye for Arts Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | TheViewOnElm.com Becky Causey, Licensed Optician


Life on the Wing

By Jim Dodson

It’s funny

to think something so simple could give so many years of uncomplicated pleasure.

Then again, maybe that’s one of life’s truest messages. Simpler is always better. I’m speaking, of course, of the crumbling bird feeder that graces my backyard garden. It’s is a well-loved and well-traveled friend. My old high school English teacher Miss Emily Dickinson — her real name, by the way, and a red-lipped spinster to boot — would be horrified by such poor usage, firmly noting that it’s grammatically impossible to have an inanimate object as a “friend” because friends are living and breathing entities, equally impossible to “love” anything except other human beings, though I’m not sure there were many of those in Miss Emily’s grammatically pristine life. At risk of earning her wrath from beyond the grave, I hereby repeat my oath of love for my aging friend the bird feeder because it is absolutely alive and breathing with birds of all sorts and has been for nearly two decades now, even though it’s beginning to fall apart at the seams, not unlike its owner these days. I bought it on the side of a coast road in Maine one late autumn afternoon not long after my wife and I moved into the post-and-beam house we built upon a forested hill. This was the year my daughter, Maggie, was born, 1989. An old man was selling a dozen or so of his homemade birdhouses and feeders from the flatbed of his pickup truck. The houses were beautiful affairs, painted white with elegant gables and fancy copper roofs. The feeders, which came in three sizes, were unpainted models of pure functional simplicity — basic affairs open on all four sides, with ample room for birds to gather beneath a peaked roof. I bought one of the fancy birdhouses and took it home for my newly laid out “Southern” garden that was protected from the north wind and received the most sun. It looked great standing in the garden, a luxury home for some lucky bird. Curiously, though, after two weeks not a single bird showed up to claim the house. A month passed and not a single bird even poked its head in to investigate. By then the weather was closing fast. In Maine, winter hits like the bite of an ax. I happened to be taking that same coast road when I saw the old man and his The Art & Soul of Greensboro

pickup truck parked by the side of the road. The fancy copper-roofed birdhouses were all gone. But there were still a few of the large, simple, unpainted feeders left. Against my better judgment, I pulled over and bought one. He didn’t seem to recognize me, and I didn’t bother telling him his fancy birdhouse had no interested takers.

He sold me the feeder for half price. I took it home and mounted it on a post in the rapidly hardening ground just outside our den window, just as the first snowflakes began to fill the air. I drove to the feed store in town and asked the clerk what seed would work best in my simple open feeder. She told me a 50-pound bag of sunflower seeds. I went home and filled up the feeder. Early the next morning, there was a foot of snow on the roof of the birdfeeder — and maybe half a dozen black and white chickadees feeding like crazy in the feeder. I remember getting the first cup of coffee and just sitting down in my favorite wing chair to watch them go at it. I was transfixed. The thermometer outside read 12 degrees. I think I went through two 50-pound bags that winter. No matter the temperature, the chickadees were always there, flitting in, flitting out, remarkable creatures, an ounce of feathers on the wing, ounce for ounce the toughest creature in the Maine woods. In spring, returning robins showed up at the feeder, followed by noisy jays and even a pesky red squirrel that caused Riley the dog to park himself by the window and growl menacingly at the intruder. To the delight of our infant daughter, who loved to watch the birds along with her old man, a favorite daily excitement was to let Riley out the kitchen door in order to tear around the house and chase off the squirrel, who only once dawdled long enough to nearly get caught. The lady at the feed store advised me I needed to upgrade to a swanky squirrel-proof feeder with an inverted plexiglass bowl beneath the feeding area and slotted glass vents that regulated the amount of seed consumed, preventing costly spillage. The rig she showed me cost nearly a hundred dollars. But there was, I confess, something beautiful and primal about the wideopen feathered mayhem that happened at any moment in my wide-open democratic bird feeder. Life in the wilds of Maine — anywhere, really — is a balancing act between here and now, life and death, survival and extinction. A bird never ponders any of this, of course. Only we devoted bird watchers April 2014

O.Henry 9

HomeTown marvel at such faith on the wing. Consider the birds of the air, said St. Matthew; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly father feeds them. Gorgeous gray and red-striped finches along with handsome yellow-throated evening grosbeaks the size of a lady’s evening shoe dropped by to eat their fill, and even a pair of Baltimore orioles visited for a solid week in late Yankee spring. I had a silly mental image in my head of word passing among the birds that an avian soup kitchen had opened up and all were welcome, come as you are. I soon bought a small book to try to identify the many new visitors — grackles, starlings, wrens and waxwings. Barn swallows, towhees and several kinds of sparrow. Once I looked out and saw a magnificent redtail hawk trying to muscle in on the dining action, too big to shelter under the feeder’s roof. After a long day doing battle with uncooperative words or simply trying to keep up with my young rambunctious family, the parade of birds and constantly changing variety at my feeder were a tonic to the soul, a living metaphor for these transient moments of life — a reminder to pause and take notice of the beauty right before my nose. I often sat with my daughter, and soon her little brother, watching the birds feed and finding a strange and welcome

stillness in the end of my day. On the hardest winter days, those dive-bombing chickadees were nothing shy of an inspiration. When we moved home to North Carolina, I left behind the fancy birdhouse but dug up several of my prize hosta plants and — my very last act before driving away without looking back — took down my democratic bird feeder and placed it in the trunk of my car. By then it was really showing its age and wear. Before I raised it again by a pair of trained Savannah hollies leaning over our backyard terrace, I replaced rotted pieces of the framing and tacked on a new roof, then gave the whole thing its first coat of paint. Almost eight years later, that old feeder is busier than ever, a Grand Central Station of Southern feeding birds — robins and Carolina wrens, nuthatches and mourning doves, swifts, fly-catchers, kingbirds, barn swallows and what seems to be a large and ever-expanding clan of cardinals. I’ve seen one bluebird but maybe a half a dozen pileated woodpeckers. Towhees and juncos are frequent visitors. Seated in my favorite Adirondack chair with a cold Sam Adams and my well-worn bird guide in hand, I’ve identified everything from pine siskins and a rare saltmarsh

sparrow. One unforgettable evening I stepped out and surprised a dozen beautiful American gold finches perched on the edges, feeding. They flew off like a burst of gold in the still evening air. I even tolerate a pair of pesky gray squirrels who love to sneak along the top of the fence and gorge themselves when they think nobody is watching. My dog Mulligan lives to chase them off, a game she picked up from old Riley, who died a few years ago. Life hasn’t gotten any simpler since I bought my beloved bird feeder by the side of a lonely coastal road. My children have now grown up and flown the coop, and I’m still wrestling with uncooperative words. Yet the time I spend in my wooden chair just watching birds feed and the seasons come and go is still like a tonic to the soul — somehow feels more important than ever, a simple pleasure that reminds me to keep still and somehow keep the faith. These birds neither reap nor sow nor gather into barns, after all. But as long as this earthbound father is around, they’ll be welcome to eat at my old feeder. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at Jim@ohenrymag.com

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10 O.Henry

April 2014

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Short Stories Friends of Merle It began in 1988 on the back of a flatbed truck on the campus of Wilkes Community College to honor the memory of Eddy Merle Watson, who had been killed in a tractor accident in 1985. It was a homegrown, one-day affair, featuring Earl Scruggs, Chet Atkins, Sam Bush, Jerry Douglas, Béla Fleck and other friends of Merle. And, oh yes, his famous father, legendary blind flatpick guitarist Doc Watson, always dropped by. The fiduciary mission was to raise enough money to build a Garden for the Senses at the college. With virtually no advertising, almost 2,000 fans showed up. Today it is a four-day extravaganza encompassing thirteen stages and over 100 acts. It attracts around 90,000 fans and adds more than $10 million to the region. It is, in short, the most acclaimed Americana music festival in the world. It is MerleFest. The last two years have been landmark events for the festival: 2012 marked its 25th anniversary, while last year was the first time it had been held since the passing of Doc on May 29, 2012. Among the headliners at this year’s event, held April 24–27, are Alan Jackson, Merle Haggard, Old Crow Medicine Show, the Duhks, Ralph Stanley, Carolina Chocolate Drops, Ricky Skaggs, Dailey and Vincent, and the Lonesome River Band. Info: merlefest.org. OO

Magic Mountain

Something Fishy Here Frank Russell had made a name for himself as a large-canvas Abstract artist long before he began working in a relatively recent medium called foundobject sculptures. “About twelve years ago this came into vogue and I started dabbling in it,” says the Greensboro resident. “I guess I became pretty good at it, because people started buying them.” And they still do: “It’s become my bread and butter.” Russell scours around for pre-existing objects: “That’s the charm of it, to find something old and discarded and make something new and completely different out of it,” he says, “Not long ago I made a giant snail out of a rotary exhaust fan.” While creatures from aardvarks to zebras emerge from his studio, his stock in trade is fish. “I’ve got them all over town,” says the former owner of Artmongerz on South Elm Street. But one thing is for certain: No two are alike. You’ll find his work at Artmongerz, Lawndale Veterinary Hospital and the offices of local dentists Drs. Roland Jones and Alan Irvin. Or — beginning Saturday, April 26, with a reception for artists Russell, Jenny Fuller and Angela Nesbit from 6–8 p.m. — check out Russell’s latest work at Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro, (336) 279-1124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com. OO

12 O.Henry

April 2014

Claude Monet repeatedly painted Rouen Cathedral from a lingerie shop. John Beerman paints Hillsborough Baptist Church from his studio. “Beerman often works in series,” says Edie Carpenter, director of curatorial and artistic programs at Greenhill, “painting his subjects again and again at different times of day and during different seasons.” Beginning April 11, Greenhill will feature a number of the nationally acclaimed artist’s serial paintings, both of the church and Grandfather Mountain. Carpenter says Beerman, who recently moved back to the state, fondly remembers visiting North Carolina’s high country as a child and sketching scenes from his grandparents’ mountain cottage. “Grandfather Mountain is a geological ‘window’ into some of the oldest parts of the Earth’s crust,” Carpenter says. “Created with often only three colors and fewer brushstrokes than the thousands that compose his larger paintings, Beerman’s studies appear to contain the essence of the Luminist paintings he is known for nationally.” Joining Beerman in a two-man show, Two Artists/One Space, is Noé Katz, who relocated to Greensboro from Mexico City. On April 24 at 6:30 p.m., Beerman will discuss his most recent landscape paintings, which, like Katz’s, will be on display through June 22. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillnc.org. DCB

Pearl Jam? For families in crisis, for battered women, for those suffering depression, anxiety, unmanageable debt or substance abuse, the world can seem like anything but their oyster. However, for nearly seventy-five years, Family Services of the Piedmont has been helping individuals and families in crisis recover after life’s pearls become unstrung. And what easier and more appetizing way to help the largest private nonprofit agency serving children and families in Guilford County than the organization’s annual Oyster Roast? Last year’s event drew 1,100 oyster slurpers and raised $258,000. With oysters a’plenty, beer, wine, live music by Right to Party, a catered buffet by Paper Moon complete with Southern sides and desserts, this year’s roast will be held on the grounds of Frank and Lindsey Auman’s house, on Friday, April 25, at 7 p.m. Info: (336) 889-6161, extension 1115, or www.safeandhealthyfamilies.com. DCB The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Sauce of the Month

Old photos fascinate us, especially those that capture the zeitgeist of the times. They are, after all, postcards from the past. Beginning April 8, a staggering 10,000 images, all old photos of Greensboro, will be available via computer, smartphone or tablet on digitalgreensboro.org. It all goes under the banner of “Textiles, Teachers, and Troops: Greensboro 1880 –1945” — reflecting three forces that helped make Greensboro what it is today. Plus, you’ll also find thousands of other images of manuscripts, rare books, scrapbooks and oral histories. Coordinated by The Digital Projects Unit, part of UNCG’s University Libraries, the old photos were drawn from UNCG, N.C. A&T, Guilford College, Bennett College, Greensboro College and the Greensboro Historical Museum. “We want to create a local history portal,” says David Gwynn, digital projects coordinator for UNCG University Libraries. “We want this site to become the sort of go-to-place for local history online.” For information on the launch on April 8 at the museum and a panel discussion on April 16 at UNCG, click on library.uncg.edu/ calendar/events. BH

If you think Country Boy’s NumNum Sauce sounds like fun, you’d be right, especially if you have a sweet tooth. But understand that it was reformulated by a biomedical, pharmaceutical, food and nutrition scientist, Michael Lloyd, fifty years after the original sauce went dormant. Lloyd’s great-grandfather first sold a version as Faison & Faison Barbecue Sauce in four states out of Brunswick, Georgia, from 1940– 1960. In 2006, Lloyd resurrected the family’s heirloom and began selling it in little plastic honey-bear bottles. Since then, he’s moved into Fresh Market and Whole Foods, which carry his regular and hot versions. The hot isn’t quite fiery enough to be named NumbNumb Sauce, but it instantly gets your attention. NumNum combines the tang of eastern N.C. sauce with a sweetness beyond ketchup and a blast of garlic and pepper, but without the salt. It’s tempered with mustard and just a hint of turmeric. NumNum does, after all, rhyme with yum yum. Can you say ribs and wings? Info: www. numnumsauce.com. DCB

April Flowers

Royal Treatment

Like rabbits in a lettuce patch — that’s how local gardeners will feel as they peruse the learning opportunities that are ripe for the picking in April, National Garden Month. Here are just a few: • April 5: Earth Day Festival, 1–5 p.m., Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Branch Library, 1420 Price Park Road, Greensboro. • April 6: How to create butterfly-friendly gardens, 4 p.m., Greensboro Arboretum, 401 Ashland Drive, Greensboro. Call (336) 375-5876 to register. • April 12: Family Gardening Day at the N.C. Cooperative Extension demonstration garden, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., 3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro — including sessions every 30 minutes on sharpening pruning shears; planting container plants; planting trees and shrubs; spacing your vegetable garden. Kids’ activities and soil test kits available. • April 16: Gardening with (and in spite of) Wildlife, 6–7:30 p.m., Morgan Room, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Call (336) 375-5876 to register. •

April 17: Easy to Grow Culinary Herbs, 6:30 p.m., Bur-Mil Wildlife Education Center, 5834 Bur-Mill Club Road, Greensboro. Call (336) 3755876 to register. MJ

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

If you’re a successful woman who believes in passing the torch, The Queen’s Foundation is looking for you. Based in Greensboro, the statewide nonprofit needs mentors to help qualified middleand high-school girls develop six qualities: beauty, character, talent, confidence, accountability and vision. Apply to become a mentor at thequeensfoundation.org. Click on “founder” to learn more about executive director Nadia Shirin Moffett, Miss North Carolina USA 2010, and an alumna of UNCG and High Point University. MJ

The Forgotten War Few know much about the poorly understood French and Indian War of 1754–1763 — and fewer still know North Carolina’s role. One who does is John Maass, a historian at Fort McNair’s U.S. Army Center of Military History in D.C. with a master’s degree from UNCG and a doctorate from Ohio State University. On April 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, Maass will focus on North Carolina in the French and Indian War: The Spreading Flames of War, the title of his latest book. North Carolina was second only to Virginia in raising troops to help Great Britain fight the French and their American Indian allies. After a number of settlers were killed in Cherokee raids in western North Carolina, peace was negotiated at Fort Dobbs near what’s now Statesville. The fort then became a haven for refugees escaping heavy fighting elsewhere in North America. England and the Colonies eventually won, with the British gaining Canada from France. But England’s imposition of extra taxes to cover the cost of sending British troops to America ultimately elevated the Colonies’ desire for independence. Maass’ speech is co-sponsored by the Greensboro Historical Museum and the Guilford Battleground Co. Info: (336) 288-1776 or greensborohistory.org. JS April 2014

O.Henry 13

Meticulous attention to detail

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The Greening of Greensboro

Location, Lifestyle, and the Lakes

Once again the miracle Of spring spreads across the town — Trees awake, and all the shades Of green break forth in beauty. Thus does Greensboro live up So gloriously to her name. Dogwoods and azaleas add their Colors and pear trees add Their blossoms and perfect symmetry. In every new development A tithe of land is left untouched, Thus adding to the greening. Once Jefferson Pilot was tallest Downtown, now several equal or surpass. Yet there is in mid downtown A green space where one can walk Or sit and meditate. Throughout the city are parks And a bog garden Where nature offers quiet retreat. Gone are the textile mills Of Cone and Guilford Mills. Gone also the ecoskeleton Of the once mighty Bur-Mill. Yet in every section malls arise Like mini towns within the town, Offering goods from all the world And cuisine from all the nations. Five places of higher learning Bring us music and drama, As does an ever-expanding coliseum Bring us sports and entertainment. So change has come. Things once here are gone; New things abound. Yet one thing still remains. Thank God this is so, The beauty of the greening of Greensboro.

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April 2014

O.Henry 15






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The City Muse

True Mobile Art

Murals come and go, but a good tattoo is ready to travel. By Emily Frazier Brown

“How’s that even legal?” Tom shook his

head, wiping IPA foam from his mustache and kicking the leg of his chair in feigned disgust. He was telling me how the iconic mural of Spider-Man and other classic superheroes surrounded by vintage arcade games on Spring Garden Street had finally been painted over, changing the exterior of the Corner Bar so completely that the five-year resident of Lindley Park Manor drove completely past it. “I actually know the guy who painted it,” I start. “Well, I know a guy who knows the guy.” The mural was at least a decade old. And it made a whole lot more sense when a comic book and arcade game store was nearby, but the still-vibrant trip down a memory lane paved by archaic joysticks, PacMan and Wolverine, made it an integral part of the neighborhood long after it outlived the shop. “His name is Shawn. He’s actually a tattoo artist, and he doesn’t live around here anymore,” I said, thinking about the first time I ever heard about Shawn. It had nothing to do with the mural, actually. Shawn picked up his trade when his parents sent him to Maryland for a Job Corps program that they hoped would put the brakes on some of his teenage antics. They probably hoped he’d learn to craft a great resume, and maybe he did, but he mostly became an expert at making homemade tattoo guns out of Legos. And as soon as he got back into town, he wanted to put it to the test. My friend Aaron was 17 and a regular part of the antics that got Shawn in trouble in the first place. “I wanted a tattoo,” he told me. “So Shawn says, ‘Let me do one for you. I’ll do one for you.’ And I’m like, ‘What could go wrong?’” They hopped on one of those original, gigantic desktop computers and waited the ten minutes it took for Aaron’s home printer to spit out the word “Unity” in Old English script. Then Aaron lay down on his sister’s bed, waiting for the top of his stomach to be transformed into a masterpiece of art. “You’ve got to understand,” Aaron pauses, smirking and simultaneously wincing at the memory, “a normal tattoo gun runs at a rate of maybe 250, 350 times per second. Something like that. Anyway, this went sixteen times per second. Sixteen!” The gun was jury-rigged with a makeshift kill switch that Aaron himself had to hold together. Anytime Aaron squirmed in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

intense pain, his arm jostled, and the gun stopped. “It took sixteen hours.” My mouth dropped open. I didn’t believe him, but he elaborated. “And we didn’t even finish it.” They stopped halfway through the letter “T.” In Old English script, if you don’t finish a “T,” it looks like a “C.” His finished tattoo read, “Unic,” which rhymed with and might be mistaken for eunuch. Aaron also contracted cellucitis, a skin infection, in the area around the tattoo. “I lost a job at Wendy’s over this,” he laughs, crossing one leg over the other and resting his hands behind his head, clearly comfortable with reciting the unfortunate life choice. “I had just started, and I left to see a doctor about my stomach. When I didn’t come back for a week, they just told me not to bother.” Aaron’s mother eventually had him finish the tattoo for her own birthday present. In the fifteen years since then, he’s enjoyed a vast array of better executed works of art on his body. For other lovers of permanent ink, Greensboro is lucky to be home to a variety of talented artists and award-winning shops. Little John’s lives on in its glory for being one of the first to proudly open its doors in our city and is still standing on Aycock Street. I’ve gotten mine almost exclusively at Legacy Irons on McGee street, only stumbling in the first time because of a fundraiser they were doing for Lou Gehrig’s disease, returning because their artists are both talented and friendly. Golden Spiral, Tried and True, Carolina Tattoo Company and others provide Gate City residents with a multitude of portfolios to choose from. Despite the variety, the community feels small and close-knit, like any other artistic niche. Artists who haven’t ever worked together know of each other and one another’s work, and each has a loyal following. Nate Hall, the owner of Legacy Irons, was halfway through a portrayal of Lewis Carroll’s original white hare on my left thigh when I mentioned the mural and the colorful beginnings of its artist. “Really? Shawn?” he stopped the gun to contain his amusement. “That mural was around forever. He did great work.” Aaron said that Shawn ended up somewhere in Colorado, while Nate elaborated that he thought Shawn ended up in Fort Worth. Both emphasized that he’s a wellsought-after artist now. I suppose where he ended up doesn’t matter, or even that the mural is now just a memory for Corner Bar regulars and those who have had their portraits taken with the mural as a backdrop over the years. Some of our city’s best artists left their mark outside of galleries — their best pieces spanning brick walls of consenting businesses or the limb of a customer whose thought came to life and will live forever on their person. OH Emily Frazier Brown is a Greensboro writer whose father will figure out she has a tattoo if he reads O.Henry magazine. April 2014

O.Henry 17

Life’s Funny

On Skunk Watch By Maria Johnson

OK, you know

how sometimes your husband is out in the backyard in his sweatpants at 5:30 a.m. because one of your dogs was going crazy at the window, and you let him (your dog) out, and he ran behind the trees, and now you can’t see him, but he’s still going nuts, and you decide that he (your husband) needs to go see what the matter is … ?

And he (your husband) says, “Oh, for gawdsakes,” but he’s a good guy, so he goes outside and looks around, and says he doesn’t see anything, but you — who are standing at the door flapping your hands to urge him on — say, “Go look behind the trees.” And he says, “It’s dark! I don’t want to get sprayed by a skunk or something.” … ? And you, say, “SKUNK?! There are no SKUNKS around here!” because, sure, you’ve seen dead ones on the road, but you’ve never seen a live one … ? And then a week later, you’re coming down the stairs at about 11 at night, and you happen to glance out the window on the stair landing, and you go, “EEEEEEE!,” and your teenage son goes, “WHAT?” and you point at the streetlight, and your son rushes to the window to see what you see, which is a skunk ambling from the street into your front yard … ? And your son starts laughing … ? And the skunk keeps waddling like, “La-dee-da-da-da just another night in Skunkland.” … ? And you go, “EEEE!” again because the nonchalant skunk is getting closer to your house … ? And you run to the side windows and you see the nonchalant skunk walking along the fence like he’s done this before, many times in fact, and he’s looking for the opening, and you go, “Eeeee!” again … ? And your son goes, “He’s through!” … ? And it bothers you that your son is enjoying this so much, but now is not the time to discuss it because a nonchalant skunk is RIGHT BELOW YOUR WINDOW … ? And then you realize the air-conditioning unit is right below your window, too, and the last thing you want to do is alarm a nonchalant skunk that’s right beside the air-conditioning unit … ?
And you whisper, “Don’t move! He’s right beside the air-conditioning unit.” … ? And your son is laughing so hard, it’s really getting on your nerves. … ? And you say, “Go outside and follow him!” … ? And he says, “YOU go outside and follow him.” … ? And you regret buying your son all those brain-building puzzles when he The Art & Soul of Greensboro

was little, and you think about waking up your husband, but you don’t want to have to admit he was right about the skunk thing, so you stand there frozen in skunk fear … ? Paralyzed because you realize that you are powerless because you can’t order a skunk off your property, and you can’t trap it, and even if you wanted to, you couldn’t shoot it without making a huge stink. … ? And then you think, “Wait a minute. Maybe that’s not a skunk after all because he doesn’t have white stripes down his back. He has a white crown, but the rest of him is all-black, like some badass arch villain.” … ? And you do an emergency online search for “skunks without stripes,” which sounds a little like a humanitarian organization, and you see that there is such a thing, but it’s a freak occurrence, which means there’s a MUTANT, BADASS, NONCHALANT SKUNK BESIDE YOUR AIRCONDITIONING UNIT … ?
 And an hour later, your dogs want out, so you put them on leashes, and walk them into the dark backyard, but you are tiptoeing in a crouch, lest you come face to face with anal glands. … ? And the next morning, you wake up thinking about your mutant, badass, nonchalant skunk, and you want to give him a name. …? You want to call him Stinky, but you think maybe that’s not fair because that’s just one aspect of his personality, but then you think, “We’re talking about a damn skunk here.” … ? And you’re sipping your coffee, and your husband is leaving for work, and as he’s going out the door you say, “Make-it-a-good-day-there-was-a-skunk-in-ouryard-last-night-bye.” … ? And then you’re online again, because you’re wondering why Stinky the BadAss, Nonchalant Skunk was on your suburban street, and you learn that skunks like chicken eggs, and you think of your chicken-keeping neighbors across the street. … ? And you walk across the street later and ask your neighbor if he’s missing any eggs, and he says no, but he almost stumbled over a skunk when he was out walking one night. … ? And you say, “What did you do?” and he says, “I got out of there. It was a skunk.” … ?
 And you think how skunks rule the world. … ? And that night, you sit by the front window and keep a StinkWatch. And you ask yourself why, but deep down you know the answer — because his power fascinates you. … ? And just one more time, you’d like to see him swagger across your front yard like he owns it — because he does. … ? Don’t you just hate it when that happens? OH To report additional sightings of Stinky the Badass Nonchalant Skunk, contact Maria Johnson at maria@ohenrymag.com. April 2014

O.Henry 19


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The Omnivorous Reader

One Thing Too Many A short story collection that's not short enough

By Stephen E. Smith

I didn’t watch

the sitcom The Office more than a couple of times — not because I’m too sophisticated for TV humor but because Steve Carell played such a convincing jerk that I found his character insufferable. I did, however, take notice of a couple of the more likable characters — Pam, Jim and Kevin, in particular, and Ryan, a dark-haired corporate climber whose face appeared to be composed of mismatched parts. When I happened upon that very face staring at me from the dust jacket of a book of short stories, I thought: Oh, no, fiction by an actor who’s convinced that everything he does is worthy of notice. Spare me.

I should have trusted my instincts. B.J. Novak’s first story collection, One More Thing, is worth reading if you’re a lover of cynical, quasi-intellectual short-short stories — many of them no more than anecdotes — and you’re amused by dark, quirky, nonsensical humor. The actor turned author is certainly capable of weaving a mildly humorous narrative that takes the reader in unanticipated directions, but he has only a modest talent for observing the world through a skewed lens. The best of his stories have little to say. So how funny is One More Thing? Funny enough to maintain a steady

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

level of bemusement punctuated by the occasional chuckle. The story “A Good Problem to Have” is typical. An old man who claims to have invented the algebraic word problem — “A man leaves Chicago at 12 p.m. on a train heading for Cleveland at sixty miles per hour” — barges into a classroom full of precocious fourth-graders to claim credit for his achievement. He rambles on and on in a schizoid frenzy about how he wasn’t paid enough for his mathematical creation. When the child narrator asks if the man could produce the stationery on which the problem was written, the old man claims that he kept the original copy in a shoebox. “‘You know, I did go through the box once. And it was there. But I didn’t look very carefully, though. I didn’t even really look at all. Just put my hand in there and took it out. That’s not really looking . . . But I’m not looking again. But maybe it’s there. You know, maybe I’ll look again. That’s not a bad idea.’” The teacher points out how much good the word problem has done for children and receives a puzzling response. “‘It is . . . I guess what you said before, it is nice seeing that you all know it,’ said the old man. ‘It’s a reward. Not the only reward, but . . . you take what you can get. I’ll try to get more, but you take what you can get. It’s done so much good for the world that I do feel like I deserve more. But, yeah, that’s a good thing.’” When the old man leaves the classroom, a student asks, “What the hell does that mean?” and the teacher replies, “Language.” Incoherence probably makes sense in a universe where there’s no rationality, where the only thing that makes sense is that nothing does, which is a little too easy and at best tenuous a theme. Many of the stories purposely turn on paradox and narrative reversals, and are written using contemporary language patterns and hip expressions that might be found in the Urban Dictionary. The text is filled with allusions to celebrities past and present — Elvis Presley, Johnny Depp, JFK, Dan Fogelberg, John Grisham and, of course, Justin Bieber — which vaguely April 2014

O.Henry 21

Some choices are more important than others.

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Reader grounds the reader in what would otherwise be an unknown time and place. All of this disorganized free writing and overt name dropping might come across as a form of Dadaism if the stories didn’t present themselves as allegoric. The characters are flat and settings and timeframes are purposely vague, leading one to believe that a message is the primary purpose of the story. That might be the case if Novak played it straight, but the stories always include a touch of social satire and a dose of humor, which negate any serious resolution. And of course there’s nothing new here. Parables and fables abound in Western literature, and readers will be reminded of humorous allegorical fiction by James Thurber, Joseph Heller, Donald Barthelme and Richard Brautigan rather than the straight-ahead parables of Franz Kafka, George Garrett and Jorge Luis Borges. Most of the stories are blessedly succinct, ranging in length from nine words to as many as twenty pages. In the case of “Kindness Among Cakes” there are only two short sentences: CHILD: “Why does carrot cake have the best icing?” MOTHER: “Because it needs the best icing.” If those lines fall with a predictable thud, the story “Romance, Chapter One” works on a simplistic level: “The cute one?” “No, the other one.” “Oh, she’s cute too.” Clever though these short-short stories may be, there’s little thematic resonance and no memorable passages, and the longer, more developed tales tend to dissolve into shaggy dog stories. Novak is a TV star, and One More Thing has attracted attention because of his celebrity status. In “Confucius at Home,” he touches on that very dilemma. The illustrious Chinese sage asks one of his servants if there are any noodles around. “CONFUCIUS SAY: BRING NOODLES!” shouts the servant to the cook. When Confucius tells everyone to settle down, that he’s just asking a question and his words don’t constitute a momentous pronouncement, the servant says, “CONFUCIUS SAY: CALM DOWN!” Finally, Confucius tells the other members of the household, “Stop it, okay? Not everything is a thing.” Which, of course, is also taken as a wise pronouncement. The story concludes with the line: “But if the scribe wanted to write those other two down . . . well, Confucius wasn’t going to stop him.” That’s the message. OH Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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April 2014

O.Henry 23

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24 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

By Sandra Redding

Readings and Such Reading can take you anywhere. Hop on for the ride. April 3–6 (Thursday–Sunday). Mark your calendar for the North Carolina Literary Festival 2014, The Future of Reading, James B. Hunt Jr. Library, N.C. State University, Raleigh. “Reading is, in fact, on the upswing,” the organizers of this free event proclaim. Look for: Readings/discussions; performances; book signings; children’s activities; and book sales. For complete information: www.lib.ncsu.edu/literaryfestival. April 8 (Thursday, 5 p.m.), The Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville. Launch of Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover, the thirteenth of Ann B. Ross’s popular series. Fans will giggle once they discover what the crafty protagonist is up to this time. A small clue: After her husband runs for N.C. State Senate and has a gallbladder attack, Miss Julia replaces him on the campaign trail. The curious are invited to ask best-selling author Ross all they ever wanted to know about Miss Julia and her shenanigans. April North Carolina bookstore stops include Books-A-Million, Gastonia; Barnes & Noble, Greensboro; Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh; and Fireside Books & Gifts, Shelby: www.missjulia. com. April 13 (Sunday, 2–4 p.m.). Mystery Writers Appreciation Day! High Point Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Win free mystery books, snack on cookies, and chat informally with mystery authors and publishing professionals. www.highpointpubliclibrary.com. Choose an author as you choose a friend — Sir Christopher Wren

True Mystery

More mysteries are written in our state than any other genre. The best ones contain much more than gory slayings. Jeffrey Deaver, Chapel Hill suspense writer, says, “My books are primarily plot driven, but the best plot in the world is useless if you don’t populate it with characters readers can care about.” Margaret Maron demonstrates how much a well-written who-done-it can accomplish. Her protagonist,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

District Court Judge Deborah Knott, uncovers murder in every corner of the state. Maron’s prize-winning prose also educates us on local “problems of race, migrant labor, politics and unstructured growth.” On April 17, Maron will speak about her books and writing career at Kinston-Lenoir Public Library in Kinston. www.neuselibrary.org.

Revision is the heart of writing — Patricia Reilly Giff Recently Stephen King spent time in the eastern part of N.C. producing a TV serial. In his book On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft, he cautions writers of all genres: “Kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart.” Well, my dears, he doesn’t mean you should strangle your cute protagonists. Oh, no, his warning cautions writers to STRIKE OUT EVERY UNNECESSARY WORD. If you can’t stomach surgery, seek help. In this month’s “Words of Wisdom,” Elizabeth Hudson, editor in chief of Our State magazine, describes how valuable an editor can be: In the movie Almost Famous, a senior editor at Rolling Stone calls up a journalist and says, “This is your editor; how’s the story?” “Your” editor. I like that, the possessive pronoun. I like it, because writing is a solitary pursuit, a lonely pursuit, and if there is anything a writer needs, it’s someone to partner up with, someone to claim as his own, a compatriot and a conscience, a muse and a motivator. Writing itself is the ultimate act of ownership — you own those words you put onto paper, you possess them, you hold them tight to your chest and they belong to you and no one else; sometimes they even possess you, and sometimes it’s not so easy to let them go. An editor — your editor — is the transition between you, the writer, and the rest of the world. He is the person who can help you let go, the one who can release your words and set them free. April 12 (Saturday) attend the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference in the MHRA Building on the campus of UNCG. A great opportunity to learn about writing and publishing, pitch your manuscript and read your work during an open-mic session. www.ncwriters.org. Keep writing; keep loving to write! OH Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, is a riveting story about heartbreak and hope in the 18th century Quaker community of Deep River. April 2014

O.Henry 25


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Best Reader Memoirs 2014

Life’s Mixtape By Beth McAlhany

“We got married in a fever, hotter

than a pepper sprout . . .” blares from my grocery-getter dashboard. Dying to avoid anyone knowing his mom prefers country over hip-hop, my 9-year-old reaches to change the channel, then pauses and says, “Mom, that reminds me of when I was like, three, and you and Dad would get me to sing that in the talent shows Mac and I did in front of the fireplace.” Indeed. That’s exactly what that Johnny-June Jackson tune is all about. Our hearth, our boys, our sideways glances and winks in acknowledgement of the utter preciousness of the moment in our time. I close my eyes and I can hear the toddler timbre, the r’s that came out like w’s, the butchered lyrics that turned my blond-haired, blue-eyed Power Ranger into the cutest durn thing that ever sang off-key. Yes, memory too is biased. Truth is, beyond the entertainment, political, romantic and medicinal power that music renders on humankind, it is without match in the melodic magic wand it waves to open up our life diaries and pull memories out of long-neglected corners, to bring them dancing in front of us in vivid, sensory detail. Walter White on the recently, tragically ended Breaking Bad instructs that this is the work of the hypothalamus and relational memory. Or, so I’m told. He always sings, raggy music to the cattle as he swings back and forward in the saddle On a horse . . . He’s a high-falutin’, rootin’, shootin’, Son of a gun from Arizona, Ragtime Cowboy Joe . . . My dad is young and strong and his fingers stroke the guitar strings with ease, playing by ear. I’m 4 and it’s time for bed. He missed dinner from working late, but he made it home for this precious time. This is singing good-night time. As he plays me to bed, I act out the lyrics in our Dutch Colonial family room — on the rough, mustard-colored synthetic carpet, him smelling of boardroom cigar smoke, me smelling of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Sacred music — it’s a hymn of my youth. Do, a deer, a female deer; Re, a drop of golden sun I’m 8-ish and my mom has taken me to the Byrd Theatre in the historic Fan district of my hometown of Richmond, Virginia. It’s a step into a rite of passage — to savor the transformative grace of Julie Andrews, my 40-something-year-old mother’s soul sister. I remember the screen as something like 500 feet tall. And I remember desperately wishing my eyes were as blue as Liesl’s and hoping I would marry a man as dashing as Christopher Plummer. I remember intermission with a bottled Coke and popcorn. Movies should always have intermissions. And movies should always have music. Just like childhood. Trailers for sale or rent, Rooms to let . . . fifty cents. No phone, no pool, no pets, I ain’t got no cigarettes . . . “She crossed the line!” “She touched me!” “She took my Pop Rocks!” While Nixon, Carter and Reagan took turns running the country, my sister and I traveled U.S. highways in the back seat of my father’s Cadillac, loaded with Archie comics, Laura Ingalls Wilder books and Mad Libs pads. Our

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

parents, kids of the ’40s, were armed for our annual summer pilgrimages loaded with more Perry Como and Doris Day 8-tracks than a Lawrence Welk revue. To this day, I hear the croon of Roger Miller and remember thinking he was the coolest thing we heard from the I-95 on-ramp to the Ohio Turnpike off-ramp. And what a travesty that was. Conversely, I am guessing my dad’s hypothalamus conjures images of cleaning the back seat after my sister tossed her Bob Evans banana pancakes in the foothills of western Pennsylvania. Or perhaps, because he is a nostalgic man, he hears King of the Road, and thinks, “Yes, I was. And they were my road warrior princesses, and those were the greatest journeys of my life.” Perhaps. Well, it was all that I could do to keep from cryin’. Sometimes, it seems so useless to remain . . . But you don’t have to call me darlin’, darlin’. You never even called me by name! Sometime in the 1980s, the DKE brotherhood of Wake Forest University adopted David Allen Coe’s You Never Even Called Me by My Name as their own, and it served to end every beer-soaked revelry in that dark, dank basement on Polo Road during the four years of my “Mother So Dear” tenure. Somewhere around 2 a.m. (the Animal House had long been kicked off campus and thus was free of campus party regs), Prince or The Violent Femmes would go silent. And with one familiar twang, every diehard celebrant would find a way up onto the brick wall that encircled the steamy, cement cave. With arms wrapped around shoulders, we belted out the lyrics that rang so true to our primarily Caucasian, middle-class suburban lives; tributes, of course, to Mama, trains, trucks, prison, and, oh yes, getting drunk. I can smell the body heat, I can feel the unsteady sway, and I can recall the strain of my vocal chords lifting up this gospel of college. It’s too soon now, but one day by golly, I will insist my children learn The Perfect Country-and-Western Song. There were green alligators and long necked geese, some humpy-back camels and some chimpanzees, Some cats and rats and elephants, but sure as you’re born, The loveliest of all was the Unicorn. The woman who stood behind us in a line, for days, at the Tar-jay checkout nodded and smiled warmly, as if to say, “I remember.” My 6-month-old had been letting all 20,000-square-feet of retail paradise know that it was time to get out of this inhumane rolling bucket. “What’s a guy gotta do to get a little cuddle-n-milk around here!?” The prince was not pleased. And that’s when this Jester Mom drops all modicum of decorum for a desperate act of appeasement. Full on, with facial contortions and gesticulations of snapping, strutting, monkey gyrations and simulated rat whiskers, I prance for the prince. And it works. He grants me time to finish my quest for Pampers and Anbesol. That time is gone, and I mourn its passing. Today, when I stand in line alone (because I know better than to bring my kids to Target) with soccer shin guards and Axe spray, and I hear a baby’s wail, it’s all I can do to not drop my basket and pass on the magic of the Unicorn song. It leaves me wondering. In twenty years, what songs will remind me of these days I live so hurriedly now? What melodies will awaken my sleepy recall of huddles of boys in the front yard, the decibels of brothers in mayhem or mischief, family road trips that still include Mad Libs and a war over the music dial — this decade of mid-life that is ripe with adult joy and tragedy and disappointment and blessing? Whatever it is, I hope somebody will make me the mixtape. OH Beth McAlhany, VP of donor relations at the Greensboro Science Center, can be found singing the Unicorn Song to the Sciquarium otters, or Beyonce to the carpool line. Different venues, same reactions. April 2014

O.Henry 27

HERE C MES... April 1-6 路 War Memorial Auditorium

April 11-12


Lunch with a Friend

By the Light of a Beautiful Jade Moon Madame Stellanova and the Year of the Horse

By Noah Salt

Photograph by Lynn donovan

Can a lunch possibly be written in

the stars? We certainly hoped so when we somewhat nervously dialed up Astrid Stellanova, our magazine’s popular if somewhat elusive resident astrologist, and brazenly invited her out to lunch at the Greensboro restaurant of her choice. Our hope was to gain a bit of perspective on events in the coming year — and get to better know our popular Accidental Astrologer. (See page 127 for Astrid’s April prognostications.)

Madame Stella, as we affectionately call her around the office, is something of an elusive legend and fascinating mystery woman. We first heard about her impressive skills as an earthy, no-nonsense astrologer and psychic life adviser from a rural reader who met her a decade ago down in the town of Windblow, where Madame Stella was then running the Curl Up and Dye Beauty Parlor and doing psychic readings and astrological charts as a rapidly growing sideline. It took some convincing — not to mention a full-color touch-up treatment — to convince her to sign on as our monthly astrology

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

consultant, but we thank our lucky stars she finally agreed to come aboard. We like to say we were simply destined for each other, though we’re not sure she would fancy that choice of phrase. Three years ago Madame Stella relocated to her family home near Climax, North Carolina, launched a new line of personal hair-care and beauty products and began her career as our crack astrological forecaster — quickly becoming one of the most popular features of the magazine. Quite honestly, we hadn’t seen Madame Stella face-to-face since the aforementioned color touch-up four years ago. To our great surprise, but not hers, we met on a cold gray day that happened to fall on the Chinese New Year, kicking off the Year of the Horse. For what it’s worth, we’d done a bit of research ahead of time on Chinese New Year predictions — if only to give us something to break the astrological ice. Madame Stella’s choice of the sophisticated Imperial Koi Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar on New Garden Road seemed, ahem, almost providential. Owner Michael Wong opened the popular pan-Asian restaurant five years ago and quickly established a devoted following owing to its artful blending of Chinese, Thai and Japanese cooking influences, including extensive sushi and sashimi creations that are hip, original, and served by the glow of a romantic lighting scheme that makes dining at Imperial Koi a little like dining by the light of a jade moon. “So, how’s it going — either today or tomorrow?” we joshed as we eyeballed the Imperial Koi’s almost encyclopedic menu of choices. Our April 2014

O.Henry 29

Lunch with a Friend

eye immediately settled on something called “sunshine roll.” With the Dow down more than 300 points and an icy rain pounding the pavement outside, we decided a little culinary sunshine was in order. “Well, hon,” she calmly replied, doing her own scan of the menu from beneath a long and artfully sculpted eyebrow, “the rich get their heat in the winter and the poor get theirs in the summer. I’m about halfway between the two and hangin’ on for dear life. Could be that kind of year for us all.” Truthfully, I wasn’t exactly sure what this meant, but remembered what I’d read about the Chinese Year of the Horse — that there’d be no shortage of social upheavals worldwide, fires on the homefront and nature kicking back, including more than one big dormant volcano coming to life and spewing ash everywhere. In sum, a year to hang on for dear life. “If I may ask, how do you feel about the Chinese New Year?” I ventured as a cheerful young woman returned with our drinks, a simple iced tea for me and something bursting with tropical colors served in a beautiful martini glass for Madame. She took a healthy sip and nodded her approval. “Well, child, one thing to remember is that the Chinese have been at this prediction game a heck of lot longer than me,” said she. “So when their best psychics speak — even if you don’t understand a durn word they’re sayin’ — you’d be smarter than an honor student at a prison spelling bee to give ’em a good clean listen. Those people invented fireworks, you know, and make one hell of a decent Shanghai cocktail, too — all that practice over the millenniums, I reckon.” Though I didn’t quite know how to broach the subject, I was eager to get our own resident astrologer’s fearless forecast for the coming year, but she was already deep into the luncheon menu, giving us a chance to take in her person. In a nutshell, Madame Stella doesn’t fail to visually impress. She was wrapped in several layers of wool cape and even sported a mystical head

scarf, though we quickly learned that she didn’t wish to have her photograph made in public places. She seemed to be reading our minds, however. “My take on it is that the Year of the Horse is gonna be about taming your own inner wild thang. Impulse control, honey. But wild horses couldn’t keep me from a few wild impulses my own self, like turning out in April when the Grasshoppers hit the field. Me and my squeeze Beau do love the Grasshoppers. Also, in late March, twelve unheard Johnny Cash songs will be released on an album called ‘Out Among the Stars.’ That’s what I call good cosmic timing.” We finally ordered. The obviously ravenous Madame Stella went for the Asian pear beet salad, a vegetable spring roll and the angry dragon roll . . . of shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, papaya and spicy crab salad with eel. “I’m feelin’ a little down from winter, eager to cut loose my inner dragon,” she admitted with a coy smile. Given the Chinese prophecies, I was tempted to try the volcano roll, though the spicy wasabi mayo and sassy eel sauce seemed a little more daring than I was prepared for at lunch. I leaned toward the traditional pad thai but at the last moment went instead for tom yum soup, duck spring rolls and the aforementioned sunshine roll. Guess I wasn’t quite ready to let loose my own spring wild thang. While we waited for our food, I inquired how a psychic adviser deals with being “down from winter.” “Heck, darlin’, even cosmic cowgirls get the blues from time to time,” she said. “It’s always what you can’t see comin’ that shakes up your personal cocktail the most.” She told me about how she’d recently left her pink Mary Kay Cadillac running outside the post office one cold morning while she slipped inside to collect the mail from her new Hair Care post office box, heard a soft

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Lunch with a Friend bang and looked out the window in horror to see her beloved Caddy on fire. “Some dang valve got stuck and overheated the engine and torched the entire inside of Miss Priscilla. Took the volunteer fire department a full hour to beat down that fire. Beau, when he got there in his custom El Camino, about died when he seen the damage. Good news is, I had a dozen new orders for Stiff.” We had to ask, “What’s Stiff?” “That’s my new male hair product line, Sugar, the one I’m hoping to get into the big leagues myself with this summer — maybe even down at that U.S. Open golf tournament in Pinehurst. Stiff’s designed for young fellas who want to look their best when they play baseball, basketball, golf, competitive horseshoes, whatever, even just mowing lawns or changing the oil. Man stuff. My mousse and gel come in two different strengths and scents. I call the first one ‘Triple Play’ because it smells a like a new baseball glove and holds your hair in place like it’s Gorilla glued to your head. It’s designed for big-time players, if you get my point. The other line is called ‘You’re Out,’ which is a much lighter hold and a pleasant lemony scent I figure may go over big with all these athletes who are looking for a few good men, if you know what I mean.” Fortunately, about then, our food arrived. Given the artful presentation of our dishes, it’s no wonder Imperial Koi does such a heavy trade with Irving Park types and businessmen. The food was almost too beautiful to eat, arranged in sculpted fantails and scalloped formations that looked more like plated art than the art of sushi roll. But eat we did, by the light of a beautiful jade moon, holding back nothing but our appreciative sounds. It was share and share alike. First, we tucked into my sunshine roll — golden tempura shrimp blended with crab salad and tuna, studded with bright green avocado and tropical mangos.

Next, Stella deftly wielded her chopsticks to pop some of her angry dragon roll into my mouth. Savory papaya competed with spicy tuna. An occasional blast of wasabi brought tears to our eyes. And then all that could be heard for awhile was the sharp crunch of spring rolls and the slurp of soup — an ideal way to brighten up a gloomy late-winter day and prepare for the pyrotechnics of the Year of the Horse. “Sorry to hear about your beloved Cadillac’s fiery end,” I told Madame Stella as we walked out to her new set of wheels — a shiny black Trans-Am with decaled air-scoop and spoiler on the back. The woman was full of surprises. “Nice car.” “My cousin Rodney’s eldest boy is doing a little stretch down in Hoke County for growin’ some serious fun weed in his collard patch. Fool told the judge he thought he heard ’em say ‘Carolina’ was legalizing pot instead of ‘Colorado.’ Poor Rodney’s had to take over the boy’s car detailin’ business till he pays his debt to society, so I’m drivin’ this rig till we get the insurance on Priscilla figgered out. I told Beau the other night, this gonna be the Year of the Horsepower. This baby’s got a 350-dual stroke under the hood. Runs faster than my granddaddy after eatin’ my step-grandmother’s own spicy shanghai surprise.” “Life sure is messy sometimes,” I commiserated, though I probably should have chosen a better phrase. Astrid Stellanova merely gave me a low smile and telltale wink, as if she’d heard it all before — in this life or the one before. “The good news, peach face, is it will always get better — before it gets worse again, That’s why y’all got me around, I reckon. To clean up the mess and warn you about the next one.” OH Although Noah Salt eats Asian fusion cuisine with relish, he was raised on chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and pie.

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In the Soup Dept.

Matzo Ball Magic Eight-day holiday deserves three-day soup.

By Deborah Salomon

Matzo ball soup

is like golf: Cooks talk a better game than they play, for good reason. Made properly, this Passover icon takes three days. No mixes. No short-cuts. Not only must you have a big stockpot but also plenty of refrigerator space.

Relax. Put yourself in my hands and all will be well. Passover — the story of Moses leading the Israelites from Egyptian bondage — is recounted in Exodus, therefore suitable for ecumenical celebration. In fact, many churches now celebrate Passover with a Seder, the family meal rich in food symbols. Foremost among them is matzo, a 7-inch square unleavened cracker representing the bread snatched up by fleeing Israelites before it could rise. Observant Jews banish all leavening for the eight days of Passover, this year commencing at sundown on April 14. Matzo is eaten in place of bread, also ground into meal for other purposes. However, a Seder without matzo ball (chicken) soup is like Easter without eggs, Thanksgiving without turkey. There’s no sense going through the process for a small quantity. Instead, locate a super-size (about eight-quart) cauldron with lid — and roll up your sleeves. The simple ingredients: Two whole small-but-plump chickens (not parts), about 3 pounds each or one 5-pound roasting chicken 4 carrots 2 large onions 1 parsnip 1 whole head of celery Handful of parsley 2 teaspoons of salt 4 large eggs 4 tablespoons reserved chicken fat 1 cup matzo meal, mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and a dash white pepper 1 tablespoon mixed chopped parsley and pale inner celery leaves Day one: Remove giblets, cook separately for the cat. Wash chicken(s) thoroughly, inside and out, leaving fat globules intact. Place in cauldron, cover with cold, heavily salted water and soak for an hour. Pour off water, rinse chickens, cover with cold water, bring to boil and boil for about 5 minutes until frothy scrum rises. Pour off water, rinse chickens again. (This process

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

removes any undrained blood). Once again, cover chickens with a generous amount of cold water. Add to pot four peeled fat carrots, two large onions peeled but left whole, one peeled parsnip. Cut off the heart end of celery head, leaving about 3 inches of ribs attached and add to pot, along with a generous handful of parsley and 2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, cover and cook at least 90 minutes, until meat falls off the bone. Cool slightly, lift out chicken (will fall apart) and vegetables. Pour soup through a colander into one or two containers. Save carrots, discard other vegetables. (I spread the buttery-soft parsnip on a piece of matzo . . . yummy.) Remove skin and bones, set aside meat for world’s best chicken salad. Refrigerate carrots and soup. Crowded fridge solution: Remove crisper bins, consolidate contents into an ice-filled cooler. Use this space for soup containers. Day two: Lift and reserve hardened fat off soup. Melt and cool. Beat four large eggs (preferably free range organic) with 4 tablespoons melted chicken fat. Stir in 1 cup matzo meal mixed with 1 teaspoon salt and a dash white pepper. Stir in 4 tablespoons soup and 1 tablespoon mixed chopped parsley and pale inner celery leaves. Cover and refrigerate overnight. (This recipe for about 15 small matzo balls may easily be increased by 50 percent, or doubled.) Day three: To clarify soup, heat to a boil. Crack two eggs, separate whites from yolks. Save yolks for another use. Crush shells, stir with egg whites into simmering soup. Simmer for a minute, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and let sit about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Line a large strainer with doubled cheesecloth; pour soup through into a fresh container(s) and refrigerate. Fill cauldron two-thirds full with water; bring to a boil. With wet hands, form and roll matzo balls not more than 3/4-inch in diameter. They double in size. Drop balls into simmering water, cover and simmer for 1 hour 15 minutes. Slice a matzo ball as a test; the center should look uniformly spongy, not dense. Simmer another 15 minutes if necessary. With a slotted spoon, lift matzo balls into a pan. Empty and wash the pot, pour in soup (now crystal clear), adjust salt and white pepper; slice carrots into soup on a diagonal. Bring to a simmer, turn off heat and add matzo balls. Let stand at least an hour to blend flavors. Return to a slow boil at serving time. Ladle into warmed shallow bowls, two matzo balls and several carrot slices per bowl. Sprinkle with finely chopped parsley leaves. Don’t say you weren’t warned. Perfect matzo ball soup is a production. But so was building the pyramids and wandering in the desert for decades. Once a year, one big production deserves another . . . right? OH Deborah Salomon is a frequent contributor to O.Henry magazine. April 2014

O.Henry 33

The Pleasures of Life Dept.

G-Whiz Kids

By Nancy Oakley

“Is T-O-V a word?” “TOV. It’s Hebrew, so it’s got to be.” “That’s T-A-V. They’ll take it, because it’s a letter, but they won’t take TOV.” “I have a ‘V.’” “Yeah. A ‘V’ is a pain in the neck.” “There’s nothing to do.” That is, until AVID appears in the lower left-hand corner of the Scrabble board, garnering an impressive twenty-seven points, thanks to a dual, horizontal and vertical play that takes advantage of double-letter and tripleword squares. Not that the 3-Gs are keeping score in this casual round. Scoring is reserved for tournament play. The 3-Gs — Gail Bretan, Gail Haber and Gina Moss — are a team of fierce competitors and repeat champions at Reading Connections’ Annual Scrabble Challenge, set for April 10 at the Empire Room. Now in its fourteenth year, the Challenge raises much-needed funds (2013’s tournament brought in more than $20,000) for the adult literacy organization, largest of its kind in North Carolina, offering Basic Adult Education and English-as-a second-language classes free of charge. Last year, 337 volunteers trained by Reading Connections spent an astounding 15,000 hours tutoring clients. “It’s an amazing organization that’s helped a lot of people,” says Bretan, who works part-time as volunteer coordinator for Jewish Family Services and has recommended would-be tutors to the nonprofit. Adult literacy is also a cause near and dear to Moss, who tutored adults when she lived in Chicago. And Haber, a part-time bank teller for SunTrust, has seen customers who have asked her to fill out their withdrawal slips. “It means they can’t write,” she observes. “They just sign their names. It’s like being blind.” In fact, one in five adults in Guilford County is functionally illiterate. When Bretan heard about the Scrabble Challenge, she contacted Moss, whom she had met while the two were living and working at American Hebrew Academy (Moss and her husband still do). On Friday nights before the Sabbath, writing of any kind is forbidden, so residents of the academy would relax at the house designated for Oneg (socializing and enjoying simple pleasures, such as having dessert after dinner) and play board games, Scrabble being a favorite. “It was always really wonderful,” Bretan recalls. Some students who had never played Scrabble sat down at the board. “Some were from foreign countries, and if they put “CAT” down [on the board] that was a big thing,” she says. “And some would say, ‘Can I play Spanish words or Russian words?’” Moss adds. “And we were like, ‘Yeah! Go ahead!’”

34 O.Henry

April 2014

Their unbridled enthusiasm is well-suited to the Scrabble Challenge, because its rules are more relaxed than officially sanctioned Scrabble tournaments. Contestants can play individually or on teams of three people. Only two sides of the Scrabble board are played, and each team is allotted three minutes per play. Anyone who creates the word READING gets a bonus. Judges, like Susan Bertoni, are on hand to arbitrate disputes. “Some people make up their own rules, they think they can play diagonally or backward,” she says. To help with the fundraising, a judge will also sell hints — verifying words in the Scrabble dictionary or coaching contestants on making plays. A competitor in official Scrabble tournaments, Bertoni finds that her role of judge can test her restraint. “It’s frustrating to see racks that are not being played properly,” she says. “You think: ‘Oh, if I were playing . . .’” Bretan and Moss first competed in 2007 — with a Reading Connections volunteer replacing a third team member who backed out with a case of nerves. “The people we were playing with were winners the previous year, and they had told us the best way to do it,” Bretan recalls. “They said: ‘Forget the timer! Play as fast as you can. Fast, fast, fast, because you want to go through all the tiles,’” Moss adds. “The only way to get high scores is to use all your tiles.” She says luck figured into the contest as well. “We got three bingos [a word formed with all seven tiles] in one game.” Little wonder Bretan and Moss took home the first-place trophy. They tried repeating their success in 2008 and came in a respectable third. The following year, much to their disappointment, they couldn’t compete at all, because the tournament was scheduled on the same night as Passover. In 2010 they competed again and placed fourth. The year 2011 saw yet another third-place finish. By 2012, word of Bretan’s Scrabble prowess had reached Gail Haber’s ears. “So I attacked her in synagogue,” Haber remembers. She had played only with her father, who died eighteen years ago. “We were Scrabble snobs; we didn’t know anybody else who really played,” Bretan says. “When I heard about Gail being the champion, I said, ‘We have to play,’ and she promptly beat the pants off me! And still does.” Haber asked her to join the Scrabble Challenge. “That was the first time I met Gina, and the three of us played. And excitingly, we won!” The secret to the 3-Gs’ success is a complementary skill set. Bretan is good at spotting where words go, Moss has an expansive vocabulary, and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Nancy oakley

Three former Scrabble champions are determined to reclaim their title

Haber, a former algebra and geometry teacher, can quickly calculate potential point values. The game, observes Bertoni, “is a lot like playing the Word Jumble in the newspaper. A point value is assigned, and it’s the same as looking at boards and finding words in the mess [of tiles] you have.” As you might expect, word games are popular among each of the 3-Gs. Not a day goes by that Haber doesn’t work the Cryptoquote in the newspaper. The same goes for The New York Times Sunday crossword: “We don’t go to sleep until that puzzle is finished!” The Times crosswords are a daily ritual for Moss, who works them with her father. “He’s almost 90 and he lives in Baltimore, but we call each other every day. We have the same books and so we do the crossword puzzles together on the phone.” Hangman and Boggle are also favorites, as are computerized versions of Scrabble. Moss says she learns more words that are acceptable during tournament play, while Haber prefers a program she’s downloaded that matches her against various levels of intelligence. “I play the second from the top, just so I only get beat four out of five times instead of five out of five,” she jokes. And, she admits she can’t wait for her husband to fall asleep at night so she can match wits with her computer. After their first-place victory in 2012, the 3-Gs had another third-place showing in 2013. “Every hand was, like, one-point letters over and over and over and over,” recalls Moss. “But,” she adds with a shrug, “There’s nothing you can do about that.” They will join forces again this year to recapture the title. Apart from playing individually and online, the 3-Gs won’t overprepare. Moss might look over her lists of two- and three-letter words, such as ZA (short for PIZZA) or AAL (an East Indian shrub). “Read Kipling to win at Scrabble!” she laughs. And if they should win, how will the 3-Gs celebrate? “We’ll celebrate by continuing to play Scrabble,” says Bretan. “I can’t imagine what it’s like never having played Scrabble. I get such joy out of it.” Joy. That’s “J” for 8 points, plus “O” for 1, plus “Y” for another 4, leaving a total of 13 points — 21 if the “J” goes on a double-letter square, 26, if it’s a double-word score. And if it’s a triple-word, that’s 39 points . . . but who’s counting? After all, joy knows no bounds. OH Regular O.Henry contributor and Greensboro native Nancy Oakley prefers Scrabble to scrapple. Reading Connections’ Annual Scrabble Challenge will take place on April 10 at the Empire Room (203 South Elm Street, Greensboro) at 6 p.m. For more details, visit readingconnections.org. If you’re interested in attending Reading Connections’ other fundraisers, the Literacy Breakfasts (on May 15 in Greensboro, and May 22 in High Point), call (336) 230-2223 or email Christy Collum at ccollum.rc@gmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2014

O.Henry 35

APRIL 15, 2014 - JUNE 22, 2014


PRINTS OF ROMARE BEARDEN About Select Collection Select Collection (April 15 - June 22, 2014) is an exhibition and art sale at Greenhill celebrating one collector and his extraordinary collection of Romare Bearden etchings, screenprints, lithographs, bon à tires, drawing and collage. On display will be over 40 of his works with 83 works available for sale. Romare Bearden was a seminal African American artist and is recognized as one of America’s most important 20th century artists.

Art © Bearden Foundation/Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

Romare Bearden, Morning (Carolina Morning), 1979, lithograph, image 19 1/4 x 24 3/4 inches

For more information visit www.greenhillnc.org and click on SELECT COLLECTION.

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Artist at Work

The Soul of a Gypsy Rebel

With her other-worldly songs that sound like the sound track to your strangest dreams, singersongwriter Crystal Bright is a bewitching original force on the rise.

By Bill Hancock

Let’s face it. We live our day-to-day lives

Photographs by John Gessner

much in the fashion of those around us — our friends, our neighbors. We want to fit in. They buy Abercrombie. We buy Abercrombie. They listen to Adele. We follow suit. Downton Abbey, The Walking Dead, even those camo-covered, hirsute boys of Duck Dynasty — we watch because everyone else does. Is it any wonder we are a nation awash in Uggs, iPads and Hunger Game vids? We think of ourselves as originals, but we also want to be like our neighbors. We copy each other. It’s part of our social glue.

Anthropologist Margaret Mead had something to say about this: “Always remember that you are absolutely unique — just like everyone else.” We are a tribe. It’s just who we are. That is, most of us. A few are different, willing to seek out those untraveled roads. They set their own compass. Some become the architects of new ideas. I’m attracted to these people. The risk takers. Ones with grit and little fear. I confess that it’s envy. Their lives interest me. Their stories are worth noting. So I submit for your consideration: Crystal Dawn Bright, 32 years old. Slender. Brunette. Introspective. Sometimes a quiet young woman. A fondness for cats. Given to loving embraces for her friends, or even strangers. But there is something else. It sets her apart. You are about to meet the rebel dwelling in her soul. It is a particular Friday night, chilly and wet from an early evening rain. Crystal is sitting in the rear of Local 506, a narrow, dark, cozy bar at the west end of Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. She has driven over from her apartment in Reidsville. In 45 minutes she will be stepping onto the bar’s small stage as Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands band. She is a singer, songwriter and musician. But there will be no throbbing pulse of a rock band, even if her drummer has a

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

mohawk and her guitarist a beard. Do not expect to hear pop music, nor old-time or roots. Not a hint of Nashville. Music critics, those who have heard her, seem bedeviled, unable to pigeonhole even what genre she belongs in. Some say her music is vaudevillian. Others call it a Coney Island sideshow. Still others label it “strange and curious.” Or “dark cabaret.” Try “musical mayhem.” And truth is they are all at least partly correct. For the moment, she is warming up with a guy named Tom Maxwell, who himself has a small band that will play before hers. The loose pullover shirt and baggy pants he wears belie his reputation as a founding member of The Squirrel Nut Zippers, who back in the ’90s were playing a fusion of blues and jazz in just such bars along Franklin Street. It was here, in the state’s pre-eminent college town, that they caught lightning in a bottle, propelling themselves into The Top 20 and onto the sets of both Leno and Letterman. Crystal has similar aspirations. But I question if it’s do-able for a woman who on stage sometimes wears a strapless black and silver bodice and gypsy-esque swirling skirt, sports a feathery ornamentation in her upturned hair, dons black fingerless opera gloves and straps on a pearly white accordion as she sings. She is nothing if not original. But no matter how good she is — and she is good — her songs are at total odds with today’s music, much of which is homogenized, overproduced and repetitive. Factory-made. She likes it that way. She’s ready to give us something different. And she’s different all right. In the darkness, she is bathed in red and yellow lights from overhead as her first song begins, her hands already pushing and pulling the accordion’s bellows. There are plenty of other instruments she will use, all within arm’s reach: her piano, a melodica, a hammer dulcimer, a concertina. The list goes on: a small African harp called an Adungu, a tambourine, a large upright Japanese drum called a Taiko — and a hand saw, the kind you keep in your garage. She plays it with a violin bow. With her on this night are her guitarist, drummer, a stand-up bass player and a mandolin player. Absent is Bolshevik — at least that’s what she calls him — who plays the muted trumpet, sports a black suit and what looks like some kind of Russian Cossack hat. Belts of small reindeer bells are buckled to each of his ankles, adding just one more diverse sound to the songs. On some nights a good deal of black eyeliner and vintage hats go into the band’s look. April 2014

O.Henry 37

Artist at Work

Crystal is, by her own definition, a “mad multitasker.” You see it from the get-go. Standing at the microphone, playing the accordion with her left hand, the piano with her right. And singing. All at the same time. In another song, she plays her Adugu harp, holding it at her waist while she plucks the strings, then puts it down, steps to the Taiko drum, and with large mallets, pounds away, so hard and so fast the drumsticks begin to blur. The crowd cheers. It’s now the middle of the concert. She plays one number at the piano while standing, her hands jumping and bouncing up and down the keyboard, her whole body in the same rhythm with her hands. On stage she is self-confident, comfortable in her own skin. And poised. Always poised. As she plays, she turns her head slightly, away from the keyboard, so that her left eye — just her left one — can see out to the audience. She holds that gaze. With the smoky eye makeup, I sense she is looking past all of us, that she knows things we don’t know, things about the shadowy world of these songs she’s singing. It should come as no surprise that more is going on here than just music. This is performance art. These songs — and they are all written by Crystal — have catchy tunes that reel you in, some so carnivalesque you can smell the sawdust. Others feel like troubled romance, happy fables turned creepy, or the background music of your weirdest dreams. As for the lyrics, they are deliberately ambiguous and elusive. Rooted in fairy tales, folklore and gypsy life. Deconstructing those lyrics — and herself for that matter — can be challenging. There are no simple love songs here. Her words tease you to figure their meanings. And if your interpretation differs from her own, well, that’s OK too. With Crystal Bright we’re all navigating uncharted waters. Some songs, like “Engastrimyth” (it’s Greek and translates to “ventriloquist”) are fast and bouncy piano tunes, seemingly whimsical, deceptively nonsensical: All around the world there seems to be Apples in the trees for you and me

But if you find a place that’s safe and warm The demons in your dreams will find a way to crawl into the cracks and hide at bay Others are slow and teary-eyed, like “Little Match Girl”: Out in the woods she lived all alone Half penny there for a match she could sell for a full penny here. A crust of bread, no shoes or pillow for her head. (Spoiler alert: from here this kid’s fate goes downhill fast.) And then, there’s the macabre, like “Toy Hammer”: Inside of the belly of a strange kind of house, lies the stink of formaldehyde and warm cherry pie dripping down my thighs I’ll leave it to you to ponder those lines. “It just feels cheesy to write really obvious lyrics,” she says. “And I like metaphors and symbolism. I like lyrics that you try to figure out. When my dog died and I’m sad — there’s not really much to interpret from that.” As magnets always find true north, Crystal Bright seems to find the odd and obscure, all fertile material for her work. Case in point: She walked into Jules Antiques & Fine Art in downtown Greensboro one day to discover a small, traveling musical pump organ for sale. With the price tag unaffordable, she simply sat down, pulled her phone out to record herself and began playing. “I was just improvising. I came back a second and third time. I just loved the sound it made, kind of like bones clanking.” Who else could so serendipitously discover an instrument that mimics the imagined, ghoulish sound of clanking bones? It was a perfect fit. “Bones and Lillies,” a 90-second instrumental, is now



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38 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

on one of the three CDs she’s released. As for her own point of view, Crystal sees her music as “a mixture of Eastern European, French, Spanish, African, Danny Elfman and carnivally.” Elfman, should you wonder, is a one-time rock musician who has written the musical scores for most of movie director Tim Burton’s dark, quirky fantasy films like Edward Scissorhands. You can see the connection. Despite the eerie melodies, the cryptic lyrics and the band’s sometimes offbeat image, don’t be fooled. This is not a novelty act. We’re dealing here with a serious performer. She knows her stuff. She’s got street cred, as it were, beginning with six years of piano lessons when she was just 7, pedaling her bike down the street of her hometown in Mount Pleasant, just east of Concord, to the nearby house of a music teacher. She was — and here she shies away from details — trying in part to escape a “stressful home life.” High school plays followed, The Sound of Music and Bye Bye Birdie. On to UNCG in 1999. After graduating with a degree in anthropology, it was off to Florida State and a master’s in something called ethnomusicology, the study of nonwestern music and cultures. Which is why you’ll see some odd musical instruments on stage with her. Somewhere in there, she backpacked in Europe, spending time with gypsies and learning something about flamenco dancing from a teacher in Spain. Fast forward to part-time jobs teaching music back in Greensboro at both New Garden Friends School and The Greensboro Montessori School. In 2007, she went full time at Greensboro Montessori but within about a year was among staffers laid off in the recession. She made do teaching private music lessons. That afforded her time to begin writing more music, and the Silver Hands followed in 2010. And now for a disclaimer: You won’t always see Crystal and her band in fullblown cabaret regalia. Sometimes they are in street clothes. And some perfor-

Artist at Work

mances are stripped-down versions of the band, only one or two accompanists to her singing. But the songs seem unaffected. “I never really had the idea I wanted to do this vaudevillian thing, this zany thing,” she says. “It just kind of evolved into that, and I think a lot of the live performances aren’t all that. There are a lot of serious moments.” She plays in and around Greensboro regularly, but she’s also road-tested from hopscotching around the country, in all a dizzying number of play dates at clubs and public events. She’s been to Texas, Boston, New York, Canada and the places in between. And all over North Carolina. More than 180 performances in 2013 alone. It’s no wonder that for an undiscovered singer, she has nearly 10,000 “friends” and “likes” on her two Facebook pages, one for herself, and one for the band. Though she has yet to catch the tailwind to fame, she’s determined. And she’s flirted with it. The North Carolina Symphony certainly believes in her, inviting her to Raleigh for their New Year’s Eve concert, ringing in 2011. There she was, under the 65-foot-high ceiling at Meymandi Concert Hall, sitting with her saw between her knees, bow in hand, with a conductor and flanked by all those cellos, violins, horns and cymbals, as the audience listened to her play “Toy Hammer.” But they aren’t her only admirers. Cirque du Soleil has dabbled with the idea of her joining their ranks to play at shows. For now, that’s on a back burner. Whether it’s my growing familiarity with her music, or just realizing her steely determination to succeed, I do not know. But I am revising my opinions about her ever making it to the big show. I’ve become a believer. She has guts and talent, this accordion-playing pianist and singer-songwriter. And, after all, we are always looking for someone new, someone fresh who we can copy. Someone innovative. Something different. And she’s different, all right. But I’ve told you that already. Bill Hancock is the former editor and publisher of 99blocks Magazine in downtown Greensboro.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 39





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Brown-Headed Nuthatch The squeaky toy in Triad treetops

By Susan Campbell

If you have ever heard the sound of what

Photograph by Debra Regula

seems to be a squeaky toy coming from the treetops here in the Triad, you may have just had an encounter with a brown-headed nuthatch. This bird’s small size and active lifestyle make it challenging to spot, but once you know what to look — and listen — for, you will discover a common year-round resident and a bird of stunning, but subtle coloration. Brown-headeds are about four inches long with bright white bellies, contrasting gray backs and, as the name suggests, chocolate-brown crowns. Interestingly, males are indistinguishable from females. Their coloration creates perfect camouflage so they’re hard to see among the pine branches where they forage for seeds and insects. Their oversized bill allows them to pry open a variety of seeds as well as pine cones. With sharp eyes, you can see them dig deep in the cracks of tree bark hungry for grubs. By virtue of their strong feet and sharp claws, brown-headed nuthatches can clamber down the trunks of trees with the same ease that other birds crawl up. Although they do not sing, these birds have a distinctive two-syllable squeak that they sometimes roll together whenever they really get excited. Brown-headed nuthatches love bird feeders. So if you live near a significant stand of mature pines, you will have a good chance of seeing them up close. Brown-headeds, when they have found free food, will frequent both hanging suet and sunflower-seed feeders from dawn until dusk. They

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

quickly grow accustomed to people, so viewing them at close range is possible, as are fantastic photo opportunities. This species is one of the area’s smallest breeding birds. It is a nonmigratory resident, living as a family group for most of the year. Unlike its cousin, the white-breasted nuthatch, which can be found in mixed forests across the state, the brown-headed is a bird that thrives only in mature pine forest. Brown-headeds are endemic to the southeastern United States, from coastal Virginia through most of Florida and west to the eastern edge of Texas. Their range actually covers the historic reaches of the longleaf pine. This little bird, however, has adapted to living among loblolly and Virginia pines as large stands of longleaf pines have become scarcer and scarcer. Brown-headed nuthatches have long excavated their own nest holes in small dead trees in early spring. But over the years the number of the appropriate sized trees has diminished due to humans tidying up the landscape. Luckily, brownheaded nuthatches have taken to using nest boxes whenever available. However, unless the hole is small enough to exclude larger birds such as bluebirds, they find themselves out-competed for the space. For this reason the species is now one of concern across the Southeast, with populations in decline. In addition to issues related to nesting, logging, fire suppression and forest fragmentation pose significant challenges for brown-headed nuthatches. Because of the obstacles these small birds face, North Carolina Audubon has begun a campaign to encourage bird lovers to help brown-headed nuthatches. The goal is to increase smaller nest boxes available across our state by 10,000 within the next two years. Please consider getting involved and check out: nc.audubon.org/make-little-room-brown-headed-nuthatch. OH Susan Campbell would love to hear from you. Send wildlife sightings and photos to susan@ncaves.com or call (910) 949-3207. April 2014

O.Henry 41

u 26 Paths to Leisu o re – F Y 21 ind One For

43 Parks & Recreation Administration 43 Athletics Office


Ballfields & Concession Stands

9 Latham Park 11 Levette 10 Lewis 12 Old Peck 13 Pomona 14 Rankin 15 Revolution 16 Smith High School 7 Stoner-White Stadium 17 West Market

1 Allen Jr. High 3 Carolyn S. Allen Park & Athletic Complex

2 Barber Park 8 Joe Davis Park 18 Constance Griffin Field 4 I.C. Apple 5 Hampton 6 Hester Park 7 Jaycee Park Soccer/ Football Complex

24 48



Public Gardens

27 51 7 10

19 Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden 46 The Bog Garden 20 Greensboro Arboretum 56 Gateway Gardens

City Cemeteries

43 Cemeteries Office 51 Forest Lawn Cemetery 52 Green Hill Cemetery

53 Maplewood Cemetery 54 Union Cemetery

44 15



Culture & Recreation

41 City Arts 38 Caldcleugh Multicultural

40 Greensboro Youth Council 24 Lake Brandt 25 Lake Higgins 26 Lake Townsend 43 MainStream Resources


Arts Center 43 City Beautiful 23 Gillespie Golf Course (Therapeutic Recreation) 33 Coach Al Lowe Boxing Center 40 Greensboro Farmers 39 Camp Joy Curb Market at Hagan-Stone Park 44 Greensboro Seniors 23 Specialized Park Services (Smith Senior Center) 40 Youth Programs 42 Greensboro Sportsplex

Regional Parks

2 Barber Park 21 Bryan Park 27 Country Park 6 Hester Park


46 49




18 4

33 Lindley Center 34 Trotter Center 36 Peeler Center 18 Warnersville Center 37 Windsor Center

12 38


57 34



7 Jaycee Park 55 Keeley Park 29 Price Park



43 40





Recreation Centers

30 Brown Center 31 Craft Center 57 East White Oak Center 4 Glenwood Center 32 Leonard Center 10 Lewis Center




11 2



16 5

6 36

Swimming Pools

39 Camp Joy at Hagan-Stone Park 33 Lindley Outdoor Pool 34 Peeler Outdoor Pool 16 Smith High School Indoor Pool 44 Smith Senior Center Indoor Pool 18 Warnersville Center Outdoor Pool 37 Windsor Center Outdoor Pool



Tennis Facilities

21 Bryan Park 6 Hester Park 7 Spencer Love Tennis Center 9 Latham Park 2 Simkins Indoor Sports Pavilion

s •



Visit us online for directions and facility information.

rk s

• Afterschool programs, day camps, classes, special events, sports, parks, gardens, lakes and trails • City Arts - dance, drama, music, visual arts and Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center • Recreation centers, year-round programs for teens and seniors, MainStream Resources • Volunteer opportunities, social media sites and more!

ls ra i


•Lakes •Pa




48 Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway (paved) 10 Bicentennial Greenway (paved) 49 Lake Daniel Greenway (paved) 50 Latham Park Greenway (paved) 58 Downtown Greenway (paved)

Gardens c i l ub


336-373-CITY (2489)

PARKS, GARDENS, LAKES, TRAILS, SPORTS, RECREATION CENTERS & MORE! For a complete list of year-round leisure programs and activities for people of all ages and interests, visit Greensboro Parks & Recreation at:


 Visit us on Facebook & Twitter!

Sporting Life

The River Girls Hooked on fly-fishing and female companionship

By Tom Bryant

When the River Girls go out to play,

They stand in the river, and fish all day. They talk about this, and they talk about that, And have those little flies penned to their hat. — Dave Williams

Fly-fishing is not an unusual sport to me. My grandfather taught me to use a fly rod when I was about 10 years old, and I’ve fly-fished off and on all of my outdoor life. In the times that I’ve wandered and waded little creeks and rivers, I’ve met quite a few fly-fishermen; but until this year, I’ve never encountered a fly-fisherwoman. I met Emma Apple and Mimi Williams for lunch at the Green Valley Grill in Greensboro. They were on a mission, and that was to tell me about their fly-fishing club, The River Girls. Emma, a brunette with mischievous eyes, met me first at the grill and told me that Mimi was delayed and would be arriving in about ten minutes. We waited in the vestibule and immediately our conversation turned to flyfishing. “I’ve heard about your group for a couple of years and wanted to see what it is about the sport that entices you ladies to fly-fish.” She smiled and said, “With me it’s the water. I’ve always enjoyed being around rivers and the ocean. Until recently we had a beach house at Wrightsville Beach, so I’ve been close to the water since I was a girl. Flyfishing has just become an extension of that.” Emma is married to David

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and has two children, Katharine and Helen. “Since the kids have grown, fly-fishing, especially with the club, has become one of my favorite hobbies.” Mimi Williams arrived about that time and we grabbed a table close to the western windows. The sun streaming in was bright enough to encourage the talk about a fishing trip, especially after the rough winter we were enduring. Mimi, a vivacious blonde with a take-charge attitude, continued the conversation about the group. “I guess we’ve been an organization for about five years, and the number of members varies from about ten to a high of fifteen. We try to get together and fish as a group four times a year. As a matter of fact, our last trip was to Jefferson in the mountains. We had a marvelous time.” Mimi, a retired speech pathologist, is also married to a David and has two children, Caitlin and Curry. I asked her about the other ladies involved with the club. “You know some are novices and a few are very talented. We have had a grand time together and have participated in casting clinics with our longtime guide, Jeff Wilkins. We try to get him to go with us on a lot of our trips. He’s a great guy and has taught us a lot.” “You know how unusual it is to fly-fish,” I said. “Most people meeting you ladies for the first time would automatically assume that for sport hobbies you golfed or played tennis, maybe gardened, or played tournament bridge; but wading a flowing mountain river with a fly rod and all the paraphernalia that goes with the activity? I don’t think so. What is it about the sport that hooked you?” “I love the peacefulness,” replied Emma. “You can be with a group on an outing, but when you’re on the water you still feel as if you’re alone.” “It was my parents,” Mimi said as she pulled a fly-fishing fedora from a bag. “Look at this hat.” Around the band of the hat were a dozen or April 2014

O.Henry 43

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April 2014

so old fly-fishing license pins. Years ago in Pennsylvania, a fly-fishing license was a pin that could be attached to a vest or, as Mimi had done, to a hat. “These were my father’s. Look how far back they go. The earliest license was issued in 1948. Mom and Dad just loved the sport. As a matter of fact, they went on a fly-fishing trip on their honeymoon.” Mimi also had hand-tied flies done by her father in a shadowbox frame. They were beautiful, more artwork than an imitation of a bug to catch fish. “Do y’all eat the fish?” I asked. “No,” they replied in unison. “It’s all catch and release. Here, let me show you some photos of the fish we’ve caught on some of our outings.” Mimi had brought her laptop computer, and I hitched my chair around out of the sunlight so I could see the images better. And it was something to see. “Wow, those are some nice trout,” I exclaimed as Mimi played her slide show of The River Girls and the fish they had caught. “Yep, we’ve caught rainbow, brook and brown trout on our excursions,” Mimi said. “Fishing as a group cuts down on some of the risk, but wading a fast flowing river can be dangerous. Those rivers flow in some pretty outof-the-way places,” I said. “Any problems on the water?” Emma laughingly replied, “I fell in last November, but we were right at the lodge and I was no worse for the wear. Just wet. And we always use the buddy system when we’re on the water.” I could have talked to these two enthusiastic ladies for hours, but I looked around and we were just about the only customers left in the entire restaurant.. As we were packing up and getting ready to leave, I asked, “What’s the best thing to you about The River Girls?” “The fun of the group and the peacefulness of the rivers,” Emma replied. Mimi looked thoughtful for a moment and said, “My father died when he was 54. It’s like I didn’t get to know him as much as I should have. When I’m on a river, with a fly rod in my hand, sometimes I can feel his presence.” It was a pleasure meeting and getting to know Emma and Mimi. People who fly-fish, be they men or women, have a kindred spirit, and it’s all about the experience; the freedom of a day on the water with a fly rod and maybe a few fish is all that’s needed for a memorable time. OH Tom Bryant, who graduated from Elon and lived in Alamance County for decades, is a lifelong outdoorsman and a frequent O.Henry columnist.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 45

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Game On

Maginnes On Tap Golf’s Radio guy on a sirius mission

By Lee Pace

A 10-year-old John Maginnes was told by the golf pro at his family’s country club in Durham that if he wanted to play the PGA Tour one day, he’d have to practice by hitting a thousand balls a day.

“You know how long it takes to hit a thousand golf balls?” Maginnes, 45, asks more than three decades later. “It takes right at six hours. One of those big yellow buckets holds right at 250 balls. I would hit four of those. I’d show up early on Saturday mornings, help get the carts set out, get all the members out on the course and then go to the range. I can remember hitting balls and looking down at the swimming pool where all my friends were hanging out.” Maginnes smiles thinking back on those days of his after-school and weekend job at Willowhaven Country Club. “I think I was so obnoxious as a kid, the pro was just trying to get me out of the golf shop,” he says. Obnoxious is probably not a good appellation for Maginnes today. But outspoken, opinionated, free-wheeling, knowledgeable and lively would certainly hit the mark. His personality and his inside perspective from a career in golf — he did indeed make the PGA Tour for nearly a decade, from 1996–2005 — are his stock in trade as he takes to the airwaves daily to report, analyze and pontificate on the world of golf. His venues are a daily 5 to 7 p.m. show on SiriusXM radio dubbed Maginnes on Tap and various PGA Tour events being covered live on satellite radio. His daily talk show is appropriately named. It’s as if you’re bellying up to the bar, quaffing a cold one and talking one-on-one with Maginnes about Phil Mickelson and Rory McIlroy, the USGA’s step to ban anchored putters and the favorites to win the Masters. “My listener is a guy stuck in traffic in the Lincoln Tunnel,” Maginnes says. “A guy stuck bumper-to-bumper on 285 in Atlanta. My job is to get The Art & Soul of Greensboro

them home in a better mood than they left the office. If they want to get yelled at, they can listen to Colin Cowherd or somebody else. Nobody else on the radio will be able to talk about golf like I can. I’m not as funny as David Feherty, not as jaded as most. I just want to be a small part of their day. The response has been overwhelming. It’s fun. I’m very popular with 50- to 60-year-old fat men.” He pauses to deliver the punch line. “I haven’t figured out how to get the 25- to 35-year-old single ladies to listen to me yet.” Greg Austin knew Maginnes and his brother, Phillip, as boys around Willowhaven and today runs a golf travel and events management agency in Pinehurst. He advertises his company on Maginnes’ SiriusXM program and runs a tournament Maginnes holds for his radio listeners each fall in Pinehurst. “John’s extremely likeable, he’s got great rapport with his listeners, and they say he’s a guy they’d like to invite to a party and stand around talking to all night,” says Austin. “He’s credible and the listeners trust him — they know he knows what he’s talking about.” Maginnes grew up in Durham and spent five years on the golf team at East Carolina University, earning four letters and winning the 1991 Colonial Athletic Association championship. He moved to Greensboro in 1995 when he married fellow ECU grad Dena Boyland, a native of Greensboro. They began a family, with Jack born in 1998 and Sophie following in 2001. The marriage has since ended, but Maginnes remains in Greensboro to be close to his kids. He travels half the year covering Tour events but can do his radio show from anywhere there’s an Internet connection. Recent outposts have included Pinehurst, Pebble Beach and the clubhouse at Sedgefield Country Club, the site each August of the Wyndham Championship. “Greensboro is a great family town,” Maginnes says. “It has everything you could possibly want to raise a kid. It’s just big enough that they have some freedom, just small enough you can keep your eye on them and others will keep their eye on them too. It’s a great place to let kids grow up.” April 2014

O.Henry 47

Game On Maginnes remembers driving over from Durham in the 1980s to watch the Greater Greensboro Open at Forest Oaks Country Club — and being prohibited with the other teens from joining the rabble-rousing and beerchugging denizens of the 17th hole. He watched during his playing career as the Greensboro event, one of the oldest on the PGA Tour since its inception in 1938, had struggled with dates, venues and corporate sponsorships — only to be resurrected in the last decade by Wyndham and its partnership at Sedgefield. “The tournament has come from its deathbed to a point it’s a premier event on the Tour,” he says. “Guys like Sergio Garcia, Webb Simpson, Brandt Snedeker come and win, but they’re not satisfied. They want the tournament to be bigger and better, which is great.” The quality of the golf course, the facility and Greensboro itself are a huge draw, he says. “It’s become the ‘end-of-summer’ party for Greensboro. Usually it’s right before kids go back to school. It’s very kid friendly and fun for them.” Maginnes has seen and done much in his life in golf. He graduated from ECU in May 1991, then weeks later finished second in the North Carolina Amateur at Alamance Country Club in Burlington. One week later, he turned pro and won his first outing on the now-defunct Coastal Carolina Tour. “I took home $1,800 and thought I was the richest guy on the planet,” he says. “I put it right back into the next tournament. It was a ‘kill-what-you-eat’ existence for the next several years.” Maginnes spent four years playing various mini-tours and the Canadian Tour, putting 250,000 miles on his four-speed Honda Civic driving across Canada in 1993. He got his PGA Tour playing privileges in 1996, and in 1997 was a new Tour regular along with a skinny young star named Tiger Woods. Maginnes was paired with Woods in the B.C. Open in 1997 when

Woods hit a tee shot into the woods, the ball bounced out and he was left with 270 yards to the green. “Tiger pulled an iron out, and I figured he was going to lay up,” Maginnes remembers. “He hit a shot that made a different sound than anything I’d ever heard from a golf club striking a ball. The ball took off and rose and rose and rose, and just about the time I thought it was going to fall out of the sky, it rose again. It flew to the middle of the green and rolled to the back fringe. I was dumbfounded. At that moment, I realized everything I’d ever done in my life was in vain because I was never going to be able to hit a shot like that.” Maginnes was the consummate “journeyman” player on the Tour for nearly a decade. He played in 198 PGA Tour events, won nearly $1.5 million and had eight top-10 finishes. He won three mini-tour events. His best performance in Greensboro was 16th in 1998 with a five-under-par total. He suffered an elbow injury in 2004 and, while sidelined, picked up some parttime work as an on-course commentator for USA Network. He returned to the Tour for the 2005 schedule but had lost significant distance and understood his days as a competitive pro golfer were numbered. “I knew I had to do something to make a living,” he says. “I’d gotten my insurance license and was looking at my options. Fortunately I’d gotten some experience in broadcasting, and it came pretty natural to me. If I could do Maginnes on Tap for the next 20 years, I’d be as happy as I could possibly be. I’m lucky. I’m 45 and have never really done anything for money. I’ve done things I’ve loved and gotten paid for it.” OH Lee Pace writes about golf from his Chapel Hill home and is a frequent contributor to O.Henry magazine.

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April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Annie, We Hardly Knew You

Street Level

Annie Oakley’s little known love affair with the Gate City

By Jim Schlosser

Gentlemen stroll-

Photograph courtesy of Tufts archives

ing along the sidewalk were lucky they didn’t have their cigars cut in half by a passing bullet.

Fashionable ladies were fortunate that plumes atop their bonnets weren’t blown to smithereens. With her remarkable aim, Annie Oakley could have easily pulled it off. Few people knew it then or now but the woman who was an international idol and her husband, Frank Butler, lived at 357 North Elm Street in late 1923, maybe into 1924, after first staying at the O.Henry Hotel. “This is a fine up to date city. The best I have ever seen,” Oakley wrote to a Miss Tildesley, on October 10, 1923. Alice Tildesley worked for The Saturday Evening Post magazine, which often featured Oakley’s life and remarkable ability with pistols and rifles and her natural theatrical talent which landed her stage contracts. Oakley and her husband remain vivid today through the Broadway musical, Annie Get Your Gun, with lyrics and songs by Irving Berlin and a movie adaptation. It debuted in 1946 and has had many revivals, most recently in 1999. Some of its songs, such as “There’s No Business Like Show Business” and “Any Thing You Can Do I Can Do Better,” contain lyrics that fit Oakley as well as her tailored outfits that made her look Western even though she was from Ohio. News of Annie’s Greensboro stay has surfaced occasionally over the years. Greensboro writer Bill Hancock, now a contributor to O.Henry, mentioned it in his in his former publication 99 Blocks in 2011. Former News & Record columnist Jerry Bledsoe wrote about Annie’s stay in Greensboro many years ago. But the questions that stumps writers and Oakley experts was why she was living in Greensboro? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Several Oakley researchers contacted said they weren’t aware until now that she was here. Oakley biographer Shirl Kasper makes no mention of it in her book, Annie Oakley. But the proof is in a handwritten letter, complete with incomplete sentences that Oakley wrote from her rooming house at 357 North Elm Street and from an interview Frank Butler gave the Greensboro Daily News December 30, 1923. Oakley and Frank even expressed a desire to look for land here to build. Seemingly, Annie could have lived anywhere. The 5-foot-tall Oakley had been the star of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show for years. She performed all over the United States and before royalty in Europe. She once shot a cigarette out of the hand of Germany’s Kaiser Wilhelm II. Legend has it that years later she quipped she wished she had missed and shot him instead: It might have prevented World War I. Reportedly, the French were so smitten by Oakley that the nation offered her a commission in its Army. Her feats with pistols and rifles astonished the thousands who saw her shows and exhibitions. She shot apples off her husband’s head at forty paces. She could hit targets riding backwards on a horse, a Bowie knife in her mouth as a mirror. If one-hundred clay pigeons were tossed in the air one after another, she nearly always knocked down ninety-eight and sometimes all 100. One trick involved her leaping over a table while blasting six holes into a card that someone had thrown up into the air ninety feet away before either of them hit the ground again. She and Butler had a home in Cambridge, Maryland, where she loved to hunt. The place they lived the longest in their vagabond life was the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst and a house near the hotel where they had rooms on the second floor. (The hotel and house survive.) After her seventeen years with the Wild West Show ended, she “retired to Pinehurst.” There she spent years teaching and giving exhibitions at the Pinehurst Gun Club (now the site of Pinehurst Golf Course No. 8) and on April 2014

O.Henry 51

Street Level the lawn of the magnificent Carolina Inn. But they must have left on occasion as their stay in Greensboro indicates. “She and Frank never could seem to plant roots anywhere long, buying houses here and there and then moving soon afterward,” says Karen Allen of Cary, a Oakley memorabilia collector. “However, I’d like to think from their high praise of our state and many visits in their older years that N.C. was going to be their place of retirement.” People at the Tufts Archives in the Givens Memorial Library in Pinehurst, which has an Oakley collection, say they had no idea she lived in Greensboro. However, Frank, on a Carolina Hotel registration card in the collection, lists 357 North Elm as their address. Marilyn Robbins, who has written several books on Oakley and has another scheduled for publication soon and who volunteers at the Gast Museum in Darke, Ohio, with its large Oakley collection, says she was unaware of a Greensboro-Oakley connection but doesn’t doubt it. “There are a lot of things we don’t know about Annie,” Robbins says. “I would almost bet she was there for a shooting contest or for hunting’’ she said. Told that Wesley Long Hospital was in the same block where Frank and Annie lived, Warren said it’s possible she came for medical treatment. She suffered from anemia, which would eventually kill her. She also had broken her hip in an auto accident in Florida the previous year. That required her to wear a brace. And then there were the lingering injuries from a horrific train wreck in 1901 when the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show’s train met another head on four miles from Lexington in North Carolina. Reports say that her hair turned gray immediately afterward. She was 62 while in Greensboro, retired from touring and staging exhibi-


tions, although the previous year she had come out of retirement to nail 100 of 100 clay pigeons from sixteen yards. Her letter to Alice Tildesley is written on O.Henry Hotel stationery. She and Frank stayed at the hotel before moving to a suite of rooms at 357 North Elm. The 1923 Greensboro city directory lists the house as belonging to James Penny. Penny and his brother, George, gained area fame as flamboyant auctioneers. (George built the Penny mansion that still stands on the High Point Road and is part of Maryville Nursing Home) Oakley goes on and on about their rented rooms. The only drawback she said was she had to share a bathroom with the woman who owned the house, presumably Penny’s wife. Surely Oakley and Frank could have afforded to stay somewhere with a private bath. They enjoyed one at the O.Henry, which had opened four years before. But Oakley scholar Marilyn Robbins says Annie and Frank were by no means rich, although they had made a lot of money. She spent a fortune winning small sums in libel suits against newspapers that printed or reprinted a story about how Oakley was a cocaine addict. (It was actually another Annie Oakley.) She also gave money to almost anyone or any organization that asked. Additionally, she melted her valuable gold and silver shooting medals to aid the effort during World War I. (Before that she wrote President William McKinley offering to organize a company of fifty female sharpshooters for the forthcoming Spanish-American War. The offer was refused.) In his 1923 interview with the Daily News, Frank talked mostly about shooting, but remarked about how much he and Annie had admired Greensboro ten years earlier when they were here for a Piedmont Gun Show performance.


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Street Level “I’ve always had a tender spot in my heart for Greensboro . . . and always wanted to own a small home here,” Frank said. “When I stepped off the train the other day, though, and saw the Jefferson Standard skyscraper rearing up in the air, I thought I must have been mistaken in the town. My wife and I remarked at the remarkable growth of the city. I predict that if the city continues to move forward for the next ten years as it has the past decade it will be one of the most wonderful cities in the country.” The 357 North Elm address was at the southwest corner of Elm and what’s now Lindsay Street. The parking deck of the Marriott Hotel occupies the spot. At the time, North Elm from the O.Henry north was bordered by spectacular old Queen Anne and Victorian houses. They were starting to fade as owners moved to Irving Park and Fisher Park. The houses left behind were divided into apartments and doctor’s offices. In complete and incomplete sentences, she describes her new digs: “We have a pretty living room, furnished in wicker with pretty colors. A wicker table with plate-glass top so we can make coffee. Tea. Toast. And even boil eggs if we like. “A French door opens on a private veranda with pretty flowers . . . Our sleeping room faces the east and has a fine large window on the South. So we will get the sun all day. Two nice hot water heaters. And a fire place with gas logs. Furnished in fine old real mahogany, but all finely polished. And everything in great taste.” After Greensboro they spent time in Pinehurst. But they didn’t spend their final years in North Carolina. They returned to her native Ohio, where she had been born poor in a log cabin in 1860 as Phoebe Ann Morris. She died first, Frank went eighteen days later, heart broken over the loss of his companion for fifty years. Annie was an early feminist but never broadcast it. She loved to dance and went out of her way to be ladylike. But before she died, she specified she wanted a woman embalmer. Oh! Would you like the letter she wrote from Greensboro to frame and hang in your den? It was recently featured on eBay for $85,000. Greensboro writer and regular O.Henry contributor Jim Schlosser, who constantly trolls eBay to expand his collection of Greensboro memorabilia, would love to have someone give him Annie’s letter for Christmas. OH Jim Schlosser is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. He can be reached at jim@ohenrymag.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 53

54 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Evolving Species

Surer Than Death

April’s taxing deadline? I laugh, I cry, I consider making a break for the hills

By T.X. Dodger

By the time you read

this, I will have just completed my taxes, which is like voluntarily sticking needles in your eyes. Self-selecting for pain.

Don’t even think of trying to trace me, IRS. I’m seeking asylum. Maybe in Russia with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange. Or in Ireland, with tax-free residency for artists and writers. (Just how ironic this is, you will know shortly.) Or, perhaps I will be in an actual asylum. Here’s why I became truly schedule A-, B- and C-shortform-phobic: I got my DNA tested, and guess what? I am descended from a long line of unfortunates, and carry the genetic markers for Those Who Run Seriously Afoul of the Tax Man. The gene can be traced back to my great-greatgreat-great Irish grandmother, who got tossed into jail when she killed a tax collector with a fire poker. (It was during the potato famine, people.) She was a widow with children. The family story is that the tax collector came to seize her only valuable — the cow — in lieu of taxes. She declined and brained him with the poker. This story was repeated in hushed family circles every April. My great uncle was so enamored of the story of our murderous grandma that he spent considerable time and effort trying to trace details. He declared she was given a choice — death or exile. No fool, our ancestral grandma brought her brood and heifer to a North Carolina penal colony, where she could claim the cow as a dependent. (Just kidding about the heifer.) Like our grandma, I couldn’t handle prison, either. But my father and great uncle, wellllllll, they thought nothing of starting companies with little experience or capital to back them. Risk was catnip. Despite being burly, madcap, Hemingway he-men, they paled and fell silent whenever you said those three little letters: IRS. In Dad’s case, he did not pay his income taxes when stretched to breaking financially. Although he knew he could not win in this evasion, he tried to resolve his worries through magical thinking and quantities of Hershey bars. The way dad’s lawyer explained it to me when I attended his trial, if you file a fraudulent return, they can hit you with a misdemeanor. If you simply don’t file, without so much as an extension when you owe taxes, then you can get criminally charged with a felony. Which is what happened to Dad, who made a habit of not contacting the IRS every April. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Seven years later, the suits came to the door. Dad wound up in a federal facility. His lawyer referred to it as a “country club prison.” If that was the country club, you would have hated the bad part of town. Dad was incarcerated with Watergate counsel Charles Colson. (Chuck to his fellow inmates.) A liberal, Dad protested this was cruel and unusual punishment. But personally, I think he was sort of relieved to be liberated from the IRS men in black. He paid his debt to society by peeling potatoes. He became a model prisoner and even pals with Colson, who once sent me a letter advising me against dating a guy my dad disliked. Colson dictated the letter to his wife, who typed it on cream-colored Pentagon stationery with the logo crossed out. So my fear of country club prisons, or worse, notches up through April as I lose all ability to do simple math, calculate mileage, account for my misspent money, or my youth. Adding to the sheer adrenalin rush, it always takes us until the last minute on the tax clock to complete our return. Meantime, I go feral — stop showering, go wild-eyed, and sprout ten coyote-like gray hairs in the final days of tax review. And every time I look at a tax worksheet, I can taste fear on my tongue, like a dog. In fact, I considered wearing my dog’s pheromoneinfused calming collar. As we huddle in my husband’s office, I have the quick-trigger reflexes of a cornered possum when my husband frowns at my tax worksheet. Whaaaa?? I ask, tearing a shred of nail with my incisor, thinking of climbing the tree outside his window and staying there, nesting with the tax-free squirrel family. I don’t understand this deduction, he says, finger tapping page 297 of our Turbo Tax simplified filings worksheet. Then just forget about it! I declare, throwing my arms up in immediate surrender. We argue, calculate, fret, and, finally file in the generally hellacious walk up to the 15th. When we finally hit the electronic transmit command, I swallow a Xanax and pour the last of the Murine into my bloodshot eyes. Then, as any Irishwoman from my gene pool would do, I head to the barn to sleep with the family cow and our ancestral fire poker. It will be warmer there, and safer, than the tree. OH T.X. Dodger is not our writer’s real name. We withheld that to protect the IRS.

April 2014

O.Henry 55

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

What a Fool Believes Or, put another way, why I can’t make this stuff up

By Jane Borden

I remember one

Illustration by Meridith martens

April 1st, when I, at maybe 6 years old, decided to fool my mother. I sat on the stairs by the front door, racking my brain. It would have to be good: not too outrageous, but also not commonplace or what was the point? I recall struggling greatly until landing on my eventual plan.

“Hey Mom! Come quick! The grass is blue!” The grass is blue: That was my grand idea, the one I confidently thought would get her. “Oh yeah, she’ll immediately question everything she knows about photosynthesis and chlorophyll, and also her own eyes and memories of seeing the grass already this morning anyway.” I can’t recall her response, whether or not she indulged me. But I do remember loudly shouting “April Fool’s!” when clearly I was the only fool. I’ve never had a gift for fiction. It’s not that, when telling a lie, I start sweating or blinking uncontrollably. I mean to say I’m bad at the actual ideas. I can’t think of what to say. I’ll stand, stalling, “Oh, well, you see.” I can’t make stuff up. Also, I don’t think to. When someone asks a question, a fun thing is to provide a joke answer. In spite of being a comedian, this option never occurs to me, so eager am I to provide the correct response. I’m by instinct the nerdy girl in the front row, not the class clown in the back. One time in middle school, my friend Sally Terbeck and I told another pal that Jeopardy host Alex Trebek was related to Sally but that, somewhere down the line, her family had changed the spelling of their last name. In the young woman’s defense, she didn’t believe us, or I should say didn’t believe me. Sally hadn’t been keen on this idea from the start — what was the point? But I pushed forward, wouldn’t let it go, and basically beat the girl down until she relented, “OK, I believe you.” Then I shouted, “Gotcha!” Then she kind of shrugged her shoulders, and said, “No you didn’t.” I wasn’t alone in my misunderstanding of what it means to prank. I’m sure you remember the proliferation of television shows in the ’90s which prodded and baited innocent targets until they exploded on film: “While this guy was sleeping, we dyed all of the grass in his neighborhood blue. And little does he know, we also dosed him with LSD.” It wasn’t until after college that I came to understand and participate in pranking as a high art form, thanks to a group called Improv Everywhere. I got mixed up with IE around 2001, when its founder, Charlie Todd — a

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

fellow UNC-Chapel Hill alum, though we hadn’t known each other in school — joined the theater where I performed comedy in New York. He described IE as an antidote to the mean-spirited prank shows clogging the airwaves, called his participants “agents” and stated his mission thusly: “We cause scenes.” Essentially, it’s outdoor theater, some combination of sketch and stunt. In addition to the performers, each scene also requires photographers and videographers to document the event, as well as carefully placed plants to play along and encourage other bystanders to participate. Dozens of us at the theater immediately got involved. One of my favorites among the scenes IE caused: installing an agent, dressed as a bathroom attendant — replete with mints, hairspray, Barbicide and a tip jar — in the Times Square McDonald’s men’s room. A young British tourist, after his visit to the loo, exclaimed to his waiting friends, “They’ve got a butler in the bathroom and he gave us sweets!” On another day, Todd and his crew of agents rented a rowboat from the Central Park boathouse, pulled out a table, poker chips and playing cards, had a dealer don a green casino visor, and held aloft a sign announcing “Offshore Gambling.” Several strangers on the lake that day actually played. Some of the scenes were clearly fake, such as the time IE set up a “Meet the Author” event in the Union Square Barnes & Noble, featuring Anton Chekhov. They created and printed official-looking posters, hung them around the reading area, and then an older comedian who looked, enh, enough like Chekhov and spoke in, enh, enough of a Russian accent, introduced himself to the crowd and started reading a short story by the author who, in case you’re curious, died in 1904. Many customers in the store laughed at the obvious joke, but several were bewildered, or maybe just played along. One man started taking notes. The manager eventually, but politely, asked Charlie and “Chekhov” to leave. But he did invite them to come back whenever Chekhov writes a new play. Most of the stunts, however, were not as obviously false. If you weren’t cynical, you might actually believe the U.S. Olympic synchronized swimming team would hold a practice in the fountain in Washington Square Park. Or, with the proliferation of stunt-like advertising and marketing, it might make sense that the city’s famous Circle Line Tours had launched sightseeing trips of Manhattan from inside an inflatable raft that looped around a 6-foot-radius fountain in Union Square Park: “Here is where De La Guarda is playing, and here’s the famous Union Square Whole Foods, oh yes, there you’ll see Diesel clothing store. Unloading now. Next group?” On that afternoon, I was one of the audience plants. My fellow agent and I, feigning some reluctance and then shrugging good-naturedly, boarded the raft for the first tour. As intended, after we broke the ice, several residents and tourists took turns themselves. Did they know we were comedians and this was all fake? I don’t know. We didn’t ask. That wasn’t the point. That’s what I love about IE: There’s no endgame, no goal; it happens at no one’s expense. My all-time favorite “mission” — out of more than 130 — has April 2014

O.Henry 59

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60 O.Henry

April 2014

actually been staged twice, three times if you count the origin of the idea. My friend Rob Lathan, another UNC-Chapel Hill alum, got a little lost one afternoon, while returning to his seat from the concession stand at Fenway Park. His friends yelled his name to let him know where they were sitting. This struck Rob as funny, so he pretended not to hear them, exited the arena again, and popped back into the stands in another section a little farther away. They spotted him and shouted again, and then strangers joined in the shouting. Rob continued to ignore them, and when he reentered the arena again, he was on the other side of the park. Several years later, IE staged the stunt at Yankee Stadium. Rob was “lost” for several innings, and, just as they had the first time, strangers started helping out almost immediately, shouting his name, scanning the stands for him to appear, and shouting again. One asked how much he’d had to drink. Farther away, a group of fans chanted, “Where is Rob!? Where is Rob!?” After somehow traveling to the other side of the stadium, and later winding up right behind the Yankees dugout, Rob found his way home. When he appeared at the foot of the stairs, the entire section — plus dozens of fans in nearby sections — erupted. They jumped up, yelled, clapped, and pointed to Rob’s friends. People high-fived him as he passed, and during the last inning, several approached to take pictures with him. Rob and IE staged it all again at a Knicks game in Madison Square Garden a few years later, where, at one point, a cannon-gunpropelled T-shirt landed at his feet, which he put on, causing everyone watching him to explode in laughter. Please visit http://improveverywhere. com/2009/11/30/wheres-rob/ and witness the incredible joy on these strangers’ faces. One guy is bending backward, holding his belly. I know it sounds ridiculous, but when I was perusing the site, to recall the stunt for this column, I started to cry, at the sheer amount of participation. Some people wanted to help, others shouted to make fun of him, some surely knew it was all staged but wanted to play along, and still others shouted simply to shout, part of a sporting event’s appeal. But regardless of their motives, no one was coerced. They weren’t even solicited. I’ve always been kind of sad that I missed the two “Rob!” events. But as much as I enjoy being a player in IE stunts, I have as much fun spectating. I want to be the guy bent over backward. I’d rather save my shout for afterward, “Hey everybody, look at this incredible thing,” which, of course, is still a form of participation. OH Greensboro native Jane Borden, author of I Totally Meant To Do That, available at JaneBorden.com, is still looking for Rob. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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— Connie Ralston

April 2014

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The Secret Love Letters of

DolleyMadison A sensational historic find, published here for the first time


By Jim Dodson

ix months ago, a young archivist, Loof Lirpa, working in the basement of the Greensboro Historical Museum made an extraordinary discovery. While cataloging a group of personal papers and legal documents that had recently been donated to the museum by the heirs of a longtime Gate City resident and amateur historian named Archibald “Pea Legs” Brown, he came across, propitiously on April first of last year, a collection of fifteen private letters sealed in a carved ironwood box believed to have originated on the estate of Dolley and James Madison. Madison was, of course, the nation’s third president, author of the Bill of Rights and chief framer of the U.S. Constitution. The former Dolley Payne was born in May 1768 to John and Mary Payne, of the Quaker New Garden settlement that eventually became part of Greensboro. A year after Dolley’s birth, the Paynes moved back to Hanover County, Virginia, and later to Philadelphia. Three letters in particular have created uncommon buzz — and controversy — in the otherwise quiet world of Colonial-era historic preservation. Their authenticity has naturally been called into question, but two of the well-preserved missives suggest, in spirit if not in letter, deep appreciation of the former First Lady’s fabled charms as a hostess by two admiring Founding Fathers, an elderly Ben Franklin and a recently retired President Thomas Jefferson. The third letter appears to be a love letter written by James Madison to his wife on the occasion of their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. “What’s most amazing about these letters,” notes Loof Lirpa, of the Museum’s archival staff, “is the striking and terribly human picture these ‘love letters’ present of three of the Founding Fathers. All of them in some way were deeply enamored of the irrepressible Dolley Madison; we see her at various stages of her remarkable life, from being a young unmarried woman through the grief of widowhood and loss of a son, on to a later marriage and a fulfilling life with James Madison. All in all, it’s an extraordinary window into another time.” 66 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry magazine is proud to present these letters here for the first time. Owing to the fragile condition of the letters and their antiquidated condition, we have taken the liberty to transpose them to modern type. The signatures are authentic copies.

Philadelphia Assembly House Market Street Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 16 April 1789 Dearest Miss Payne, Though our chance meeting Thursday last was occasioned by the sad reality of the recent loss of your father’s starch-making enterprise, necessitating his dismissal from the Pine Street Friends Meeting owing to unpaid debts, it is my sincerest hope that your pending nuptials to John Todd, Esq., of Philadelphia may bring a much needed ray of sunshine into your life. This happier news was conveyed to me by none other than your own fair mother, Mary Payne, who called upon me at my working quarters several weeks past to discuss additional rooming availabilities at your family boarding house. It was my pleasure to recommend several outstanding members of the sitting Continental Congress from other states; all in hasty need of improved living quarters. Rest assured they are all gentlemen of the highest rank and seasoned civility, otherwise I should be loath to commend them to your lovely mother as a means of easing your family’s burden. I pray you charitably may forgive the bold and unsolicited observations of the old battle horse I suddenly find myself to be at 83 years, essentially four times your age if my good eye and rough calculation prove correct, but a young woman displaying your amplitude of physical beauty and natural vivacity must surely prove an asset to any gentleman fortunate enough lay claim to your consideration and affections. In so many ways I am forbidden by my station and conventions to express more than this, yet withal permit me to simply state that you so remind me of a certain beautiful young woman who stole my heart one springtime while I was engaged as this fledgling nation’s chargé d’affaires to France. Her mother was also a woman of considerable beauty and business acumen, though of a somewhat lesser status than your own. In sum, dearest girl, I have never quite forgotten that long-past spring of Eros and Revolution in the company of my young Désirée. Meeting you only brought back grateful memories of that time of grand flowering of love between modern civilized nations. Grateful and in your debt I remain,

Benjamin Franklin President, Philadelphia Assembly United States Continental Congress

Editor’s note: Benjamin Franklin passed away exactly one year to the day after this letter was written, on April 17, 1790 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Monticello Charlottesville, Virginia 6 August 1806 My Dearest Good Friend Dolley, As I was gathering early greengage plums this evening on a sunny hillside in my peaceful garden Elysium here at Monticello, I was quite pleased to be caught up by a sudden yet most enticing reverie of you, recalling the graces of charm and beauty and social elegance you brought to an otherwise sterile White House and my Virginia home life during a difficult time as this house’s lonely occupant. Your advice and commodious service to a young nation have become the model for everything a First Lady should be. And will serve, I daresay, as the guiding light for all future White House hostesses. Why such a potent reverie inspired by simple ripened greengage plums? The cultivar, as you may recall, is a French variety known as Reine Claudes, a wild French plum revered since ancient times for its firm golden green flesh and luscious full-bodied fruit. Perhaps you recall a certain evening during the late summer fortnight you and James surprised me with a visit and billeted beneath my humble roof. The fruit harvest was just beginning and the orchard workers vouchsafed their delight at having a woman of your lofty stature and natural regality laboring amongst them. Imagine thus my surprise and delight when I happened upon you perched halfway up a mature plum tree eating a ripened greengage with such earnest abandon and visceral pleasure — oblivious even to the golden juices that stained your generously liberated bodice — I swear I tumbled into a swoon worthy of envious Pan himself, from which it has taken me many years to fully recover. Truthfully, Dear Mother of the Republic, I have never been able to look at a pair of mature greengages hanging innocently on the bough, ready to be plucked and sampled, without thinking fondly of you. For these and many other kindnesses to an aging former president and a young nation at large, we remain your humble, ardent & eternal admirers.

Thos. Jefferson, Esq.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

15 September 1819 Montpelier Plantation Orange County, Virginia Dearest wife, Two years ago when at last we were unshackled from the burden of high public service and permitted to return home to a happy domestic life among the tobacco fields at Montpelier, it became my chief ambition to surprise you upon our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary, and spirit you away to Paris and the Continent for a sojourn you have long dreamed of taking. Alas, my flower of Carolina, yet another serious decline in the price of Virginia tobacco forecloses, for the moment at least, and has stalled such a grand and worthy enterprise. In lieu of bolder adventures abroad, permit me to project that even as historians are already sharpening their goose quill pens & debating the sundry accomplishments and missteps of the eight years of my administration, it is my unimpeachable conviction that your charm and legacy as the nation’s first true First Lady will stand the test of time and be fondly remembered as the finest achievement of our time in Washington. Even if you had not brilliantly orchestrated the hasty removal of irreplaceable artwork from the wall of the nation’s house only hours before it was reduced to cinders by the King’s henchmen, your unshakeable goodwill and unerring good taste as the country’s hostess served as a model of inspiration as nation and house rose from the ashes. You are as lovely today as the late summer afternoon in 1794 when I secretly prevailed upon that romantic rogue Aaron Burr to arrange a “chance” meeting and introduction at your mother’s boarding house on Pine Street. Coming just a year following the death of your husband and son to the curse of yellow fever, it is nothing shy of a miracle you agreed to vouchsafe such a meeting — and even more miraculous to marry the devious bureaucrat behind the ruse. My dearest Dolley, you have earned the respect of all Americans and untold future generations by making their White House the people’s gracious home, and our refuge here at Montpelier a model of domestic bliss. However you achieved such homemaking alchemy, it would not surprise your admiring husband in the least if decades hence a grateful nation dedicates its first and finest art museum to your sweet memory — or at the very least immortalizes your delicious charms by naming a confectionary cake in your honor. I know how you do love cake. In sum, I cannot give you Paris just yet, only the steadfast love and devotion of an adoring and aging husband, which the angels may determine outshines even the gratitude of an aging president. Your James

A toast to the blithe-hearted Dolley, Who doubtless would call these words folly, A ruse upon you, we rightly should say, A doll-up of fun for April Fool’s Day! OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Old Rebel’s Last Stand Across North Carolina, thousands of middle-aged men and women fondly remember the TV magic created by the late George Perry and his popular cohorts, pioneers of children’s television

Photographs courtesy of greensboro historical museum


By Bill Hancock

was a nobody, about to become a somebody. An unassuming man. Average height, a brown flattop. A little soft in the middle. A bit doughy, if you will. Fairly quiet, some say, with a certain reserve, a private person. A thinking man, a devotee of Hemingway. Others remember him as outgoing, gregarious. With a great laugh, a real laugh, and a sharp wit. Above all, he was a man of his time, like other men in those early 1950s. A generation of fedoras, charcoal suits and a get-it-done sensibility. For him, add a bow-tie and a black, straight-line pipe in his mouth. A good guy to all, one of the nicest you could meet. A give-you-the-shirt-off-his-back kind of guy. But not particularly noticeable. I tell you all of this only to suggest it is hardly the image of a young man — he was 29 — whose destiny would very soon be to mesmerize the imaginations of kids across half of North Carolina. Well more than a million children over two generations. His name, for twenty-five years, would become one of the best known in Greensboro. Yet fate has its ways. His would be a meteoric rise, only to fade out in an inglorious finish. His would become a sad tale, a dream lost, an episode we should all be a little ashamed of. But all of that lay years ahead. This was 1951. The year of Jersey Joe Walcott scoring a seventh-round knockout in Pittsburgh to become the new heavyweight champ. The year of Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable.” Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were in Sing Sing awaiting the electric chair as Russian spies. On West 20th Street in Manhattan, Jack Kerouac was trying to interest someone, anyone, to publish his new novel, On The Road. And in Greensboro, this same young man was on the cusp of the earliest days of local television as a camera operator in the studios of the new WFMY-TV. His name was George Perry. And he was to become a local celebrity with his own afternoon TV show for children. We would know him as The Old Rebel. The television station, downtown at that time in a tiny white building on North Davie Street, was where Cafe Europa now sits, next to the Greensboro Cultural Center. It was filled with a staff of fresh-faced young men, some of them just barely out of their teens with hardly a clue of what they were to do. There were no playbooks. After all, WFMY was only the second television station in the entire state. And it, along with a station in Charlotte, had been on the air less than two years. So they were winging it. Everything was an experiment. One thing they did know. They were in this together, with an exciting esprit de corps. And with each step taken, they were making history. This was the frontier of technology. Television was the future. The rest of us might not have realized it. But they could taste it. And stepping into the middle of it with them was George Perry. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

It was all so long ago, so much distance between then and now, that it’s hard today for someone like me, who didn’t grow up in Greensboro, to understand why this seemingly simple, local children’s television show means so much to that generation, even today. My childhood was in Memphis during that same time, where I watched Happy Hal Miller on WHBQTV. Fond memories that occasionally surface today. But nowhere near the adoration I’ve found among Old Rebel fans. As I sift through microfilm files in the Greensboro Public Library, a nice, middle-aged librarian approaches and asks if I need help. I tell her what I’m doing. Her eyes light up. “I was on The Old Rebel Show,” sitting in the bleacher audience, she tells me. Over her shoulder, a middle-aged man is sitting at a microfilm reader machine. He overhears and volunteers that he, too, was on the show. Both want to talk. It’s a curious phenomenon that follows me, becoming a fixed part of my research: people, once learning what I am up to, pulling me aside to tell me their story, their treasured remembrances. They speak affectionately of a magical time from long ago. The Old Rebel helped define their own age of innocence. This then is George Perry’s story. He had been in 1950 a morning shift announcer at WGWR Radio in Asheboro, but even then he knew which way the prevailing winds were blowing. He sent a résumé to WFMY and later in the year was hired as an announcer and film editor. He quickly learned studio production and how to operate the cameras. Everyone had to learn every job. His on-air career began sometime in early 1951 when he became host of the hour-long Six Gun Playhouse, a daily, after-school show featuring old Western movies. Being in front of the camera wasn’t completely out of character for Perry. Born in Statesville, he was in theatrical productions at Cool Spring High. He fought in World War II — as a mortar man in the Battle of the Bulge — afterward transferring to the 3rd Army’s Soldier Show Workshop, which toured occupied Germany, providing entertainment for troops. Perry was in the cast of The Front Page, the iconic play portraying cynical, hard-bitten journalists. By 1946 he was back in Carolina at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he was a broadcast major and joined the Carolina Playmakers. For The Six Gun Playhouse, Perry gathered his own props and created primitive April 2014

O.Henry 71

Western scenery. He began talking directly to the viewers, mostly kids, at home, in an unrehearsed, candid patter that was endearing. Cowboy stars like Tim Holt, The Lone Ranger and Hopalong Cassidy dropped by on national tours. Early on, Jim Tucker joined Perry in front of the camera, outfitting himself with a cowboy hat, Western shirt, fringed chaps and a six-shooter on his side. He became “Pecos Pete” and brought two bonuses to the show. He could pluck a guitar. But much more advantageous was his ability to twirl a rope, just like Roy Rogers, a talent not lost on children watching from home. Tucker occasionally brought on his pet boxer, Troubles, who was trained enough to sit in a chair during the show. A chimpanzee named Cathy also showed up from time to time. Perry wanted to build a character for himself. Years later, he talked about it in an interview with Bill Lee, managing editor at the time of The CourierTribune in Asheboro. “We were searching for a unique name and couldn’t come up with anything,” Perry said. “Back then, it was a fad to carry the Confederate flag to football games and to wear Confederate caps. I had one on (at the time), and one of the boys (saw me) and said, ‘Well, the old rebel,’ and I said, ‘yes?’ He was walking away, then turned around and said, ‘That’s a good name for your character.’ The name stuck.” Using makeup and white hair powder, he aged himself, donned a Confederate Army garrison cap, pasted on an atrociously long, black handlebar mustache and found some round-rimmed glasses, sans lenses. He couldn’t have picked a more divisive character, at least by today’s standards. But this was the South of 1951. A world where “integration” was not yet part of the lexicon. Where the history of Selma, Montgomery and the Woolworth lunch counter had yet to be written. For those involved at the station, “The Old Rebel” seemed a suitable name. Then a curious thing happened. Perry, in his newspaper interview, said a youngster whose father worked downtown had come over after school and wandered into the TV station by himself. Perry liked the little boy and

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let him sit in on the air and watch the show. The phone calls started. Other kids wanted to be on the show. Three or four began dropping by, then more. Moveable bleachers — they would eventually call them The Magic Moving Playhouse — were brought in. Up to 125 kids could watch the show on the set each day. A waiting list developed. Then grew long. Local businesses saw what was happening. Homegrown Guilford Dairy, Holsum Bread and Curtis Packing wanted to sponsor the show by advertising. National companies did the same. Buster Brown Shoes, U.S. Keds, Duncan Yo-Yos, Remco Toys and Stripe toothpaste bought commercial time. Soon The Six Gun Playhouse title gave way to The Old Rebel and Pecos Pete Show. Perry never said publicly why, but he decided early on to alter his Old Rebel look, ditching the Confederate cap, morphing into a softer, gentler Old Rebel, by wearing a top hat, a less obtrusive white mustache and a frock coat with a vest and a Western ribbon necktie. He had found the character he wanted. And he wasn’t careless about donning his new persona. It would take him at least thirty minutes to get into costume and makeup, and fifteen to take it off, a routine he would follow for the next twenty-five years. “As The Old Rebel, he didn’t change into a character a lot different than George,” said Jim Wiglesworth, who sat in the bleachers in the third grade back in the ’50s, a decade later becoming The Old Rebel’s sidekick. And maybe that’s why people still remember him fondly. The Old Rebel was like a favorite uncle who became a familiar family friend. “The Old Rebel was not a character that had to have a strange voice,” said Wiglesworth. “He was just kind of George in a top hat. He didn’t have a particular schtick like Pee-wee Herman.” The show was built around cartoons and episodes of The Little Rascals, with skits in between by Perry, along with introducing all the children. They would line up behind the stage set, which was the facade of a house, with a doorway to walk through. The Old Rebel would sit in a wooden rocking chair on the camera side of the set, microphone in hand, and as the children walked through, he would ask their names. They each would be on camera for a few seconds. Long enough to commit a lifetime of memories. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Free hot dogs and soft drinks were handed out, courtesy of Perry and his wife, Martha, who would cook them before the show and bring them in, frankfurters supplied by Curtis Packing. By the mid-’50s, “There wasn’t a Cub Scout or Brownie troop in Greensboro that didn’t go onto the show,” said Wiglesworth. The show’s popularity snowballed. The Old Rebel Club was started with kids receiving membership cards and badges. More than 15,000 children joined. The Old Rebel and Pecos cut a 78 rpm record that sold for 89 cents. The two began a longer, live version of their show on Saturdays at Carolina Theatre downtown so more children could attend. They called it The Circle K Club. They were a staple at Christmas parades and toured hospitals, worked charity drives. Thick crowds waited for them when they arrived to host grand openings at stores and shopping centers. They were becoming a phenomenon. All the while, Perry was heading up other shows on WFMY, eight during the early 1950s, most of them involving country music performances. And he became the station’s farm reporter with a daily program, R.F.D. Piedmont. He could be counted on to do the weather and the news, if need be. You had to be a jack-of-all trades those days in the television business. George Perry fit the bill. In 1956, Lee Kinard, who was just 24, joined the station as a staff announcer, a year later beginning The Good Morning Show. Before long, The Old Rebel and Kinard became the faces of WFMY, the station’s unique brand, along with Charlie Harville, a longtime sports announcer. The show rolled into the ’60s — it was now taped the afternoon before its broadcast — and George Leh was one of the camera operators. “It was 1960 or 1961 when Perry carved a hand puppet out of balsa wood, which became Marvin the Mule. And I did the voices for it and the hand work for Marvin and Homer the Horse for about eight years. George and I worked together every afternoon to decide what we were going to do on the show.” In 1965 Jim Tucker left, retiring his Pecos Pete character. Perry brought in Lee Marshall as Lonesome Lee, a clown who emulated the look of Emmett Kelly, the world-famous Ringling Brothers performer. Two years later, The Old Rebel Show was moved into a morning time-slot for preschoolers. The format remained, just aimed at an even younger audience. A very young Jim Wiglesworth stepped in to become The Old Rebel’s new second banana with Lonesome Lee, who made frequent appearances. Like George Leh, Wiglesworth had been a show cameraman, and created his own puppet, appropriately named Wiglesworth. “Then I made three or four more, kind of like the Muppets’ Oscar the Grouch.” Eventually, he took on the persona of Jungle Jim. “I would do whatever needed to be done that day. If somebody needed to get a pie in the face, I would be the guy. Or to wrestle a bear, which I did. “I was pretty much writing the show back then, too,” Wiglesworth added. “You had it down to a formula. I would write it in my morning college class at UNCG. I think it was a history class. I’d come in about 2:30 p.m. and get with George and say here’s the skits. It was 50 percent scripted and the rest ad-libbed. Like The Old Rebel carrying dishes and I accidently trip him and he drops it all, and we wing it from there. It was slapstick. We knew each other well enough to know how to react.” Despite its time-worn formula, the show was not without its mishaps. A chimpanzee attacked one of the puppets. Another time, a child was playing with a broom and hit Humphrey the puppet on the head, which went flying across the set. The kids were all screaming, “Humphrey’s head is gone!” George just laughed. Jim Longworth, another camera operator, asked to work the puppets. “It seemed easy enough,” Longworth thought. So he got behind the fence facade with the puppets and had to look at a TV monitor by his side to know what was going on in front of the camera. “I got so discombobulated that the fence set fell forward and onto the floor. But George didn’t get mad. He never got mad.” The fun ended on a Thursday morning in September 1976 when

Greensboro woke up to see the headline in the Greensboro Daily News: “Old Rebel Show Squeezed Out.”
 The station management was ending the daily run of The Old Rebel Show after twenty-four years, telling the newspaper that it was to extend the popular Good Morning Show from two to three hours. Instead, Perry’s show would appear only on Saturday mornings, beginning at 7 a.m. There was no danger that the show would be cancelled entirely, they said. But Perry, who was now 54, and just about everyone at the station, suspected otherwise. “I think that was a stab in George’s heart,” said Wiglesworth. “I think he just died then. That was his reason for living. That took away his will. I think he physically went downhill after that. It was kind of like throwing the old man out.” They moved Perry out of his office in the station, transferring him to the film editing department, an entry level position. Eventually that desk was taken away, forcing him to try to find a desk to work, wherever he could, according to his interview with The Asheboro Courier-Tribune. He complained that he received assignments that were unclear or he wasn’t qualified to do. Lee Kinard said for the next year Perry was worried they were going to fire him, fears that were well-founded. The station in October 1978 put him on a thirty-day probation. But before the probation was over, he was fired. After twenty-five years, the show and, as it turned out, Perry, were done for good. The station’s program director wrote a memo charging him with “a negative attitude, making critical remarks about the company.” That’s what Perry told the Asheboro newspaper. For the next year, Perry continued making personal appearances as The Old Rebel, but those, too, began dwindling. It’s been reported that he wound up collecting unemployment payments, but at least on one occasion went home too embarrassed to stay in line at the unemployment office after some teenagers recognized him and began laughing. He became reclusive. A year after his firing, he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Labor, charging age discrimination. He was 57 when terminated. “There was no explanation given me as to why I was discharged,” he told the Daily News. The television station responded by saying the issue was a personnel matter, offering no other comment. A month later the Labor Department told him it would not pursue his case any further because it had not been able to reach a settlement. No other explanation was given. Three years after the show went off the air, on November 23, 1980, George Perry died at his modest home on Amos Drive, across the street from Rankin Elementary School. It was a heart attack at the dinner table, friends said. The burial was back in Statesville. He was 58. But this story only gets sadder. Perry’s wife, Martha, a church-mouse quiet woman, continued living in the home with their grown son, Timm, who had diabetes. They became pack rats, hoarders, their small home so crowded, you could hardly make your way from the front door to the living room sofa. Perhaps they had been that way for years. No one really knows. Few if any people were invited to their home. Timm and his mother often would take the bus — they had no car — to Friendly Shopping Center, where they would spend time first at the Harris Teeter grocery, then walk over to Barnes & Noble where they were wellknown and liked. They would stay for hours. Few people knew they were doing it because their oil-heated home was cold. They couldn’t afford the fuel. A nearby church helped as much as it could, maintaining their yard, and giving them a cell phone. Martha Perry died in 2010. That same year, Timm gathered up some of

“There wasn’t a Cub Scout or Brownie troop in Greensboro that didn’t go onto the show,”

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his dad’s memorabilia from the show and, with the help of friends, held an auction to raise badly needed money. It didn’t go so well. At the last minute, Timm, who had a priestly devotion to his dad’s memory, pulled back some of the most coveted items, leaving little for interested fans. He showed up at the auction dressed as his dad, complete with the top hat and powdered hair. It was for many, a touching homage to his father. But, quite frankly, it also had a tinge of creepiness to it. He made other appearances as his dad. “God knows what happened to Timm,” said Lee Kinard. “At the end, it was like he had assimilated his father. Here he was in the rebel costume, and I was just watching him die piece by piece. I really didn’t know how to help him.” His diabetes grew worse, leaving him to use walking canes, then a wheelchair. He was found dead in the home, alone and wrapped in a blanket, on September 10, 2011. His illness had done him in. As for the detritus of the show, the Greensboro Historical Museum has one of The Old Rebel’s top hats — a gray one — on display, along with his glasses and one of the puppets. On a nearby video screen, you can press a button and see a grainy snippet of one of the shows, plus a through-the-years slide show created by Jim Wiglesworth. Wiglesworth, now retired, has some memorabilia stashed somewhere in his home, a few puppets, he thinks. My friend Gregory George has a pair of The Old Rebel’s metal cuff links given to employees of WFMY. They’re on display in his downtown store, Gregory’s Jewelry. A man in Winston-Salem has a box full of 16-mm tapes from the show, which was retrieved from the home and sold. And Suzi Wallace Fire of Denton, a friend of Timm Perry, bought The Old Rebel’s wooden rocking chair during the auction, the one he sat in as that endless stream of boys and girls passed by. She paid $80 for it. “It’s actually at my mom’s house,” she said. “I sit in it almost every day when I go over to visit her. I think of him and Timm a lot. The whole thing is just very tragic.” The passage of time, for some of those closest to George Perry, hasn’t dimmed their bitterness at how he was treated. “He was at the top of his game,” said Jim Longworth, now the host of Triad Today, a public affairs talk show, and a columnist for YES! Weekly magazine. “It just baffles me that you have a consumer base of children and their parents who adored this man and held him in high esteem for what he did. Yet, the station didn’t have room for him anymore.” And this from Billy Ingram of Greensboro, who writes about nostalgia television in his blog, TVparty.com: “Those shows rested on the shoulders of the performers. He was there almost thirty years. It was inconceivable to me that you would cut this person loose. To the public, he was WFMY. They had taken this man’s livelihood away, and there wasn’t anything else for him. You can’t hire an icon.” WFMY at the time was owned by Harte-Hanks Communications, but long ago was sold and is today owned by the Gannett Company. With few in the know left to talk about management’s decision thirty-six years ago, we may never learn for certain what happened. But it’s an open question whether the time had come to end a show hosted by a character who, intentional or not, evoked

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troubling images of the Civil War and a slave-owning Southern society. It should be noted, however, that George Perry by the 1970s undoubtedly recognized that and was visiting recreation centers in Greensboro’s black communities to entice African-American children onto the show. He wanted a diverse audience and worked hard to achieve it. Something else has to be factored in. As Billy Ingram told me, after receiving complaints, in 1973 the National Association of Broadcasters limited commercial advertising in children’s programming and banned their hosts from appearing in commercials aimed at children. “And that dried up the revenue for local children’s shows around the nation,” said Ingram. “You could see it happening all over the country.” Without revenue, those local children’s shows one by one were cancelled by the stations. So, what to make of this adoration for a simple children’s television show with slow-moving dialogue and silly slapstick? It was, as my friend Ellen Burwell of Greensboro said, “very appealing because you just felt like The Old Rebel loved you.” She was an 8-year-old sitting in the bleachers about 1960. “I always thought it was real, but it was make-believe. And you believed he was The Old Rebel, and Pecos Pete was from the West. You just believed all that stuff. He just loved kids. And he was just so happy to see you. He was always happy.” Jim Dodson, the editor of O.Henry magazine, was on the show in 1964 as a fifth-grader. “He was like this jolly kind of ebullient character, a genial cross between Old Man River and God. And he was charming and funny. There was this kind of competition in elementary school. It was kind of a badge of honor to get on his show.” To Lee Kinard, it’s not so surprising that his friend George Perry could have pulled off the job of hosting such a successful children’s show. “I always thought he had a little grease paint in him,” he said. And Kinard understands why there’s so much love for that TV show and for The Old Rebel himself. “In an era when, for a child, life did not have many excitements in it, when the greatest thing a kid had to look forward to was an afternoon playing in a sandlot with some kids or going out in the woods. When all little girls went home and did whatever Mommy had for them to do. In a world where there was no real outside interaction, here was an opportunity five days a week to go to the Land of Oz. To walk into a TV studio where there was noise and action, a clown, a cowboy twirling a rope, a cheerful gentleman wandering around in a top hat and mustache, saying hello and shaking their hands and giving them ice cream and CocaColas. And their classmates would say the next day, ‘I saw you on The Old Rebel Show,’ and up in the balcony of the studio the parents and teachers were looking down — this was real live show business. And they were part of it.” Scott Marsh, a post production operations manager at UNC-TV in Chapel Hill, made a documentary in 1998 about children’s shows in North Carolina during those early days of television. Stay Tuned Boys & Girls featured The Old Rebel, with bits and pieces of his shows. As the segment ends, The Old Rebel is seated in the bleachers, surrounded by children. They are singing, all of them really belting out the words to “I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover.” The camera begins to fade out on the segment, the song ends, and The Old Rebel and children loudly applaud and cheer with a sunny disposition and a genuineness you can feel. It’s been another day of happiness and love in George Perry’s world. And nearly forty years later it remains that way in the memories of tens of thousands of middle-aged men and women who can’t seem to talk about it without a gleam in their eye and a wistfulness for a simpler, happier time. OH Bill Hancock is a frequent contributor to O.Henry magazine. His last piece in November of 2013 was “The Frenchman and the Flourmill.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Fine Wee Madness At the annual Triad Highland Games, everyone goes a little Scottish Story & Illustrations by
Harry Blair

First, a good Scottish joke: What’s the difference between a bagpipe and a Harley Davidson: . . . You can tune a Harley-Davidson. But first things first. A kilt is traditionally worn without underwear. This is called “going regimental,” as in that’s how The Black Watch do it. Some of the kilted gents at the Triad Highland Games, held May 2 and 3 this year at Bryan Park (www.triadhighlandgames.org or on Facebook), will be regimental. Athletes will not. Others wear plaid boxers, I suppose. And here’s another thing while we’re on the subject. Girls and women don’t wear kilts; they wear “kilt skirts,” which resemble kilts but aren’t. I don’t know what lasses wear under kilt skirts. It’s none of my business.

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So many people in this part of North Carolina can trace their roots back to Scottish or Irish forebears. Largely forced out of their homelands by religious tyranny or discrimination by the various kings of England, these brave souls got on small boats and sailed to America. After landing in, say, Boston or Philadelphia, they put Granny on the roof and headed down the Great Wagon Road, many to central and western North Carolina, where they settled and prospered. In the Revolutionary War, Lord Charles Cornwallis seemed to have forgotten how much the locals around here hated their former tormentors’ guts. At Guilford Courthouse the British were so bloodied, crippled and demoralized, the momentum of the war shifted. Thus, “the grandest fighting force in the world” was sent back to England a few months later, in defeat. So now the descendants of these Bad-Asses celebrate their bad-assedness once a year by partying and throwing around heavy stuff, just for fun. If you grab the kids and head out to Bryan Park next month, what you’ll find will surprise and amaze you, and maybe bring you a little closer to those BadAsses you always knew you were descended from — or wish you were. Let’s walk through the grounds. The first thing you’ll see all around you is the collection of vendors’ tents. Here, you can browse for kilts with cargo pockets, three-tassel dress sporrans made from wolverine fur or T-shirts that says “Oot & Aboot.” Buy a coffee mug with your clan badge on it. And you know you need a penny whistle, a deadly dirk and a thistle-handled drinking quaich for your single-malt. Just beyond the vendors on the left side of the field is the Music Tent. Celtic rockers BarleyJuice will tune up Friday at 6 p.m. and play again Saturday, beginning at 11:15. More traditional Celtic tunes come from Tinkerdown Thistle on Saturday beginning at 10:15 a.m. Food trucks will bring barbecue, burgers and fries. Also look for homemade ice cream, strawberry shortcake, iced tea, hot tea, coffee and bright orange, highly carbonated IRN-BRU, Scotland’s national drink after, of course, Scottish ale and Scotch. Edinburgh natives Alex and Joan Robb will be serving Scotch eggs, bridies, sausage rolls, meat pies and Joan’s signature shortbread at their St. Andrew’s Square booth. They’ll also be serving pocket bread filled with haggis, the national food of Scotland. Think Neese’s liver pudding and you’ll be all right. As we walk toward the field, you’ll notice lots of people dress “Scottish.” Men, women and children . . . all ages wear tartan. Some wear the tartan of their clan, others just wear a tartan they like. No big deal. You can always go to the booth that specializes in matching you to your tartan. Look for a shady hill up on the right. That’s where you’ll see Scottish country dancing, highland dancing competitions, a tea tasting area with harp accompaniment and Celtic acoustic music. Directly in front of us now is the Main Field. That sound you hear, drowning out the grunts and groans of the athletes, is unmistakable, yet not universally loved, the sound of three bagpipe bands and drums — the once-outlawed background music for everything Scottish in the last 500 years. Love it or hate it, you never forget it. Around the edge of the field are the colorful clan tents — Auchinleck, Arbuthnott, Blackadder, Borthwick and, yes, Blair. Nowadays, everybody gets along with everybody else. The display of ancient weaponry — broadswords, pikes, claymores and axes — is purely for educational value. On the field itself, the kilted athletes, men and women, compete in what could best be described as seeing who can throw heavy objects the farthest without hitting anyone.

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Amateur events welcome audience participation. These include the cast-iron Frying Pan Throw and the Bonnie Knees Contest in which blindfolded lassies choose the bonniest knees from a line of willing lads. On the lower part of the field, border collies demonstrate the herding of sheep, ducks and even wayward toddlers. Before dark on Saturday the games will come to an end, and the ritual of the packing up will commence. Families will make their way to the shuttle buses, pushing strollers full of stickyfaced sleeping kids. And everyone will be thinking about how much fun they’ll have doing the same thing next year. OH

The Calling of the Clans

On Friday night around 8 p.m. a moving and beautiful event takes place on the field. Torch-bearing representatives of the participating clans announce each clan’s presence and then form a giant glowing “saltire cross” in the chilly darkness. www.triadhighlandgames.org Harry Blair is O.Henry’s staff artist and a very slow writer. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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A Fine Three-Part Life Through the camera lens of preacher and philosopher Jim Dollar, nature is a beautiful metaphor for all living creatures By Ogi Overman • Photographs by Jim Dollar


t the risk of oversimplification, Jim Dollar’s life can be broken down into three overriding (and alliterative) themes. He is part preacher, part philosopher and part photographer. Many locals know him as Rev. Jim Dollar, who until retiring in 2011 was the minister of the Presbyterian Church of the Covenant on Mendenhall Street, in the heart of College Hill. Yet, it is probably safe to say that more people have been moved by his written words than his spoken ones. He penned two volumes of essays, Loose Change and A Handbook for the Spiritual Journey. They entertainingly blend the secular with the spiritual into guideposts on how to live one’s life to the fullest. Then, in 2005, he turned his church’s sanctuary into one of Greensboro’s more popular concert venues. Among the local luminaries who performed there were Laurelyn Dossett, Rhiannon Giddens, Bruce Piephoff, Martha Bassett, Molly McGinn and the Steep Canyon Rangers. “There’s no telling how many folks we attracted who might never have otherwise darkened a church’s door,” said Dollar, adding with a grin, “plus I got to hear some darn fine music.” Through it all, though, Dollar has been avidly pursuing his third passion, photography, specifically landscape and wildlife photography. What began as a hobby in college blossomed into a full-blown obsession about the same time he arrived in Greensboro in 1997. “Churches love to give outgoing preachers a parting gift of a trip to the Holy Land,” recalls Dollar. “I told the church I left in Batesville, Mississippi, if they were going to give me a trip, send me to Yellowstone National Park instead. And they did.” That trip set in motion an odyssey of dozens of trips all over North America that produced some of the most stunning and awe-inspiring landscape shots imaginable. And it eventually led to his most recent passion of capturing the majesty of waterfowl at the very moment of liftoff and touchdown. He has gained a reputation as the owl-in-flight photographer The Outing

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Tulip Tree

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Backside of Town

Mallard in Fight 25 Persimmons The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Ms Owl 02 among aficionados nationally. And he credits his renown to Greensboro’s hidden jewel, the Bog Garden at Benjamin Park. “I was out there shooting ducks one day [with a camera, of course] and happened upon some birders,” he said. “They were all looking at this owl so I joined them. I began coming out there every day, learning his flight path, getting there early and staying late.” Honing his craft, day by day and little by little, Dollar eventually became an expert, as these accompanying photos, all shot in or near Greensboro, will attest. “People ask me how I get them at such precise moments in flight, and I tell them, ‘I wait ’till they take off and wait some more ’till they land.’ It’s pretty simple.” Dollar has embraced the online universe, publishing five e-books of his photography, interspersed with his philosophical musings on life. His work may also be viewed on his website, www.jimdollarphotography.com, as well as his accounts on Tumblr, Flickr and Facebook. OH Ogi Overman has been a reporter, columnist and editor for a number of Triad publications since 1984. He is currently compiling a book of his columns, to be titled A Doughnut and a Dream.

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GreatBlue Heron in Flight ’07

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Revolution Mill

DUCDB? Barred Owl in Flight ’07 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Above: Long horizontal lines, evident at the Fountain House’s entrance, characterize modernist homes. Above right, homeowners Len Testa and Laurel Stewart saunter past a sunburst mirror on an “atomic tangerine” wall. The home’s front door is the same color.

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Story of a House

Fountain of Happiness For this thoroughly modern family, a home Walt Disney would have loved. By Maria Johnson • Photographs by John Gessner


t’s not unusual for people to knock on the orange door of the Fountain House, a modernist morsel at 211 North Dudley Street, and ask the new owners if it’s OK to look around. Oh, the parties the Fountains had here, they say. Oh, the unusual plants they grew here, they say. Oh, the modern conveniences they had here, they say. Then they get a load of what Len Testa and Laurel Stewart have done with the place since 2010, and they marvel even more. If the Charles and Fannie Fountain House was cutting edge when it was built in 1968, it’s ahead of the curve forty years later, thanks to Testa and Stewart, a couple of techies and Disney devotees who shed the isolation of the suburbs to get closer to the center city. For Testa, who earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree at N.C. A&T State University right across the street from the Fountain House, it’s bit of a homecoming, too. “I can look out and see where I spent seven years of my life,” he says, sitting in his kitchen and nodding toward McNair Hall. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Playful, futuristic artwork by Joshua Agle, aka Shag, decorates the living area of Stewart’s and Testa’s home. Sleek new furniture mingles with older pieces, such as a grandfather clock that Testa started 20 years ago and recently finished.

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When he was a student in the ’90s, he never noticed the Fountain House, even though he parked on the street behind it. “I walked past it hundreds of times,” he says. He didn’t notice the house until 2010, when he and Stewart, then camped in a comfortable castle in Summerfield, started looking for more citified living and a modernist house at an affordable price. They found nothing to suit them until Testa went to Triangle Modernist Houses, a Raleigh-based website that contains info on homes elsewhere. He clicked on the for-sale page, and what to his wondering eyes did appear but the Fountain House. The listing showed two pictures of the home: the basement and the front patio. That was a caution sign, but Testa and Stewart were intrigued enough to look. “That’s all she wrote,” says Stewart. “You could tell it was a special house,” Testa says. Special by design — and because of its design. The flat-top home was designed by Greensboro architect Gerard Gray, who taught architectural engineering at A&T. He designed at least six modernist-flavored homes in east Greensboro, including one for the Dudley family of Dudley Beauty products. For his A&T colleague Charles Fountain, who led landscape architecture studies, Gray designed a home for a lot that was part of the Cumberland Project, the state’s first urban renewal undertaking. Surrounded by more conventional homes, the Fountain House stood out for its mid-century modernist architecture, which is characterized by clean, simple lines, lots of windows and an emphasis on uniting indoors and outdoors. The landscaping around the Fountain House was every bit as unusual as the home, with a terraced front yard, Japanese maples, a mulberry tree, gardenias, a flowering pear and lots of ivy. From the street, you could barely see the home, which was concealed behind a brick patio sheltered by cedar fencing, planters and trellis. If you ventured up the driveway, you encountered another ivy screen — this one trailing down like a curtain inside the window beside the front door. Technologically advanced for its time, the 2,700-square-foot home contained an elevator; security system; NuTone radio and intercom system; room-to-room telephones; and a built-in UHFVHF antenna, which saved the Fountains from using rabbit ears or aerials for their TVs. The family controlled every light in the house with panels of dials in the kitchen and master bedroom. “This was the house of the future,” says Testa. The Fountains or their family members lived in the house into the mid-aughts. The house had been unoccupied for a few years when Testa and Stewart bought it in 2010, counting on a quick redo. Testa laughs out loud at this. Good one. Nearly four years later, they’re well into renovations, but they have plenty of to-dos remaining. The most striking change is in the kitchen. With the help of their architect, Jill Spaeh, and their builder, Kevin Jones, they have fashioned their kitchen into a modernist’s dream, with dark-stained bamboo floors, electric lime green walls, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Like caffeine for the eyes, the colors that Stewart and Testa have used in their home stir the senses. Before the purple fireplace screen was installed, a board covered the opening to keep the family cat, Hello Kitty, from playing chimney sweep.

new countertops, cabinets, appliances and a space-age dining area straight out of a Home of the Future diorama at Disney World’s Space Mountain. They flew Spaeh to Disney World so she could see what they had in mind. “So you want something inspired by this,” Spaeh said. “No, we want this exactly,” said Testa and Stewart. Their infatuation with Disney is understandable. Since 1997 Testa has been a major contributor to The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World, the top-selling publication in the Unofficial Guide series. Testa’s specialty: wait times, specifically, using computerized algorithms to calculate the quickest ways to see the major attractions at Disney World. His touring plans for visitors with various needs — for example, Epcot OneDay Touring Plan for Parents with Small Children — anchor the back of the paperback manual. His business, touringplans.com, also makes customized touring plans and smart phone apps that feed live updates to Disney visitors. The site has more than 100,000 subscribers and a staff of seven. Only Testa and Stewart live in Greensboro. Other employees live in Japan, Florida, Texas, California and Canada. They use Skype, Google Docs and Dropbox to stay in touch. “There’s no technical reason we have to be anywhere,” says Testa, who grew up in Florida, started at the University of Miami and then followed his parents to Greensboro after his mother, Carol, took a job at the American Express call center. He, too, landed a job at AmEx and later enrolled in A&T’s computer science program. The roots of his success lie in his master’s thesis, which focused on applying transportation logistics to theme park visits. University officials were so impressed by his work that just before he walked in to defend his master’s thesis, they handed him the paperwork for the university to patent his algorithms.

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“You can’t fail me now,” Testa teased one of his professors. Just out of school, Testa married and moved to a home on Magnolia Street in Fisher Park. “That’s where I learned to love downtown,” he says. He continued working as a programmer at AmEx, polishing his themepark algorithms, patenting the results for himself and contributing to the Disney guides. He moved twice — and divorced once — before Stewart, who worked for Microsoft in Seattle, joined him in 2010. Both runners and Disneyphiles, they kept running into each other, literally, at Disney-sponsored races. “She runs faster than I do, so I saw her at the beginning and ending of races,” Testa says. They liked to walk, too, but Summerfield afforded few opportunities to stroll to community activities, and Greensboro was a twenty-minute drive away. They started looking for a place inside the Greensboro city limits. The Fountain house — which was listed at $115,000 — screamed “deal.” “We didn’t even try to negotiate,” Testa says of the asking price. “We said, ‘Yeah, OK.’ ” The Fountain House was a two-minute walk to the campus Starbucks, a fiveminute amble to the Farmers’ Market on Yanceyville Street and a ten-minute trek to Fincastle’s and other favorite haunts downtown. “There’s a lot to be said for living in a walkable neighborhood where you don’t have to get in a car to take care of your needs,” says Stewart, who brought only one form of transportation from Seattle: a Vespa scooter. She and Testa get by fine with just one car. Another draw to the Fountain House was the stability of the neighborhood, which is thick with elderly homeowners. Testa searched the Internet and found that few properties had turned over since the 1960s. Crime stats were comparable to those in Summerfield. The couple bought three adjoining properties — the Fountain House, a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Down to the Sputnik chandelier and tabletop accessories, the dining area replicates a Home of the Future diorama at Disney World’s Space Mountain. The plasma screen display in the stairwell mimics a display in the Skyline Lounge on the Disney Dream cruise ship. Top right: Stewart and Testa preserved many of the 1968 home’s period features, including a countertop panel used to power a blender.

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Above: Full of geometric shapes, the basement features cantilevered cabinets relocated from the kitchen. Below, Testa stands in a space that used to contain an elevator. The lift was removed before the couple bought the home. vacant lot next door and a smaller brick house — for less than the value of the Summerfield house. That includes the cost of renovating the two Dudley Street homes. They lived in the smaller house while the three-bedroom Fountain House was remade. To bring in more light, contractors added windows on the sides, a couple of skylights and a vertical “skylight” in an interior wall to add interest in a dark hallway. They gutted the kitchen, ripping out a wall between the kitchen and the living room. They created a third bathroom by splitting the former master bath with an S-curve wall that cradles a circular glass shower on each side. The curvy concept is straight from the Rainforest Spa on the Disney Fantasy cruise liner. Testa and Stewart spend a lot of time on Disney cruises — they co-authored The Unofficial Guide to the Disney Cruise Line, to be released for the first time this month — and the Fountain House reflects their time afloat. To fill a yawning stairwell where the elevator shaft had been — the lift was removed before they bought the house — Testa and Stewart mounted four side-by-side 60-inch plasma screens turned vertically to produce one large segmented picture, an idea copped from the Skyline Lounge on the Disney Dream cruise ship. The couple’s screens are programmed to randomly display images from the website Flickr every 30 seconds. The dynamic wall is a backdrop to the Space Mountain dining area — a custom-made white fiberglass table and white ultraseude banquette and a spiky chrome “Sputnik” chandelier. If your eyes don’t bug at the kitchen, they will at the living room, which is painted “atomic tangerine.” “Most people comment about the colors,” says Stewart. “They say it’s a happy place.” The mirth extends to the living room, a salad of old and new. A mid-century coffee table that was left in the house.

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Swervey, curvy and cool describe the yin and yang bathrooms that Stewart and Testa created by splitting the former master bath with an S-shaped wall. The circular showers were inspired by the Rainforest Spa on the Disney Fantasy cruise ship. New white leather furniture from Area Modern Home in downtown Greensboro. Futuristic, cartoonish prints by California artist Joshua Agle, aka Shag. An antique reproduction grandfather clock, which Testa started in his father, Carl’s, woodworking shop in 1991 and finished recently. There used to be one asterisk to the room: an unfashionable board covering the gas-plumbed fireplace. Blocked for repairs? No, says Stewart. Blocked for a tortoise shell cat named Hello Kitty, who once went missing. Stewart was distraught. She was in the bedroom crying when she heard a thud. She walked into the living room. “There was the cat, covered in dust, like nothing had happened,” she says. For now, Testa and Stewart don’t use the fireplace, but they do use a quirky vent in the fireplace wall. The niche is covered with an inset of black metal bars. Testa’s daughter, 15-year-old Hannah, calls it the “squirrel jail.” At the suggestion of their electrician, a fan of Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, Testa and Stewart transformed the squirrel jail to even more of a curiosity by filling it with tiki-style totems over fake flames (fabric scraps blown by a fan, lit by flickering LED lights). When possible, they have preserved the home’s other distinctive features, including pocket doors, a milk delivery box and a NuTone countertop panel ready for blender and other attachments. They’ve also pushed the home into the future again. They can control every light —plus the alarm system, digital locks, thermoThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

stats, TVs, digital display panels and wireless speakers — from their phones and computers. Every room offers wired and wireless Internet connections, and the home contains three Wi-Fi networks. Smart thermostats learn the couple’s patterns and alter the temperatures accordingly. “It knows, OK, Len usually gets up at 6 o’clock so at 5:45, I’ll kick the heat up,” Testa says. Outside, the couple is working on restoring the front patio, including a koi pond. When they finish that, they’ll tackle a terraced patio with a firepit out back. Eventually, the vacant lot next door will become a garden connecting the Fountain House to the smaller house, which they use as an office and guest quarters. When Testa’s daughter goes to college, the couple will be thinking about moving again, perhaps to Paris, which would jibe with their plans to expand touringplans.com to cover sightseeing in major cities. They’re eyeing Palm Springs, California, a modernist mecca, as their ultimate destination. “I have one more remodel in me,” says Testa. “The rule is, it can’t need a lot of work,” says Stewart. Both of them laugh out loud at this. Good one. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. April 2014

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Nancy Weisbrodt

Garden Art

In the eye of the right beholder, even trash can become treasure By K aren M. Alley • Photographs by Lynn Donovan

I used to be a garden purist. For me, art had no place in an

area of the yard that was supposed to be dedicated to flowers or vegetables. But having children changed all that. All of a sudden I had toad abodes in the vegetable garden and homemade stepping stones and brightly painted birdfeeders in the flower garden, and it looked great. I now have a greater appreciation for art in the garden, in all forms. Majestic sculptures add elegance to a stark winter garden, and colorfully painted benches or birdhouses can add whimsy to a garden bursting with blooms in the summer. Recently I had the chance to meet two talented artists, both of whom have a knack for turning everyday items — and even things others might label as trash — into beautiful art for the garden. Nancy Weisbrodt of Greensboro has filled her own garden with a treasure trove of whimsical and amusing objets d’art, and Jan Wood of Kernersville has used her talent to help fill Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden’s gift shop. For Weisbrodt, creating garden art started as a form of therapy after losing her job with Wrangler. “All of a sudden I was home all the time, and I just couldn’t stay inside,” Weisbrodt says. “I would go outside to get a change of scenery, and being outside helps ground me. Out there, under the big blue sky, surrounded by green leaves and bright flowers, I found peace.”

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April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

It wasn’t long until Weisbrodt’s imagination took over and she found ways to enhance her outdoor space. As a child she loved to paint and make pottery, a gift that she hadn’t explored much as an adult. Having a full-time job and a house to keep up doesn’t leave much time for pursuing hobbies. Now, with so much time on her hands, Weisbrodt has found herself filling her yard and house with her own creations. The first experiment was just a piece of fence that was sitting in the yard, no longer used for its original purpose of keeping dogs from roaming the neighborhood. Weisbrodt stuck a couple of salamanders on it and leaned it up against a tree. She liked it so much that she kept going. An iron wall hanging, purchased years earlier for no real reason, found a new life hung on her gate surrounded by marbles. Weisbrodt drilled holes into the gate to stuff the marbles in, with no clear plan in mind at the beginning. “I was a little nervous to just start drilling holes, but it felt good to be making something pretty,” she says. Now when the sun shines through the gate, splotches of colored light appear on the ground in the backyard. It’s just as pretty at night when the streetlight shines through. Once Weisbrodt used up the materials she had lying about her house, she started exploring thrift shops and the Salvation Army for materials to use to create more art. Her imagination has led to turning near-trash into treasure. She turned a 69-cent colander and about $10 worth of keys and prisms into a beautiful hanging, a moveable work of art. A $3 chair was enhanced with some moss and sticks from her mulberry tree to become a seat that looks perfect for a fairy visitor. One of her favorite pieces is the hanging chair that is mounted on the fence overlooking her vegetable garden. A fresh coat of yellow and red paint and a chicken in the seat make it look like a garden throne, with the ruling chicken presiding over her kingdom. In addition to the sculptures and found-art creations, Weisbrodt’s garden is decorated with painted rocks peeking out from different places. The rock painting is relatively new. It was something she saw in a book and decided to start with a rock she found in her yard. “I looked at it, and I could just see a lion looking up at me,” Nancy says. Soon the lion was joined by a possum, a rabbit, a cat and an elephant. “Sometimes you look at the rock and it can only be one thing. Other times, especially if it’s a round, relatively smooth rock, it is like a blank slate and I have more of a choice what I paint on it. It makes me nervous every time I start a new rock. I always worry that I won’t get it right, but I’ve learned to just dive in.” Like Weisbrodt, Wood also has an eye for seeing art in the most unusual objects. “My theory is waste not, want not,” Wood says. Together with about eight other women, she works every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon in the basement of the Ciener Botanical Garden’s visitors center, churning out one great piece of art after another. They call themselves the trolls, because their work is done down in the basement. But rather than resembling a dark cave, it’s a craft lover’s paradise. Shelves upon shelves are filled with lace, bottles, lamp shades, ribbon of all colors, bolts of material, hot glue guns, old china plates, glass door knobs and even scrap metal and wood. Wood and her crew get a lot of their supplies at thrift stores, yard sales and Goodwill. But she also practices what she calls “roadside shopping.” Just like the cliché, one person’s trash is another’s treasure, Wood can find a way to reuse almost anything. One afternoon, she and a few other women spent their time cutting leaf shapes from aluminum soda cans. The thin metal was transformed into delicate-looking decorations, perfect for adorning a picture frame or hanging outside on a tree for a little sparkle. One of my favorite creations is made of different sizes of plates layered one on top of another so that they resembled a flower, with a glass or door-

knob bolted to the center. Put it on a metal pole, anywhere from four to five feet tall, and it’s a stunning flower sculpture. Wood also finds plenty of materials in her own garden and in abandoned lots around town. One of her favorite materials, and maybe one of the most surprising, is kudzu. “It’s very versatile, and also very strong,” she says. “The young vines are thin and malleable, and the thicker the vines, the stronger they become. It really makes great wreaths.” I admittedly don’t have a crafty bone in my body. But after spending time with these passionate, creative women, I have been inspired to try my hand at garden sculpture. Maybe this summer my garden will get a few new additions, and this time it won’t be just pansies and marigolds. Rather than distracting from the flowers and plants, garden art is a way for us, as humans, to put our own mark on this world. OH

Jan Wood

Karen M. Alley is a regular contributor to O.Henry and freelance writer living in Elkin. Her work has been published in several magazines, including Carolina Gardener. You can find Weisbrodt’s art for sale on her Facebook page (www.facebook. com/WhitebreadCreationsByNancyWeisbrodt). Wood’s art and the work of the trolls can be found at Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville, cienerbotanicalgarden.org.


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92 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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April 2014

O.Henry 93

By Noah Salt The Almanac Gardener politely begs to differ with Mr. Eliot on the subject of April, the month he claimed to be the cruelest of months for daring to mix memory with desire, watering dull roots with spring rain. We frankly like the sudden downpours, fancy the smell of a waking and deeply drinking Earth; we happily note the daffodils’ last stand and the deepest hue of fading tulips, the azaleas and dogwoods in full cry, the first scent of honeysuckle in bloom. Though even modern man must render his tax to the king come April, the longer light makes life far more tolerable than the crazy mood swings of March, softened by steeplechase picnics and rusty golf rounds and garden tours for the botanically covetous; and simple evening walks about the neighborhood that make us pause, breathe deeply and finally — exhale.

The Origin of Rainbows An ancient Anglo-Celtic tradition holds that April 26 is the day that the waters of the Great Flood mentioned in the Book of Genesis began to abate, bringing Noah’s ark to rest on the slopes of Mt. Ararat. From Shepherd’s Prognostication, 1729: “When thou seest in the morning a rainbow, it betokeneth Rain, and a great Boisterous Storm. When it doth appear at three or four in the afternoon, it betokeneth Fair Weather and a Strong Dew; when at the going down of the Sun, then for the most part doth it Thunder and Rain. When it appeareth in the East, then followeth Fair Weather; or when in the North, Fair Weather and Clear.” One last bit of ancient rainbowology: “When thou seest a rainbow, bow to it, for it is God’s token between Him and Mankind. But to point at it is Very unlucky.”

Nice Pair of Avocados You’ve Got There One of our favorite garden writers, Raleigh’s Helen Yoest, has a delightful new book with a provocative twist — detailing the secret sex life and aphrodisiacal properties of ordinary herbs, flowers, fruits and veggies from your garden. In Plants With Benefits (St. Lynns Press, $17.95), Yoest leads readers on a lusty caprice through the ages and the garden. Did you know, for instance, that ginger root is not only a superb digestive aid (Confucious was never without his), but according to an 11th century Persian physician “heightens lustful thoughts,” the reason the famed medieval medical school at Salerno prescribed ginger to aging gentlemen who lost, ahem, their sexual vigor. “Eat ginger and you will love and be loved as in your youth,” Yoest says — thousands of years before Cialis had lovers sitting in separate bathtubs. “I didn’t start out to write a botanical Kama Sutra,” notes the author in her introduction. “I am a gardener. I write about designing gardens that are in harmony with nature. When I see a plant, I want to know what it does, which of my senses it will satisfy.” With a playful yet scholarly eye to botanical history, cultural lore and ancient medicine, Yoest takes us on a merry romp through her garden, finding something to love — or just improve love — from almonds to watermelon, with growing tips and terrific accompanying recipes. Who knew that our favorite spice, cinnamon, was mentioned in the Song of Solomon and used to spice up the bedchamber in ancient days? My advice: Pour yourself a nice glass of ginger beer and enjoy.

94 O.Henry

April 2014

The Green Man Cometh Hidden in the walls of many old churches and cathedrals can be found a strange figure, the mysterious face of a man surrounded by vines and leaves — it is the Green Man. Its original meaning has been lost in time, though some speculate the signature of individual stone masons depicting the mood or mindset of their creator — reflecting a vast array of emotions ranging from simple mirth to sinister warning. Some Green Men were depicted as tricksters in the leaves, others as wild creatures meant to ward off evil spirits. In medieval times, no garden wall or residence was complete without a resident Green Man, often regarded as a symbol of rebirth and the garden’s presiding spirit. April, the queen mother of rebirth months, is the ideal time to go hunting for the Green Man, who is enjoying a popular resurgence that has his foliate face turning up on everything from plant urns to garden gates. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 95

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O.Henry 97

April 2014

Lit Chit Chat

Raiders of the Lost Ark at Carolina Theater 4/




April 1–30

DOODY CALLS. Shall you compare him to a summer’s day? Or how about an ode on his freckled countenance? Strange as it may seem, Howdy Doody is the designated muse for would-be poets. All you have to do is gaze at the Howdy Doody doll on exhibition, pen a verse and enter the contest to find out if you’re the Gate City’s new child or adult poet laureate. Results will be announced May 1. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or greensborohistory.org.

April 1–6

Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3345770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

April 1–18

FINE FIGURE(S). Images of women, girls and families are the focus of twenty-five new paintings from North Carolina master figurist, illustrator and teacher, Gordon C. James. African American Atelier, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-6885 or africanamericanatelier.org.

April 2–6

VALLI BOYS. Can’t take your eyes off the stage once the curtain rises on Triad Best of Broadway Series’ Jersey Boys, the story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, complete with golden oldies such as “Oh What a Night” and “Big Girls Don’t Cry.” Performance times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or (800) 745-3000; greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com or triadbestofbroadway.com.

GO FIGAR(O). Non più andrai — no more will you flutter by the campus of UNCG Theatre once you see what its schools of Music, Dance and Theatre have created. Catch their production of The Marriage of Figaro, the political comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais set to music by Mozart — with a Downton Abbey design theme. Performance times vary. Aycock Auditorium, UNCG, Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4392 or brownpapertickets.com/event/424634.

April 1–13

April 3

• Key:

• • Art


98 O.Henry

April 2014

Performing arts

Earth, a novel about a dancer who receives music therapy

• • Film




at Ashville’s Highland Hospital, alongside its most famous patient, Zelda Fitzgerald. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or greensborohistory.org.

IN CHARACTER. 6 p.m. Join local playwright Angus MacLachlan (Junebug; Behold, Zebulon) as he reads stories and essays exploring the concept of character on canvas and stage, a companion lecture to the exhibit American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keefe to Rockwell (through May 4). Reynolda House Museum of Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Info: (888) 663-1149 or reynoldahouse.org.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poet Tony Abbott, who will read from his newest book, The Angel Dialogues. Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

LIGHTEN UP. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Catch the sounds of Paleface, a major influence on musical artist Beck and collaborator with the Avett Brothers. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

April 3–5; 10–12

• LIT CHIT CHAT. 12:15 p.m. Take a BookBreak with a sandwich and a copy of Lee Smith’s Guests on

SAYONARA. Here today and gone tomorrah. It’s your last chance to catch Bugs, Beasts and Blossoms: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Dr. Lenoir C. Wright

City Market

• • Fun


MUSIC, FOOD AND LOVE. 8 p.m. An original musical comedy, 3-XL —with lyrics by North Carolina native Lori Manette and music by GTCC drama instructor Giuseppe Ritorto. It tells the story

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April Arts Calendar

Tony Bennett to the Greensboro Coliseum 4/


of two newlywed chefs’ love of food and struggle to lose weight for a TV cooking show. Joseph S. Koury Hospitality Careers Center, GTCC Campus, 601 High Point Road, Jamestown. Tickets: (336) 887-3001 or highpointheatre.com.

April 3–26

THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT. Help a struggling artist by purchasing his or her work at the UNC-G Student Art League Exhibition. You have your choice of pieces in all kinds of media by fourteen student artists. (Reception: April 3 at 6 p.m.). Irving Park Art & Frame, 2105 West Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-6717 or irvingparkaf@aol.com.

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Scooby Doo Live! Musical Mysteries 4/



by artists Lincoln Hancock, Shaun Richards and Derek Toomes. Center for Visual Artists Gallery, Second Floor, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or greensoboroart.org.

TO YOUR HEALTH. 9 a.m. Learn tips on nutrition, fitness and green living at the 10th annual Triad Health Wellness & Green Living Show. Special Events Center, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or greensborocoliseum.com; naturaltriad.com.

brings us a two-act comedy Mountain Greenery, featuring an artist, a lawyer and a bear, oh my! Performance times vary. City Arts Studio, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or thedramacenter.com; greensboro-nc.gov.

CAKEWALK. 1 p.m. Whole Foods slices up some fun at a Cooking Together class, Cake Creations. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2928 or gcmuseum.com.

TRIO-MENDOUS. Three’s the charm with Three Way, an exhibition of recent and widely varied works

DOWN HOME. Situated somewhere between Frog Level and Smyrna, North Carolina, on mythical Highway 57, grease monkeys and diner waitresses tell stories and ham it up through pop country songs in Pump Boys and Dinettes. Performance times vary. Pyrle Theater, Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

April 7

LEPIDOPTERA LESSONS. 6:30 p.m. Which plants and flowers attract butterflies? Find out at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension’s class, ButterflyFriendly Gardens. Kathleen Clay Edwards Library, 1420 Price Park Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 375-5876 or email Pamela Marshall at pamela_marshall@ncsu.edu.

• •

LOWER REGISTERS. 7:30 p.m. Let’s hear it for the fellas! The Tarheel Men’s Chorus raise their voices for an Opus Series concert, courtesy of The Music Center. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 North Holden Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or greensboro-nc.gov. Key:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 6–May 4

April 4–6; 10–13

April 4–25

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet Alice Sink, author of On This Day in Piedmont Triad History. Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 5

OVATION. 10 a.m. Take a pass on Paas and dye Easter eggs with natural items, such as onion skins and blueberries. The folks at Historical Park will show you how. Cost is $1 per egg, with a limit of two per person. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

•COMEDY OF BEAR-ERS. As part of the 21stcentury N.C. New Play Project, Evan Guilford-Blake

April 6

• • Art


Performing arts


April 8

AUTHOR, COOK. 6:30 p.m. Meet Christy Jordan author of the cookbook, Come Home to Supper.

• • Film


• • Fun


April 2014


O.Henry 99

April Arts Calendar

Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

PAST PERFECT. 7 p.m. All it takes is a computer to become a time traveler with the launch of Teachers, Textiles & Troops: Greensboro, North Carolina, 1881–1945. The collaboration between the Gate City’s five academic centers and the Greensboro Historical Museum makes available some 175,000 digital images — photographs, manuscripts and other assorted materials — documenting Greensboro’s social and cultural development. Dr. Kevin Cherry, N.C. deputy secretary for Archives & History, Department of Cultural Resources, explains all. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or greensborohistory.org.

INDIANA WANTS YOU. 7 p.m. Thrills and chase scenes abound in Stephen Spielberg’s original 1981 homage to Saturday serial movies of the 1940s and ’50s, Raiders of the Lost Ark. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

NEWSHOUNDS. 7:30 p.m. Find out what makes 60 Minutes’ correspondents Steve Kroft and Lesley Stahl, er, tick at the last lecture of this season’s Bryan Series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or 800-745-3000; greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com or bryanseries.guilford.edu.

April 9–10

your pleasure as the Greensboro and WinstonSalem symphonies team up for the Tanger Outlets Masterworks Series, which includes a night of Richard Strauss and Prokofiev, featuring cellist Zuill Bailey and mezzo Stephanie Foley. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or 800-745-3000; greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com or greensborosymphony.org.

April 9–13

LOVE’S LABORS. UNCG Theatre presents Molière’s first farce, The Bungler, in which a young romantic gets in his own way when it comes to l’amour. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, UNCG, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3344392 or brownpapertickets.com/event/412675.

April 10

VEG OUT. 6 p.m. Learn how to show your garden veggies some love at Vegetable Care and Maintenance, a talk from the folks at the North Carolina Cooperative Extension. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 375-5876 or email Pamela Marshall at pamela_marshall@ncsu.edu.

MORE THAN SMILES. 7:30 p.m. “Bottoms Up” is topping the charts for country rocker Brantley Gilbert, who pulls into town with special guests Thomas Rhett and Eric Paslay on his Let It Ride Tour. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or (800) 745-3000;

• SYMPHONIC SYNERGY. 7:30 p.m. Double • • • • • Key:



Performing arts



• • Fun


greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com or brantleygilbert.com.

April 10–13

SINGLE-HANDED. Greensboro local David Harrell’s show, A Little Potato and Hard to Peel, looks at navigating life’s challenges — playing football, becoming an actor — with only one hand. Performance times vary. Paper Lantern Theatre Company, Upstage Cabaret, Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org

April 11

TIME OUT. 5:30 p.m. (members); 6:30 p.m. (non-members). Calling all moms and dads! Don’t worry about a babysitter; just reserve a spot for Junior at ArtQuest, which will find a safe and creative way to occupy him or her, while you admire fine art at Parents Night Out. Cost is $10 per child. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhill.org.

FÊTE-À-TÊTE. 7 p.m. Belly up to the bar, nibble on • h’ors d’oeuvres, dance to Brice Street Band, and become an auction bidder for a beach vacation rental, sports memorabilia, jewelry and fine art at the Mental Health Association of Greensboro’s Healthy Living Gala. The Regency Room, 203 Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-1402 or mhag.org.

YO! 7 p.m. Big Daddy Kane, Camp Lo, Lords of the Underground, and Kwamé and Special Ed fill the bill for Pioneers of Hip Hop, rescheduled from March 7 (tickets



100 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 101



Artfully crafted character with thoughtful comfort, function and scale.

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April Arts Calendar for that original date will be honored). A portion of the concert’s proceeds benefit the nonprofit N.C. Court Kings, a local youth sports organization. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000; ticketmaster.com or nccourtkingsnc.org.

PIPES AND PEDALS. 7:30 p.m. Concert organist Stephen Hamilton lays down a Bach fugue like no other. Hear his virtuosity, thanks to Music for a Great Space. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 North Holden Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com; musicforagreatspace.org.

April 11–12

LONG LIVE THE KING. 8 p.m. The king of pop, that is. Michael Jackson the Immortal World Tour mixes MJ’s beloved songs with the performance art of Cirque du Soleil. Run don’t moonwalk to buy tickets now. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or (800) 745-3000 or greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com; cirquedusoleil.com.

April 11–June 22

THE ODD COUPLE. At first glance, their styles appear to be polar opposites, but on closer inspection, the hauntingly stark urban world of Noé Katz and the lush landscapes of Jon Beerman balance one another. Check out the works of both N.C. painters at Two Artists/ One Space. (Closed April 18). Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhill.org.

April 12

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. 9 a.m. Bring that antique lamp or clock to Evaluation Extravaganza— Tra$h or Trea$ure, and let an expert appraise your goods. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

IN THE WINGS. 2:05 p.m. Livestock Players and Greensboro Playwrights Forum present the Pegasus Project 2014, a readers’ theater performance consisting of ten-page plays written by high school students. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or thedramacenter. com; greensboro-nc.gov.

Charlie Chaplin at the Carolina Theater 4/

TRIBES AND TRICORNS. 7:30 p.m. The Greensboro Historical museum co-hosts John Maass, author of The French and Indian War in North Carolina: Spreading the Flames of Conflict. The author will explain how the conflict led to N.C.’s role in the Revolutionary War. Reservations requested. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, 2332 New Garden Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-1776 or nps.gov/guco; greensborohistory.org.

WRITE-HEARTED. 8 a.m. Learn about living in pen-ury at the North Carolina Writers’ Network Spring Conference, which offers fiction and nonfiction workshops, advice on pitching, faculty readings and more. MHRA Building, UNCG, Greensboro. To register: (336) 293-8844 or ncwriters.org.


• • Art


Performing arts

Mother’s Day Champagne Ch Brunch

Featuring NY Times Bestselling Author

April 13


PLANET PARTY 1 p.m. Celebrate Earth Day with nature exhibits, hayrides, eco-art, gardening, face-painting, solar displays and more. Kathleen Clay Edwards Library, 1420 Price Park Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2923 or email Melanie.Buckingham@ greensboro-nc.gov.

KIDDING AROUND. 3 p.m. Charlie Chaplin’s 1921 classic, The Kid, costarring Jackie Coogan, gets a live soundtrack from the Greensboro Symphony Youth Orchestra. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

• • • • • Like a retirement plan, it really pays to start early. Film





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The Co2 Factional Laser treatment lays down micro-columns of energy allowing surrounding skin to stay untreated. This enables the treated area to heal faster. Mention this ad for special pricing! This is a limited time offer so call today for a consultion and make your appointment! Call Amy Rumley at (336) 707-1933

Benefiting Thursday, May 15th, 11am - 12:30pm Starmount Forest Country Club, Greensboro Sponsorships and Reservations available at www.earlier.org OR 336.286.6620 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April 2014

O.Henry 103

Dance Your Summer Away at

The School of Greensboro Ballet


Summer Fun

FULL DAY SUMMER PROGRAM Quenching the thirst…

Enrichment with academics

June 16th—August 1st


Choose from one of our many offerings. Camps for 3-6 year olds include: Flowers and Fairies • Princess Nutcracker • Once Upon A Time

...And for older ages: BOYS ONLY Camp • Dancers & Dolls Camp Young Dancer’s Workshop

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Open Classes for experienced dancers ages 13 and up and an exciting summer intensive offering.




delivered to your home! Call 336-617-0900 Or

mail payment to P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388

$45 in-state • $55 out-of-state 104 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April Arts Calendar • PLAN FOR PLANTINGS. If you like your bedding plants — veggies, annuals and perenni-

als — to be locally sourced, come to the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market for the Go Green! Plant Sale. And while you’re there, check out the permaculture exhibit. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, (336) 373-2402 or GSOFarmersMarket.org.

April 15–June 22

PRINTS OF A FELLOW. Or rather, a master. See the genius of Charlotte native and a giant of 20th-century art at Select Collection/ Prints of Romare Bearden. The exhibition features more than forty of Bearden’s works, and eighty-seven available for sale. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

April 15

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet novelist Ann B. Ross, author of Miss Julia’s Marvelous Makeover. Barnes & Noble, Friendly Center, 3102 Northline Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-4200 or store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2795.

• • • •• • • • Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

April 16

April 18

TECH TALK. 4 p.m. A panel discusses issues that arise when using digital sources, specifically the online community collaboration, Teachers, Textiles & Troops: Greensboro, North Carolina, 1881–1945. Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library, UNCG, 320 College Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5304 or library.uncg.edu, or contact Barry Miller at barry_ miller@uncg.edu.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet Lee Zacharias (At Random) and Michael Gaspeny (Vocation). Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 17

Festival. Old Salem Museum & Gardens, 900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 721-7300 or oldsalem.org.

IT’S BACK. C’mon. You know the drill by now. Every third Thursday, starting at 6 p.m., it’s to market, to market, jiggety-jig — City Market, in fact. With fresh food, artisanal goods, local music, a kids-friendly area and this month — HOMEBREW! — at the Railyard. Info: gsomarket.com.

OREGANO A-GO-GO. 6:30 p.m. How do you cultivate beautiful basil and perfect parsley? The North Carolina Cooperative Extension will tell you how at Easy-to-Grow Culinary Herbs. Bur-Mil Wildlife Education Center, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 375-5876 or email Pamela Marshall at pamela_marshall@ncsu.edu.

PHILLY HARMONIC. 10 p.m. (Doors open at 8 p.m.) Rap, reggae and Hip-Hop come together in a distinctive sound from Philadelphia-based quartet The Movement. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

April 19

HOP TO IT! 9:30 a.m. Egg hunts, egg painting • and egg dying are just a few of the activities at the Easter

April 21

MOUNTAIN MELODRAMA. 4 p.m. Passion, power, jealousy — and attempted murder are the themes that run through western North Carolina novelist Ron Rash’s Southern gothic opus, Serena. Add your two cents’ worth in a book discussion led by UNCG English professor, Dr. Hephzibah Roskelly. Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library, UNCG, 320 College Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5304 or library.uncg.edu, or contact Barry Miller at barry_miller@uncg.edu.

April 23–27

HEDDA STRONG. Hearts full of passion, jealousy and hate are the dominant themes of Henrik Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, a UNCG Theatre production that goes

Summer F

Summer Fun

Make This Yours NC Teaching Studio

Lake Jeanette Recreation Association is a Private Swim and Tennis Club open only to members and their guests.

Summer Classes in Cooking and Sewing

Come Join Us Today!

Call 601.3395

for Kids 9 and up (and Adult “Kids”, too!)

Check out the schedule at www.makethisyoursnc.com

Lakeside Facility • 5040 Bass Chapel Road • 8 Har-Tru Soft Courts with Subsurface Irrigation and State of the Art Lighting • 4 Lighted all season Tennis Courts • Nationally Ranked and Recognized USPTA Tennis Pros • Tennis Programs and Social Events for all levels of play and ages • Two 6 Lane Pools with Baby Pools, Water Slides and Diving Well

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Fun and Competitive Swim Team Poolside Social Events for all ages Group and Private Swim Lessons Full Service Grill and Lakeside Dining Fitness Programs for Men and Women including Free water Aerobics • Basketball court and fenced playground area • Large Rental space for Parties and Events

Or Call

336-574-0714 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Check Out Class Times and more at www.ljclub.com April 2014

O.Henry 105

At Old North State Trust, our primary commitment is to provide personal service tailored to the unique requirements of each individual client, regardless of account size. Our passion for service is our highest mission. We continually strive to exceed expectations and assist clients in reaching their financial goals.

Vice President

HERB-ANITY. 7 a.m. Explore what’s cookin’ — or rather what to cook with — at the state’s largest annual sale of herbs, courtesy of the North Carolina Unit of the American Herb Society. Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road, Greensboro. Info: ncherbsociety.org.

Trust and Estate Administration

Investment Management

Financial Planning

Elder Care Planning

Record-keeping Services for Non-profits

April 24

OLD NORTH STATE TRUST, LLC 125 S. Elm St., Ste 100 Greensboro, NC 27401 336-272-9944

Jan Metcalf Sr. Trust Officer

out with a bang instead of a whimper. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, UNCG, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4392 or brownpapertickets. com/event/412683.

April 24

Old North State Trust, LLC provides:

Susan Beard

April Arts Calendar

MOLTO BENE(TT). 7:30 p.m. What’s the definition of a good life? How about a career spanning six decades that includes seventeen Grammy awards and no less than twenty-four songs in the Top 40? Or better yet, a concert by the incomparable Tony Bennett, with special guest Antonia Bennett. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or (80) 745-3000; greensborocoliseum.com; ticketmaster.com.

April 24


So Many Reasons to love Salem Academy

JUMP! 8:30 p.m. Who wouldn’t be so excited to see the trio that brought us “Neutron Dance” and “He’s So Shy” and “Slow Hand,” among other hits of the 1970s and ’80s? Get your groove on with the Pointer Sisters. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. (Tickets for cocktail party and dinner packages are also available).

April 26

GREENBACKS FOR GREENERY 10 a.m. Buy some plants and enjoy the garden, food and music at the Second-Ever IncrEDIBLE Plant Sale, which benefits education and programming. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2928 or gcmuseum.com.

IRONMAN II 10 a.m. A man, an anvil, some hammer and tongs. Watch the blacksmithing demonstration at Historical Park. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

THE CONVERSATION OF ART. 11:30 a.m.; 1:30 p.m. A panel discussion of experts on all things Romare Bearden will examine the artist’s experimentation and improvisation in his prints on view at Select Collection/Prints of Romare Bearden. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

7:1 student to faculty ratio AP STEM scores that far surpass national and state trends 100% college acceptance 242 years of experience helping families afford a world class education

There are so many reasons to consider the Southeast’s premier boarding and day school for girls, grades 9-12, and why Salem Academy offers a clear advantage in preparing girls for success.

Discover your own reasons! Spring Visit date: April 27-28

106 O.Henry

April 2014

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 2 p.m. Meet Lucy Daniels, author of Walking With Moonshine: My Life in Stories. Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Winston-Salem, North Carolina

salemacademy.com 1-877-407-2536

CUT A RUG. 7:30. Hey, all you big bruisers and cute packages: Slap some waders on your stilts and get ready to jump, jive and jitterbug to live music, courtesy of the Piedmont Swing Dance Society. New to the moves? Then go for a free lesson included in admission. Greensboro Shrine Club, 5010 High Point

• • • •• • • • Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

The Art & Soul of Greensboro




BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music, movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com

CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Y’all come for Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Tuck into Chef Jay’s signature fried chicken and gravy, select beverage specials, including buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it, and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring; Molly McGinn; Martha Bassett and friends— at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm.


April 26–27

HOMECOMING. Charlotte-based artist and Greensboro native Angela Nesbit returns to her roots for “A Weekend With Angela Nesbit,” a highlight to an exhibition of her work on view through May 14. Come for a reception — or register for a lunch-andlearn demonstration and daylong workshop on painting still lifes. Times vary. Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 708 State Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or tylerwhitegallerygallery.com.

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro. com/live_music.htm.


• • Art

OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.

Fridays & Saturdays


Road, Greensboro. (336) 508-9998 or piedmontswingdance.org.

JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.


Performing arts

NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.


IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www.ibcomedy.com.

To add an event, email us at ohenrymagcalendar@ gmail.com by the first of the month prior to the event.

• • Film


• • Fun



CHILD’S PLAY(S). 2:05 p.m. Love of the theater can’t start too soon. Greensboro Children’s Theatre brings us the Short Tales for Children #15, a series of familiar tales for and by youngsters, directed by emerging theater educators. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or thedramacenter.com; greensboro-nc.gov.

April 27

JINKIES! 2 p.m. Ruh-roh! McGruff, the Crime Dog has serious competition as everybody’s favorite canine sleuth returns with meddling kids Daphne, Fred, Velma and Shaggy. Yup, it’s the Scooby-Doo Live! Musical Mysteries inspired by the ever-popular cartoon; kick back with some Scooby Snacks and join the gang as they investigate a haunted theater. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7474 or (800) 745-3000; greensborocoliseum.com; scoobydoolive.com; ticketmaster.com.

April 30

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet novelist Jo Maeder, author of Opposites Attack and curator of Mom’s doll museum. Scuppernong Books, 308 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 107

Join us at Irving Park Art & Frame on Thursday, April 3, 6-9pm for the Opening Reception. Thursday, April 3rd through Friday, April 25th

The June Porter Johnson Series for the Visual and Performing Arts

AlIsON lINdlEy

Arts & Culture

Event is free and open to public with plenty of free parking and handicap access

This show will showcase 14 UNCG art students and their most recent works of varying mediums. Works will be available for purchase with proceeds going to the individual student.

Monday-Friday | 9:30 - 5:30 • Saturday | 10 - 4

2105-A W. Cornwallis Drive Greensboro, NC


irvingparkartandframe.com (336) 274-6717

Saturday, April 26, 8:00 pm Monday, April 28, 7:30 pm A concert that trancends culture, time and genre and celebrates the diverse

Temple Emanuel - Greene St 713 N Greene St, Greensboro

Native American Artist Jaune Quick-To-See Smith

Artist and Arts Worker Understanding public art and social practice through the creativity, experiences, and humor, of an internationally acclaimed painter and printmaker.


influences of Jewish literary, cultural $20 General Admission; $18 Seniors; and religious tradition on choral music $5 Students; Group Discounts Available

(336) 333-2220 OR www.belcantocompany.com Major funding for this concert provided by ArtsGreensboro and the North Carolina Arts Council.


Spring-Summer Session 1 Begins the Week of April 27 Adult 8-Week Classes Youth 6-Week Classes Workshops & Events • Pottery • Drawing & Painting • Sculpture & more!

• Pottery • Drawing & Painting • Summer Art Camps

• Summer Camp Fair, Apr. 4, 5:30-7:30 • Ben’s Bells Workshop, Apr. 5, 1:30-5:30 • Spring Student Art Show, May 1-3

For a schedule of classes and to register, visit www.artalliancegso.org Greensboro Cultural Center | 200 N Davie Street | Greensboro, NC 27401 336-373-2725 | artalliancegso@gmail.com Art Alliance is co-sponsored by City Arts

Artist and Arts Worker

Exhibition Dates

Thursday April 10 — 7:30 p.m. Hanes Auditoridum

April 4—28 The Galleries at the Elberson Fine Arts Center

Hanes Auditorium | Elberson Fine Arts Center | Free Admission 500 East Salem Avenue, Winston-Salem, North Carolina Gallery Hours: 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m., Mon.-Fri. | 1-5 p.m., Sat. and Sun.

salem.edu/culturalevents • 336-917-5493 108 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


UNCG Theatre presents


Arts & Culture

April 23 - 27, 2014


Yvonne Kimbrough A heroine. A victim. A villain. Hedda Gabler is all of these and more – a woman filled with a restless passion for life that cannot be satisfied by her marriage or her perfect home

by Henrik Ibsen Directed by Dani Keil






336-644-8722 www.yvonnekimbrough.com | ykimbroughart@bellsouth.net

Brown Bldg Theatre, UNCG 336-334-4392 or brownpapertickets.com for tickets April 23 & 24 at 7:30 pm; April 25 & 26 at 8 pm; April 27 2:00 pm Theatre

oil painters of america | portrait society of america

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 109

American Moderns 1910–1960 Arts & Culture

FROM O’KEEFFE TO ROCKWELL February 7-May 4, 2014 R E Y NOL DA HOU SE M U SEUM of AM ERICAN ART 2250 Reynolda Road | 336.758.5150 | reynoldahouse.org

American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell has been organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Reynolda House is grateful for local support of the exhibition by major sponsors First Tennessee Bank and Wake Forest University. Image: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986). 2 Yellow Leaves (Yellow Leaves), 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 1/8 in. (101.6 x 76.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 87.136.6. Reynolda House is supported by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County.

Y’all come down for a love song to family, friends and fried chicken.

Book, Lyrics and Music by John Foley, Mark Hardwick, Debra Monk, Cass Morgan, John Schimmell and Jim Wann



110 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Paintings B y

C.P. Logan



Arts & Culture

So Excited! pointer the

Support your Carolina Theatre by attending our third annual

Benefit Gala featuring The Pointer Sisters! Choose from an elegant pre-show dinner or high-energy cocktail party, or just attend the concert.

thursday, april 24, 2014 (336) 333-2605 www.carolinatheatre.com The Carolina Theatre receives major support from ArtsGreensboro.

NYC Lights 24x30 original oil

Original Oils, COmmissiOns, WOrkshOps, studiO Classes, Online Classes, painting parties



Saturday May , 17 2014 7pm-11pm Attire: Black Tie & Blue Jeans & Everything in Between TICKETS ON SALE NOW at www.gcmuseum.com Join us as a sponsor! Contact Leigh Satalino: lsatalino@gcmuseum.com or 336.574.2898. x313

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 111


You might

need a bigger closet! TM

Saturday & Sunday April 26-27 & May 3-4 1 - 5 pm Admission is FREE

Utilize the smart phone app to map your tour! Parade of Homes magazines are available at area Harris Teeter and Lowe’s Home Improvement stores.

Sponsored by:

1951 Battleground Ave • Greensboro (336) 540-1951 • Mon - Fri 10-6 • Sat 10-5

www.monkeesofirvingpark.com 112 O.Henry

April 2014

GreensboroBuilders.org The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem Cinemania So many movies, so little time. But rest assured, seeing any of the 130-plus films lighting up screens at this year’s RiverRun International Film Festival will be time well-spent. “We do a survey every year and get informal feedback, and use that to guide our decisions,” says Executive Director Andrew Rodgers, “but it’s important for us to challenge our audience by showing things to folks that they might not otherwise be exposed to.” The result is a wonderful balance of crowd-pleasers, such as The Wizard of Oz, The Color Purple and the animated feature Up (which you can attend with your dog in tow), plus French comedies — this year’s highlights include Le Chef and Bicycling with Molière — and even edgier fare. As in, documentaries covering everything from convicted gangster Whitey Bulger to the Jayson Blair plagiarism scandal that sent shockwaves through The New York Times. Speaking of documentaries, RiverRun recently joined the elite company of some two dozen qualifying festivals for the Oscars in the Documentary Short Subject award category. “It’s a very big deal,” observes Rodgers, explaining that the winner of RiverRun’s own documentary short jury prize will be considered for an Academy Award. It’s a way for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to winnow down the thousands of submissions. And for RiverRun, it means a heightened profile. Sponsors and private donors have taken note, and, says Rodgers, “Next year, I anticipate a bump in the number of films” In the meantime, the festival will unabashedly wear its heart on its sleeve for all things cinema. This year’s spotlight theme addresses media restoration and preservation. “We’ve talked about doing this for a while, particularly with UNCSA’s archive in our own backyard,” Rodgers says. One of the films from the university’s Moving Image Archives, Santa Fe Satan (a.k.a. Catch My Soul), a rock-opera version of Othello, will appear alongside Emperor Jones from the Library of Congress, This Happy Breed, from British Film Institute, and Lonesome, from the George Eastman House, to name a few. “We talked with archives from around the world and asked them to pick something representative, and someone to talk about it,” Rodgers explains. “It’s a fun, interesting thing for us to do and celebrates the culture of film.” And that goes for local film culture, too. “We want to showcase North Carolina filmmaking wherever possible,” Andrews notes, citing Joe, a feature by UNCSA alum David Gordon Green as a standout. As in years past, RiverRun will present NC Shorts (look for O.Henry contributor Jo Maeder in the documentary short The Doll Dilemma); it will also host a panel discussion about the potential expiration of the state’s tax incentive for film production. In the end, RiverRun will achieve what it always has — renewing audiences’ love for the movies and inspiring them to explore unfamiliar territory. At a past screening of a Romanian drama, Rodgers stood in the back of the theater smiling. “It was sold out,” he recalls. “I thought, ‘If we can sell out a Romanian drama on a Tuesday, we’ve got it.’” RiverRun International Film Festival will take place April 4–13 in several venues throughout Winston-Salem. For more info visit 2014. riverrunfilm.com. OH — Nancy Oakley The Art & Soul of Greensboro

May 3-4, 2014 • Dennis A. Wicker Civic Center

Prepare Yourself. Five Senses Simply Won’t Be Enough.

The Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce presents the Sanford Arts and Vine Festival featuring 80-plus artists, more than a dozen wineries and breweries, and live music, all coming together in Sanford for a weekend! The Sanford Arts and Vine festival benefits Art Angels for Budding Artists’ Scholarships with each admission ticket! Art Angels for Budding Artists is an outreach program of the Sanford Brush and Palette Club and provides art materials and support through various art outlets for up-and-coming artists in our area. For more information, visit SanfordArtsAndVine.com or call the Sanford Area Chamber of Commerce at (919) 775-7341.

Buy your tickets at SanfordArtsAndVine.com! @ArtsandVine


April 2014

O.Henry 113



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Envision® is a brokerage service provided by Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Envision is a registered trademark of Wells Fargo & Company and used under license. All rights reserved.

Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC 3623 N. Elm Street, Suite 100A Greensboro, NC 27455 336-545-7100 • 1-800-545-1322 324 W. Wendover Avenue, Suite 301 Greensboro, NC 27408 336-272-0523 • 1-800-443-7128 Investment and Insurance Products: NOT FDIC Insured NO Bank Guarantee MAY Lose Value *Envision plan holder results are based on a survey conducted online by Harris Interactive from September to October 2012 among 606 investors with financial advisor relationships. **The affluent Americans results are based on a national (U.S.) telephone survey conducted (the Wells Fargo Retirement Study) between July and September 4, 2012 among 266 “affluent” Americans, age 25 – 75 with household investable assets of $250,000 or more. Not representative of the experience of other clients. © 2013 Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC. Member SIPC. All rights reserved. 0413-00206 A1527 [88511-v3] (1180514_355692)

114 O.Henry

April 2014

M A G A Z I N E Find it at these High Point Locations:

• Harris Teeter, 265 Eastchester Dr. • Harris Teeter, 1589 Skeet Club Rd. • J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 N. Main St. • Shores Fine Dry Cleaning, 804 Westchester Dr. • Tex & Shirley’s, 4005 Precision Way • Theodore Alexander Outlet, 416 S. Elm St. • Vintage Thrift and Antiques, 1100 N. Main St.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Worth the Drive to High Point Saw and be Seen

Renew your body and soul Where Nuturing Really Makes A


Chanel - Clarins - Skinceuticals - Orlane - Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare - MD Formulations - Bare Minerals - Ahava Archipeligo - The Thymes - Tyler Candles - Eric Javits Hobo - Baudelaire - Simon Sebbag

About Face Cosmetics & Day Spa 1107 N. Main Street, High Point

336.889.0400 aboutfacedayspa.com

Our Weddings Are…

Stephen Thrift Photography

We have done our time, Old Man Winter. Now step aside, and let us have our well-deserved spring. Give us sunshine and warmth. Let us plunge our fingers into rich, dark soil. Let our mouths be filled with warm, sun-ripened tomatoes. We long for sweet tea, lush summer berries and crisp veggies just pulled from the earth. Even before the first day of spring, the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market on Sandy Ridge Road in Colfax will be bursting with flowers, vegetables and events to get you thinking about gardening, homecooking and just gettin’ out of the house. And you don’t have to wait until June to get your first taste of summer. Grab a free tomato sandwich at the Greenhouse Vegetable Day, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., April 25. While you’re there, find out what else enterprising local vendors have weeks before they would normally be available. Gather your herbs at the annual Herbal Thyme Herb Guild’s Herb Festival, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., April 26; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., April 27. While there will be no shortage of basil, oregano and mint, but why not look for something new and exotic. Edible flowers to add beauty to your summer dishes. Ornamental herbs that draw butterflies. Medicinal herbs such as valerian and echinacea. There are even herbs used to dye clothing. The festival, which draws the state’s top herb growers, includes educational sessions, tastings and demonstrations. Just looking for something fun to do with the family? Watch the (wood) chips fly at the second annual Carving for the Cure event, May 1–3. Twelve chainsaw artists from across the country will showcase their carving skills that weekend through multiple challenges: testing their ability to create sculptures in under an hour, working as a team and constructing pieces for event sponsors. The artists will produce at least five sculptures, including a masterpiece, or signature sculpture. On the final day, spectators can purchase and vote for their favorite sculptures in a number of categories, including an overall winner. Two women are in this year’s lineup, including one who is just 18. The event last year raised nearly $6,000 for the Northwest North Carolina chapter of the Susan G. Komen Foundation for the Cure, which is the nation’s leading breast cancer advocacy organization. It also drew about 30,000 visitors — the largest turnout for an event, aside from the Taste Carolina Wine Festival, says Misty Green, office manager of the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market. This year’s event also includes games for spectators of all ages and live music. “If you like the smell of chipped wood and the smell and sound of chainsaws, it’s pretty exciting when you get a bunch of carvers around that make art out of a tree stump,” Green says. “It’s neat to see how they can transform that into something.” And maybe, just maybe — by the time the carvers have packed up their chainsaws, we will have forgotten all about those frosty 19-degree mornings. OH — Tina Firesheets

Like us on Facebook! 336.883.6249 | 1313 N. Main Street High Point | sami@justpriceless.net | www.justpriceless.net The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

O.Henry 115


Spreading the News "Where your imagination takes root"

newgarden.com (336) 665-0291

Three new flights to LaGuardia on American Airlines every day US Airways Dividend Miles members earn miles and elite status on AA flights. Service begins April 1, 2014. Three departures each day except Saturday with one departure.

Visit the MuseuM shop or shop online @ shop.Greensborohistory.orG

history in eVery purchase!

FREE Admission • Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday from 2 - 5 pm www.GreensboroHistory.org • 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro • 336-373-2043 116 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Robin House, Chris Santana

Greensboro Montessori School’s Frank Fest Celebrating the legacy of Frank Brainard O.Henry Hotel Saturday, March 1, 2013

Frank Brainard, Margaret Borrego

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Rick & Mariah Stafford, Richard Stafford, Claudia & Bill Deaton

Paul Weiss, Angie Cook, Jo Hiebert

Linda Baggish, Denise Waller, Dwight Carr & Tracy Sanders Carr

Brent & Michaux Moore Nancy Quaintance, Susan Kroll-Smith

Cristina & Murali Ramaswamy

Daniele & Maria Nocera Catherine Dunham, Sylvester Taylor, Jeff Dunham

Jessica Smith, Joan Tao, Tammy Tao, Kaylan Szafranski

Ralph Davison, Martin Hunt, Dennis Quaintance

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

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Weekday School Program:

Area Schools

September - May Register NOW for Fall 2014

Summer Days Program: May 27 - June 13 Call for details


Visit   @ www.ohenrymag.com




Fashioning Your Face for Excellence

Make-up & up-do stylist.... that comes to you!



Now accepting applications for limited spots in grades 5-8 for fall 2014. Please call to inquire.

5400 Old Lake Jeannette Rd. www.canterburygso.org 336.288.2007

Prepare to be your best. 118 O.Henry

April 2014

•Special Occasions

Amber Marlowe 336-772-4405


China, Crystal & Silver Old & New

Canterbury School is Greensboro’s only PreK-8 Episcopal day school and combines a rigorous program with a full host of athletic and extracurricular activities. Financial assistance and an extended day program are available.

•Professional head shots

Pine Straw Mar 2014 final.indd 2

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

2/5/14 11:38 AM


Bernice Curry, Thelma King

Lifted Voices: Bringing African American History Makers to Life Greensboro Historical Museum Saturday, February 8, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Sierra Holland, Lyric Matthews, Keshaun Moyd, Aleesia Everette, Davari Moyd, Cherea Tumpkin, Mikhayah Johnson, Xavier Williams, Katonna Tate, Tahliah Free

Tim Pastoor, Linda & Jim Phillips Althea, Sedrick & Eddie Moore

Judy & Addison Midero, Maxwell & Retha Fisher Heather, Morgan, Rachel & Dean Odendahl

Barbara Harris Ernest Hooker

George, Melissa & Mary Kretchum

Sarah Bailey, James Elliott, Stephanie Bailey, Cassidy Street Darren Diku McGill, Dr. Inayat Munawar,Tamran Inaya, Farhat Ara, Samina Inayat

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sharice & Victoria Adams

Deborah Dillworth

April 2014

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Annette Marra, Samantha Huff

McConnell Golf Chef’s Unplugged Wish Gala Benefiting Make-A-Wish Sedgefield Country Club Saturday, January 25, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jennifer Costas, Morgan & Bill Bullock, Chris Costas Maureen & Al Musci

Alexis & Chris Lackey

Scott & Amy Ochs

Allison Berry, Ben Theidick, Lauren Berry Becky Thomas, Tim & Connie Hansen

Steve Hooks, Al Musci, Jack Gibson, John Rothkopf, Ward Lambeth, Tim Hansen, Ken Ridings

Will & Susan Gregory, Caren & Rob Standen

Grey & Cheryl Moody, Patricia Huff, Ron Merritt

Steve & Nancy Borjes

Leslie Smith, Steve Roberson, Kent Grumble, Shirley Bailey

120 O.Henry

April 2014

Maureen Musci, Vickie Lambeth, Connie Hansen, Dena Gibson, Pam Rothkopf

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Spring! The Perfect Time For A New Nest...

Old Irving Park

206 Sunset Drive

Stately & elegant classic home -- Golf course lot (14th tee of Greensboro Country Club) No expense spared in renovation and updating with attention to detail. Price upon request.

Old Irving Park

New Irving Park

3803 Round Hill

This updated 2 story plus lower level home is meant for family living & entertaining. Covered porch, lower level rec room, garage and fenced back yard with gardens and house generator. Price upon request.

Ascot Point

Chesnutt - Tisdale Team

101 Wentworth

Home with a view perched on a hill overlooking the park! Charming home in Irving Park offers so much for family and entertaining! Updated kitchen, new roof, freshly painted inside, hardwoods & tile accent most of this home. Lovely terraced back yard for gardening and relaxation. Price upon request.

Four New Bern Square

Desirable floor plan in Ascot Point. This meticulously maintained home with master bedroom on main offers high ceilings, hardwood & tile floors on main level. 2 spacious bedrooms, closet storage and bath upstairs. 2-car garage, Charleston patio and much more! Price upon request.

Irving Park

Clothing u Lingerie Jewelry u Bath & Body Tabletop u Baby Home Accessories 1826 Pembroke Road, Greensboro, NC 336-274-3307 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) Monday thru Friday 10:00–5:00 Saturday 10:00–4:00

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Xan Tisdale Kay Chesnutt 336-601-2337336-202-9687

Xan.Tisdale@bhhsyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@bhhsyostandlittle.com ©2014 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

Irving Park

The Lollipop Shop

Beautiful Children’s Clothing & Gifts Irving Park Plaza 1738 Battleground Ave., Greensboro, NC 336-273-3566 • Mon - Fri 10-5 pm & Sat 10-4 pm

Our wonderful shop is for sale. Please call if interested April 2014

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Irving Park

april special

$5 off manicure & pedicure combo


For new clients only

SUMMERHOUSE Lori O’Donnell Owner/Stylist

Kristi Doganavsargil Owner/Stylist

• blow-outs • color • cuts • new styles • • Keratin smoothing treatments •

1722 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro Open Weekdays 10am- 5pm; Sat 11am - 4pm 336.275.9655 • SummerhouseStore.com

• manicures • pedicures •

Shannon Bishara Stylist

Katie Clark Stylist

April Haumann Nail Technician

Amy Sellers-Kane Stylist

Lori Ring Stylist

Emily Miller Stylist

336.285.9379 • Irving Park Plaza • 1736 Battleground Ave. Greensboro, NC 27408

www.cheveuxgreensboro.com Gift certificates available

122 O.Henry

April 2014

Custom Monogramming Available on In-Store Items 1724 Battleground Avenue, Suite 104 • Greensboro, NC 27408 336.275.1555


The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Tony & Courtney Blackmon

Have A Heart for the Guilford County Animal Shelter Sedgefield Country Club Wednesday, February 19, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jeff & Mary Brooke Guernier

Kim Watts, Marilyn Green, Rosanne Martin, Steve Clute Sylvia & Andrew Mayon

Doug Henderson, Fred Lind, Lane Schiffman

Diane Collett, Betty Ducker John & Robin Davis

Terry Christian, Herita Jones Eric Javier Valarde, Ed Matthews, Joey Hitzig

Penny Dinddy, Donna Reed

Candice Williams, Brandon Williams, Dana King

Candy & Jerry Wright, Myra Hines, Sandra Kaye, Anthony Leviner, Alley Shelton, Paula McGarrell, Jan Greene, Peggy Ferebe, Joy Leviner, Leigh Anne Hunt

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2014

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Mountain Winery Weekend


GroveWinery.com 7360 Brooks Bridge Road Guilford County NC 27249 336.584.4060

4/13 4/18 4/19 5/3

Wine and More!

2014 Grove Wine & Song Series There is something for everyone with three big festivals and more than a dozen total concerts on tap

UpCOmiNG EVENTS NC Food Rodeo Wine & Song w/The Ruckus Upper Haw River paddle Gears & Cheers Bike Ride

Visit Grove website for more information

Grove’s Tasting Room Open Daily from Noon until 6pm

April 26-27, 2014 Horseback Riding in the Vineyard • Guided Hikes in the Blue Ridge Canoeing or Kayaking the Little River • Mountain Biking for the Beginner or the Expert • Skeet Shooting • Wine Receptions • Wild

Meet the Girls for Wine and Tapas at

Game Menu • Overnight Weekend Packages • Spring Wine Sale

Join us and try our New Tapas Menu and pair it with our New 90+ Point Wine Selection Information at THEDOGS.COM or 540.593.2865 Milepost 171.5 Blue Ridge Parkway • Floyd, Virginia

Spring Wine Sale Begins April 18th

Create Memories


336-412-0011 • 1603 D Battleground Ave., Greensboro, NC

(Just north of downtown in the Starbucks shopping center)

Visit us online at riojawinebar.com for events and weekly specials

Wine Bar & Wine Shop

Live Music with Joey Barnes, Thursdays 6-8 Located just down the road from the Greensboro Coliseum Open Tuesday thru Saturday 4:00 pm-until 901 South Chapman Street • Greensboro, NC 27403 • 336-676-5602 • www.tastingroomgso.com



364 Means Creek Road Mayodan, NC 27027

336.548.WINE (9463)

www.autumncreekvineyards.com Vineyards • Tasting Room • Getaway Cabins • Retreats Special Events • Weddings • Corporate Outings

This is not your typical stop n’ go mart

Over 400 American Crafted Artisan Made Beers Selections from Maine to California and everywhere in between. Including NC, as well as International brands from England, Germany & Belgium Cider & Gluten free beer offerings A wide variety at various price points and the coldest beer in town! Over 400 Wines! And...if we don’t offer it, special requests are welcomed!

Groceries • Soda • Cigarettes • Candy 6:30am-12pm 7 days a week

906 Cridland Road Greensboro • 336.274.8499 Next to the Iron Hen Cafe and behind Dunkin Donut off Wendover Avenue

124 O.Henry

April 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

League of Presidents

Pick up your copy of

at Greensboro & High Point Harris Teeter stores, Whole Foods Market (3202 West Friendly Avenue) and Earth Fare (2965 Battleground Avenue) Also from our blue boxes at the following distribution points:

Cultural Arts Cent. 200 N. Davie St.

Junior League Bargain Box Friendly & Elm

Natty Greene’s 345 S. Elm St.

Across from the Carolina Theatre 315 S. Greene St.

Triad Stage

232 S. Elm St.

Across from Civil Rights Museum 134 S. Elm St.

Smith Street Diner

438 Battleground Ave.

Corner of Elm & Bellemeade UPS/FED EX 102 N. Elm St.

Old Town Draught House 1205 Spring Garden St.

Fish Bones

2119 Walker Ave.

On Tuesday, February 18, the Junior League of Greensboro hosted a luncheon to honor all the past presidents over the organization’s eighty-five year history. Twenty-nine of them posed for this historic photo. Founded in 1926 and recognized as a Junior League in 1928, Greensboro’s chapter is “committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women and improving the community through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.” www.juniorleagueofgreensboro.org. OH

Row 5:

Phyllis Lancaster, Boo Stauffer, Daniela Helms, Emily Faucher, Melinda Wood

NC Farmers Market (Colfax) Lox Stock & Bagel 2439 Battleground Ave.

Mark Holder Jeweller 211 State St.

Sister’s Jewelry 330 Tate St.

US Post Office

4615 High Point Rd.

Greensboro Farmers Curb Market 501 Yanceyville Street

K & W Cafeteria

3710 S. Holden Rd.

Zack’s Hot Dog’s

201 W. Davis St., Burlington

Row 4:

Mary Bryan, Caroline Jones, Ruth Choiniere, Lisa Anderson, Sharon Allen

Row 3:

Susan Davis, Victoria Borden , Leslie Conway, Tonya Cockman, Stephanie Clifford

Row 2:

Marian King, Ann Lineweaver, Susan Schwartz, Judy Wicker, Alexa Aycock, Lora Bradsher, Paige Butler

Row 1:

Stephanie Billings, Kay Stern, Ashley Staton, Pat Vreeland, Nancy Clark, Jean Cornwell, Julie Copeland The Art & Soul of Greensboro

For a complete list of distribution points, please visit our website at www.ohenrymag.com April 2014

O.Henry 125

Dover Square

Let’s talk about Springtime.

Flowers & Décor For Your Wedding or Special Event 1616-H Battleground Ave. 336.282.9572

Dolce Dimora Fine Linens,Tablescapes & Gifts

Monday-Friday: 10am-6pm Saturday: 10am-5pm


336.691.0051 mcmanus2@bellsouth.net

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126 O.Henry

April 2014

1501 North Main Street High Point, North Carolina 336-885-8500

• Free wedding cake tasting by appointment • Never cold stored, always baked fresh • Cakes for all occasions

Making the world a better place... one cupcake at a time.

Easy Peasy Decadent Desserts 1616 J Battleground Avenue Greensboro, NC 27408 336-306-2827 • www.easypeasydnd.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Accidental Astrologer

April’s Wild Ride By Astrid Stellanova This month’s got me nervous. The stars ain’t looked this strange since the stock market crashed. But fear not, star children. Just heed Astrid’s advice. “It’s this old world and then the fireworks,” Aunt Ethel used to say. What did that mean? I got no idea, but not everybody’s in for a bumpy ride . . . some of us got our shocks fixed and our front ends aligned.


Aries (March 21–April 19) You just ain’t happy sitting still and letting things be. You’re all about mixing it up, changing it up or messing in somebody else’s business. You also like to be the giver (read: prone to be too extravagant, my cupcake). But this month, with Jupiter in Cancer, the stars have a very nice birthday gift for you. Good ole Jupiter is generous. Good luck and gifts are twinkling in that night sky above you, illuminating the whole month with some kind of Aries fairy dust. Another tip: It’s a good time to sell property if you were thinking of it, including that swampy lot you bought ten years ago that just ain’t perked. This is your chance to unload it. (Also, just so you know, it’s a good time for investments.) Money is about to land in your hands — gift or loan, whose complaining, child?


Taurus (April 20–May 20) You laid on the couch an awful lot last month, mooing like a sick cow. But this month, you are kicking that Taurus gusto into gear and charging onto the on-ramp of the highway of life. Full speed ahead and straight for a change! Wanna know how come? There’s an eclipse on the 29th in Taurus. Aw, I know what you’re thinking about that “c” word. Taurus doesn’t necessarily like change, but good ch–ch– changes are here. You’re in high spirits this month and I don’t mean just because you scored your own barrel of Jack Daniel’s Single Barrel Select at Sam’s Club.

energy on worrying about betrayals or conspiracy theories. Use your noggin to roll out a new venture, because it gets a green light.


Libra (September 23–October 22) You got 2,499 Facebook friends who all either want to give you a job or invite you to a party. The first half of this year is like a career and social jackpot. Take advantage before July 16 when Jupiter leaves your house of golden opportunity in dang near everything. If you want 2,500 friends, push away from the desk and kick back. What doesn’t come together by the end of this month will manifest itself by December. Also, you finally find that family reunion T-shirt you thought you lost.


Scorpio (October 23–November 21) Your life is like one of those Taylor Swift songs; that catchy tune sounds so hummy/sunny before you realize she is singing about how she’s going to castrate her old boyfriend with a wing nut. You have Scorpio in your sign this month, and you’ve been doing a lot of new things with mixed results. The eclipse on April 28 will be very interesting for you, and every one of your exes. That foreigner may be worth your while. At least meet for drinks.


Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) You caught a fast wave that built from the end of the new moon last month. It was fun and fast, but then you realized it knocked your swimsuit off. No worries. Duck down and keep your lower half out of sight and just tread, Baby. Your deadbeat ex winds up having to settle an old debt. By the end of the month you are going to be in high cotton financially. Only you know how to make profit off cotton.


Gemini (May 21–June 20) Last month you were like a set of worn-out windshield wipers: swishing too hard and smearing up the windshield. You had all the right cards to play — you got them third, fourth and fifth chances . . . but you got stubborn. Somehow, you just couldn’t, wouldn’t and didn’t. Move on. This month is a do-over: The money is good, my twin, and you got raises and windfalls in the stars. Keep a straight face when you get the raise. Don’t wish you had held out for more, because it’s only the start.


Capricorn (December 22–January 19) The planets may have challenged you last year, but this year, uh huh. Different story. You, cool thing, finally see the benefit of not letting life crush you. It’s a whole new game, Baby, and just you wait. If you are still single, wedding bells may jingle for you yet this year. If not a wedding, a surprise. Something’s jingling, and you’ll be tingling. Plus, you have an unusual number of good hair days coming up before we get into the heat and humidity cycle.


Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Empty the tip jar and get yourself that luxury item you’ve been saving up for — don’t deny yourself. That eclipse on April 28 is going to bring some nice progress for your sign, and not just in one dimension. Work, health, love, name it. You’re going to be speeding toward the good life faster than Danica Patrick with a Petty on her rear.

k l

Cancer (June 21–July 22) I had to look twice in my Magic Eight Ball, because I didn’t want to overpromise and underdeliver. This year is altogether different than last, and even a blind crab could see that times are going from good to better. It’s been overdue, for sure, and now the planet of good fortune stays in your sign right until July. There’s more, too: a payoff from something you completely forgot about. This could also mean you have memory issues.


Leo (July 23–August 22) It seems weird to say it, but Leo is one of them signs that make you wonder. All that confidence out front, but underneath it, a whole lotta doubt. Sorta the Liz Taylor syndrome — like the beautiful woman who can’t stop ruining her figure with beer and nachos. Well, you get to put that public charisma and star shine to work, because the stars love you by the middle of 2014. Think of it as coming into your stride — but it is a golden period ahead. Spanx or not.


Virgo (August 23 –September 22) There’s enough gas in your tank this month to get you to Nevada. But as good as that sounds, you been a little spend-thrifty and maybe, Baby, you ought to stay away from slots. That said, you got Mars driving you, and your considerable ambition. Friendships are rock solid, like I keep sayin’. Don’t spend any

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pisces (February 19–March 20) Until July, you have extra special work mojo . . . and friends in high places are going to reach a hand to pull you on up. (What took them so long, you wonder? So do I, little fishy.) But a lunar eclipse on the 15th means you best keep your money in your wallet — it will impact your finances. And just consider a different hair color. It’s Astrid’s cheapest trick, but tried and true. A new do will make you feel better, and in my humble opinion might change the tide of human events. At least for you. OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path.

April 2014

O.Henry 127

O.Henry Ending

By Steve Cushman

My father

died of a heart attack on December 19, 1993, at the age of 46. I was 24 at the time. This is a story about his heart and my heart and why I refuse to do three things.

1) Eat at a Japanese Steakhouse: My girlfriend (whom I will call J) and I ate at Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse in Orlando the night my father died. I ate chicken lo-mein because that’s what I ordered every time we went to this restaurant. When we returned to J’s mother’s house, the phone was ringing. J picked it up, looked over at me and half-smiled. After hanging up, she said, “You have to go home.” “Why, what’s up?” I asked. “Your mother didn’t say. She just said she needed you to come home now. She needs to talk to you.” My mother had asked me twice that week to mow the lawn and I still hadn’t, claiming I was too busy attending community college and working part-time at a record store. Walking into the house, I’d almost convinced myself that’s what she wanted to talk about. My mother and stepfather were sitting at our kitchen table, drinking beer and smoking. “Sit down,” my mother said. She took a breath, exhaled once, then told me my father had died. He lived in St. Petersburg, two hours away, and played golf every Friday with a coworker named Scott. They were on the 17th hole. Scott saw my father setting up to take a shot. Scott looked away. When he turned back, my father was on the ground, not moving, not breathing. Of course, 20 years ago most people didn’t have cell phones, so Scott couldn’t call 911 from the middle of a golf course. After my mother told me what happened, I went back to my room, sat on my bed and played my guitar for a half hour, numb, until J showed up. We went for a walk. It was one of those warm Florida December evenings. I’m sure we talked about my father, but I can’t recall any specific details.

128 O.Henry

April 2014

At the funeral, I cried alongside my sister and Dawn, my father’s second wife, but I didn’t feel as bad as I expected to. It wasn’t until three months later, while out jogging, that it occurred to me my father had never met J, and I wanted to tell him about her, wanted to explain how I felt about her. It was only then that his death became real to me. If I tried to call him he would not be there to answer. 2) Shave my Beard: My father wore a beard throughout my childhood, but for some reason — perhaps some rule at the new job he’d started three months before his death — he’d shaved it off. While it’s foolish, I can’t help but think that had something to do with his death. A beard, a collection of hair on your face, shouldn’t make a difference, but we stretch logic for explanations to things that have no easy answer. I grew my first beard a few years after my father’s death and have had one since. It’s more white than brown now, and while I threaten to shave it from time to time, I have not yet had the courage to do so. 3) Play Golf: I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. I’m 45 now, only two years younger than my father on the day he died. In my 20s and even 30s I could pretend this family history of heart disease was too far in the future to worry about, but not now. It’s here in front of me, so close I can smell it. And frankly it smells a lot like fear and worry. Occasionally, I feel a flicker of pain in my chest. And while it’s probably not cardiac at all, still it’s there, so I see a cardiologist every six months and take a baby aspirin each day, and I wake each morning and love my wife and son. I walk the dog and smell the grass and enjoy the birds that light in our yard. In other words, I live my life, while trying not to think about this gift my father has given me. OH Steve Cushman, author of the recently published Hospital Work, in fact marked the 20th anniversary of his father’s death last December without shaving, playing golf or eating in a Japanese restaurant. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

My Father’s Heart

John Reganess, CFP 速 First Vice President - Investments Fundamental Choice Portfolio Manager 324 W. Wendover Ave #301 Greensboro, NC 27408 (336) 544-1015 john.reganess@wfadvisors.com https://home.wellsfargoadvisors.com/john.reganess

0214-04372 09/2012

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