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Come to our OPEN HOUSE to celebrate the artist in everyone!

Creation Celebra tion SATURDAY, AUGUST 27 12 NOON TO 4 PM

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M A G A Z I N E VOLUME 1, NO. 1

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

227A North Spring Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor 910.693.2506 • jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart rose, Creative Director 910.693.2467 • andie@ohenrymag.com Ashley wahl, Associate Editor kathryn galloway, Associate Art Director CONTRIBUTING EDITORS David Bailey, maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser, Deborah Salomon PHOTOGRAPHERS cassie Butler Jim green, Sam froelich CONTRIBUTORS Jane Borden, tom Bryant, Jack Dodson, Sam froelich, robyn James, Sarah lindsay, Dale nixon, lee pace, lee rogers, Stephen e. Smith, Astrid Stellanova mary novitsky

O.H

David woronoff, Publisher ADVERTISING SALES pat taylor, Advertising Director 910.693.2505 Darlene Stark, Advertising Manager 910.693.2488 Hefner 910.693.2508 6/17/2011 marty 10:13:44 AM Ansley Spencer 336.324.6154 laura morris 336.471.4237 elaine penn 910.620.1248 Sam froelich 336.402.3772 perry loflin 910.693.2514 circulation 910.693.2488 ©Copyright 2011. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

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4 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Tom Chitty has long been the Triad’s go-to guy in real estate. With 29 years of experience, this southern gentleman is known for his integrity, honesty and professionalism. Tom and his highly qualified team take no client for granted. When you are ready to work with a realtor who genuinely cares about you, work with Tom. It’s like having an old friend welcome you home.

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O.Henry 9 Hometown Willie and the Bull By Jim Dodson 12 Short Stories Your Guide to the Good Life 15 icon Oh, Yum By David C. Bailey 16 Artist at Work Iron Man By Ashley Wahl 18 The Omnivorous Reader Revolutionary Thinking

Features

37 She Touches My Hand

A new poem by Sarah Lindsay

Greensboro poet Sarah Lindsay is the author of three collections of poetry and was a finalist for the National Book Awards. Her latest work is Twigs and Knucklebones (Copper Canyon Press, 2008).

38 The Long Goodbye Of John Hart The House in the Woods 39

By Stephen E. Smith

An excerpt from Iron House.

21 O.buzz For The Common Good

42 Voice of the City Oldest Living O.Henry Tells All 4 7

By Jack Dodson

home 23 hitting The Vacationer’s Prayer

By Dale Nixon

At 91, Charlotte Porter Barney knows more about her famous ancestor than anyone.

By David C. Bailey vine wisdom

The Bloom of Rosé

By Jim Schlosser

You think you know O.Henry? Think again.

By Maria Johnson

25 The Hop Head A Kingdom For My Beer 27 28 32 34

The two-time Edgar winner reflects on the city that made him a best-selling writer.

By Robyn James

The Serial Eater

Birthplace of Champions 48 By Lee Pace

How the Wyndham Championship came to be a symbol of the Triad’s rebirth.

The Perfect BLT By David C. Bailey The sporting life

Renaissance Man By Tom Bryant Street Level

The Boy of Summer By Jim Schlosser Arts Calendar

64 73 GreenScene By Sam Froelich

77 The Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 79 life’s funny My Favorite Four-letter Word

The House That Love 54 Built By Deborah Salomon

The home of an iconic textile giant is now the perfect treasury of art for two.

Greensboro’s 60 Johnny Appleseed

By Lee Rogers

Bill Craft’s philosophy was “better to ask forgiveness than seek permission.” Lucky us.

By Maria Johnson

80 O.Henry Ending My Big Fine Greensboro Wedding By Jane Borden

On Our Cover: Photograph by

Jim Green of Alderman Company. Shown left to right: Greensboro musicians Molly McGinn and Laurelyn Dossett; novelist John Hart; News -Record columnist Jeri Rowe; Margaret Benjamin, Board Chair, Greensboro Historical Museum; John Hammer, Editor, The Rhino Times; Tammy Milani, ceramic artist; Catie Morgan, recent graduate, UNC-G School of Music; Ed Cone, writer and blogger; and Jessica Mashburn, lead singer, AM rOdeO. Shot on location at the Green Valley Grill.

6 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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HomeTown

Willie and the Bull A boy on a bike, a writer for the ages, and the teacher who brought them together

BY JIM DODSON

I

turned a corner and suddenly there she sat, her tiny round head dwarfed by a huge atlas of the world. This was at the downtown public library in the early summer of 1983. I was passing through my hometown on my way to a job interview at The Washington Post. “Miss Smith?” I said, tentatively. She rolled up her good eye and gave a friendly snort. “Oh, yes. How nice to see you.” She pointed to an empty chair. “Please do sit down.” Louise Smith was a Greensboro institution, my junior year English teacher in 1970, a chunky spinster with a half-closed eye who stood barely five feet tall and oddly resembled, well, a slightly bemused bull, hence the unflattering nickname bestowed by generations of Grimsley students. More than a decade had passed since I’d last seen the little woman who was most responsible for making me into a writer. But she acted as if it had only been a matter of days. For the record, my father’s two younger brothers, James and Benny, both had Miss Smith for English at then-Greensboro High School in the late 1930s, not long after she graduated from North Carolina Woman’s College. I also knew she lived in a small house on Tate Street, a street named for my father’s great-grandfather, an itinerate Methodist preacher and land surveyor who helped lay out the modern boundaries of several counties in central North Carolina. So we seemed to be linked by some invisible Gordian knot long before I showed up in her class. On my first day in her survey of American literature and advanced composition, we learned she planned to retire at the end of the year, hoping to travel extensively because, as she pointed out with a chuckle — and I jotted this down — “Travel broadens the mind, television the rear end.” We all laughed, and someone sent a paper airplane bouncing off the blackboard producing another gale of laughter. The Bull was half-blind and seem to counter our modest acts of teenage anarchy with the kind of wry grace and tolerance that come from decades of guiding generations of witless wiseguys like us through the perilous straits of Walt Whitman and basic grammar. So for these reasons I had a soft spot for The Bull almost from the begin-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ning, even before I found myself reading Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut and pondering our midterm assignment to write a story for possible submission to the school’s annual short story-writing contest. The winning story would vie for the O.Henry Award, named for the Gate City’s most celebrated literary son, William Sydney Porter. Curiously, I probably knew more about Willie Porter than most of my contemporaries did because my father was a former newspaper man who loved the short fiction of Rudyard Kipling and O.Henry. Collected works by both men, not surprisingly, anchored my bedroom bookshelf. Moreover, as a kid who grew up pedaling a bike over the same streets where Willie Porter came of age, I’d spent enough time poking around in Porter’s reconstructed drugstore in the Greensboro Historical Museum to feel a modest kinship with the plucky local fellow who struck off to make his fortune at age nineteen and wound up becoming one of the most popular writers of the Gilded Age — even more famous than Mark Twain for a time. For my contribution, I wrote a short story about my late grandfather, a rural polymath named Walter who helped wire the Jefferson Standard Building in 1922. The story concerned the last summer of his life, based on family tales I’d picked up knocking around his now-abandoned home place deep in the woods at the Dodson’s Crossroads, near Carrboro. To my great surprise, the story won the O.Henry Award for 1970, a prize given annually since 1923 by the O.Henry Study Club, and I was probably the most surprised kid in the class when The Bull announced my name.

O

n the last day of class, I stayed behind to wish her well in her world travels and thank her for inspiring me to keep reading and writing. At my mom’s suggestion, I even brought her some flowers. The Bull gave me a little book of Robert Frost’s poems. “You seem to like his work,” she said, adding: “Perhaps someday you’ll live in New England. Writing can take you a long way, if you’re willing to take this journey. ” I smiled at this, a tad embarrassed. It’s not easy being unmasked as a class clown, after all. That summer, though, I worked for the first time as the wire room boy at the August/September 2011

O.Henry 9


  

HomeTown

Greensboro Daily News. A pair of newsroom internships followed. Two summers after that, fresh from college, I returned to the paper for a while, won a couple of writing awards, and soon I found myself in Atlanta working on the same magazine staff where Margaret Mitchell had once worked.

In time, I married, fathered two children, built my own house on a forested hill on the coast of Maine, and produced half a dozen books. My writing for various publications literally took me around the world, and the books kept coming. Six years ago, following a stint as writer-inresidence at Hollins University in Roanoke, I moved to Southern Pines to work for The Pilot newspaper hich brings us to the library referand soon found myself serving as editor of PineStraw ence room on Greene Street where, magazine, an award-winning arts and culture magafollowing my seven years in Atlanta, I zine that has flourished on the old-fashioned belief happened across The Bull studying a map of Egypt. that terrific writing and fabulous photography and a I took as seat and asked how she’d been, consense of fun are the best ways to explore a place and vinced she had no clue who I was. celebrate its history. “Never better,” she replied with a squinting grin. The place I’ve always loved most, of course, is “You see, I am preparing to embark on a great advenGreensboro — the city I know best, and the place ture that I’ve dreamed about since I was a girl.” She that gave me a wonderful writer’s life I could scarcely planned to sail down the Nile to Luxor, she said, and have imagined back when I won that O.Henry hoped to catch the sunset award in Bull Smith’s from the steps of the Great classroom. Perhaps I speak Pyramid at Giza. a spiritual son of Willie The place I’ve always asPorter, I congratulated her — but if there’s a more then politely wondered if culturally diverse American loved most, of course, city with richer she remembered me. The history and Bull gave one of her famous more vibrant arts scene — is Greensboro — snorts and chortled at this. seasoned by hard times but “Of course I remember the city I know best, poised for a glorious renaisyou, dear boy! I’ve followed sance by a public spirit you and the place that your career with great can see and feel everywhere interest. It always makes — I simply don’t know it. gave me a wonderful me proud to see what my To that end, in this students accomplish.” inaugural issue of O.Henry writer’s life.. For a moment, I was a magazine, you’ll find engaglittle dumbstruck. Then ing work by five of the most I found my tongue and engaging writers this city filled her in on my pending job interview in ever produced — a perfect half-dozen if you care to Washington, admitting I also had — wonders count cover star John Hart, the best-selling two-time behold — a strong inclination to move to Maine Edgar-winning author whose latest book, Iron House, or New Hampshire. debuts in our pages. “Probably ruined by reading too much Robert Contributing editors Jim Schlosser and Maria Frost,” I told her, reminding her of the little collecJohnson are nigh on legends for their awardtion she had given me. I was torn between a big-city wining writings on Gate City life, David Bailey is newspaper career and a place that seemed to draw arguably the finest — and funniest — food writer me like a fly-line to a mountain stream. in the South, and lavishly talented homegirl Jane “It may sound trite, dear boy,” she said. “But my Borden, whose splendid new collection has just advice is to follow your heart and you’ll never go been published, is a rising star on the horizon. wrong. And who can say, perhaps someday you’ll In the coming months and years, we hope to even come home again.” introduce you to many more outstanding artists We chatted for a few minutes more and then I and writers who powerfully connect with this wished her safe to the steps of the Great Pyramid. remarkable city — producing a magazine we hope She thanked me and told me to keep writing and you’ll be proud to claim as your own. never stop. As I walked down Tate Street the other Those were her exact words. I never saw her afternoon, trying to remember which tiny house again. once belonged my most unforgettable teacher, A short time later, instead of taking the job in I couldn’t help but think about her sitting on Washington, I followed my heart to a trout stream the steps of the Great Pyramid, giving a friendly and cabin in Vermont and went to work for Yankee snort to the ancient sunset. Somehow, wherever magazine as that legendary magazine’s first senior they are, I suspect Willie and The Bull are both writer (and Southerner), a move that changed my life amused and pleased. OH in ways I’m still counting up.

W

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10 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


O.Henry

Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

this One’s For You, Cupcake

Destroyed by a tornado in High Point, 12-year-old custom baking business Crawford’s Creations has come to roost in Greensboro, a bit like Dorothy’s farmhouse in The Wizard of Oz. Custom-dessert diva Teresa Dames Crawford creates one-of-a-kind cupcakes, cookies, birthday and wedding cakes that would amaze Toto. Join them at 230 N. Spring Street on the second Saturday of the month for Cupcake Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Information: 336-688-5094 or www.crawfordscreations.com. DB

eat, Walk, Love

The good news is you don’t have to walk and chew gum at the same time. But walking and chewing are delightfully central to Taste Carolina’s new gourmet tours of downtown Greensboro, which depart year-round on Saturday afternoons. The two-mile treks start at the Undercurrent restaurant on Battleground Avenue. Other stops typically include Jammin’ George, purveyor of homemade jams, baked goods and other delicacies; the Downtown Farm Market on North Greene Street; the Edible Schoolyard at the Greensboro Children’s Museum; Cheesecakes by Alex; Table 16 and Bin 33. Along the way, participants sip, nibble and chat with chefs and owners about how they turn locally grown ingredients into get-in-my-belly goodness. “It’s a true insider experience that you’re not going to be able to find just by going there and eating yourself,” says guide Meredith Pettigrow. Walkers sample local history, too, as Pettigrow feeds them information on the Lincoln Financial buildings, the civil rights movement in Greensboro, and a scribbler named O.Henry. The Greensboro jaunts begin at 1:45 p.m. and end at 5:15 p.m — just in time for supper. Cost: $43 each. Reservations required. Go to www. tastecarolina.net and click on “tours,” then “Greensboro.” MJ

Music and Culture and arts? Oh, My!

From September 22 though October 8, Greensboro’s 17 Days festival will feature over 100 world-class events (performances, workshops, exhibits and more) at dozens of local venues. To kick off the fair, new orchestral work by Grammy Award-winning composer and fiddle player Mark O’Connor will make its world premiere as performed by the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra on September 22 and 24. Indeed, there’s no place like home. For a complete schedule of festival events, visit 17daysgreensboro.org or call the United Arts Council at 336-373-7523. AW

Big Man on Campus

Area tennis fans are sure to go ball-istic when 6-foot-9 Greensboro native John Isner starts banging aces at the inaugural Winston-Salem Open to be held Aug. 2127 at Wake Forest University. The tourney is a new stop on the ATP tour, replacing the New Haven Open as the last tune-up before the U.S. Open. Fans in Winston will experience a new venue, too — a 13-court complex built for the WSO and major collegiate tournaments. The hard courts will smile on Isner, who posseses a towering serve and recently cinched his second career ATP singles title at the Hall of Fame Championships in Newport, R.I. Other Americans scheduled to squeak sneakers at the WSO: Mardy Fish, Ryan Harrison and Isner’s frequent doubles partner Sam Querry. For more information, go to www. winstonsalemopen.com. MJ

12 O.Henry

August/September 2011

Get Your Greek On

Is it the succulent souvlaki? The relaxing retsina? The merry bounce of the bouzouki? Whatever the trigger, thousands of people go a little Aegean every year at the annual Greensboro Greek Festival. This year, it’ll be Sept. 16-18 at the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road. Just look for the tent and the traffic jam. Inside the gate, you’ll find food, music, dancing, a gift shop, and that temple of tastiness, the pastry shop. MJ

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph of Cupcakes and Moppin’ Sauce by By Sam Froelich

short stories


O.Henry

Ballpark With a Beat

If you can’t find your groove at the first Triad Music Fest, you might not have a groove to be found. A partial line-up for the festival — scheduled for Sept. 3 at Greensboro’s NewBridge Bank Park — includes the critically acclaimed rapper Lupe Fiasco, whose latest album features collaborations with John Legend and Trey Songz; the rock band Fuel; up-and-coming country singer Lee Brice; New Boyz, a hip hop crew known for a dance style called jerkin’; Miguel, a falsetto who has penned songs for Mary J. Blige and Usher; the Carolina Chocolate Drops, who breathe new life into traditional black string music; the rapper Outasight; and the guitar-driven rock band The Stone Chiefs. Tunes start at noon. General admission tickets are $25. Call 336-268-2255 for more info. MJ

Getting Hitch(cock)ed

sauce of the Month

Alfred Hitchcock fans: Rejoice! The Carolina Theatre is psycho-thrilled to present Vertigo (Aug. 1), North by Northwest (Aug. 8) and Frenzy (Aug 15) on the big screen Mondays at 7:30 p.m. as part of its fourth annual Summer Film Festival. Tickets: $5. For a complete schedule of shows, tickets and more information visit www.CarolinaTheatre.com or call the box office at 336-333-2605. AW

Bill Dudley’s friends said that the sauce he developed for the oyster roasts he periodically stages was “So good, it’s scary!” And that’s just what the label says on his Climax Moppin’ & Soppin’ Sauce. Ketchup-based, but tangy and aromatic with savory umami notes, it is, in fact, fabulous on oysters. If you like a sweet barbecue sauce, it would be fine for backyard barbecuing. Info: 336-509-8792; www. climaxsauce.com. DB

Going Both Ways

The founders got it right when they named one of our earliest streets “Greene.” They included the third “e,” the way namesake Gen. Nathanael Greene spelled it. That was not true of the town’s name, Greensboro, also named for the hero of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. Now a second aspect of Greene Street may soon be made right. If a city council-approved study endorses the idea, Greene will be two-way again, as it was until the late 1940s when many downtown streets became one-way. Two-thirds of Greene already is back to being two-way. That leaves only a three-block section in the middle. The study will determine the effect, if any, that going both ways will have on traffic from three parking decks along the stretch. JS

Photograph of “Stickworks” by Cassie Butler

app-y trails

Nothing peeves us like seeing someone hiking a trail while yakking on a cell phone — if only bears could sense Justin Bieber ring tones — but you have to hand it to the folks at the N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation. They’ve teamed up with some indoor types to create free apps stuffed with information about North Carolina’s state parks. Trails, facilities, reservations, events, news alerts — they’re all in there. The apps work on iPods, iPhones and Android smart phones. Subscription versions offer GPS-aided navigation and topographic maps for the real freaks o’ nature. This means it’ll be a lot easier to spy a bathroom for junior. It also means no more excuses for getting lost in our fave spots at Hanging Rock, Pilot Mountain, Stone Mountain and New River state parks. Ah, progress. Go to www.ncparks.gov for links to the apps. MJ The Art & Soul of Greensboro

stick Figures

Acclaimed environmental sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s “Disorderly Conduct” makes the campus of Guilford College look like Wonderland. Suessville. Somewhere in-between. Inspired by a wasp nest found during the harvesting of nearly eight tons of saplings necessary for the project, Dougherty’s monumental “Stickworks” were created with the help of 150 volunteers and will remain on display until February 2012 — “hopefully longer,” says Terry Hammond, director and curator of Guildford College’s Art Gallery. Have a walk-through. Sculpture located at the College Quadrangle. Information: 336-316-2438. AW August/September 2011

O.Henry 13


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14 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Gate City Icons

Oh, Yum

After 90 years, the Spring Garden Street legend still can’t make the dogs and ice cream fast enough

By DAviD C. BAiley

Photographs by Cassie Butler

S

urrounded by pipes, gauges and valves, Karin Engles observes, “When you’re making ice cream, you feel kinda like a mad scientist making some crazy creation.” At 25, Engles is the fourth generation of Aydelettes making Yum Yum ice cream or steaming hot dogs that are so red they remind you of Christmas. “I can get them even darker if I want to,” says Rodger Aydelette. “Curtis Packing Co. here in Greensboro is making them just for me.” At 59, as vice president of Yum Yum Better Ice Cream Co., he has that sort of authority. Of course, he might want to consult his coworker and younger brother, Clint, 53, also a VP, and his father, Bernard, who at 89 is president and owner, along with his wife, Hazel. Bernard gets credit for perfecting the hamburger-intensive chili (with no thickeners such as instant mashed potatoes, thank you), making the Yum Yum hot dog a benchmark against which all other Gate City hot dogs are measured. His father, W.B., introduced the bright red dogs after he’d seen them in New York. Blanketed with onions and vinegar-and-relish slaw (hold the mayo), 360,000 hot dogs are unleashed annually at Yum Yum. Add chips, drinks (including Cheerwine) and ice cream, and that’s the sum total of what Yum Yum vends: “Don’t change anything and keep it simple,” says Rodger Aydelette, who has a degree from UNCG in physics. “I bought the most expensive hot dogs you could get and it didn’t go well.” One customer came up and asked him what on earth they’d done to the dogs. “After I told him, he threw his partially eaten dog — and two others, untouched — into the trash right in front of me.” After his horse kicked him, founder Wisdom Brown Aydelette gave up his ice-cream cart in downtown Greensboro and in 1921 built a shop at the corner of Forest and Spring Garden on the edge of town near what was then Woman’s College. Named West End Ice Cream, its logo touted Yum Yum, a pink concoction studded with grape nuts. The name stuck, though the ice cream is long gone because the grape nuts slowly turned soggy. In 1973, UNCG and W.B. waged war after the

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

school decided a big new administration building was more important than a small family business. W.B. lost and predicted the nearby new store “is not going to be near as good.” Maybe so, but someone still buys 16,000 gallons of ice cream a year, every lick of it homemade. After a school year abroad, getting married and hiking the Appalachian Trail, Karin Engles moved back to Greensboro to follow in the footsteps of other Aydelettes. “You feel really important carrying on what your great-grandfather did,” she says, wiping her hands on her apron. Rodger Aydelette is really proud of having a business that offers his son, Rodger II, 22, and his daughter a place to work and supports four families. He’s especially pleased Karin is making the ice cream. “She’s just a little old thing, a peanut, but she carries around those 70-pound cans of ice cream with ease.” With a UNCG degree in psychology and English, is this really what Karin Engles wants to do? “I’m never like, ‘Oh I have to go to work today,’” she says. “I can see me being here forever.” OH David Bailey, a food fanatic, is a contributing editor for O.Henry Magazine.

August/September 2011

O.Henry 15


Artist At Work

Iron Man

Sculptor Jim Gallucci is out to create an arts renaissance in the Gate City — one exquisite piece of metal at a time By Ashley Wahl • Photographs By Cassie Butler

A

fter wiping his brow, Jim Gallucci readjusts his horn-rimmed glasses and takes a long, cool drink of water. By the looks of his hands — and his mottled khaki overalls — the man knows a thing or two about elbow grease and iron. “Coffee?” he offers. The clock reads 10 a.m. He drank his coffee hours ago. One cup is all he drinks. Through the walls of the break room, the drone of grinders, saws and other metalworking tools can be heard from the workshop, where Jim spends most of his time. Deadlines are particularly pressing today. His assistants are hard at work. Two sculptures for the North Carolina Veterans Park in Fayetteville are under way. The crew is also working to complete a series of twelve iron gates to be placed along an abandoned railroad underpass currently under restoration as part of the extensive Downtown Greenway project here in Greensboro. “It’s a real, real big deal,” Gallucci says of the project that was awarded a prestigious grant by The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) as part of its Mayor’s Institute on City Design. “We’re connecting neighborhoods that have been separated by roads,” he says. “I see it as a very hopeful kind of thing.” Although he’s not a native son — Downtown advocate Betty Cone calls him “adopted” — Jim Gallucci has been living and making sculpture in the Gate City for over thirty years. Rather fitting, really, for an artist whose portfolio boasts an extensive collection of gates.

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August/September 2011

“I remember when it hit me,” Gallucci says, “that gates are such a perfect format.” For the artist, gates are portals through which the public can explore art.

* True to his sociable nature — “He doesn’t know a stranger,” a colleague swears — sculptor becomes storyteller. He paints the scene, flashing back, fifteen years or so, to a filling station in Wilkesboro, en route to the annual Rosen Sculpture Exhibit in downtown Boone. His face glows. “I’m pumping gas,” Gallucci says, “when a fellow walks over, spits tobacco juice onto the hot concrete and asks, ‘What’s that supposed to be?’ gesturing to the massive steel sculpture in the back of my truck. A gate. “‘I know it’s a gate,’ the fellow says, breaking for another spit. ‘But can you tell me what it means?’” And so, Gallucci the storyteller says, he shared the symbolism of Immigrant Gate — a sculpture that represents the journey his Italian ancestors took in hopeful search of the American Dream — with the camel-mannered man he met at this particular Blue Ridge gas station. “It’s about leaving the Old World for new opportunity,” Gallucci told him, simply. And at that, the fellow spits, takes a second look at the gate and, with reverence, says, “I like it.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“That was probably one of the best art criticisms I could ever have,” says Gallucci. “That Everyman could walk up, immediately be engaged by what I was doing, and then be captured by the art of it.” He takes another slow drink of water. “Everyone can understand a gate. Once they understand the gate, they can begin to discover what the art is all about.” Children can, too. Gallucci’s “whisper” gates (and benches), inspired by his daughter Madeline, feature the simple use of sound tubes to encourage interaction — with the art and with others. One such gate is at the Marbles Kids Museum in Raleigh.

* Born and raised in Rochester, New York, Gallucci picked up an English degree — and met his wife, Kathy — at Le Moyne College. Somewhere in the midst of things he got the itch to learn to sculpt with iron. “So I decided to teach myself one summer,” Gallucci says. When Gallucci’s father saw him hammering hopelessly at a scrap of iron out by the garage — attempting to make a chisel by using an old forge — what he said surprised his son: “You’re doing it all wrong.” Like second nature, Gallucci’s old man showed him how it’s done. “Is this what you’re trying to do?” he asked, striking the hot iron once or twice. Sure enough. “When you’re nine years old in Italy, they start you in a trade,” Gallucci explains. “By the time my father immigrated to the States, when he was thirteen, he was a journeyman blacksmith. He taught me everything he knew.”

* Gallucci went on to receive his MFA in sculpture from Syracuse University in 1976. A year or so later, he accepted a teaching position as an art instructor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After teaching for nine years, he took a year off to focus on his art. “I worked in the studio that year instead,” he says. Good thing, too. That year, Gallucci created artwork that was selected to go to the World Expo 88 in Brisbane, Australia. Then, Brisbane City Council bought his work. “All of a sudden, I went from a guy that left teaching to an international artist.” He never did go back to school. Then again, he never really stopped teaching.

* In 2005, Gallucci designed and built his 7,200-square-foot studio on Industrial Avenue where he and a staff of six assistants — whom Gallucci trains — design and fabricate sculpture full time. His sculptures have graced many notable venues, including the Navy Pier — the site of the world’s largest outdoor sculpture show held annually in Chicago, Illinois. They’re also woven throughout this town. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Find Millennium Gate on West Washington, or the pair of playful blue benches that grace the Cultural Arts building. At NewBridge Bank Park, the entry gate — his depiction of a massive metal baseball bat — spans 52 feet. But Gallucci and his crew do more than sculpt gates and benches. They also make handrails, bridges, and a host of site-specific monuments. The possibilities seem boundless. “We’re not just making gates all day long. That’s retail. We don’t do that,” the artist assures. “We do one-of-a-kind here. That’s what makes it special. And that is the future.” The future, as Gallucci sees it, is reminiscent of a 19th century industry — “a time when people went to the cobbler for custom-made shoes.” As he sees it, the American Dream is still achievable — ironclad, of course. “This is still a place that knows how to make stuff.”

* Behind the front desk in the studio, a corkboard offers method to the metal madness. “This is how we keep track of which sculpture is where,” Gallucci says, “just like an airport tracks its carriers.” Twenty or so are in transit. A piece in Greer, South Carolina, for instance, is due to be moved. Destination: Jackson, Missouri. Wind Passage is tacked beneath Greensburg, Kansas. “We’ve become big supporters of Greensburg,” he says of the tiny town entirely wiped out by an EF5 tornado back in 2007. “It was wind that destroyed the city, and it is wind that has rebuilt it,” the artist says of the town’s new green initiative, which includes the use of windmills to power the city. Plus, he adds, constructing an arts center was one of the primary undertakings of the citizens of Greensburg at a time of unthinkable tragedy and bleakness. “That just shows how focused they are on rebuilding their community,” he says. “The arts can save us. Art brings business, shows vitality, and sometimes above all, it offers hope in times of despair.” Behind Gallucci’s studio sits a reminder of a time America most needed hope: a pile of steel beams from the World Trade Center. A year after the 9/11 attack, Gallucci’s Gates of Sorrow, phase one of a project designed using the steel from the twin towers, was unveiled in New York City in honor of the souls lost on September 11, 2001 — a day that, subsequently, unified the nation. The construction of the second phase of the project, the 53 foot Gates of Hope, as Gallucci alternatively calls them, awaits funding

* Soon, Gallucci hopes to expand his realm. He envisions a local renaissance in earth materials. A stone carver to collaborate with him on future projects. A woodshop. Printmaking and photography studios. Who knows, maybe even glass blowers. “I want to see Greensboro become the Florence of the South,” he says. In the meantime, long live the Gate City. OH August/September 2011

O.Henry 17


The Omnivorous Reader

Revolutionary Thinking A pair of splendid new histories illuminate the Battle at Guilford Courthouse

By stePheN e. smith

F

or most of us born in the South, the Civil War is an explicable moment in our history. We know a little about great-great-grandfather so-and-so who lost an arm fighting the Yankees (or was it the Rebs?) and we’ve heard of Sharpsburg (Antietam), Gettysburg, and Appomattox Courthouse. But when it comes to the Revolutionary War, we’re a bunch of ignoramuses. Most Americans couldn’t tell you the inclusive dates of that long ago struggle, much less explain the strategic and tactical particulars that eventually secured our independence from Britain. If it weren’t for the egregiously anemic History Channel and, God help us, Mel Gibson, most of us would know almost nothing about our struggle for independence. Moreover, no aspect of the Revolution is more inexplicable than the war as it was fought in the Lower South. If place names such as Monck’s Corner, Waxhaws, Chatlotee Courthouse, Ninety-Six, Cowan’s Ford, Camden, Cowpens, King’s Mountain, and most importantly, Guilford Courthouse are a mystery to us, the remedy is at hand. Two books published within the last 15 years go far in explaining the war in the South in general and the clash at Guilford Courthouse in particular. For an engrossing overview of the Southern campaign, there’s no better popular history than John Buchanan’s The Road to Guilford Courthouse: the American Revolution in the Carolinas. With the exception of the occasional annoying use of the authorial “we,” Buchanan’s writing is lively, concise, and eminently readable, and his facility for explaining the intricacies of battle and his skill at vividly crafting images bring events to life with startling clarity. The principal players are revealed in detail by thoroughly examining their character, motivation, strengths, and especially their weaknesses. Clinton’s reticence, Gates’ cowardliness, Marion’s aplomb, Tarleton’s ruthless impetuousness, Greene’s instinctive grasp of strategy are portrayed with the reader’s easy comprehension in mind. More importantly, the British and patriot points of view are presented with equal attention to detail and a keen appreciation for the circumstances in which the armies found themselves, as with Buchanan’s description of the British physical and mental state of mind prior to the Battle of Guilford Courthouse: “There were no Tory auxiliaries. Officers and men had been on short rations since late January. They had not been given breakfast and they had marched twelve miles that day while the Americans ate their breakfast and rested. They were outnumbered two to one. If they lost they had nowhere to retreat, no one to come to their aid. But every unit was regular, every man a veteran, every soldier a product of iron discipline. It being the dying time, their officers from cornets to generals were with them. When Lord Cornwallis gave the order to advance they too did not hesitate.” (Our politicians would do well to contemplate the above passage before sending our armies to fight wars thousands of miles away from home.)

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August/September 2011

If Buchanan’s history piques your interest, you’ll want to read Lawrence Babits’ and Joshua Howard’s Long, Obstinate, and Bloody. This detailed study of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse is an impressive achievement, and it’s likely to be the definitive history for many years to come. But be warned, the authors are professional historians who have exhaustively researched their subject, so much so that the typical history buff is likely to find himself overwhelmed by minutiae, albeit details vital to understanding the battle. But if you’ve digested Buchanan’s general history and you’re willing to take the time to grasp the sometimes convoluted details of troop movements and other particulars heretofore ignored in the sparse histories of the battle, you’ll find ample satisfaction in this thorough analysis of the military, social, and cultural significance of the clash at Guilford Courthouse. Drawing on personal accounts, period maps, pension documents, muster rolls, and common sense, the authors have meticulously recreated the battle with special attention paid to the roles of individual units, their place and performance on the battlefield, and their commanders’ decision-making processes. The authors have gone so far as to conduct experiments with the weapons and munitions employed by the opposing armies: “North Carolina militiamen used seven buckshot in their buck and ball loads as early as 1760 and were using the same load at Camden in August 1780. Modern experiments conducted with buck and ball load demonstrate that even inexperienced shooters quite easily hit a mansized target with the big ball at 50 yards….” If the details are many, the strategic sweep of the battle is by no means overlooked, as with the explication of Greene’s relatively straightforward plan of battle. Borrowing from Morgan’s tactical masterpiece at Cowpens, Greene arranged his militia units, armed with rifled muskets that were incapable of supporting bayonets, in two lines backed by Continental Regulars who had bayonets fixed The Art & Soul of Greensboro


to their smooth-bore muskets. The militias were expected to fire a few well-aimed shots and then retire to the relative safety of the Continental line — which they did. But nothing goes as planned in a pitched battle, and the Battle of Guilford Courthouse was no exception. Conflicting testimony, hyperbole, embroidery, outright falsehoods, statements taken years after the events being described, and the confusion of battle are, insofar as possible, disentangled by Babits and Howard. Whenever possible the voices of individual soldiers are allowed to ring through time, as when mediating the dispute regarding the conduct of the North Carolina militia during the battle: “In pension accounts taken nearly fifty years after the battle, many North Carolinians were brutally honest about their fight. Orderly Sgt. Elihu Ayers stated that ‘at the battle of Guilford this applicant was one of the

Conflicting testimony, hyperbole, embroidery, outright falsehoods, statements taken years after the events being described, and the confusion of battle are, insofar as possible, disentangled... North Carolina militia who got panick struck and ran from the scene of action.’ John Amos, a Wake County man, reported that the ‘militia was dispersed and scattered in every direction.’” The official record notwithstanding, who’s to doubt the word of old soldiers who have nothing to lose? Taken together these two excellent histories offer an opportunity to comprehend the Battle of Guilford Courthouse in its totality. But no amount of reading can replace an investigation of the battleground itself. With the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park only a few miles away, you can drive to the battleground and view two excellent films in the visitors’ center, hike the two-mile path of the battle, and perhaps attend the annual Reenactment of the Battle of Guilford Courthouse. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Buzz

For The Common Good Three websites that harness the good of the Internet By JACK DoDsoN

#1: Vote Easy www.votesmart.org/voteeasy In the 2008 presidential election, 131 million people turned out to vote, according to the U.S. Census — a record number that brought out 63.6 percent of the voting population. But voting is only half the battle — knowing who you’re marking your support for is arguably most important. Periscopic, a company that focuses on “socially responsible data visualization,” created an answer to this challenge in partnership with nonprofit Project Vote Smart. The site, created in 2010, allows users to choose their state and district to view their candidates, and then compares their feelings on a number of policy issues with those of the candidates. This spans House members to governors and presidential candidates. Here’s how it works: Once you’ve selected your state, you answer questions about a slew of issues including Afghanistan, abortion, environment, guns and taxes. If your candidates are Internet-savvy, they might have filled out their own answers to these questions, which helps for the sake of instant clarity. If you can ignore the somewhat goofy soundtrack of birds chirping and dogs barking in the audio loop, this website can be an invaluable tool for figuring out where your candidate stands on the issues. If nothing else, it’s a terrific starting point on what can be a long and sometimes tedious election season.

#2: Redu www.letsredu.com The Internet creates endless opportunities for organic movements through social media — hence the prowess of Facebook and Twitter — but it’s only been recently that nonprofits and social movements have taken full advantage of this tool. Redu is ahead of the curve. A site devoted to rethinking U.S. education policy and systems, encouraging a vigorous exchange of ideas and alternatives to the current education system — or at least reworking what’s already in place. “Following the belief that education will not be solved through a single bill passing or by policy makers alone,” goes the site’s mission statement, “our goal is to create a destination where educators, parents, students, and everybody who cares about the issue have the means to engage in the ongoing conversations, be inspired by reform stories, and make a difference in their own way.” Sounds good. But Redu’s more than talk. Because Microsoft is one of the numerous companies behind the site, users may sift through Bing’s vast array of videos, articles, images on the subject of “U.S. education reform,” having instantaneous access to a world of stimulating ideas. Recent intriguing articles ranged from “The Hacker’s Approach to Education Reform” to “Why Standardized Tests Kill the Joy of Learning.” Bolstered by quick facts on education issues (including a large infographic pointing out that 1.2 million students drop out of high school every year in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

this country), the site boasts an inspiring, well-produced intro created by Vimeo, clean layout and a splendid integration of Bing. The functionality is simple but interesting enough to keep the most Web-savvy thoughtfully entertained.

#3: BoostUp.org Finally, another site that probes the same issue by narrowly focusing its energies on student dropouts. BoostUp takes a different form than Redu in the sense that it’s an actual online campaign, rather than a platform for discussion. Here, in a country where one in three students drops out before graduation, you can donate “boosts” to directly encourage students to finish high school. “Boosts” aren’t always of a financial nature. They also involve active mentoring with a struggling student which can include counseling, assisting with homework, and simply listening to a young person’s frustrations. BoostUp.org urges visitors to take a personal stake in their local drop out crisis by seizing opportunities to get involved with students near them. The site also highlights students’ stories as a way to inspire others to get involved. The innovative site features three major sections: The Facts, The Challenges and Take Action. The Facts is a section with posts providing specific numbers and information on student dropout rates across the country. As with any large social issue, there are deep, underlying causes of America’s dropout crisis. The Challenges section of the site provides ample context on the nature of the problem, explaining the many reasons a young person opts to drop out — ranging from personal and family reasons to the need to get a job. But beyond being a resource for those who want to make a difference in their communities, BoostUp provides excellent resources for struggling students — including links to Boys and Girls Clubs, suicide hotlines, college preparation and GED information. In short, this is a great site that harnesses the tools of the Internet and applies them to make a difference in the lives of those who need it. Just like its do-gooder twins, Vote Easy and Redu, BoostUp.org is a splendid informational starting point for addressing a major social ill — websites that give the concerned users the information they need to make smarter decisions and make a difference in their worlds. OH August/September 2011

O.Henry 21


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Hitting Home

The Vacationer’s Prayer

I sure need the break. Fortunately, God doesn’t

By Dale Nixon

D

ear Lord, I’m ashamed to admit it, but it has been some time now since I have talked to you. Oh, I know we’ve shared a word or two in passing. I’ve mumbled to you several times as I drove down the road, stirred the soup, or just before I closed my eyes at night, but this conversation needs to be more than that. Since I’m more comfortable writing than I am talking, please lean over my shoulder and read this letter as I type. Lord, I want to apologize for neglecting You over this long, hot summer. The steamy weather and the break in a busy schedule were the perfect excuses for taking a vacation from You. Each Sunday I announced to family and friends it was just too hot to get all dressed up to sit through Sunday morning worship services. Struggling with pantyhose, tight clothes and uncomfortable shoes could wait until fall. Sunday school lesson books were put on the shelf, and the offering envelopes bearing our names were stashed in a drawer. I’d pull them out in September. Sundays with silent alarm clocks and a pause in the routine — that’s what a summer should be. I remained uncommitted and exercised my right to say, “No.” Teaching vacation Bible school was no vacation to me, and anyway, that was probably the same week we’d be at the beach. Join a circle? Hold an office? Well, I’d just have to wait and see. There were those times I should have baked a cake or fixed a casserole for the sick or bereaved. But, Lord, as You planned it, the fresh vegetables of the season came in, and I was too busy shelling, shucking, stringing and cooking for my own family. And I gave my family top priority this summer. We went to the mountains, picnicked in the mountains, swam in the ocean and took long rides through the country. We ate good, and we played hard. We were on VACATION for several glorious months.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

So, if we’ve had so much fun this summer, why am I offering my apologies to You? It’s because I suddenly realized that I have taken a vacation from You, but You haven’t taken one from me. I have seen and heard You every day of this season. The sun has continued to shine and the rain has continued to fall. The ocean waves wash in and out with the tide as they have always done. The mountains remain majestic, and flowers and vegetables continue to grow. The grass is still green, the sky is still blue, and rainbows awe us with their colorful show. One day has followed the other without a break in the routine. I have yet to read that a miracle was postponed due to the holidays or because of the extreme heat. There is comfort in knowing You never take a vacation, and remorse in thinking of my extended leave. So, Lord, if You’ll accept my humble apologies, next year I’ll just block out a week. Love and thanks, Dale OH Columnist Dale Nixon resides in Concord. You may contact her by e-mail at dalenixon@carolina.rr.com.

August/September 2011

O.Henry 23


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Hop Head

A Kingdom For My Beer Todd Fisher, a fellow of many talents, is a champion home-brewer with the royal blue ribbon to prove it

By David C. Bailey

Photograph by Sam Froelich

T

hrough the searing dog days of August heading into the sweltering humidity of September, the Hop Head will be sucking down lots of light Red Oak Hummin’ Bird lager and, if I happen to be at the ball park on a Thirsty Thursday, gallons of Guilford Golden Ale from Natty Greene’s. I will also be hanging out at the recently opened 1618 Wine Lounge on Battleground Avenue next to Pastabilities. I’ll admit that wine lounges are a little chic and atmospheric for my blue-collar tastes (I miss the old Pickwick on Walker), but I dropped by 1618 to talk to the man who concocted the lounge’s excellent beer list, Todd Fisher. Fisher, I’d heard, was the winner of the 2011 Gambrinus Cup, for which honor I toasted him with a heavenly chalice of Triangle Brewing’s Belgian Style Strong Golden Ale that he’d recommended — eight percent and incredibly priced at three dollars a pint. Fisher is my new role model — an actor, playwright, public servant, bartender and home brewer, all rolled into one impish package. On a lark, he entered his stout in the U.S. Open Homebrew Competition, and out of 400 entries, won not only a blue ribbon, but also the honor of having his beer brewed on a commercial scale by Foothills Brewing in Winston-Salem. Knights in shining armor and their ladies fair will be quaffing Fisher’s stout at the upcoming Renaissance Festival in Charlotte, an event at which I myself have tipped more than a few mugs of merry mead and jolly old ale. What path, I wondered, what course of study, what apprenticeship leads one to a prize-winning stout? “There’s just a little serendipity to it all,” the linebacker-sized Fisher says. “Ninety percent luck and ten percent preparation,” he admits, which means there’s hope for all of us aspiring home-brewers. I brewed gallons and gallons of mediocre beer while in college, inspired by my father, who’s gone on to that great big brew pub in the sky. I recall my old man decked out in a yellow slicker and nor’wester hat, pouring out geyser after geyser of his home-brewed beer after it started going bump in the night, terrifying my mother and altering the aroma of our pantry forever. But I digress. Fisher’s journey began when his wife, Christine, bought him a homebrew kit several years ago for his birthday — “and has regretted it ever since,” he says. But Fisher’s real inspiration came after he attended a charity beer fest at the Greensboro Coliseum, where he discovered that “the best beers were from the homebrew clubs. I mean they had weird beers, jalapeno tequila ale, coconut-milk porters, coconut-chocolate stout, and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mountain Dew ale — which was made from fermented Mountain Dew and tasted just like Mountain Dew.” Over-served toward the end of the event, he remembers blurting out that he could probably make some pretty good beer himself. “And the guys there were like, ‘Can you boil water?’ And I’m like, ‘YEAH!’ and they said, ‘Well, you can make beer.’ And I’m like, ‘Sure.’” He started with a “dump-andstir” kit, which he insists is foolproof. Canned malt extract is dumped and stirred into a pot of boiling water. Add yeast when it’s cooled, put it into a closet, and in a few weeks, you’ve got forty-eight or forty-nine bottles of stout from a kit that cost something like thirty-five dollars — much less than a dollar a bottle. “Now the real way to save money is to go all-grain because grain is cheap,” Fisher says. All-grain means buying malted grain for a couple of bucks a pound and turning it into beer. He figures his prize-winning stout cost him something like twenty-seven dollars for forty-eight bottles. Of course, Fisher’s math does not include the cost of his mash tun, lauter tun and brew kettle. Or the burner on which it was heated. Or the chain of Igloo coolers he’s improvised into his garage brewery. “Every time I go to the beer store, I buy a new piece of equipment. It’s quite an addictive habit,” he says without a hint of irony in his voice. But since his wife got him started, why shouldn’t the equipment costs show up on her balance sheet? (And, yes, they’re still happily married.) Fisher’s not about to give out the recipe for his stout or even tell me what kind of hops he used (although in the way of beer-nerd stuff, he says they had a huge “alpha-acid component” and he “dry-hopped” the stout). It’s fitting Fisher’s stout will be served at the Renaissance Festival. He’s very much a wild and crazy Renaissance kind of guy. A UNCG Theater and Dance alum, his day job is arts and education director for Greensboro’s City Arts, which offers programs in dance, drama, music and visual arts. He’s the director of Greensboro’s Fringe Festival and his “Koun Kukki: The Legend of Hamachi and Unagi” was voted Best Drama at the Capital Fringe Festival in Washington, D.C. So ... is he thinking of changing careers and maybe opening a brew pub? Having worked for years in the food industry to support his theater career, Fisher already knows how hard and risky it is to open up anything in the food and beverage category. “I think my love for the stage is a lot greater than my love for beer,” he says. “Now if I could combine all of that in one place, a brew-pub theater? It could be the first of its kind right here in Greensboro, North Carolina.” The Hop Head will drink to that. OH August/September 2011

O.Henry 25


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26 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Vine Wisdom

The Bloom Of Rosé Once scorned, this accidental discovery is now a blushing success By Robyn James

I

t is always in the heat of the summer that my cravings for dry rosé kick in. Europeans have relished dry rosé for centuries, but until a few years ago, it was a tough sale to American consumers, who are prejudiced against the pink color. We have White Zinfandel to thank for that. In 1975, Sutter Home’s White Zinfandel experienced a “stuck fermentation,” a problem that occurs when the yeast dies out before consuming all of the sugar. This problem juice was set aside. Some weeks later the winemaker tasted it, and preferred this accidental result, which was a sweet pink wine. This is the style that became popular and today is known as White Zinfandel. Sutter Home realized they could sell far more White Zinfandel than anything they had produced to date, and gradually became a successful producer of inexpensive wines. They remain one of the biggest producers of the wine, with annual shipments of over four million cases. Their success resulted in confusion and plummeting sales of European dry rosés, but time has changed that. I have found that consumers traveling to Europe and other continents discovered the fabulous rosés being offered in the neighborhood cafés. Today, rosé sales have surpassed white wine sales in France. A winemaker can make a rosé from any type of red wine grape. The juice must remain in contact with the skins of the grapes in order for the color to turn from white to pink to red. If the primary purpose of the winemaker is to make a rosé, the skins are removed from the vat as soon as the wine turns pink. In some cases, the winemaker’s primary purpose is to produce a more intense red wine through the Saigneé method. This is the process of “bleeding off” some of the pink juice to ideally obtain a more tannic, complex red with the remaining juice. Purists of rosé do not believe in blending red and white grapes together to achieve the blush color. This is an awkward and unfriendly effort, except in Champagne, where typically Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier are blended together. Along with the acceptance of dry rosés in the market, winemakers from California and Oregon are turning out some awesome rosés to rival their imported peers. Particularly, the rosé of Pinot Noirs are delicious. Look for Adelsheim, Belle Glos and Sean Minor. From Europe, the rosés from Rhone are typically blends of Cinsault, Syrah and Grenache. The Mercedes of all French rosé, I believe, are those from the tony resort town of Bandol. Here, the gorgeously coppered colored rosé is from 100 percent Mourvedre grape and has an earthy depth and complexity that is unique. Here are some of my favorites: The Art & Soul of Greensboro

DOMAINE GROS NORE BANDOL ROSé, Approx., $30 “Full, ripe and creamy, displaying lush and alluring fruit flavors of raspberry, cherry and plum. The long finish of white chocolate and spice features hints of pepper.” RATED 91 POINTS, THE WINE SPECTATOR LA VIEILLE FERME COTES DU VENTOUX ROSé, FRANCE, Approx., $9 “This has a nice dark cherry color, with tasty cherry, ripe strawberry and mineral notes that all weave through the fresh finish. Lively and tasty.” RATED BEST VALUE, 87 POINTS, THE WINE SPECTATOR MULDERBOSCH ROSé OF CABERNET SAUVIGNON, SOUTH AFRICA, Approx., $13 “Light and fresh, with firm cherry and watermelon rind notes. Drink now.” RATED 85 POINTS, THE WINE SPECTATOR ETUDE ROSé OF PINOT NOIR, CARNEROS, Approx., $20 “A delicate and fragrant rosé, displaying a light pink hue and notes of cherry blossom, vanilla and herbs.” RATED 86 POINTS, THE WINE SPECTATOR OH Robyn James, formerly Robyn Shields, was in the wholesale fine wine industry in the Triad for 12 years prior to opening The Wine Cellar & Tasting Room in Southern Pines. August/September 2011

O.Henry 27


The Serial Eater

The Perfect BLT

Our tenacious trencherman goes in search of summer’s quintessential sandwich

By David C. Bailey

T

he Serial Eater grew up in a household with loving parents and, consequently, lots of bacon. When tomatoes ripened, my family looked forward to BLTs like others anticipate Thanksgiving dinner. Daddy would whet the Old Hickory butcher knife and carve thick slices from a smoky, peppercovered side of bacon. Momma would peel and thinly slice tomatoes still warm from the sun of our backyard garden. The result was so juicy Daddy would often eat his sandwich over the sink. Daddy ran the Belk store in Reidsville and often accepted produce in place of cash from local farmers. We had marvelous, unsmoked fatback, sometimes battered and deep-fat fried the way the S&W Cafeteria in downtown Greensboro served it. Hog jowl, smoky and sweet, curled around our collards and made Momma’s green beans downright slippery. When my mother visited relatives in Pennsylvania, she would bring back Mennonite bacon, lean and oh-so-smoky. My German brother-in-law would bring us bacon from the Old Country, smuggling it in his luggage. An adventurous cook, Momma paired bacon with shrimp, oysters, dates, and just about everything else. Some families are food-centric. We were bacon-centric, so it’s not surprising that I’m obsessed with bacon and BLTs. That’s why I’m all about the latest food fad. With locally sourced meats and farm-to-fork produce occupying the No. 1 and No. 2 spots on the National Restaurant Association’s list of top food trends, Greensboro chefs have spent weeks planning their take on this season’s ultimate bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Call it the battle of the BLTs, as chefs seek out the “localest” of local produce. Some are even growing their own ’maters and lettuce. And a few zealots are quite literally making bacon — sugar-curing locally sourced pork bellies and then smoking them for hours over hickory, maple or oak. The most creative chefs are adding avocado, arugula and shrimp. “C’mon,” says purist Emmett Morphis, who opened up Emma Key’s Flat-Top Grill last December in the old Key’s Barbershop in the four corners area of Walker and Elam. “A BLT is a BLT — bacon, lettuce, white bread and tomatoes. Don’t mess with something that’s already perfect.” If you like your BLT classic and unadorned, consider conjuring up the legacy of Emma Key, Morphis’ Mississippi grandmother and Flat-Top’s namesake, by ordering a sandwich made from griddle-fried applewood bacon. Layered with ripe tomatoes (from either a local farm or someone’s backyard) atop Hilltop Hearth Hearty White Loaf bread (toasted so that it absorbs the tomato juice), Emma Key’s BLT is slathered with Duke’s mayonnaise. Flat-Top’s sandwich is compact, so you get the full complement of flavors with every single bite. Ditto the sandwich at the iconic Brown Gardiner Drug Co.’s lunch counter. “It takes people back to their youth,” says Kendra Roach, who’s at the sandwich

28 O.Henry

August/September 2011

board almost every day. Brown Gardiner’s “classic” version is built from crisp Hormel bacon, tomatoes from All Fresh Produce Company, Duke’s mayo, crunchy iceberg lettuce and toasted Flowers White Wheat bread. Chef Leigh Hesling at Green Valley Grill offers Greensboro’s ultimate house-made BLT as a special when tomatoes are at their peak. He starts with a croissant baked in-house and adds bacon he’s cured and smoked with oak, using local farmer Bobby Bradd’s local pork bellies. The mayo is the ultimate, over-the-top addition: “We make it in-house using the pork fat that cooks out of the bacon while it cures,” says the Australian-born Hesling, former chef on the Queen Elizabeth 2. Chris Blackburn at Josephine’s on Spring Garden one-ups the ante on bacon by doubling the pork, first firing Faucette Farm hickory-smoked bacon from Browns Summit over the grill, and then crisping up some jamón Serrano — acclaimed by some as the finest ham on the planet — from acorneating Spanish hogs. Heirloom tomatoes come mostly from the garden behind the restaurant, and the rustic French bread is baked on the premises. House-made Worcestershire-garlic aioli is paired with sassy arugula to craft a sandwich that simulate a different part of the amygdala with every bite. Southern Roots Restaurant in Jamestown has a distinctly different BLT. “We use fried green tomatoes instead of red tomatoes, tomato-basil aioli instead of mayonnaise, and we also add shrimp,” says owner Lisa Hawley. (Don’t miss Southern Roots’ fried okra.) Lindley Park Filling Station on Walker also uses fried green tomatoes along with sharp cheddar on its Greenway sandwich, to which bacon can be added to make a PC-FGT-BLT that’s scrumptiously sweet and sour. Also in the fried-green-tomato camp is chef Mark Freedman at Mark’s on Dolly Madison. Freedman adds just a The Art & Soul of Greensboro


touch of chipotle peppers to his pimento cheese, served on sourdough bread. It’s superb, subtle and surprisingly restrained. Greensboro’s heartiest BLT comes from chef Jay Pierce at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, who cooked with Emeril Lagasse and kicks his BLTs up a notch by adding Creole spices to Duke’s mayonnaise. He also cures his own bacon from whey-fed local hogs, smokes it with hickory, and then slices it thick so that it’s lush and stands up against sweet, local German Johnsons or June pinks. It’s a huge, two-fisted cacophony of salty, sweet and umami. And you sorta need a sink to eat it over. The Undercurrent downtown cures rich Berkshire pork in-house, hot-smoking it with maple. “Our daily special allows us to take advantage of different tomatoes, lettuces and sauces to create dozens of combinations,” says owner Ben Roberts. At Darryl’s totally refurbished Wood-Fired

When tomatoes ripened, my family looked forward to BLTs like others anticipate Thanksgiving dinner. Grill, chief culinary officer Jeff Blackley uses Simple Knead’s English Toasting Bread to recall the BLTs of his youth when he would wait for his parents to go to work so he could “get in the kitchen and make trouble.” Using scratchmade mayonnaise, enhanced with roasted garlic and basil, and Nueske’s Wisconsin applewood smoked bacon, Blackley’s creamy BLT gets its cool from slices of avocado. Meanwhile, at Harper’s Restaurant, as part of its Tomato Celebration, diners can order perhaps Greensboro’s healthiest BLT, on whole-wheat bread, with light Duke’s mayo, local tomatoes, and a generous serving of Hormel applewood smoked bacon. With juice dribbling down my chin and all over my shirt, I loved every bite of each embellished BLT, but I’d argue that the simpler preparations have an advantage over the really elaborate sandwiches that require two hands or even a knife and fork to eat. With extra-thick-sliced homemade bread, exotic mayo and multiple ingredients, the essence of the BLT’s comforting simplicity can get lost. Why is the BLT so good, the Serial Eater wonders. “This is really one of the great mysteries of life,” says chef Hesling of the Green Valley Grill. “Why is the sky blue? Why is cold beer so good?” Some things are so sacred, maybe they’re best left unpondered. OH Contributing Editor David Bailey sure loves his job. Luckily, he’s skinny. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August/September 2011

O.Henry 29


The Serial Eater

The BLT at its Best Restaurant Bacon Brown Gardiner Hormel Griddle Drug Co. 2101 N. Elm St. Greensboro, (336) 273-0596

Darryl’s Wood Fired Grill 3300 High Point Rd., Greensboro, (336) 294-1781

Emma Key’s Flat-Top Grill 2206 Walker Ave., Greensboro, (336) 285-9429

Tomato

Bread

Master

All Fresh Produce Co.

FlowersDuke’s Foods’ Whitewheat

“The bacon is crisp, the tomato is soft and the iceberg lettuce is crispy. It’s just classic.”

Nueske’s Wisconsin applesmoked

Locallygrown when available

Simple Kneads English Toasting Bread

Roasted-garlic mayonnaise with basil made inhoiuse

Slices of avocado are added and the lettuce is shredded.

$9.95

Farmland Foods Inc., apple-woodsmoked

Locallygrown when available

Hilltop Hearth Hearty White Loaf

Duke’s

“We focus on every single order that we get. Every plate that goes out has been prepared with the utmost care and quality.”

$3.99

Local Cherokee Purple or German Johnson

Housebaked croissant

House-made using the pork fat from the bacon as it cures

The bacon is cooked to order over the woodfired grill.

$12.95

Duke’s Light

“We use whole leaves of iceberg lettuce because of the great crunch it adds.”

$10

Bobby Bradds’ pork bellies, 622 Green Valley Rd., cured and Greensboro, (336) smoked in854-2015 house.

Green Valley Grill

Harper’s 601 Friendly Center Rd., Greensboro, (336) 299-8850

Hormel Old Smokehouse Apple-wood

Locally100% grown wholewhen avail- wheat able

Mayonnaise Secret

Price $3.90

PhotogrAPhs By CAssie Butler

30 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Restaurant Josephine’s Bistro 2417 Spring Garden St., Greensboro, (336) 285-6590

Lindley Filling Station 2201 Walker Ave., Greensboro, (336) 274-2144

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro, (336) 370-0707

Mark’s 616 Dolley Madison Rd., Greensboro, (336) 387-0410

Bread

Mayonnaise Secret

Olive-oil, French baked inhouse

Worcestershire and garlic aioli made in-house

“This is a B.A.T., as in argula instead of lettuce. Think of a baconencrusted tomato.”

North Carolinagrown

Hilltop Hearth Pullman Texas toast

Hellman’s with fresh herbs

Glennwood Farms mild cheddar cheese is melted with the fried green tomatoes to create the Greenway. Add bacon and it’s an amplified BLT.

$9.95

Bobby Bradds’ pork bellies, cured and smoked inhouse.

Local German Johnsons and June Pinks

Challah pullman or wheatberry

Duke’s

Sandwiches served immediately so they don’t get soggy and the tomatoes are never refrigerated.

$9

Smithfield, apple-woodsmoked

Fried, local green tomatoes

Buttergriddled sourdough baked inhouse

Hold the mayo

The green tomatoes are brined and fried and then topped with chipotle-andpimiento cheese.

$6

Tomato-basil aioli made in-house

“We use fried green tomatoes and tomato-basil aioli instead of mayonnaise, and also add shrimp.”

$9

Duke’s or made inhouse

“The daily special allows us to take advantage of different tomatoes, lettuces and sauces to create dozens of combinations.”

$9

Bacon

Tomato

Spanish Serrano Ham and Faucette Farm bacon

Heirloom, from the restaurant’s garden when available

Patuxent Farms, hickorysmoked

Fried, local Sourdough Southern Roots Local apple-woodgreen Restaurant 119 East Main St., Jamestown, (336) 882-5570

Undercurrent Restaurant 327 Battleground Ave., Greensboro, (336) 370-1266

smoked

tomatoes from the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market

Berkshire pork, cured and maplesmoked in-house

Rudd Farm Potato roll brandywine baked inhouse

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Price $12

August/September 2011

O.Henry 31


The Sporting Life

Renaissance Man Tom Bobo has found his patch of paradise By Tom Bryant “The cowboys had lived for months under the great bowl of the sky, and yet the Montana skies seemed deeper than the skies of Texas or Nebraska. Their depth and blueness robbed even the sun of its harsh force, it seemed smaller in the vastness and the whole sky no longer turned white at noon as it had in the lower plains. Always somewhere to the north, there was a swath of blueness, with white clouds floating like petals in a pond.” From Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry

Y

ep, I think I enjoy bird hunting out west more than anyplace else. It’s something about the vastness. Arizona, for example, dry, very dry. And Oklahoma, people don’t think about Oklahoma that much when it comes to bird hunting, but birds are numerous there. And Oregon, another good state. But the best I think is Montana, big sky country. We were sitting in Tom Bobo’s south side sunroom, and Tom was answering questions about his numerous bird hunts out west. Tom and I go way back, at least thirty years. We’ve hunted and fished all over the country together, losing touch a bit when my wife Linda and I retired to Southern Pines. Tom sat comfortably behind his desk, every now and then raising binoculars to his eyes to look at the far side of the lake that anchored the back of the house. Tom and his lovely bride, Judith, built their energy selfsustaining home in the mid-eighties. Nestled in the middle of twenty acres in Alamance County, the three-story log home has been written about in several magazines because of its energy efficiency. It’s a beautiful setting, just what you would think an outdoorsman like Tom Bobo would build. Bobo stands about six feet, a lanky fellow with a mane of cotton white hair and a mustache to match. He looks as if he just stepped out of McMurtry’s novel Lonesome Dove. A dozen or so Canada geese swam effortlessly at the head of the lake honking friendly welcomes to others as they came over the pines, wings locked, feet down to settle in for the morning. “Reminds me of the Eastern Shore. Remember our hunts up there on Plimhemmin Plantation with Bill Meyers?” he asked me. “I sure do, great times. Have you been up there lately?” “Nope, I prefer to remember it as it was. I hear they’ve cut the farm up into condominium tracts. And the Tidewater doesn’t even allow dogs anymore.” Tom and I had hunted Canada geese at the same Maryland plantation for at least ten years or more running, giving it up when the Canadas changed their migration habits. The venerable old Tidewater Inn in Easton was where we stayed, and it catered to water fowlers and their dogs from all over the world. “How you doing since you sold the business and retired?” I asked him. “It was time,” he replied. “Every old business needs some new blood.

32 O.Henry

August/September 2011

They were doing stuff with computers and electronics that I didn’t understand, a whole lot that they had never done before, and it seemed to me, a lot that they didn’t need to do now. They’re a smart group, and I’m sure the business will do well.” Tom had just recently sold the Burlington textile mill that he and his father had owned for years; and as much as he put off his knowledge of modern electronics, I knew that the plant had a reputation for its production quality and for using some of the most up-to-date equipment in the industry. “Talk about unnecessary modern gear, let me tell you about a bird hunt I was on last year out in Montana.” Tom picked up his binoculars again and looked to the far side of the pond’s dam. “What do you keep looking for over there?” I asked. I could see nothing but geese moving from one part of the pond to the other. “Otters,” he replied. “There were four to start with, and three have moved on. The one remaining I call Pete. He’ll show up in a few minutes. He put the binoculars down and resumed his story. “We were hunting Hungarian partridges. A guide, another hunter and me. The guide had just acquired a GPS for the dog. You know, one of those things you can put on the collar of a bird dog and it will keep you posted as to where the dog is located. The other fellow had his own GPS, and he and the guide were trying to synchronize the units so they would be on the same page. They were huddled together talking to one another. “They would point over the hill. I was standing right behind them holding a 125-year-old English black-powder, hammer shotgun watching them and their state of the art equipment. The dog they were searching so hard for with those machines was, in fact, standing twenty yards behind us doing his business on a bush. Some things just don’t belong on a hunt.” We both laughed long and hard. “How was your latest expedition, the one out to Uruguay?” I asked, remembering that he and a couple of friends had been down there for a week or two. “Well, the shooting was good and the weather was wonderful. They’re heading into winter, so it’s kind of like our November. We were hunting The Art & Soul of Greensboro


pigeon and perdiz. Beef cattle are the countryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s major industry and they raise grain specifically for the herds. Pigeons eat up about twenty percent of the grain crop, so the natives look pretty favorably on a couple of gringos in their country shooting pigeons. We had a good hunt, but Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m glad to be home. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go outside. I want to show you something.â&#x20AC;? We went out the back door through Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s study, where he has one of the prettiest swan mounts Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve ever seen. The swan is mounted in flight over the fireplace and from wingtipto-wingtip, it covers the width of the chimney. Andie, Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s little Jack Russell, beat us out the door and tore around the corner of the house, running several squirrels up the nearest oak. The little dog pranced back to us as if to say, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Those squirrels donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t mess with me.â&#x20AC;? Next to Judithâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s greenhouse, Tom pointed out an elongated cedar box with a roof. It looked a lot like a giant bird feeder. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What do you think?â&#x20AC;? he asked. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. What is it?â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gonna be a beehive. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m getting the bees after I take a course in bee-keeping at the community college. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been reading about how weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re having a shortage of bees, what with disease, pollution and such getting them, so I decided Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d try my hand at raising some.â&#x20AC;? The vastness of Tomâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s interests and knowledge always amazed me. Heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a regular Renaissance man. As we walked out to the pier that jutted into the lake I said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a little preserve here, Tom. You could get a limit of Canadas without leaving your porch.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;Yeah, I guess I could. But the older I get, Cooter, the more of a conservationist I become.â&#x20AC;? Tom had bestowed the nickname Cooter on me years before. Where he got it, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll never know. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Here in this little spread, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got deer, coyotes, geese, ducks, otters, â&#x20AC;&#x2122;coons, â&#x20AC;&#x2122;possums. I think they know they are safe. The only thing Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d shoot in this acreage is burglars and poachers. â&#x20AC;&#x153;What say we ride out and get some lunch? Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a little barbecue joint in Gibsonville I want you to try. And while weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re there, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m gonna convince you to join me this fall out Montana way to hunt up some birds. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll be like old times.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;A day and a half later the two scouts rode over a grassy bluff and saw the Yellowstone River, a few miles away. Fifty or sixty buffalo were watering as they rode up. At the sight of the horsemen the buffalo scattered. The cloudbank had blown away and the blue sky was clear as far as one could see.â&#x20AC;? From Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry OH Tom Bryant, who grew up in Alamance county, is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henryâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sporting Life columnist. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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www.ca-ideas.com August/September 2011

O.Henry 33


Street Level

The Boy of Summer Ralph Hodgin, 96, is America’s fourth-oldest former major leaguer. But he remembers a host of stars who hailed from Guilford County

R

alph Hodgin has returned to the vicinity where it all began, the Guilford College area. There he started playing baseball more than ninety years ago when he was about this high, a true boy of summer. He holds his hand just above his knee while sitting with family members on the veranda of Brighton Gardens on New Garden Road, the retirement complex where he lives after many decades in a house in a southwest Greensboro neighborhood near Smith High School. “We played in the fields and woods and everywhere else we could get a place to play,” says Hodgin, who grew up on a dairy farm near the airport. Longevity has it rewards. Hodgin, who turned ninety-six in February, ranks as the oldest living former Chicago White Sox, according to a chart compiled by Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia. In addition, Hodgin is the fourth oldest living former Major Leaguer counting all teams. If you judged by quality and quantity of play he’d be the oldest. The three players in front of him, ranging in age to a few months older than Hodgin to 100, played in only 118, 94 and 11 games respectively during their careers. Hodgin played in 530 games during six years in the Majors. His lifetime batting average was .285, a number that would earn him millions in this era of wildly inflated player salaries. As it was he earned about $15,000 in his highest paid year. “We could make more money playing ball than working — not much,” he says. Hodgin broke into Major League Baseball in 1939 with the Boston Bees, which were the Braves until 1935 and the Braves again after 1941. The legendary Casey Stengel was the Bees’ manager when Hodgin was on the team. After the ’39 season, Hodgin spent three years in the minor leagues before joining the White Sox in 1943, playing until 1948 as an outfielder and third baseman, with one year off for military service. He had a reputation for being able to get on base, and he rarely went to bat and returned to the dugout with lumber on his shoulder after three strikes. He made 1,689 trips to the plate during his career, and struck out only sixty-five times — or one strike out for every 100 times at bat. One season, he fanned only fourteen times in 465 at bats. “Now they strike out that many times in one series of games,” says Al Lochra, a retired educator from Greensboro who is Hodgin’s nephew by marriage. Hodgin’s stories could fill old Comiskey Park, the Sox’s home field for many years. He used to tell them with the quickness of his throw from the outfield to the infield. But a stroke five years ago and a minor one earlier this year have slowed his memory. He needs prompting from family, who, besides Lochra,

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include daughters Patsy Michael of Gibsonville and Doris Patrick of Tallahassee, Fla. Lochra saw Hodgin play once, in Cleveland, in 1947. A Cleveland player hit a long fly ball. “Ralph ran as fast as he could and caught it, making a 360-degree turn and pushing himself into the outfield wall,” Lochra recalls. “It was before the largest crowd in Cleveland history. They applauded him even though he played for the other team.” Tell about that triple play, family members urge Hodgin. “It was against the Boston Red Sox,” he says. “A ball was hit hard to third. I held my hand out and the ball went right into my glove. I stepped on third for the second out and threw to first for the third out. At that time there had not been many triple plays.” The family nudges him to tell how he was shifted to third base after always playing in the outfield. “We were playing the Yankees on a Sunday. We didn’t have a great third baseman. I was pulling on my uniform when Dykes [Jimmy Dykes], the manager, stopped by my locker and asked, ‘Can you play third base?’ ‘I’ll play anywhere,’ I told him. I had never played third base.” He had a strong arm, essential for playing the hot corner. He had no problem fielding sizzling grounders and making the long throw to first base to beat the runner. He’s asked about the tip he received from Rick Ferrell, a fellow Greensboro native who is in the Major League Hall of Fame. Ferrell was a catcher for Washington Senators when Hodgin was a White Sox. Hodgin had grown up with Ferrell and his brother Wes, who played in the Majors as a pitcher, and George, who just missed making the Big Leagues. Hodgin came to the plate and Ferrell, crouched behind the plate, told him what kind of pitch was coming. “I was afraid to take what he said. I didn’t trust him,” Hodgin says. He let the ball go by and regretted it. “The pitch was what he said it would be and it was a strike,” he says. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph of Ralph Hodgin by Jim Schlosser

By Jim Schlosser


At the plate, he faced 100 mile-per-hour fast balls hurled by the Cleveland Indians’ future Hall of Famer Bob Feller. He bested Feller at least once. “I pinched it in the 9th inning with a man on third,” he said. “I got a base hit off him.”

H

odgin hit a sensational .314 in his first year with the White Sox. He hit mostly singles and doubles and occasional triples. He hit only four homers in his career, but that’s all right with him. “They hit more home runs today,” he says. “All hitters try to hit a home run. We didn’t think that much about ’em when I played.” While at third base for the White Sox, he played next to yet another future Hall of Famer, shortstop Luke Appling, who later gave him a glove. Hodgin’s daughter, Patsy, keeps it among her dad’s memorabilia. Hodgin savored the glory of baseball, including once having his photo made with Ann Blyth, a Hollywood beauty who posed with him at the White Sox spring training camp in Arizona. Hodgin’s career went downhill in 1947 after he was beaned in April by a fast ball from yet another future Hall of Famer, Hal Neuhouser of Cleveland. The pitch knocked Hodgin unconscious. He didn’t play again until August. His family believes lingering effects hurt the quality of his play. He was sent to the minors after the 1948 season, even though he batted a creditable .266. He played three seasons for Sacramento in the Pacific Coast League, one rung below the Majors. He loved the coast league, finding the competition keen. He then returned home and was player-manager with the old Reidsville Luckies of

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the Carolina League. In the off season and when he retired from baseball, he drove a truck for what’s now McBane-Brown Oil Co., working his way eventually to office manager and dispatcher. He, the Ferrell brothers and Appling, who was from High Point, as were brothers Ray and Red Hayworth, who were their contemporaries in the Major Leagues, all grew up in western Guilford County. Still another, Harold Hector “Skinny” Brown, brought up in the Pomona community of western Greensboro, broke in with the White Sox about three years after Hodgin departed. “It just seemed we played more ball out here,” Hodgin says of the abundance of country boys making it to the big time in his day. “We just played more ball than they did elsewhere.” He draws a pension from the Major Leagues. Requests to autograph his baseball playing card used to come in the mail frequently, but the number has dwindled in recent years. Most baseball followers probably don’t realize he’s still around. Of his rise to the status of the oldest exWhite Sox and fourth oldest ex-Major Leaguer, Hodgin says it just means, “You know another is gone. They’re going out.” His health is fragile. His eyesight has dimmed, making it impossible to watch baseball on TV anymore. But he can still get around with the aid of a cane. He’s a good bet to eventually become the oldest living former Major Leaguer. Put in baseball parlance, Ralph Hodgin is one tough out. OH

“They hit more home runs today,” he says. “All hitters try to hit a home run. We didn’t think that much about ’em when I played.”

Jim Schlosser gave up playing organized baseball at 13, but still loves stadiums, like War Memorial Stadium and NewBridge Bank Park.

August/September 2011

O.Henry 35


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O.Henry

Late Summer 2011 She Touches My Hand Soft hair’s-tip touch on the back of my arm and I smack it too late, the previous mosquito has found me again, or her daughter, granddaughter, or seventh cousin, one and the same to me and though I know she works automatically to survive, she radiates witty malicious cunning — I feel it as she feels my warmth and carbon dioxide, the kitchen is full of our sense of each other, no wonder I can’t get anything done. She brushes my knuckles so gently it makes me fierce, and worse, when at last she crouches on me — dark double tripod jagged as lightning — I won’t feel it, the contact my skin keeps imagining now while she hovers elsewhere, brushes my elbow with her wings — or her feet? or her mouth, which I tell myself can’t laugh, only pierce, inject, and drink? She’s drawn to me because I drink mango juice and eat too many strawberries in June, because of my pomegranate soap and rosemary lotion, because I draw near the blossom of TV that flickers like a mosquito’s spiel — now I’ve lost her, watching my hand, snapping to check my shoulder while she sips behind my knee, she rises a berry full of my blood, singing that I will itch all summer.

— Sarah Lindsay

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August/September 2011

O.Henry 37


The Long Goodbye

By JiM dodSon

O

n a recent midsummer evening at Greensboro’s O.Henry Hotel, best-selling thriller novelist John Hart moved through a large crowd of friends, family and fans dressed in an elegant olive gabardine suit, looking more like a fashionable stockbroker than a man whose latest thriller was about to hit the market with the force of a summer gale. The occasion was the official launch party of Iron House, the two-time Edgar-winning novelist’s fourth book, a powerful tale of two orphaned brothers and a hitman on the run from his unholy past. If Hart’s track record means anything, Iron House is almost guaranteed to be yet another runaway bestseller. To many who have known Hart, his wife, Katie, and their two young daughters over the nine years they’ve called Greensboro home — more or less coinciding with his meteoric rise to the top of his genre — the publication of Iron House also marks a poignant farewell to the city that’s birthed his first three novels and produced some of the happiest and most productive years of his life. “It’s not stretching things in the least to say Greensboro was where it all came together for me,” he told O.Henry magazine just weeks before this gathering at a cozy restaurant in Charlottesville, Virginia, where Hart and his wife

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had recently purchased a rambling farm just out of town and plan to build their dream house. “When we arrived there in 2002, all I had was an unfinished manuscript and a lot of unfulfilled dreams about writing.” Four years after the Harts arrived, with a string of unhappy careers that included everything from bartending in London to practicing criminal law in his hometown of Salisbury behind him, his first book, The King of Lies, was bought by St. Martin’s Press and hailed as one of the best debut novels in years, leaping to the best-seller list and enabling Hart to quit his job as a broker at Merrill Lynch and take the plunge as a full-time novelist. “You might say mine has been a 15-year overnight success story,” he quipped over a glass of Italian mineral water that night in Charlottesville, explaining how an unshakable desire to write and the unblinking support of his wife were the primary forces that offset a pair of unsuccessful first novels, allowing him to keep going until King of Lies struck pay dirt. A pair of lyrical, riveting family dramas, Down River and The Last Child — both set in the real or fictionalized Rowan County where he grew up — subsequently earned him unprecedented Edgar Awards for the best mystery/thriller novels of the year, and set the stage for the writing of Iron House, an even faster moving page-turner that allowed Hart to blend his passion for North Carolina’s rural landscapes with a narrative punch worthy of Raymond Chandler. “I’m a great believer in stretching myself as a storyteller,” he explained to the crowd of wellwishers in Greensboro. “I feel I owe that much to both the readers and to myself. And this book is slightly different from the rest, in part, because of its faster pace and the amount of violence that takes place in my characters’ lives.” He smiled and added, “I mean, seriously, why should other thriller writers get to have all the fun blowing up things and shooting machine guns?” Indeed. Fans of Hart’s deeply layered plots and fluent narrative style, however, will be pleased that his trademark elements of a troubled family history, loss and betrayal of trust, and a quest for personal redemption define his latest offering as well — propelling, in this instance, a killer whose world has been turned upside down by the death of his mobster mentor and an unexpected love interest, resulting in a flight back to his tangled North Carolina roots and a quest to save a long-lost brother. As Hart told the crowd this night in Greensboro, a party that benefited the Piedmont Land Trust so near and dear to his own heart, a theme that runs throughout his novels is that of “ordinary people who are faced with extraordinary challenges and ordeals that cause them to develop powerful ways of surviving — of ultimately finding some form of hope and light.” New beginnings and troubled epiphanies abound in the soulfully complex and compulsively readable thrillers of John Hart, who arrived in Greensboro an unknown writer but departs a man well on the road to becoming the next Raymond Chandler. Not surprisingly, at 45, embarking on a new chapter of family life and status as one of America’s leading literary craftsmen — � a man whose books are already sold in more than 50 different countries — Hart’s own long goodbye comes with a special nod to a city that will always own a piece of his heart. “Greensboro was really the beginning of my family life, my success as a writer, and many of my life’s greatest friendships. It’s such a gentle and welcoming place that created who I am today.” He smiled and added, “I’ll never completely say goodbye to all of that.” OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Justin Saunders/Alderman Company

of John Hart


The House in the Woods Excerpted from Iron House

A

s large as the house was, and as grand, it was not technically Abigail’s home. The main residence was in Charlotte, a turn-of-the-century mansion on two acres in Meyer’s Park. This was supposed to be their summer home, but Abigail loathed Charlotte. It was too large, its people too interested in the doings of their senator and his wife. As life unrolled behind her, Abigail found herself drawn more and more to the space and silence of Chatham County. Over the years, her time there grew longer and more certain, until now, she hardly left. She lived there with horses and privacy and her son. It was almost ideal. She swept down the long hall to the suite of rooms she’d taken as her own, where she showered, changed, and restored her face to its normal state of near-perfection. In a ten-foot mirror, her reflection was that of an elegant woman in peak physical condition. She turned once, found herself acceptable, and then went to Julian’s room on the third floor. It filled the top corner of the north wing, an extravagant space whose windows faced downslope and across the forest canopy. In spring, the view was of rolling green, an inland sea that in the fall became red and yellow and orange, an ocean of fire that died to brown and fell away. In the door, she stopped, hesitant. The room had ceiling-to-floor bookshelves that held framed photographs and twenty years of reading. A half-dozen easels stood against the far wall, large sketch pads propped open to show the pictures Julian had been working on: a forest scene, a lake in moonlight, characters for a new book he was considering. Shotguns and deer rifles stood, unused, in velvet-lined cases. They were gifts from his father, and from admirers of his father, expensive steel touched with fine dust; but Julian had never killed anything in his life. He was a gentle man, but a man nonetheless, and the room reflected this duality: dark rugs and expensive art, children’s books and silent guns. It was a man’s The Art & Soul of Greensboro

room, and a boy’s; and standing in the doorway, vision pricked by tears, Abigail saw the day they’d brought Julian home. He’d been so small and frightened, so lost without his brother. here, he’d said. How many boys live here Just you. He’d stared at the room for a long time, his dark eyes restless as he’d looked out the window at the forest canopy, the long miles of deep and secret green. His fingers were small on the windowsill, his chin tipped up as he stood on tiptoes to see out. It’s so big. Do you like it? He’d thought for a long time, then said: How will Michael find me here? That was the question that made her cry. Abigail stepped across the threshold. She ran a finger along the spines of books, lifted a photograph, put it down. She was restless, worried in a way she’d never been, so that when she turned and found her husband in the open door, she jumped. She’d not heard a step, and as large as he was, that fact surprised her. “About what I said.” The voice was his penitent one. “I will, of course, put Julian first. I hope you know that.” His gaze ran the length of the room, and it was impossible to hide his distaste. As a politician, he was conservative in all things. As a man, he believed in manly pursuits. People like Julian were not his cup of tea, and Abigail always suspected, deep in her heart, that the senator was pleased that Julian, as a son, was only adopted. Less of an embarrassment that way. Less of a liability. Truth was, the senator had never forgiven Abigail for her inability to conceive. August/September 2011

O.Henry 39


John Hart: Iron House He’d wanted one of each, a boy and a girl, both well mannered and sharing their mother’s photogenic qualities. Adoption was a hard-fought compromise, and Julian a massive disappointment. In the end, she’d won the argument on one basic premise: adoption — especially of older, unwanted children — would show he was a man of heart and conscience. His polls were lowest in the mountains. He’d thought about it, nodded once. And that was that. The senator stepped to the nearest easel and began flipping pages, looking first at one drawing and then another. “About Julian,” he said. “I was out of line. I’m sorry.” He flipped a final page and considered the drawing there: a halfdressed girl with leaves in her hair and eyes like black smoke. “This one’s unexpected,” he said. Abigail glanced at the drawing; a beautiful girl, provocatively drawn. “Why?” He shrugged. “It’s so sexual.” “He’s a children’s author, not a child. He’s had girlfriends.” “Has he?” “Must you be so dismissive?” The senator flipped pages until the drawing was covered. He studied Abigail’s face, his own features sad and utterly convincing. “Give an old man a kiss.” His eyes broke from hers, and she knew the interruption was purposeful. She extended her cheek and he kissed it, his lips dry and cool. Stepping back, he looked into the room. “This place is a mess.” “I’ll speak to housekeeping.” “That’s my girl.” She watched him go, then began to pick up the room. She made the bed, stacked books and gathered coffee cups. Finally, she lifted Julian’s tuxedo and carried it to the closet. It smelled of cigar smoke and aftershave. She smoothed it once, and in the pocket found a photograph. The girl was a waif: nineteen years old and small enough to be elfin. She stood on a sagging porch, the house behind her barely painted. Wild, blond hair framed a face that would be striking in another context; but she was barefoot and dirty, her eyes large over hollow cheeks, her mouth an angry line as she glared at the camera. She wore faded cutoffs that rose too high on her legs, a tank top that was too thin and tight for the breasts that pushed against it. Her hands were shoved into her pockets hard enough to push the shorts low on her hips and expose the blades of her hipbones, the plane of tight skin between. She was burned brown by the sun. The yard was dirt. Abigail had not seen the girl since she was a child, but she recognized the house. With a sickening feeling, she turned to the easel and flipped pages until she reached the charcoal sketch of the young woman, nude in the woods. She looked at the drawing, then at the photograph. She stepped closer and held them side by side. The drawing was the work of skilled hands, the young woman made even more attractive, her face at home in the forest, eyes slanted and deep, leaves twined into her hair. The sketch showed the curve of her hips and breasts, eyes that were entirely too knowing. “Oh, no.” Abigail stared hard at the drawing, a twist of nausea in the lowest part of her. “No, no, no.” She left the room at a near-run, the photograph bent double in her fist. Outside, the rain had died to mist. She found the Land Rover where she’d left it, cranked the engine, then checked the loads in the pistol and pointed the vehicle toward the rear of the estate. “No, no, no,” she said again. And the forest deepened.

I

n a lifetime of conflict, machination, and political intrigue, there was one persistent thorn in the side of Abigail’s husband. On the back side of his four thousand acres was a sixty-acre inholding, an island of old-growth pine that had been owned by the same family since the 1800s. The tract was rugged and

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untouched, a series of sharp hills and ravines with a gravel road leading to ten acres of flat ground and a house that had stood since before the Civil War. The land came with an easement across the back of the estate grounds, and in spite of the senator’s offers, the lady who owned the land refused to sell. He’d offered five times its value, then ten, and twenty. He’d lost his temper, and then things got complicated. The woman’s name was Caravel Gautreaux, which she claimed was Louisiana French. But who could say? The woman was a liar and insane. There was history between them. Bad things. The main estate road led off the manicured grounds and onto the working sections of the estate. Pavement gave way to gravel, and the road curved past vineyards and horse paddocks, the organic dairy operation Abigail had built from scratch eight years earlier. She drove beside the wide spill of river, then turned north through the deep woods and out across seven hundred acres of pasture dotted with cattle. When the road dipped back into woods on the far side, the gravel began to thin out, the road to narrow. Trees pressed close enough to scratch paint, and new growth folded under the front bumper as she pushed harder into the forest. This was the wild part of the estate, three thousand acres of game preserves and hunting grounds, vast tracts of old forest never timbered. She drove until the ground rose then fell away in a gorge with a fast, white stream at the bottom. She dropped into low gear and ground through water that rose to the axles, then up a steep incline, trail bending. The earth here was folded and raw. Granite pushed through thin, black dirt; hardwoods fell away to longleaf pine that still bore scars from the turpentine trade two centuries earlier. The trail intersected a narrow, gravel road that led to the state highway south of the estate, but Abigail didn’t care about the highway; she turned north between two hills, and the banks steepened as she drove, light fading as the road seemed to plunge. Abigail had not been to this place in twenty years, but the same fingers twisted her guts when Caravel’s house came into view. It was small and old, a jumble of poor rooms washed with white paint and left to settle on a bare dirt yard littered with rusted cars and animal droppings. Curtains hung from open windows. Goats stood in mud beneath a pecan tree, shaggy horses in an open shed. Abigail drove into the clearing and saw details she’d forgotten in two decades’ worth of trying. To the right, a springhouse gave birth to a trickle of water. Beyond it, a smokehouse stood with its doors open, metal hooks hanging on the inside. Abigail stepped out of the car and a damp smell hit her nose, a scent like wet talcum and crushed flowers. Wind chimes tinkled. Bits of colored glass on brown strings. Abigail moved past a fire pit full of scattered ash and small bones charred black. On the steps were stones scarred with pentagrams, mason jars filled with what looked like urine and rusted nails. Hides were nailed to a frame near the wall, and dried plants hung on the porch. Abigail stopped as the front door swung wide. Something moved in the murky interior, and a woman stepped out. “Well, isn’t this a thing to behold?” The voice was the same, as was the knowing look in the bright, mocking eyes. “Hello, Caravel.” “Richness.” Caravel Gautreaux stopped in a spill of light and put a hand on the rail. If Abigail had expected her to be ground down by poverty and hard living, she was disappointed. Caravel’s hands were rough, but she still had the kind of shape men would like. Five and a half feet tall and burned brown, she was barefoot and lean in a dress made transparent by time and the sun. White streaked her hair in places, but her lips were full and lush. “You look well,” Abigail said. “Well enough.” She lit a cigarette. “How’s your husband?” “He’s yours if you want him.” Gautreaux lifted the left corner of her mouth. “I guess I had the best of him already. Have you come to settle our score after all this time?” The Art & Soul of Greensboro


John Hart: Iron House Abigail shrugged. “Men will be men.” “Does he still say my name in his sleep?” “Hardly.” “No, I suppose not.” Caravel flicked ash. “What do you want down here, richness?” “I came to see your daughter.” “Oh.” An amused expression rose. “This is about Julian.” Abigail tensed. Until now, her theory had been just that. “What do you know about my son?” “Only that he has the same taste for Gautreaux women as your husband, that he has the same wisdom in his soul yet chooses to keep such choices from you. It all seems so familiar — the lies and carrying on, candlelight and warm air, the smell of young lovers —” “You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?” “I enjoy many things.” Caravel rolled the words off her tongue. “Men and smoke and warm, red meat.” “I want to talk to her.” “The pleasures of your company when you’re in disarray…” “Damn it, Caravel.” The smile fell off, and her voice hardened. “Victorine’s not here.” “Then I’ll come back when she is.” “You don’t understand. She’s been gone a week. Might not be coming back at all.” “Ah, the girl finally wised up.” “What?” “Wised up. Moved on.” “The girl is mine,” Caravel said. “Not anymore, it seems.” A weight of anger settled in Caravel’s eyes, deep lines at her mouth. “You take that back.” “Just keep your daughter away from my son. You do that and we’ll have no problems. Keep her off the estate, away from the house.” Caravel came off the porch, one shoulder lifted and a sudden, crazy light in her eyes. “You’ve seen her, haven’t you?” Abigail took a step back. “I wouldn’t be here if I had.” Caravel pointed a finger. “Where’s my baby?” “I told you —” “You’ll tell her Momma Gautreaux’s not mad anymore. You tell her all’s forgiven if she comes home.” “You just stay away from us.” “You tell her what I said?” “First of all, I don’t know where your crazy daughter is. I’ve told you that a few times already. And second, the best thing that child could do is keep far away from you. I’ll tell her that if I see her.” Gautreaux flicked her cigarette into the dirt, a sudden, wild hate in her voice. “You come between me and my daughter? You come between?” She came closer, her sanity gone as if a switch had dropped. “That child is mine! You understand? I won’t have you and your boy tellin’ some kind of lies to drive us apart. I see it, now.” She reached out to touch Abigail. “I see it.” “Stay away from me.” Abigail stumbled backward. “Distance makes no never-mind, richness. I can hurt you from a world away.” Abigail reached the truck, got her hand on the door. “Just stay away from my son.” “Two feet away or the whole damn world.” Gautreaux sat on the porch step, laughing. “No never-mind at all.” Abigail got in the truck and fired the engine, wheels chewing dust as she turned a tight circle. Her window was down and she saw Gautreaux watching. “All roads lead back to Momma Gautreaux,” she called.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The house swung into the rearview mirror. Trees rose and Abigail heard last words, faint beneath the engine. “You tell my baby girl…” Abigail drove fast. “Ever’ damn road…” Five minutes into the woods, Abigail finally slowed the truck. She was rattled and shaken, her heart running like a small animal as she took deep breaths and confronted the fact that Caravel Gautreaux scared her on some deep, fundamental level. Abigail was forty-seven years old, a rational woman; but evil, she knew, was as real as she. It had the same beating heart, the same blood. Call it sin or corruption, call it whatever you like, but that woman was evil. It was in the lines of her skin and in the history of that place, in the smell of dust and the weakness of men. All Abigail really knew was that she’d panicked at the look in Caravel’s eyes. The madness was too familiar, the cold, hard look. Abigail knew women like that. Had reason to fear them. A final shudder rolled under her skin, then she collected herself as she always did. She crushed the weakness and the doubt, drove home to tall, stone walls and mirrors that failed to see so deep. She reminded herself that she was iron on the inside, and harder than any woman alive. Ten minutes later, she parked the Land Rover. Jessup Falls waited at the back door. “Where have you been?” She considered the red flush in his face, the tension in his frame. “I went to see Caravel Gautreaux.” “Why? The woman’s insane.” “I think Julian’s involved with her daughter.” “Victorine Gautreaux is only nineteen.” “So was her mother when she cut a ninety-mile swath through the married men of Chatham County. Age is irrelevant to Gautreaux women. Caravel started when she was fourteen. High school boys. Farm hands. Drifters.” “That’s a rumor…” “Anyone with five dollars and an erection.” “I don’t like it when you get like this.” Abigail let a breath escape, and with it went much of her tension, the memory of her fear. “Maybe. Perhaps. Tell me what’s happened.” “It’s that obvious?” “I’ve known you a long time, Jessup.” “Walk with me.” He turned and Abigail fell in beside him. They moved along the drive, then off and into shaded grass. “There’s someone at the gate.” “There’s always someone at the gate. This is a senator’s house. That’s what the gate is for.” “You’ll want to see this person.” “For God’s sake —” “He’s Julian’s brother.” “That’s not possible.” Abigail looked into Jessup’s eyes; she saw certitude and worry, the steady flow of a deep current. “It’s him.” “It can’t be…” The voice was not hers. It was too small, too young. “Abigail…” She bent as her vision grayed at the edges. “Abigail…” She bent farther, no breath. She saw a boy in sideways snow: one glimpse as he ran, the night that stole him away. He was so small, so lost. She tried to straighten, but the weight of twenty-three years settled on her neck. Michael… “Breathe,” a voice said. But she could not. OH

August/September 2011

O.Henry 41


Voice of the

Greensboro’s O.Henry called himself a “Citizen Let’s hope of the Asphalt.” But America’s greatest storyteller was a man for his times — and possibly ours

By JiM SChLoSSer

this new magazine will live up to its namesake’s advice about writing. O.Henry once said, “There’s never a story where there seems to be one.” Let’s hope that the magazine will abide by O.Henry’s seemingly contradictory advice. He once said while sitting in a New York restaurant that he could find a story anywhere, even in the menu before him. He proved it by writing a precious story about a lovesick woman, Sarah, who typed menus for a restaurant. She absentmindedly typed “Dear Walter with hard boiled egg.” Walter, her lost lover, happened to dine in the restaurant, saw the menu and reunited with Sarah; the perfect O.Henry ending. Let’s hope this magazine will have editors who can creep close to O.Henry’s spelling skill. The man with the equivalent of a high school education often boasted he could spell any word. He accepted challenges and won every time, except once. He transposed two letters in t-i-c-d-o-u-l-o-u-r-e-u-x. He wasn’t always a stickler for spelling, though. He insisted that pudding be spelled pudden’, perhaps in tribute to his Southern upbringing. And he loved malapropism, using such words as “gladder.” Let’s hope the magazine will contain artwork worthy of O.Henry’s. Many admirers forget or don’t know of the writer’s sketch-pad talent. Working as a soda jerk and eventually as a licensed pharmacist, he drew characters who came into his uncle’s drugstore in Greensboro. He astonished people who viewed the drawings. They instantly recognized the subjects.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Historical photographs from the Greensboro Histroical Museum.

O.Henry,

whose real name was William Sydney Porter, was born south of Greensboro in 1862, moved to Greensboro as a toddler and spent the next eighteen years here before moving to Texas in 1882. He eventually became famous under his pen name in New York. He died young there, at age forty-eight. O.Henry could shoot as straight with his mouth as one of his literary creations, the Cisco Kid, could with a six-shooter. No high and mighty, self-righteous babble from him about why he wrote. Let others say they did so to uplift the masses, to make the world safer for democracy and to explore the inner soul. “I write for bread,” he said, perhaps coining the synonym for money still heard today. He had a knack for inventing terms, including “Banana Republic,” meaning a backward country in Latin America (and today a chain of trendy clothing stores). He spent time in one, Honduras, hiding from the law after being indicted for embezzling from a Texas bank. Once he settled in New York in 1902, he received a handsome $700 to $800 a story — and he published one a week in the New York Sunday World. Yet he was always writing “against an empty purse,” one of his acquaintances said. He constantly pressed editors for money, often speaking in his funny, deliberately contradictory way. To one he demanded, “Don’t send a check, but a check will do.” One of his costliest habits was giving away money. The panhandlers who today ply South Elm Street, a thoroughfare where a youthful O.Henry toiled in the drugstore for five years, would have given him no peace. He couldn’t resist a plea for money. It is said that New York’s


City street beggars feasted on O.Henry’s generosity. Even though he had that ugly bank episode that sent him to prison and for which he felt deep shame, he looked and acted in New York like a confident Southern aristocrat. He slapped on generous amounts of expensive bay rum. He parted his hair in the middle, wore a gold stick pin with his tie. His head was covered with a derby, his hands with leather gloves, one of which held a walking stick with a gold knob. The only known recording of his voice, a copy of which is in the Greensboro Historical Museum, indicates a man with a deep, sophisticated Southern accent. One person said the first time he met O.Henry he mistook him for a Southern cotton broker. He avoided publicity, not wanting the world to know of his prison stint. He gave the only newspaper interview during his life to The New York Times, in which he lied to the interviewer about a gap in his resume. He said he was traveling and writing stories, when in fact he was in an Ohio prison. One of his biggest fears, he once said, was walking into a public place and hearing someone yell “Bill Porter.” The person would then announce loudly they had served time together in the “can,” as prisons were then called. During those years of incarceration, 1898 to 1901, he kept his whereabouts a secret from his daughter, Margaret, from his first marriage. She was about ten when her father, by then a widower, left to begin his sentence. “I think it’s a shame some men folks have to go away from home to work and stay so long — don’t you?” he wrote to her, giving her the same fib he would later give the Times. “How hard we work to make a mask to hide the real self from our fellows,” he told his best friend and confidante, Al Jennings, a convicted train robber who later became a lawyer. Perhaps his pen name resulted from his desire for secrecy and also his decision at age forty to change the spelling of his middle name from Sidney to Sydney. Many theories exist about the pen name’s origin. Paul Horowitz, in his introduction to a collection of O.Henry’s stories, says it may have come from Etienne-Ossian Henry, a Frenchmen who wrote a pharmaceutical book that was at O.Henry’s side when he was night pharmacist in the prison dispensary. Also, Horowitz writes, the warden was Orrin Henry. Horowitz also says the alias could have been born before O.Henry went to prison, coming from his cat named Henry the Proud. He wouldn’t respond unless Will Porter shouted, “Oh, Henry.”

Sketches by O.Henry

O.Henry

haunts are plentiful in Greensboro. If only they revealed the secrets of his life and genius. What was it in Greensboro that inspired him to write such clever, poignant and funny short stories — hundreds of them, including his most famous, “The Gift of the Magi”? It is second only to Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” as the most popular Yule story. An editor said O.Henry “saw life around him in story form.” O. Henry once said all he needed in New York was to “catch a sentence, see something in a face and I’ve got my The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Bellemeade Mansion circa 1895

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story.” He spent so much time wandering the city he was called the “Citizen of the Asphalt.” Because he wrote such uplifting stories about young women who were overworked and underpaid in the big department stores, he was dubbed “Knight of the Shop Girl.” While many of his short stories are set in New York, a good number in the West and Central America, he didn’t neglect his old hometown when looking for people and places. A biographer, Ethel Arnett, in her 1962 book, O.Henry from Polecat Creek, said “well neigh 100 names common to Greensboro enter his stories.” In The Guardian of the Scutcheon, Reedy Lake appears, no doubt a takeoff on Reedy Fork Creek, along which O.Henry played as a youth. In The Emancipation of Billy, a key character is Appleby Fentress. Porter was born in Fentress Township in Guilford County. He turned Bellmeade Mansion, a downtown antebellum estate where he played as a boy, into Bellemeade Plantation and relocated it to New Orleans in a story. The real Bellemeade was a beautiful home on many acres bordered today by Bellemeade, Edgeworth, Lindsay and Eugene streets. The big house had a cupola in which O.Henry and his young friends gathered to read books. The house was demolished in the 1950s, with some rooms saved and reconstructed in the Greensboro Historical Museum. Much to the distaste of preservationists, a Kroger store replaced the house. Today the site is New Bridge Bank Park, home of the Greensboro Grasshoppers minor league baseball team. The stadium honors the writer with a concession area known as O.Henry Corner. In his boldest reference to his hometown, O.Henry started the story Two Renegades with, “In the Gate City of the South, the Confederate veterans were reuniting.” This showed O.Henry kept up with hometown events, and he clearly subscribed to the weekly Greensboro Patriot because the nickname “Gate City” was first used in 1890, long after O.Henry had left town. It can be said with certainty that O.Henry didn’t base one of his most famous characters, the Cisco Kid, on anyone he knew in these parts. Cisco was no doubt modeled on an hombre that O.Henry met in Texas or somewhere while on the lam in Honduras. He had been indicted for embezzling from an Austin bank, where he had worked as a teller. With his first wife, Athol, deadly ill, he returned to face trial and was convicted, though the evidence was flimsy. As for the Cisco Kid, forget the sanitized good guy that Hollywood produced in the 1950s TV series. The show started with the announcer proclaiming the Cisco Kid as “O.Henry’s Robin Hood of the West.” The Kid that O.Henry put on his yellow writing paper, in The Caballero’s Way, had few redeeming qualities. The story starts: “The Cisco Kid had killed six men in more or less fair-scrimmages, had murdered twice as many {mostly Mexicans} {his parenthesis}, and winged a larger number whom he modestly forbore to count....” How could a writer concoct such a dastardly figure while also creating such married lovebirds as Della and William in The Gift of the Magi? The husband hocks his gold watch — one of his two most prized possessions, the other being his wife’s beautiful hair — to buy an expensive comb for Della. Unbeknown to him, Della has cut and sold her hair for money to buy her husband a fob for his pocket watch. One of the best places to sit and soak up the spirit of O.Henry is the lobby of the O.Henry Hotel on Green Valley Road, the second Greensboro hotel to honor the writer. Dennis Quaintance, one of the hotel’s owners, has reproduced the entire story on the lobby walls. The first O.Henry Hotel, now the site of a parking deck, was downtown at North Elm and Bellemeade streets. It was built in 1918, only eight years after O.Henry’s death. That demolishes any notion Greensboro didn’t care for O.Henry, especially after it became known he was a convicted felon. The late Joe Morton, who died in 1994 at age 95, remembered as a young boy hearing plenty about O.Henry. “His stories were very popular in Greensboro,” Morton once said in an interview. “There The Art & Soul of Greensboro


was lots of talk about O.Henry being from here.” Born in rural Guilford County along Polecat Creek, O.Henry moved as a toddler with his family to Greensboro, where they occupied a long rectangular tract taking up the 400 block of West Market Street and bordering in the rear, West Gaston Street (now West Friendly Avenue). Not a reminder survives from the Porter property, which included a grape arbor, clover field, persimmon, walnut and apple trees, a barn and a schoolhouse. Office buildings, a pizza parlor, several parking lots and the Masonic Temple, which stands at the site of O.Henry’s spacious home, occupy the block today. The Porters were an upper middle class family. O.Henry’s father was a doctor, his mother college-educated. He attended for a number of years the school on the family property operated by his aunt, Evelina Porter, better known as Aunt Lina. She may have been his muse. She told riveting stories to her students. O.Henry admired her storytelling talent and became popular among his buddies with his ability to weave a yarn. He got plenty of tonic for future stories at his uncle Clark Porter’s drugstore at 121 South Elm Street, which one biographer described as “the social, political and anecdotal clearing house of the town.” Local characters congregated there around a stove in the winter and under a sycamore in front during warm weather. O.Henry eavesdropped on conversations, hearing them say, for instance, that every time a politician or town figure did something stupid, it was time to summon the fictitious Jesse Holmes, The Fool Killer. O.Henry later wrote a story by that name and featuring Jesse Holmes. Today, one visits the drugstore site — now an empty law office — hoping to pick up O.Henry vibes. Instead, is that a whiff of menthol in the air? Out of this location came two of America’s greatest contributions: O.Henry and the cold remedy Vicks Vapo Rub. The substance was invented there by Lunsford Richardson, who bought the store from Clark Porter in the 1890s. As a youngster, O.Henry played with friends on an estate across what’s now West Friendly Avenue from the Porter property. The house with red brick walls and high white columns survives and is known now as the Sherwood law office, 426 West Friendly Avenue. It honors the Sherwood family, who lived there during O.Henry’s time in Greensboro. What became known as the O.Henry Oak stood tall beside the front steps. In a 1939 newspaper photo, the tree, which O.Henry and friends played beneath, looked healthy. The caption says measures were being taken to keep it alive. But it’s gone now, replaced by other oaks that shade the lawn.

O.Henry

as an adult had diabetes, tuberculosis and liver ailments and lord knows what else. His doctors badgered him to curtail his lifestyle, especially boozing. Some say he consumed two quarts of alcohol a day. O.Henry acted as if there was no problem, again speaking in his contradictory way, “I smoke too much, keep late hours, drink too much, but that’s about all.” He died in a New York hospital, but spent his last days in a cheap hotel, the Caledonia, on 26th Street. The building was still a lodging house in the 1980s when a Greensboro reporter knocked one day. A man came to the front door and responded “Henry who?” to an inquiry. After being told the name was O.Henry, he said, yeah, he had heard a famous person had lived there a long time ago. O.Henry’s funeral was held nearby at The Little Church Around the Corner. Much has been written about the apt ending of a man famous for his clever story endings. The day of his funeral the church mistakenly double booked. A wedding was scheduled for the same hour. Another O.Henryesque twist exists several blocks away. O.Henry resided for much of his time in New York at 55 Irving Place, in an apartment with a picture window from which he could gaze at street life below. The window remains. The apartment is now Sal Anthony’s Restaurant. Down the street is Pete’s Tavern, billing itself as New York’s oldest bar, one of O.Henry’s drinking places. Both restaurants boast that O. Henry wrote The Gift of the Magi on the premises. Pete’s even has designated the exact booth. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Porter and Tate Drugstore

Sherwood House circa 1955

The Little Church Around the Corner

Pete’s Tavern

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Greensboro Historical Museum

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O.Henry was buried in Asheville’s Riverside Cemetery. The burial site resulted from his marriage in 1907 to Sarah Coleman, formerly of Greensboro, where she was often called Sallie as a girl. As an adult she lived in Asheville. When Coleman’s mother visited Greensboro in 1905, she learned that the famous writer O.Henry was the person who had courted her daughter in Greensboro when she was about thirteen and he nineteen. They had dates together that took them a few miles west of the city to Green Court, a nursery with rows of magnolias. There’s a street today off West Market Street named Green Court. The lovebirds also went on forays to Hamburg Mill Road, still there off U.S. 220 North, where there was a grist mill converted to a church. O.Henry later used the church in a story The Church with the Overshot Wheel. He relocated the building to Tennessee. The church is now gone, either torn down or drowned by the creation of Greensboro’s Lake Higgins Reservoir. After Coleman’s mother informed her daughter of O.Henry’s identity, Sarah immediately sought him out by letter. Romance blossomed like a magnolia again. After their marriage in 1907, O.Henry moved to Asheville for a brief period, opening an office in a downtown building. But he suffered from writer’s block there and deep melancholy, even though he described Asheville as one of the prettiest places he’d ever seen. He missed New York, where writing came easier and where during his most productive period the man who editors described as the “Supreme Procrastinator” wrote 114 stores in 1904 and 1905. He moved back to New York, leaving Sarah in Asheville. The marriage was not happy. In fact, Coleman is said to have described it as pathetic. She didn’t arrive in New York until twelve days after her husband’s death. Being close to Greensboro while in Asheville, it would seem O.Henry might have visited old friends here. But as best can be determined, he only returned to Greensboro twice and that was way back in 1890 and 1891, when he lived in Texas. He came with his first wife, Athol, who died in 1898, and with their daughter, Margaret, who, too, would die young, in 1927, in her thirties. In 1945, a group of Greensboro civic leaders approached Sarah Coleman about moving O.Henry’s remains to Greensboro. They likely intended to bury him beside his parents in the old First Presbyterian Church Cemetery tucked behind the Greensboro Historical Museum, which occupies two of First Presbyterian’s former buildings. Coleman refused. She lived out her life collecting considerable royalties from O.Henry’s works, which became even more popular after his death and were published all over the world. Coleman provided him a small gravestone that gives only his name, William Sydney Porter, and the year born and the year died. During his lifetime, O.Henry shunned New York’s literary set and dismissed his own work as trivial or stories “blown in a bottle.” But his readers came to realize his tales championed the common man and woman, including shop girls, and the down and out, such as the bums in Madison Square Park. Perhaps one of the greatest compliments to O.Henry came from Theodore Roosevelt, a Gotham political figure before becoming president: “All the reforms that I attempted in behalf of the working girls of New York were suggested by the writings of O.Henry.” The rushing of shop girls at the end of a work day, milk wagons making their rounds, newsboys hawking their papers and other sounds were to O.Henry “the voice of the city” which O. Henry used as a name for a story. May this new magazine named for the great story teller be a good listener. As a character in O.Henry’s “The Voice of the City,” says in a quote that’s now a theme of the Voice of the City exhibit at the Greensboro Historical Museum: “I have a fancy that every city has a voice. Each one has something to say.” OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph of the Greensboro Historical Museum by J. Stephen Catlett

To Greensboro’s dismay,


Oldest Living O.Henry Tells All (Or all a Southern lady cares to tell)

By Maria Johnson • Photograph By Cassie Butler

I

t’s tempting to say there’s a family resemblance. Granted, it’s a stretch to compare photos of O.Henry that were taken more than 100 years ago to the face of 91-year-old Charlotte Porter Barney today. But there are similarities: the high forehead, the pale eyes that look like they could nail the truth at fifty yards. Barney, who lives in a Greensboro retirement community, never met O.Henry — “He was long gone before I came along” — but they are family. Second cousins. Her father, W.C. Porter Jr., and O.Henry were first cousins. Their fathers were brothers. Sitting in her well-appointed apartment, wearing perfectly matching robin’s egg blue sweater and slacks, Barney says she and a nephew — William Clark Porter IV of Greensboro — are the only O.Henry relatives living in the Greensboro area. Barney belongs to an even smaller club. Time has made her the only living relative who heard stories about the author from family members who knew him firsthand. In years past, she was the Porter family’s unofficial ambassador, making speeches to civic clubs and participating in the O.Henry Study Club, one of the city’s oldest ongoing book clubs. “We had such a good time,” she says of the days when she and sidekick Margaret Hites, also an O.Henry historian, did the pimento cheese and punch circuit, talking about Barney’s celebrated second cousin. Barney has learned much about O.Henry from reading about him, but she also absorbed stories directly from her father, who was eighteen years older than O.Henry and operated the family drugstore ,where O.Henry worked at age nineteen. Barney remembers her father saying that O.Henry was restless and not content working in a drugstore, where he dispensed medicine. She wonders under her breath where O.Henry would have gotten a pharmacist’s license as a teenager, but she sweeps away the question with a wave of her hand. “You don’t have to…” She remembers that the family called him Will. She insists, as her father did, that O.Henry was born at 440 West Market Street, next door to where her father’s family lived, and not at Polecat Creek in southern Guilford County, as some historians maintain. “Forget that,” she says. Barney remembers hearing that O.Henry was a good student in his Aunt Lina’s schoolhouse, but that he was preoccupied with writing and drawing cartoons. She remembers that he called his daughter Brownie. Her real name was Margaret, and she was his only child. “During his prison time, he would write letters: ‘Dear Brownie…’” Barney says. On the subject of embezzlement from a Texas bank — a charge that prompted O.Henry to flee to New Orleans, then Honduras, before he returned home to his dying wife and a conviction that landed him behind bars, Barney shrugs with resignation. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I guess he was guilty — the fact that he escaped makes you think he was guilty,” she says. Then, perhaps because she is family — or because she has lived so long and seen so many things — she opens the door a crack for her second cousin: “He was a lousy bookkeeper, Daddy always said.” O.Henry was family. And like the relatives of other people who are thrust into a spotlight by fame or infamy, Barney knows the whole story. She doesn’t deny that O.Henry had problems — she sometimes raised them during her civic talks to “beat ’em to it” — but she gives him the benefit of the doubt on subjects like his drinking. She once took issue with a reporter who wrote that O.Henry died a “total alcoholic” at age forty-eight. “Yes, he did drink some, but I don’t think he was a total alcoholic,” she says, noting that he had other health problems. Barney says her family — and Greensboro in general — was slow to recognize O.Henry’s success as a writer, which came in the wee years of the 1900s, after his first wife died and he moved to New York City. Once his literary reputation was firmly established, though, the family was proud of him. Barney has read everything O.Henry has written. Her favorite work is “The Cop and the Anthem,” one of five short stories introduced by John Steinbeck in a 1952 film called O.Henry’s Full House. In the cop vignette, Marilyn Monroe makes a brief appearance as a streetwalker. The story is about a hobo named Soapy who tries to get arrested so he can spend the winter in a warm jail. After several failed attempts at criminality, he pauses in front of a church and hears a beautiful anthem being played on an organ. Just when he decides to straighten up his life, he is arrested for loitering and thrown in jail. It’s a classic O.Henry ending, an ironic twist of fate. “I think his sense of humor comes out pretty well in that one,” says Barney. She calls O. Henry’s writing interesting and light. He seemed intrigued by people from all walks of life, including the downtrodden. He was a free spirit, talented in writing and drawing. “He didn’t go by set rules, did he?” She chooses her words carefully. She wants people to remember the best of him. She never knew him. But he is still family. OH August/September 2011

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The list of greats who played and won here reads like a Who’s Who of PGA royalty, including Sam Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson. “I never felt more at home, and happier, than in Greensboro,” said Snead, who won the event a record eight times.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Birthplace of Champions How the Wyndham Championship came to symbolize the revival of a region

S

By Lee Pace

Historical Photographs from Carol W. Martin/Greensboro Historical Museum Collection

cour the PGA Tour schedule and you’ll find sexier landscapes than Greensboro (the seals baying in the distance at Pebble Beach or the candystriped lighthouse at Hilton Head). Admittedly, there’s more knuckle-clenching drama elsewhere (the island green 17th at Sawgrass or the “Monster” 16th at Firestone) and more world-famous hosts (Jack Nicklaus at the Memorial and Arnold Palmer at Bay Hill). But only at our own Wyndham Championship can you find a classic, strategically nuanced course from the fertile design mind of the Scotsman Donald J. Ross. Only here will you find a champions board running from Snead to Hogan to Seve, the place where Byron Nelson won at the peak of his 11-win streak in 1945, and area college heroes Lanny Wadkins from Wake Forest and Davis Love III from Chapel Hill have prevailed. Only the tournaments in Phoenix, San Antonio, Los Angeles and Pebble Beach among United States non-majors have more longevity than North Carolina’s oldest PGA event, which was founded in 1938 and hasn’t missed a beat since — making this a birthplace of champions. Ballesteros won here in 1978 before anyone could pronounce his name. Sandy Lyle and Bob Goalby first won on American soil in Greensboro before going on to capture the Masters. At a time when golf appears to be enjoying a rebirth with fresh young faces winning majors (McIlroy, Schwartzel, McDowell, Kaymer et al.), this venerable event has figured prominently in the winner’s circle debuts of Ryan Moore (the U.S. Amateur and U.S. Public Links champion) and Brandt Snedeker (2007 Tour Rookie of the Year). The championship, known for decades as the Greater Greensboro Open, was a rite of spring punctuated with suds, sundresses and the roar of the galleries at Sedgefield or Starmount Forest or Forest Oaks. It hiccupped at times with bad dates and a sponsorship merry-go-round, but Greensboro’s pro golf event has persevered and survived — much like a city and region that lost major textile, furniture and manufacturing interests. Both the competition and the community are on the upswing today. In many respects, the tournament has become the perfect symbol for a revitalized Triad region. “It wasn’t so much about saving a tournament, it was more about uniting a region,” says Bobby Long, the Greensboro golfer and businessman who helped usher the tournament into its modern iteration with a Sedgefield home, a Wyndham sponsorship and August dates that lead the PGA Tour into its fall playoff season. Perhaps no one among us still has the breadth of perspective and intimate knowledge of the tournament’s ebbing and flowing than Jim Melvin, currently the president and CEO of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation and a participant in GGO/Wyndham administration for half a century. “You could talk to seventy-some GGO chairmen and presidents of the Jaycees and get a thousand wonderful stories,” Melvin says one morning in the board room of the Bryan Foundation, which he has led since his retirement from the banking industry in 1996. To his right, mounted on an easel, is a black and white photograph of the foundation’s benefactor, Joe Bryan, the insurance and broadcasting magnate, presenting a check for $1,200 to Sam Snead upon Snead’s triumph in the inaugural Greater Greensboro Open golf tournament in 1938. Melvin found the picture in an attic at Sedgefield Country Club several years ago and resurrected it, thinking it would be an appropriate accoutrement for the offices of a foundation so steeped in Greensboro history. “Mr. Bryan personally guaranteed the original $5,000 purse,” Melvin says. “It turns out

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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After an unknown Ben Hogan won his first tournament in 1940, several newspapers spelled his name “Hagen.” Following his win at the Greater Greensboro Open, days later, his name was never misspelled again.

he didn’t have to pay any of it as the first tournament was a success — financial and otherwise. There were a few years the GGO didn’t make money, but most every year it did.” Behind Melvin, through the glass wall and mounted on the hallway behind, is a portrait of Bryan, resplendent with his trademark white mustache and wearing a green sports coat with a circular GGO patch on the left breast. The “Green Coat Club” was founded in 1957 to identify and unite the leaders of the sponsoring Greensboro Jaycees and its signature golf event, and in Bryan’s case should not have been mistaken for the green jacket he owned by virtue of his membership at Augusta National Golf Club. “Our green is significantly lighter than the green jacket at Augusta. The idea was to promote Greens-boro,” Melvin says, emphasizing the first syllable of the city’s name. “Mr. Bryan told [Augusta National cofounder] Cliff Roberts what we were planning on doing. That was like swearing in church to Cliff Roberts; he thought we were stealing their idea. Nothing was further from the truth. But Mr. Bryan said we were doing it anyway; he was a pretty independent person himself. He and Cliff Roberts were not the best of friends after that.”

O

n the table in front of Melvin is a bound volume of the Jaycees’ Projector magazine, this one from 1965, the year Melvin served as president of the local Jaycee chapter. He thumbs through the book until he finds an array of photos from that year’s GGO, won for the eighth time by Snead. His index finger moves across the pages, stopping briefly to identify each figure from the golf and celebrity worlds that attended that year. “There is Ed Sullivan … Billy Casper … Sam … Gary Player … there’s Sam’s favorite caddie wearing a top coat … Arnold Palmer … You know, Jack Nicklaus just played here one year, but beyond that, we had just about everyone at the top of their games,” he says.

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A thousand stories, indeed. Stories about how a fledging civic club wanted in 1936 to attract a Ford Motor Company plant to Greensboro but, failing that, looked to other ideas to boost the business climate and expend youthful energy. The local chapter of the Jaycees and the golf tournament sprouted from those seeds; the formative luncheon meeting for the GGO was held in August 1937 at the O.Henry Hotel. “As a young, gung-ho organization, we were trying to find everything possible which would be good civic projects,” founding member Archie Joyner recalls. “We were constantly looking for worthwhile programs that would help the city, advertise Greensboro, put this area on the map.” Stories like the Easter Sunday snowfall in 1940, the third year of the tournament. Ben Hogan had just broken through to the winner’s circle after eight fallow years on the pro tour by winning the North and South Open at Pinehurst. Hogan and Clayton Heafner were tied for the lead after the first round on Saturday at Starmount Forest, then three inches of snow fell on Sunday, delaying further golf until Wednesday. Hogan played bridge through the snow delay and waited for his $1,000 winner’s check to arrive from Pinehurst. He wound up winning by nine shots and then went on to win the Land of the Sky Open in Asheville. The rest, as they say, is history. “It was easy to see we couldn’t catch that fellow the way he is playing,” Johnny Revolta said after the GGO. “You can’t beat perfection.” Stories abound about Snead, too, a legendary skinflint accused of hiding his money in tomato cans buried in his yard, turning the tables in 1960 and scorching the conditions at Starmount Forest, the co-host of the tournament for its first twenty-three years. The City of Greensboro was running sewer lines into the surrounding neighborhoods and several pipes had been recently laid underneath the golf course, leaving sketchy spots around the premises. Some of Snead’s friends among the membership goaded him into speaking publicly about the conditions, knowing his comments would find The Art & Soul of Greensboro


their way to the ears of club owner and founder Edward Benjamin. “Maybe Mr. Benjamin will dig up some of his tomato cans and spend some money on the golf course before next year,” Snead said in collecting the winner’s check at the award ceremony. Benjamin forthwith banned Snead from the club, and the GGO then spent the next 16 years being held exclusively at Sedgefield before its 1977 move to Forest Oaks Country Club. “I have learned a lesson,” Snead lamented. “I got my master’s degree in public relations. From now on, I’m going to keep my bloody mouth shut.” The sagas and dramas continued, especially one as meaningful as Charles Sifford’s breaking the color barrier in 1961. Just one year earlier, the Charlotte native had challenged the PGA Tour’s “Caucasian-only clause” and had become a full-time member of the Tour. He had ventured back into his home state for the GGO but had been warned by some with less enlightened social views that he’d best not show up for his tee time. “From Long Beach, California, Charlie Sifford ...” intoned the public address announcer on the first tee. “I wasn’t about to tell him my name is Charles,” Sifford said years later. “I wanted him to get off that microphone so I could hit my ball. There were about four or five hundred people there, and I wanted to get off that tee. I didn’t give a damn what they called me. Just let me go. Just let me play.” Just a year earlier, four students from North Carolina A&T State University had sat down at the Woolworth lunch counter in downtown Greensboro. The Jaycees believed that inviting Sifford was the next proper thing to do, and Sedgefield passed a resolution saying that “neither creed, color nor race” would be basis for rejecting an applicant to play in the tournament. There were no incidents that week as security patrols removed any troublemakers from the golf course. Sifford earned a $1,300 check for finishing fourth behind winner Mike Souchak. “I had come through my first Southern tournament with the worst kind The Art & Soul of Greensboro

of social pressure and discrimination around me, and I hadn’t cracked. I hadn’t quit,” Sifford said.

M

emories remain keen in the minds of longtime Triad golf fans of Arnold Palmer’s epic collapse in the 1972 GGO. Palmer’s Carolinas popularity transcended even his formidable nationwide allure thanks to his Wake Forest collegiate history, and onlookers were stacked ten and twelve deep around his group in the final round at Sedgefield. Palmer was at 14-under and led by two shots as his group arrived at the tee of the long and difficult par-three 16th hole (the seventh hole for day-to-day member play). But a 15-minute delay because of a ruling up ahead distracted Palmer, and the gallery groaned when he hooked his 4-wood into the creek on the left. “I simply lost my concentration,” Palmer later said. His ball was visible but half under water. He played it, gouging it from the hazard but into the rough short of a greenside bunker. His third shot landed in the trap, he played out and two-putted for a triple-bogey six. Palmer lost by one shot to George Archer, who was in the parking lot ready to leave when he heard of Palmer’s mishap. “We just died, we were numb,” remembers Greensboro native John Ellison Jr., a teenager at the time. “Everyone was pulling so hard for him. He made a six and the gallery went deathly silent.” The stories roll off the tongues of volunteers recalling their up-close and personal glimpses of the emerging stars of professional golf. Textile executive Ron Crow was a marshal on the par-five 13th hole at Forest Oaks in 1978 when a young Spaniard made a remarkable up-and-down. Crow’s father-inlaw was sitting nearby and asked him: “Now, who is that?” Crow slowly enunciated the name of Severiano Ballesteros and added, August/September 2011

O.Henry 51


“Playing before crowds from Greensboro and Winston-Salem,” says Arnold Palmer, “was something I looked forward to every year. My only regret — and it is a big one — is that I never won the tournament.”

“You’d better learn it. From everything I hear, he’s pretty good.” Grist for the oral mill around Greensboro’s cherished professional golf competition has come from the weather and the dates — from 35 degrees in March to the blaze of dogwoods on good-weather years to suffocating heat in August; from the sponsors, from Allied Chemical in the 1960s to Kmart in the 1980s to Chrysler to Wyndham in modern times; from the venues, from Sedgefield and Starmount to Forest Oaks and back to Sedgefield again; and from the tournament’s leadership by the Jaycees from 1938 to 2004 to the transfer of its ownership to the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation.

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hen aging Green Coaters and Jaycees reunite, they remember the carrier pigeons transporting golfers’ scores from the course to the Daily News offices during World War II because wire wasn’t available to run from the suburbs to downtown; the State Highway Patrol speeding Palmer from Charlotte to Greensboro for a banquet one night when the Greensboro Airport was closed; and controversies over issues large (purses and dates) and small (Sedgefield neighborhood kids were prevented in the 1970s from operating front-yard concession stands). There were marketing slogans from “The Declaration of Springtime” to “The Great Week.” There were fishing tournaments and a risqué “stag night” held at the old Plantation Inn Supper Club. And there was a decade in the 1970s when locals would line up at the liquor store the morning that the GGO’s commemorative decanters would go on sale — 90 proof bourbon in bottles shaped and colored in springtime golfing motifs. “The tournament is just steeped in history,” Melvin says. “In the honey days, we’d get 40,000 people a day on the weekend.” “The tournament had such a local flavor,” adds Dwight Stone, a leading Greensboro home builder. “The chairman literally had to just about take the year off from work to oversee the operation. It was the event of the year. This was the day before sponsorships. You knew the guy in the green coat and the guy behind the concession stand — everyone was local. The people were the sponsors before anyone heard of a ‘corporate sponsor.’”

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Despite the grip of the Great Depression, momentum was nonetheless building throughout the 1930s for a big-time golf event in Greensboro. Benjamin and Starmount pro George Corcoran invited the Carolinas Open to Starmount in 1932, and locals reveled in the spectacle of pros like Henry Picard, the champion, and Walter Hagen. Sedgefield pro Tony Manero won the 1936 U.S. Open, generating a firestorm of interest in golf, and Sedgefield member Estelle Lawson Page won the 1937 U.S. Women’s Amateur. Exhibitions one weekend in March 1937 featured Gene Sarazen and Snead beating Corcoran and Johnny Bulla at Starmount on Saturday, then Manero and Orville White beating Harry Cooper and Lawson Little on Sunday — with galleries estimated at more than 2,000 fans each day. The Jaycees approached Fred Corcoran, George’s brother and the tournament bureau manager of the PGA of America, and were told Greensboro could have a tournament if the Jaycees could guarantee a $5,000 purse. The tour pros embraced the idea of following the North and South Open at Pinehurst — considered a “major” at the time — with a short drive to Greensboro. “The boys continue to talk about the Greensboro Open,” Corcoran said in the month leading to the inaugural event in late March 1938. “They are looking forward to coming to North Carolina more than ever now with $9,000 in prize money [$4,000 in Pinehurst, plus room and board at the Carolina Hotel, and $5,000 in Greensboro].” That first tournament enjoyed good weather, excellent attendance and crowds that liked and seemed to understand golf. (“Only a few spectators were seen walking through sand traps,” the Daily News reported.) Snead won handily with a 271 total, 11-under, five shots in front of Revolta’s 276, thus setting off a mutual love affair that in later years would include Snead playfully admonishing spectators from intentionally blocking his occasional wayward shot from running into greater trouble. “The Greater Greensboro Open was the finest conducted golf tournament I ever had the pleasure of seeing, and boy, I’ve seen ’em from way back,” Harry Grayson, sports editor for the NEA wire service, wrote afterward. The Jaycee model that worked so well for so long — under-40 businessmen and professionals, volunteering their time and the leadership structure evolving on an annual basis — gave way to the modern PGA Tour model of The Art & Soul of Greensboro


specialized full-time staff, select sub-contractors and one major corporate sponsor — or “title sponsor” in today’s vernacular. “In the old days you made your nut on attendance and how much beer you sold on Saturday,” says Irwin Smallwood, a retired Greensboro newspaperman. “Today it’s much different. You make it on sponsorships.” “The PGA Tour had three tournaments — Greensboro, Hartford and the Nissan in Los Angeles — that were run by Jaycees,” says Randy Harris, the Jaycee president in 2002 and today the man behind the keyboard of GGOblogger.com, a cornucopia of GGO memorabilia and reminiscences. “Over time, the Tour had problems with how the Jaycees turned over leadership year after year. They wanted more stability; they wanted to deal with the same people year after year.”

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he changes to Greensboro’s pro golf tournament have been enormous over the last decade. It moved from late April to October and then to August. Mark Brazil was hired in 2003 as a permanent, fulltime tournament director. Wyndham Worldwide picked up the sponsorship from Chrysler in 2007. The event moved from Forest Oaks back to its natural home at Sedgefield in 2008. So far, so good. Named for the sedge broom found in quantity on some 3,600 acres developed in the 1920s by A.W. McAlister, an avid golfer and originator of the opulent Irving Park in-town neighborhood, Sedgefield has an intimate, graceful, old-world feel that stands in stark contrast to the spread-out, newmoney clubs hosting so many Tour events today. “Sedgefield to the GGO is like the Greensboro Coliseum is to the ACC Basketball Tournament,” says Irwin Smallwood. “There’s a mystique about it, something you can’t buy or manufacture.” “Sedgefield is a gem,” agrees Stephen Holmes, president and CEO of Wyndham Worldwide. “I think of Sedgefield and I think of the word ‘character.’ Sedgefield has character, a lot of it. The players love it. It’s a beautiful course, and there’s plenty of challenge.” The Donald Ross-designed course, opened in 1925, is a tad bit short by Tour standards at 7,130 yards. But it reflects Ross’ consummate skills in routing and forcing the golfer to work the angles for the high percentage shots. The club spent some $3 million in 2007 restoring the course under the supervision of architect Kris Spence, an expert in the nuances of capturing the flavor of Ross bunkers and greens articulations. The Tudor-style clubhouse, originally the Sedgefield Inn, drips in history with sepia-toned photos from GGOs of yore displayed in the hallways and public areas. John McConnell, a Raleigh businessman who has purchased six premier Carolinas clubs under the McConnell Golf umbrella since 2003, bought the club in early 2011 and plans more improvements to the club’s infrastructure. “This is one of the top 10 courses on Tour because we don’t play that many traditional courses,” Brandt Snedeker said upon the event’s return to its roots. Perhaps most significantly of all the changes, the tournament moved from the auspices of the Greensboro Jaycees to the Piedmont Triad Charitable Foundation in 2004. Laurence Leonard of the Daily News noted in 1938 a strategic nuance in naming the competition that would ring prophetic nearly three-quarters of a century later. “By using the word ‘Greater’ in the name of the tournament, it would include the fast-developing Triad and the entire Piedmont,” Leonard observed. Bobby Long grew up in Burlington and attended the GGO as a youngster in the 1960s and has fond memories of watching the golf and absorbing The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the spirit of the event. When Chrysler chose not to renew its sponsorship following the 2006 tournament, the tournament was faced with losing its slot on the PGA Tour, so Long personally guaranteed a large slice of a letterof-credit that ensured the purse and the longest running, best-loved PGA event in North Carolina. “The Triad for years was textile- and furniture-based,” Long said. “But we had lost jobs and lost businesses and we had lost our swagger. Greensboro has 250,000 people, the region has 1.5 million. Our region had never done a good job working together on economic issues; we had never reached our potential for that reason. Getting behind the golf tournament was an opportunity to get some of that back and expand the tournament’s popularity.” Long enlisted the help of the global sports agency International Management Group to find a title sponsor and take the burden off him and the other guarantors of the letter-of-credit. Meanwhile, Wyndham Worldwide was talking to IMG about potential events to use to raise awareness for the newly launched NYSE-listed company. IMG acted as the intermediary in introducing Wyndham to the Greensboro opportunity. Holmes first met with Long, Melvin and Brazil at an executive retreat Holmes was hosting in New York state, then he visited Greensboro to further his due diligence. “Jim Melvin toured me around Greensboro and introduced me to the embrace the city would give Wyndham as a sponsor,” Holmes says. “I have often said good deals are about people and relationships — this was a great example of that axiom.” Wyndham took on the title sponsorship for the 2007 tournament and signed on for four years. In 2010, it extended its deal two more years through 2012. “We launched on the New York Stock Exchange in 2006 and wanted to find a platform to tell our story, to help define the character and culture of our company,” Holmes says. “The Tour and Triad have been a perfect marriage for us. We have an international platform with a lot of local flavor. From the moment our staff and our customers step off the airplane until the time they leave, they’re treated like royalty.”

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ong is fond of the phrase “A-plus-plus” in talking of the standards he wants the Wyndham Championship to achieve in all categories — golf course, strength of field, hospitality, parking and the myriad of details involved in staging a professional golf tournament. The final round has sold out of 25,000 tickets each of the last three years, and on-course hospitality has sold out or come within a whisker of selling out as well — and this in an era where professional golf overall has suffered in spectator and sponsorship support. Furthering Long’s vision for regional cooperation has been significant support from BB&T and Flow Automotive from Winston-Salem, Harris Teeter from Matthews, Duke Energy from Charlotte and Glen Raven/Sunbrella from Burlington. Brazil says that Greensboro businesses several years ago accounted for 80 percent of the tournament’s sponsorship dollars; now it’s under 40 percent. “I’ve believed all along the region will support an event like this,” he says. “That’s certainly playing out. But we cannot step back and pat ourselves on the back. We have to continue to improve in every category. We can never be satisfied.” As the tournament’s 75th anniversary looms on the horizon, Jim Melvin speaks with a certain wistfulness about the Green Coat Club being disbanded in favor of the navy jackets of the Founders Club of the Wyndham Championship. “What’s the old saying — ‘If you keep looking backward, you’ll crash into something,’” Melvin says. “The Green Coat Club was not as relevant to people in Winston-Salem or High Point. It was time to start over. We have a lot of history. But I think we’ve got more history to make.” OH August/September 2011

O.Henry 53


Story of a House

The House That Love Built How the dream house of a textile icon became an artistic treasure — and perfect home for two By Deborah Salomon • Photographs By Jim Green

Above: Sunshine, art, each other: Karen and Gene Johnston spend most of their time in the garden room. Right: The library is presided over by an English noblewoman and furnished in sofas designed by North Carolina’s famed Otto Zenke.

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ove built the stately Georgian residence on Granville Road — and love lives there still: love of art and love for Karen Johnston, whom her husband Gene Johnston describes in terms befitting a smart, svelte, savvy Aphrodite. “We’ve been married for twenty-eight years and this is the only house we’ve lived in,” the retired entrepreneur says, glancing up the staircase in anticipation of his wife’s entrance. The staircase, the marble foyer, the chandelier and paintings displayed museum-style speak of an era when textiles ruled the region and J. Spencer Love, founder of Burlington Industries, ruled textiles. A king needs a castle. This was it. Love, however, was a modest man who didn’t want his castle to dominate the street so, by some sleight-of-architect’s-hand, the 12,000 square-foot home, a replica of Westover Plantation built in 1730 on the James River, appears much smaller.

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Love’s wife, Martha, found the Georgian replica, built in 1953, lacking. Mesmerized by New Orleans, she added an ironwork gallery across the front, purely decorative as only windows open onto it. “I don’t find it appealing,” Karen Johnston says discreetly. The Loves occupied the Greensboro home between winters in Palm Beach and summers at Roaring Gap. The house was designed around their lifestyle, with a card room for whist, a kitchen for caterers, a palatial hall for receiving and a series of public rooms for entertaining. J. Spencer Love died playing tennis in 1962, leaving Burlington Industries the world leader in textile manufacturing. Martha remarried and lived here until her death in 1980. “The house had hardly been touched since it was built,” Gene Johnston says. Burlington Industries manufactured carpets. They were everywhere, as were tasteful but worn drapes. Kitchen coun-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 55


tertops sported boomerang-patterned Formica. Knot-free cypress paneling in the den had been painted white. A banquette under the panoramic library windows was, inexplicably, covered in Naugahyde. Yet this was still THE premiere mansion of the Greensboro Country Club enclave, with ten bedrooms, ten full and half-baths, a basement, elevator, four-car garage and servants’ quarters. Perfect. “I was marrying the most wonderful creature,” Gene says of Karen. When the Love residence came on the market in 1983 for $850,000 — reportedly the highest price ever listed in Guilford County — Gene had to acquire it for her.

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ene owns a variegated past. After being suspended from Duke University for harboring fireworks, the Winston-Salem native, son of a superior court judge, served in the Army. Next came accounting and law degrees from Wake Forest University. Gene practiced tax law in Greensboro until 1980, when he was elected the first Republican congressman from his district since Reconstruction. Defeated after one term, he continued to hold positions within the party. He diversified into real estate, publishing (chairman of Pace Communications, principal stockholder of the Alderman Corp.) and other successful ventures. He has been a member of Lloyds of London since 1976. “They call me a wheeler-dealer,” he says with a laugh. Karen Johnston grew up in Florida, majored in English and psychology at UNC, attended The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Top left: A main floor hallway with statuary gives the reception area a museum atmosphere. Top right: A gracious staircase is the architectural centerpiece of the foyer.

August/September 2011

O.Henry 57


Formal dining room blends Asian with English antiques. the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and held prestigious positions in Washington, D.C., where she met Gene. Returning to North Carolina, the arts patron was appointed to the board of the N.C. Museum of Art, also serving on the restoration committee for the governor’s mansion. Currently, she is vice-president of the Salvador Dali Museum in St. Petersburg, Fla. The scope of Karen’s new home was overwhelming. “I’ll need some help,” she recalls thinking. Fortunately, the Loves’ longtime household staff stayed on. Few structural renovations were possible since Love (who reportedly feared fire) insisted on concrete construction. All walls are load-bearing. Rooms branching off the center hall beg questions: the library, its banquette now covered in Converse tennis-shoe canvas manufactured by a friend, is easily three times the size of the formal parlor. In the den, surrounded by original paintings, stands a Magnavox console TV relic of the 1970s. “This is the first and only TV I’ve ever owned,” Gene says. The two-part industrial-sized kitchen with multiple stoves, ovens, refrig-

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erators and dishwashers (“Caterers love it,” Karen says) has been modernized but not glamorized. A small family dining room, perhaps intended for the help, adjoins the kitchen. “The house needed a woman’s touch,” Karen recalls. “It was too inward-looking.” She and Gene, with the help of several interior designers, accomplished the change-over slowly and deliberately. They started by removing or replacing carpet and drapes. Each brought pieces from previous homes. They attended estate sales and auctions. Some of the Loves’ furniture by legendary Greensboro designer Otto Zenke remains. Other spectacular European antiques, including a sideboard belonging to Louis XVI and chairs carved by Thomas Chippendale Jr., reflect the couple’s tastes and travels. Interspersed with fine art are family photos, one of Gene, Karen and a cocker spaniel named Martha, ensuring a Martha Love presence in the house, Karen explains. Floors and walls reflect Gene’s own handiwork. He laid hexagonal Italian tile, hung wallpaper and installed thousands of parquet blocks The Art & Soul of Greensboro


in the dining room. Gene and Karen stripped banisters and painted some of the walls. He also refinishes furniture in a basement workshop. “It saves money,” Gene says, deadpan. “You appreciate (the job) more,” Karen adds. “It’s very rewarding.”

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he Johnstons’ days are spent in an air-conditioned, glassed-in veranda of ballroom proportions with fireplace, a seating area, three dining tables and view of the gardens — a light-and-bright contrast to darker interior rooms. This is where they work, eat, entertain and read. Every book in the house, Karen notes, has been read. Despite its classic beauty, the queen of Granville Road would be just another grande dame without the Johnstons’ art. “Gene and I have always been collectors,” Karen says. “Fortunately, we have the same taste. We came to art together.” Gene fell in love with William Hogarth when he visited Colonial Williamsburg while posted at Fort Lee. Hogarth’s eight-part Rake’s Progress intrigued him. “You don’t look at Hogarth — you read him,” Gene learned. The Rake’s Progress, completed in 1732, was published in print form in 1735. The Johnstons’ own one, as well as portraits by John Singer Sargent and George Romney — also 18th and 19th century English landscapes. “Ours is a very personal collection,” Karen says. By this she means that they study each painting in a historical context, often traveling to its source. A painting of Marble Hill House spurred them to visit the building in England. Karen travels abroad on similar quests. One investigation concerned a painting by Angelica Kauffmann, an 18th century Swiss neoclassicist. It was represented to the Johnstons as a pensive self-portrait. But the subject has blue eyes, which puzzled Karen, since her research indicated Kauffmann’s were brown. The mystery was resolved when Karen attended a Kauffmann exhibit in Munich. The portrait, she learned, was of a countess who had recently lost a child, thus the “mode dolarosa.” Despite Karen’s museum affiliation, Dali is absent. “He was a genius but his is not the kind of art I’m attracted to own,” she says. Gene and Karen Johnston consider themselves as much curators as householders. They recite the provenance of each object, along with details of its acquisition, with the pride of a grandparent listing a grandchild’s accomplishments, which Gene also does readily. “We are surrounded by history,” Karen says. “I look at all these people and realize they had lives just like we do.” The house is a mansion, she concedes. “But it’s a homey mansion. I prefer to think of it as a big house with a history incumbent on us to preserve.” Which means they won’t remove the incongruous Bourbon Street balcony or partition their 1,700 square-foot bedroom. The Love Shrine, a wall in the basement hung with memorabilia left by Spencer Love’s children, remains intact. Elsewhere, classic will always trump contemporary except for the bold red front door. Close beside it hangs a small, Mexican-style ceramic plaque of no artistic provenance, announcing, appropriately, Casa Johnston. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Above: A sideboard belonging to Louis XVI and Gene Johnston’s English art inspiration, The Rake’s Progress, spotlight the enormous library. Below: Library banquette, originally covered in naugahyde, now wears tennis shoe canvas manufactured by a friend.

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O.Henry 59


Black Gum Tree, Green Hill Cemetery

Beg forgiveness, not ask permission was Bill Craft’s philosophy when it came to planting trees and shrubs. And the city is more beautiful as a result By Lee rogerS

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reensboro philanthropist and millionaire Joe Bryan was once seated next to Bill Craft at the Greensboro Country Club. While they waited for the main event to start, Bryan leaned over to Craft and said, “Bill, I have a park named after me too, but they don’t make me work in it.” No one made William Hugh Craft work on Craft Park, once a barren stretch of woodland between Dover Road and Nottingham Drive in Irving Park, but now a horticultural menagerie. Until he died at 81 last December, Craft spent his life permanently altering Greensboro’s landscape because he couldn’t resist doing otherwise. Bypassing rules, committees and meetings, Craft blithely planted shrubs and trees in any empty space, anywhere, regardless of who owned it. According to his family, Craft’s policy was to “beg for forgiveness, not ask for permission.” Craft figured if the city didn’t like what he planted, they could dig it up. Though generous and public spirited, Craft had a sneaky side when it came to plants. His family reports that he had “various hidden greenhouses around

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph of Bill Craft by Ann Stringfield with Friends of Green Hill Cemetery Photographs of Trees by Joel Gillespie

Greensboro’s Johnny Appleseed


the city” where he would adopt and propagate stray plants in No. 10 cans he begged off cafeteria workers at Irving Park Elementary. Many were dug from the wild, a practice that is frowned upon nowadays by the horticulturally correct. Scrounging dying plants from local nurseries or buying bareroot shrubs and trees from mail-order catalogues, he altered Greensboro’s landscape one day and one plant at a time. “He liked stuff that was native,” says his son David Craft. “But not necessarily to here.” Bill Craft’s father, Floyd Hugh Craft, moved to Greensboro from Norfolk and resurrected a defunct insurance agency with great success. Bill Craft met his wife, Eve, at a ladies’ boarding house — but in accordance with the proper way out-of-towners met ladies at the time — at one of the dinners when the gentlemen were invited from neighboring boarding houses. As a dutiful child, Bill Craft took over the family business after his father died, even though he would have preferred a career as a botany professor or doctor.

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ve Craft remembers their first date. He asked her to go to lunch, she says, “and then he made me pay for it. I should have known.” On their honeymoon to Sea Island, Georgia, he filled the bathtub with camellia blossoms. How romantic, you may say. Ask Eve Craft. She says camellias were the only thing blooming at the time and her husband loved them so much he filled the tub with blossoms. Actually, it was a little annoying, she says, because she had to empty the tub every time she wanted to bathe. Bill Craft was also wild about Spanish moss. Never mind that it wouldn’t grow in Greensboro. His son Daniel Craft tells about the time his dad stuffed a couple of his sons into the car and drove them down past Fayetteville. He filled the whole back of the station wagon “with Spanish moss and chiggers” so that they spent the two-hour ride back to Greensboro itching and scratching the entire time. Bill Craft spent that evening down in the park, flinging wads of Spanish moss into the trees because he said he “just wanted to see if I can get this stuff to grow here,” Daniel Craft recalls. “That’s when I began to think my dad might be a little crazy,” he adds. His planting methods were typical of his energetic approach to life. No muss, no fuss. One of his last projects was establishing the Palmetto Trail that starts at Old Battleground Road. He planted an even 100 palmettos along the trail, but some of his planting methods were questionable, sometimes involving just throwing out seeds on either side of the trail. On a recent hike, one surviving, stragglylooking palmetto was spotted. He had a similar attitude toward raising his nine children. Call it benign neglect. As David Craft put it, they were started off right and planted in good dirt. And according to his pastor, the Rev. Tim Patterson, he loved to say that

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Loblolly Pine Tree, Green Hill Cemetery

Ginkgo Row, Green Hill Cemetery

August/September 2011

O.Henry 61


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â&#x20AC;&#x153;each one is a college graduate, and each one is making a real contribution to the world, none of them has been in jail for more than one night, and none of them are attorneys.â&#x20AC;?

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s with many gardening fanatics, Bill Craftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s gardening attire became legendary. Daniel Craft tells the story about the time he and his wife-to-be, Kathy, were on a romantic bike ride and date in the Green Hill Cemetery. Suddenly, they spotted an older man busily digging holes and dressed in nothing but a black Speedo swimsuit and tennis shoes. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Oh God! Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s my dad,â&#x20AC;? Daniel Craft thought, and sure enough it was his father, hard at work. Bill Craft recorded putting in 497 plants in Green Hill Cemetery, including 25 maple species, 26 hollies, 10 magnolias, 39 pines and 57 oaks. Ginkgos, Black Gums and Poplar trees were also among is favorites. He took special pleasure in conducting tours of the cemetery, perhaps because he knew so many of the people buried there. Ann Springfield continues the tradition of tours on Motherâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Day and Halloween weekends and upon request. She calls her tours â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Plants and the Plantedâ&#x20AC;? (www. foghc.org for more information). She learned much from Bill Craft, but there are any number of stories he told which she wonâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Mr. Craft, Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m not saying that,â&#x20AC;? she once told him. â&#x20AC;&#x153;You can say that because you knew that person, but I canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t.â&#x20AC;? Bill Craft treated the city of Greensboro as a kind of grand horticultural experiment. The number of different plants and plant species he introduced is staggering. This is especially important in a day and age when public landscaping and American regional diversity are being smothered by boring monoculture purchased mostly from Loweâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Home Depot. But more to the point, Bill Craftâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s quirky personality, his Johnny Appleseed zest for life and his mischievous streak live on in the city he imbued with his passion for plants. As his son David Craft once observed, â&#x20AC;&#x153;He liked pushing the edge and seeing what he could get away with.â&#x20AC;? OH

MAGAZINE

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August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


is the official charity of The Wyndham Championship We’re proud to support

Wishes by Wyndham strives to improve the

lives of children

around the world through fundraising, in-kind donations and volunteer efforts.

Remember to “Check in” for Charity at The Wyndham Championship Kid Zone. For details on how to “Check in” visit: www.wyndhamchampionship.com/ spectator-info/social-media

Thank you for your support.

WyndhamWorldwide.com


August /September 2011 Arts Calendar August 1 - September 18

August 4

August 7

n DOWN HOME: Jewish Life in North Carolina. A traveling exhibition produced by the Jewish Heritage Foundation of North Carolina that documents the 400-year story of Jewish life in our state, chronicling how Jewish traditions have become woven into Tar Heel life and Southern culture. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-2043 or www.greensborohistory.org.

n CAROLINA KIDS’ CLUB: The Land Before Time. 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Featuring live entertainment before the film. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

n CAROLINA WEDDINGS SHOW. 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Fashion shows and wedding experts. Greensboro Coliseum (the Pavilion), 1921 W. Lee St. Tickets and Information: www.33bride.com.

August 1 - 21 n GALLERY NOMADS DOWN EAST. Seven Eastern North Carolina Galleries set up camp at Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 North Davie Street. Information: (336) 3337460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

August 1 n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Vertigo (1958). 7:30 p.m. An Alfred Hitchcock classic. Running time: 128 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

August 2 n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Duck Soup (1933). 7:30 p.m. Groucho Marx and mayhem. Running time: 68 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

n HAND CRAFTS ON THE TERRACE. 6 - 8 p.m. Bring knitting, crochet and cross-stitch projects to the terrace to learn and share the love of hand crafting. McGirt-Horton Branch of Greensboro Public Library, 2501 Phillips Ave. Information: (336) 373-5810. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL & MIXED TAPE SERIES: Monster Squad (1987). 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com. n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

August 5 n OPEN HOUSE. Featuring new works by visiting artists from across the globe at Elsewhere, a living museum designing collaborative futures from old things. Elsewhere Collaborative, 606 S. Elm St. Information: (336) 549-5555 or elsewhereelsewhere.org.

n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

August 9

n FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE. 7 - 10 p.m. Local music from Sahara Reggae Band and Big Daddy Love. Local wines available for purchase. Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org.

n PROGRESSIVE MUSIC. Pop/Rock music from Anarbor. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cover: $10. Greene Street Club, 113 N. Greene St. Information: (336) 273-4111. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Animal House (1978). 7:30 p.m. The story of Faber College’s most disreputable frat house. Running time: 109 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

n ART EXHIBIT. “Arabian Nights” features a collection of artwork reflecting Middle Eastern culture, design at influences. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. Suite #2. Information: (336) 420-4810.

August 6 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com. n DINNER & JAZZ. 8 p.m. Old Style Lounge acts from the 40’s and 50’s featuring a mix of Jazz, Blues and vocals by Lynne Goodwin or Alison Perkins. The Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-1123. n DRAMATISTS’ PLAYGROUND. 10 a.m. Actors, directors and playwrights get together in celebration of the 41st season of the City Arts Drama Center. An original show to be performed at 8 p.m. City Arts Studio Theater, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie Street. Information: (336) 335-6426. n GREENSBORO PLAYWRIGHTS’ FORUM: “The World’s Newest Play.” 8:05 p.m. Free admission; donations encouraged. City Arts Studio Theater, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie Street. Information: (336) 335-6426. Key:

ry August/September 2011

n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: North By Northwest (1959). 7:30 p.m. An Alfred Hitchcock classic starring Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint. Running time: 131 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com. n NOON @ THE ‘SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute tour of Tom LaDuke exhibit. Free event. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Logie Meachum at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org.

n THE CIVIL WAR & LINCOLN IN 3-D. 7:30 p.m. Step into the tableaus of many of the most famous photographs of Lincoln and the Civil War projected in original stereoscopic format. Bob Zeller will be available after the show to sign and sell copies of his book, Lincoln in 3-D. Running time: Approx. 38 min. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-2204 or www. greensborohistory.org.

August 8

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

August 3

n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Giant (1956). 7:30 p.m. Starring Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean. Running time: 201 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

n MUSEP: Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. 6 p.m. Greensboro Concert Band (Classical, Pops) at Latham Park, W. Wendover Ave. at Latham and Cridland. Free admission. Information: (336) 373-2549.

Art

Music/Concerts

Dance/Theater

n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

August 10 n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Lyn Koonce at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Some Like it Hot (1959). 7:30 p.m. Starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon. Running time: 120 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com. Film

Literature/Speakers

Fun

History

Sports

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Rackstraw Downes, At the Confluence of Two Ditches Bordering a Field with Four Radio Towers, courtesy of Weatherspoon Art Museum.

August /September 2011 Arts Calendar n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

August 13

August 11

n DINNER & JAZZ. 8 p.m. Old Style Lounge acts from the 40’s and 50’s featuring a mix of Jazz, Blues and vocals by Lynne Goodwin or Alison Perkins. The Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-1123.

n CAROLINA KIDS’ CLUB: Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs. 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. Featuring live entertainment before the film. Kids must be accompanied by an adult. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com. n HAND CRAFTS ON THE TERRACE. 6 - 8 p.m. Bring knitting, crochet and cross-stitch projects to the terrace to learn and share the love of hand crafting. McGirt-Horton Branch of Greensboro Public Library, 2501 Phillips Ave. Information: (336) 373-5810. n WEATHERSPOON FILM. 6:30 - 7:30 p.m. Two short interviews (filmed in 1980 and 2006) that offer insights into the work of Rackstraw Downes and compliment the exhibit, Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972 – 2008, on display until August 21. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL & MIXED TAPE SERIES: Top Gun (1986). 7:30 p.m. Starring Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. Running time: 110 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

August 14 n MUSEP: Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. 6 p.m. Melva Houston (R&B, Soul) opens for Knights of Soul (Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul) at Hester Park, 3615 Deutzia St. Free admission. Information: (336) 373-2549. n MAD HATTER TEA @ O.HENRY HOTEL. Alice, the Queen of Hearts, and the Mad Hatter will make their way around “Wonderland” as you enjoy special housemade treats, crafts and community seating at whimsically decorated tables. Cost: $40/guest. Reservations: Green Valley Grill at (336) 854-2015.

August 15

August 16 n PROGRESSIVE MUSIC. Pop/Rock music from School Boy Humor. Doors open at 6 p.m. Cover: $10. Greene Street Club, 113 N. Greene St. Information: (336) 273-4111.

n PROGRESSIVE MUSIC: Dirty South Beat Down. Producer beat battle featuring area producers. Hip-Hop/ Electronic. Doors open at 9:30 p.m. Cover: $10. Greene Street Club, 113 N. Greene St. Information: (336) 273-4111. n SIDEWALK LECTURE. Visiting scholars Adam Rottinghaus (UNC) and Whitney Trettien (Duke) explore media artifacts foreign and familiar at Elsewhere, a living museum designing collaborative futures from old things. Elsewhere Collaborative, 606 S. Elm St. Information: (336) 549-5555 or elsewhereelsewhere.org. Key:

Art

Music/Concerts

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Dance/Theater

Film

n A PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION: Summer Love Tour. 7:30 p.m. Garrison Keillor and company visit White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Tickets and information available online: www.greensborocoliseum.com. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Shaun of the Dead (2004). 7:30 p.m. Simon Pegg faces the music of an entire zombie community. Running time: 99 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com. Literature/Speakers

n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Donna Hughes at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www. centercitypark.org. n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Cleopatra (1963). 7:30 p.m. Starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Running time: 192 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com. n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699. n PERFORMING ARTS AUDITIONS. 5 - 8 p.m. We Are One Collective, an adult performing arts ensemble, will hold open auditions for Ntosake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, an Obie Award winning choreopoem that addresses themes of female subjugation as it effects the lives of seven African American women. Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard St. Information: (336) 373-5881.

n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL: Frenzy (1972). 7:30 p.m. An Alfred Hitchcock classic. Running time: 116 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

August 12

August 17

August 18

n MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Open mic session celebrating rhythm and rhyme. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church Street. Information: (336) 373-2471.

n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

Fun

n SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL & MIXED TAPE SERIES: Point Break (1991). 7:30 p.m. Running Time: 120 minutes. Tickets: $5. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com. n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

August 19 n MODERN WORSHIP BAND: Hillsong UNITED. 7:30 p.m. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St. Tickets: $24 and up, available at www.premierproductions.com. Information: www.hillsongunited.com. n CENTER CITY CINEMA. 8:30 p.m. Bring family, friends, blankets or lawn chairs for free showing of Madagascar in the Park. Popcorn and candy available for purchase. Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: (336) 379-0821 or www.centercitypark.org. n PLAY CITY: Radio FM. An improv game and film shoot about urban life at Elsewhere, a living museum designing collaborative futures from old things. Pick a role. Elsewhere Collaborative, 606 S. Elm St. Information: (336) 549-5555 or elsewhereelsewhere.org. n MARTIN LAWRENCE COMEDY TOUR: Doin’ Time. 8 p.m. Stand-up comedy at the Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St. Tickets: $45 and up, available at www.greensborocoliseum.com.

History

Sports August/September 2011

O.Henry 65


August /September 2011 Arts Calendar n JAZZ & BLUES. Live music from Martha Bassett at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

August 20 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com. n ART EXHIBIT OPENING. Race and Representation: The African American Presence in American Art. A selection of artworks of different media and time periods that explore and affirm the fundamental interconnection of the African American presence in American visual culture. Works drawn from the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection. Exhibit on display through Nov. 20. Gregory D. Ivy Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. n ART EXHIBIT OPENING. My Choice: “Joyce”. Paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture from artist Fritz Janschka, inspired by the work of James Joyce. Fantastical, witty and, like Joyce’s writings, filled with sly social commentary. Exhibit on display through Nov. 20. Guild Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

n DINNER & JAZZ. 8 p.m. Old Style Lounge acts from the 40’s and 50’s featuring a mix of Jazz, Blues and vocals by Lynne Goodwin or Alison Perkins. The Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-1123.

n PERFORMING ARTS AUDITIONS. 2 - 4 p.m. We Are One Collective, an adult performing arts ensemble, will hold open auditions for Ntosake Shange’s For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf, an Obie Award winning choreopoem that addresses themes of female subjugation as it effects the lives of seven African American women. Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard St. Information: (336) 373-5881. Key:

Art

Music/Concerts

Dance/Theater

Film

August 21 n MUSEP: Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. 6 p.m. Bruce Piephoff (Original Folk, Blues) opens for Lisa Dames (Contemporary Country) at Bur-Mil Park, Hwy 220 N., right on Owl’s Roost Rd. Free admission. Information: (336) 373-2549. Literature/Speakers

Fun

History

August 23 n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

August 24 n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

Sports

AN AMERICAN EATERY DOWNTOWN Where Friends and Family Meet

Loft Area Great for Parties and Meetings WiFi Bar Overlooking Downtown and Patio Dinner & Jazz Every Saturday Night at Eight 125 Summit Avenue, Greensboro

66 O.Henry

August/September 2011

336-373-1123

www.THESUMMITSTATION.com

facebook.com/SummitStation The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 67


August /September 2011 Arts Calendar August 25 n AFTER SCHOOL ARTS PROGRAM BEGINS. After school care for kids grades K-6 that provides opportunity to learn and appreciate art and world cultures. Monday through Friday; 2:30 - 6 p.m. Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard Street. Information: (336) 373-5881.

n CHILLIN’ TO THE OLDIES. 7 - 10 p.m. Gate City Kiwanis Club presents live music from Eric and the Chill Tones. Tickets: $15 (plus $2.50 Theatre restoration fee). Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St. Information: (336) 3332605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

August 26 n DINNER @ ELSEWHERE. Dinner party with artist Agustina Woodgate. A bilingual radio edible experiment. Cost: $5/members; $10 non-members. Elsewhere Collaborative, 606 S. Elm St. Information: (336) 549-5555 or elsewhereelsewhere.org. n PROGRESSIVE MUSIC. Pop/Rock/Blues music from J. Timber. Doors open at 8 p.m. Cover: $10. Greene Street Club, 113 N. Greene St. Information: (336) 273-4111. n MOSOUL @ MIDNIGHT. Featuring spoken word artist Josephus III. Cost: $10. City Arts Studio Theater, 200 N. Davie St. Information: (336) 335-6426.

August 26 - 27 n CHILDREN’S THEATRE AUDITIONS. The Greensboro Children’s theatre auditions for fall play, for children by children. All children grades 4-9 welcome to audition. The Drama Center of City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St. Information: (336) 335-6426.

n DINNER & JAZZ. 8 p.m. Old Style Lounge acts from the 40’s and 50’s featuring a mix of Jazz, Blues and vocals by Lynne Goodwin or Alison Perkins. The Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-1123.

August 28 n MUSEP: Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. 6 p.m. West End Mambo (Latin) opens for the Rob Massengale Band (Variety, Rock & Roll) at Lindley Park, Starmount Dr. at W. Wendover Ave. and Market St. Free admission. Information: (336) 373-2549.

August 29 n THEATRE AUDITIONS. Auditions for City Arts Drama Center’s 25th Evening of Short Plays; original plays by local authors will be presented September 22-25 on a street corner in front of downtown brownstones. The Drama Center of City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St. Information: (336) 335-6426.

August 30 n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

August 31 n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Clay & Benjy at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org. n ARTIST TALK. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Artist Tom LaDuke speaks on his current exhibit, “Tom LaDuke: run generator.” Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

Key:

Art

Music/Concerts

68 O.Henry

Dance/Theater

August/September 2011

Film

n FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE. 7 - 10 p.m. Local music from Expresso Brazil and The Lizzy Ross Band. Local wines available for purchase. Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: (336) 379-0821 or www.centercitypark.org.

September 3 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 4 - 25 n TRIAD STAGE. Dial “M” for Murder by Frederick Knott; directed by Preston Lane. An unexpected glimpse into the mind of a vengeful killer and the race to save his desperate victim. Tickets: $10 - $44. Triad Stage, 232 South Elm St. Information: (336) 272-0160 or www. triadstage.org.

September 5 - 26 n MAINSTAGE THEATER: The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. A shimmering drama of a family on the edge. Directed by Preston Lane. Running time: 2 hours, 30 min. Triad Stage, 232 South Elm. Tickets and information: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

September 6 n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

n MOSOUL POETRY FESTIVAL. Featuring spoken word artist Josephus III and more. Cost: Free. Festival Park, 200 N. Davie St. Information: (336) 373-2712.

n AN EVENING OF MUSIC: Frank Vulpi Concert. 8 - 10 p.m. Coordinated and performed by Frank Vulpi, assistant professor and music coordinator within the UNCG Department of Dance. Free event. Dance Theater, UNCG, 1408 Walker Ave. Information: (336) 334-5570. n FIRST FRIDAY. 6 - 9 p.m. Self-guided tour of Downtown shops, art galleries and studios, museums and alternative art venues. Downtown Greensboro. Information: www.downtownfridays.com.

August 27

n CITY ARTS OPEN HOUSE: Creation Celebration. 12 - 4 p.m. Features free mini classes and performances plus $5 off any fall class registration. Classes and showcase opportunities offered in visual and performing arts for people of all ages. Free admission. City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St. Information: (336) 373-2026.

n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 2

n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 2752754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com. n CURATOR’S TALK: Allora & Calzadilla. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Xandra Eden discusses the work of contemporary artists Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla including their 2008 video installation, A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear; the 2008 performance, Stop, Repair, Prepare: Variations on Ode to Joy for a Prepared Piano; and their latest work featured in the United States Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale. Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

September 1

September 7 n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Dana & Susan Robinson at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org. n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699. Literature/Speakers

Fun

History

n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro


August /September 2011 Arts Calendar September 8

September 14

September 18

n FILM: The Big Uneasy. 6 - 8:30 p.m. The first documentary by long-time “mockumentarian” Harry Shearer. Three remarkable people — the leaders of two scientific investigation teams, and one whistleblower — as they reveal the true story of why New Orleans flooded, and why it could happen again in communities across America. Free. Running time: 98 minutes. Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Lauren Rice at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org.

n TRIAD ACOUSTIC STAGE: Red Molly. 7 - 10 p.m. An eclectic mix of covers, originals and works by up-and-coming composers. Mack and Mack, 220 South Elm St. Information: (336) 643-8643 or www.triadacousticstage.com.

n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

September 15 n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 15 - 18

n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 8 - 11 n 5 by O.HENRY. Five heartwarming short stories adapted for the stage by playwright Joseph Hoesl, plus live performances of vintage American music. Featured stories: Merry Month of May, Lost on Dress Parade, Cop and the Anthem, Mammon and the Archer, and Pimienta Pancakes. Time: 7:30 p.m. (Thursday - Saturday); 3 p.m. (SaturdaySunday). Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-2043 or www.greensborohistory.org. Photograph by Martin Kane

n 5 by O.HENRY. Five heartwarming short stories adapted for the stage by playwright Joseph Hoesl, plus live performances of vintage American music. Featured stories: Merry Month of May, Lost on Dress Parade, Cop and the Anthem, Mammon and the Archer, and Pimienta Pancakes. Time: 7:30 p.m. (Thursday - Saturday); 3 p.m. (SaturdaySunday). Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373 2043 or www.greensborohistory.org.

September 15 n FILM: RENT. Prelude to Greensboro Opera production of La Boheme on November 5. 310 Carolina Theatre, S. Greene St. Information: www.greensboroopera.org.

September 16 n EXHIBITION PREVIEW. 6 - 9 p.m. Persona: A Body in Parts. Artist Kate Gilmore talks at 6 p.m., followed by public reception and premiere of a live performance artwork by Gilmore at 7 p.m. Free and open to the public. Limited seating. Weatherspoon Art Museum Auditorium, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. n JAZZ & BLUES. Live music from Lawyers, Guns & Money at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699. n CENTER CITY CINEMA. 8:30 p.m. Bring family, friends, blankets or lawn chairs for free showing of We Are Marshall in the Park. Popcorn and candy available for purchase. Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: (336) 379-0821 or www.centercitypark.org.

September 16 - 18 September 10 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 13 n NOON @ THE ‘SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute tour of new exhibit, Race and Representation: The African American Presence in American Art. The Gregory D. Ivy Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

n CUSTOMER APRECIATION WEEKEND. Greensboro Historical Museum Shop offers food tastings, surprise discounts and a preview of select holiday merchandise. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-2204 or www.greensborohistory.org.

September 17 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com.

n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

n ART EXHIBIT OPENING. Persona: A Body in Parts. An exploration of alternate and multiple representations of the self in current visual art. Artists participating in the exhibition include Barbara Probst, Nikki S. Lee, Carter, Kate Gilmore, Nick Cave, and Gillian Wearing. The Bob & Lissa Shelly McDowell Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

Key:

Literature/Speakers

Art

Music/Concerts

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Dance/Theater

Film

Fun

History

September 19 n MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Open mic session celebrating rhythm and rhyme. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church Street. Information: (336) 373-2471.

September 20 n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

September 21 n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Martha Bassett Band at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org. n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699.

September 22 n FILM: Erased James Franco. 6:30 - 8 p.m. Actor James Franco’s reenactment of his past film roles and those of others including Julianne Moore and Rock Hudson. Denied the charged interplay with other actors, Franco adopts a strangely flat affect, imbuing the film with a quality that the director describes as “like bloodletting or a kind of cleansing … a building up and tearing down, simultaneously.” Directed by Carter, 2008. Running time: 63 minutes. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

September 22 & 24 n GREENSBORO SYMPHONY MASTERWORKS: Lukas Geniusas, piano. 7:30 p.m. Program: Mendelssohn’s Overture: Calm Sea & Prosperous Voyage; Chopin’s Piano Concerto No. 1; Mark O’Connor’s Overture: Queen Anne’s Revenge; Elgar’s Enigma Variations. Dmitry Sitkovetsky conducts. War Memorial Auditorium. Tickets: (336) 335-5456 Ext. 224. Information: www.greensborosymphony.org.

Sports August/September 2011

O.Henry 69


August /September 2011 Arts Calendar n FALL COMMUNITY DAY @ THE SPOON. Handson art activities, performances, gallery games and opportunities to explore the museum. Open to all ages. Role playing in conjunction with the exhibition Persona: A Body in Parts. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

September 25 n MUSIC STROLL THROUGH THE GARDENS. 2 - 4 p.m. The City Arts Music Center invites the public to the Gateway Gardens, 2800 E. Lee St. Part of the 17 Days Festival. Information: (336) 373-2549.

September 23 - 25 n KNIT & CROCHET SHOW. 10 a.m. Featuring yarns and patterns, classes, fashion shows, drawings and a silent auction at Sheraton Greensboro at Four Seasons, 3121 High Point Rd. Information and class schedule: www.knitandcrochetshow.com.

September 27

September 23 - October 9 n UPSTAGE CABARET: An Evening of Southern DIScomfort. A double bill of one-act plays, featuring “For Whom the Southern Belle Tolls” by Chistopher Durang, directed by Photograph by VanderVeen Photographers Jonathan Bohun Brady, and “Autoda-Fé” by Tennessee Williams, directed by Kate Muchmore. Running time: 70 minutes. Triad Stage, 232 South Elm. Tickets and information: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

n SOUTHERN CHICKEN & SONG. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Chef Jay’s fried skillet chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Information: (336) 370-0707.

September 28 n TUNES @ NOON. 12 - 1:30 p.m. Live music from Warren Bodle & Allen at Center City Park, 200 North Elm Street. Information: www.centercitypark.org.

September 24 n AM JAZZ. 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Local jazz musicians rock the shop. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www.tatestreetcoffee.com. n DANCE CONCERT. 8 - 10 p.m. UNCG Department of Dance will host its annual Alumni Homecoming Dance Concert featuring original works. Tickets: $12 general admission; $9 seniors, children, students; $6 UNCG students. Dance Theater, UNCG, 1408 Walker Ave. Information: (336) 334-5570. Key:

Art

Music/Concerts

Dance/Theater

Film

n MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rOdeO at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road. Information: (336) 379-0699. Literature/Speakers

Fun

History

September 28 - October 6 n THE THREEPENNY OPERA. A milestone of 20th century musical theater, The Threepenny Opera (Die Dreigroschenoper) rolls unstoppably into the 21st century. In this opera “by and for beggars,” playwright and composer transformed saccharine, old-fashioned opera and operetta forms, while incorporating sharp political perspective and the sound of 1920’s Berlin dance bands and cabaret. Includes the famous song “Mack the Knife”. Taylor Theatre, UNCG, 406 Tate St. Information: (336) 334-4849.

September 29 n TATE ST. JAZZ. 8 - 10 p.m. Local jazz musicians jam. Tate Street Coffee House. Information: (336) 275-2754 or www. tatestreetcoffee.com.

September 29 - October 15 n UPSTAGE CABARET: The Mystery of Irma Vep by Charles Fright; directed by Bryan Conger. Vampires, ghosts, werewolves and a mummy wreak havoc in this raucous parody of Victorian morals and Hollywood horror. From England’s mysterious moors to the depths of an Egyptian tomb, this twoman “tour de farce” takes on everyone from the Brontës to Mel Brooks. Tickets: $18. UpStage Cabaret, Pyrle Theater, 232 S. Elm. Information: www.triadstage.org or (336) 272-0160. To add an event, send us an e-mail at ohcal@ohenrymag.com by September 1st for the October/November issue. Submit by November 1 for the December/January issue.

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70 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Ongoing Events Greensboro at 1:45 p.m. Free public parking available along the street or in the nearby Bellemeade parking deck. Tour runs rain or shine.

Indiana Bones & Survival Science Spectacular at Natural Science Center of Greensboro Free public shows during weekends and Guilford County School Holidays during the school year. Indiana Bones shows how putting the knowledge of science to work has gotten him out of some pretty tough jams and has helped to save his live. Learn how Indy was able to cross quicksand, survive dropping from the top of a towering bridge and an attack by his archenemy in a deadly helicopter. This show is an exciting story told through fun and interactive demonstrations. Information: www.natsci.org Photograph by ZMII

Stickworks at Guilford College Acclaimed environmental sculptor Patrick Dougherty’s monumental, site-specific, sapling sculpture at Guilford College, titled, “Disorderly Conduct.” Located in the center of the College Quadrangle, visitors are invited to walk through the maze of fifteen cylindrical architectural forms. Information: Terry Hammond at (336) 316-2438 or thammond@guilford.edu.

Fitness By The Fountain at Center City Park Mondays & Wednesdays. 6 - 7 p.m. Bring yourself, a friend (and a water bottle!) to the fountain at Center City Park for free, fun fitness. No prior experience is needed for any class. Shape up with yoga, belly dancing, African dance and more. Full schedule: www.centercitypark.org/events.

Voices Of A City at Greensboro Historical Museum “What would a city say if it could speak?” asked the writer O. Henry. Discover what Greensboro’s generations have to say about the place, its people and events through Voices of a City: Greensboro North Carolina, new interpretations from more than 300 years of local history in an 8,000 square-foot, highly interactive exhibit. Exhibit runs through Jan 1, 2012. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave. Information: (336) 373-2204 or www.greensborohistory.org.

Growing Up Green at Greensboro Children’s Museum

Improv Comedy @ The Idiot Box Monthly Book Discussion at Greensboro Central Library Central Book Discussion Group meets the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. Contact Carole CampbellBrown at (336) 433-7260 for this month’s title and details. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St. Information: (336) 373-2471.

Nightmares Around Elm Street Fridays, Saturdays & Full Moons 8 p.m. Carolina History & Haunts is a 90-minute historical candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Listen to the history and ghost stories for this historic city while being led through the downtown streets guided by the eerie glow of candlelight. Open Year-Round. Cost: $15/adults; $13/children 8-12. Children 7 and under are free. Group rates and online discounts available. Inquire for schedule. Information: www.carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/ information

Downtown Greensboro Walking Tour

Current/Upcoming Gallery Exhibits at Weatherspoon Art Museum

Through August 7: Encore!: Japanese Actor Prints from the Permanent Collection. During the early 1700s in Japan, a new form of artistic expression known as “ukiyo-e” or “floating world pictures” developed, which depicted the escapist and ephemeral pleasures offered at the time by the entertainment districts of the cities of Edo (present-day Tokyo) and Osaka.

Tuesdays, Thursdays & Saturdays. 3:30 p.m. Meet at the Edible Garden at the Greensboro Children’s Museum for “Growing Up Green.” Activities are aimed at 3-10 year old guests and their families. Programming varies from week to week and may include garden lessons, small craft activities, scavenger hunts, stories, and other seasonal activities. Located at 220 N. Church Street. Information: (336) 574-2898.

Through August 7: Persian and Indian Miniatures. Appearing sometime between the 10th and 12th century, Persian and Indian miniature paintings hold a special place in the history of art. Similar to Western illuminated manuscripts, they were first etched on palm leaves and used as illustrations to manuscript texts. Saturdays. 2 - 5:15 p.m. Modern culture and incredible food intertwine with over 200 years of history on this guided tour of downtown. Wear comfortable shoes; tour features about 3 miles of walking. Tickets and registration: www.tastecarolina.net. Meet in front of Undercurrent Restaurant, 327 Battleground Avenue,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Fridays & Saturdays. 10 p.m. Made popular by ABC’s “Whose Line Is It Anyway,” improv comedy involves actors creating scenes on-the-spot and building upon the ideas of others. Although the description is dry, the result is almost always funny. Every performance is based on suggestions given by the audience; every show is one-of-akind. Saturdays. 8 p.m. Improv comedy kept clean. Bring the whole family along for the fun. Information: steve@ idiotboxers.com. Reservations: (336) 274-BOXX

Through August 21: Rackstraw Downes: Onsite Paintings, 1972-2008. This is the first major survey exhibition of paintings by the British-born, Yale-educated painter Rackstraw Downes (b. 1939), who divides his time between New August/September 2011

O.Henry 71


Ongoing Events An artist whose radical style left a lasting mark on modern art, Henri Matisse (French, 1869-1954) was attracted to the female human body and used it as one of the primary themes in his work. In paintings, works on paper, and sculptures, the artist created figures that are emotionally powerful without necessarily being anatomically detailed or accurate. This exhibition presents side-by-side displays of two- and three-dimensional work by Matisse to showcase how the artist linked themes, imagery, and processes over the course of his career. York and Texas and has been painting exterior and interior panoramic scenes of the American land- and urbanscape for over thirty-five years. 

Through September 18: Tom LaDuke: run generator. Tom LaDuke is a painter of light: light streaming into his Los Angeles studio; light emanating from the cathode ray tube of a television set; light from a film still frozen on the TV. These sources meld together within his meticulously crafted paintings, which are completed with a top layer of impastoed oil that emulates fragments of historic paintings.

Through September 18: Allora & Calzadilla: A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear. Marking the sixth year anniversary of the devastation that swept through New Orleans, the Weatherspoon presents a video installation, A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear (2008) by Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla. The artistic duo creates metaphors for political and social issues through alternative interpretations of cultural materials, particularly music and musical instruments. 

August 20 - November 20: Race and Representation: The African American Presence in American Art. Drawn from the Weatherspoon’s permanent collection, this selection of artworks of different media and time periods will explore and affirm the fundamental interconnection of the African American presence in American visual culture.

August 20 November 20: Fritz Janschka: My Choice: “Joyce”. Fritz Janschka has been fascinated with the work of James Joyce throughout his artistic career. Likely one of the few people who have read the bulk of Joyce’s work, Janschka has drawn inspiration from it to create paintings, drawings, prints and sculpture that are as fantastical, witty, and filled with sly social commentary as Joyce’s writings are. Featured in this exhibition are selections from two series of artworks, Finnegans Wake and Chamber Music. 

September 17 - December 11: Persona: A Body in Parts. Persona: A Body in Parts explores alternate and multiple representations of the self in current visual art. Organized by Weatherspoon Curator of Exhibitions, Xandra Eden, the exhibition includes a striking selection of work in which the body, whether the artist’s own or another’s, becomes a surrogate, plastic form from which multiple and complex identities are projected. Artists participating in the exhibition include Barbara Probst, Nikki S. Lee, Carter, Kate Gilmore, Nick Cave, and Gillian Wearing.  All gallery exhibits are free and open to the public. The Weatherspoon Art Museum is located at the corner of Spring Garden and Tate St. Information: weatherspoon.uncg.edu/ exhibitions or (336) 334- 5770.

72 O.Henry

August/September 2011

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Allora & Calzadilla, A Man Screaming Is Not a Dancing Bear, Henri Matisse, Jeune fille au col d’organdi, Joyce Scott, Boy with Gun, courtesy of Weatherspoon Art Museum.

Through October 2: Henri Matisse: In Two and Three Dimensions.


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O.Henry 73


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74 O.Henry

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O.Henry 75


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76 O.Henry

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Astrid Stellanova, 59, owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in Climax, NC, for many years until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings opened up a new career path. Feel free to contact Astrid for insights on your personal stars or hair advice for any occasion at astridstellanova@rocketmail.com.

ccidental

BY ASTRID STELLANOVA Leo (July 23 - Aug. 23)

e

For the love of cod steak, Sweetheart. I’d sooner watch a scab form than be in your shoes this month. That said, mind your footing with Mercury gone retrograde. For better or worse, you’re liable to find yourself in a situation that’s stickier than Anthony Weiner’s Twitter feed on the 4th. When Mars and Uranus clash like stripes and plaid on the 9th, you’ll be redder than a smacked bum lest you learn to bite your tongue. (Do as I say, not as I do, Hon.) You and I both know that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. A splash of spilled milk won’t hurt either.

Virgo (Aug. 24 - Sept. 23)

f

Well, I’ll be dipped! You’re in for a month that’s spicier than Grandma’s jambalaya. (It’s high time too, Toots. You Virgos tend to be duller than dried-up fish. No offense.) On the 1st, you can have your cake and eat it too, so long as you don’t skip out on your cardio. (You can’t live by bread alone, you know.) Mars aims to stir up trouble on the 9th. I say ride it out. No sense making life tougher than an old steamed clam. Here’s a nugget for you: Those who live in grass houses shouldn’t own goats. Or something like that.

g

Libra (Sept. 24 - Oct. 23)

Bless my Sunday bloomers. You can’t get to the top by sitting on your bottom, Sweet Cheeks — unless you happen to own a forklift. When life has you madder than an old wet hen on the 1st, take a deep breath and count your cotton-picking blessings. As Mama always said, it’s better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. (I’d recommend something scented.) On the 17th, expressing your wishes may be rougher than a scratch in the eye with a wad of steel wool. No matter. What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Scorpio (Oct. 24 - Nov. 22)

h

Well I’ll be Jack Sprat. This month’s liable to be more colorful than exclamations at a rugby match. With change heading your way faster than Chuck Norris can chop suey, you’d be greener than a pickled pork hock to resist it (and dumber than a box of rocks to jump right in). Although Mercury will have you feeling more self-conscious than a hairless Persian in a pet salon, sulking is about as welcome as a fart in a phone booth. Trust me, Sweetie, if anyone can make chicken salad out of chicken spit, you can. East is east and west is west.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

i

Sagittarius (Nov. 23 - Dec. 21)

What they say about sticks and stones may be true, but that bit on words is a hunk of bologna. Flattery won’t get you any farther than you can throw a sack of wet mice on the 5th. Nevertheless, with Mars and Uranus creating more friction than two teens in the backseat of Mama’s Monte Carlo, you’d be wise to take time for yourself in the middle of the month. (Trust me, Pumpkin. No one else will be bending over ass and elbow to entertain you.) As they say, many a good tune has been played on an old fiddle. Don’t forget that.

Capricorn (Dec. 22 - Jan. 20)

l

Somebody’s got a rip in their marbles bag — and it ain’t me this time, Hon. With aspirations higher than Willie Nelson’s fan club on the 5th, try not to bite off more than you can chew. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day. On the 21st, that pity party of yours will be about as appealing as a slap in the face with a wet fish. (Matter of fact, you may find out what that feels like if you can’t learn to can it and screw the moose.) That said, the new moon on the 28th could be your saving grace. Good Lord willing and the creek don’t rise.

m

Aquarius (Jan. 21 - Feb. 19)

A bird in the hand is safer than the one overhead. That said, you’re greener than a pair of pickled pig’s feet not to look before you leap. Then again, the course of true love never did run smooth. When trouble surfaces like an arrowhead after a heavy rain on the 8th (and again on the 23rd), you’d be wise to take the high road. As Mama used to say: A ship in the harbor is out of harm’s way. Keep an open mind on the 28th when you feel you’ve lost your grip. Trust me, Sug’ums, your horizons will expand like a wet sponge soon enough.

n

Pisces (Feb. 20 - March 20)

Hold the phone. When the moon hits your eye like a big cattle pie on the 8th, consider it high time to stop and smell the roses. As they say, all work and no play makes Jack duller than a bowl of blanched oats. Take some time for yourself on the 13th, even if you’d sooner chew pork gristle. I declare, a little pampering won’t kill you. With Venus in your sign on the 30th, things are liable to be hotter than Grandma’s eggplant curry in the love department. Lord, love you! (Between you, me and the fencepost, I think you can take the heat.)

Aries (March 21 - April 20)

a

If you don’t like the cake, Dumpling, then don’t eat it. (Darned if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) On the 16th, Mars will put a chip on your shoulder big enough to make Arnold Palmer take note. Laugh it off, Honey Bun. No need for a sense of humor that’s drier than a burnt bush. Your fashion sense is dry enough. The new moon will open your eyes to new horizons at the end of the month. Just remember, if you weasel your way into a situation too hairy to comb through, try not to sweat it. After all, the writing’s on the wall.

Taurus (April 21 - May 21)

b

Venus is fixing to close a door in your face faster than Peter Piper can pickle peppers. No matter. Keep your eyes peeled for an opportunity to arise as unexpectedly as the symptoms of puberty. And when it does, take it and don’t look back, Toots! It was high time to shoot crow as it were. On the 8th, you’re liable to face a situation that’s tougher than boiled rubber. Think before you go leaping, Sweetie. (But seeing as you’re stubborn as an old mule I should sooner save my breath.) Oh well. As Mama always said, when there’s a will, figure out a way to be in it.

Gemini (May 22 - June 21)

c

I swan. Your tongue works so fast you could whisk an egg with it. (And Mama thought I had the gift of the gab.) Put a cork in it on the 4th if you care anything about gaining perspective. Like it or not, yours isn’t the only one that matters. Although your head’s harder than a boiled egg, don’t be afraid to ask for help on the 13th. Everyone knows you’re softer than a ripe melon, Pudding. The only one you’re fooling is yourself. Oh, and be mindful of a certain someone’s feelings on the 25th. Slip up and they’ll be gone as the golden days, Hon.

d

Cancer (June 22 - July 23)

You may have the patience of a Benedictine monk, but you’ll be sweating like a pregnant nun if you let an opportunity pass you by on the 9th. And here’s a pearl of wisdom for you (though I’m not certain you couldn’t use the whole darned necklace): Corn can’t grow in the same field as crow, Sweetheart. Trust your hunches on the 21st. If you play your cards right, you just might avoid finding yourself in more jeopardy than Alex Trebek’s bowels after a cup of curried beef stew. And if not, well, bon voyage, Buttercup. August/September 2011

O.Henry 77


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August/September 2011

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My Favorite Four-Letter Word

Life’s Funny

Golf is just another name for plant stand BY MARIA JOHNSON

Photographs By Cassie Butler

F

irst, let me say that I’m a fan of the Wyndham golf thingy. Really, I am. I’ve been going for years, even when it was the Chrysler thingy, and the Kmart thingy, and the Greater Greensboro thingy. The tournament — to use the scientific word — is a big deal in Greensboro, and it should be because of all the neat things it brings to town, like frozen lemonade cups, and a tent where you can smack a ball and they’ll tell you how far it went (about 10 yards into a net, as far as I can tell), and big air-conditioned shuttle buses where you can overhear the most interesting conversations, especially at the end of the day, when folks have had a few lemonade cups. Oh, I almost forgot something really important: the MetLife blimp. Love that Snoopy. So, now we’ve established that I like the event. Golf is another story. I really should like it. I am surrounded by golfers. My husband plays golf. My sons play golf. Some of my best friends are golfers. And this is completely true: I was the team mom for my elder son’s high school golf team this past spring. I walked the courses. I counted strokes. I cheered the good shots. But this had everything to do with supporting my son, his friends, and the coaches. It had nothing to do with golf because, honestly, I do not like golf. As a sport. To play. Yes, I have tried playing. Back when my husband and I started dating, he introduced me to the game. He got me some clubs and a cool purple golf bag. At that point, I loved golf. Then, I started playing. Understand that I am a fairly athletic person. I go to the gym. I love to ride my bike. I can play tennis for hours. So I should be able to hit a golf ball straight, right? If you said yes, you know even less about golf than I do. Golf is impossible. By design. Oh, once in a while you hit a good shot, but if all goes as planned, it’s misery. Why? Because golf courses are like horror movies. If they are “well-made,” you are pretty much guaranteed to leave rattled and robbed of a night’s sleep. Let me tell you about one of my golf experiences. My husband and I went to play twilight golf at a local course, which is now closed, so I’m pretty sure the owners cannot come after me for what I am about to say. We were a few holes into our 9-hole round, and I was doing pretty well. And by pretty well, I mean no more than 10 putts on each hole. Think of Happy Gilmore on the first hole he played. I more or less corralled the ball into the cup. Sometimes, I didn’t even wait for it to stop rolling before I’d hit it again. I counted those as half-strokes, by the way. Anyway, we came to this par-3 “water” hole. Tee, water, hole. That was the layout. Well, my husband got over the water in one shot. Looked easy enough. I teed up, swung, and the ball went straight into the drink. Actually, it went straight until it got over the water, then it nose-dived, as if it were made of iron being drawn to a giant magnet under the water. Ha, ha. Oh, well. Let’s try that again. Same thing.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Hmm. It can’t be that hard. Take a breath. Third time is a charm. I think you know where this is headed. Splash. By now, my husband was telling me to cut my losses and move on. He’s a smart guy. But I’m no quitter. So, I teed ‘er up again. Yep. Cuatro aguas, as they say in Mexican restaurants. Something inside me snapped (well done, sadistic Scottie founders of the game). I really don’t want to go into detail about what happened next except to say, why would anyone make a tee marker out of cheap plastic that breaks so easily when it’s hit by a little bitty 3-wood? I looked up, and my husband was driving away in the golf cart, literally pretending he did not know me. That, in a nutshell, is why my cool purple golf bag is now a spider condo in our garage. And I’m OK with that. It gives me more time to ponder the mysteries of the game, such as: • Why do people at tournaments shout, “Get in the HOLE!” when someone tees off on a two-millon-yard par 5? • When you watch golf on TV, what is to be gleaned from the camera shot that shows the ball flying through the air for a small eternity? Ball against sky. One thousand one. Ball against sky. One thousand two. Ball against sky, etc. Personally, I would rather watch Hank Haney teach a cat to play golf during this time. • And finally, how is it that men can remember and recount in minute detail every single shot they made in 18 holes of golf, but they can’t remember to pick up something at the grocery store on the way home? “And then, on my second shot on Number Three, I hit a fade over that white pine with a red-headed woodpecker in it, and that put me within 63, no, 62 yards, and I took a 56-degree wedge, and I …” “Honey?” “What?” “Where’s the sour cream?” Blank stare. These are things I don’t understand. But it doesn’t matter. I will go to Wyndham, and I will have a good time, especially if my favorite pro golfer is there. Around my house, I refer to him only by his full name. First name: That Cute Little Middle name: Adam Last name: Scott. Did I mention they have pro golfers at the Wyndham? They’re really good. They make the game look easy. OH Maria Johnson, a longtime Greensboro resident, is a contributing editor of O.Henry Magazine. August/September 2011

O.Henry 79


O.Henry Ending

My Big Fine Greensboro Wedding Unexpected conformity may be a bride’s best friend BY JANE BORDEN

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isit the Bethesda Fountain, in Manhattan’s Central Park, on a weekday, and you’ll probably stumble upon a photo shoot for a young Chinese-American bride — or seven. I once saw a triangle of three, each posing separately on her segment of the fountain, and looking in her white gown like a princess doppelganger of the others only a few feet away. Later in the day, the parking lot adjacent to the Brooklyn Bridge Park will teem with limousines, while young couples in formal wear pop champagne corks for the camera, so many happening in unison that it scares the gulls. Then they’ll cruise through Times Square, pausing in the middle of a traffic median for a shot with the Naked Cowboy. Perhaps one day Greensborians will spy Asian couples snapping Kodaks in front of Blandwood Mansion — or, if we’re pulling from my list of the city’s biggest attractions, the food court in Four Seasons Town Centre. I find the custom fascinating. So, a few years ago, when my magazine sent a photographer to chronicle one couple’s big day, I tagged along. Our point man was Leo, who took pictures for the full-service bridal salon in Chinatown that provided everything for the day’s itinerary, including a rental tux and gown (during the actual ceremony, Chinese brides wear red). The first question I asked him: “Why do you shoot every couple in the same spots?” “It’s not me,” he explained. “They ask for it.” “Why?” I pressed. “They want their albums to look exactly like their friends’ albums.” “But why tourist attractions?” “I told you,” he said, somewhat exasperated. “Because it’s what their friends did.” In this circumstance, Times Square wasn’t the original home of The New York Times or even the place with all the billboards; it was famous for being the background in other Chinese-American wedding pictures. “Are the requests ever different?” I asked. “Only with ABC,” he said, referring to the American-born Chinese. He explained that the requests of his first-generation clients are always slightly different. They’ll bring their own white dresses. They’ll pose in the park, but in spots off the beaten path. How hilariously stereotypical, I thought: The Chinese demand uniformity, and the Americans individuality. I confess that I felt kindred with the ABCs. By that point in my life, I’d attended at least a dozen weddings in Greensboro, and most of them took place in the First Presbyterian Church — including those of my two sisters, Lou and Tucker — with a reception following at the Greensboro Country Club. Frequently, during these weekends, my mind would wander and concoct

80 O.Henry

August/September 2011

the various ways in which my own wedding might stand out. Maybe it should be on a lake and we’d swim to the minister. Or in Denver. Hell, I thought, by the time I get married, we can probably do it on the moon. Or, better yet, at Four Seasons Town Centre. I’ve always been contrary. Which is probably why I’ve lived in New York City for the last twelve years. I mean, I’m not different just for different’s sake — except maybe in high school; it’s a blessing that my diploma procession was not accompanied by the clanging of some multi-body-part piercing connected by chains. Mostly it’s just that I can’t say yes to the suggested choice. First, I have to be apprised of every option. Then, if something can be altered to more accurately appease my taste, I will tinker with it. Yes, I realize this is obnoxious. Whether I’m ordering a drink or scheduling a doctor’s appointment, you don’t want to be behind me in line. My family and friends know — and incessantly mock — me for this. So I wasn’t the only one surprised to discover, after getting engaged last fall, that I want to be married at First Presbyterian Church with a reception following at the Greensboro Country Club. In fact, I want my wedding to be exactly like my sisters’, with the same florist, wedding planners, and photographer too. This is especially convenient considering my mother had reserved them each before Nathan even proposed. More than anything, I want the same pictures — the posed one at the altar, and the candid on the Greene Street steps. I want a shot of the two of us running through a tunnel of rose petals that could be mistaken for a Xerox of Lou and Marc’s. And when Nathan and I step into the car and turn for the camera one last time, I hope it will look precisely like the one of Tucker and Wes doing the same. Sometimes standing out means standing alone. But, this way, the frames on my coffee table will somehow be linked to their facsimiles in my sisters’ houses. As if the click of each camera leaves a dent in the fabric of time and space that’s deep enough to form canyons connecting the photos. And those paths will form a triangle, like the one in the hall carpet between our bedrooms in my parents’ house. It will be almost exactly the same. OH Jane Borden is a native of Greensboro and the author of a highly-accliamed collection of essays, I Totally Meant To Do That, Broadway/Crown (Random House). Illustration By Meridith Martens The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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August/September 2011 O.Henry  

The Art and Soul of Greensboro