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Serving the Carolinas & More for 18 Years — Financing Available The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 7


April 2016 Features

63 Deer, This Year

Poetry by Ruth Moose

64 The Silly Love Poems of Alan Cone

Family ditties from the heart by our favorite neighborhood laureate

68 The Frog Prince of Rockingham County

By David C. Bailey A lonely boy eager to grow closer to his father, and the amphibious operation that nearly made it happen

72 Victory Goes to War

By Billy Ingram The historical faux-tographs of Joe Bemis

78 Advice from Mamma Goodmanners Taking your most sensitive social questions

82 Wanna Paint?

By Maria Johnson For artist and teacher Connie Logan, a home studio proved a true lifesaver — and a constant source of inspiration

86 Bold, Eloquent and Joyful By Ross Howell, Jr. An ode to dahlias

88 The Mills Are Alive

By Ogi Overman How old technology breathed new life into a Greensboro icon — that celebrates its 125th anniversary this month

95 Almanac

By Rosetta Fawley Lima beans, April showers and The Secret Garden

Departments 15 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 18 Short Stories 21 Doodad By Ogi Overman 23 O.Harry By Harry Blair 25 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 27 Omnivorous Reader By Gwenyfar Rohler 31 Scuppernong Bookshelf

35 In the Spirit By Tony Cross

59

39 Sporting Life

61 A Novel Year

45 Wandering Billy

96 Arts Calendar 117 Worth the Drive to High Point

By Kevin Reid By Billy Eye

47 Saltywords

By Nan Graham

53 Proper English

Birdwatch

By Susan Campbell By Wiley Cash

By Nancy Oakley

55 Evolving Species

119 GreenScene 127 Accidental Astrologer

57 Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

128 O.Henry Ending

By Serena Brown

By Robert Gingher By Clyde Edgerton

By Astrid Stellanova By David M. Spear

Cover Photograph by Joe Bemis

8 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 9


Looking for something

different?

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 6, No. 4 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street, Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor • jim@thepilot.com Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director • andie@thepilot.com Nancy Oakley, Senior Editor • nancy@ohenrymag.com Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson Contributing Photographers Joe Bemis, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich Contributors Serena Brown, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Alan Cone, Tony Cross, Clyde Edgerton, Billy Eye, Rosetta Fawley, Robert Gingher, Nan Graham, Ross Howell, Jr., Billy Ingram, Sarah King, Ruth Moose, Ogi, Overman, Kevin Reid, Celia Rivenbark, Gwenyfar Rohler, David M. Spear, Astrid Stellanova David Claude Bailey, Editor at Large

O.H

David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales Director 336.707.6893, marty@ohenrymag.com Lisa Bobbitt, Sales Assistant 336.617.0090, ohenryadvertising@thepilot.com

Scan to watch an interactive video of a partial knee replacement.

Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 • hattie@ohenrymag.com Lisa Allen, 336.210.6921 • lisa@ohenrymag.com Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 • amy@ohenrymag.com Circulation Darlene Stark, Circulation Director 910.693.2488 Subscriptions 336.617.0090 ©Copyright 2016. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

For more information about Dr. Olin and surgery visit www.GreensboroOrthopaedics.com

12 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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I N F O R M A L LY E L E GA N T, ZESTFUL DINING Fresh seasonal food using old-world European culinary sensibilities and flavors.

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My Easter Ace

Simple Life

By Jim Dodson

During the many years I lived

quite happily near the coast of Maine, perhaps the hardest truth I had to finally accept is that April really is the cruelest of months, especially for gardeners and golfers. While the folks back home in Carolina were enjoying tulips in the front yard and the Masters on TV, more than once I found myself shoveling snow off the walk so we could go out to Easter services.

My nickname for the mental fever that commonly seized my spring-starved brain the first week of April then was “Masters Fever,” a powerful mix of memory and desire and simple homesickness for my native South, characterized by a nearly overwhelming urge to mow a lawn and get gloriously dirty in a garden, hit a golf ball toward a sunlit green, and watch one of my golf heroes win the season’s first televised major on TV. And lest I forget, there was also my mom’s famous bourbon-glazed Easter ham. The only fix I had for Masters Fever was a peculiar little ritual from my somewhat lonesome early teenage years, long before a driving license provided a means of escape to the far greater mysteries of girls and golf, a game I called “Ace.” The object of Ace was to successfully wedge a Wiffle golf ball over my parents’ house while imagining myself actually playing the most celebrated par-3 golf hole on the planet, Augusta National’s 12th hole, aptly named “Golden Bell.” A ball that flew successfully over the house without touching anything was deemed an “ace,” a feat that was harder than you might expect. Every golfer dreams of making an ace, though few ever do. An ace or hole-inone is the rarest and most desired shot in golf, almost perfect in its Pythagorean simplicity: One swing and the ball flies through the air and goes into the hole. According to people who have nothing better to do than determine the mathematical odds of such things, the average golfer is due one every 12,500 golf swings, whereas a PGA professional is roughly half that. More than 90 percent of golfers will never make one, which tells you how difficult it is to achieve. Jack Nicklaus had twenty to go with his eighteen major championships, his last coming during a practice round at the 2003 Senior British Open. Gary Player and Arnold Palmer scored nineteen and eighteen aces respectively. Tiger Woods made his first one at age 6, followed by seventeen more as his official career unfolded. Only three presidents, all Republicans, also scored aces: Eisenhower, Ford and Nixon, who made his with a 5-iron on the 2nd hole at Bel-Air Country Club in 1961. Afterward, Nixon described his hole-in-one as “the biggest thrill of my life — even better than getting elected.” I adopted the reduced version of “Ace” not long after marrying a lovely woman whose Scottish parents resided on a sprawling farm above Moosehead Pond in the central highlands of Maine. It involved the use of a real golf ball and a single bold — if symbolic — golf swing typically executed with haste during a commercial break during the annual CBS telecast of the Masters. At that point, my Masters The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Fever was at its most intense, yet rarely was my front yard fully visible beneath a crust of hard snow. At the outset of every golf season, I’ll admit, I wondered if this was the year I would finally make an ace of my own and join golf’s most coveted club. Somehow I even got it into my fevered head that if I could make a successful wedge shot after months of golf hibernation, sending a ball safely over my own roof with one cold swing, why, certainly, a real ace would follow in the new golf season on my doorstep. My private quest for an ace (of any sort) came to a head, so to speak, on April 15, 1990, a cold but sunny Easter Sunday that also happened to be my mother-inlaw’s 63rd birthday, just days after Nick Faldo nipped Raymond Floyd to capture his second consecutive green jacket at the Masters. My mother-in-law’s name was Kathleen Sinclair Bennie, a formidable Scottish lady, crack gardener and school superintendent who early in our acquaintance informed me in no uncertain terms that “March in Maine — and most of April too — is still wintertime. The sooner you accept this, James, the happier you’ll be. Spring will eventually arrive — just not anytime soon.” I liked Mum, as everyone in tiny Harmony, Maine, called her. I just wasn’t sure she liked me, her first son-in-law. Though she was perfectly polite, Kate Bennie’s Glasgow-accented body English seemed to say we had little or nothing in common save her beautiful daughter, Alison. Then again, why would we? Mum was a no-nonsense daughter of Glasgow’s working-class Netherlee neighborhood, a dedicated socialist and self-declared agnostic who hadn’t had the easiest of lives. After losing her parents after the war, she was raised by a sweet Scottish couple named Dorothy and Uncle Eddie and got herself brilliantly educated at Glasgow University. She married a fellow scientist named Sam Bennie and followed his work on construction of the Distant Early Warning Line to Canada and Alaska before settling down in the rambling 200-year-old farmhouse above beautiful Moosehead Pond with three small children and no indoor plumbing in a house heated only by woodstoves. My first visit to the Bennie home felt like stepping into a novel by Thomas Hardy. Darkening the mood that April, Kate’s husband, Sam, a charming son of Paisley who looked and sounded a bit like the actor Peter O’Toole, had passed away from cancer at the farm just one month before the rest of the family descended for the long Easter weekend. Scots are nothing if not an emotionally durable race, born to expect the worst weather in life, ready to push on regardless. As usual there were good Scottish meals served and polite political debates conducted by the fire. Neighbors popped in to say hello to Mum and see our new infant, Maggie. Not long before he died, Sam got to hold his first granddaughter and presented her with a sack full of adorable stuffed animals he’d gathered from his travels around the globe. He called them “The Star Dust Fan Club.” Good Eisenhower Republican that I was, hoping to finally break the ice with Mum, I’d brought her a special birthday gift, the latest novel by her favorite writer, A. S. Byatt. She thanked me and placed the book aside on the reading table by her favorite armchair by the large farmhouse window near the kitchen woodstove. Not long after the others cleared out for the two-hour drive back to Boston, and my wife, pregnant with our second child, went off to gather up belongings April 2016

O.Henry 15


Simple Life L A F O N T PA R I S • M Y K I T A • F R A N C I S K L E I N • D I T A • L I N D B E R G • F A C E A F A C E

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and infant for the shorter trip home to the Midcoast, Mum finished cleaning up the kitchen, loaded up her woodstove and sat down with A. S. Byatt. Suffering from perhaps my worst case of Masters Fever ever, I used this quiet moment to slip out to our car, fetch my new Hogan 9-iron and a brand new Titleist ball and hustle over to the far side of the small irrigation pond that fronted the ancient farmhouse and barn. A game of Ace was exactly what I needed. Owing to a nasty sleet storm during the Masters telecast, I’d missed performing my peculiar spring ritual. Wood smoke was rising serenely from the front room chimney, looking a little like a fluttering flag to my spring-starved brain. I judged the distance to clear the roof to be a whisker over 140 yards. The weather was clear and cold but a helpful breeze off Moosehead Pond was at my back. Dropping the ball onto a tuft of hard ground, I took dead aim at the chimney and made a really fine golf swing. I looked up to see the ball soaring beautifully into the blue sky. Unfortunately, it came down directly through one of the large picture window panes where Mum was sitting. Rushing inside, I found Mum sitting perfectly still in her armchair, still holding her book, her teacup undisturbed. Shards of window glass, however, were everywhere. She silenced my stream of apologies with a lifted hand, motioning me forward. I carefully approached, bracing for a reproach worthy of Mary Queen of Scots when she discovered her worthless husband Lord Darnley skipping archery practice in favor of golf — shortly before she had him murdered. She pointed to her teacup. In it sat my golf ball, marinating in good Scottish black tea. “James,” Mum said gravely, “I just have one thing to say to you.” “Yes, ma’am?” “I sincerely doubt whether you could hit that shot again if your very life depended upon it.” And with this, she smiled. I smiled back. She had me pull up a chair. We talked for quite a while. I learned she actually liked me and thought I had the makings of a good husband and father. She thanked me for her book and pointed out several things we had in common, including good books, gardens, politics, a taste for expensive English gin, classical music and even golf. Her Uncle Eddie, it turned out, had been the champion golfer of Netherlee Golf Club several times in his life. She suggested I look up his widow Aunt Dorothy on my upcoming trip to Scotland; I promised I would — and did. More than ice and an old window were broken that Easter Sunday. A deep and enduring friendship was born. The Queen Mum — as I took to calling her — became the first reader of my first seven books, making invaluable corrections and suggestions. More importantly, she guided our family through good times and bad, the glue that held us all together during the dark days of an amicable divorce no one saw coming. She was also among the first to welcome my new wife to the extended family some years later. I drove to Maine to see her a few days before she passed away. I pulled up a chair and we shared these stories and many more before I kissed her goodbye for the last time. “Tell me, James,” she asked at one point. “Have you ever made your hole-in-one?” “No ma’am,” I admitted. “Just yours. And you’re the only one who saw it.” I pointed out that Alison reminded me that the year after making my unofficial Easter ace, I knocked out the bathroom window of our new house — and never played Ace again. This made her smile. “Good,” said the Queen Mum. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com.

16 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Short Stories Read Hot Calling all Bibliophiles! Get in line early: St. Francis Episcopal Church opens its doors at 9 o’clock sharp on April 28 for its fifty-eighth Annual Book Sale. Originally conceived as a less expensive alternative to a bake sale, the book sale made a $250 profit its first year and has done a land office business ever since. With some 50,000 tomes, including fiction, nonfiction, science fiction, poetry, cookbooks, children’s works, rare books, art books, as well as CDs and DVDs, it’s little wonder the sale has attracted so many book lovers — and a few book traders and sellers, too — far and wide. The money from the sale goes toward good works in the community, such as the Backpack Beginnings, Clara House, Mobile Meals and the Greensboro Urban Ministry Food Bank, among others. Can’t make it on Thursday? There’s always tome-orrow: The sale continues through the 29 and 30. Info: (336) 288-4721 or stfrancisgreensboro.org

Loco for Locavores Nuthin’ like fresh, seasonal eats. Come to the Edible Schoolyard at Greensboro Children’s Museum (219 Church Street) on April 30 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to purchase flowers, herbs and vegetable starts at the fourth annual IncrEDIBLE Plant Sale. Sate yourself on nibbles, groove to live music and find your inner child with kid-friendly activities. And leave knowing that your purchase of plants goes toward GCM’s food education program encouraging youngsters to dig in the dirt and dig into the produce they’ve harvested. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

18 O.Henry

April 2016

A Sure Bet(ty) As in the second annual Betty Creative Awards. With the theme of “Dream Big: Denim and Degas,” design students at A&T and UNCG will incorporate denim into a design competition, inspired by the artworks in the collection of Cone sisters Claribel and Etta, specifically Edgar Degas’ paintings of ballerinas. The event begins at 4 p.m. on April 22 with a lecture series from New York fashionistas at the Weatherspoon Art Museum and continues at 6 o’clock on April 23 with a fashion show followed by an awards ceremony at Revolution Mill Studios (1250 Revolution Mill Drive), where the dresses will be on view during May and June. Info: thebettycreativeawards.com; tickets: Triad Stage box office at (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem Big reels keep on turnin’ and big wheels turn up at the RiverRun International Film Festival (April 7–17) in Winston-Salem, where some of the Gate City’s filmmakers are making their mark. In the features category is Lace Crater, (screened on April 13 and 15), a comedy/drama/ghost story coproduced by Greensboro native Adam Kritzer. In the NC Shorts Program One, check out the The Ken Burns Effect, a documentary about the famed PBS documentarist, directed by Tia and Erin Shuyler and some fellow alums from Guilford College, and Titanic Boy, directed by UNCG alum Andrew Reed. Both films will be screened April 10 and 15, as will Return, marking the return of Greensboro-based director Stephen van Vuuren, who brings to the screen a haunting short about a woman’s visions on a moonlit rural highway, and Pronouns from UNCG’s Michael Paulucci and Cagney Gentry. Tickets: riverrunfilm.com.

Floored Bare floors? Who needs ’em? Cover your hardwoods with veritable works of art from Pakistan, and in so doing, improve the lives of the artisans who make them. With the Guilford College football team lending its brawn, Ten Thousand Villages will be unloading more than 300 carpets from runners to room-sized coverings for its Annual Oriental Rug event (April 21–24). The carpets are acquired through Banyaad, a fair trade company that ensures all profits from sales directly benefit the Pakistani artisans, more than half of whom are women — who design the rugs, and spend hours dying, spinning, weaving and knotting them by hand. Info: 1564-A Highwoods Boulevard, Greensboro or (336) 834-4606.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Awesome Abs Or rather, Amazingly Abstract, a solo exhibit of abstract paintings by Greensboro native and Grimsley High School alum Jenny Fuller at Tyler White O’Brien Gallery (April 15–May 15). Painting, the artist says, “is an attempt for me to understand the radiance, color, shadow and wonder that surrounds each of us in nature.” Through Fuller’s lens, the natural world is distilled to its very essence: patches of blue or white, a touch of yellow and orange could represent either a mountain sunrise or an expanse of ocean. It’s that vastness that Fuller seeks to capture, to give the viewer “a sense of possibility . . . to move off the canvas and into their own world.” Info: tylerwhitegallery.com.

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman

Ogi Sez Yes, it’s true that April is the shower season, but in our case we’re being showered with celestial music all month, all over town. So let it rain, let it pour, crank it up, and give me more.

• April 6, Cone Denim

A Mag for All Seasons OK, we admit to shamelessly tooting our own horn, but we encourage you to pick up a copy of our brand-new sister pub, O.Henry Seasons Style & Design. Launching on April 11, the semiannual magazine celebrates life in the home, not only of Greensboro residents but of our surrounding neighbors, as well. “Each issue,” says Seasons editor Jim Dodson, “will take readers intimately inside many of the Triad’s most extraordinary public and private homes and gardens, getting to know the people who love and nurture these spaces on a friendly first-name basis, as well as the builders and craftsmen who helped bring their visions to life.” Like its flagship, O.Henry magazine, Seasons will be available free-of-charge in blue boxes and various distribution points around the Gate City, Winston-Salem, High Point and Burlington. Info: ohenrymag.com.

Hot Dig-gety! If you’ve never been to the Aurora Fossil Museum near the coast, now’s your chance — without leaving the Triad. On April 23 at 11 a.m. the High Point Public Library (901 North Main Street) hosts geologist Jonathan Fain who will present “Stones –N– Bones.” As part of the North Carolina Science Festival, the free lecture illustrates how geologists are piecing together the ancient past of North Carolina. And here’s the real dirt, literally: Soil from Aurora, which as a center for phosphate mining revealed buried treasures such as vertebrates, invertebrates, sharks’ teeth and Indian artifacts, will be on hand for you to dig through and discover treasures of your own. Info: highpointpubliclibrary.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Entertainment Center: Carry on, my wayward son, downtown to Elm Street, for legendary rockers Kansas. Otherwise you’ll be dust in the wind.

• April 9, Revolution Mill

Machine Shop: “Back by popular demand” is not a marketing ploy when the person coming back is David Lindley. Best known as Jackson Browne’s lap steel player, Lindley is a virtuoso on virtually every stringed instrument.

• April 10, Greensboro

Coliseum: One word: Springsteen. Two words: The Boss. Four words and a letter: and the E Street Band. ’Nuff said.

• April 11, Carolina Theatre: No matter how high she soars or how far away her fame takes her, Rhiannon Giddens will always be Greensboro’s favorite girl. To be blunt, if you don’t love her, something must be wrong with you. • April 15, Blind Tiger: Well,

it so happens that this show falls on tax day, and what better way to escape from the stress and strain than Yo Mama’s Big Fat Booty Band. Yo mama will make you forget all about yo uncle that took all yo money.

April 2016

O.Henry 19


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20 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Doodad

From Tinseltown to Hometown

“I

n one scene I was sitting at a kitchen table beside Nick Nolte and across from Emma Thompson and Robert Redford walks in the door. I thought, ‘whose life did I wake up in?’” That’s just a sample of Keith Harris reflecting on his good fortune to have snagged a role in last year’s A Walk in the Woods alongside some of filmdom’s A-listers. But for anyone from around these parts who knew the actor way back when, his success is not a surprise. Harris knew at age 9 that the actor’s life was for him. By high school he had already begun taking steps toward that end, earning a scholarship to Catawba College after a successful audition for the N.C. Theatre Conference. He went on to graduate from Western Carolina University in 1992 with a B.A. in radio and television production and theater, subsequently earning his M.F.A. from UNCG in acting with a concentration in film. Next came the big move to Los Angeles, where he quickly landed a part in an episode of the TV series Matlock. “I thought this was going to be a breeze,” he says, pausing for effect before adding, “It was three years before I got another role.” With work sporadic at best, in 2002 Harris moved back to his native North Carolina, which had become a bit of a hotbed for film production. “I got more work in my first three months back here than I did in my last year and a half in L.A.,” he notes. Indeed, the Old North State proved a kinder and gentler place, as Harris found work in the popular TV series Dawson’s Creek, filmed around the Wilmington area. Add Junebug, the 2005 indie hit penned by Winston-Salem resident and UNCSA alum Angus Maclachlan, to his resume along with Wesley, the 2007 film about the Methodist Church founder John Wesley, which was shot in Old Salem. Other television credits include Under the Dome and a recurring role in One Tree Hill. Currently, the Greensboro resident is putting the finishing post-production touches on Shifting Gears a film he wrote, starred in and produced (in conjunction with Jeff Williams and the Alderman Co. in High Point. He describes it as a family sports comedy centered around dirt track racing. Until Shifting Gears hits the big screen, look for Harris all over the place — in an AMC series called Halt and Catch Fire, a Cinemax series titled Outcast, and one that has him quite excited, a plum role in the wildly successful Walking Dead series. “I’ve been plugging away at it for years and have been fortunate to have landed some really neat roles,” Harris says. And it looks like more are bound to follow. Proving the old saw that one’s own backyard is often where dreams come true. OH — Ogi Overman The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 21


s

g t n i i m r p e in old salem

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photo: Elizabeth Larson

The fun is blossoming this Spring at Old Salem.

The gardens are in bloom. Hands-on seasonal activities abound. Plan your visit today!

heirloom plants go on sale April 16

Purchase heirloom plants at the Garden Shop at T. Bagge Merchant from April 16 through the fall! 1o a.m. – 5 p.m.

community shred day April 29

Clean out your home or office while supporting preservation and education at Old Salem! 1o a.m.–2 p.m.

signs of spring: an elegant evening amid the gardens at old salem April 30 A New Benefactors of Old Salem event featuring a delicious farm-to-table dinner, specialty cocktails, and live music in the historic Single Brothers’ garden. Advanced tickets required.

spring festival and pottery fair on the square May 21

Celebrating George Washington’s visit to Salem and more! Pottery Fair featuring more than 3o area potters.

For a full list of events, classes & concerts, visit oldsalem.org or call 336-721-735o 22 O.Henry

old salem museums & gardens, winston-salem, north carolina

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 23


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24 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life’s Funny

Taken to the Cleaners A tale of frog brides and cat weddings

By Maria Johnson

Last year, you might remember, I detailed

the mystery of Elinor Ball’s wedding dress.

Ball, who lives in Pennsylvania, is a Greensboro native who for thirty-four years toted around a box that she thought contained her wedding dress. Two years ago, she opened the box and was stunned to find out that she had been harboring someone else’s wedding dress. She contacted me last year with the hope of finding her dress, as well as the owner of the dress that she had acquired by mistake. The response to the column was overwhelming. I was inundated with questions and comments. But, alas, no one offered information that could help to track down the dress. After a few months, Ball and I gave up hope. Then, just last month, I got an email from a woman named April Fewell, who had picked up an old copy of the magazine at her cousin’s house. “I could not believe it when I read your column about the wedding dress. I have been wondering for years what happened to my dress, which I believe is the one that Elinor Ball has. I also think that I had her dress at one point, but I am sorry to say that I no longer have it. Please call me, and I will tell you what happened.” I called April, and here’s what she said: Like Elinor Ball, she was married in Greensboro in 1980. Like Elinor, she took her wedding dress to a Greensboro dry cleaner to have it cleaned and preserved in a box. Like Elinor, she picked up the box, but she did not look inside for several years. April finally opened the box in 1989, when she was moving from the house where she and her husband had lived. They had divorced, and she was downsizing to a more affordable place. That’s when she discovered that she, too, had the wrong dress. On the phone, April described Elinor’s dress to a tee: off-white, sleeveless, with a lace overlay on the bodice and lace medallions at the bottom of the skirt. April called the dry cleaner and asked if they could track down the owner. She didn’t really care about her own wedding dress. She and her husband didn’t have children, and she figured she’d never use the dress again. The dry cleaner told her that, nine years after the fact, there was no way to find the owner of the dress she possessed. April went the extra mile. She ran a classified ad in the lost and found section of the newspaper, asking anyone who’d lost a wedding dress to describe it to her. “I felt kind of stupid advertising that I’d ‘found’ a wedding dress, but I figured that anyone who’d lost it would understand,” April said. No one called. Elinor would not open her box — and discover that she, too,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

had the wrong dress — for many more years. April was trying to decide what to do with the dress when she mentioned it to a friend who made costumes in the theater department at a local college. The friend suggested that she donate the dress to the college. From time to time, they needed a wedding dress for their productions. April liked the idea, so she gave the dress to her friend, who, for years, invited her to plays and musicals in which the dress appeared. “We called it the Mystery Dress,” says April. “It was fun seeing it in different roles. It had a lot of interesting lives.” April remembers seeing the dress in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, in The Bartered Bride, and in Bride of Frankenstein, in which the actress wore green body paint. “I was really worried that the paint would come off and stain the dress,” said April. “It wasn’t mine, but I felt responsible.” Once, the theater department loaned out the dress for a local children’s play, The Frog Bride. “More green make-up,” said April, laughing. The dress weathered well and helped to delight many audiences. Several years ago, April remarried and stopped going to see the dress on stage. It reminded her too much of the past. I asked if she knew where the dress was now. She didn’t know, but she suggested calling her friend, who recently retired from the college theater department. So I did. The friend, who did not want to be named, remembered the dress right away. She hesitated when I asked what became of it. Then she explained that the dress was badly torn in a rehearsal accident that involved stiletto heels and that it was “retired.” I asked what she meant. She said that the dress was headed for the trash, but, being a seamstress, she saw potential, so she took it home and made it into dozens of small wedding dresses for cats, which she sells online for $11.99 each. “Cat weddings are big business,” she said, directing me to search online for “cat wedding images.” Believe it or not, she is right. I didn’t know how to break the news to Elinor except to tell her the truth: that she could reclaim her dress for $11.99 at a time, plus shipping. “Well, hell,” Elinor said. “Can you believe someone would do that?” “Yes,” I said. “There are all kinds of people in the world.” Including, dear reader, those who would write a prank story with a character named April Fewell. Get it? April. Fewell. Hey, it’s one more chance to find the dress. OH Maria Johnson realizes that if the dress is found now, no one will believe her. Contact her anyway at maria@ohenrymag.com. By the way, cat weddings really are a thing. April 2016

O.Henry 25


Join Us For: The 3rd Annual

Saturday, May 7, 2016 at High Caliber Stables Greensboro, NC

Sierra, 7 Inherited Skeletal Disorder I wish to go to Disney World速 and be a princess Photo credit: Divine Images by Lana

The afternoon encompasses all things Kentucky Derby with traditional Mint Juleps, beer and wine, live music, bourbon tastings, southern cuisine, live and silent auctions, a hat contest, and of course a live feed of the Kentucky Derby as the excitement happens at Churchill Downs. Most importantly, the Kentucky Derby Classic is an afternoon of charitable giving to fund the mission of Make-A-Wish速. Purchase your tickets today at: KentuckyDerbyClassic.org


The Omnivorous Reader

A Taste of Magic

What started in a garden continues to blossom with charm and wonder

By Gwenyfar Rohler

North Carolina is famous for pro-

ducing some of the greatest literary writers in the American canon: Thomas Wolfe, Carl Sandburg, Maya Angelou. We’re also home to a handful of present-day greats: Jan Karon, Orson Scott Card and Nicholas Sparks, to name a few. Among our New York Times best-selling authors of popular fiction residing in the state, Asheville native Sarah Addison Allen might be one of our best-kept secrets to date. Allen’s big breakthrough came with the publication of Garden Spells (2007), her magical realism-driven, food-infused novel of homecoming. Seven years later her readers got the long-awaited sequel detailing the life and loves of the Waverley family: First Frost. In Garden Spells, the world is introduced to Bascom, North Carolina, a small town in the foothills where certain families are known to possess unique gifts that get passed down through the generations. The Youngs are always the strongest men in town, the strongest of each generation always named Phineas; Clark women are the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ultimate seductresses; and the Waverleys . . . well, they have a special kind of magic all their own. Some of it comes from an association with their garden, which is regarded by all of Bascom with mythic awe. But as with many family legacies, some embrace the expectations that come with the gifts, and others don’t. In Allen’s breakthrough novel, the current generation of Waverley sisters, Claire and Sydney, must confront not only each other but the way they each respond to their gifts. Sydney fled home after high school. Her older sister, Claire, stayed and has become entrenched in the world of Bascom — so much so that she cannot see herself apart from it or, of course, the magical Waverley Garden. One sister runs from her gift, the other clings to it, and yet when they find themselves together again under the same roof, they discover that their roles are actually reversed. They need each other in order to learn the lessons they have both been avoiding. Meanwhile that magical Waverley Garden is a phenomenal non-verbal character crossed with deus ex machina. The garden contains an apple tree that throws apples at people, grabs photos and holds them hostage, and even manages to stave off a homicide. Or, as Claire recounts following the incident: “I wish Tyler felt that way . . . He won’t go anywhere near the tree now. He still can’t get over it. He says it’s probably the only official police report in history that claims an apple tree ran the suspect off and no one found that unusual.” Allen succeeds in avoiding the pitfalls of the trite or the stereotyped. Instead, she brings us an incredibly rich world filled with startling April 2016

O.Henry 27


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revelations, challenges and, most important, captivating personal growth. Perhaps her two greatest gifts as a writer are a mastery of the five senses on each page, and an ability to surprise her characters and her readers simultaneously. The magical realism elements blend with the five senses to leave an imprint on how we talk about simile and metaphor. For example, Sydney describes Claire in conversation: “She’s like a live wire. She’s actually singeing things.” Garden Spells is a beautiful book filled with passion and captivating writing — just the sort of novel capable of launching a writer’s career. First Frost picks up the story of the Waverley family ten years later. Claire and Sydney have found and accepted their lives and abilities, but the next generation is starting to wrestle with the Waverley gifts. High school-aged Bay, daughter of Sydney, and 9-year-old Mariah, Claire’s daughter, are no end of worry for their parents. Bay’s gift is causing her coming of age and first love problems . . . but Mariah’s doesn’t seem to manifest at all. Claire begins to question whether her daughter is even a Waverley. What does that mean about how we define family and kinship? How do we love people if they aren’t who we expect them to be? What does that mean about ourselves? First Frost is a book written by a more experienced craftsman. The minor characters have more fleshed out back stories, and the struggles are more subtle, yet just as powerful and evocative. Parts of the magical realism are more pronounced: Sydney is literally growing red highlights in her hair in front of her husband’s eyes. But even more pronounced are the smells provoked by the book: scaled sugar, burnt roses, ham casserole, etc., and the incredible talent that Allen has for making you hungry while you read. (I cooked more reading this book than I have in the last month combined.) But Allen’s real talent is showing us something about our own fears and how we do or don’t face them, that we can approach them with awe rather than terror — and that if we reach out and ask for help, we can find it. At the core of her writing is the message that love is the strongest magic in the world. What a beautiful reminder. Allen’s books are filled with charm, love and an abiding understanding of the imperfect world of family relationships. In a few pages of what would be considered good escape reading, the author reaches deeply into our hearts, reminding us what art can really do: transform our humanity. OH Gwenyfar Rohler spends her days managing her family’s bookstore on Front Street in Wilmington.

28 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 29


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Scuppernong Bookshelf

Fools and Their Books Are Soon Parted Celebrating the wisdom of folly

Ah, April! We pity the fools who see only

potential tornados and literary cruelty. We see you fools on the hill grumpily waiting for summer. Fool’s gold! Spring is the season of love; of the first fooling around of young adventure. This month we review books that speak of fools and their follies. Think of it as an Idiot’s Guide to Books on Idiots. Some are tales told by idiots; some are exposés of idiocy; and some have secret wisdom buried in the tomfoolery.

Who’s the most famous literary fool of all Western literature? Perhaps Don Quixote (Harper Perennial, $16.99) now celebrating his 400th birthday. Alternately totally delusional and incredibly insightful, he embodies all the best qualities of fools, tilting at windmills one moment, exposing the pretensions of the upper class in the next. The entire novel is a lampoon of the romance and nobility supposedly embodied in chivalric literature and the mythic figures of knights on holy quests and the women who pined for them from castle towers. Quixote has only the best intentions, what could possibly go wrong? Richard Russo struck fool’s gold with his 1993 novel of small-town folly and unlikely grace, Nobody’s Fool (Vintage, $16). Over a decade later, Russo is returning to the town of North Bath in upstate New York and to his lovable antihero Sully in the long-awaited sequel, Everybody’s Fool (Knopf, 2016. $27.95). Don’t fret, this is every bit the same Sully we came to love — only now the bum knee is the least of his problems. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Isaac Bashevis Singer, winner of the 1978 Nobel Prize in Literature, was no fool. However, his now-classic collection, Gimpel the Fool and Other Stories (FSG, $14), may betray his intimate knowledge of all things foolish. The title story has been called “the greatest story ever written about a schlemiel,” and that very schlemiel, the story’s protagonist, is also “one of the most perplexing characters in modern fiction.” Fool for Love (Dial Press, $16) has all the elements of the classic Sam Shepard play that it is. A down-on-his-luck cowboy, a barmaid and the ghost of a father are all holed up in a seedy motel in the middle of nowhere. It is, of course, what Shepard does with these elements that makes all the difference: somehow he’s able to reach almost mythic levels of longing and hope in his characters, at once both grounded and larger than life. Throughout the play, Eddie and May struggle with their past, each other and their idea of their place in the world, coming, in the end, to a kind of battered conclusion that is a ragged form of acceptance. Edward Abbey wrote The Fool’s Progress: An Honest Novel (Holt McDougal, $22) late in his career and it is an autobiographical chronicle of his life’s missteps. Alcohol, womanizing and waywardness — the holy trinity of foolishness — lead to a life of emptiness. But it’s never too late to change. No discussion of foolish literature is complete without John Kennedy Toole’s A Confederacy of Dunces (Grove Press, $16). “When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him,” is the Swiftian source of the title. The other inspiration for the main character, Ignatius Reilly, is of course our aforementioned Don Quixote. But it can be tricky to figure out who we’re supposed to be laughing at in this Southern classic. Hmm, all of our books on fools were written by men. What could that mean? Anyway, our heartfelt advice is: Never be afraid to be the fool. A life worth living includes the risk of great folly. April 2016

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Bookshelf New Releases of Note for April: April 5: Chasing the North Star by Robert Morgan (Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, $25.95). Western North Carolina’s master of historical fiction explores the lives of runaway slaves in the 1850s. April 5: Kill ’Em and Leave: Searching for the Real James Brown, by James McBride (Random House, $28). The author of The Color of Water offers his own take on the legend. April 5: The Last Painting of Sara de Vos, by Dominic Smith (Sarah Crichton, $26). Australian novelist and current Warren Wilson M.F.A. faculty member, Smith’s masterful new novel charts the circuitous course of the sole surviving work of a female Dutch painter. April 12: Most Wanted, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s, $27.99). The inherent mysteries in the sperm bank donation business are explored. April 19: Approval Junkie: Adventures in Caring Too Much, by Faith Salie (Crown Archetype, $27). You may know Faith Salie from her radio guest spots on “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me.” A clever memoir with heart. April 19: My Struggle: Book 5, by Karl Ove Knausgaard (Archipelago, $27). This slow-moving experiment in autobiography reaches book five. You can jump in now without worry about missing one through four. OH

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April 2016

O.Henry 33


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Take a Tonic

In the Spirit

You’ll find it’s a refreshing rite of spring

By Tony Cross

When you

walk into an establishment in the middle of winter and ask for a mojito, don’t be surprised when they inform you that they aren’t serving them. Mint won’t magically grow in a restaurant’s garden two weeks before Christmas. Be a grownup and just go with your second choice. I’ve noticed there are many who go into anaphylactic shock when they’re told that their first go-round with ordering from the bartender isn’t going to work. As adults, we know that life isn’t fair, and nothing always goes as planned. That being said, as a drinker, you should always have an arsenal of drinks in your back pocket, just in case there are no mojitos. Examples are Jack and ginger, margarita, cold beer, and the ever-popular gin and tonic. To my shame, until recently I had never been huge on the gin and tonic. It’s not that I found it to be repulsive or unworthy; I’d just always felt that once you’ve tried one, you’ve tried them all (minus any that had been made with poor quality gin). I would admit, however, that gin and tonics fare better in the spring and summertime. They also taste great with a London dry gin; you can never go wrong with Beefeater’s. A few summers ago, I traveled across the country to Portland, Oregon, for a week. I toured the beautiful Willamette Valley, stood in line for over thirty minutes at Voodoo Doughnuts, and dined at some great spots. Although all of those attractions were great, it was a fifteen-minute stop in a bitters and salt store that was the highlight of my trip, which ultimately got the ball rolling on my new love affair with tonic. Tonic water — as I knew it — was nothing more than sparkling water with a speck of quinine, giving the carbonated beverage a bitter touch. I

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

was wrong: Tonic water actually has a fair amount of high-fructose corn syrup (an 8-ounce serving of Schweppes tonic water has 32 grams of sugar). A lot of us know that quinine is an ingredient in tonic water, but what exactly is it? Quinine comes from bark that’s stripped off cinchona trees in South America. It was first used centuries ago as a combatant for diseases, mainly malaria. After we learned that taking small doses of it a few times a month would help fight off malaria, the carbonated beverage came to be. I arrived back in North Carolina following my holiday in Portland with a bottle of small batch tonic syrup. The directions on the fancy label suggested adding almost an ounce of their syrup with sparkling water, and an ounce and a half of spirit for the ultimate gin and tonic. I followed the instructions to a T and took a sip. I was floored! There were layers of flavors that were balanced by sweet and bitter. After years of tasting the exact same flavors in tonic water, this new elixir seemed so uncanny, I couldn’t believe the signals that my taste buds were delivering to my brain. From that point on, I made it my mission to create a tonic syrup that I would be proud to drink and serve. My starting point was getting online and looking at different recipes. I realized that I needed cinchona bark, but didn’t factor in how hard it is to get this key ingredient. I ended up having to order it from a reputable store in Germany, which took a month to get to my house. Many popular tonic syrup recipes at the time had lemongrass as a key ingredient, but I had a hard time getting lemongrass in on the week that my cinchona bark arrived, so being the stubborn and impatient person that I am — I had waited a whole month already — I kept trudging through my browser until I found a base recipe that I could play with. The results were surprisingly good on my first yields; the syrups were flavorful, that’s for sure. Many colleagues and friends were my guinea pigs, and their reactions were all positive for the most part, but I still felt like the syrup was unbalanced. The answer came to me on a Sunday afternoon while tinkering with the most popular of the many formulas I had pieced together. April 2016

O.Henry 35


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In the Spirit I decided to express citrus oils by hand into the strained, piping hot syrup. A few hours later, after letting it cool, I returned to the glowing orange, glorified simple syrup. With the dip of a straw and a quick taste, I knew I had nailed it. The months that followed were insane. We (I say we, because if it weren’t for the excited staff that surrounded me, word wouldn’t have made it to so many of our guests so fast) sold out of tonic syrup every single week. Not only were gin and tonic sales skyrocketing, but I was getting requests from friends and strangers to sell them their own batch. All was well in the world of tonic and me. Or it was until Christmas 2014, when I read an excerpt from Liquid Intelligence by Dave Arnold. The book was a gift from a fellow bartender, reads like a science book, and I couldn’t put it down. Mr. Arnold brings up the fact that the U.S. legal dosage for quinine (sulfate) is 85 milligrams per liter. But I wasn’t using quinine sulfate, I was sourcing my quinine from cinchona bark . . . which is 5 percent quinine. Before I could do the math in my head (I couldn’t), I peed a little bit down my right leg. I already knew that too much quinine is called cinchonism, and its effects can give you vertigo, temporary blindness, or even cardiac arrest. Luckily for me, after going over my specs, I had nothing to worry about. I made a tincture with the cinchona bark to control the bitterness levels and, as it turned out, I was way below the legal limit. Right now, one of the most popular tonic syrup recipes online has more than twice the legal dosage; if you want to try to make your own tonic syrup, you have to be extremely careful. Or you can just (insert completely shameless plug here) buy mine. After multiple requests from former guests and friends that always ask me to make some when coming over, I decided to go live with my own batch. TONYC is the same recipe I perfected a few years ago: citrus forward, hints of spice, and bitterness from gentian root and cinchona. Even if you’re not a tonic lover (neither was I), I’m convinced that my version will sway your vote. Mix it with gin, rum (goes great with Pittsboro’s own Fair Game Beverages Co.’s No’Lasses), mezcal or vodka. There are other small batch tonics on the market: Find which one you prefer and experience one of the best cocktails this spring, in my opinion the finest season central North Carolina has to offer. OH Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines. He can also recommend a vitamin supplement for the morning after at Nature’s Own. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 37


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Sporting Life

The Dean’s List Remembering baseball scribe John Drebinger and a cast of characters from our national pastime

By Kevin Reid

John Drebinger

— arguably the greatest baseball writer of all time — spent his twilight years in Greensboro.

John Higgins Jr., Drebinger’s grandson, remembers picking him up in New York City in 1979: “I flew to New York that 4th of July weekend,” says Higgins, the son of Emily Higgins, who was living in Greensboro at the time. She and her husband, Jack, set John and his wife, Madeleine, up in an apartment over the Independence Day holiday. “He had a little dementia at the time,” Higgins recalls. “He asked where we were going. He was pleased when I said Greensboro. ‘I like Greensboro,’ he said.’” “John Drebinger was the dean of American sportswriters for the more than forty years he wrote for The New York Times,” says Andrew Mele in an article for the Staten Island Advance, a newspaper where Drebinger’s byline appeared frequently before he went to work for The Times. Drebinger wrote for The Times from 1923 until 1964. Many consider those fifty years to be the best in baseball history. Drebinger was born in Manhattan, New York, on March 23, 1891. His father, also named John Drebinger, was a violinist with the New York Metropolitan Opera. Higgins’ mother remembers her grandfather fondly: “My mother read where he was in San Francisco at the time of the earthquake,” says Higgins. That would have been in April of 1906. “They were performing with Caruso and he saved a Stradivarius from being destroyed.” But don’t get a picture of an earthquake almost crushing a violin: “The opera house caught on fire and he ran into the house and saved it.” John Drebinger Jr. had also planned for a career in music as a concert pianist, but after the family moved to Staten Island, his aspirations changed. “He cut the muscle in his thumb one winter as he was sharpening his ice skates,” Higgins says. “His thumb did not heal enough for him to get his needed grip on the instrument.” Still, he showed talent as an athlete at Curtis High School, where on the track team he was able to run 100 yards in ten seconds. “Now keep in mind that is with without starting blocks and on cinder tracks, which for a high school kid, that’s flying,” says Higgins. This set a record in New York State high school athletics that lasted almost

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

thirty years. It also gave Drebinger a nickname any lad his age would have been proud of: Ten Flat. His speed on the track led to offers for scholarships to Columbia, NYU and other schools, but Drebinger couldn’t resist the call of the newsroom at the Staten Island Advance. There, he took to everything, but he really shone at reporting baseball, a talent that landed him at the sports editor’s desk. He did this despite losing most of his hearing during the influenza pandemic of 1918. For the rest of his life he would rely on a powerful hearing aid. In 1915 a local promoter named Billy Stephens, approached the newspaper’s editor, Eddie Johnson, with a proposition: Would the Advance sponsor a cross-country trip the World’s Fair in San Francisco — in, wait for it, a covered wagon? Johnson got the Staten Island Chamber of Commerce’s help in subsidizing the publicity stunt, and in February, Drebinger, Stephens and a third fellow whom Drebinger described as a “roughneck” took off in a horse-drawn Prairie Schooner. Passing through Washington, D.C., the trio rubbed elbows with the power elite: They met President Woodrow Wilson and his Secretary of State, William Jennings Bryan. But they didn’t ride high for long. Unfortunately, Stephens died in Kentucky and his body was sent to Staten Island. Drebinger and the roughneck ended up having to wait in St. Louis a month for more funds. The Staten Island Chamber of Commerce had dropped its advertising on the project. Finally, Christian Storberg, a fellow Staten Islander and owner of a New Jersey grocery store chain, arrived and took over. But three proved to be a crowd and in Kansas City, Drebinger and the roughneck got in a fight, and both he and Storberg left. Alone and broke in Denver, Drebinger agreed with the Advance to sell the Prairie Schooner and horses, and took a train to San Francisco. In spite of its mishaps — or perhaps because of them —there was a silver lining to the aborted mission. When he got back that December, Drebinger was the man in Staten Island. His weekly telling of the junket had increased the readership to the point that the paper was showing a profit. Then it was sold to someone else. “It was probably the best favor anybody ever did for him,” says Higgins. The sale of the Advance prompted Drebinger to move to The New York Times in 1923. He was required to work the sports desk his first couple of years there. At last, he became The Times writer for the Brooklyn Dodgers. At that point, he was offered the editorship of the Morning Telegraph at double the pay. April 2016

O.Henry 39


Sporting Life “Don’t be a damn fool,” said fellow scribe Jim Dawson, according to Jerome Holtzman’s book, No Cheering in the Press Box.“How long do you think it’s going to last? You stick with The Times. They’ll take care of you the rest of your life.” To that, Drebinger commented, “Prophetic, wasn’t it?” The Morning Telegraph went out of business after about a year — the year of the Great Crash. As for Drebinger, he would go on to write the lead stories for 203 World Series games from 1929 through 1963. He proudly called that his Lou Gehrig record and died believing it could never be broken. So far, no one has even come close. “Look at all the fun I had meeting all those people,” he told Holtzman. “Carl Hubbell, Mel Ott, McGraw, Ruth, Gehrig, the Waner brothers, all the way back to Christy Mathewson. By God, it was a tremendous thing to have known all those players. I knew everybody in the Hall of Fame – except Cap Anson” Indeed, reading his breezy reminiscences, whether recounted in Holtzman’s tome or told to his grandson Higgins is a Who’s Who of the Boys of Summer: John McGraw, who managed the Giants for thirty years, was one of Drebinger’s favorites. “God, he was an amazing man,” Drebinger said. “He did everything. Signed the players. Fired them. Paid them. Ran the show. He lasted thirty years, won ten pennants and finished second eleven times. Imagine that: twenty-one years, no worse than second.” By the time Babe Ruth joined the Yankees, they were Drebinger’s team at The Times. He attended their home games, their away games and held court with them on the raucous train rides. “Once my grandfather was playing cards with Ruth and others — as he often did in the club car of a train,” Higgins recalls from a story Drebinger told. “A semi-nude woman came running through the club car. Behind her was a semi-nude Babe Ruth running after her.” “One guy looked up and said, ‘Do you see anything?’ “My grandfather replied, ‘I didn’t see anything.’” Drebinger enjoyed “being in on the carousing,” Higgins says. “I’m not sure he was as much a participant as he was the bartender.” He was “Drebby” to the players and his fellow writers but never “Joe.” That name was reserved exclusively for Babe Ruth, who had a tendency to forget names. “We used to have a Christmas card that was originally sent to my grandfather from Babe Ruth,” Higgins remembers of his days growing up on West Kemp Road. “It said, ‘Merry Christmas, Joe.’” “Babe Ruth was a colorful character, to say the least, but he was a very kind, generous guy, too,”

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April 2015

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Sporting Life Higgins continues. “He often did a lot for kids, visiting them in the hospital and returning to the orphanage where he grew up.” According to Higgins, Drebinger found baseball legend Lou Gehrig “dull.” However, he provided Holtzman with a few good anecdotes for his book: “Once he did an advertising spiel for Corn Flakes, and at the end of this spiel they asked him, ‘And Lou, what is your favorite breakfast food?’ “He answers, ‘Wheaties!’ “Of course that blew it. This was a live commercial, in the studio. But they still wanted to pay him. “To show you the kind of guy Gehrig was, he wouldn’t take the money,” Drebinger continued. “But they kept insisting, so he just turned it over to some charity. He wouldn’t touch the dough.” Of course, Drebinger covered Gehrig’s famous “luckiest man” speech. A magazine photo shows him, Joe DiMaggio and others as honorary ushers at Ruth’s funeral. That same year, it was Drebinger who reported the end of DiMaggio’s fifty-six-game hitting streak, as well as all the games in the streak. “DiMaggio impressed my grandfather as being aloof,” Higgins says. Higgins remembers a contemporary of DiMaggio’s, Bill Dickey, years after he played. “I remember one year my parents had a picnic for the ballplayers, and Bill Dickey [a catcher when he and DiMaggio played, who was by then a coach] showed us a picture of his cocker spaniel that could climb trees,” Higgins recalls. “This was a tree that had a lot of branches.” A favorite of Drebinger’s was Yogi Berra, who succeeded Dickey as catcher. “My grandfather remembered when Yogi bought his house in New Jersey,” Higgins says. “He said, ‘Yeah, John, I’ve got a piano. It’s got some kind of Jewish name on it.’” The piano turned out to be a Steinway. “Yogi said, ‘You’ll have to come over and show me how it works,’” Higgins continues. “So my grandfather said, ‘What do you mean, show you how it works? What do you think it is, a nickelodeon?’” Drebinger had conflicting opinions about Mickey Mantle. “He said he liked Mickey,” Higgins says of his grandfather. “He thought it was a shame that Mickey, as great as he was, didn’t take better care of himself.” Higgins also remembers his grandfather showing a fondness for Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron and Hank Bauer. “He certainly didn’t dislike Roger Maris,” Higgins says. “I just don’t think he respected him a whole lot. The thing that always bugged me, the year he hit sixty-one homers, Roger was batting ahead of Mickey and the pitchers had to pitch to him. You know Mickey’s coming up next, are you going to walk this guy? Hell, no.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“But, I’ll tell you what,” Higgins says. “Roger had an arm on him. I remember that right field fence in old Yankee Stadium was pretty close to the plate. But Maris still caught the ball, took a step and just pegged it at home, catching a guy trying to tag up.” Higgins remembers others. “I know he liked Elston Howard a lot,” he says. “One year the Yankees had an exhibition game at Chapel Hill [against the North Carolina Tar Heels, when George Steinbrenner’s daughter was there]. I took him to the game, and we sat in the dugout for an inning or so. Elston Howard came forward and talked to my grandfather. They obviously had a mutual admiration society.” Another of his grandfather’s favorites was Ralph Terry. “I remember meeting Terry that summer when I was 16,” Higgins says. “He had some of the biggest hands I’ve ever seen in my life.” “I think my grandfather felt sorry for Tom Tresh, just because there was so much pressure on him to be the next Mickey Mantle,” Higgins recalls. “One of greatest talents that went unrealized was that of Joe Pepitone. He had drug problems, but he had a swing that was just gorgeous and the talent to be a superstar.” There were some Drebinger liked even less. “My grandfather would not associate with someone whom he considered to be an ass no matter what the person’s status was,” Higgins says. “He could not stand Howard Cosell. He thought he was the most egotistical person he had ever met.” Drebinger did like Yankees announcer Red Barber and public address announcer Bob Sheppard. “I know my grandfather liked and respected Sheppard a lot,” Higgins remembers. “He made sure I met him, as well as Barber. He also said two of his favorites who didn’t play in New York were Brooks Robinson and Frank Howard.” Drebby was a favorite of manager Casey Stengel’s. He didn’t allow players to drink with him, but he would drink with Drebinger wherever they stayed while on the road. Once Stengel, conspiring with other baseball writers, hoodwinked Drebinger into believing he’d arrived late for an interview. Seeing his colleagues feverishly “writing” in their notebooks, Drebinger let loose an oath. Drebinger was also a fixture at Toots Shor’s Restaurant in Manhattan. At the bar, the owner favored ballplayers as well as other celebrities of the day. “I don’t know how my grandfather operated in this group situation because he relied so much on reading lips,” Higgins says. “It had to be hard for him to jump from one person to another.” Fondly, though, Higgins remembers his grandfather playing the piano in Greensboro whenever he came to visit during the off-season. “My parents would rent a piano and he would

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Sporting Life play it for their friends,” he says. “He also enjoyed getting together with Skinny Brown (pitcher for the Yankees and other MLB teams) and Smith Barrier (former Greensboro Daily News sports editor) while he was in town.” But the times they were a-changing. “The trains were rolling clubhouses on wheels,” Higgins says, noting that the boundaries for Major League Baseball in Drebinger’s day were Boston to Washington to St. Louis to Chicago. “Toward the end of his career, everyone was travelling by jet. Hanging out at the airport just wasn’t the same.” Drebinger estimated he traveled 1.23 million miles, saw almost 6,000 ballgames and “ate a ton of hot dogs” while watching Major League Baseball — especially New York Yankees’ games. He was forced to retire from The Times at the age of 73, but then Ralph Houk, then general manager of the team, offered him a job as public relations assistant. He only had to attend Yankee home games. He did that until he was 80. By the time he was 88, Drebby was slowing down. The Higgins family set them up in an apartment near Guilford College. At first they were getting along fine, but that didn’t last very long. “Madeleine called me in early October,” Higgins remembers. Then, he says, “My grandfather fell in the apartment.” Higgins took Drebinger first to the hospital and then to Greenhaven, where he died October 22, 1979. Madeleine, who had been born in France, then went to California, where she died a year later. Higgins is separated from his wife, Suzanne. His two daughters, Liz and Rachel, both graduates of UNC-Chapel Hill, live in Brooklyn. “They are reconnecting with that brand of the family,” says Higgins, who got his undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania before earning his law degree in Chapel Hill. In 1973 Drebinger was voted to the J.G. Taylor Spink Award for baseball writing. Inductees to this award give a speech on Induction Day in Cooperstown, New York, and are honored in the “writers wing” of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Til Ferdenzi, a writer for the New York Herald Tribune when Drebinger was at The Times had said Drebinger “wrote the purest and most intelligent baseball stories in the country.” “I would like to visit Cooperstown one day,” Higgins muses. “I’ve been told by a law partner that there is a whole drawer there on information about John Drebinger.” OH When his parents gave him a pack of cards that contained Ernie Banks, Ted Williams and Jackie Robinson, Greensboro resident Kevin Reid became a baseball fan for life. His passion for the game led to his career in writing. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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44 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Wandering Billy

A Moveable Feast Our man on the town visits one of the city’s last great diners; finds a hotdog to his liking, and a hopping burger joint

By Billy Eye

Lord have mercy, my mother would

be rolling over in her grave if we hadn’t had her cremated. It suddenly occurred to me that I hadn’t removed the Christmas wreaths so I made a quick trip out to Green Hill Cemetery yesterday. What fond memories I have walking those winding pathways into downtown as a kid before they fenced it all in. My sister’s first name is Rives, my mom’s maiden name. When she was very young and we were at the ballpark, I walked dear sister to the family plot. I pointed to the biggest stone that simply said “Rives,” then told her she was dying soon so the family had her headstone carved ahead of time. We were just waiting to add the date. That made her cry. Not exactly a proud moment. Oh, who am I kidding, yes it was!

Lunched at Bernie’s Bar-B-Que, located way out on East Bessemer, a culinary getaway into the past. The folks there are very friendly, casual, one of the last authentic diners with a repast unsurpassed and surprisingly inexpensive. The best barbeque sandwich outside of Lexington, scrumptious hush puppies and sweet tea for less than five bucks. They start prepping their pork at four in the morning, everything from fried chicken to apple pie made fresh the way grandma would have loved. Treat your youngsters to what the old days looked and tasted like. Before Bernie bought the place in 1984 it was Beverly’s Bar-BCue all the way back to 1950, managed by Beverly Brooks. For sixty-six years this hasher has been owned and operated by women. There’s construction work underway at 304 East Market, on the corner of Church. I had to check it out for myself. This imposing edifice was built in 1923. Many will remember it as Adamson Cadillac-Olds before Bill Black The Art & Soul of Greensboro

bought the franchise in the mid-’50s. The roomy interior with two-story high ceilings looked as it did when the place was vacated in the mid-’60s with an inviting Art Deco staircase leading to the sales offices and rich wood paneling that survived into the 1990s when Kit Rodenbough dressed it up for Design Archives. Remember the parties there? Hopefully the metal awning above the front doors with Mediterranean-inspired detailing will be retained. This is the last building on this stretch to be rehabbed. Had a nice chat with Jane Vaughan Teer at the Historical Museum bookstore. She lives on Hill Street and saw the feature I wrote for the February issue about growing up two houses down from her current home. I’m just relieved property values on the block didn’t plummet after that story, the way they rose dramatically after we moved away. Speaking of something in dire need of rehab, I stopped for a quick bite with Grady Riddle, the Hot Dog guy at the Depot, just two blocks south. You’d have to get up pretty early in the last century to beat my favorite, Yum Yum’s, but Grady has the firm wiener and soft buns I prefer. At least his frankfurters do. Grady spends his nights doing stand-up comedy in various clubs around town. I asked for a sample: “If you were driving a Pathfinder and got lost would you feel stupid? If you were driving a Navigator and you took a wrong turn, would you blame your car?” What’s a groan man to do? Hops on Spring Garden, judged by someone somewhere as having the Greatest Burger in the Galaxy, has perfected the art of the in-person reservation. Leave your name at the door, then come back in an hour-and-a-half. What to do in the meantime? Walk across the street to the Chinese restaurant, enjoy a meal, by the time you’re hungry again . . . your table is waiting at Hops! A confluence of cars kept in a holding pattern around that area has generated such a parking pile-up it forced the folks at Josephine’s to rethink their business model — so Scrambled is plating when Hops isn’t, at breakfast. How is Hops Burger Bar’s second location at Lawndale Shopping Center affecting traffic patterns in that already congested lot? I’ll let you know in an hour and a half . . . Hat tip to Natalia Roberts who just gave birth to Jeffrey Lewis Losius. ‘Mama’s baby, Papa’s maybe?’ Not this time! Jeffery looks just like his daddy Losh, who couldn’t be prouder of their blue-eyed, cherub-cheeked son. Here’s hoping I wander your way soon . . . OH The author would like you to consider the sheer number of monkeys, not to mention rows of typewriters, it took to produce this column. April 2016

O.Henry 45


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Saltywords

The Card-Carrying Southerner A mini-guide for those from someplace else

By Nan Graham

I was once asked to teach a class

on how to be a Southerner. After picking myself off the floor and recovering from hysterical laughter, I respectfully declined.

But it makes me think that there really is a need for a card for newcomers to our part of the world . . . those “from someplace else,” as I like to call them, since I consider the “Y” word unkind. Laminated, this card could be carried in your wallet like your driver’s license or how-to-tip card. The card would be a ready aid for those unfamiliar with Southern mores and customs. You could refer to it discreetly as needed. Learn to palm this card and pretend to cough when you glance at the appropriate Southern reference.

1. Food:

Southerners could easily adopt the Malaysian culture, whose greeting is not, “How are you?” but instead, “Have you eaten?” I believe that salutation could be right up there with, “How’s your Mama?” which is usually the second thing Southerners say after their opening shot. We do love our food. Foods you eat, serve and discuss in detail: Watermelon . . . how to select, how to cut, how to eat. Thumping a melon is akin to tire kicking in the automobile world. It may not tell you anything, but it sure makes you look like you know what you are doing. The trick is to flick your index finger off your thumb and strike the surface of the watermelon. Bend your cocked head toward the melon and listen intently. The best watermelons will have a distinct hollow sound as opposed to a flat, non-resonant sound. Even if you can’t tell the difference, pretend you can. Always cut the melon long-ways. Like the deviled egg or asparagus spear, watermelon is considered a finger (or hand-held) food by some. Eating with a fork is permissible if you prefer not to bury your face in the juicy crimson crescent. Know when to say barbecue and when to say pig pickin’ (remember, it is essential to drop the final g).

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Understand that grits is never eaten with sugar. It is a cardinal Southern sin. Butter, salt and pepper, please. Grits is a singular collective noun . . . never refer to it as they or them. You will never meet a single grit as they always hang out in an inseparable crowd. “Yes. Grits? I will have some more of it.” . . . Never them. When speaking of produce, be sure to use the specific name. White corn will not do; say “Silver Queen” or “Peaches and Cream.” Same goes for tomatoes. It’s “Better Boy” or “Best Boy.” This specificity gives you that air of agrarian authority we Southerners love to affect. Okra is a quintessential Southern food. Overcoming the dreaded slime factor is essential for the okra indoctrination. Start with fried okra and graduate to pickled okra and gumbo. Deviled eggs are required at most Southern gatherings. It is imperative that you have a platter designed and designated specifically for the deviled egg. I claim deviled eggs my long suit. Refusing to call them “stuffed eggs,” I consider them a staple of every Southern party and picnic: the gastronomical treat that’s hard to beat. And catnip to all men. I have Mama’s hobnail glass deviled egg plate, a must for any Southern soul serving deviled eggs at home or abroad. I was shocked to learn that my friend Jane, planning to take the ubiquitous eggs to her family reunion, did not possess such a plate . . . that round glass or china platter with a dozen half egg-shaped wells encircling it. In the flat center, you can put more eggs or sliced tomatoes and cukes, pickled okra or some such. I bought Jane this necessity as an early Christmas gift. She can now avoid being the object of muffled snickering at the family gathering. My own egg plate once ventured out to a WHQR Public Radio Board and Commentator party. I covered the to-die-for eggs garnished with cherry tomatoes and basil with Saran wrap, parked on an unusually busy Front Street and headed out, eggs elevated shoulder-high on one hand to maneuver my way through the crowd to the destination a block away. I got to the address and read the sign. It was a hookah bar. I thought the Board had really kicked over its traces with a fresh and interesting choice of venue. I sailed through the incense, deviled eggs on high, toward a bearded man. Like a stout, elderly Blanche DuBois, eternally dependent on the kindness of strangers and poor lighting, I asked if this was the place for the WHQR party. April 2016

O.Henry 47


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Saltywords The bearded gentleman inside could not have been nicer . . . or more confused. His usual clientele is rarely an ancient woman carrying an egg plate aloft in one hand, waitress-style, and clutching an email with the address and phone number in the other. “No, no WHQR board meeting here,” he assured me. I showed him my email. “Yes, this is the same address.” Always prepared, I had no cellphone with me. “Can you call this phone number for me?” I asked. He returned from the phone with another address on Third Street. “Your host was wondering where you were . . . with your deviled eggs.” I thanked him warmly, trudged back to the parked car to drive around the block. When the party was over, I took my empty egg plate to go home. Too bad the deviled wonders were all gone . . . I really would like to have left a few with that lovely Hookah gentleman.

ON PERFECT POND

2. Loving our pests and critters:

Never show a fear of waterbugs, aka, roaches. Like a horse, a roach can sense your fear. It might become aggressive. Genteel South Carolinians call them Palmetto bugs. “Palmetto bugs” doesn’t really work for this Carolinian. I suggest you give them individual names and pretend they are family pets. Frisky or Big Mo. Saddle them up and have the younger grandchildren ride them. Do not attempt this familiarity with the nosee-ums or even the see-ums native to this part of the country, a species of tiny insects clearly too size-challenged to be wrangled or too ornery to be domesticated.

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3. Language:

Use lots of similes and metaphors in your colorful narrations. Make hyperbole your best friend: “Most politicians are as crooked as a dog’s hind leg.” “South Carolina is too small to be a republic and too large to be an insane asylum.” My favorite from the late Doug Marlette: a little Southern “town so backwoods even the Episcopalians handled snakes.” Giveaways to avoid: Never say soda instead of soft drink or Cocola. Only north of the MasonDixon is it soda or pop. And our glorious, long-gone Wrightsville Beach beachfront pavilion . . . wondrous, blazing with lights “like a Baptist window,” as Truman Capote once wrote. It’s called Lumina, not the Lumina. Never use the article to speak of the historic building. It will reveal you as an outlander. *Note: Two references to Southern authors, Doug Marlette and Truman Capote, establish the fact that you are familiar with regional literati. Name dropping is encouraged.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2016

O.Henry 49


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50 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Saltywords Do not say “Hi” instead of the requisite “Hey” upon meeting a stranger on the street. Do not revert to omitting any greeting at all. In the South, if it moves, you speak to it.

4. Acceptable Pets:

Boykin spaniels, Plott hounds, Labrador retrievers or any hunting dog . . . no Maltese or Yorkies or combo lapdogs (peekapoos) will do. Not manly enough. Even a couch potato mutt must affect the nonchalant air of a sporting breed. And please have a story and breed name for that rescue dog. “Oh, that’s Thurston. He’s a Fuquay-Varina Spaniel. Very rare, but a fine hunter. Comes from a Southern breed that accompanied General Beauregard at the launching of the Hunley submarine in Mobile?” (The question mark at the end of your sentence is said with a lilt, which indicates it is not really a question, but a reassurance that surely your listener already knows these facts.)

5. Ancestors:

Get some. This is essential. Portraits are available in all antique stores. Also check consignment stores. Hang in your living room and make up outrageous stories about your newly purchased eccentric. “This is great-aunt Hettibelle. She was one of five sisters whose folks named each daughter with ‘belle’ at the end of her name: Lulabelle, Marybelle, Annabelle and Corabelle. Unfortunately the name did not prove prophetic as you can plainly see by Hettibelle’s portrait. Notice the artist included a feathered fan in the portrait.” (Wave your hand gracefully toward the painting.) “This is the artist’s nod to Hettibelle’s passion. She raised chickens, which she named after Biblical characters and trained to do a sort of nineteenth century line dance. General Sherman was so enthralled with the hens’ performance that he left the ‘Big House’ standing but did gallop off with Bathsheba and Esther, two of Hettibelle’s favorites, tucked under his blue jacket.” Your story can continue, unless your listener’s eyes appear to have glazed over.

6. Nicknames:

Invent one. They are as essential as ancestors. Bill Slocumb from Goldsboro was nicknamed Suicide Slocumb. Unfortunately, his occupation was commercial airline pilot. My husband always said if the pilot ever came on and announced “Hello, this is your pilot, Suicide Slocomb,” that I was to deplane immediately. I have a feeling I would have company exiting the plane. There you have it. Your own mini-guide to transforming yourself into a Southern local. Simple. And just in time for the tourist season! OH

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Salt contributor Nan Graham is a true Southerner and the literary doyenne of the Cape Fear. Name-dropping is encouraged. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 51


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Proper English

I’m Just Mad About Saffron In defense of the pine trees’ lusty dust

By Serena Brown

Am I the only person that loves our

longleaf pollen season? I’ve observed that it’s common practice among natives and newcomers alike to batten down the hatches at the first sight of spring’s yellow mist. Every year I welcome the clouds of golden dust that billow around us. They seem to me to be a connection to the very soul of the Sandhills. It’s hard to live on the sandy soil of the Pine Barrens. This is palustris country. Once a year, no matter how we chop them down and mistreat them, the trees remind us that this is their domain.

Autumnal leaves aside, this is the first place I have lived where the trees throw a blanket over the land. It’s a sort of fiesta of fecundity. I realize that to people with allergies it’s more akin to the dread simoom. By some strange coincidence I have developed a sinus infection while writing this month’s column, so I am deeply sympathetic. When we first came to this area we rented a house by Spring Valley Lake in Whispering Pines. Our new home was largely decorated in pale tones and I despaired of the landlady’s sofa returning to its snow-white origins. I needn’t have worried, the pollen washed right off. My husband, who grew up here in south central North Carolina, did mention that there

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

might be a bit of pollen. He didn’t say anything about a fog. And so pollen season came our first year here. Our white house was washed yellow. The warm breezes carried waft after waft of fine gold dust. The puppy left clear paw prints in the sunbeam powder carpet. One afternoon I walked down to the dock and dived into the water. I emerged into a bolt of golden, liquid fabric. As I swam through the silken veil, it moved with me, creating ripple after ripple of yellow on the water’s black depths. It was as though I were the sole worshipper in a spiritual celebration of water and pine. And so I fell in love with the falling breezes of ochre. People often complain about the yellow coating their cars and houses. If they were living in London in April 2010 they would have been sweeping volcanic dust from the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull off their cars. That’s a thoughtless windscreen wipe you only do once. At least pollen doesn’t scrape glass. And it gives a reason to use the marvellous word Eyjafjallajökull in conversation. According to the Internet — so it must be true — pine pollen is a potent mix of androgens and testosterone. Of course it is. It’s a dust of tree lust. Apparently American Indians would eat it before going into battle. I’ve been looking into that; not because I want to eat it myself — though the omniscient Internet assures me that pine pollen is the next goji berry — but because I’d like to know what American Indian legends are attached to the golden pollen. I have made enquiries at The Museum of the Southeast American Indian at UNC Pembroke. In the meantime I’ll be making up my own stories. The doors and windows will be wide open for inspiration. I’ll be the person wandering the countryside watching with joy as gold dust drifts across my path. OH Serena Brown is a senior editor for Pinestraw magazine in Southern Pines. April 2016

O.Henry 53


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April 2016

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Evolving Species

Stardust

“The true value of a human being is determined by the extent to which he or she is free of the self.” –Albert Einstein

By Robert Gingher

Einstein once said, “I want

to know God’s thoughts; the rest are mere details.” Knowledge, limited to the known, seemed secondary to imagination. His godlike ability to use imagination — to suspend common-sense belief to explore cosmic dynamics — bore the most revolutionary idea of the twentieth century. Space, time, matter, and energy co-existed in a four-dimensional continuum. Distance and time worked together to maintain a constant speed of light.

Newton’s gravity was an attracting force between masses, without effecting on absolute independence of space and time. Einstein’s space and time were interdependent, working as one fabric, spacetime. In this universe, one astrophysicist noted, “matter tells space how to warp and warped space tells matter how to move.” Gravity is simply the curvature of spacetime. Countless experiments have verified Einstein’s discovery. Time slows down in GPS satellites, whizzing by high above earth’s greater surface gravity. GPS uses relativity equations to precorrect, showing show locations with pinpoint accuracy. A century ago Einstein made another prediction: gravitational ripples in spacetime. Now astonished physicists have once again validated the cosmic

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

seer. (Was Einstein perchance an alien?) In September observatories with laser interferometers in Livingston, Louisiana and Hanford, Washington both detected and recorded a gravitational wave forged in the last fraction of a second when two black holes collided 1.3 billion years ago to merge into a single massive spinning black hole. Point of view is alway critical. Canadian astronaut and ISS commander Chris Hadfield waxes poetic about what it’s like to behold the “stupefying beauty” of our precious island home hanging delicately in “the velvet bottomless bucket of the universe.” Holding his tether line on a spacewalk, he recalls seeing the Earth explode into a kaleidoscope of colors next to you all the time when your only link to the other seven billion people and all of history, beauty, poetry, and everything human is linked to one hand.” To be thus lost in awe forever alters one’s groundings in “patience and history . . . you can’t stay local when you’ve lived that globally.” In a noisy world it’s easy to be lost in thought, pulled into the warped space of repetitive, conditioned behavior. For twenty-six centuries spiritual teachers have been convinced of the illusion of self. It’s good to take stock now and then, to listen to the profound sound of stillness and silence, to ponder the stars on a clear night, to let the immeasurable vastness of space steal your breath away. Apollo 11 astronaut Edgar Mitchell remembers his shocking revelation this way: “I fully understood that the molecules in my body, my partners’ bodies, and in the spacecraft had been prototyped in this amazing generation of stars — in other words, it was pretty obvious . . . we’re stardust.” You and I are 99.999 percent emptiness, like interstellar space. Maybe it’s time to listen up, to acknowledge a cosmic kinship. OH Robert Gingher is reluctantly emerging from his cozy Newtonian hermit crab home. April 2016

O.Henry 55


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Pappadaddy

The Retired Judge A lesson on socks. Sorta

By Clyde Edgerton

I was working on a problem regarding

Illustration by harry Blair

equal opportunity, and a friend said, “You need to speak to Judge Burnett. Gil Burnett. Here’s his phone number.”

I called the Judge and we decided to meet at Starbucks. He’d told me he would be wearing an orange jacket, so when I walked into Starbucks, I looked around, saw a man in an orange jacket — getting a cup of coffee. I approached. He turned, we introduced ourselves and shook hands. I said something. He leaned forward a little, looked at me funny and said, “I forgot my hearing aids.” He touched his mouth. “And two teeth.” We both laughed, sat down and started talking. I don’t hear well, myself, and I told the Judge a story about my mother in her later years. A neighbor, who also couldn’t hear well, occasionally stopped by my mother’s house. The two would sit side by side on the couch in the den, lean toward each other until their heads touched. Then they’d relax and start talking and laughing, their heads together, each able to hear the other — through skull-bone vibrations. During our talk, the Judge, as I call him now, mentioned a kind of formula about “if” and “which.” The next day I couldn’t remember what the “if/which” business was, so I called him and asked. He said, “Just a minute. I always pull over to the side of the road when I talk on the phone . . . OK, go ahead.” “Judge, what was that ‘if/which’ business you were talking about yesterday?” “Oh. Oh, yes. Well, Clyde, once long ago, I was selling socks. One day I decided to try to sell some to a prison administrator. Figured I could sell a good batch to a prison. When I asked the administrator if he wanted to buy some socks, he said, ‘Oh, no. I couldn’t do that. Not now anyway. I have to have a group of bids before I can buy socks and that’s not going to happen for some time. You’ll have to come back later.’ “So I said, ‘Do you mind if I show you a few pictures, sir? That’s all, just a few pictures of my socks before I go,’ and he said, ‘OK.’ “I was in. I said, ‘Mercy me. Let me just show you a few socks along with the pictures. You’ve got to see some of the weaves I have in some of these reinforced heels. These socks last forever, you know?’ “So, I went to work. I showed him some weaves, asked him to feel the softness of the heels, and so on. I pulled out more and more socks — had socks on the table, in chairs, and finally, just at the right time, I said, ‘Now, sir. Which ones do you want? These? Look a there; feel that. Or these? That’s such a strong weave and with a high top, too. Or these? Now these — feel that — these are very nice. And all these socks are cheap, too. Which do you want?’ “And he bought a big order of socks. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“So you see, Clyde, we went from ‘if’ he was going to buy some socks to ‘which’ socks he was going to buy. That’s the ‘if/which’ switch.” There was a pause. “But sometimes,” he said, “it can work backwards. You may need to move away from the ‘which’ question and into ‘if’ territory.” “As in?” I said. “Well, suppose somebody is trying to get you to go to either Myrtle Beach or Charlotte. You might just have to say you are unable to travel . . . you turn the question from which place you’re being asked to visit to whether or not you want to go, because one of the best reasons for not doing something is that you don’t want to.” The next time I was talking with the Judge on the phone, we were discussing the complicated issue we’d been discussing in Starbucks — we got into morality and justice and all that. The Judge paused, and then told me a little story. He was once a law school student and one day the professor asked him, ‘Mr. Burnett, if you say I’m a sorry teacher, can I sue you?’ The Judge was ready. “Yes, you can sue me, sir; but the perfect defense is the truth.” OH Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW.

April 2016

O.Henry 57


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58 O.Henry

April 2016

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Top Bill-ing

Birdwatch

Looking and listening for the rose-breasted grosbeak

By Susan Campbell

photograph by debra regula

There are

few migrants that offer such a surprise to backyard birdwatchers in the spring as rosebreasted grosbeaks. The males are glorious, with their massive white bills and rosy, red breasts, set against contrasting black-and-white plumage. Fortunately they adore black oil sunflower seeds, a feeder staple in much of the Piedmont and Sandhills. When these sizable travelers arrive, they tend to stick around awhile — which is quite the thrill! Although the females have the same characteristic large bills as the males, they’re a bit drabber. But their white eyebrows and striped bodies set them apart from other finches in the area. The migratory pattern of rose-breasted grosbeaks is a bit unpredictable — appearing in numbers at feeders some years and not at all in others. But those who do appear are only making a pit stop — their final destination is many miles farther to the north. These grosbeaks are long-distance migrants. Some individuals leave the tropics to make their way all the way north to Canada each year. It is thought that the grosbeaks that breed in the Appalachians spend their winters farthest south: from Panama down into northern South America. There they can be

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

found in small groups feeding on a variety of readily available fruits, seeds and invertebrates. Unfortunately, the beauty of males as well as their melodious songs makes them prized possessions as cage birds in Central America. The song of this bird has been revered since the species was first discovered in the Americas. Rose-breasted grosbeaks are said to sing like very happy or even drunk American robins. In fact, their song is so pure and beautiful, some birdwatchers say that they sound like robins that have been taking voice lessons. Even more distinctive is their loud call. To most it sounds like the a “chink” of a sneaker on a gym floor. If you know what to listen for, you can follow the sound to where the bird is perched. In contrast, it is much more challenging to pin down a singing bird. If they don’t show up in your backyard and you’re determined to see one, you might want to visit the western part of North Carolina. Rose-breasted grosbeaks often forage in forest, with pairs frequenting openings and woodland edges. Females choose the nest site, but then both adults build the nest, incubate the eggs, brood and feed their young. The nest location is typically at the fork of a twig on a sapling. In spite of their efforts, the nest itself is often a flimsy affair, with the eggs often visible through the material at the bottom. However, the male will very aggressively defend the site. Not only will he quickly run off squirrels, jays and blackbirds, he will attack other grosbeaks with vigor as well. Their behavior is so notorious that it was studied by early animal behaviorists as they attempted to understand territoriality in birds. The rose-breasted’s cousin, the blue grosbeak, does breed here in our area — but we will save that story for next time. For now, keep your eyes peeled for this handsome songster. These boldly colored birds will not be around for long! OH Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at susan@ncaves.com. April 2016

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Undone

A Novel Year

Life gets messy. Same as a first draft. But it’s all part of the beautiful process By Wiley Cash

Our 17-month-old daughter, Early,

photograph by Mallory Brady Cash

has to be at school in half an hour, and I’m in charge. At the moment, she’s wearing leather moccasins, sweat pants, a tie-dyed shirt, beads, and a headband bejeweled in bells, streamers and feathers. She looks like a flapper from the Roaring Twenties who’s wandered into the Haight-Ashbury District in search of a gym. She’s carrying my wife’s purse around her neck, alternately stepping on the straps and getting her feet tangled in them. Snot gushes from both nostrils. It covers her cheeks, runs the risk of finding her hair. I’ve got a diaper bag over one shoulder and a tiny tin of goldfish crackers that are to be used only for emergencies. School now starts in twenty-five minutes. Did I mention that I’m in charge?

My wife, Mallory, picks up her camera, snaps a few pictures. She looks at me, smiles. I want to ask for her assistance in persuading Early to give up the purse, to request some extra muscle in wrangling her tiny but freakishly strong body into the car seat, but I can’t. Mallory’s pregnant, and I don’t mean “great with child” pregnant. I mean “if I cough or sneeze or move the wrong way this baby may fall from my body” pregnant. She hasn’t slept through the night in weeks. She hasn’t been able to catch her breath for just as long. It’s time I step in and take on some responsibility. Also, I just finished my book and sent it to my editor, so now I don’t have an excuse. Sending Early to school was my idea anyway. It’s not real school, but a once-a-week “baby and me” class where parents convene for forty-five minutes in a Montessori setting to beseech the teacher for tips and advice while their toddlers summarily destroy the well-organized classroom. I attended the first class, and then I missed the next three classes because I was finishing a novel already way over deadline, like, years over deadline. When I began The Art & Soul of Greensboro

writing it five years ago we lived in West Virginia. During these five years we’ve moved home to North Carolina, given birth to a daughter, and are now expecting another little girl any day. I often found myself moody, distant, or preoccupied with the story in my head while real life unfolded all around me. To create a fictional world that feels real enough to be sustained for the years of its creation is to constantly find yourself with one foot on earth and one foot in the miasma of creation. All that is behind me now, at least until I start another book. As I take hold of Early’s hand and lead her through the foyer to the front door, I think back on what it was like to submit the manuscripts of my first and second novels to my editor. On the night I finished A Land More Kind Than Home in the fall of 2008, I joined friends for dinner at an Indian restaurant in Pittsburgh. The night was warm and clear, and I remember the freedom I felt once the thing that had taken so much of my time over the past several years was finally off my desk. When I finished This Dark Road to Mercy in the spring of 2013, Mallory and I went on a long bike ride along the Monongahela River in Morgantown, West Virginia. Now, having finished what I believe to be a novel that is better written and better told than my first two, I am on my way out the door to “school” with a toddler I’ve already proven incapable of dressing and de-snotting. But as I strap Early into her car seat and leave the tin of goldfish crackers in easy reach should either of us find ourselves in an emergency, I recall something very important about my first two novels and the memories I have of them being “finished”: They weren’t really finished. Both novels were returned with heavy edits. Hundreds of pages were cut or added or rearranged before the novels were accepted by my editor and scheduled for publication. Now, a sick feeling passes through my body, followed by a cold sweat. I’m not done with this novel either. I’ve submitted a full draft to my editor, but there’s no reason to believe that it won’t be sent back to me. There’s no reason to believe that hundreds of pages won’t be cut or added or rearranged. I climb into the driver’s seat and buckle my seat belt. I adjust my rear-view mirror so that I can see Early’s face where she looks at me from her own mirror that hangs in the middle of the back seat. She smiles, the blue feather from her headband dusting her blue eyes. She is an angel, an angel covered in snot whose wardrobe was of her father’s making. That’s OK. Today is a draft, a complete draft, but a draft nonetheless. Next week will be tighter, more coordinated, less snotty. Next week, when I get another chance, I’ll get it right. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. He lives in Wilmington. April 2016

O.Henry 61


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GreensboroBuilders.org 62 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April 2016 Deer, This Year

The word is this year the deer don’t eat dusty miller. That’s the word. Last year it was zinnias and hollyhocks. But the only thing certain is lamb’s ear and marigolds. Daylilies they devour. Petunias and cannas are a moment on their lips. Hostas are a meal. Alpine lilies they relish and lettuce . . . an absolute invitation. Overnight they know and mow down a row. Tomatoes they swallow green and whole and nibble the stalk as afterthought. Carrots, peas, pole beans. Nothing stands a chance when they tuck their white bibs, follow their noses and lick their lips not waiting at the table. –Ruth Moose

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O.Henry 63


The Silly

Love Poems of Alan Cone

Family ditties from the heart of our favorite neighborhood laureate

T

his April marks the 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, a designation meant to inspire Americans to both read and write poetry. We poetry geeks at O.Henry Magazine have been honored to publish the works of local established poets, statewide laureates and several nationally recognized poets in our midst — a tradition we fully plan to continue. But sometimes, as Ogden Nash was said to have observed, there’s a Port just around the corner — or in the case of Alan Cone, just next door to O.Henry’s editorial offices on Banking Street. Not long ago we heard about a delightful little book of verse he privately published a decade ago to give to friends, an outgrowth of a Cone family tradition begun by Alan’s Aunt Elaine Cone, also known as Ayah, a prolific poet who resided on Summit Avenue and lived to the ripe old age of 96. Over many decades, at Ayah’s request, guests to her Lake Placid summer home were invited to sign her guest book in light verse or some form of artwork. “She accumulated wonderful little poems and artwork from visitors and family members,” explains Alan Cone, now a spry 90 himself. “The poems were meant to commemorate family events — marriages, engagements, anniversaries, trips of friends and family and so forth. And by the time she died, she had many volumes of these rather silly poems.” Several decades ago, in the aftermath of a divorce from his first wife and remarriage to his current wife Sally, Alan himself began collecting — and writing — his own “silly” poems to commemorate the journey: ditties to a son’s heading off to college or Europe, to friends upon their engagements and anniversaries, and a splendid batch of lovely ones to his beloved bride “Sal,” who in fact urged him to gather his poems and a few others by his Uncle Herman and family members into a slim volume called Rhymes for All Reasons, which he published in 2007. This May, Alan and his bride celebrate forty years of marriage. “Anyone can write a poem,” he says with a typically modest smile. “It’s a wonderful way to let people know how you feel about them, a kind of celebration.” We couldn’t agree more, which is why we’re happy to celebrate Alan Cone’s poetic fidelity and wonderful silly poems.

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TO STEVE Have a great time in Switzerland, Son, But don’t go wild spending your moo. Be good and remember your manners when Meeting those European ladies and men. Be real careful, and don’t take a chance, Especially when crossing the street in France. In Paris, they say, the ladies are frisky. For lads like you, it’s especially risky. Watch your step when climbing those hills, Less you stumble and take great spills. All the way down from Switzerland to Germany Where you may end up in the infirmary. I suggest you ski on the smaller slope Until, with the big ones, you can cope. The food may be rich, watch what you take. Less you acquire a big stomach ache. While you are enjoying the mountains and lakes, We’ll be here taking care of your snakes. And watching your mom wringing her hands Thinking of you in those foreign lands.

DEAR BILLY This year you’ll find in your Christmas sock 500 more shares of Tareyton Stock. Tho just some paper it might seem, Someday it’ll help you fulfill your dream. This year, due to fierce competition, We did not better our position. Earnings simply weren’t there So dividends we could not declare. But do not worry, you’re not forsaken. Dick and David will bring home the bacon. Our sales are beginning to catch on fire. Next year’s profits should be higher. So keep your stock and never fear. In years to come it will be quite dear. Love, Dad Christmas, 1985

Dad June 27, 1972

SARALEE In school you stood out in the crowd And made your mother very proud And ever more, when class adjourned, To work you went and money earned. At home as well, whether fair or raining You did your chores without complaining. And soon you will be off to France Leaving behind your sister, Nance, Who, like you, is a super gal And is also a credit to Mother Sal. So, congratulations, Saralee, You’re as fine a person as can be! 1979

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TO CLARENCE CONE ON HIS 79TH BIRTHDAY Sally and I, en route to Europe, Are now in New York City. At Libby’s request we’ll try our best To write a little ditty. TO JOANNE BLUETHENTHAL Last year we took a trip together To New Zealand and Australia. Joanne was afraid at first It would be doomed to failure. “Those Cones are somewhat opinionated And have some strange ideas.” Whether we can agree on anything Was uppermost in her mind. “The Cones are both Republicans Jesse’s party, don’t you see. And we are quite the opposite, As liberal as can be.” But all her fears were groundless. We accepted each others views. And actually agreed on some, for example A woman’s right to choose. Sally’s not quite what she seems. She actually wears two hats. Tho she’s a registered Republican. She votes for Democrats. Exactly one year ago today We were at Rotaura. A very unusual place indeed, Tho it smelled much like a sewer. Then on to Huka Lodge we went, A marvelous place to be. But much to Arthur’s disappointment No hookers were there to see. The rest of the trip was just great. Except those two Rolls Royces. If we were to do it again, We’d make different choices. So, happy Birthday, Joanne dear. For a better friend, we couldn’t want. We hope that soon, the four of us Will plan another exciting jaunt. Sally and Alan February 28, 1996

But what can we say, we ask ourselves As we pick up pad and pen To adequately express our feelings For this nicest of all men. All his life he had excelled Since the time that he could crawl. From Eagle Scout to top exec, He has done it all. And when his business career was done. He became a cabinet maker. The quality of furniture he now makes Far exceeds Henredon or Baker. The way he’s handled his recent illness Is an inspiration to us all. And with the doctor’s and Libby’s help, He’ll be back in shape this fall. So Happy Birthday to you Nank. Love and best wishes we send. We are much the better for having you As our cousin and our friend. August 1989

As I bask in this Bahama air I count my blessings, many and rare. Three of them are fighting, but I can’t hear it. I’m too full of the Christmas spirit. Many strange sights do we see here In this foreign land that’s yet so near. Today Bill and I took a long bike ride With a small native boy as our guide. We saw a man, old and decrepit Walking a deserted beach, stark naked A funeral just passed by, solemn and grand Led by the preacher and then the band. The cemetery, it’s quite close by. It’s visible to the naked eye. When I glanced from the window, I got a bit nervous. There were my boys, attending the service. But the trip’s almost over, and I am hacked. For many days my brain I have wracked. I cannot think to save my life Of a Christmas gift for my estranged wife. Jewelry is no longer apropos. Lingerie too, is a waste of dough. She has all of these things one could possibly use. I even thought of a bottle of booze. But this isn’t the answer to my little mission. Besides it’s bad for her disposition. Then suddenly in my mind appeared an idea. The answer to my problem is very clear. The obvious gift for my ex-spouse Is a few bucks to spend on her fine new house. So here is a check for one thousand dollars With best wishes for now and your new life that follows. December 1974

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


SEEVIE’S STAGA (STEVIE’S SAGA) Tonce upon a wime there guz a wuy named Keevie Stone. He was rawn and braised in Breensgoro, North Larokina. He kent to wollege and to scaw lool. He’s one cart smooky. He cedided to lactice praw, so he shung out his hingle in Tilmingwon, North Larokina. He fuvs to lish and mime clountains and doesn’t murk very wuch. Dun way, Keevie lell in fuv with a guvly lirl named Larokine. That was his ducky lay. Tomorrow they will met garried and go on their money hoon to Zoo Nealand. Then, Keevie must wo to girk and make mots of lunny so Keeve and Larokine can enjoy fife to the lullest. March 6, 1992

TO ELIZABETH & MILES WOLFE This is the story of Elizabeth and Miles And how she used her womanly wiles To finally win him to her side And thus become his blushing bride. Or did it happen the other way, No one knows and cannot say; Was it Miles who pulled the coup And beguiled Elizabeth as some men do. It’s rumored that on one cold damp day Elizabeth called our Miles to say, “There’s nothing to do and I’m bored and chilled, If you’d come to Florida, I’d be thrilled.” And Miles said, “Elizabeth, I love you so But unfortunately I cannot go Unless, by chance, you’d like to be At long last betrothed to me.” So they were married and off they went To the part of Florida with the highest rent Where only the bluest of blue bloods reside Thank Goodness they let ole Miles inside. So let’s raise our glass and drink this toast To the pair of the year whom we love the most Sally and I, and each of our guests, Join together to wish you the best. 1977

SALLY After six great years of marriage, I think it is high time To pick up pen and paper And write my wife a rhyme. She’s everything that any man Could ever even dream of. How very, very easy it was With her to fall in love. Although she’s reached the ripe old age Of fifty, nevertheless, That she is over twenty-nine No one would ever guess. She has a girlish figure. On her No extra weight is found . There’s no fat on her tummy- and Her bottom’s firm and round. She exercises every day. She leaps on her re-bounder. She’s younger now than years ago, That great day when I found her. In addition to her lovely looks, She’s smart and energetic. If you try matching wits with her, She’ll make you look pathetic. She had a lot of problems once. She’s now more realistic. Although she loves me very much, All men are chauvinistic. She’s gotten into politics. Opposition she overwhelms. If you really want to make her mad Just mention Jesse Helms! TO SALLY Happy anniversary number twenty-four And just to prove I’m not a bore I’m writing you this ridiculous rhyme Which took me a considerable time. Through all these years I’ve loved you so Despite the fact that you don’t know There is something I must say I’m sorry, Sally, but I am gay. P.S. Before you decide to show me the gate I’m just kidding! Your loving mate. May 2, 2000

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The Frog Prince of Rockingham County A lonely boy eager to grow closer to his father and the amphibious operation that nearly made it happen By David C. Bailey

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


F

or years, I thought my friends had more interesting dads than I did. Spencer’s father drove a British racing-green Rover and took us to Virginia International Speedway to see sports cars careen off the track and burst into flames. Carl’s dad, who wore madras shirts and hand-sewn Weejuns, ran a lumber company, where we hung out with employees who’d lost digits to a big whirling saw. Walter’s dad had a cabin on Nutbush Point and a speedboat, behind which we learned to slalom ski. Daddy drove a boring Buick and wore a gray suit to work as manager of Belk-Stevens, where he did his best to teach me the fine art of selling shoes and shirts. He played golf with the same foursome for decades and never once invited me to fill in when one of his buddies went out of town. But he did have a frog farm. And in the short time that it was a going concern, I had the distinct opportunity to engage in some male bonding with him in the company of African Jumbo Bullfrogs. You take what you can get. The first inkling I had that something was afoot was the tinkling of jelly glasses and the occasional swishing of the kitchen faucet. That told me that someone was “having a little squirt.” For those not familiar with the early days of Piedmont North Carolina mixology, imbibers mixed their own cocktails at the kitchen sink. First off, you poured yourself a couple fingers of, in my dad’s case, Old Grand-Dad bourbon. This you tossed down in one gulp. The mixing part came when you chased it with a quick swish of tap water. This was followed by the chattering of water pipes and an increasing volume of idle chatter. That night, it went on past midnight. A week or so later, a Sears truck pulled up to our garage and unloaded rolls upon rolls of chicken wire, along with a big stack of galvanized tin. While I couldn’t really ask why Daddy and his friends communed with OId Grand-Dad into the wee hours, a garage full of chicken wire and tin was a different proposition. Mama sat me down at the kitchen table, just as she did when she told me about my grandmother’s sudden death, and said in much the same tone of voice, “Your dad and Jimmy and Wade are going to start a, well, they’re going to raise bullfrogs.” I later realized that being Pennsylvania Dutch and regarding the word “farm” as something just a little bit short of sacred, she couldn’t bring herself to say her own husband was going to start a frog farm. Daddy, whose father raised a family of eleven by scraping anything that would sprout from the Piedmont’s recalcitrant red clay, mostly tobacco, was fine with calling it a frog farm. Me? I was ecstatic on so many counts. The frogs, Daddy explained, would be African jumbo bullfrogs, big enough to eat cats. (On occasion, he was given to hyperbole.) They’d be sold to Carolina Biological Supply, which would sell them to universities for research. Since everyone knew that frog legs were the most prominent part of a frog’s anatomy, it stood to reason that studying them would be instructive, as in maybe curing polio. By the time Jimmy and Wade and Daddy had had a few squirts, raising bullfrogs for medical research started to sound downright philanthropic. (I was later told that most of them would be dissected by college students.) Most of all, just like my best friend Frank, Jimmy’s son, I saw the frog farm as chance to get out in the wild and do something fun with our dads. Sure, they would take us to the occasional baseball game. They even let us tag along with them to watch them gig frogs from a kayak while we collected chiggers on the bank. But like so many fathers in their 50s, our dads treated us as afterthoughts, creatures that followed you around like pets but are a lot more troublesome. Mind you, my father was certainly proud of my accomplishments, though he didn’t take much of a hand in nurturing them. And I never lacked love. But what Frank and I hungered for from our fathers was friendship, something we knew we had to earn. This frog farm gave us a shot at the one-on-one interaction we craved. Jimmy ran the Jewel Box in Reidsville, and his large, bewarted fists, bedecked with diamonds and hair,

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both fascinated and frightened me, as did he. Jimmy was a big man. When he stripped down to a wife beater, his chest hairs sprouted through his shirt. His jet-black hair was slickly groomed and sat atop a head defined by two huge and ill-shaven jowls, which quivered in a cloud of Lucky Strike smoke when he shouted at us for being the clumsy, thick-headed, clueless dolts that we often were. Wade was an insurance salesman, who had been a tobacco farmer, who had built a greenhouse and nursery, who had grown tomatoes, strawberries and maybe chinchillas. My father called Wade a resourceful man, and he reminded me of Andy Griffith, quip-filled and funny. Wade was average sized, but his muscularity and energy seemed as if it might burst out of the overalls he often wore. Some of his bottomland, too wet for farming, provided an ideal location for a frog farm. A more agreeable, jovial and kind-hearted man has never, I’m sure, raised African bullfrogs. Past president of the Kiwanis Club, Merchants

Association and United Fund, Daddy was the voice of reason and restraint, talking Jimmy, for instance, out of ordering 10,000 tadpoles at one shot. Daddy never needed shrewdness or brilliance, having managed his money so carefully he possessed four out of every five cents he ever made. He was so skinny, like his son, that people joked he needed to jump around in the shower to get wet.

M

y memory of events surrounding the catastrophic African Jumbo Bullfrog blight in Rockingham County is sketchy. But I’ll see or hear something and a froggy event will suddenly revisit me. A lemon yellow Carolina moon will bring back how Daddy and Jimmy used to go out to the water hazards at Pennrose Park Country Club and seine for tadpoles and

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minnows. Jimmy is alternately cursing the mud or coughing on the Lucky Strike hanging from his lower lip. Daddy is hissing out a sigh of frustration as a jagged piece of Coke bottle tears through his waders and the dank, cold water creeps up one pant leg before sloshing down the other. Frank and I plunge our hands into the thick conglomeration in the net and separate the squirming minnows, flagellating tadpoles and pinching crayfish from the slithering snakes and rusting beer cans. The idea was twofold. To feed the frogs on the minnows and to mix some good old North Carolina frogs with the Africans to make them hardier and more likely to survive N.C. winters. A prick from a blackberry bush in the heat of July will conjure up the three ponds on Wade’s erosion-riddled plot of red mud. Frank and I were charged with whacking down blackberry canes, green briars, honeysuckle vines and kudzu to establish a perimeter around the ponds. Even though our legs and arms looked as if we’d been wresting with a bale of barbed wire, we loved the job because we got to use machetes and often found snakes. The clatter of my wife’s cookie sheets reminds me of how Frank and I helped Dad and Jimmy put up the galvanized tin that formed the bottom half of the series of fences that enclosed the ponds. The fence was there not so much to keep the frogs in as to keep predators out — foxes, possums, raccoons and frog giggers. The latter threat was so grave that Wade wanted to electrify the chicken wire that made up the top half of the fence. Three ponds constituted the three stages of frog life. In one, they hatched and developed into tadpoles. In another, they grew up and mated. In the final pond, they got fat and were harvested. That, at least, was the plan. A sophisticated set of sluices and floodgates accommodated the transfer of frogs from one stage to the next. The sight of blood reminds me of the ill-fated tadpole delivery. I remember Daddy driving me down east to visit the tadpole farm, which, in retrospect, must also have been a frog farm. The owner of the farm spent a lot of time trying to convince us that he was not related to that eccentric teacher in Reidsville who had the same last name — and was certainly not his brother, no matter what that idiot said. We’d gotten a similar story from the “brother,” who would later teach me civics. Once he made me kneel before the entire class because of my misbehavior, put his hands on my head, and prayed with eyes squeezed shut: “Please, Lord, help thy servant, David. Exercise thy divine will that he may be more mindful of his fellow students and that his lips may be still and his mind pure . . .” But back to the scorching afternoon in August when the tanker truck arrived at the tadpole pond. It was quite an occasion, sort of an unofficial ribbon cutting for the project, with wives, sisters and curious neighbors assembled to see the little bitty Jumbo African tadpoles (about the size of a shooter marble) emerge from their mobile lair. All eyes focused on the end of a gigantic hose that quivered and snaked as the truck operator flipped a lever. Women actually screamed as thousands of blood clots, intermixed with greenish curds of what had been tadpoles issued from the hose. It had happened once before, the truck driver explained. The screen that kept the thousands The Art & Soul of Greensboro


of gallons of tadpoles separated from the turbine blades of the circulation pump had given way, and oodles of innocents had been turned into tadpole stew. A lightbulb hanging bare from the ceiling reminds me of my father’s one and only invention — the Bailey Bug Bouncer. The necessity that mothered this invention was sad to see: hundreds of anorexic bullfrogs. Maybe you’ve never seen a skinny frog. I’ll assure you, it’s a sorry sight. At any rate, after getting a lawyer friend to negotiate a second shipment of tadpoles, and after they grew legs and could hop around, it became evident that the Jumbos were not living up to their name. And not only were the frogs skinny, they seemed to be doing everything they could to migrate back to Africa. “They’re just not getting enough bugs to eat,” Daddy opined as he looked out over the pond and swatted the 10,000th mosquito of the evening. Why else would a normal and healthy frog want to leave the frog heaven that had been built for them? What was needed, Daddy said, was something to attract the flies and such away from the competition — the cows and horses and pigs and chickens and other farm animals around which they buzzed. “Claude, you may be right,” Jimmy said. “Now take a pig. He stinks and what he leaves behind him stinks. Horses stink. Cows stink. People stink and that’s why mosquitos are attracted to us. A frog, though, is as clean as a whistle. Why would a bug ever come to it, especially when it’s going to be eaten?” The paternal brain trust rejected letting pigs root around in the mud to attract bugs because everyone knows that pigs eat frogs. So the Bailey Bug Bouncer was born. The only thing that attracts bugs better than what animals leave behind them is a light bulb. Once attracted, something was needed to convey the unsuspecting insects into the mouths of the hungry Africans. The Bailey Bug Bouncer, patent still pending, consisted of a length of galvanized stovepipe with a 100-watt light bulb in one end and a high-whining bathroom exhaust fan in the middle. To lure bugs toward the pond, strings of bare light bulbs were strung around the fence, eliciting the comment from one country wit that it looked like the only used frog lot in the county. Daddy’s invention was an instant success. On the night of its debut, thousands of moths, June bugs and flying beetles foundered helplessly on the surface of the three ponds. Problem was, though, the fans’ high-pitched whirring terrified the wild and wary African giants, who tried all the harder to escape of their tin prison. Somewhere out there lay their homeland. The booming of a bass drum at a football game reminds

me of the final days of the frog fiasco. A local vet, in what was surely his first case involving amphibians, concluded that the Jumbo Africans had contracted some disease of the inner ear. “It’s like them beached whales,” Jimmy later explained. Not knowing where the water was, they headed overland until they reached the fence, against which they jumped compulsively, making a sound like a drunken bunch of mythopoetic drummers. I wasn’t privy to the frog farm’s actual demise. I do remember eating a lot of fried frog legs for a while, and they’re still one of my favorite food groups. I retained a single frog, one of the largest frogs we had, every bit as big as a chicken. He’d expired on his own, and I jammed him head-down in a huge Mason jar, one that had once held pickled pigs feet, and poured in Mama’s rubbing alcohol. He was a huge hit at Show and Tell, where I’d point out that a frog like that would cost ten or fifteen dollars if ordered from Carolina Biological Supply. Absent properly preserving formaldehyde, my trophy began to deteriorate. I moved it out of my room in the house into the garage, which was crammed with the leftover from Bailey Bug Bouncers. Finally, the inverted jar began to seep, which produced a smell that my sister said competed with skunk pee. So one Sunday, when Daddy had gone back to playing golf, ending our male brief male bonding, I took the Jumbo African hunchback behind the garage, dug him a not-so-shallow grave, and laid him to rest in his glass-encased coffin. I was well beyond the age of burying pet birds and turtles, but somehow I just couldn’t let the last remnants of so noble and daring a venture end up in the Rockingham County landfill.

A lightbulb hanging bare from the ceiling reminds me of my father’s one and only invention — the Bailey Bug Bouncer.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry’s Editor at Large David Claude Bailey is living larger every day. April 2016

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Victory

Goes to War! The historical faux-tographs of Joe Bemis

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By Billy Ingram

fter earning a degree in commercial photography in 2004, Charlotte native Joe Bemis decided Greensboro was as fine a place as any to launch Victory Productions, where he could assemble teams of like-minded individuals that, at first, focused on retro Betty Page – style pinups and conceptual portraits. Joe discovered his true calling when he began photographically recreating remarkable moments in American history with an attention to detail and period accuracy few would be willing to undertake. In general, very little is digitally inserted into these pictures, with Photoshop used mostly for color and patina to give the work a found- photo effect or the appearance of an antique glass plate. Joe’s Victory Weekends are a call to arms for family, friends, war reenactors, makeup artists and assistants who’ll gather at a predetermined location for a marathon of compositions depicting different combat scenarios. One such outing had everyone jumping in time between Revolutionary, Civil and the two World Wars.

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Authenticity is paramount. For instance, in a scene depicting hand-to-hand warfare during World War I, one participant suited up in the same uniform his grandfather wore in 1916. Added layers of realism consisted of “mustard gas” filling the air, and rain from the night before, which had everyone trudging through mud and water. For his depictions of D-Day’s aftermath, Bemis enlisted Big Red One reenactors who met up with the Victory team in historic Brattonsville, South Carolina. An entire squad turned out in full battle gear, replete with entrenching tools, which were put to use as the guys dug their own foxholes for the photo shoot. At an Eastern Front reenactment, Bemis trained his camera on a Russian sniper taking aim at the enemy; women were on the front lines as Soviet troops invaded Germany. Sometimes his recreations of history almost make history. Like the jolting image taken at Green Hill Cemetery where a memorial to fallen Civil War soldiers was taking place. This is a real-time photograph, not posed. “That could have been a really bad situation,” Bemis says. “Those guys loaded the cannon and it misfired. They loaded it again and that’s why you see smoke coming out of the top. It’s overpacked and could have blown up.” Having heard that ground-rattling explosion, neighbors dashed for their phones to call 911. Police and firefighters circled the area in confusion, unable to ascertain the source of the detonation while the oblivious rebel rousers continued their ceremony, hidden from view by hills and trees. A turn-of-the-last-century boxing scene envisions the sort of scoundrels, scallawags and loose women found carousing downtown around 1899, when Hamburger Square was known far and wide as “Saloon Row,” just a few short steps from Greensboro’s new, modern Southern Railway Depot on South Elm. This was lensed at the Green Burro, which served as the third floor of the Piedmont Hotel in the ’30s, the MacArthur in the ’40s and ’50s. “Once I told them free alcohol was involved, everybody showed up,” Bemis recalls. The Battle of Guilford was the decisive campaign that ensured our nation’s freedom. The blood from that conflict lies caked and buried beneath your feet. Bemis was determined to record the 7th Regiment of Foot, the Royal Fusiliers, known for their historically accurate British uniforms and weapons Bemis sought to capture the moments when the “Americans fought like demons” at what is now Guilford Courthouse National Military Park off Old Battleground Road. Like a work of historical fiction, on occasion Bemis will deviate slightly from a strict adherence to exactitude. The female Native American scout in one of those Revolutionary War pastorals would likely have worn Indian garb under that jacket, but something about seeing the character in full battle attire appealed to the artist’s aesthetic. Wars don’t just take place on Earth. Victory undertook a series of otherworldly compositions shot over a week on Jockey Ridge at the Outer Banks. “We shot two days of a post-apocalyptic landscape, two of Star Wars. We were able to acquire outfits for Boba Fet, Tuskan Raiders (a.k.a. Sand People), Stormtroopers, everybody. So many people came together and participated just for the love of it and I got some amazing shots.” Including a scene you’re not likely to see on the big screen as a TIE Fighter stops to ask directions from a pair of Imperial Sandtroopers. In 2011 Bemis and his wife Adriana made the decision to relocate to New York City. His last production in Greensboro was thwarted when the team was escorted off Cone Mills property after cleaning off an unused corner to shoot a mad scientist scenario. Victory’s first shoot in New York was a Salvador Dalí-esque pinup starring international cover girl Kitty Crystal,.“At that time she was an aspiring model, now she’s big time, does a lot of tattoo magazines,” Bemis explains. Victory’s next major undertaking will be in Miami. Just before leaving New York, Bemis captured a group of action scenes centered around the famous Japanese World War II Zero aircraft. Although the planes were 1/18th scale model aircraft, the pilots were very much human-scale performers. With a keen eye for reanimating history, awakening echoes of what has gone before, the future for Victory Productions will undoubtedly come with one foot planted solidly in our past. OH Billy Ingram is a regular contributor to O.Henry.

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. . . scoundrels, scallawags and loose women found carousing downtown around 1899, when Hamburger Square was known far and wide as “Saloon Row . . .

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Advice from

Mama Goodmanners By Celia Rivenbark

In the spirit of April Fools’ — and to remedy the palpable desperation pulsing through a handful of letters from readers seeking authentic social guidance — we asked the ever tasteful Celia Rivenbark to channel advice from Mama Goodmanners, an imperious woman of a certain age (but not too old) who isn’t afraid to serve it raw, so to speak. We found her advice most helpful. Hope you will too.

Dear Mama Goodmanners, I have spent many years faithfully sending birthday gifts to my niece and nephew and they never bother to thank me in writing or in person. They are otherwise quite lovely people. How can I move past this and not be angry about this etiquette lapse? Signed, Aunt Fran-tic Dear Clueless AF: The kids will know what that means . . . Ahem. Anyway, your phrase “They are otherwise quite lovely people” is rather like Jeffrey Dahmer’s relatives referring to him as “a likable chap except for all the decapitations and whatnot.” Of course, I exaggerate for effect. I don’t honestly believe that your niece and nephew’s transgressions equate to a serial killer with a standing Kenmore full of body parts. No, no. But it is a close second in my estimation. Please save yourself further stress by donating the amount you would have given to these millennial brats to a respectable charity. This will assure you that you will not only get a thank-you in the mail, but you will also spend many, many hours opening subsequent mailings asking for more gifts and answering many telemarketing calls to ostensibly “thank you again for that generous gift.”

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Mama G

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Dear Mama Goodmanners, I enjoy hosting the occasional dinner party, but I wish that more guests would recognize when it’s time to call it a night and just go home. Is there a polite way to encourage them to either help clean up or say goodnight when the hour is late and the party is clearly winding down? Dear GrowAPair, Yes, yes, I know you signed your original silly-ass question “Kerflummoxed in Kure,” but I changed it just a little. In other words, I took control. Just as you should do in the case of the lingering guests who hate depriving you of their delightful company. Unless you want to stop hosting parties altogether — which, up side, leaves you time to binge-watch The Affair in your monkeyface pajamas whilst eating anything without kale, praise Jesus — you should be prepared to risk hurt feelings. You hinted at “helping clean up.” Let me tell you, if I ever go to a party and the host hands me a Swiffer WetJet and tells me, “Rosaria doesn’t come until a week from Tuesday so hop to it,” I can assure you I will never go back. I believe my work here is done.

Mama G

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Dear Mama Goodmanners, My next-door neighbors leave their Christmas lights up and ablaze well into the spring every year. And while they did move the inflatable Rudolph and Santa diorama to their backyard at my insistence, the lights remain on bushes, railings and the entire roofline. Can you advise a polite way to encourage them to take it all down by January 6? I’m afraid I’m going to have an Epiphany of my own that involves calling the authorities. Signed, Blinded by the Light(s) Dear Springsteen fan, Sorry, your signature gave me a little thrill as I recalled hours in my youth spent pondering how one does, in essence, become “wrapped up like a douche, another runner in the night.” But enough about me! Your question is actually one that I have fielded many times over the years. The answer is very simple: You must move. You must move to an area that is filled with people just like yourself. People who know that the true spirit of Christmas dies immediately after the first week of January and must not ever, EVER, return until somewhere around mid-October. Just kidding! Of course you shouldn’t have to leave your home, which I’m sure, is decorated impeccably thanks to the free services of the Pottery Barn design team, but there is really nothing you can do to regulate someone else’s taste or lack thereof. Yep, I was right the first time. You should move.

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Mama G

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Dear Mama Goodmanners, What’s the best way to respond when a friend invites you, repeatedly, to attend services with them at their (wackadoodle) church? Signed, No Snakes, please Dear First Prez, Just taking a wild guess. OK, as a proud and devout member of the Fire-Baptized First Church of the Wackadoodle, I encourage you to expand your mind and your circle of friends and actually go with them one Sunday (or, Tuesday afternoon, if it’s truly wackadoodle). What’s the worst that can happen? You won’t be asked to drink strychnine (I don’t think, anyway), and you’ll have a good story to share when your mainstream church has its inevitable potluck dinner. Imagine how they will hang on your every word as they suck on edamame pods blanched in snob juice. There. All better now?

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Mama G April 2016

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Studio Life

Wanna Paint?

For artist and teacher Connie Logan, a home studio proved a true lifesaver — and a constant source of inspiration By Maria Johnson • Photographs by Amy Freeman

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arlier this morning, Connie Logan was in Savannah, Georgia, riding in a car on the way back from a sorority sisters’ reunion in Florida. By 9 a.m., she was back in Greensboro. Pink from two days on the beach, she worked the interstate trip out of her legs by walking and talking as she taught a painting class in the studio behind her home. Now, the sun leans just past its midday peak, and the students are gone. Logan sits in a wicker chair — though you can see that stillness is not her natural state — and holds forth on the space that’s dear to her. At 1,500 square feet, the studio is no afterthought. It’s nearly as big as the mother ship it’s attached to, a modest 1949 ranch house on Cornwallis Drive. Logan’s free spirit shows elsewhere on the property — a white van in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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the driveway wears a bumper stick that says Art Slut (“Anyway you want it, for money,” she explains), and there’s a Himalayan cat in the front room named D. Claude Monet. The studio is fun, too, but it also shows her grit. This room is responsible for her success. Oh, her paintings sell. Known for her bright, splashy landscapes and street scenes done in oil, she has built a loyal following, but it’s the steady stream of students – hundreds, thousands over the years — that have sustained her. The studio put her three boys through college. Picture this: A long straight room with a vaulted ceiling punched through with lots of skylights. Ceiling fans whirling. Up high, in every corner, speakers streaming classical music. Down the center, several tables pushed end-to-end, covered with sheet plastic, topped with short easels. Down one side, a built-in table and rack for storing and displaying Logan’s work. Her paintings wrap the room: part decoration, part inspiration, part teaching aid. Underfoot, gray linoleum. Faux cobblestone. “It has to be rocky-looking so when you drop things on it, nobody knows,” she says. At the end of the room, a farmhouse-style porch. Plank floor, corrugated metal roof, wind chimes and cottage-style furnishings, most of them inherited pieces or yard-sale rescues that Logan has given a lick and a promise with chalk paint. On the studio’s left wing, a screened porch built by one of her sons before he went to work as a house builder. The edges drip with strings of white lights. The vibe is relaxed, inviting. Logan tells the story of this place:

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wenty-two years ago, I got divorced, and I didn’t know how I was going to make a living. I went back to UNCG, and I got my teaching certificate renewed. My degree is in art education. I taught at different schools until I could build this. This was my dream: To build a studio just for painting. I lived here. I raised three boys here as a single mom. They went to school across the street. I wanted to keep an eye on them as teenagers, so I wanted to be here, but I didn’t have any money to do this, so I built it on credit cards. Everybody was like, ‘You’re crazy!’ but I’ve been here for twenty years, and I’ve taught hundreds, maybe thousands of people, square-one, never-painted-before people. I designed it. I had to have a lot of light. I had to have a floor that I didn’t care if anything dropped on it. I had to have fans because I didn’t want people to be overwhelmed by oil paint. And I had to have music, a lot of music because it encourages people and their creativity. It had to have storage for my paintings. I have four regular classes a week here; then I have special

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

classes. One is a party class where people come in and they get a gourmet dinner. I love to cook. I make a great dinner. They get wine and they get dessert; then we all paint the same thing together. I do that every month. I have come to believe that every house should have a ballroom! I can clear this out and have yoga classes, which I’ve had. I’ve had ballroom dancing classes. I’ve had house concerts. Musicians say it’s perfect acoustics. Who knew? I’ve had showers and receptions. I’ve had Zumba classes. I’m like, ‘You wanna teach? Come on over. Bring your friends.’ It’s just a great space for everything. I would not change a thing about this room. It was built by some guys — friends of a friend — who’d just moved here from New England. They’re not even in the area anymore. I’d say, ‘Lemme tell you what I want,’ and I’d just draw it on a piece of paper. They built it in six weeks. This is kind of a holding tank for my work. I have a lot of work in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, New Jersey. I will take the paintings down after a month and rotate whatever didn’t sell. So these pieces have either been someplace, or they haven’t been out of here yet. My work has changed over the years. It’s gotten much more sculptural, more knife-y. These new shows are going to be an entirely new direction. It’s going to be monochromatic. I love my bright, splashy colors, but here’s one thing: When you teach hundreds of people to paint like you, it’s not a good business plan! I teach them everything I know. So I have to come up with different things. I really want this to be not only an inspiring place, but a peaceful place where people like to come. My students will tell me, ‘I look forward to this all week long.’ They like each other. They get to be really good friends with the people they’re sitting next to. It’s like high school art class. You get to talk while you work. This place is indestructible. You can’t mess it up. I don’t want anybody to ever feel like they’re messing it up. I mean, I painted the chairs to look like that (she pulls out a folding chair splattered with paint) so you won’t feel like you’re messing this up! I come out here every morning to paint, and I’m excited about what I’m gonna do. Lot of times I have commissions — portraits of people, or houses, or cats, or dogs, and sometimes I’m free to paint whatever I want. I can be in my pajamas all day long out here. This is my dream come true. Really, truly. I come out here every single day. I figure I’ll be here ‘til I’m 110. I can just bring my little walker out here. (In a granny voice): ‘You wanna paint?’” OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. See the work of Connie Logan and her students at “Art in My Garden”, an open studio on April 17 from noon to 5 p.m. at Logan’s house, 1206 West Cornwallis Drive.

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Bold, Eloquent and Joyful An ode to dahlias By Ross Howell Jr.

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arrative choices often are conscious — a character needs to say this or the plot needs that. And sometimes they’re not. Dahlias were my mother’s favorite flower. She always planted two rows of them by our farm gate. When the school bus dropped me off, I’d stand for a moment, watching the white dust from the road settle on their bright, nodding faces. My mother’s flowers were large, riotous with colors that grew even brighter when she rinsed them in the kitchen sink for her Sunday flower arrangements. I wrote dahlias into my novel Forsaken because they were right for the season of the action, and they were right for the narrator’s gift to his girlfriend. Dahlias are bold and eloquent and joyful, things Charlie Mears knew he was not. But I don’t believe I wrote in dahlias for those reasons only. As years passed, my mother’s faculties began to fail her. Then came an autumn when she could no longer live by herself on the farm. The mountain winters were too harsh; the risk of her forgetting her medications too high. So Mother moved into my sister’s home in Greensboro. I lived in Charlottesville, Virginia, at the time. Mother phoned one evening. “Ross,” she said, “would you go up to the farm and take in my dahlias, before the cold gets them?” “Sure,” I said. I was running a small business then, and time was hard to find for the three-hour drive each way. Weekend after weekend passed. Then one night we had a freeze in Charlottesville. And I remembered. I drove to the mountains the next morning. I fetched her garden spade and began to dig. The dahlias were mush. I dug them anyway, ferrying sunken brown roots to her cellar, hoping that somehow, a few might revive come spring. They didn’t. Her memory fading, Mother never asked me about them. I shoveled the rotted tubers into a garbage bag. She never stayed on the farm again, even for the summer months. This season I planted dahlias for the first time. I planted late, so I water faithfully. I stake and tie them at the slightest lean of a stalk. Evenings I talk to them. I compliment their foliage. I tell them they must be strong against the sun. I tell them they remind me of my mother. I ask if they believe I am forgiven. OH Ross Howell Jr. is a Greensboro-based writer, editor (and garden nut) whose novel Forsaken was published in February. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Gate City Journal

The Mills Are Alive How old technology breathed new life into a Greensboro icon that celebrates its 125th anniversary this month By Ogi Overman •

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photographs by Sam froelich

ome mills make fabric; Cone makes history.” When Jonathan Kirby, vice president of design at Levi’s made this comment to Bloomberg Business Week in 2012, he might just as easily have been referring to Cone Mills’ future as to its storied past. The textile giant, which celebrates its 125th anniversary this month, is inextricably entwined with Greensboro and quite literally with Levi’s at its White Oak Plant. Opened in April of 1905, it is the oldest working denim mill in the United States. “Working” may come as a surprise to many Greensboro residents, given the landscape of the textile industry in the late 1990s and early 2000s, and Cone in particular. From its peak in 1925, when White Oak stretched the length of four football fields, used 3,000 looms and employed more than 5,000 workers, to the 1970s when it was the world’s largest producer of denim, Cone’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2003 seemed to some, a death knell. But under the aegis of International Textile Group (ITG), Cone Denim’s looms at White Oak, though reduced to just one football field in length, kept humming just as they had since 1915, the year of “The Golden Handshake,” when the manufacturer became the exclusive supplier of denim to Levi Strauss & Co. Today, White Oak continues to make Levi’s 501 brand jeans — and more. And all because of its looms. Draper looms, they are called. Dating back to the early 1816s, the machines were popular in the 1920s, one assumes, because they were reliable and

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designed to run for long periods of time. The old technology had been put out to pasture until several years ago when Cone Denim discovered it was a key to its exclusive niche marketing, and a revenue stream. The other key? The century-old White Oak plant itself, specifically its maple floors. “When the looms are running, you can feel the floor vibrating and bouncing, and that too creates a weave pattern that can’t be replicated anywhere else in the world,” said president and CEO Ken Kunberger during a recent tour of the facility that he and ITG group manufacturing director Brad Johnson were leading for a group of dignitaries, friends, media, and the Denver-based rock band Big Head Todd and the Monsters (of whom Kunberger is a huge fan and who happened to be playing at Cone Denim Entertainment Center later that week). “It’s a unique look that you can’t get in modern fabric. We are weaving a little bit of White Oak in every piece of denim that comes through the floor.” The Draper X3 looms, he went on to say, “impart characteristics into the fabric that makes it a little uneven, unlike modern machines that have very precise mechanisms. Everything in them is gear driven, with springs and pulleys and cast-iron cams and moving harnesses and springs.” The result is a product whose imperfections speak to Cone Denim customers’ longings for nostalgia — a product that they are willing to pay for. Targeted to a high-end market, a pair of jeans spun on the Draper X3 looms may retail for between $200 and $350. “People pay for authenticity,” commented Johnson. “The uniqueness of the garment is something the customer values. People appreciate the character and The Art & Soul of Greensboro


heritage that comes from this place,” he said, adding, “We’ve increased our output by 40 percent by renovating some additional machines and bringing them online.” Currently, White Oak’s floors creak under fifty-one Draper looms, with a number of modern machines also in operation. Total employment is 220. The company has opened an online store that allows small and start-up companies to purchase Cone denim in quantities that previously would not have been available to them. “This plant is the Mecca for true denim aficionados,” Kunberger enthused. “This is the equivalent of a band or musician going to Graceland; this is an old panhead Harley; this is a ’68 Mustang. The history and heritage of this building brings in people from all over the world. We get designers from big brands as well as start-ups, history buffs, Japanese businessmen and now a band in here. “Denim goes hand in hand with America, back to the ranchers and cowboys and coal miners. It is a slice of Americana.” And Cone is eager to share that with others. “We’re inviting a couple of hundred of our clients, buyers, vendors and friends from around the world, as well as local city officials to our celebration,” (April 5 and 6) Kunberger said. “We’ll have a reception in the Indigo Lounge at the Cone Denim Entertainment Center [the company bought naming rights to the finely appointed Elm Street music venue but has no financial stake in it] then we’ll go to the concert by the legendary rock group Kansas that night.” Kunberger added that students from the N.C. State School of Textiles will stage a fashion show, displaying their designs using Cone selvage denim. Mayor Nancy Vaughan has also issued a proclamation making April 6 Cone Denim Day. Actually, the company plans a yearlong celebration by giving a pair of its custom jeans to various celebrities who are passing through town, beginning with Big Head Todd and the Monsters. “You know, denim is associated with music, too, especially rock ’n’ roll, and I’m excited to have a band in here and present them with these jeans. We feel we have a special place in history. And we’d like to show folks that we are still the Denim Capital of the World.” OH Ogi Overman is a frequent contributor to O.Henry.

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Jewelry • Clothes • Shoes • Home Accessories Everything a Girl Could Want... *Clothing *Jewelry *Shoes *Home Accessories

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

O.Henry 91


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April 2016

O.Henry 93


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April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


National Pride By Rosetta Fawley

Lima ’em up

Our last frost date passes this month. It’s time to take advantage of our long, blissful spring season. Have you planned lima beans, also called butter beans, into your garden? You must. They are an excellent source of fiber, lowering cholesterol and helping the body to regulate blood sugar. Even better news, there’s still plenty of time to work them into the garden. Originating in Central America, lima beans like warm soil. Plant seeds in the second half of April and through the beginning of May. There’s a choice of pole or bush beans — both good. The Almanac recommends pole beans for those with limited space. Aesthetically speaking it’s nice to have some height in a garden. Plant about five seeds around each pole, choosing two or three of the strongest as they germinate. Pick rustic poles for a pretty kitchen garden look. Space them about a foot apart in rows that are about two feet separate from each other. Run garden twine along the poles so that the bean plants have something to hold onto as they grow. A sunny spot is best, but if the spring is dry make sure the plants have a good deep watering twice a week — they’ll need about an inch of water per week as they’re growing and blossoming to ensure plenty of buds. Good garden compost is the best fertilizer — as legumes are nitrogen-fixers, limas don’t need nitrogen. Limas will grow thick and plentiful over a long growing period — around eighty-five to ninety days, making lush, shaded green tunnels for picking. And playing hide and seek.

April is National Lawn and Garden Month, so now’s the time to get everything looking fabulous. Prune early-flowering plants such as Carolina jessamine and wisteria once they’ve finished perfuming the air. Cut back dead branches on your cold-pinched shrubs, but don’t despair. Leave the roots until early summer. You may well find that they resprout. Keep watering your lawn if the month is dry, especially if it’s newly seeded. And show off your spring flowering bulbs to anyone who walks by.

Though April showers may come your way, They bring the flowers that bloom in May. So if it’s raining, have no regrets, Because it isn’t raining rain, you know (It’s raining violets) And where you see clouds upon the hills, You soon will see crowds of daffodils, So keep on looking for a blue bird, And list’ning for his song, Whenever April showers come along. From “April Showers”(1921), music by Louis Silvers and lyrics by B.G. De Sylva

Hunt the Gowk

Drip, drip, drop Little April shower Beating a tune As you fall all around Drip, drip, drop Little April shower What can compare To your beautiful sound Drip, drip, drop When the sky is cloudy Your pretty music Can brighten the day From “Little April Shower” from Disney’s Bambi (1942). Music by Frank Churchill, Edward H. Plumb, lyrics by Larry Morey The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Keep an eye out for the gowk, a cuckoo that visits us at the beginning of April. While not a rare bird, it can be shy and difficult to spot, compounded by a short hunting season of only twenty-four hours at the advent of the month. Its plumage is varied, ranging from Alizarin crimson to violet. A keen bird-watcher herself, the Almanac would be delighted to hear from any readers lucky enough to spot one.

Secret Gardening

April 2 sees International Children’s Book Day. As it’s also Lawn and Garden Month, the Almanac suggests giving a child you know a copy of The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Even better, read it with him or her. “If you look the right way, you can see that the whole world is a garden.” OH April 2016

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April 2016 Lens Crafter: Ansel Adams

1-17

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April 1–3 ABODE WELL. Kitchens, baths, gardens, interior décor . . . check out all things home sweet home at the Southern Ideal Home Show. Times vary. Special Events Center, Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Info: southernshows.com/hsg.

April 1–17 LAST CHANCE. Take your choice: Rosemarie Fiore: Falk Visiting Artist or Art and Nature: Reclaiming Sustainability. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

April 1–May 1 !VAYA CON LAS ARTES! Don’t miss the last month of Pan American Modernism: Avant Garde Art in Latin America and the United States.

96 O.Henry

April 2016

Czech Mates

7-9

4/

Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu.

April 1–July 17 LENS CRAFTER. Tickets are going like hotcakes. Get yours now for Ansel Adams: Eloquent Light. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 5800 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. (888) 663-1149 or reynoldahouse.org.

April 1–June 12 FINDERS KEEPERS. Art is all around us, as Nexus: Found Objects suggests. De Kooning In Company will be in fine company if you go. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

And then there were nun

7,8 & 10

4/

April 2 REV’D UP. 9 a.m.—1 p.m. and 3—8 p.m. You say you want a revolution? Then check out ArtsRevolution, an initiative to boost Triad artists/entrepreneurs, which begins with artists’ workshops and ends with Artapalooza, a festival open to the public. Revolution Mill Studios, 1200 Revolution Mill Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 256-8649 or artsrev.uncg.edu SERENADE. 6:30 p.m. Hear the Quintessentials, an a five-piece a capella jazz group whose repertoire includes Gershwin, Latin jazz and more. O.Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. (336) 854-2000 or ohenryhotel.com. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet novelist Matthew Griffin, author of Hide. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. POETRY IN MOTION. 8 p.m. Three fellas, a The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar

See you at the movies

The Boss is back!

7-17

10

4/

lady and a rhythm section blend tap dance, jazz, blues and funk in the high-energy Feet Don’t Fail Me Now! featuring Rhythmic Circus. High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 887-3001 or highpointtheatre.com.

April 4 POETIC. 7 p.m. Hear community leaders read the verse, at “Odes to Common Things: Celebrating Pablo Neruda,” a reading held in conjunction with Weatherspoon’s exhibit, Pan American Modernism: Avant Garde Art in Latin America and the United States. Greensboro Central Library, 219 Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

April 5–May 13 GO FOR THE (G)OLD. Archery, swimming, visual and literary arts, performance . . . Competition is fierce at the Greater Greensboro Senior Games. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Standing Ovotion

20-24

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4/

Times and venues vary. Info: greensboro-nc.gov.

April 7

April 6

FLOWER POWER. 10 a.m. The Anniversary Garden Club presents flower arranging with a maximum of space and parallel lines from Spatial Thrust floral designs. Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs Headquarters, 4301-A Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: thegreensborocouncilofgardenclubs.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Greg Renoff, author of Van Halen Rising: How a Southern California Backyard Party Band Saved Heavy Metal. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 6–10 POP! GOES THE CULTURE. Live theatre, The Simpsons, commercial jingles and pop songs are the brew of UNCG Theatre’s Mr. Burns, A PostElectric Play, by Anne Washburn. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or theatre.uncg.edu.

GOING NATIVE. Noon. Learn how native plants benefit wildlife at a Lund and Learn. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 214 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

April 7, 8 & 10 AND THEN THERE WERE NUN. See Francis Polenc’s opera set in the French Revolution, Dialogues of the Carmelites, directed by David Holley. Performance times vary. UNCG (formerly Aycock) April 2016

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Food & Dining

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online @ www.ohenrymag.com

98 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. (336) 272-0160 or theatre.uncg.edu.

April 7 & 9 CZECH MATES. 8 p.m. That would be Antonín Dvořák and Bedrich Smetana. Hear their works, along with Schumann’s Symphony No. 1 at “Hope Springs Eternal” a Tanger Outlet Masterworks Concerty by Greensboro Symphony. Dana Auditorium, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or ticketmaster.com.

April 7–13 HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or www. milb.com

April 7–17 SEE YOU AT THE MOVIES. Features, documentaries, shorts, animated shorts, discussion panels and more. RiverRun International Film Festival cranks up for the eighteenth year throughout Winston-Salem. Tickets and info: riverrunfilm.com.

April 8 CLAIRE DE TUNE. 8 p.m. Hear bluegrass maven Claire Lynch and her band. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com. SPIRITED. 10 p.m. (Doors open at 8 p.m.) Asheville rockers Holy Ghost Tent Revival bring down the house. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

April 8 & 9 HOARSIN’ AROUND. 12 p.m. to 12 p.m. Hear original works read aloud — in a 24-hour marathon. Wordsomnia returns. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 8–June 12 EARTH WORKS. Man’s relationship with the natural world is the focus of Last Remaining The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

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April Arts Calendar

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Cathedral: Illuminations of Nature, featuring the works of Robert Johnson and Daniel Essig. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

Greensboro Since 1858

April 9 TEMPUS FUGIT — NOT! 1 p.m. Celebrate Slow Art Day, an international initiative that encourages viewers to look at art slowly, devoting about ten minutes to each work, and then discussing it. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu.

April 9, 16 & 23 IRON MILLED. 10 a.m. If he had a hammer? Baby, he does! And he’s swingin’ it in the mornin’. The Blacksmith is at it again. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

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Sanford Arts AndVine Festival Art • Pottery • Fine Crafts • Music • Wine • Craft Beer • Food • Fun

April 10 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Writer Quincy Whitney discusses his book, American Luthier: Carleen Hutchins — the Art and Science of the Violin. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. SIMPLY TU TU. 1 p.m. Brent Heath, writer, photographer and owner of Becky’s Bulbs in Gloucester, Virginia, presents “Tulips and Daffodils.” Afterward, enjoy 20,000 blossoms at Ciener’s annual Spectacular Tulip Bloom. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Ticket: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org. BOSS TONES. 7:30 p.m. From “Thunder Road” to Thunderdome: Bruce Springteen and the E Street Band take the stage. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

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April 2016

April 10–May 1 HE COULDA BEEN A CONTENDUH. The story of a washed up basedball player is the center of August Wilson's 1987 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Fences. Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Ticket: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar April 11 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Join High Point’s first-ever community read and booksigning with Christina Baker, author of Orphan Train. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. GIDDY FOR GIDDENS. 7:30 p.m. Hear the mesmerizing vocals and instrumentals of local gal and folk songstress Rhiannon Giddens. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

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April 12 AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Join a discussion with two widely acclaimed novelists, Michael Parker (All I Have in this World) and Dominic Smith (The Beautiful Miscellaneous). Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. BEISBALL. 7 p.m. The lives of two baseball coaches — one living in a poor community in Havana, Cuba, the other in Oakland, California — is the basis of the documentary Ghost Town to Havana. The Crown, Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. BADBOYS. 7 p.m. It was the first vehicle to feature one of filmdom’s best-looking duos: Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. 7:30 p.m. Of April, that is. Thought leader Malcolm Gladwell brings his observations on life in the 21st century to the Bryan Series. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

April 13 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Melanie Conklin, author of Counting Thyme. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2016

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April Arts Calendar South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com.

April 14 HERBANE. 7 a.m. It’s a doorbuster: The annual Herb Plant Sale, courtesy of the North Carolina Unit, The Herb Society of America. Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 643-6737 or ncherbsociety.org.

BLUE NOTES. 8 p.m. The voices of Bel Canto Company and Providence Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir come together for “The Deepness of Blue,” a concert celebrating the contributions of black musicians and poets to choral arts. Providence Baptist Church, 1106 Tuscaloosa Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2220 or belcantocompany.com.

April 15 FULLER BRUSH GIRL. As in, the paintbrushes and canvases of Gate City native Jenny Fuller. See her solo show, Amazingly Abstract. Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro. (336) 279-1124 or tylerwhitegallery.com.

TEE TIME. 11:30 a.m. The royal and ancient game can be yours, regardless of any physical limitations, thanks to the Parks and Rec’s and Elks Club Lodge’s free adaptive golf clinics. Gillespie Golf Course, 306 East Florida Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 373-5852 or (336) 373-2954.

The wizardry of Boz

April 16 OLD SCHOOL. 10 a.m. Spinning, —18th-century woodworking and — yowsa — blacksmithing comprise Historic Trades Day. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. SLAP THAT BASS. 6:30 p.m. UNCG prof and double bass player Steve Haines and his quartet

April 17

serve up some contemporary jazz. O.Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. (336) 8542000 or ohenryhotel.com. WHAT’S COOK-IN’? 8 p.m. Or who, rather. How about Jesse Cook, Canadian guitarist who melds jazz, rumba and flamenco! Carolina Theatre, 310

SCAMATEUR HOUR. 2 p.m. Learn how to be the next Michael Lewis (Liar’s Poker, The Big Short) at Sisters in Crime’s “White Collar Crime: The Psyche of the Scam Artist & the Victim,” presented by P.I. Mark Mathosian. High Point GroveWinery.com 7360 Brooks Bridge Road Guilford County NC 27249 336.584.4060

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April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3660 or murderwewrite.org

Experience Builds Character Marsh Kitchens designs and builds beautiful kitchens for today’s families. Visit us online or come see us personally at one of our three Triad locations.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet Kristy Woodson Harvey, author of Lies and Other Acts of Love. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 19 CAROLINA CRITTERS. 10 a.m. Learn all about the fauna of our region at “Animals of the Piedmont,” led by a park ranger. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. BLOOD ’N’ GUTS. 7 p.m. Six hit men make a, uh, killing in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Sreet, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

April 20

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TALK OF THE PLANET. 5:30 p.m. Join Steve Tate of Goat Lady Dairy and garden designer Chip Calloway for an armchair talk about ecology and sustainability. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

April 20–24 STANDING OVOTION. It’s an egg-stravaganza: Cirque due Soleil’s Ovo, that is. Performance times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. JEUX D’AMOUR. The Vicomte de Valmont and the Marquise de Merteuil stir a witches’ brew of seduction and manipulation in UNCG Theatre’s production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 401 Tate Street, Greensboro. (226) 272-0160 or theatre.uncg.edu

April 21 THE WIZARDRY OF BOZ. There’s nothing lowdown about the, er, silky jazz inflections of 1970s legend Boz Scaggs, headliner for the fifth Annual Command Performance Benefit Gala. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

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104 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar April 21–23 BETTER OF READ. Peruse — and buy — gently used books at the Friends of the Greensboro Public Library Used Book Sale. Times vary. Central Library, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: friendsofthegreensborolibrary.org.

April 21–23; 24 FIGHT CLUB. See human nature, red in fang and claw in Yasmina Reza’s 2009 dark comedy God of Carnage. Performance times vary. GTCC Center for Creative and Performing Arts Theatre, Building H-2, High Point Campus, 901 South Main Street, High Point. Tickets (High Point Theatre box office): (336) 887-3001 or highpointheatre.com.

April 21–24 HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro.

Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or www. milb.com.

April 23 ALL THAT GLITTERS. 10 a.m. Learn about the ausome chemistry of gold and history of gold mining in North Carolina and pan for a nugget or two. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 4 p.m. Meet Ken Ilgunas, author of Trespassing Across America. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. BEATLEMANIA. 7:30 p.m. Relive the era when the Fab Four ruled in a one-time performance of the musical Let It Be. White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro.

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Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. SCRIBE-UNAL. 8 a.m. Workshops in poetry, fiction, creative nonfiction, author readings and more . . . yup, it’s the North Carolina Writers’ Network 2016 Spring Conference. MHRA Building, UNCG. To register: ncwriters.org.

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Irving Park

Clothing u Lingerie Jewelry u Bath & Body Tabletop u Baby Home Accessories lAdIeS ClothIng, gIftS, BABy, jewelry, gIftS for the home, tABlewAre, delICIouS food

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GR E E N SB ORO’S NE W EST YOGA ST UD IO A ND B O U T I Q U E CLASSES FOR EVERY ONE AND EVERY BODY.

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106 O.Henry

1724 Battleground Ave. Suite 104 Greensboro, NC 27408

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar GLUG GLUG. 7 p.m. Raise a glass, nosh a bit and groove to live music with the aquarium and zoo as your backdrop. It's Brews & Bubbles, an adults-only fundraiser. Greensboro Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 288-3769 or greensboroscience.org.

April 23 & 24; 29 & 30 IN THEIR CONE WORDS. Using letters, journal entries, account books and telegrams, Touring Theatre of North Carolina dramatizes the story of local historic figures in Dr. Claribel, Miss Etta and the Brothers Cone. Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

April 25 REGISTRATION DEADLINE. Don’t miss the Historical Book Club of North Carolina luncheon on May 3 at 11:30 a.m. at Greensboro Country Club (410 Sunset Drive). The guest speaker? Polymath Sandy Lerner, co-founder of Cisco Systems, founder of Urban Decay Cosmetics, restorer of Chawton

House Library in Hampshire, England, and author of Second Impressions, a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Tickets: Checks of $35 made payable to HBCNC may be mailed to Cindy Bates, 3115 Willow Oak Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408.

April 26 HILLSVILLE AND CLARKSVILLE. 6 p.m. Catch fusion at its it’s best: the hip hop, jazz, folk, R&B and soulful vibes of Ms. Lauryn Hill and Gary Clark Jr., White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro Coliseum complex, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 7453000 or livenation.com.

April 27 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet W. Jason Miller, author of Origins of the Dream: Hughes’s Poetry and King’s Rhetoric. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 28 AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet writer Alison Buehler, author of Rethinking Women’s Health: A Guide to Wellness. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 28–30 PLEIN AIR B&B. As in, Beatrice and Benedick, the leads in Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. Catch an outdoor performance of the comedy, courtesy of Drama Center Children’s Theatre. Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, 1105 Hobbs Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3356426 or thedramacenter.com.

April 28–May 1 THE NANNY DIARIES. The answer my friend, is blowing in the East wind, which brings the arrival of everyone’s favorite Nanny. High Point Community Theatre offers up a spoonful of sugar with Mary Poppins — The Broadway Musical. Performance times vary.

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April 2016

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April Arts Calendar

High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 887-3001 or highpointtheatre.com.

April 30 FLEECED! 10 a.m. Learn how early Quaker settlers turned sheep’s wool into winter clothes by carding wool, while costumed interpreters spin and weave it. High Point Museum, 1859 Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 8851859 or highpointmuseum.org.

Treating every patient g n i t p e Acc New ! ts n e i t a P

like family

GLENN MEMORIAM. 8 p.m. Hear faves such as "Hotel California," "Desperado," and "Take It Easy," as the Greensboro Symphony's Tanger Outlets POPS Series presents: The Music of the Eagles. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456 ext. 224 or ticketmaster.com.

April 30–May 29 STUDENT MASTERS. See what’s cooking in college art studios at the 2016 UNCG MFA Thesis Exhibition. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3345770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS Mondays 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. TALK IS CHEAP. Noon. Bavardez bien! Pardon our French and join French Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Call today to schedule an appointment (336) 282-2868 Like us on Facebook “Dr.Farless Farlessand andthe thestaff staffatatGraham GrahamE.E.Farless, Farless,DDS, DDS,PAPA “Dr. are are highly respected professionals who provide excellent highly respected professionals who provide excellent dental dentalinservice in Greensboro. good communicaservice Greensboro. They areThey goodare communicators, who take tors, who take the time to listen to each patient’s dental needs the time to listen to each patient’s dental needs to provide the to provide theand most effective and appropriate service. As a most effective appropriate service. As a long time patient, long time patient, IDr. highly recommend Grahammoving Farlessto I highly recommend Graham FarlessDr. to anyone to anyone moving to Greensboro or considering a new denGreensboro or considering a new dentist.” -John tist.” -John

Tuesdays READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to storytimes: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months) meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom; Family Storytime for all ages meets at 6:30 p.m. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

2511 2511 Oakcrest Oakcrest Ave, Ave, Greensboro, Greensboro, NC NC 27408 27408

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State Street

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April Arts Calendar

PETITS ARTISTES. Let your little one copy the great masters at “Messes and Masterpieces,” which teaches kids about line, color and texture through the works of Georges Seurat (4/5) and Henri Matisse (4/12). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’. 6 until 9 p.m. Y’all come for Songs from a Southern Kitchen — live music featuring Alan Peterson and Alex McKinney (4/5); Bill West (4/12); Laurelyn Dossett, Scott Manring and Alex McKinney (4/19); Molly McGinn & Co. (4/26) at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/ greensboro_music.htm.

Wednesdays TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until noon. The produce is fresh and the cut fleurs belles. They can be yours mid-week, starting 4/20 through December. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street,

Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org. MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 until 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) 3790699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music.htm. ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Afterschool Storytime convenes for children of all ages. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com.

Thursdays TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime convenes for children ages 3–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 8833666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30 until 8 p.m. Hear live, local jazz featuring Dave Fox and Neill Clegg, and special guests in the O. Henry Hotel Social Lobby

Anue Ligne • Alison Sheri • Bel Kazan • Elena Wang Gretchen Scott Designs • JP Mattie & More

Bar: Lisa Dames (4/7); Joey Barnes (4/14); April Talbott (4/21); Howard Eaton (4/28). No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or www.ohenryhotel.com/jazz.htm. 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 or tatestreetcoffeehouse.com. 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 idiotboxers.com.

Fridays THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $4 Fun Fridays. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

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2105-A W. Cornwallis Dr., Greensboro, NC www.irvingparkartandframe.com

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Challenging the Mind. Nourishing the Spirit. Strong academics are at the core of our educational approach, but we know the best education develops the mind, body, and spirit. Limited spaces available. Call for a tour.

5400 Old Lake Jeanette Rd. Greensboro, NC 27455 336-288-2007 www.canterburygso.org

112 O.Henry

April 2016

Weekly Wednesday Morning Tours • 9am

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar Fridays & Saturdays 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.

Saturdays TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until noon. The produce is still fresh and the cut fleurs still belles. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org. THRICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Hear a good yarn at Grannies Galore Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks. com. 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 idiotboxers.com.

Sundays HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grown-ups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to the usual $8, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. MISSING YOUR GRANDMA? 3 p.m. until it’s gone. Tuck into Chef Felicia’s skillet-fried chicken, and mop that cornbread in, your choice, giblet gravy or potlikker. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/ fried_chicken.htm.

t . . . ghost on Elm Stree Nightmares of Greensboro walking tour

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

Admission is free. Hours Tues - Sat 10 - 5 Sun 2 - 5

130 Summit Avenue Greensboro NC 27401 336.373.2043 www.GreensboroHistory.org

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

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Arts & Culture

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PLAN YOUR ADVENTURE AT

Amazingly Abstract

Solo Art Show with Jenny Fuller

April 15, 6-8pm

Join us for an artist’s reception, a glass of wine & a fabulous show with new paintings by Native Greensboro Artist Jenny Fuller. Lunch & Learn with Adorned by Lonnie Blumenthal, 11:30-1pm

Tyler White O’Brien Gallery 307 State Street, Greensboro (336) 279-1124 www.tylerwhitegallery.com

114 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Arts & Culture

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Scan this QR code with your smartphone to purchase tickets. You can also go to upas. uncg.edu or call 336-272-0160.

UPAS UNIVERSITY PERFORMING ARTS SERIES

April 2016

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116 O.Henry

April 2016

*per magazine

or mail payment to P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Worth the Drive to High Point Penny Wise If working out in the warmer temps has worked up an appetite, then mosey over to High Point’s Penny Path Café & Crêpe Shop, named for the path of pennies set into the concrete floor leading up to the semicircular bar, and fuel up on what one of the congenial servers describes as, “a plate of awesomeness.” He’s referring to “The Kitchen Sink,” a plate-sized heaping of pesto, along with red-pepper and artichoke spreads topped with spinach, mushrooms, black olives, corn, artichoke hearts, diced tomatoes, feta and mozzarella, all wrapped up in a paper-thin pancake. It’s one of several savory choices (others include a mixture of brie, red-pepper jelly and walnuts or herbes de Provence, garlic butter, mozzarella and spinach) in what is likely the Triad’s only crêperie. Why crêpes? “Personally, I’ve always liked to make them,” says owner Miro Buzov, whose Bosnian grandmother taught him how to prepare the delicacies. “I would make stacks and stacks of them. It was therapeutic after a long day of work,” he adds. A woodworker by trade, Buzov opened Penny Path when the Great Recession took a bite out of his business. The penny path inside, he explains, is a metaphor for what one can accomplish on a shoestring. “You can stay within a budget and do something cool,” he says. And cool certainly describes the tiny interior with its bright copper ceiling, mismatched bar stools, colorful abstracts and whimsical panels of cartoon fruits and vegetables on the base of the bar — eye candy at eye-level for child customers — all painted by Buzov’s wife Silvia and one of his daughters, Akasha, who is an artist. But the real work of art is that “plate of awesomeness.” At first bite, you’ll

MERIDITHMARTENS

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notice a tangy crust of Parmesan on the outside of pancake wrapping, the perfect garnish to the melt-in-your-mouth deliciousness inside. And save room for dessert: We’re partial to The Original, a confection of banana, strawberry and Nutella, with a garnish of powdered sugar and a drizzle of chocolate sauce on the pancake wrapping. Pound foolish, you say? Only if you worry about the reading on your bathroom scale. With every délice on the menu costing under $10, a trip to Penny Path just makes cents. — Nancy Oakley Info: 104 East Kivett Drive, High Point. (336) 821-2925 or facebook.com/ thepennypath. Another location is slated to open in Winston-Salem’s Art District later this year. OH

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Providence Baptist Church

Providence Baptist Church Sanctuary Choir

April 2016

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Dolce Dimora TRUNK SHOW W E D N E S D AY , A P R I L 2 7 DOVER SQUARE 1616 B AT T L E G R O U N D AV E | 3 3 6 . 8 51 . 5 0 2 5 M A I N A N D TA Y L O R S H O E S . C O M

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Floral Design • Delivery Service Home Décor & Gifts Weddings & Special Events 1616 Battleground Avenue, Suite D-1 Greensboro, NC 27408

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118 O.Henry

April 2016

PHOTOS: JOHn WaSHburn

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Ron & Lynn Black, Eric Chilton

GreenScene

Jonathan & Licia Craft

Greater Guilford Heart Ball

American Heart Association/American Stroke Association Friday, February 12, 2016 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Chris & Meredith Gorham, Mary & Jeff Kerrigan Jackie Oceguedo, Ryan Ransom, English Stephenson

Andie & Lari Harding, Karen & Brad Newkirk

Rebecca Walker, Casey Heller, Amber Hand

Paul & Lesley Moyon

Cheryl & Tom Hancock, Abby Bartley

Suja & Jay Ganji Reese McCormick, Autumn Fuller

Jacob, Atira & Talia Hardy Matt & Stephanie Long Jonathan Walker, Jody Clayton

Mark & Cathy Katz, Susan & David Nickell

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2016

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ce. den

ngth. Con e r t fi e. S

Y ou

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ce

A r e r Sum m

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Our popular summer enrichment programs are about learning, having fun, and making friends in a safe, nurturing environment. • 1:6 staff-to-camper ratio ensures individual attention • Programs for Preschool through High School • Weekly sessions with age-appropriate themes including Violin, Cooking, Pirates, 3D Printing, Photography, SAT Prep, The Logic of Code, and Carpentry • Morning and extended day care available for K-8

y!

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For information and registration, visit www.ngfs.org/school-life.

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336-333-7480

Preschool through 12 • 1128 New Garden Road • Greensboro, NC 27410 (336) 299-0964 • www.ngfs.org

NGFS.OHenry.Camp2016.4.25x5.25.Rd3.indd 1

2016

3/2/16 1:45 PM

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

June 13th - August 19th Different weekly themes, activities and celebrations.

There is a camp for everyone!

Registration Deadline May 15 • For ages 2-6 Spots are limited and on a first-come, first-serve basis.

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Come Join Us Today!

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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

Turnstone Facility • 312 Turnstone Trail • • • • • • •

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

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

120 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene

Meghann Mollerus, Morgan Hightower

Rock the Runway

Triad Goodwill Friday, February 26, 2016

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Keith Liverman, Melanie Moseley

Hannah Shoemaker, Hollis Akins Lauren Melvin (Host), Katie O’Brien (Judge), Princess Johnson (Judge)

Princess Jonson, Lynn Wooten, Katie O’Brien, Susan Ladd (all Judges) Sandy Bradshaw, Kristy Fuller, Rachel Walker, Leigh Andrews

Retha Stevenson, Marilyn McConnell, Marsha Allen, Carla Thomas

Candace Meban, Catherine & Audrey Evans, Sierra Young

Kelli & Wade Walcutt, Don & Kristy Milholin

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Tanya Bunch, Katrena Wize, Donna Romano

Stephanie Frazier, Ruth Heyd

Jessica & George Lothian

April 2016

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April 2016

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GreenScene Hands for Hearts Casino Night

Jeff & Mary Kerrigan, Kristin & Dave Hill

Supporting Congenital Heart Defect Research & Awareness Saturday, February 27th, 2016 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Nayef & Rana Derghan

Stephen & Kara Cox, Cassidy & Todd MacKay

Courtney Schroyer, Emily Diaz-Llaneza, Ashley Vartanian, Cameron Messick, Becky Howard

Corey Wooten, Patrick Griggs

Meredith Bailey, Sara Ficken, Anna O'Connell

Heather McHern, Kathleen Little (Mother of Matt Sullivan in whose memory Hands for Hearts was established in 2014)

Kristin Brunson, Millie Henderson, Karen Kimrey

McNeil & Kelly Cronin, Jessica & Michael McCrory Tyler & Matthew Aluisio, Kathleen & Dean Little, Alan Jones, Kemp Young, Brown DuBose, Trey Dobson

Sam Ganem, Christy Anderson, Elizabeth Green

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Whit Edwards, Skotty Wannamaker (co-founder Hands for Hearts), Doug Henderson, Heath Webster

Louise Smith, Carolyn Driskill

William Posse, Athanasia Mirtsopoulos, Mike Sotirin

April 2016

O.Henry 123


GreenScene

Hazel & John Fisher

Neffy & isaiah Baldwin

Premiere Performance of Un/Sheltered Lives A Play to Raise Awareness of Homelessness First Baptist Church Sunday, February 28, 2016 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Kay & Bill Cranford

Mary Lee Porterfield, Catherine & Rebecca Little Rachel, Amanda & Elijah Mbuvi

Meda Woods, LaTosha Lyons

Kathy McDaniel, Ginny Young, Becky Parham

Diane & James Watkins Danny, Megan, Sharon & Jake Barlow

124 O.Henry

April 2016

Cast & Crew - Un/Sheltered Lives

Marie Sumerel, Hattie Pointer

Kathy & Charles Sample

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Spring Into Your New Home! Irving Park

Chesnutt - Tisdale Team

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2700 Lake Forest

Elegant and Gracious Georgian Classic home on large lake lot designed for comfortable family living and entertaining. 5 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths, tall ceilings and heavy custom moldings. 3 fireplaces, 2 levels plus lower level in-law suite. Beautiful! $849,000

Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687

Xan.Tisdale@bhhsyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@bhhsyostandlittle.com ©2016 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.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Melissa Westall, Au.D.

Call today to make an appointment!

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*Lyric is water resistant, not waterproof, and should not be completely submerged under water. **Individual replacement needs may vary. Duration of device battery life varies by patient and is subject to individual ear conditions. Lyric is not appropriate for all patients. See a Lyric Provider to determine if Lyric is right for you. Lyric, Distributed by Phonak, LLC ©2016. All rights reserved. MS044144

April 2016

O.Henry 125


April showers?? Pish posh...show me the MONET!

Carriage House

Antiques & Home Decor

Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm • Sunday 1-5pm 2214 Golden Gate Drive • Greensboro, NC Carriage_House@att.net

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336-545-3003

Vera’s Threads

Sizes: S, M, L & XL

336-288-8772

Oh My Gauze • Parsley & Sage • Art of Cloth • Fenini Kleen • Comfy USA • Chalet • Amma • Heartstring Hours: M-F 11-6, Sat 11-5 2274 Golden Gate Drive - Golden Gate Shopping Center www.linneasboutique.com

Where people AnD CloTheS GeT A SeConD ChAnCe

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126 O.Henry

April 2016

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

Rammed With the Truth When you’re out of sugar, you serve it straight

By Astrid Stellanova

Might as well just face it. Astrid is soon turning

another year older and feeling a little crankier than usual. If you’re looking for duckies and daisies you won’t find them here. Just the unvarnished truth delivered on the horns of the Ram – Ad Astra, Astrid.

Aries (March 21–April 19) One thing about it — an Aries will fry it in fat and dish it out. But if they’re even halfgrown, they’ve developed enough skin to take it as well as they serve it. So what, pray tell, is going on with you and your bewildering lack of confidence? If you rubbed yourself in bacon grease you couldn’t find a hungry dog. Seems you have been riding on the Yes elevator even when you want to say No Way. This is going to change, Love, because your stars are aligning and you have every possibility opening up. Becoming some sort of a team player doesn’t mean you forget the fact that the Ram was born to lead, and you, my birthday star, are an MVP. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Lord help me. If your brow is too high for the work you’re doing, you’re probably out of alignment. Here’s a tip: Either lower that cocked-out hip or raise the other brow. Look at it this way: Your job has allowed you to learn some very important skills. And your attitude keeps your fine self elevated way above the hordes. Don’t get too big to take out the trash — we all have to clean up our own mess sooner or later, Sugar. Gemini (May 21–June 20) Let’s talk about moral and mental hygiene for a hot minute. You have been so competitive and had such tunnel vision that you’ve forgotten just about all else. If you can get off this notion that only you can drive the bus — no matter who you mow down or run over — you are set for a better month. (And a much nicer commute, as a matter of fact.) Cancer (June 21–July 22) You love a trend, but don’t be locally ludicrous. You’ve got this idea you have a lock on green things — as in dollar bills and an obsession with juicing. What you might consider, Love, is to promote things of real value, not just things that make you look a certain way. It is never too late to become the person your Mama thinks you are. Leo (July 23–August 22) Have you got glasses strong enough to help you see the truth? Someone very close to you has been showing you how to find your way out of the surprising mess you have stepped into. Your ego clouds your vision, and you march right off the runway of life, like a modern-day Mr. Magoo. Virgo (August 23–September 22) Somehow you complicate the very thing that’s supposed to help reduce your stress. You make cooking look as difficult as trying to construct a microwave oven. Lord have mercy, it is just a case of a frying pan and an egg — and stay with me, because this is just a metaphor. Crack the egg. Make the omelet. Enjoy your time shaking and baking and forget about one-upping the culinary masters. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Libra (September 23–October 22) You kept everything bottled up until it exploded and you lost your ever-loving mind. You went from peacekeeper to making everyone in the room feel more threatened than Ted Bundy’s dance partner. Honey, you gotta find a way to let off steam without making a spectacular scene. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) You think you’re a bigger deal than that new ninth planet? Darling, we are all here to learn, and perhaps you might just want to take a seat and bone up on how to keep your ego more in line with your actual accomplishments. The more you develop, the less you need for everybody to know you are someone special. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) Can you smell the BS? Someone in your world has been selling you a line and you have been buying it. They are dangerously close to convincing you that something you value has dimmed. Ask yourself what their motive is. Cherish what matters most to you and don’t be swayed by this snake oil salesman. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) Well, Honey, a colleague beat you to the end goal, tripping you up and costing you something you wanted. The betrayal hurt more than you want to admit. That kind of thinking is dimmer than Edison’s first bulb. They didn’t get there fairly and it will all come to light faster (much faster) than an LED bulb. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Financial infidelity is spoiling your bank account. It could also threaten relationships. You don’t want your friends and family to know your closet contains the entire QVC collection. I love my pumps and purses, but not more than I love to pay the rent and my (new) trainer. Maybe you have to channel your inner Imelda Marcos into something with more purpose. Pisces (February 19–March 20) Remember that old love that dropped out of your life through a trap door? Well, you may find them back in your life soon. Time to drive a stake through the crappy attitude you’ve been taking and remember that some people actually deserve second, even third chances. If not, then someone, perhaps another lost someone, is resurfacing, and all I know is sugar and spice are en route. 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 2016

O.Henry 127


O.Henry Ending

Whose Woods These Are

By David M. Spear

I was standing still

in an open shopping center parking lot late in the day. And I was wondering if I could live in a place where lots of people congregated. The sun was almost on the horizon, and I could see it over the tops of buildings cutting down into the late evening glow, and I could hear the hum of automobiles, lots of them, whizzing along city streets. I closed my eyes to listen. I felt warm and yet a loneliness enveloped me.

I’d been thinking on moving to a city. I’m getting older and folks — mostly city folks — have been telling me I need to be living among people, not trees and tobacco plants. My city friends think it unimaginable to live outside an urban environment. Am I crazy living out in the woods thirty miles away with no one around? “What would happen if you fell ill and had no one to notify help?” They say. Or worse: “What if you died?” “ Well,” I tell them, “If I die in the country, that’s just fine. Someone will find me at some point. All the same, I’d be dead and it wouldn’t matter to me.” I’ve lived in the country for forty years. Twenty-five of them in a cabin made of logs from a hundred-year-old rebuilt tobacco barn. Later on, I added a log addition. I heated with wood all those years. On winter mornings I’d wake up feeling invigorated by the absence of heat. It was a wonderful life. It is still a mystery to me how I was pulled to a Piedmont forest. In 1971, I bought seven oak-covered acres with the intention of building some sort of home. It was six miles from the closest small town and thirty miles from an urban area. But I wasn’t sure exactly where to situate the house. One night I got a bottle of Jack Daniel’s, a six-pack of beer, and sat near the property in my truck. I drank and thought about it. After a while, I got out of the truck and began walking

128 O.Henry

April 2016

through the trees. I hadn’t realized how wobbly I’d become and very soon I fell down. Lying there on the ground, looking up at the few stars I could see, I felt a warm glow as my body passed into oblivion. When I awoke the next morning I was lying in a small clearing. Just enough space for a small cabin. This was the place to build. But with what? A month later, I spotted a vine-entangled log building in Stokes County, and the very day I discovered it, I told a friend about it over afternoon coffee at a local restaurant. He looked a bit dumbstruck. “I own that old building,” he said. I asked him if he’d sell it. “Give me one hundred dollars and it is yours.” Everything was literally falling into place, much as I had over that bottle of Jack and the six-pack. My neighbors helped me dismantle and move the cabin. Taking it down was easy. Putting it back up took two trying years. I moved in, and it felt like a real home. Over the years I tried moving away, once to a Mexican mining village . . . only to return. I brought a lady love to share my rustic abode, but she made a strong enough objection to it that I built the modern addition. She couldn’t cope with the wild animals — mice, possums and flying squirrels — or the rural solitude. Four years ago she moved to a big city a hundred miles away. I couldn’t see myself living in a city, and I still can’t, in spite of my friends’ entreaties. “Convenience” is their mantra. Big grocery stores, and fancy restaurants. Malls, shopping centers like the one I was standing in that gave me that lonely chill. So what holds me here now? Could it be all the work I put into the adventure of building? Is it because my roots are here? Is it because I have an inborn knowledge of country people and feel comfortable with them? Is it because deep down I know that I would miss the authentic nocturnal sounds of the owl or the stillness so necessary for my state of well-being? Maybe it’s just the simple fact that driving here, as I turn down the road and see the mountains, I realize this is home, this is peace. OH David M. Spear is a Guggenheim fellow, has published three documentary books of photogrpaphy with text, most recently Ten Days in Havana (Gnoman Press). His memoir, Playing with Dynamite, will be released this spring. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

Would I trade the sweet solitude of the deep country for city life? Not of your life. Or mine


Find your home at the end of the Rainbow... 7709 Northern Estates Point

1/2 mile from Northern High School This over 3800 heated sq ft custom home in Northern Guilford Country features 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths with a bonus room on the second level, 750 square feet of unfinished loft space and a 3 car side entry garage. Experience the quality of solid wood doors, handmade cast interior bronze hardware, and a wonderful outdoor space, all with an eloquent finish. Welcome spring with abundant natural light and a stone linear fireplace that are perfect for keeping warm and entertaining family and friends. A culinary dream kitchen completes this home, equipped with chef appliances, custom designer cabinets and beautiful granite countertops.

Saturdy & Sunday

April 23-24 & April 30-May 1

Luisa Duran • Owner/Builder/Broker

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WE’RE EXPECTING

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April O.Henry 2016  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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