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3203 Alamance Road Greensboro

804 Sunset Drive Greensboro

106 Fisher Park Circle Greensboro

JEAN KING 336 –339 –9002

B A R B A R A WA L E S 336 –314– 0141

MELISSA GREER 336 –337–5233




3503 Bromley Wood Lane Greensboro

304 Saint Lauren Drive Greensboro

5405 Eastern Shore Drive Greensboro

M A R K YO S T 336 –707– 6275

B A R B A R A WA L E S 336 –314– 0141

M A R K YO S T 336 –707– 6275




6085 Mountain Brook Road Greensboro

5802 Scotland Oaks Court Greensboro

3905 Eagle Downs Way Summerfield

B A R RY H A R D E M A N 336 –420 –2837

JA R E E TO D D 336 – 601 –4892

JA K E L E T T E R M A N 336 –338 – 0136




Adams Farm 336 – 854 –1333 • Elm Street 336 –272– 0151 • Friendly Center 336 –370 – 4000 ©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.  


e are Greensboro, North Carolina. We are the city of makers. We design, build, create. We roll up our sleeves. We get our hands dirty. We get it done. We make it happen. Made in Greensboro celebrates those makers — the entrepreneurs, the artists, the community builders, the next generation of leaders. Made in Greensboro is an initiative of Action Greensboro and the City of Greensboro.

GREENSBORO ARM WRESTLING LEAGUE FIERCE PHILANTHROPISTS They might not be who you think of when you picture philanthropists. Or arm wrestlers. But they are both. There’s a chemist, a social worker, two librarians, a copy editor, a nonprofit worker, a few teachers, more than one city employee, an insurance wholesaler, several single moms and two furniture manufacturer employees. They’re just some of the ladies of the Greensboro Arm Wrestling League (or GRAWL), an all-volunteer group that throws ladies-only arm wrestling tournaments to raise money for local nonprofits. Since its inception, GRAWL has raised more than $15,000 for Greensboro nonprofits, especially those that serve women and girls. They call it “fierce feminist philanthropy.” Three times a year, local women don crazy outfits and bare their biceps for a cause. The group was founded in 2016 by Rachel Scott, an academic coach for a middle school and the co-owner of Geeksboro Coffee and Beverage Company, Meagan Albert, a social worker, and Amanda Lehmert Killian, a city employee. GRAWL events – or GRAWL brawls – aren’t like any fundraiser you’ve ever attended. They are high-energy, fast-paced tournaments with elements of cosplay and fantasy reminiscent of professional wrestling. Only in this case, the wrestling is all real. Thanks to these volunteers, and Geeksboro donating its space for free, 100 percent of ticket sales and online fundraising for every brawl goes directly to the nonprofit.

DIANTE BALDWIN PLAYMAKER For Diante Baldwin, success on the basketball court came early. His hard work and natural ability earned him a spot on a winning UNCG team. Now it’s taken him 4,600 miles away from his home town where this Greensboro native is a starter for AZS Koszalin, a professional basketball team in Poland. “My dad’s kind of big on basketball. I started when I was 3 or 4,” he says. “My team came in 7th in the nation when I was 9.” He played basketball at the YMCA and Trotter Recreation Center, and later joined a competition youth team. By high school he was good enough to be recruited to play at High Point Christian. Soon UNCG took notice. He joined the Spartans in 2013, and the point guard soon became a key starter. He became the first Spartan in history with 1,000 points, 400 assists and 400 rebounds. He says he’s grateful for his UNCG sociology degree. He says his basketball career might end at any time. “As far as my education, they can never take that away.”

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Irving Park at its Finest! 1806 Carlisle Road Stately Old Irving Park home with ideal location. Elegant foyer, living & dining rooms, mahogany paneled family room with wood burning fireplace (gas logs in Living Room) Leaded glass pane doors lead to covered porch enjoyed year round. Great kitchen with eating area & "mud" room. Generous main level master suite, separate shower & bath, extra large walk-in closet. Upper level bedrooms, plus office & bonus room or playroom off bedroom. Full basement with half bath, additional storage, exterior steps & generator! Back yard privacy a plus!

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Perfection is the word for this new construction. Ten foot ceilings on main, open gourmet kitchen with granite countertops, stainless appliances, breakfast area & Pergola style deck overlooking brick patio. Formal living & dining rooms, extended family room with fireplace, drop zone for kids & main level master suite. Finished English (daylight) basement with bedroom/full bath, exercise, media or game room all adjoining beautiful, brick patio.

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Expect the unexpected in this Irving Park home. Arched center hall foyer, gracious living & dining rooms with custom cabinetry & bookcases. Faux fireplace in living room. Sunroom that will take your breath away, stand alone wet bar, glass wall of windows, card room or additional eating area, inner library or den with gas logs, knock out kitchen with honed granite & top of line appliances. Pecky cypress breakfast room, mahogany studio or office.

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O U R S PONS ORS M ADE THE 2 0 T H A N N I V ERS ARY GA L A A S UCC E SS! Your support will launch the LGBTQ Center of Greensboro, fund programs that advance equality and inclusion, and create a thriving LGBTQ community for the next 20 years. See what’s ahead at DIAMOND SPONSOR



GOLD SPONSORS Barbara Kretzer Jerry Cunningham & Terry Brown Jim Baulding & Gene Simpson John Jenkins & Tim Johnson SILVER SPONSORS A Great Idea Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina Bob Page & Dale Frederiksen Danielle & Carol McCauley-Hoversten Dawn Chaney & Sandra O’Connor Equality NC Evelyn Day Greensboro Orthopaedics Groat Eyecare Harvey Lineberry and Pasha Domnez

Highlands Mortgage John Lalonde Katie Klein Photography Kimrey Millar & Lynn Brady Knob Creek Lee Carter & Greg Bradley Lincoln Financial Mary Robertson LaFar O.Henry Magazine PNC Bank Proximity Hotel Replacements, Ltd. Ron Johnson & Bill Roane Stoner Boone Charitable Fund Stonewall Sports-Greensboro Tree of Life Counseling

THE VISION OF THE GUILFORD GREEN FOUNDATION We envision a Greater Greensboro with a thriving LGBTQIA community that elevates all.

BRONZE SPONSORS April McCollum Arlene Gutterman & Kate Panzer Ashley Meredith Bert Davis Jr. Bill Guill & Milton Shaw Brooks Pierce Cadillac Service Garage Cile Johnson & Amy Holcombe Dawn S. Chaney Foundation Downtown Greensboro, Inc. Drs. Christina Rama & Kami Rowan Frank and Lindsey Aumen Gordon Locke & Chad Waclawczyk Greensboro Pride Jeff Smith Jessica Mashburn & Evan Olson Jonathan S. Rubens

Justin Ervin & Matthew Bosch Laura Curry, CPA, PLLC Luck Davidson Mark File & David Soyars Marshand Hager & Teresa Bonstetter Massimo Fantechi & Rodney Ouzts Melissa Greer Nancy Vaughan Pat Moore Plants & Answers PostMark, Inc. Robbie Bald Susan Lowe Tom Campbell Triad City Beat Valerie & John Edson Vanderveen Photographers Vicky Henson & Mary Shearin

THE MISSON OF THE GUILFORD GREEN FOUNDATION Guilford Green Foundation creates unity through programming and philanthropy that advances equality and inclusion for LGBTQIA communities.

Highest rating for cardiac surgery.

This is today’s Cone Health. The Society of Thoracic Surgeons has recently recognized Cone Health’s cardiac surgical care with its highest rating of three stars. Being ranked among the best in the United States and Canada to deliver exceptional quality and patient safety is an accomplishment we share with all of our patients, and our entire community. Learn more at

E X C E P T I O N A L C A R E . E V E R Y D AY.™ *Society of Thoracic Surgeons’ Highest Rating, 3-Star Rating, Awarded to Triad Cardiac & Thoracic Surgeons and Cone Health Heart & Vascular Center


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April 2018


61 Camellia Poetry by Laura Lomax 62 The Four Masters By Jim Dodson

An enduring springtime ritual shared by a quartet of golf-loving friends

68 Greensboro’s Faerie Godmother

By Maria Johnson Sue Sassmann finds magic in bringing people together

72 In Full Flow By Nancy Oakley

The artful life of Bill Crowder and Joe Hoesl

83 April Almanac By Ash Alder

DEPARTMENTS 17 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 20 Short Stories 23 Doodad By Ogi Overman 25 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 27 Omnivorous Reader By D.G. Martin 31 Scuppernong Bookshelf By Brian Lampkin 33 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 37 True South By Susan Kelly 39 In The Spirit By Tony Cross 43 The Pleasures of Life Dept. By Grant Britt 47 Gate City Journal By Doug Orr 49 Book Excerpt By Cathryn Hankla 55 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 57 Wandering Billy By Billy Eye 84 Arts Calendar 1 04 GreenScene 1 11 The Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 1 12 O.Henry Ending By Mamie Potter

10 O.Henry

April 2018

Cover painting by Bill Crowder Photograph this page by Amy Freeman The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | Becky Causey, Licensed Optician Find us on Facebook


Volume 8, No. 4 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street, Greensboro, NC 27408 PUBLISHER

David Woronoff Jim Dodson, Editor • Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director • Nancy Oakley, Senior Editor • Lauren M. Coffey, Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Cynthia Adams, David Claude Bailey, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson

Greensboro’s Best Kept Secret is in Kernersville! 3 and 4 Bedroom 1 and 2 Story Homes From the $280’s

Nestled comfortably on gently rolling, wooded land in Kernersville, Welden Village offers small town charm with front porch style. You’ll love the ambiance of this inviting, well planned community – home styles feature Southern vernacular architecture with large, functional front porches, main level master suites and front or alley facing garages. When finished, Welden Village will feature 3 neighborhoods, a market center, lots of parks and trails, walkable streets, sidewalks and pathways, with most of the neighborhood’s amenities just a short five-to-ten-minute walk away! Discover Welden Village today - it’s much closer than you think!

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich, John Gessner, Bert VanderVeen, Mark Wagoner CONTRIBUTORS Ash Alder, Jane Borden, Grant Britt, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Tony Cross, Clyde Edgerton, Billy Eye, Ross Howell Jr., Billy Ingram, Susan Kelly, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Meridith Martens, D.G. Martin, Ogi Overman, Romey Petite, Stephen Smith, Astrid Stellanova



Ginny Trigg, Advertising Director 910.691.8293,

Hattie Aderholdt, Advertising Manager 336.601.1188,

Lisa Allen, 336.210.6921 • Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 • Allison Shore, 336.698.6374 • Lisa Bobbitt, Advertising Assistant


Brad Beard, Graphic Designer


Darlene Stark, Circulation Director 910.693.2488 Douglas Turner, Finance Director 910.693.2497

©Copyright 2018. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

12 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Simple Life

“Ask Garden Guru” Advice stinks — but only when unsolicited

By Jim Dodson

Spring is here.

Garden Guru will now take your important gardening questions.


Dear Garden Guru, I’m new to gardening this year and eager to learn all I can in a hurry. What would you suggest as a starting point? A bit worryingly, I hear hobby gardening can be kind of expensive. Is that true? Signed, A Frugal Beginner from Biscoe Dear Frugal, Like keeping a mistress or owning a vintage British sports car, gardening is not for the faint of heart or weak of wallet. The proper handcrafted English tools, the glamorous plant seminars, the costly trips abroad simply to study the Great Gardens of the World — well, it all adds up so quickly. Pretty soon you’ll be dropping the mortgage money on rare fruit trees at the garden center, hopelessly addicted to spring catalogs (a somewhat philistine friend refers to these as “porn for gardeners”) or blowing through the kids’ college fund to turn your backyard into a Southern Gardens of Versailles. GG suggests you start small to determine if your interest is genuine or just a passing fancy, maybe with an inoffensive African violet in your kitchen window? Dear Garden Guru, A few years ago, following a dream golf vacation to New Zealand, my hubby Ralph and I met an intriguing couple, who shared their love of golf and gardening. Ralph fell hard for the concept of “natural gardening” they practiced and, in a nutshell, has taken it up with gusto. The guiding tenet of the NG movement, as I understand it, is for proponents to become “one with nature.” In his effort to get “closer to the source,” as Ralph puts it, he has quit playing golf with his buddies, refers to himself as “The Green Man,” and has taken to gardening fully in the nude save for a ratty old golf cap he wears on rainy days. We’re both grandparents in our mid 60s and happen to reside in a classy, gated golf community where everyone is The Art & Soul of Greensboro

beginning to avoid us at parties. This is so embarrassing. My golf handicap is in tatters. Any suggestions? Signed, Worried (and still fully clothed) Wilma in Wilmington Dear Worried Wilma, Ralph’s unnatural attraction to the natural world simply reflects the addictive dangers of gardening. Clearly he’s gone “native” on you. Have you considered divorcing him and marrying one of his golf buddies? It could make dinner at the club so much nicer. Dear Garden Guru, My wife Brenda is an award-winning flower gardener. I’m a serious vegetable grower who has won numerous ribbons at our county fair. Every March we have the same argument over space allocation in the raised beds of our rather smallish condominium terrace. Her zinnias are always encroaching on my heirloom snap beans, and don’t get me started on the times she’s heartlessly flattened my tender artisan squash plants trying to prune her Sugar Moon hybrid teas. A reproachful war of silence has developed between us. We rarely speak between my first decent tomato crop and her final lace cap hydrangea bloom in late summer. Is this any way to grow a garden or keep a marriage? A Brooding Veggie Dude in Durham Dear Veggie Dude, Botanically speaking, you’re a classic mixed marriage, a tale as old as Adam and Eve and their famous domestic squabble over the proper use of fig leaves. (Are they good in a stew or simply wearable?) Have you pondered getting a larger terrace or, even better, finding separate garden plots in adjoining counties? You might try moseying down to Pittsboro to find a patch where your Tuscan zucchini can roam free and easy. The happiest gardening couples, Garden Guru finds, are those who insist on separate bathrooms and growing spaces where cosmos and cucumbers never meet. Dear Garden Guru, I recently accompanied my son’s fourth grade class on a field trip to the White House and was pleased to see gorgeous camellias blooming in the East Room — until, April 2018

O.Henry 17

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Simple Life

to my horror, I discovered they were completely FAKE! A week or so later, I attended my great aunt Sissy’s funeral in Burgaw only to discover that the lovely spray of Easter lilies adorning her coffin were — you guessed it — FAKE! Honestly, how do you feel about FAKE flowers at important public events? I feel like our president and the dearly departed deserve SO much better than FAKE flowers!!! Don’t you agree? Signed, Still Fuming in Fountain Dear Fuming, Sadly, we live in an age where many things are FAKE — news from the internet, bridges to nowhere and half the hairpieces in Congress. For all I know yours could be a FAKE letter, too. But assuming it isn’t, Dear Lady, one suspects neither your grade-schooler nor your expired great auntie gives a FAKE fig about the flowers in the East Room or silk lilies on her goodbye box. By the way, gardening is all about “faking” out Mother Nature — bending her wilder inclinations to your domestic desires. As a rule, a little fakery never hurts unless elected to Congress or performing a Super Bowl halftime show. Dear Garden Guru, Why do I keep managing to kill every fragile Bonsai plant I ever buy? I water them religiously every morning. Any interesting thoughts? Signed, Herbicidal in Ahoskie Dear Herbicidal, GG has lots of interesting thoughts. But none he would care to share with you. Two possibilities occur, however. A) Always read up on proper maintenance, for every Bonsai plant has unique characteristics and needs, and/or B) You’re indeed an herbicidal maniac who has no business gardening. Dear Garden Guru, Remember the lady who found the face of Jesus in a taco and so went on TV? Well, my husband Bobby Ray has an incredible gardening talent. He grows fruit and leafy greens that look amazingly like all kinds of famous Americans! I can show you a Vidalia onion, for instance, that looks uncannily like the late Yul Brynner, and a head of curly endive that could be little Shirley Temple’s twin sister! (See enclosed Polaroids.) My question is, given America’s dual love of gardening and celebrities, do you think there might be a profitable business in growing celebrity look-alike fruit and veggies? I phoned up America’s Got Talent but they thought I might be some gardenvariety crackpot. Whom should I contact next? Signed, Betty from Browns Summit P.S. Bobby Ray won’t reveal his growing secret but I think it may have something to do with the load of rhino poo he obtained from the state zoo last year. Also, I am not a crackpot! Dear Betty, Gardening is full of great surprises. A few years back, I grew a dozen Yukon Gold potatoes that looked uncannily like the Founding Fathers. They were a big hit at our cookout on Independence Day. The truth is, celebrity fruit and vegetables are far more commonplace than you might think. Just the other day at Harris Teeter I saw a head of organic cauliflower that was a dead ringer for Justin Timberlake. That being said, there’s also rumor that HGTV plans to replace decamped rehab goddess Joanna Gaines with a new show on — wait for it — celebrity fruits and veggies! So they may have some interest in Bobby Ray’s talents. Failing that, the Garden Guru thinks a much surer bet is his secret rhino poo. Any chance I can get a load of that for my spring garden? OH

336.714.6848 | 18 O.Henry

April 2018

Contact Editor Jim Dodson at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Root, Root, Root . . .

. . . for the home team! Head to First National Bank Field (408 Bellemeade St.) to buy your tickets for the spring opener of the Greensboro Grasshoppers (and some peanuts and Crackerjacks while you’re at it) and celebrate the official start of summer — at last! Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or

Vendors of Verdure

Lincolns for leaves, shekels for shrubs, pesos for perennials . . . Money may not grow on trees, but you can use it to grow just about anything in your garden if you head to any of three — count ’em, three — plant sales this month. First up, from 1 to 6 p.m. on April 14 is the Spring Plant Sale at Paul Ciener Botanical Garden (215 S. Main St., Kernersville), consisting of plants for sun and shade, trees, shrubs and more. Check the website,, for a full list of available plants. Next is the April 19 herb plant sale, courtesy of who else? The N.C. Unit of the Herb Society of America. Be an early bird among the 800 or so — heh — herbanites who have been known to shop at this event, which begins at 7 a.m. at the Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church (800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro). For more info visit Rounding out the trio is the mac daddy of ’em all: Greensboro Farmers Curb Market’s Go Green Annual Spring Plant Sale. Billed as “the largest all-local-growers-only” event in the area, the sale, which begins at 9 a.m. on April 22, includes flower, herbs, perennials, annuals, trees and bushes, vegetable starters, garden art and accessories. To which we give a green thumbs-up. Info:

That would be 60 years of the St. Francis Book Sale. In the days of bake sales, an imaginative charter church member (who would become a high school French teacher of this magazine’s editor, and, full disclosure, the mother of its senior editor), offered a more profitable suggestion: a used book sale. The first year did, in fact, see a profit somewhere between $200 and $300 and in the decades since, it has steadily increased. In recent times, the sale has raised in the environs of $50,000 for local nonprofits. Help the parishioners continue their good works April 28 and 29, by stopping by the church (3506 Lawndale Ave. to purchase hardbacks, paperbacks, art books, CDs, DVDs, children’s books and then some. Info: (336) 288-4721 or

Close, but No Cigar

Whether you’re a worshiper of the aromatic essence of the rolled, wrapped,and tamped sacred golden leaf with a hankerin’ to worship at the altar of the cigar god without stinkin’ up the joint, or just an admirer of the cool box the smelly things came in, now there’s a way to pleasure yourself that’s both ozone-friendly and soul-soothing. On April 19, from 5:30–7 p.m. GreenHill’s Arts and Wellness program is offering an opportunity for you to light up a cigar box with your innermost desires and not see them disappear in smoke. The course, Creating Sacred Space with Cigar Box Altars, encourages you to create your dreamscape in miniature, sacred totems and treasured tchotchkes danglng seductively from your altar ego. They’re calling it a sacred space, but it really doesn’t matter if you bow down to Cthulhu or are tight with Jehovah, the ultimate goal is to recharge your spirit while nurturing your creativity. To register: (336) 333-7460 or—G.B.

Highland Strings

Get ready to reel! Or at least clap your hands and tap your toes as famed Scots fiddler, Alasair Fraser, takes a bow. Dubbed “the Michael Jordan of Scottish fiddling,” he brings his virtuosity to the Gate City on April 15th with sidekick, Californian cellist Natalie Haas, providing the beat — the role cello has historically held in Scottish music. So come to the Cultural Center’s Van Dyke Performance Space (200 North Davie Street) to hear some traditional tunes from the Aul Countree and, one hopes, some original compositions, as well. Tickets: (800) 838-3006 or


Short Stories

Sensational 60

Paws for Celebration

Grab the kids, leash up Fido and take a furr-lough on April 28 to attend the 50th anniversary party of Nanhall Pet Spa (123 Manley Avenue). From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., you can catch demos and short talks, pet contests, enjoy food, wine, music and more. Beneficiaries of the do, SPCA of the Triad and Crooked Tail Cat Café, will be on hand to assist with adoptions, and SPCA will also help you register for its Rabies and Microchip Clinics. For more info, call (336) 852-9867 or visit

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman Even though we escaped a brutal and blustery winter, the advent of spring is always a welcome rebirth. And when spring is in the air, so is music. What are a few April showers, anyway, when the concert season is upon us? Let the fish fry proceed.

Fascinating Rhythms

“Shall We Dance,” “They Can’t Take That Away from Me,” “Embraceable You,” “I’ve Got Rhythm,” “Summertime.” Say the phrase, “American Songbook,” and two people immediately come to mind: George and Ira Gershwin. From 1924 until George’s untimely death in 1937, the two brothers collaborated almost exclusively with one another, producing songs and musicals synonymous with the Jazz Age. Hear their works at Touring Theatre of North Carolina’s production of The Memory of All That: A Cabaret of Gershwin Songs, featuring song and dance man Jimmy Tunstall as Ira, accompanied by jazzman, Matthew Reid. Performances take place between April 12 and 15 at Triad Stage’s Upstage Cabaret (232 South Elm St.). Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

Pleading the Fifth

Perfection? Who needs it? Well, we at O.Henry try. Last month we mistakenly published the incorrect date for the Hillside Gala. For the record: The date of the gala is April 5th. Got that? We repeat: The date for the Hillside Gala is April 5th. Please go to or check our Facebook page, ohenrymagazine, for details — and accept our sincerest apology.

Sci Point

Hot coals, gold, the magic of photography . . . and beer! What better ways to learn about science? Participating in Biogen Foundation’s 2018 North Carolina Science Festival, the High Point Museum (1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point) is offering up four events this month, each one beginning at 10 a.m. April 7 kicks things off with the one and only Blacksmith, who’ll demonstrate the mechanics of turning raw materials into everyday objects. On April 14, gold diggers can learn about the science of the glittering metal, its history in Central N.C., and yes, pan for some nuggets, too. Photography is the, er, focus of the April 21 event, featuring shooter Benita VanWinkle of HPU, who’ll explain early cameras and the marriage of science and art in producing early photos. Lastly, learn about fermentation and its central role in the creation of sauerkraut, cheese, yogurt and beer. Brew knew? Info: (336) 885-1859 or

• April 6, Cone Denim Entertainment

Center: The sweetest time of life for many of us “of a certain age” was when Southern rock burst upon the scene. And while many of the progenitors in the Allmans and Skynyrd have passed on, most of the original Marshall Tucker Band are still alive and kickin’. And sounding as smooth as ever. Honest, it’s true. I heard it in a love song.

• April 12, Blind Tiger: West Africa met

western North Carolina when Toubab Krewe got together in Asheville and proceeded to set the world on fire. The closest description of their sound is “world music,” but even that doesn’t do it justice. Fusing several instruments you’ve never heard of, particularly percussion, with your typical rock guitar and bass, this ensemble is literally one of a kind.

• April 19, Greensboro Coliseum: OK, I’ll

admit that when I first heard Little Big Town I thought, “Nice harmonies, nice looks, nice hooks. Nashville will give them their five years and they’ll fade away like most of them.” Well, almost two decades later and they’re bigger than ever with no end in sight, and I’ve become a believer.

• April 19, Carolina Theatre: Some artists genuinely need no introduction. So I won’t bother with one. This year’s Command Performance features the incomparable Gladys Knight. ’Nuff said. • April 27, High Point Theatre: The first

impulse is to call them a modern-day, AfricanAmerican Ferrante and Teicher, but that’s not quite fair. Double Treble (Roderick Demmings Jr. and Karl Van Richards) are showmen as well as virtuoso keyboardists, switching off on piano and organ — sometimes in the same song. If keys are your thing, this is your night.

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A Voice to be Reckoned With Meaning, the inner voice that drives the dulcet tones of Abigail Dowd


n January of last year, Abigail Dowd released her first album. Her second one, Not What I Seem, will be out this summer. She has averaged 16 to 18 shows a month throughout 2017. When Robert Frost wrote “The Road Not Taken,” he could easily have had this Greensboro songstress in mind. Her circuitous journey has taken her from her birthplace in Carthage, North Carolina, to UNC, where she earned a degree in anthropology; to Southern Pines, where she won a seat on the Town Council at age 26; to Florence, Italy; to Maine; back to Southern Pines, where she ran the prestigious Weymouth Center for the Arts & Humanities; and finally to Greensboro, where she is rapidly becoming one of the area’s most respected and sought-after singer/songwriters. “I kept following that voice in my head that said ‘this is not your job’ until I found it,” she muses. “This is my job, this in my place.” Along the way she met her future husband, Jason Duff, on an airplane. Duff is now her accompanist on bass and cajon, and the two are planning a May wedding in Rome. “I know, it reads like a fairy tale, but, trust me, it’s not,” she says with a laugh, quickly adding, “except the part with Jason. That part is a fairy tale, but the rest of it has been a quest to figure out where I belonged, to find my place.” While the petite beauty has been getting quite a bit of media exposure lately, it dwarfs the news she made as a member of the Southern Pines Town Council. She was a one-woman crusade against a mega developer, who was planning a 500-unit complex on what she considered pristine land. Against all odds, she won the zoning battle, forcing the developer to scuttle the project. “I became a public figure, and everybody in town knew me,” she recalls. “But I realized I didn’t really know myself.” So she wrote a letter to the mayor, telling him she quit, and abruptly moved to Florence, Italy. She immediately landed a job at an arts school there, but soon realized she was repeating herself and moved back to the states, this time to Maine. While working for a sustainable design firm there, she flew back to North Carolina to visit her family, and it was there that fate intervened in the hunky form of Jason. So she moved to Greensboro and landed a job at the Weymouth Center. Yet, what many would consider a dream job instead made her realize that while she was helping the writers in residence fulfill their dreams, she was neglecting hers, which was to write songs and play music.

Oceanfront Balcony Views Photo courtesy of Joshua McClure

— Ogi Overman The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 23


best swings aren’t always on the golf course

Beyond our legendary fairways you’ll find more of the moments that matter. Share some laughter and fun with friends and family at our gorgeous parks, gardens and trails, or swing your partner ‘round as the sounds of live bluegrass or beach music echo through the pines. Experience a life well played in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area.


Life’s Funny

Rolling with Humanity in the Age of Apps

Recycle precious metals. From teeth crowns. We collect them from dental offices. Get out of here. Seriously? Like gold and silver? dark and rainy when Yeah, it’s big money. Sometimes people in the offices keep we land in New York. An airport bus TO NY the crowns. One place, they waited until the dentist was A away, then they had a big party. trundles us to a distant lot where rideYou’re lying. sharing cars pass through a one-way He laughs. No, I swear. chute looking for the travelers who’ve Tonya turns down a narrow street, slows. It’s Trey’s destination, but it’s obviously not his home. We look for 19. hailed them with cell phone apps. No one sees 19. It’s dark. We roll down the Honda’s waterWe’ve missed one car already; the driver got there beaded windows. There’s 23. It’s the only visible number on before we did and picked up another rider. Shivering, we tap the Uber icon the short block. The buildings are plain. Not residential, at least to my where’sagain as we huddle under a temporary covered walkway, all galvanized pipe and the-front-porch way of thinking. Trey seems unsure of what he’s looking for. logo-plastered vinyl. That’s OK, he says. I’ll get out here. He thanks Tonya, hops out, fetches his bag, Tonya will be driving a dark Honda. We watch her oval blue dot creep slams the trunk lid. across a map of the surrounding streets. We hang on the dot as she inches Tonya drives on. closer and — wait, what? — the dot is backing up. The car is silent until I speak. OK, I’ll say it. That was weird. Tonya arches Tonya, don’t do it! You can’t back up in this traffic! Have you lost your her brows, squelches a smile. She sees a lot, but she doesn’t say a lot. She’s putmind? Where are you going? ting herself through nursing school. Wants to be an RN. The dot stops. For a long time. Is she broken down? Did she get a better We pick up another rider, a young woman dressed for a night out. She offer? doesn’t go far. At least we can find the address. We’ve been with Tonya for a We’re sorry, Tonya! We love you, Tonya! good 40 minutes. Revised thought on pool cars: The fare won’t be cheaper if The dot moves again. Cue Twilight Zone music. Dee-dee-dee-dee, dee-deeyou ride around for an hour, picking up and dropping off. dee-dee. The blue oval turns, by jerky degrees, onto a side street. Ah-ha! She At least Tonya will make decent money. She’s in school, and her car won’t knows a short cut. Smart girl. last much longer. The engine rattles like an old sewing machine. I see concern We relax as it creeps closer. skip across my husband’s face every time she accelerates. All right, Tahnnnn-ya! I know this makes me a real mom, I say, but I worry about the safety of The blue dot is on top of us. We raise our gazes to look for the car. The app women drivers. Have you ever had a problem? says we’re pooling with someone named Trey. More riders make for a cheaper Only with a woman, Tonya says. We laugh. Normally, she doesn’t drive ride, right? late, when the drunks are out, but that one time, it was fairly early and the lady An athletic young guy sprints for the Honda at the same time we do. was smashed. When they got to the destination, the lady said it was the wrong The trunk pops open. He throws in his duffel. We telescope down the place, but she didn’t have another address. She cursed Tonya. handles of our carry-ons and heave them in. If the lady had been sober, and it had been daylight, Tonya would have You Trey? kicked her out of the car. But it was neither of those things. Yeah. So Tonya kept driving, talking, giving up other riders, waiting for the fog of Nice to see you. alcohol to lift. I don’t think I could have done it, she says, without my nurse’s You, too. training, dealing with people not in their right minds. I couldn’t put her out. We settle into the Honda. Tonya’s playing her music. Rappy, soulful, She said some bad stuff. But no way could I put her out. feminine. She turns it down a little. Conversation kindles slowly, then catches. Here we are. Trey’s from Dallas, but he’s not a Mavs fan. He’s a Pistons fella from way back. Good luck with school, I say. Take care of yourself. We like the Cavs, we say. You, too, she says. Ah, LeBron, says Trey. We step into the chill. The air is a sea of vertical dashes. It’s hard to see, but Yep. all around us water clings to water, the source of life, and tiny pools glisten in What brings you to New York? he says. the dark. Visiting our son. You? We watch the little blue dot pull away. OH I live here, but I travel a lot. What do you do? Maria Johnson can be reached at By Maria Johnson

It’s cold,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 25

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The Omnivorous Reader

Mysteries of the Swamp A supernatural risk for John Hart

By D.G. Martin

John Hart, who

grew up in Salisbury, is the author of five New York Times bestsellers, The King of Lies (2006), Down River (2007), The Last Child (2009), Iron House (2011) and Redemption Road (2016).

Both The King of Lies and Down River won Edgar Awards, making Hart the only author to win this prestigious award for consecutive novels. He has a bag full of other honors, including the Barry Award, the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Award for Fiction, the Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award, the Southern Book Prize, and the North Carolina Award for Literature. Hart declares his favorite of all these successes is the The Last Child. So it should come as no surprise that his latest, The Hush, is a sequel to that book. Readers of The Last Child met Johnny Merriman as a 13-year-old, followed his search for his missing sister and his traumatic childhood, and came to know his troubled friend Jack. In The Hush, as Hart explained to me recently, Johnny “is living alone in the wilds of this swampy area called the Hush, which is an abbreviation for Hush Arbor, an area of 6,000 acres of rough, mostly swampland. Johnny is the owner. It is the remnant of a 40,000-acre tract that his family owned in the 1800s. “He is withdrawn from society and lives in the swamp, by himself. His only connection to humanity really is his buddy Jack, from The Last Child. Jack is now a young attorney in town in his first week in practice when the book opens. It’s what he’s always wanted to do, to take control of his tumultuous life and get that kind of logic and reason, wrap his hands around that and live by those standards. “But it becomes very difficult for him because the more time he spends with Johnny in the Hush, the more he begins to fear that things are not as they should be. There are mysterious things afoot in the swamp, terrifying things, dangerous things that Johnny is unwilling to talk about. “Jack pushes, Johnny is recalcitrant, so part of the tension in the story is The Art & Soul of Greensboro

what grows between these two best friends as Johnny clearly is guarding some sort of secret that terrifies his best friend, and he flat out refuses to discuss it. That’s a big part of the book, what’s going on in the Hush.” Hart introduces existence of the supernatural powers in the Hush gently. After a terrible fall from a rocky cliff on the property, Johnny is cut, bruised and bloody. Back in town for a quick visit, Johnny allows his stepfather, Clyde, to bind up these serious wounds, and then hurries to leave and go back to the Hush. Clyde says, “You want to go, I know. I can see that, too. It’s always Hush Arbor, always the land. Just tell me one thing before you leave. Help me understand. Why do you love it so much?” Hart writes, “He meant the silence and the swamp, the lonely hills and endless trees. On the surface it was a simple question, but Johnny’s past had branded him in a way few could ignore: the things he’d believed and leaned upon, the way he’d searched so long for his sister. If Johnny spoke now, of magic, they’d think him confused or insane or trapped, somehow, in the delusions of a difficult past. Without living it, no one could grasp the truth of Hush Arbor. Johnny wouldn’t want them to if they could.” But some part of that magic is revealed to Jack when he visits Johnny in the Hush a few days later. Although Clyde had described Johnny’s horrible wounds, they were not apparent to Jack. Johnny “was shirtless and still and flawless. There wasn’t a mark on him.” The reader who might have expected the usual John Hart thriller is on alert. Magic and the supernatural are going to play a big role in this saga. Unraveling and understanding the source and the reasons for this magical power on the land provide the spine on which Hart builds this book. But as the book begins, Johnny faces another serious challenge, a nonmagical one. His title to his land is being challenged by a member of an African-American family who lived on the land for many years and whose claim is based on a deed from 1853. Johnny’s legal claim is sound, but he used all his money to pay prior legal fees. Now, although he owns thousands of acres of land, cash-wise he is broke. So he wants his friend, the brand-new attorney Jack, to represent him. April 2018

O.Henry 27

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


He tries to persuade Jack to fight his legal battles. But Jack’s law firm forbids him from taking on Johnny as a client. Instead, the firm hopes to represent a wealthy out-of-town money manager and hunter who wants to force Johnny to sell his land, or failing that, find another way to acquire it. Why? The hunting in and near the Hush is dangerous, exciting, and promises the possibility of extraordinary game. When that man is mysteriously killed while hunting in the Hush, Johnny becomes a prime murder suspect. Meanwhile, some members of the African-American family that lived on the land show magical powers, especially while they are in the Hush. Traumatic events in 1853 involving Johnny’s slave-owning ancestors and those of the African-American enslaved family still cause trouble on the land. Hart’s imaginative resolution of these troubles brings the book to a powerful and violent conclusion. But there is a risk here for Hart. His prior books have, with only one minor exception, held to the standard rules for thriller writers. Those rules call for the mysteries to be solved without the aid of magic or the supernatural. Hart is betting that the richness of his characters, his compelling storytelling, and the story’s supernatural landscape will hold his thriller fans despite breaking his old rules. Taking this risk, he hopes, will expand his appeal and share his storytelling talent with an even wider audience. Taking risks, even those with high stakes, is not a new activity for Hart. In fact, he seems to thrive on risk. For instance, he gave up his job as a stockbroker about 15 years ago to complete his first novel. That risk-taking paid off when The King of Lies became a best-seller in 2006. Then Hart, after a string of three more successful books, risked upsetting his working routine by moving with his wife and two young children from Greensboro to Charlottesville, Virginia. Although the move disrupted his writing program for several years, it finally led to Redemption Road, which became a critical and commercial success. His completion of The Hush shows that Hart is fully back on his game. Now, will the risk of making the supernatural an integral part of his work pay off for him? Nothing is for sure. However, the complex and rich stories in The Hush and the book’s supernatural but satisfying conclusion suggest that he is again on the right track. OH D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch, which airs Sundays at noon and Thursdays at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 29

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April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Scuppernong Bookshelf

Literary Rain April showers bring an abundance of new releases, many of them with North Carolina ties

Compiled by Brian Lampkin

April of 2018 brings us more new titles

than any month in the four-plus years of Scuppernong Books’s existence. The big publishing news will certainly center on former FBI Director James Comey’s tell-all (or tell-some), A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership (Flatiron Books, $29.99, which publishes on April 17. But new books by major authors will also come to light. Time and space permit only a mention of books by Rick Bragg (The Best Cook in the World: Tales from My Momma’s Table), Barbara Ehrenreich (Natural Causes: An Epidemic of Wellness, the Certainty of Dying, and Killing Ourselves to Live Longer), Carl Hiaasen (Assume the Worst: The Graduation Speech You’ll Never Hear), Meg Wolitzer (The Female Persuasion), and Lorrie Moore (See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary). Let’s focus here on books with a connection to North Carolina. On April 3, Ecco Press presents Varina, by Charles Frazier ($27.99). In this powerful new novel, Frazier returns to Cold Mountain and the chaos and devastation of the Civil War. Her marriage prospects limited, teenage Varina Howell agrees to wed the much older widower Jefferson Davis, with whom she expects the secure life of a Mississippi landowner. Davis instead pursues politics and is eventually appointed president of the Confederacy, placing Varina at the white-hot center of one of the darkest moments in American history — culpable regardless of her intentions. April 3: Women in Sunlight, by Frances Mayes (Crown, $27) Hillsborough resident and frequent Greensboro visitor, Mayes’s Women in Sunlight is the story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year. “The writing is gorgeous, the structure grand and formidable, just like the architecture she writes about so well. I feel like I have lived in Italy. But most of all, I feel like these women — and their men, and children — are still walking around in my mind.” — Lee Smith. April 10: North: Finding My Way While Running the Appalachian Trail, by Scott Jurek (Little Brown & Co., $28). Scott Jurek is one of the world’s best-known ulThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

trarunners. But after two decades of racing, Jurek felt an urgent need for further self-discovery. He embarked on a new challenge: breaking the speed record for the Appalachian Trail. North is the story of the 2,189-mile journey that nearly shattered him. April 10: The Pursuit of Endurance: Harnessing the Record-Breaking Power of Strength and Resilience, by Jennifer Pharr Davis (Viking, $27). Asheville resident Jennifer Pharr Davis, a previous record holder of the FKT (fastest known time) on the Appalachian Trail, reveals the secrets and habits behind endurance. Davis takes readers along as she trains and sets her record, analyzing and trailtesting the theories and methods espoused by her star-studded roster of mentors. April 10: Blood Moon: An American Epic of War and Splendor in the Cherokee Nation, by John Sedgwick (Simon & Schuster, $30). In this epic saga, John Sedgwick brings to life an untold chapter of American history through the relationship between one chief called The Ridge, a fearsome warrior who spoke no English but whose exploits on the battlefield were legendary, and John Ross, who was the Cherokees’ primary chief for nearly 40 years, yet displayed the Scottish side of his mixed-blood heritage and spoke not a word of Cherokee. “The story of the Trail of Tears, and of its aftermath in Arkansas and Oklahoma, has never been told with more passion or finesse. Parts of it read like a nonfiction True Grit,” writes Ian Frazier, author of On the Rez. April 10: Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice, by Rebecca Todd Peters (Beacon Press, $27.95). “Instead of the polarizing and a historical Christian perspective that you have come to expect on this topic, be prepared to read something that makes you think through a deeply nuanced and unflinchingly personal lens about abortion, motherhood and justice,” writes Traci C. West, author of Disruptive Christian Ethics: When Racism and Women’s Lives Matter. A Greensboro local and Elon professor, Rebecca Peters will be featured at the Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, May 18–20. Of course, April is also National Poetry Month, so let’s mention these important new releases in poetry: April 3: Wade in the Water: Poems, by Tracy K. Smith (Graywolf, $24).  Wade in the Water is a potent and luminous book by one of America’s essential poets. April 10: For Every One, by Jason Reynolds (Atheneum, $14.99). This stirring and inspirational poem is National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds’s rallying cry to the dreamers of the world. April 17: Brown: Poems, by Kevin Young (Knopf, $27). Brown speaks to the way personal experience is shaped by culture, while culture is forever affected by the personal. OH Brian Lampkin is one of the proprietors of Scuppernong Books. April 2018

O.Henry 31

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Life of Jane

Say What?

How to talk your 87-year-old uncle through opening a text message, in 44 simple steps By Jane Borden

Only when I embarked on


this endeavor — over the phone and without visual aids — did I realize how many aspects of smartphone design I take for granted.

“Tap the icon that’s green and has a little speech bubble on it, like in the comics,” I said, convinced I was nailing it. “What do you mean, icon?” he replied. “Like a button,” I said. “Do you see a bunch of buttons all over the screen?“ “There’s one button,” he said.  “Hmm. What color is it?“ I asked.  “Black. Hold on. I pushed it, and a red bar appeared at the bottom of the screen.” “I see,” I responded. “You haven’t opened the phone yet.” This was the summer of 2015, after my daughter was born. I live on the other side of the country and wanted to send photos quickly and easily to my aunt and uncle, Jane and Lucius Pullen. He had an iPhone — for the same reason my father does, i.e. his wife told him he needed one — so I began texting him pictures.  He called to say that a tiny image of a baby had appeared on the screen, but when he tried to open it on the phone, it disappeared.  “It’s in your text messages,” I said.  “All right,” he said. “What are those?” I realized we’d need to start from scratch. But I figured it wouldn’t take long. After all, he’s a brilliant and accomplished man. Just a few years after graduating with honors from law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he was on the law review, Lucius became assistant attorney general for the state of North Carolina. In the 1950s, he wrote safety provisions for the motor vehicles department, including the law that made wearing seatbelts mandatory in our state. So I knew he could learn to text, and also that he would never do so while driving. Anyway, he already had an email account! He wasn’t a total Luddite. Then again, when my aunt once requested to read an article of mine that only appeared online, and I sent the link to his email account, she called to explain that there must have been a mistake: “You wrote, ‘Here it is,’ but I don’t see it. There’s just a long, string of letters and numbers.”  “Are they blue?” I asked.  “Yes!!!” That was Jane, though. Lucius definitely knew what a link was. In fact, he is familiar with a variety of long and seemingly random collections of numbers, letters and codes — he wrote tax laws for Governor Luther Hodges and for Terry Sanford. But no man is master of all. Once the phone was on and open, I asked again. “Do you see a green icon with a speech bubble on it?”   The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Yes.” “Great! Touch it.” “OK,” he said. “The page got darker.”  “Darker? It should be white. And you should see my telephone number in black characters.”  Long story short, he had tapped with enough force to swipe the entire screen to the right, bringing up the phone’s search function. Since neither of us could see what the other was doing, it took us several minutes to figure it out. “When you tap the icon, don’t move your finger,” I said next.  “All right.” After a moment of silence, I asked, “Did it work? Do you see my telephone number?” “I’m still on the main screen,” he said. “The icons are dancing around.” After momentarily assuming he’d lost his mind — or that I had — I put it together. “Ah, I see, that’s what happens when you leave your finger on the icon for too long. Push the home button to make it stop.”  “What’s the home button?” he asked. Right. Of course. I’m speaking a new language. “The button you used to turn it on when we started.”  And then the screen went black again because he pushed the power button at the top of the phone, which turned it off. That one was my fault — there are two ways to turn on an iPhone. We were like Abbott and Costello, but both playing Costello.  Lucius remained in good spirits throughout. According to Arch T. Allen, who worked with Lucius during the ’70s, when Lucius was a partner at Allen, Steed & Pullen (along with Arch’s father), “He was an excellent lawyer, no question about that. But he was also really fun to work with. Gregarious. Good sense of humor.” Frankly, if I were an expert on insurance regulatory matters and insurance rate making, I would also find a sense of humor helpful.  After the power-button setback, we defined some terms, including “home button.” I explained that it lives at the bottom of the screen and is different from the icons in that it actually compresses when pushed. We started using the home button to fix every mistake. The next time he swiped instead of tapped, or made the icons dance: push the home button. It became a safe space for us.  No surprise, he was a quick study. Later, he said “Uh oh.”  “What?” I asked nervously. “Well, never mind,“ he replied. “What happened?“ “I don’t know, but I pushed the home button and it’s gone,“ he explained. April 2018

O.Henry 33

Life of Jane treating every patient

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April 2018

Progress! He is a man able to exercise judgment on the fly. When my aunt Jane arrived an hour and a day late for a secretarial position at Allen, Steed & Pullen, he made the astute decision to date her instead of hire her. I believed we would eventually win. Lucius is a winner — or at least he was when he represented the North Carolina Firemen’s Association in a case that went all the way to the state supreme court. He could learn to open a text message. It had been 22 minutes so far. “All right,” I said. “You want to touch the greenspeech-bubble icon lightly and only once.“  “Ho!” he shouted in triumph. “Look at that. There’s your phone number.” “Great! Now tap that.” I held my breath until he exclaimed, “Look at that! I see a picture of a beautiful baby girl.”  “Hooray!” I said. “Now, touch the picture and it will get bigger.”  Then, to my aunt, he said, “Jane, com’ere! Have I got something for you.” He had been providing for her handsomely throughout their marriage. Hell, he provided for half of Beaufort County when he helped bring the phosphate mine to Aurora in the late ’80s, while he was general counsel for, and a vice president of, Texasgulf Inc.  I listened to them ooh and ahh, feeling my own sense of triumph. Then he said, “But isn’t there a way to see them bigger?” “What do you mean?” I asked. “We could barely see her,” he said.  They had raved over thumbnails. I again explained how to enlarge the photo.  “All right,” he said. But then he added, “I’ve pushed the home button.” We decided to try again another time. Even the sun grows tired of day.  He had better things to do and he knew I did too. Lucius is also an expert at clearing people’s plates, as witnessed by his last career move into arbitration and mediation, during which he was so successful at settling cases before trial, 70 percent of them never burdened the courts.  Mediator and litigator, yes — but I think of Lucius as a delegator. When I gained the strength to call back and again talk him through opening the photos, he said that wouldn’t be necessary because he had taken the phone to Walgreens, handed it to a woman, and asked her to find the photos and print them. It was a different kind of winning. To wit, Lucius has now made it to 90. That iPhone didn’t make it another six months. OH Jane Borden grew up in Greensboro and lives in Los Angeles, but you can find her on www.janeborden. com provided you’re not a Luddite.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 35


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True South

Greenus Envious Tips from the tried and failed

By Susan S. Kelly

So it’s finally a warm


weekend in spring, and you long to have something to pick, prune, pluck or even deadhead in your yard, garden, or the scorched-earth, weedwhacked plot that passes for it. But you’re too busy or lazy to learn Latin names, and it’s embarrassing to go to the garden center and say, “I want those, you know, pink flowers that are tall,” or “ . . . that tree that looks pretty in the spring.”

Herewith, therefore, your tried-and-true primer, from someone whose personal dirt’s worth is incalculable due to all the tried-and-failed specimens I purchased, trucked in, planted, tended, and either rejoiced or mourned over. Or, alternatively, ripped out, chopped down, and consigned to the mulch pile. Because, in my yard, like professors seeking tenure, you either produce or perish. Magnolia — Best climbing tree ever. But as a flower, forget it. The blooms are never low enough to cut, and besides, they only last a day. Leave it alone and just sniff the blooms big as plates. Come fall, your children can play army with the seedpods. Gardenia — Only reliable if you live east of Raleigh. As for picked longevity, ditto the one-day warning above. Touch the vanilla petals and your invisible skin oils will brown them not invisibly. Heavenly aroma, though I rejected them in my wedding bouquet because the overpowering sweetness tends to provoke a gag reflex. Still, nice in a teacup or that silver scallop shell your grandmother used as an ashtray. Camellia — Cannot be picked or arranged satisfactorily. For viewing only. Bonus: unlike azaleas, stay glossy green all year. Orange daylilies — My neighbor calls them “privy lilies,” presumably because folks once planted them to beautify the outhouse. But they beat the heck out

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

of the stubby gold hybrids planted in interstate medians. Go for it. Queen Anne’s lace — Field and roadside freebies, but bring them inside and they proceed to shed fine white dust all over everything. Marigolds — Often dumped upon as plebeian blooms, but for this commoner, nothing smells as good as one of their stems, broken. Cleome — Pink, pretty, proliferous, and self-seeding. What else could you ask for in an airy weed that loves neglect, red clay, and 1,000-degree days? In late summer, take the seeds to the office, to a friend, or, for that matter, to another place in the yard. Strew with abandon. Black-eyed Susans — As the Chatham Blanket tagline once boasted, they cover a multitude of sins. Require little effort and even less skill to stuff in a glass, metal or pottery container. Do not disparage that which can withstand full sun when you can’t. You call them invasive, I call them indispensable. Knockout roses — The Johnny-come-lately “it” flowering shrub. Utterly unpickable, but compensates for this shortcoming in sheer size and volume. Peonies — The ultimate bloomer. Often disqualified for, as the farmers like to say, seasonality, but worth the wait, the space and the ants. Go ahead, gird your loins, and bring yourself to cut and enjoy them before a 20-minute thunderstorm causes irreparable loss and gnashing of teeth. Hydrangeas — Bingo! Once upon a time, my mother referred to hydrangeas as “trash shrubs.” I love this. Or rather, I love reminding her of this now that no one can live without them. Ivy — Just, no. You’ll be sorry. Plus, snakes like it. Use pachysandra instead. There you have it. No more feeling humiliated by Biltmore with its perfect planters and borders and gardens featuring every floral texture and contrast and interest which nevertheless are superior to previously-envied Disney World’s planters and borders and gardens. Because Biltmore’s flowers actually grow, rather than simply get replaced by Snow White’s 426 dwarves every night. Or, how not to waste your time or money on What Won’t Work Because We’re Not England. OH Susan Kelly is a blithe spirit, author of several novels, and proud new grandmother. April 2018

O.Henry 37


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38 O.Henry

April 2018

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In The Spirit

A Sparkling Alternative How carbonated water can bring your “mocktail” to the next level

By Tony Cross


At the beginning of the year,

some folks embark on the journey known as “Dry January.” Maybe some of you reading this participated in — or should I say, endured? — a few weeks respite from consuming alcoholic beverages, giving your liver a much-needed holiday from the holidays. For those who did: You sure did miss a couple of great snow parties. Not that I was at any of them; I was taking a break from drinking, too. I’ve had a few this year, but that’s it. Just a few.

My business had its first full year in 2017, and we made a lot of strides. Even though I’m excited that we grew, the year was bittersweet. I lost my only brother at the end of 2016, and I spent a lot of last year looking through hazy eyes and going through the motions while trying to make sense of everything. I am a firm believer that sometimes it takes life knocking us down into the dirt before we can grasp what we’re capable of, allowing us to fight back. In a nutshell, that’s what happened with me. This year, I’ve started drinking less and working more. I even started teaching an Inferno Hot Pilates class in my spare time. Switching things up has allowed me to enjoy a variety of non-alcoholic beverages. I used to have a few on my menu

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

way back when, and it’s always smart to have something — other than Diet Coke — available for guests when you’re hosting a party. I’ve gained a new appreciation for engineering (pretentious?) creative mocktails. Here are some simple and fun drinks when you’re taking a night (or a month) off. There is one thing I have begun drinking more of: La Croix sparkling water. I can’t even tell you how excited I am to get home and have one these days. I hope that sentence doesn’t get me banned from the bartender’s union. These zero calorie, canned beverages have become a staple in my refrigerator. If I were going to throw a party, or if someone asked me to be in charge of the bar at theirs, I would go the extra mile. Adding sparkling water into the mix with any drink (alcoholic or non-alcoholic) is never a bad idea. I mean, have you tried our carbonated draft cocktails? What you want to do is create your own base, whether it’s a syrup or juice combo. Now that spring is upon us, here’s a quick drink that you can whip up and serve made to order, or batch them like a punch. Using fresh cucumber juice this time of the year is perfect for creating light and refreshing elixirs. Add to that a touch of sugar, Pooter bitters from the folks over at Crude Bitters in Raleigh (, and you’ve got yourself a winner.

The Pooter Cuke

Sliced lime 2 ounces fresh organic cucumber juice 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice 1/4 ounce simple syrup (2:1) 5 drops Crude “Pooter” Smoke & Salt bitters* 4 ounces sparkling water April 2018

O.Henry 39

What an honor to be recognized in a field of outstanding realtors! Top half of one percent of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services associates nationally 3rd in units sold out of 45,000 agents in the BHHS network




Chairman’s Circle Diamond Award 2014, 2017 Chairman’s Circle Platinum Award 2013, 2015, 2016 Chairman’s Circle Gold Award 2010, 2011, 2012

My mother, who was my professional mentor, taught me that real estate is more than a business: It’s an opportunity to help people discover what home really means. To my clients, team members, family and friends — THANK YOU for helping me live out my dream of finding great homes for great people.


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40 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In The Spirit Add cubed ice to a Collins glass. Thinly slice lime wheels and put 3-4 of them in the glass. Combine ingredients (except sparkling water) in a shaker, add ice, and shake like hell for 5 seconds. Strain into Collins glass and top with sparkling water. *If bitters is out of the question, just add a small pinch of Celtic salt. No substitutes on this one. Have you tried Celtic salt? No? Go pick up a bag and see what I mean. It’s amazing.



The gin and tonic is the essential summertime drink. But there are two things wrong with writing about this cocktail right now: 1) I’m trying to pass on great non-alcoholic recipes and; 2) It’s not summertime. Well, we can still have the tonic, minus the gin, and sometimes springtime in the South can be just as hot as other states’ summers. So, without further ado, the Blackberry Tonyc. Believe it or not, my tonic syrup holds its own without any booze, and the notes of orange-citrus complements quite a few types of fruit. Not only does the color turn out gorgeous in this one, but you might convert some tonic haters (speaking from experience here).

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Blackberry Tonyc 3/4 ounce TONYC syrup 1/2 ounce blackberry syrup** 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice 4 ounces sparkling water Orange peel Combine all ingredients (except sparkling water) into a shaker with ice and shake hard for 5 seconds. Pour sparkling water in shaker, and then strain into a glass with ice. Express the oils from an orange peel over the top of the drink. Place orange peel into drink afterward. Santé! **Blackberry syrup: Wash and rinse 6 ounces fresh blackberries. Put them to the side. In a pot, combine 12 ounces baker’s sugar with 8 ounces water over medium-high heat. Stir until sugar has dissolved. Place sugar syrup in a blender with blackberries. Blend for 10-15 seconds. Pour into a container, and seal. Place in refrigerator overnight. The next morning, strain the syrup through a cheesecloth. Bottle, seal and refrigerate. If you want this syrup to last more than a few weeks, add an ounce of 100-proof vodka to it.


Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 41

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April 2018

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Pleasures of Life Dept.

Behind the Music

Anne-Claire Niver travels at the speed of sound at Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium By Grant Britt


It’s a jungle in here. Wires and

cords snake across the floor in a maze, ready to trip up interlopers or careless participants. Hulking shapes loom in the shadows, some shrouded in camouflage, others proudly displaying their steely visages. A soundtrack gradually fades in, some exotic species offering up snatches of melody. A coterie of humans slink in one at a time, moving soundlessly to the rhythms.

Local chanteuse at O.Henry Hotel’s jazz concerts Anne-Claire Niver and her band are ensconced in Mitch Easter’s Fidelitorium in Kernersville, working on their latest, album, I Still Look For You (for a sampling, visit watch?v=TsS-TtPLsEg). Mitch Easter, owner/founder of the Drive-In Studio — which launched a number of indie-rock acts, R.E.M., Let’s Active, the Connells and Suzanne Vega in the 1980s and early ’90s — carries on the tradition with another generation via Social Media. “Three-hundred people donated, helped us out on Kickstarter, so everybody’s getting paid,” Niver says happily. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The studio is like a funky church with a fluid 1970s vibe that blurs at the edges, shape-shifting back and forth from past to present, a mix of technologies and trappings giving time a slippery feel. In a silent parody of the old RCA logo of a terrier with his nose in the bell of a gramophone, a huge, ancient trumpetbelled speaker sits high on a ledge next to a carved wooden peacock — or maybe it’s just a big duck with its bill in the bell. There are no clocks in evidence; time is suspended and fluid. “Some of the stuff that’s in there is stuff that I bought when I first ever started doing this,” Easter says by phone from the road, where he’s playing guitar with Alejandro Escovedo on his A Man under The Influence tour. “Some of it is only used about once every two years. But when somebody comes in and wants to use that thing, then they use the hell out of it and really enjoy it,” he says, underscoring his willingness to blend past and future technology to help musicians achieve their goals. We have a few things you might say would be bit squeaky because of their age, but people actually enjoy that now, as compared to the sort of predictability.” But as he is quick to point out, it’s not just the equipment that makes the sound, but how you use it. “We don’t make any grand claims about superiority or state of the art or anything like that,” Easter says. “But what we think is that it works.” And on this morning, it seems to be working for Niver and crew, as the playback rolls on one of their new songs, “Mosquitos,” while band members stroll in April 2018

O.Henry 43

The Pleasures of Life

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April 2018

and out of the control room, bobbing to the beat. Producer/bassist Alex Bingham is playing air bass and conducting to an invisible audience as Angela Davis looks on from the back wall, her puffy Afro gleaming under a purple DayGlo light. In the control room, lava lamps minus the lava flank a neon blue leather couch facing a mixing console that looks like the flight deck of the starship Enterprise. A ceramic Balinese dog with bundles of patch cords hanging from its open jaws guards one corner of the control room while Mabel, producer/ bassist Bingham’s real-life dog, growls at anyone who dares cross the threshold. From the outside, Fidelitorium certainly doesn’t look like a recording studio. A steel fence and a stand of bamboo help shield it from curious onlookers. The entrance to the long, winding driveway is flanked by gnarled wooden sentinels so grooved with vine scars and decades of hard living they look more like sculptures than living trees. It looks like concrete block, but more upscale, like something Frank Lloyd Wright might have envisioned. The guiding force behind the design, Chapel Hill–based Studio designer Wes Lachot, is a Wright devotee, using some of architect’s design concepts blended with current sound innovations in building materials. Instead of concrete blocks, he implemented DiffusorBlox, concrete masonry blocks built for sound isolation. Wavy on one side, they stretch to the ceiling on the rear control room wall and side walls of the main live room. It’s a very warm-sounding space, the remaining area swathed in blonde birch. It creates a womblike environment for Niver, ensconced in an isolation booth blocked off from the control room window with several screens including an Asian panel screen. “Alex did it,” Niver says, “covered up the window so it wouldn’t psych me out.” It’s not that unusual for performers. Jimi Hendrix was also reportedly skittish about prying control room eyes and had access blocked, as well. Having produced records for so many artists over the years, Easter understands the importance of a workspace conducive to the creative process. “Home office, work from your bedroom — that can be good, it can also sort of not work. It’s also important to get up in the morning, put on a coat and go somewhere. Then you’ll actually be in the right frame of mind to work,” he says. Today, the band is working on overdubs for “Behind Me,” the last song Niver wrote for her yetuntitled second studio album. Niver is fist-pumping on the chorus, puttering softly with low key scat outbursts before sliding back into the upper register. The melody is shot through with flecks of soul, an upbeat chronicle of recovery from the loss of a loved one, her grandmother, Willa Bullock. “I don’t fight so hard/as I did/I don’t cry quite as much/ Like I did. . ./ I stand alone my doubts behind me,” she The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Pleasures of Life Dept. sings softly, but with a steely resolve. Inside the isolation/vocal booth, Niver has erected a small shrine. Atop a small black Roland amp, a candle flickers between two small framed pictures propped up against the wall. One picture is of grandmother Bullock, who passed away about a year and half ago. (A single, “Willa,” from the new album, is about her grandmother, as well a couple of songs about that loss. “She was very musical, always singing in the house,” Niver says.) The second photo is a postcard of Beethoven’s birthplace in Bonn, Germany. “I was in my secondgrade classroom, we were having some sort of free time, and my teacher had the classical station on. I was playing and listening to the classical station and I turned to my teacher and I said, ‘This is Beethoven, by the way,’” Niver recalls. She was already familiar with the longhairs because her grandparents listened to Raleigh classic radio station WCPE. Ever since her second-grade music teacher sent it, the postcard has been a constant companion. “It’s traveled all over the world, been to Thailand and back.” Niver and her band — lead guitarist Ryan Johnson, rhythm guitarist David Dollar, keyboardist Charles Cleaver, drummer Daniel Faust and bassist/producer Bingham — are leasing the studio for a week, then tinkering with the mix before and afterwards at their home studio in Durham, mirroring a trend among working musicians that Easter is willing to accommodate. “Some people that have worked in our place did record in their house and realized that it just didn’t suit them,” the producer notes. So he’s established another perk: providing a separate guesthouse for the bands to use. “I always loved the English residential studios,” he says. “England has always had the theme of studios in the same spirit of people liking to go to a dedicated place for work, to be at a compound or retreat. Even though we’re not in the Tuscan countryside, it still functions

like that, and a lot of people just like to be on the premises. Also nobody’s got any money anymore, so that makes the whole thing more affordable. We don’t charge anything extra for the house.” Easter’s low-key approach seems incongruous with the studio’s hifalutin name, a tongue-in-cheek throwback to some pretentious overachievers’ clumsy studio names of yore. “I think it was due to the owners’ total lack of knowledge of Latin, like audio phonics, which is like naming your studio ‘sound sound,’” Easter muses. Appreciating the gravitas of Latin as well as bland studio names “like Sound Recording Service,” Easter came up with the idea of using faux Latin, hence the name, Fidelitorium, an amalgam of the Latin root for “fidelity,” as in “high fidelity” and the tail end of “auditorium.” “[It] was like calling it Studio, a word for studio, so studio is for recording, so the name of the place is studio recording. Which is as generic as I could think of. Then I thought, I’ll make it Latin, because, why not?” Classical scholars may note that Easter’s fractured Latin does not translate perfectly, but musicians understand that while he may joke about the name, the studio is serious business. Whatever you call it, for Niver and her band as well as scores of local regional and national artists, the Fidelitorium is the place to put the polish on your sound or build it from the ground up. “Our place is really practical,” Easter affirms. “It’s not meant to be cute or anything. Some people think the old equipment is kind of kitsch whimsy, but it’s really not, it’s part of what you use to make recordings these days, along with some more predictable and modern things. That’s what we try to do, we try to just have stuff that will truly help people make their records.” OH From his home studio across from the graveyard, Grant Britt makes sounds only dogs can hear, a rare courtesy for which his neighbors are eternally grateful.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 45

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46 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gate City Journal

Freedom’s Spring When Jackie Robinson Came to Greensboro

By Doug Orr

It was on an early

spring day, almost 70 years ago, at a baseball game at the old War Memorial Stadium in my hometown of Greensboro that I witnessed early stirrings of the racial liberation of the South. Although Jackie Robinson had broken baseball’s color barrier in 1947, the following year’s spring exhibition schedule began his first visit to the baseball parks of the region, launching a series of springtime train journeys from the Dodgers’ spring training facility in Vero Beach, Florida, on to New York.

Until then, the South’s African Americans had been deprived of seeing their sports heroes firsthand. The television age was in its infancy. The great heavyweight boxing champion Joe Louis never entered the ring south of Washington, D.C., except for a little noticed bout in his career’s twilight days. Robinson had exploded on the American baseball scene and into the national consciousness during that 1947 season, called up from Montreal, and leading the Brooklyn Dodgers to the National League pennant — changing forever the face of baseball and American society. In the process he had become an instant celebrity, as well as a lightning rod for the old passions of racial separation. Nowhere were those feelings more deeply rooted than in the South, and as the Dodgers made their annual springtime railroad odyssey from one Southern city to another, attendance at the parks was overflowing, with the black fans in segregated sections usually making up half the crowd. It was on April 11, 1950, at War Memorial, home of the Carolina League Patriots, where I had the opportunity, as a youngster, to see this phenomenon unfolding. My father would frequently take me to ball games there and, when the Dodgers rode into town, we were in our usual seats along the third-base line. The crowd of 8,434 was announced as the largest in North Carolina baseball history, and a subsequent newspaper account estimated “another 500 clinging perilously to tree branches and rooftops around the outside of the stadium.” I especially remember the fans seated down the first-base and right-field line — Jackie Robinson’s people — filling to capacity the “Colored Section” of the stadium and dressed as if they had come to church. In a way, they had. Robinson was playing second base and batting fifth. The excitement in the air was electric as the National League champions had come to our town. But the sense of expectation centered on Jackie Robinson. Even before he came to

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the on-deck circle for his first at-bat, a steady murmur arose from those segregated seats beyond the Dodger dugout and down the right-field line. Then No. 42 emerged into view, with that characteristic pigeon-toed walk, gracefully taking practice swings. The gathering sound down the right-field stands took on an other-worldly quality, not really as a cheer, but rather a deep-seated stirring, as if a collective human soul was speaking with one voice. It began to spill onto the field in a rising crescendo. Their moment, one that generations before them had longed for, was occurring before their eyes. Though I don’t recall the outcome of that first atbat, Robinson went three-for-seven that day, “fielding flawlessly” according to game accounts, and leading the Dodgers to a lopsided 22–0 win over the Patriots as Dodger ace Carl Erskine pitched a one-hitter. But the crowd reaction — that haunting, resonating sound — stayed with me, although as a child in the segregated South, I could not fully comprehend its implications at the time. In subsequent years, I always pulled hard for Brooklyn’s “Boys of Summer” while most of my school friends rooted for those bitter rivals, the Yankees. A long-awaited world championship came in 1955 against New York in seven games. Yet I never forgot that April day of my youth and the undefinable crowd response when Jackie Robinson first made his way to the plate. By the 1960s I was grown, graduated from Davidson College, and the nation was awakening to an unfolding civil-rights drama, including, coincidentally enough, the historic sit-ins at Woolworth’s lunch counter in Greensboro, now site of the International Civil Rights Museum. There subsequently was the drumbeat of marches, demonstrations, the eloquent cadences of Martin Luther King Jr. and the songs of freedom and social justice. And at that moment, I fully understood what I had heard years earlier during that day at the ballpark in Greensboro. The words to an iconic 1960s spiritual helped bring understanding: “It’s the sound of freedom calling, ringing up to the sky. It’s the sound of the old ways falling, you can hear it if you try.” As an impressionable youngster, witnessing baseball’s annual panorama in a minor league park that warm spring day with my dad, the deep-throated wail we heard was no less than freedom’s song, whose refrain extended as far back as the slave ships from West Africa. And its torchbearer, passing through the ball parks of our Southern towns, was No. 42, playing second base for the Brooklyn Dodgers. OH Doug Orr grew up in Greensboro, attended Greensboro Grimsley High School and served as president of Warren Wilson College from 1991–2006. He is co- author of The North Carolina Atlas: Portrait for a New Century; and, Wayfaring Strangers: The Musical Voyage from Scotland and Ulster to Appalachia — both publications of the UNC Press. April 2018

O.Henry 47

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48 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Book Excerpt

This World Is Not My Home

An excerpt from Lost Places: On Losing and Finding Home

By Cathryn Hankla

Mother, a pirate,

lying on the living room couch where children seldom roamed much less sat; I wasn’t used to seeing her prone; usually, she was industrious with homemaking chores unless sunbathing with a book propped on her lap. A white gauze patch covered one eye. She had had a mole removed from her eyebrow. I had noticed the dark speck of flesh — a dark eraser sprouted and splayed the brows around it — but I didn’t know its fate until it had already met the scalpel. Now it looked like she had lost her eye, and she promised me there were a number of stitches. The doctor’s bulky bandage and tape straps extended around her nose, down her cheek and over her forehead. Ahoy. It was a lot of to-do over a dark dot. I asked if it hurt. “Not much,” she said. “But I’m taking a nap.” I asked if I could see the stitches when she woke up. “When I change the bandage,” she said. I was squeamish about needles but loved the concept of first-aid, or maybe it was the kit I loved, the organized compartments of bandages and ointments.

A dark dime marks the back of my upper left thigh. When I was a child the proportions made it appear to be worth more, closer to a quarter-sized polka The Art & Soul of Greensboro

dot on my skinny leg. At the swimming pool people sometimes stared at the brown spot of concentrated melanin, but it was always behind me as I ran, and growing up I didn’t much care. I was dragged to the pediatrician at least twice a year, and during each routine visit my mother asked about the removal of my birthmark. My pediatrician remained blasé. A classmate at the college swimming pool told me, mincing no words, that I was going to die of cancer. My spotted leg was propped up on a railing as I lazily surveyed the pool for my work-study job as a lifeguard. “It’s a birthmark,” I said. The young woman assured me that I could still die. I was 19 with a plastic whistle hanging between my breasts. Sealing the deal, she said, “My father is a doctor.” I grew up with a lot of doctors’ kids and they were sometimes paranoid, exposed to bad news and hushed tones on a regular basis. But all that sickness made them richer than regular kids. My dad was a medicine man; he dispensed pills, although when he first passed the state board he also mixed, compounded and did some prescribing of controlled substances. He knew the chemical origins of most drugs and their botanical bases, and I imagined back to the rain forest, whence he told me aspirin derived, from the bark of a certain tree. Some of his customers paid him in farm animals, once a black lamb. We lived in town, so this was a tactical problem: no barn, lamb in basement, grazing backyard. Even in Appalachia, this was not done. Mother remembers my father in the prescription department gently daubing to remove cinders from the eyes of miners who called him “Doc.” They couldn’t afford a real doctor. Mother recently confessed that she’s stopped shaving beneath her arms and also stopped shaving her legs. “I can’t see to shave.” Her legs are nearly hairless now anyway. She tells me this while I am helping her pull a spandex camisole over her head. The shelf bra of the camisole catches on her chest above her flattened smudges of breast. As we work it down into place, I see the sprays of long April 2018

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Book Excerpt gray hair stubbornly hanging on beneath what Mother calls her “little scrawny arms.” Neither does she wear bras most of the time. “Oh well,” Mother says, letting go of one more thing. In my teens and 20s I had several tall friends. I never really understood how short I was by comparison until I’d see a photo, a group shot in which I looked stunted, standing as tall as possible. The tall girls looked better in their outfits no matter what they wore. I still remember the hour, the minute my father turned to me without prelude and announced that he had just realized he was short. “Cathy,” he said, “I’m a short man.” He was 75 at the time. He waited for my reaction. “Yes,” I said, “I know.” Some part of him fell silent, stunned. Even I already knew. My feet have always been small, even in army boots they look dainty. Up until the fifth grade I thought they would grow, but instead they decidedly stopped short. My grandfather shook his head, looking down at my feet, “You’ve got to have a firm foundation in this world.” Maybe he had seen what happened with livestock back on the farm in Seven Mile Ford he couldn’t wait to leave, or with mongrels whose puppy paws indicated the eventual size of the dog. Maybe he knew what to expect from me. My grandmother Bonnie, whom everyone called by her first name, never reached five feet in shoes. All of us grandchildren passed her one by one, pressing our backs to hers, and then we were gone. I passed her quickly because she was already shrinking, aged 80 when I was 10. She wrapped her silver hair into a bun and pinned a circular hairpiece over her bald spot. I used to deliver a paper bag when Mother and I shopped for her. One day I looked inside to find a pack of tall brown Virginia Slims and a pint of Virginia Gentleman.

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50 O.Henry

April 2018

I’m going through every drawer in Mother’s assisted-living bed sitting room, because she has been robbed. We’re checking as the facility manager has instructed, in case we have misplaced the hinged gold bracelet. While I perform this duty, I know we haven’t simply lost it. Just last week I shied from taking it home when Mother urged me to; now I’m kicking myself. In the center drawer of her dressing table I find a stash of half a dozen different pairs of tweezers. “Don’t get them mixed up,” Mother says. “Leave those where I can find them.” When I ask her if she wants to throw some of them away, she says no. I wonder how on earth my mother manages to tweeze in her 90s. Her bad eyesight has something to do with the brush fire she has made of her right eyebrow: a scorched forest with regenerating understory. Or maybe it’s the arthritis in her hands that has compromised her hand-eye coordination. Her fingers twist like bonsai. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Book Excerpt I check the side drawer of the dressing table, and at the very back I pull out a scrap of white cotton fabric that looks like an old handkerchief until I unfold it, shake it loose, and find the shape of a smocked baby dress that’s been shortened with scissors to a tiny tunic. “What’s this?” I ask. She says it was either mine, or my sister’s. “What do you want to do with it?” “Leave it,” she says. I stuff it back in the drawer next to one of my dad’s old T-shirts that I’ve already asked about. Mother insists on keeping it there. A week goes by before I walk up to the Roanoke city police station to file a report. The woman at the window is very helpful in taking down the details. She also tells me that a few years ago on the nursing side of the same facility I have chosen with great care for my mother they had a male nurse or aide who was abusing the patients; I wish I didn’t know this. He’s in prison, “put away,” she tells me. The assisted living facility is running its own investigation, reviewing hours of surveillance tape to see who went in and out of Mother’s room. Since it seems like an inside job I doubt these tapes will yield more than the obvious schedule of baths, room cleaning and meals. Someone who takes care of my mother is a thief. This is troubling.

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“It’s OK but it’s not home,” Mother says of her assisted living apartment. I can quote only one line from Shakespeare’s As You Like It. Touchstone: “Ay, now I am in Arden; the more fool I; when I was at home I was in a better place: but travelers must be content.” Other things have been stolen from Mother’s room, a roll of quarters and some small gold cufflinks neither of us can sufficiently describe. Mother thinks the cufflinks were my father’s, who never wore cufflinks; a tiepin was absent from the set before the theft, and he probably did wear that. The address on the empty jewelry box reads Sixth Avenue. Dad could have bought these when he was a traveling salesman of party supplies with Benco, headquartered in New York City, or maybe his boss gave him an incentive. This was right after WWII when Dad was so anxious he couldn’t stand still to fill prescriptions and briefly became Willy Loman. Upon receiving an encouraging letter from a niece about all of the activities she could enjoy at her new assisted living facility, Mother looked at me wryly and said, “It’s not summer camp.” It’s amazing to me how much Mother managed to stuff into every drawer and closet of her condo, how many boxes from the last move she had failed to open, much less sort. She says the time got away from her, six years in an eye-blink. My mother is no hoarder and fairly unsentimental, yet it took me The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 51

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three solid weeks to construct some logic through my sorting, with piles to give away, seal into storage or distribute to distant family. At the same time, Mother is not yet dead, even though it felt like it some days when I dragged myself across the bridge to South Roanoke and entered her condo with my lunch bags of Chipotle. Just when I thought I could part with something, Mother would ask about it, and instead of pitching it toward the Rescue Mission pile, I packed it for the storage unit or delivered it to her new room where there was precious little display space. Waiting inside kitchen cabinets were dozens of crystal and china pieces that Mother had not used since moving to the condo. Once disturbed from their drawers or shelves, these hidden treasures took on weight and expectation like an island of forgotten, guilt-tripping toys. Each item magnified by catching the light seemed to speak and say the same thing, “Take me with you.” Even colorful plastic cocktail stirs collected on my parents’ various vacation tours whispered the same plea as I dropped them into the trash. I made the mistake of looking more closely at the matchbook collection and kept several of them from the Mark Hopkins hotel in San Francisco, New York’s Americana, Caesars Palace and The Royal Hawaiian. On the final day of packing and cleaning I pulled a heavy box from the back of the guest room closet and opened the top to find it stuffed with WWII mementoes, including my father’s portrait in dress whites, wearing the very epaulettes, stripes and stars I also found packed in the box. His discharge papers, too, a veritable museum of WWII. God’s eye watches my mother’s youngest child: I closed the lid again and taped it shut for storage without sifting all the way to the bottom. Some things cannot be excised or plucked from our lives. Some things we have to keep. Some love is without end. Mother says, “Why am I still here? I can’t get any better and I don’t get any worse.” I have no answer . . . no “Spirit in the Sky” chorus for her. The body is a betrayer, not her home. No home is left. Her face contorts in pain. “For me,” I say. “You’re here for me.” I know she wishes she felt like staying. OH From Cathryn Hankla, Lost Places, © Mercer University Press, 2018. Born in the Appalachian Mountains of Virginia, Cathryn Hankla is professor of English & Creative Writing in the Jackson Center for Creative Writing at Hollins University. Hankla has published over a dozen books of fiction and poetry, including Fortune Teller Miracle Fish: stories, Great Bear, Galaxies. Lost Places: On Losing and Finding Home is her first work of nonfiction.

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April 2018

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O.Henry 53

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Fine Feathers

The unmistakable yellow-rumped warbler arrives with spring By Susan Campbell

The days are getting longer, the temperatures

are rising and the birds are definitely paying attention! More specifically, their hormones are reacting to increased daylight and the males are beginning to advertise their wares in preparation for the breeding season. Even some of our lingering winter visitors are becoming more noticeable as they sport brighter colors and begin to sing. The yellow-rumped warbler happens to be a shining example. Yellow-rumpeds are a bird of the pine forests in summertime, but in winter they can be found all along the East Coast and throughout the Southern U.S. From mid-November until late April, they are quite common everywhere in North Carolina. As spring approaches, the birds acquire distinctive bright black and white plumage with splashes of yellow. The rump is indeed brightly colored as are the “shoulders” and the crown. These little birds, that previously may have gone undetected in your neighborhood, will turn into flashy little songsters with a beautiful warble that is now hard to ignore. Yellow-rumped warblers, who are mainly insectivorous during the summer

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months, find plenty of small insects here in the central part of the state even in the colder months. Yellow-rumpeds will grab flies and midges in mid-air, beetles and spiders in thick vegetation. But they are also known for their adaptability when it comes to feeding. In addition to a variety of invertebrates that may be active in wet habitat, berries are a staple of the birds’ diet. In fact, their digestive system is such that they can consume wax myrtle and bayberry fruits. This is why you may hear these little birds referred to as “myrtle” warblers. Such adaptable foraging behavior allows these birds to winter considerably farther north than other warbler species in the United States. Furthermore, they will also visit feeding stations where suet or dried fruit or jelly are offered. And if they happen upon a hummingbird or oriole feeder, they’ll even drink sugar water. If you visit the coast in the winter, you will likely come across huge flocks of these little birds. Their incessant “check” calls and flitting from branch to branch will give them away. As seasoned birdwatchers know, other unexpected species like blue-headed and white-eyed vireos and warblers such as black-andwhite or palm may be occasionally mixed in these congregations. Careful sorting of these energetic small songbirds can be rewarding! Although it may take scrutinizing dozens and dozens of yellow-rumpeds before something different comes into view, it can be worth the effort. Regardless, enjoy these colorful little critters — soon they’ll take wing and head to the North. OH Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos at

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Wandering Billy

A Moveable Feast

From crispy duck to carne asada tacos, Greensboro’s cuisine has gone global

By Billy Eye “Going to a restaurant is one of my keenest pleasures. Meeting someplace with old and new friends, ordering wine, eating food, surrounded by strangers, I think is the core of what it means to live a civilized life.” — Adam Gopnik

My 35-year long search for Crispy Duck


has ended!

In the early 1980s, I regularly dined at a Chinese restaurant on Lankershim Boulevard in North Hollywood where, on a whim, I ordered something called crispy fried duck. I found myself going back for it time and again, it became my culinary crush. Well, more like an unrequited love. After that eatery closed, I never again saw crispy duck on any menu. Brined duck cutlets bathed in sesame and cilantro, roasted so most of the fat is burned off, was first served in London just a few years before I tasted it. Crispy duck is somewhat similar to Peking duck but there’s no sauce and it’s a more time-consuming recipe that results in a very distinctive smoky taste. The fare we come to expect at a typical Asian buffet is Chinese in name only, much too sweet for beautiful downtown Hong Kong. Just recently, restaurants have been popping up in China offering General Tso’s chicken, sweet-and-sour pork and the like, and they’re quite the novelty. I’m pleased to note that Greensboro is now home to an authentic Chinese restaurant, Captain Chen’s Gourmet China on Battleground in the Brassfield Shopping Center (remember that place?) under a sign reading “Go China.” On the Friday night my friends and I wandered into this unlikely destination, it was packed with young sophisticates, and I’m pretty sure we were the only folks speaking English. The décor was essentially nonexistent, and to handle the crowd overflow, we were seated at a collapsible plastic table, but the aroma The Art & Soul of Greensboro

alone suggested we were in for a rare treat . . . and we were. So much to sample, from exotic to simple — pork intestines stir-fried with red chili peppers; fish in black bean sauce and onion oil; sliced pork ears in red chili oil; cumin stir-fried beef with onion and green peppers; shredded pork in home-style garlic sauce. When a ten-top behind us finished eating, I found myself gazing longingly at their leftovers. Every dish that passed us by looked smashingly delicious. In addition there are numerous noodle dishes, soups and . . . that elusive crispy fried duck, tasting just as I remembered it from more than 35 years ago, if a bit more charred. The stir-fried spicy vermicelli with minced pork was wonderful as well; piled high, light, savory, with a tangy afterglow and just the right amount of heat. This was a very enjoyable dinner out, the wait staff was friendly and, as is traditional, chefs could be seen dining in an adjacent room. You may want to give Captain Chen’s a try for lunch or on a weekday night when, presumably, it won’t be so crowded, but I rather enjoyed the energy in the room on a weekend evening, the result of everyone enjoying their meals as much as we were. *** Speakin’ of eatin,’ I’ve been feasting on the tacos at El Mercadito for almost two decades now, since even back when they were located across the street from what is now Hops Burger Bar. In the 1990s, it was the only place in the city for authentic Mexican. Situated nowadays near the corner of Spring Garden and West Market, until around five years ago you had to be able to speak enough Spanish to place an order. No problemo for a Continental guy like myself (¡Hola, Señora Lupo, mi maestra de Español en la biblioteca!). Everything on the menu is so freshly prepared. I love their carne asada tacos, finely chopped steak right off the grill, topped with shredded onion and cilantro, crumbled cheese and an avocado slice. The tortillas are made in-house; it’s obvious why most of the city’s finest restaurateurs get their taco April 2018

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Wandering Billy shells from El Mercadito. Steak, chicken and pork are being grilled constantly, all butchered inside the extensive meat market on site. Rolls for their exquisite sandwiches are baked every morning on the premises, the torta Cubana with chorizo, ham, chicken, jalapenos and queso comes highly recommended. I glanced over at a steak torta with grilled red and green peppers that looked heavenly. (What is this sudden bout of food envy?!?) Seating is limited, arrive early or late for lunch if you want to dine in. Rows and rows of delectable pastries and vibrantly colorful cookies await you in the bakery portion of the market, sure to impress party guests if you’re entertaining this month.

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April 2018

*** Greensboro Beautiful is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year with a number of exciting events. For instance, on April 29th, they’ll be Groovin’ in the Garden, a family-friendly event taking place at the spectacular Gateway Gardens at the corner of East Gate City Boulevard and Florida Street. It’s an opportunity to enjoy a Sunday afternoon of music on two stages, food trucks, an instrument “petting zoo” and lawn games. Loads of fun and relaxation amongst the sumptuous variety of plant life you’ll discover there. Greensboro Beautiful’s Mebane Ham is excited that “Groovin’ in the Garden’ is changing the beat this year. “We’ve decided to go with a Latin Groove!” she enthuses. “Joining us will be West End Mambo, with salsa dancing.  We’ll have the usual Garden Quest, wonderful food vendors and lots of great music.” See you there! *** Billy Baites took to the podium in the back of Scuppernong Books recently, reading his hilarious short story published in the prestigious Catamaran Literary Reader. Taken from a harrowing childhood experience, it’s a Southern-fried tale that would have made a great sketch on The Carol Burnett Show if it hadn’t happened in real life. *** If I gave anyone the wrong impression last month that Higgins Bicycle Shop had gone out of business, please forgive. I only wished to point out that they, like Tex & Shirley’s, will no longer be operating out of their longtime digs. In the case of Higgins, while they vacated the showroom, Mary Higgins Lawing points out, “We have just moved into the connecting building on 2418 Battleground. We are still in business going strong, selling used bikes/vintage and still offering our $30 Tune-Up special.” OH For someone who enjoys eating as much as he does, it’s odd that Billy Eye still weighs the same as he did in high school. The Art & Soul of Greensboro




Hosted by Women United

Leigh Anne Tuohy KEYNOTE SPEAKER Inspirational subject of The Blind Side

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Please join us for this special offer: Attendees can purchase Leigh Anne’s New York Times best-seller In a Heartbeat for just $10 plus shipping! This will include her “Turn Around” wristband. Please and type in code MIHF (all caps). Code is valid for 2 weeks after event.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Rediscover g o l f at g r a n d o v e r r e s o rt Introducing the Grandover “Griffin Club” a North Carolina resident golf program

Griffin Club exclusive rates are $49.00 Monday through Thursday and $59.00 Friday through Sunday (includes cart). Cardholders may make tee times up to two weeks in advance and will be notified of special events and offers. Contact the Golf Shop for an application and more information. 336-323-3838 or Applicants must be a resident of North Carolina. Grandover Resort features 36 holes of world-class golf, Golf Shop carrying the latest in equipment and apparel, PGA professionals offering individual and group instruction. | 336.294.1800 | 1000 Club Road • Greensboro, NC 27407 | Just off I-85 & I-73 Get comfortable, you’ll be seeing a lot more of us in the future.

April 2018


for Brenda Porterfield, on her 75th birthday Each year you surprise me like the first taste of joy after long sorrow has tamped down even longing into gray wood, and I have forgotten all the colors but brown, and all the sounds but that of dry leaves underfoot. I look out a frosted windowpane and you appear again, bold pink, standing out like a girl overdressed for a party,

perfection unfurled and symmetric as a baker’s cake-flower, your center a sunrise. You speak of more that waits in stillness, in want of light and time to wake it into beaty, buds of potential turned to glory — abundance that defies freezing nights, resilient, determined to bloom. — Laura Lomax

The Four


An enduring springtime ritual shared by a quartet of golf-loving friends By Jim Dodson

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


ithout question,” says Greensboro’s Keith Bowman with a gentle smile. “It’s been quite a journey.” “Seems like just yesterday,” agrees Charlie Gordon of Charlotte. “Has it really been that long?” “It was just a minute ago when we first went,” adds Wilmington’s Ted Funderburk on a wistful note. “Fortunately we have some great memories,” Charlie points out. “And it’s not over yet,” says Bowman. Heads bob in agreement. And with that, the stories begin to fly like an Arnie Palmer golf ball. These three gents — all comfortably ensconced in their early-to-mid 80s, sit around a glass table leafing through a pair of remarkable scrapbooks meticulously assembled over more than half a century by Keith Bowman. Like a trio of modern-day Musketeers, they are master swordsmen of a different sort who’ve enjoyed quite an adventure in each other’s company. And just like legendary companions of Alexandre Dumas’s famous novel — Athos, Aramis and Porthos — there is even a devoted fourth member of their select fellowship. Jimmie Eckard is the d’Artagnan of the group, but on this day he is at is at home in Parksley, Virginia, taking care of his ailing wife, though happy to contribute by phone. Military service shaped all of their lives, but the swordsmen in question are in fact a quartet of golf-loving white dudes bonded till death do them part by a powerfully shared affection for each other and an annual rite of American springtime called the Masters Golf Tournament. For 58 consecutive years, they’ve faithfully attended professional golf’s most celebrated and coveted boutique event, collecting a lifetime of colorful memories and intimate brushes with the biggest stars in the game from Arnie to Tiger. “Not bad,” quips Keith Bowman, “for fellas who aren’t millionaires — just four friends from college.” Maybe so, but as the years of their love affair and Bowman’s magical scrapbooks reveal, their memories are, indeed, priceless. Charlie and Jimmie grew up in Charlotte. Charlie’s dad ran a meat market and worked for the Greyhound Corporation. Jimmie’s daddy lost an arm working for Merita Breads and later ran the company’s factory shop that sold day-old bread. Ted was something of a high school sports legend out in Matthews long before it got swallowed up by suburban Charlotte. “We heard stories about Ted even before we met him,” says Charlie with a laugh. “A real

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

athlete. He played everything — baseball, football, basketball. In college he even became a tennis champion.” Keith grew up on Bellevue Street in South Greensboro. His daddy was a fine carpenter. Around age 12, Keith and a buddy got interested in golf and built a 3-hole golf course in a field near his house. They also fashioned crude golf clubs from broom handles and wood scraps from Keith’s father’s woodshop. “My buddy and I were fully in charge of construction and maintenance. All other kids in the neighborhood soon wanted to play it.” Not long after this, through a neighbor who ran the caddie program at Greensboro Country Club, Keith found a job caddying, riding his bicycle through town to the north side of the city on weekends and holidays. “I think I got 75 cents for 18 holes and once caddied for one of the Cones, either Herman or Ceasar, I forget which,” he remembers with a grin. “In lieu of a tip, Mr. Cone equipped his bag with a sheepskin strap that made carrying it easier — or so he thought. But that’s when I really fell for golf.” Bowman soon acquired a real set of clubs and began playing at the public Gillespie Park and eventually carried his love of golf off to college — first to Duke University and then on to “State College” — which is how most people referred to N.C. State University back then. He planned to study architecture and structural engineering. Charlie and Jimmie, who became good friends their final year in high school, also went off to study engineering at State. Ditto Ted Funderburk, hoping to also be an engineer of some sort. The four wound up in the same freshman dorm, Tucker Hall, and attended several of the same classes. They were also in ROTC together and later became roommates on and off campus, developing a friendship that bloomed like dandelions on a spring lawn. Golf soon sealed the deal. “I needed to take a phys ed course and found that golf was available, so I took that,” Charlie says, “and got hooked.” “They had a driving range with wooden clubs at State,” recalls Ted, who also played his way onto the school tennis team. “That’s where I learned to hit a driver and thought, wow, this is great.” Pretty soon, he and his college chums Keith, Charlie and Jimmie were beating the ball around local municipal courses and the Raleigh Country Club, where State students were allowed to play. Back home in Charlotte they played at a course owned by local April 2018

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1975 PGA star Clayton Heafner. “Ted got good fast,” reports Jimmie from Parksley. “He was a scratch player eventually,” notes Keith. “No, no,” rumbles Ted good-naturedly. “The best I ever reached was three or four.” “Better than any of us,” cracks Charlie. “Well,” Keith picks up the story, “the point is, we all liked each other a lot and we loved to play golf and that eventually led us to plan to try and attend the Masters.” It was 1960 before they pulled off the feat. By then Keith had done his required stint in the Air Force and Jimmie was still in the Army, serving in Vietnam, in fact, in the early days of a distinguished 20-year Army career that would lead him to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. In his 50s he retired home to Charlotte and purchased a 19-acre orchard, and began growing apples and peaches. By 1960 Charlie had graduated as a civil engineer, also done his required military service and was working as North Carolina’s lead Construction Officer. In time, he would rise to the post of Director of the state’s construction projects, and later become a key administrator for the Small Business Association. Following his stint in the Army, Ted was working in Charlotte as a division engineer in the state highway department, playing a lot of golf around the Queen City. He got a promotion to Raleigh and eventually transferred to Wilmington, which suited his career and golf game just fine. In more ways than one, Eastern North Carolina became his turf. Keith, in 1960, was working as a design engineer for Western Electric on a secret Nike missile project in Burlington. On weekends he and his buddies from work would “scurry down to Pinehurst to play No. 2. You could play all day and the price even included a shower in the locker room.” More than once, Ted drove over from Charlotte to join him. “We were both really crazy for golf,” Keith

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underscores, having once captured a third-flight Carolina Golf Association tournament at Pinehurst. His handicap in those days, he reckons, was about a 16 or 18. The college chums still shared a dream of attending the Masters Tournament someday in each other’s company. Their timing couldn’t have been more historic. The year 1960 was a seminal moment in the growth of American golf, largely owing to the telegenic charm and go-for-broke style of a charismatic player from working class Latrobe, Pennsylvania, named Arnold Daniel Palmer. “I loved Arnold Palmer and decided I had to see him in action at the Masters. I invited Ted to join me.” Keith remembers. “That’s when it all started for us.” “Keith picked me up in Charlotte and we drove down on a Friday night. It was rainy and we didn’t know where we would stay. But we were young and it was a great adventure.” At that moment the Masters was a reasonably priced affair, attended by maybe 15,000 fans on any given Masters Sunday. A daily ticket — which was still available — went for $3.50, the equivalent of $30 adjusted for inflation. Today, 60 years later, a full tournament pass that includes practice rounds and the famed par-three tournament on Wednesday goes for just under $400, if you can lay hands on one. Famously, Masters tickets are believed to be the toughest tickets in all of sports to acquire. Keith and Ted paid $15 for the entire week but only needed them for Saturday and Sunday, a bargain considering that tickets for Saturday and Sunday, the days they mostly went, were $7.50 per day. Through the local chamber of commerce, they managed to rent a room at an Augusta boarding house and went out to the local Holiday Inn Lounge where they discovered the Hebert brothers, Jay and Lionel, the trumpet-playing Cajuns who managed to The Art & Soul of Greensboro

both win the PGA Championship during the day, while performing in the motel lounge at night. “That was pretty exciting,” recalls Keith, “but we were dead tired from the drive. The next morning we woke up and realized what an awful place we’d spent the night in. It looked like it rented by the hour.” So before heading off to the course, they arranged new digs just two blocks off Washington Road and the entrance to Augusta National. It was the home of Kitty and Quentin Moore. With only a handful of hotels and motels in the city, Augusta residents often rented out their houses and rooms to Masters patrons, as they were called. These days, local residences during Masters week routinely rent for five and six figures, many of them rented by corporations for entertaining clients. In 1960, however, the thoughtful Moores actually moved out to a trailer in their backyard and allowed Ted and Keith to have the run of the place. “The Moores were wonderful people and we hit it off immediately,” says Ted. So much so, the twosome — soon to be expanded to a golf foursome — wound up staying with the Moores for the next 37 years. “That was the beginning of a great friendship. When they moved to a new neighborhood, we moved with them,” says Keith. “We watched them have kids and watched the Moore kids grow up. We grew old with the Moores year after year and even attended both of their funerals a few years back.” History records how Arnold Palmer won his second Masters in 1960 — and went on to have the kind of year, dreams are made of capturing the US Open in extraordinary fashion later that summer in Denver and almost taking home the Claret Jug from the British Open Championship. His unprecedented popularity would begin to rewrite American golf, producing historic growth of the game. What it doesn’t record is the joy Keith Bowman felt upon seeing his golf hero in the flesh and at his peak. “He just captivated the galleries. There was so much excitement in the air. In those days, they let patrons bring in a cameras for taking photographs after the day’s play,” he says, noting how he always wiggled his way to the front of the crowd for the presentation of the champion’s green jacket, and used his trusty Nikon camera to snap some beauties of Arnold and Winnie sharing a triumphant moment. Maybe even more impressively, Bowman managed to shoot every Masters green jacket ceremony up to Tiger Woods, and hundreds, if not thousands, of casual shots before and after their tournament rounds. Most of the champions Keith photographed were happy to autograph their photos for his scrapbook, including a reluctant superstar named Ben Hogan. Over the years, Keith also sent his photos to a gallery of the game’s biggest stars, most of whom wrote back thanking him with personal letters. “I took my first photo of Mr. Hogan warming The Art & Soul of Greensboro

up on the practice range in on April 7, 1962. Two years later, I approached him before the third round — where he shot the low round of 67 — and asked if he would mind autographing my photo of him. He said to me, ‘I’ve got work to do but come find me after the round, I’ll be happy to sign it.’ Keith did just that and Hogan not only autographed the photo but introduced him to his wife, Valerie. “We had a very nice conversation. What a classy man. It was such a thrill.” Keith’s weren’t the only set of eyes on the Wee Ice Man, as the admiring Scots nicknamed the reclusive Fort Worth star on his way to winning the Claret Jug at Carnoustie in 1953. “I loved watching Hogan warm up — learned a lot by just watching him,” says Ted Funderburk. “I read his books Power Golf and Five Lessons and really improved my golf as a result of seeing Ben Hogan.” In the 1962, a large black-and-white snapshot of the massive crowds sitting on the hill by the 16th hole appeared in Life magazine. There among the faithful hordes in their Easter finery


sit none other than young Ted Funderburk and Keith Bowman looking on as Arnold Palmer headed for his third Masters title, tying him with Sam Snead and Jimmy Demaret. By 1972, Charlie Gordon and Jimmie Eckard had joined the annual spring road trip, completing the foursome for all four days. On one of Charlie’s first trips to Augusta, as an Army Reservist, he had to brief a general before racing to the airport to catch a flight to Augusta, changing out of his uniform as wife Barbara raced him to the airport. “I just made the flight and got off the plane to find April 2018

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a group of absolute strangers welcoming me. Keith and Ted had whipped up a little crowd just to greet me — and Kitty Moore even baked a cake for the occasion. That was the kind of fun we had.” The first three years Jimmie attended the tournament in his uniform. “You could get a ticket half price. There was such respect for soldiers there. Everyone was treated that way at the tournament. Once you’re inside the gates, everyone is the same.” The group typically started their tournament treks at the first green then fanned out across the course, often peeling off to follow their own favorites. Keith stayed true to Arnie, as did Jimmie, who learned to follow Winnie Palmer, who knew the best places to stand near her man. (One story the group loves to hear again and again, told by Jimmie, is how Winnie, to stave off hunger, had stashed a piece of fried chicken in her purse. At the very moment she was discreetly removing it, she was approached by a fan. The ever-gracious Winnie politely offered her lunch to the woman, who gladly accepted it, leaving Winnie hungry.) A crack gardener who kept a large farm in Climax where he propagated azaleas, Keith snipped off pieces of a golden flowering Augusta azalea from the woods around second and eighth fairways. He took them home, soaked in water, and for years tried to get them to take root — until he was finally successful. Jimmie Eckard also had a thing for Chi Chi Rodriguez and Lee Trevino. Charlie liked following Trevino and Gary Player. “Trevino was such a people’s favorite,” Charlie says, launching into a memory of how he was once standing by an errant Trevino shot when the Merry Mex strode up and glared at his poor lie, removed a club and he glanced at Charlie. “Here, you better hit this shot for me.” The gallery roared. “Trevino played fast. I remember how he hit his shot and remarked to his slower playing partners, ‘C’mon, folks. Hit your shots. I’ve got to get across the river and feed the cows.’” Ted fancied the buttermilk swing of Julius Boros and had a sweet and unexpected encounter with the two-time US Open champ one evening after play’s end. “It was near dusk. We always liked to stick around so Keith could take pictures, and Boros was relaxing at the back of the clubhouse with a drink. We started chatting — I knew he had connections to Mid Pines and Pine Needles, one of my regular golf places — and he wondered if I wanted a drink, too. He gave me his clubhouse pass and I went in and got my own toddy. We had nice long conversation.” Ted was the group’s only drinker.


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“We weren’t much into the party aspect of the Masters,” notes Keith. “Pretty calm bunch just into the golf.” “In other words,” jokes Charlie, “dull as could be.” How about Jimmie? “Dullest of all,” says Ted (who gave up drinking years ago). “But don’t tell him we said that.” One year, however, the group came across an elaborate wedding party staged in the parking lot after the tournament. Because of their long-standing friendships with the tournament’s ground staff and parking attendants, the Four Masters always managed a primo parking spot near the entrance gate. “The wedding couple was from Texas. They had a Cadillac rigged with a set of longhorns, lots of food, flowers, champagne, even a chandelier,” Keith recounts. “They invited us to join them. We had a great time.” In 1976, eager to have his own tickets, Jimmy Eckard placed his name on the famous Master ticket waiting list and had to wait until 1992 to get a couple of coveted passes so he could take his wife to her first Masters. While watching The Price Is Right TV show one evening, he was bothered when one of the big prizes was four weeklong passes to the Masters. “I couldn’t believe it so I wrote to Augusta to tell them how disappointed I was that fans had to wait for years to get their tickets — but here they were handing out tickets on a game show to people who might not care about anything about golf.” He received a nice thank-you letter from the tournament office. The ticket giveaways ceased. Over the decades, the four became so friendly with security and tournament workers, they also The Art & Soul of Greensboro

wound up photographed in Keith’s memory books — a friendship that came in handy more than once. One year during the green jacket ceremony, a Sports Illustrated photographer complained to Keith for not having an official media credential and promptly reported him to security. “I’ll have to ask you to come with me,” the Pinkerton guard told him. “I’m just doing my job.” The guard then escorted him to “an even better spot to take my pictures.” Over the past six decades, there is little the Four Masters from North Carolina haven’t seen or experienced at the world’s premier golf tournament, including weather — biting cold and rain, blistering heat waves, perfect spring evenings (often in the same weekend), not to mention aching feet, free discarded chairs, chance encounters with celebrities and more memories than one can possibly document in a pair of large scrapbooks. “We go because we love golf and, frankly, never see each other the way we once did,” muses Ted Funderburk, who still plays a mean game around the Cape Fear. “We go because we’ve been friends since college and this is our shared ritual,” adds Keith Bowman. “Also, it’s the Masters, the greatest golf tournament on Earth. It’s always the same but always different, some new every year. Things stay with you.” Charlie still thinks about Arnie Palmer’s final round at Augusta, for example. This was in 2004, Arnie’s 50th trip to his favorite tournament. “It was late Friday afternoon. He’d missed the cut for the final time. I happened to be standing in front of the clubhouse when he came out and climbed into his Cadillac. The crowd saw him and began cheering. He rolled the window down and smiled. You could see the emotion on his face, how he loved that place and his fans. We watched him drive away, down Magnolia Lane for the last time as a player. I’ll never forget that.” This year, 2018, their 59th odyssey to Augusta will be slightly different. Jimmie’s legs can no longer

manage Augusta National’s fabled hills. But a Greensboro special education teacher named Rick Haase is making his second visit with the group. “It’s such an honor to be going with them,” Haase says. “They’ve seen so much history.” “Rick’s much younger,” quips Keith Bowman. “Only 67.” He notes that the fellas are hoping to make it an even 60 years before their annual spring pilgrimage to Augusta ceases. “We walk a little slower,” adds Ted Funderburk. “But the magic is still there. It’s all about history and friendship and the return of golf in the spring.” OH Jim Dodson is the editor of O.Henry, PineStraw and Salt, and the author of too many golf books to count.



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Greensboro’s Faerie Godmother Sue Sassmann finds magic in bringing people together

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By Maria Johnson ell phone pressed to her ear, Sue Sassmann works from her “office,” the comfortably dog-eared meeting space in the back of Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro. “So you are interested in being part of the Summer Solstice? . . . OK . . . OK . . . umm . . . ooou . . . oh, my God that sounds fabulous . . . ooou-nice . . . right . . . right . . . how big is your truck? . . . . is it a regular food truck?” She perches in a worn chair, jotting notes on a shop-issued brown paper bag. Her legs are crossed, bringing one of her knee-high, pointy-toed, spike-heeled, glitter-flecked, black-and-red paisley tapestry boots to the fore. Her hair is tucked under a black, tulip-shaped cloche. A long ruffled sweater over leggings makes her consignment shop chic. At 63, she is blatantly, unapologetically herself: a woman who regularly pulls together disparate elements into fun, funky and thoughtful compositions, be they fashionable outfits or outdoor festivals. For two of the last three years, she marshaled volunteers at the National Folk Festival in Greensboro. She will continue the job this year as the showcase of indigenous art morphs into the North Carolina Folk Festival, slated for September 7–9. Then there’s her open-air baby, the one she and a friend brought to life with blood, sweat and pixie dust: the Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival, coming up on its 14th year as one of the city’s major summertime shindigs. Last year, an estimated 5,000 people meandered through the creek-side soirée, savoring the same mythical, woodsy spirit that animates Shakespeare’s comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. This year’s faerie-infused festival, which marks the tipping of spring into summer and honors the longest day of the year, is set for Saturday, June 23, two days after the actual solstice. As usual, Sassmann’s army of volunteers and paid staffers will transform the Greensboro Arboretum at Lindley Park into an enchanted vale brimming with food, arts, crafts, body painting, a fountain-lounging mermaid, a but-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

terfly queen, a parasol parade, a rumbling drum circle and, once night finally falls, performers spinning fire batons in their hands and rocking LED hoops on their waists. For patrons, peddlers and performers, the rules are few and firm. “No religion, no politics,” Sassmann, who wears the sash of Head Faerie. “We don’t rent space to people who want to sell Jesus or Barack Obama or any of that. No dogs, no pythons, no boa constrictors, no rats on leashes. Just come and be joyful. We really need that right now.” She was that girl, the one in hats and feather boas and ballet skirts, the one who rounds up other kids to put on shows in garages. Admission to Sue Jones’s shows was a nickel. A Dixie cup of her mom’s lemonade was complimentary. “Mostly, I loved getting people together, especially the ones I loved. All my favorite people in one space is, to me, the epitome of joy. I think there’s magic in that,” says Sassmann, who spent her grade-school years in Toronto. The family followed her dad, a DuPont engineer, to Cleveland when she was 12. Young Sue went door-to-door in her new country, introducing herself to neighbors and asking if they had any 12-year-old children she could play with. “That’s how I made my network of friends, by announcing myself and saying ‘How can you help me?’” she says. In true preteen fashion, she loathed her unremarkable name — “Way to go, Mom. Sue Jones. No one will ever forget that” — and, at the same time, she hated that she stood out because she spoke with a Canadian accent and didn’t get the nuances of American life. “At a time you want to blend in, I was standing way out. I got to be a little bit of a class clown because of that embarrassment,” she says. “I parlayed it into a good thing.” In the blink of an early ’70s eye caked with blue shadow, she was off to Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She departed in 1976 with a fashion degree and a tech-savvy boyfriend, Jim Sassmann. The young couple moved to High Point, where Sue’s mom and dad planned to start a computer business with friends. The business never took flight, but the young sweethearts did. They married and migrated next door, to Greensboro. Sue Jones took on a more memorable last name. On June 24, the day after Summer Solstice Festival, the Sassmanns will April 2018

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celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. The bride offers this advice on marriage: “The first 30 years are the hardest,” she says. “After that, you don’t have the energy to fight any more. Then it gets real easy.” She volunteers that some of her marriage’s rockiest days came after she — a former majorette and head pom-pom girl — became active with the National Organization for Women in Greensboro in the mid’80s. Within a couple of years, she was running the local chapter. “I was fascinated by what they were talking about, and I jumped in head first. I’m lucky my marriage survived it because I was pretty mad for a decade, and I was holding my husband responsible for all of the men on the planet.” A stay-at-home mom, she spent much of her 30s feeling devalued by society. “I was tired of going to parties and having people say, ‘Do you stay at home or do you work?’” She bit off more work, outside the home, by launching her first business, a short-lived enterprise called Sassmann Designs, which focused on maternity wear. “I think being pregnant is a glorious stage of life, and I wanted to do my part in helping women feel beautiful in that stage,” says Sassmann, the mother of a daughter and son, Carley and Taylor, who are named for singers Carly Simon and James Taylor. She hit her stride — and boosted her appreciation of good men like her husband — when she found another way to lift up women. In 1995, on Women’s Equality Day, she and three friends — Ashley Brooks, Vivian Lutian and Marian Franklin — launched the nonprofit Women’s Resource Center, a hub of services to help women with career, educational, personal and financial challenges. Sassmann worked as the first executive director. She stuck around until 2001 when, dulled by paperwork and fundraising demands, she felt the tug to create again. “I’m a serial entrepreneur,” she says. “I like a certain amount of chaos. When things get too predictable, I lose my interest level. I’m a start-up gal.” New ventures stalled when her father, and both of her husband’s parents, died within a few months. “I lived in this very dark place for a year,” she says. Desperate for light and life, she teamed up with a friend to launch a new business, Joie de Vivre, French for “joy of life.” One of their projects was an impromptu party celebrating the summer solstice in the cityowned Bicentennial Garden. They had no publicity except for word of mouth and a live remote broadcast by a local TV station a couple of hours prior to kickoff. “We were all faerie-tized, going ‘C’mon down!’” Sassmann recalls. Three thousand people materialized on that gentle Tuesday night in 2005. Bubbles and harp music filled the air. “A drummer showed up. We were like, ‘That’s cool. Who is he?’ ‘I don’t know.’ Then a cop came up to me and said, ‘There’s a guy over there in a diaper.’” Sassmann checked him out and reassured the officer. It was just her yoga instructor in gold loincloth. An event was born. Because of the crowd size, the city suggested moving the event to the arboretum the following year. For two years, festivalgoers ambled through a dreamy evening on the Saturday nearest the solstice. Then came 2008. The economy tanked. A gullywasher drowned out the festival. Sassmann and her collaborator had a falling out. And Sassmann’s two children suffered serious injuries in separate accidents. Her son, who goes by the nickname Boomer, plunged over a 40-foot waterfall near Boone while trying to save his dog from going over the brink. The pooch fared much better than his owner, who hit the rocks below, breaking both arms and both legs. About the same time, daughter Carley made a hard landing at the end of a recreational sky dive, resulting in the compound fracture of an ankle. “I had a meltdown,” says Sassmann. “I was very, very depressed, extremely lethargic, unable to find joy in daily living.” It got worse. She was diagnosed with esophageal cancer two years later. She was given a one in five chance of surviving in the short term. She threw the book at cancer: radiation, chemotherapy, acupuncture, healing touch, oxygen treatments, meditation, visualization, prayer lists.

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She topped it all off with surgery at the University of Texas’s MD Anderson Medical Center in Houston. She beat the odds. Her priorities shifted. Or perhaps they just intensified. “Everything that was big seemed little, and everything that was little seemed big,” she says. “The war (in Afghanistan) and the economy were not big. The fact that I could get some applesauce down and I could walk to the door, that was big.” Having gotten a close-up look at her own mortality, she concluded that death is not to be feared but valued as motivation to do what you can while you can. “Life is short, so do it now,” she says. The weight of politics and death keep her focused. Still passionate about equality and diversity, Sassmann remains politically active, often on behalf of the Democratic Party. She shuns the role of candidate for the equally critical role of grassroots organizer. “I love being around people who are articulate and well-read and enjoy making a difference,” she says. “In political circles, you often find people who give a shit.” Her desire to make people more comfortable with the end of life has prompted a couple of projects. One, called Death Cafe, is a kind of mortality support group. Participants meet monthly in Sassmann’s “office” in the back of Scuppernong. There, a dozen or so people talk about how dying affects living and vice versa. “People die the way they live,” says Sassmann. “If you live in fear, you’re probably gonna die that way.” Another nod to the inevitable is her latest business, The Goodbye Girl, through which she plans and carries out post-mortem celebrations of life, as well as loving send-offs for the terminally ill. “I’m a farewell concierge, is what I am,” Sassmann says with a death-defying grin. “Just trying to breathe a little life into death.” The certainty of limited time sharpens Sassmann’s determination to squeeze every drop of sweetness from her earthly existence. Witness her devotion to Summer Solstice. A year after the washout in 2008, she revived the otherworldly hootenanny with a team of well-paid staffers. After paying them and other expenses from a $40,000 budget, the event usually clears $5,000­­ –$8,000. Sassmann keeps most of that. It’s enough to keep her wand waving. “I don’t have very much money,” she says. “I rely on the kindness of strangers and a vast network of like-minded people who are trying to bring more joy and creativity to the game of life.” This year’s Summer Solstice includes three music stages, a children’s area, two bars and two camps of food trucks. Just as in her childhood, Sassmann’s family will be involved in her show for the neighbors. Her computer-expert husband Jim, a.k.a. Master Wizard of Faerie Logistics, will roam the grounds as a troubleshooter. Son Boomer, who has recovered from his watery fall, will keep tabs on the taps. Daughter Carley, now a retired skydiver and the mother of Sassmann’s first grandchild, 18-month-old Lennox, will float around as Queen Butterfly. You will recognize her by her golden wings and head-totoe paint job by world-champion body painter Scott Fray of Greensboro. As for the Head Faerie, she will wear a crown, naturally, and whizz around in her golf cart/Faeriemobile. If things get too crazy, she’ll dispatch a squad of sprites or city police — hint: The police will be the ones without body paint — to keep things in line. The point is to be joyful and free-spirited, not bothersome or obscene. As a long-time event planner, Sassmann knows that a successful gathering has to look good, sound good, feel good and taste good. The guy she was talking to on her cell phone on the day she wore her mind-blowing boots? He’s bringing crab fritters with mango sauce from Raleigh. “You need a full sensory experience,” says Sassmann. To that end, she promises bubbles in the air; flowers in the hair; a swirl or two of tie-dye; giant puppets; winking fireflies; and a child-like faith in the power of art and imagination to knit people together. “It’s like Woodstock, without the sex and drugs,” she says of the annual party. “Let’s get together everything that’s lovely in the world and see what happens.” OH This year’s Summer Solstice Festival begins at 2 p.m. on Saturday, June 23. The parasol parade commences at 5:30 p.m. The drum circle starts at 6:15 p.m. A fire baton and LED hoop show will light up the night at 9 p.m. The celebration ends at 10 p.m. For details, go to

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Full House The artful life of Bill Crowder and Joe Hoesl

By Nancy Oakley • Photographs by Amy Freeman


n a bright sunny morning, Bill Crowder, wearing a black apron over his sweater vest and khakis, sits at his dining room table intently dabbing at a palette of paints. Today he is mixing a range of dark blues and purples. “See? I write down the colors I want to use,” he says, picking up his latest work in progress, an abstract watercolor rendered on plasticized paper called Yupo that will hang in an exhibit at The Gallery at The View on Elm downtown. “That way, I don’t have to guess or recreate the color combinations,” Crowder explains. He has chosen the combinations by referring to a color wheel in a sketchbooks that sits atop one of the stacks of books, canvases and plastic trays filled with paints on the long table. “I can always adjust the color, if I need to,” he says, as he manipulates the paint so that a splash of purple takes on a greenish hue. From the adjacent room, Crowder’s husband, playwright Joe Hoesl, sits

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in a chair upholstered in gold fabric — Crowder’s chair — reading. He doesn’t seem to mind that the dining room, where the two frequently entertain — most recently at their annual New Year’s Eve dinner party — has been converted to an artist’s studio. “When you’re constantly surrounded by frames . . .” he trails off, chuckling, before his attention is diverted to the north-facing windows of the dining room where Crowder is working. “Look at that cardinal!” Hoesl exclaims, as a flash of red hovers by the bird feeder hanging over a bed of daffodils that he’s planted. Just beyond, a fork of Buffalo Creek meanders through woods; all of it, protected wetlands. “I’m trying to get Joe to go to the other side of the creek bank and plant daffodils,” says Crowder. “He refuses to go through it.” No need. A few buttery yellow blossoms have appeared on their own among the dense thicket of hardwoods. For about 10 years, the two men have made a home in this corner of Greensboro, where Old and New Irving Park converge, in a townhouse that The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Crowder redesigned. An artist by training and interior decorator by trade, Crowder works under the handle Crowder Designs, a business he owns with Hoesl and his brother, Gene, who heads up the company’s drapery hardware division. Crowder had been working with two separate clients, each of whom were living in the small brick complex off Cone Boulevard, when he learned that another unit would be going up. “So I spoke to Joe and I said, ‘Joe, they haven’t broken ground yet. It’s the ideal thing, we have all these woods,’” Crowder recalls. Most attractive was the east-facing façade capturing rays of sunlight into the breakfast nook of the tidy kitchen. “We love having morning sun,” Crowder explains. “And so then I took the plans and radically changed the whole floor plan,” he says. The result is a compact, yet spacious abode and monument to the art, friendships, travel and celebration of life of its two inhabitants. Though only two floors, one could say that it is a multi-story house, because every nook and The Art & Soul of Greensboro

cranny in it has, well, a story to tell, starting quite literally from the ground floor. The floor level as originally designed had to be dropped to accommodate the thick buff-colored travertine flooring. And that, too, has a story. “I hemmed and hawed over that travertine,” Crowder recalls. Then he asked his supplier how much it would cost. “$7,000” came the answer. It seemed reasonable enough, so Crowder took the plunge. And then: “How much to install it?,” he remembers inquiring. Answer: “$20,000!” His mouth falls agape as he recounts the anecdote, which underscores the challenge of a decorator creating his own living space. “[It’s] a lot harder than doing somebody else’s house,” Crowder affirms. You’re so afraid you’ll wish you had done that. Why didn’t I put that fabric on the sofa? Because, I’ll tell people, if they don’t like the fabric, it can be recovered. But I don’t want to have to recover it!” He laughs at himself and says, 10 years on, he doesn’t regret the decision to use the travertine. Its neutral tones complement those in the kitchen, which Crowder extended April 2018

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by about 5 feet when he redrew the townhouse’s plans. With the exception of the glass backsplash, he insisted on real bead board for the walls, keeping its natural grain, knotholes, nail heads and all, by covering it with a light white wash. Crowder points out the Dutch, amethyst tile used as a tabletop for the end table beneath the sunny window of the breakfast nook, and the pedestal base of the dining table that an Italian cabinetmaker fashioned for him. He is particularly proud of the open-sided island, made from two antique doors that he bought from longtime antiques importer Caroline Faison, one of which forms the length of the island; the other one was cut in half to form its ends. “And then he made a top for it,” Crowder says, referring to Steve Spraggs, who, added a countertop approximating the color of the rest of the piece. He points to the chandelier, noting that he barely cleaned it up, leaving its peeling paint that gives the fixture a distressed look contrasting with crystal prisms that Crowder hung from it later. He acquired the chandelier from an antiques shop in New York that was going out of business in the 1980s, along with many others on Gotham’s Third Avenue, to make room for a new high-rise being built by an up-and-coming real estate tycoon by the name of Trump. “He bought out the different shop owners, but added an incentive that if they would get out earlier, he’d give them a bonus,” Crowder says, explaining that he had been buying chandeliers from the one particular dealer for years. “He said, ‘Why don’t you buy the whole thing?’ And we said, ‘OK!’” Crowder remembers. He estimates it took about 17 truckloads to haul the shop’s contents from Third Avenue to a warehouse in North Carolina, where Crowder and Hoesl moved in 1982. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

For Crowder, it was a homecoming. He had graduated from Greensboro College in 1969 with an art degree and, after teaching for a year, moved to Washington, D.C., where he gravitated toward interior decorating. While working at a showroom, he took the advice of a decorator: “If you’re serious about this, you need to go to New York.” Heeding his mentor’s advice, he landed in the Big Apple, where he met Hoesl. “We were in New York for 10 years,” says Crowder. “But I still had a lot of business up there for about 15 years. In fact, we had an apartment there.” It was the red clay of North Carolina, however, that would prove more fertile for putting down roots: Hoesl is active on Weatherspoon Art Museum’s board and Crowder serves on the altar guild at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church. And of course, the Gate City and surrounding environs have nourished their artistic talents. In 1987, Hoesl penned the first 5 by O.Henry series, five O.Henry short stories adapted to the stage for the Greensboro Historical Museum (now Greensboro History Museum). Thirty years later, the shows are still going strong. “Some 300 stories [to choose from]!” Hoesl says, marveling at O.Henry’s output of about two stories per week. “When [director] Barbara [Britton] calls, I just get the boxes out of the attic,” he says with a laugh, “She asks for five — I give her about eight to ten.” Apart from sorting through the material in the kitchen, Hoesl doesn’t typically work from the townhouse. It is, by and large, an extended canvas for Crowder, who rediscovered his passion for painting about 25 years ago. Ever working on his craft, he has taken classes from the likes of Alexis Lavine, John Beerman and Charlotte artist Andy Braitman. April 2018

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In the foyer by the front door hang two of Crowder’s abstracts, in mixed media on canvas. One, Images in Denim is a collage incorporating red paint spatters and swatches of denim, which, appeared in an exhibit last fall at Greensboro Cultural Center, 50 Shades of Blue, (two more from the show are stored in the attic alongside the 5 by O.Henry files). Hanging next to it is another collage in neutrals; on closer inspection, one can just make out the texture of corrugated cardboard, a carton for coffee pods, a paper towel, a cocktail napkin and a swath of terry cloth. “I call it LBI and the Statue of Liberty,” Crowder says, recounting a visit to a friend’s house in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. “They all wanted to go to the Statue of Liberty — in August. I said, ‘Bye!’” he continues. That afternoon, in the solitude of the empty beach house, he completed the work. “That was sand,” he says, pointing to a grainy, buffcolored section of the canvas. “I have a little jar that I brought some home in, if I wanted to use it,” he adds. Water is a consistent theme throughout the house, from the shell-covered mosaic vase in the kitchen to the brightly covered ceramic stoops (sconce-like vessels for holding holy water) in the hallway. Some are antiques, some are reproductions; one, Crowder acquired in Ravenna, Italy. “I like them because they’re small, and they’re so incredibly different, depending on the artist that’s making them,” Crowder says. “And even though they’re full of symbolism, no two are alike.” And then, of course, there is meandering Buffalo Creek, just outside the dining-room-turned studio, where at one end hangs a painting of a Venetian canal; at the other, draped over the red sofa by the fireplace is a small throw that reads, “Venice Biennale 2003.” One might say the fanciful Italian city is Crowder’s spiritual home. “Venice is my favorite place . . . In. The. Whole. World!” he says, waxing poetic about his first visit there in the mid ’80s: “It

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was in February, because I was skiing with two friends in the Dolomites, and then we went to Venice. And it was exactly like the movies — it was hazy and gray and mysterious,” he recalls. “I always said, ‘I don’t love being in water, but I love being on water.’” He hasn’t been to the Biennale in a while, owing to the bite that the Great Recession took out of his decorating and drapery hardware business, but the city of canals is never far from his imagination. In the corner of the dining room stands a cupboard of Venetian glass goblets and plates, and in the adjacent living room, where Hoesl is still absorbed with his book, stands a fanciful glass lamp, that looks as though it were plucked from one of Venice’s grand houses. On the far wall, hangs another homage to the city: one of Crowder’s realistic paintings of a bridge and a canal. The sitting area also demonstrates his reworking of the townhouse’s original concept. In the other units it is typically used as a master suite. For Crowder and Hoesel, the room, covered in Delft-colored floral fabric, (also the handiwork of Steve Spraggs and his father, Charles) is where they relax in the evenings. The two often take dinner at the small glass table while watching TV, cleverly concealed in a massive cupboard, or they sit and read by the floor-toceiling bookshelves crammed with art books and Crowder’s shadow box collages. These, he says, were inspired by Surrealist artist Joseph Cornell, one of Crowder’s artistic influences from his college days. Crowder removes a volume containing Cornell’s works from the shelves and leafs through it. “I’ve had to quit buying books,” he says with a sigh, “because the stacks are beginning.” And indeed, there are stacks of books scattered about. Many of them The Art & Soul of Greensboro

are about his beloved Venice, others about artists such as another idol, American painter John Singer Sargent. They fill credenzas, end tables, the night table on the master bedroom upstairs. Originally slated as a bonus room, Crowder’s design raised the ceiling, bringing in more eastern light through two alcoves . . . convenient storage space for his canvases. Like the downstairs, the room is also filled with objects and paintings, each with a fascinating provenance: the wooden triptych with beaded egg sculptures protruding from antennae, the work of a friend and artist Michael Haykin who is also responsible for the nearby series of watercolors of birds’ eggs from the collections at the American Museum of Natural History. Eggs were a passing interest of Crowder’s at the time. Moments of his life unfold in the small office on the other side of the hallway, filled with paintings and photographs — one of a cat peering outside a screen door. “We don’t have any here, but we used to be cat people,” Crowder says, before wandering through the guest bath, where there are more stoops alongside a splendid, painted glass mirror set inside a round frame of blue spikes, emulating sun’s rays. “It’s from Ecuador,” Crowder says, explaining that it was the last of a sample piece from Baker Furniture. Another of his box collages made with wrappers from Ferrer Rocher candy hangs on the wall, and just beneath it, a photograph of a sailboat from a vacation to the Greek Isles. He remembers sailing in the early morning “to some island that was probably uninhabited. Then we’d get off and have a picnic, swim or whatever. Then we’d sail off and get off at a port and go eat April 2018

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dinner at one of the restaurants,” Crowder reminisces. Echoes of Greece recur in another striking painting in the hallway: A portrait of the late Andreas Nomikos, painter, set designer, UNCG faculty member and close friend whom Crowder met through a mutual friend, Frances Loewenstein (wife of Modernist architect Ed Loewenstein). It was done when he was a young man of 30. “He turned 30 in 1947, the year I was born,” Crowder reflects. More artifacts from Nomikos’s life fill a curio cabinet in the guest bedroom: worry beads from his childhood in Greece, old blackand-white photographs. Alongside them in the curio cabinet are blue face jugs from Seagrove. “Joe went through a period where he thought they would be cool because he thought they would make him rich,” Crowder recalls with a laugh. In the far corner of the room is a shrine to 5 by O.Henry, a collage of clippings and playbills. It sits just beyond a glass table that Crowder decorated with a floral motif in decoupage. Resting on top of it are glass containers filled with seashells and matchbooks. “I don’t want to get rid of them, because so many of the places are gone,” Crowder muses. “Bistro Sofia, remember that? The Port Land Grille down in Wilmington. This one’s from Prague. A friend of mine says, ‘Oh I’ve got to bring you something.’ And I say, ‘Do not bring me any more materials!’” He pauses and laughs. “I’ve got too many boxes full of materials.” The garage downstairs bears him out. For here are shelves full of stuff: paints, and paint brushes, a box of poker chips, shopping bags. On the opposite wall are two more collages, one in brilliant red and yellow, bearing a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

design made with stencils from coffee pods, another using cartons from San Pellegrino and Perrier water; both will appear in the show at The View on Elm. “This is where I start flinging paint,” Crowder says, gesturing toward an easel where another collage rests. Among the shades of purple and gold is the ribbing from the neckline of an old T-shirt affixed to the canvas with modeling paste. “I was trying to see if I could make Joe park outside, and then I could have this whole half of the garage,” Crowder jokes. At the very least, he’ll open the garage doors and paint out there with longer and warmer days approaching. Come fall, Hoesl will dig around in the attic again for material that will serve as the basis for the next production of 5 by O.Henry. He is excited about the series’ move to a new auditorium, currently under construction, at Wellspring. Along the way they’ll see the steady flow of friends in and out, culminating in their annual New Year’s soiree. Next spring will see another profusion of daffodils growing in the side yard and with hope, yet more sprouting along the banks of Buffalo Creek. OH Nancy Oakley is the senior editor of O.Henry. ON VIEW AT THE VIEW The diverse talent of Bill Crowder will be on exhibit at The Gallery at The View on Elm (327 South Elm Street) from April 5th through June. Included in the show are realistic and abstract works in watercolor on Yupo and on watercolor paper, textured collages and acrylic paintings. For more info call (336) 274-1278 or visit April 2018

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I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden. –Ruth Stout By Ash Alder If the flowering cherry tree could speak, she wouldn’t tell of her own beauty. Words could never capture it. But with her powder soft voice, she might sing of the garden: banksia rose spilling over with fragrant yellow blooms; copper mobile, whirling beneath the redbud; foxglove, swooning from the tender kiss of the nectar-drunk hummingbird. She might sing of bluebirds or violets or kissing in the rain. Or maybe she does. Yes, can’t you hear her? Voice like a siren. Sultry as a whisper at the nape of your neck. Listen. She serenades the squirrel babes, blind and naked, whose mother built their nest with stuffing from the neighbor’s patio cushions. At twilight, she hums low while the pregnant doe clears a row of tulips sweet as candy. Sunny jonquils harmonize with whippoorwill — Look-at-me! Look-at-me! — but the deer moseys onward. As cherry maiden stifles laughter, all the world sings back.

While the Azalea’s Still Blooming . . . Plant the eggplants, beets and melons! Pumpkins, squash, green beans and peppers! And if you’re looking for a down-home summer — the white bread and black pepper type — sew the cukes and maters in the soft, cool earth.

Asparagus Season

Greek myth tells that spring is when Demeter, mother-goddess of harvest and fertility, celebrates the six-month return of her beautiful daughter, Persephone (goddess of the Underworld), by making the earth lush and fruitful once again. But what on earth did she do with all those tender green shoots of asparagus? Quiche. Soup. Risotto. Frittata. Asparagus custard tart . . . In the spirit of Easter (Sunday, April 1), how about a festive beverage to serve up with that asparagus-studded brunch? And don’t forget all those garden parties this month.

Carrot Bloody Mary (Serves 4)

Ingredients 32 ounces carrot juice 8 ounces vodka 6 ounces pickle juice juice from one-half lemon 5 dashes Worcestershire sauce 3 teaspoons crab seasoning (more for rimming) 3 teaspoons black pepper 2 teaspoons dill 2 teaspoons garlic powder 2 teaspoons ground ginger 2 teaspoons horseradish 2 teaspoons hot sauce (modify by your heat preference) Instructions Add all ingredients into a pitcher, then stir until combined.

Slide the flesh of a lemon around the rim of each pint glass, then place the rims onto a plate of crab seasoning to lace them. Fill pint glasses with ice, then pour the carrot juice mixture over top. — garnish with pickled vegetables, celery, or tomatoes. Enjoy!

The ancient Celts looked to the trees for knowledge and wisdom. According to Celtic tree astrology, those born from April 15 to May 12 associate with willow, an enchanted tree that symbolizes love, fertility, beauty and grace. Creative, patient and highly intuitive, willow people are mystical by nature. They are most compatible with birch (December 24 to January 20) and ivy (September 30 to October 27) signs.

April 2017



April 1–8

LAST CHANCE. Admire multimedia works at Sanford Biggers: Falk Visiting Artist. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or

April 1–22

PACKING UP. The exhibit, Baggage Claims, examining the effect of global commerce and travel on our daily lives, finishes its run. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or

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April 1–June 17

GLOWING COLE. See the multimedia works of a local talent at Carol Cole: Cast a Clear Light. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or

April 1–July 8

CITYSCAPES. Urban life takes the spotlight in City, Village Exurbia: Prints and Drawing from the Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.tedu.


13-15 &19-22

April 4

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet Ann B. Ross, author of Miss Julia Raises the Roof. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 5

LAWN PARTY. See a preview of Julian Price’s estate, Hillside, at a gala on the lawn. Hillside, 301 Fisher Park Circle, Greensboro. Tickets:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts Calendar




April 5 & 6

BLOW RE MI. 8 p.m. Get trump’d up, as Brandon Ridenhour and Greensboro Symphony orchestra perform Mendohlsson’s Trumpet Overture in C major, and more for the Tanger Outlets Masterworks Series. Dana Auditorium, 5800 W. Friendly Ave. Tickets: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or

April 5–11

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are home again. First National Bank Field, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or The Art & Soul of Greensboro




April 6

JUST QUILLAN’ TIME. 6 p.m. Hear the band Quilla at First Friday. GreenHill, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. And bookseller! Steve Mitchell of Scuppernong Books launches his latest, Cloud Diary. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or PRAISE BE! 7 p.m. Festival of Praise, that is. Catch some good ol’ gospel and other soul-stirring sounds. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate



City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets (800) 845-3000 or CASH FLOW. 8 p.m. Hear Grammy Award– winner and country royalty, Roseanne Cash. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Ticket: (336) 333-2605 or

April 7

N.C. SCIENCE FESTIVAL. 10 a.m. We all knew he was a hottie: At “Fire and Iron,” The Blacksmith explains using heat to transform raw material into objects. High Point Musuem, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 8851859 or April 2018

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Arts Calendar RISING SUN. 1 p.m. Come to an “Exploring Japan” open house for your, er, Edo-fication and to kick off the photography exhibit, Japan Through the Photographer’s Lens, running through 10/6. Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology, Wake Forest University, Wingate Road, WinstonSalem. Info: (336) 758-5282 or

April 7–30

HEAD FOR THE HILLSIDE. Take a selfguided tour of designer showhouse, Hillside, or walk through it with its current owners and/or Preservation Greensboro. 301 Fisher Park Circle, Greensboro. Tickets:

April 10

ARKANE. 7 p.m. Catch Stephen Spielberg’s blockbuster romp, Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), part of the Decades on Film series. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or

April 11

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet author

Rebecca Peters, at the launch of her book, Trust Women: A Progressive Christian Argument for Reproductive Justice. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or GILLIAN OF ALL TRADES. 8 p.m. Singer/ songwriter Gillian Welch brings her blend of bluegrass, Appalachian folk and Americana to the stage. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or

April 12

CHOMP! Noon. Get some green learnin’ at “Eat Your Way Through History and the Edibles in Our Garden.” Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 S. Main St., Kernersville. To register: (336) 998-7888 or AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 2 p.m. Meet Norman Ornstein, author of One Nation After Trump: A Guide for the Perplexed, the Disillusioned, the Desperate, and the Not-Yet Deported. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet Nick White, author of How to Survive a Summer. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 12–15

BY GEORGE! And Ira, too. Catch Touring Theatre of North Carolina’s The Memory of All That: A Cabaret of Gershwin Songs. Performance times vary. Upstage Cabaret at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

April 13

A FULLER EXPERIENCE. 11:30 a.m. & 6 p.m. Lunch and learn with Greensboro gal, artist Jenny Fuller, and toast her at a reception for her show, Sueños de Color: Color Dreams. Tyler White O’Brien Gallery, 307 State St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet Amy Willoughby Burle, author of The Lemonade Year. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or


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Arts Calendar April 13–15; & 19–22

R&H FACTOR. Hear Rodgers and Hammerstein’s beloved tunes from Oklahoma!, Carousel, South Pacific and more at Some Enchanted Evening. Performance times vary. Little Theatre of Winston-Salem, 610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 725-4001 or

April 14

PARTY FOR THE PLANET. 9 a.m. & 1 p.m. Help Mother Nature with some spring cleaning at the Great American Cleanup (to register go to Then celebrate Earth Day with hay rides, eco art, nature hikes and more. Kathleen Clay Edwards Family Library, 1420 Price Park, Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2923 or

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online @ The Art & Soul of Greensboro

DULCET TONES. 8 p.m. & 7:30 p.m. Bel Canto Company closes its 35th anniversary season with “There Is Sweet Music Here,” including the works of Sergei Rachmaninoff, René Clausen, Dan Forrest and more. First Presbyterian Church, 617 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332220 or

April 14

FLORA SHOW. 8 a.m. & 2 p.m. Stock up on green things at the Annual Plant Sale and stick around for the Spectacular Spring Tulip Bloom. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 S. Main St., Kernersville. Info: (336) 998-7888 or

April 15

FIDDLE DEE DEE. 4 p.m. Scottish fiddle that is. Hear one of its greatest practitioners, Alasdair Fraser, with accompaniment by cellist Natalie Haas. Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 838-3006 or

FOR BETTER OR VERSE. 7 p.m. Hear selections from Eyes Glowing at the Edge of the Woods: Fiction and Poetry From West Virginia. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 17

FOR BITTER OR WORSE. 6 p.m. Hear Triad Stage Reading Group read selections from Jerry Bledsoe’s Bitter Blood. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 18

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet musician and author, Radney Foster who will read from his short story collection, For You to See the Stars. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 19

HERBAN OUTFITTERS. 7 a.m. That would be the N.C. Unit of the Herb Society of America, which hosts its annual plant sale. Dormition of

N.C. SCIENCE FESTIVAL. 10 a.m. Catch gold fever at a discussion of the history and chemistry of gold — and pan for some, too. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or

April 14 & 16

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Arts Calendar the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: LBT. 7:30 p.m. Meaning, Little Big Town, the country superstars touring with their current album, The Breaker. Greensboro Colsieum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or A KNIGHT TO REMEMBER. 8 p.m. The midnight train to Georgia has pulled out of the station and is headed this way! Soul songstress Gladys Knight will bring down the house at the Command Performance Benefit Gala. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or

April 19–22

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are home again. First National Bank Field, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or

April 20

WU HOO! 7:30 p.m. Percussionist She-e Wu strikes a chord — or rather several — on the marimbas at Music for a Great Space. Van Dyke Performance

Space, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Tickets: 800) 838-3006 or

April 21

UN-CORKL’D. N.C. Literary Hall of Fame inductee and O.Henry contributor Jill McCorkle gives the keynote address at the North Carolina Writers' Network 2018 Spring Conference, which includes workshops, discussions and more. UNCG Campus. To register:

April 21

N.C. SCIENCE FESTIVAL. 10 a.m. You’ll appreciate the convenience of your cell phone photos when you hear Benita VanWinkle explain the intricacies of early photography. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or

April 21–May 27

STUDENT BODIES OF WORK. See the artworks of eight local graduate students at 2018 UNCG M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or

April 22

GREEN FOR GREENBACKS. 9 a.m. With flowers, herbs, perennials, annuals and then some, Go Green Annual Plant Sale is the largest event featuring local growers exclusively. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2402 or

April 24

HUSH, HUSH. 7 p.m. Love conquers all in the silent movie Sunrise (1927). Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or

Greensboro 25 & 29

BOUND TO BOUND. 7 p.m. & 2 p.m. Learn how to lend a hand to literati at Greensboro Bound volunteer training. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 26

AUTHOR! AUTHOR! 7 p.m. Meet Leah Weiss,


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2018

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Arts Calendar author of If the Creek Don’t Rise. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

April 28

N.C. SCIENCE FESTIVAL. 10 a.m. Ferment this! Learn how fermentation produces everyday staples, such as yogurt, cheese and beer. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or PET PROJECT. 11 a.m. Nanhall Pet Spa celebrates its 50th anniversary — or, in dog years, its 350th. Come join in the fun. Nanhall Pet Spa, 123 Manley Ave., Greensboro. (336) 852-9867 or ELEMENT-ARY. 8 p.m. As in, Earth, Wind & Fire, whose funked up beats, along with the tunes of Blood, Sweat & Tears, are the basis of Greensboro Symphony’s Tanger Outlet Pops Series concert. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3355456, ext. 224 or BIBLIOPHILE BASH. 6:30 p.m. Let’s hear it for Cal Shepard, retiring State Librarian of North

Carolina, literacy advocate and first recipient of the Friends of the Libraries Award at UNCG Friends of the Libraries’ 60th annual dinner, with guest presenter, author Marianne Gingher. Greensboro Country Club, 410 Sunset Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

April 29

GARDEN PARTY. Noon. Dust off your best salsa or cha cha moves for Groovin’ in the Garden — with a Latin Groove. Gateway Gardens, 2924 E. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: OPUS CONCERT. 3 p.m. Youth Jazz Ensemble mixes it up under the direction of Wally West. Trinity Church, 5200 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2549 or

April 29–May 20

ZOLA-FIED. Émile Zola’s naturalistic novel, Thérèse Raquin, gets a Southern Twist in Preston Lane’s theatrical adaptation, The Passion of Teresa Rae King. Performance times vary. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or

April 30

ALL IN ONE. 8 p.m. He sings! He dances! He writes, directs and designs costumes! Catch American Idol semi-finalist Todrick Hall in "Todrick Hall American: The Forbidden Tour." Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or


BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music, movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum. com. CHAT-EAU. Noon. French leave? Au contraire! Join French Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

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April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Friendly Shopping Center, Greensboro, NC 1-800-528-3618


April 2018

O.Henry 91

Arts Calendar Tuesdays

READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to story times: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months) meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom; Family Storytime for all ages meets at 6:30 p.m. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or PINT-SIZED GARDENERS. 3:30 p.m. Instill in your kiddies a love of gardening and edible things at Little Sprouts (ages 3 to 5 years). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898 or PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’ 6 until 9 p.m. Y’all come for Songs from a Southern Kitchen: Abigail Dowd and Jason Duff (4/3); Mark Kano, Josh King, Jordan Powers (4/10); Dave Cecil and Jack King (4/17); Graymatter (4/24). 1421 W. Wendover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3700707 or CREATIVE KIN. 5 to 7 p.m. Moms, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and cousins: Enjoy a free evening of artistic expression at ArtQuest.

GreenHill, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 until 10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by AM rOdeO — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Afterschool Storytime convenes for children of all ages. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 8 a.m. until noon. Starting April 18, the produce is fresh and the cut fleurs are belles. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info:


TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime convenes for children ages 3–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St., High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or

ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30 until 8 p.m. Hear live, local jazz featuring Dave Fox, Neill Clegg and Matt Kendrick (aka the O.Henry Trio) — and guests Nishah DiMeo (4/5), Lynn Koonce (4/12), Clinton Horton (4/19) and Carrie Marshall (4/26). All performances are at the O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby Bar. No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754 or OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2742699 or


MINI MAKERS. 11 a.m. Let your child (age 5 or younger) bring out his or her inner van Gogh at ArtQuest’s Masterpiece Fridays, featuring tales from classic storybooks and artistic activities. Cost is $6 per person. GreenHill, 200 N. Davie

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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April 2018

O.Henry 93

modern furniture made locally

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511 S Elm St. | Greensboro NC 27406 | 336.370.1050 April 2018


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

St. Greensboro. To register: (336) 333-7460 or

Arts Calendar

763-1919 or WRITE IS MIGHT. 3 p.m. Avoid writer’s block by joining a block of writers at Come Write In, a confab of scribes who discuss their literary projects. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or

THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $5 Fun Fridays ($2 on First Fridays). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or

Fridays & Saturdays

NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 9054060 or information.


TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until noon. The produce is still fresh and the cut fleurs still belles. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: THRICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Hear a good yarn at Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336)

JAZZ ENCORE. 6:30 p.m. Hear contemporary jazz cats the Mac McLaughlin Group (4/7), Roberto Orihuela (4/14), Vaughn Penn (4/21), Brenda Morie (4/28) while noshing on seasonal tapas at O.Henry Jazz series for Select Saturdays. O.Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 8542000 or IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2742699 or


HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grownups, too. A $5 admission, as opposed to the usual

$10, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Chutrch St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or

MISSING YOUR GRANDMA? 3 p.m. until it’s gone: Tuck into Chef Felicia’s skillet-fried chicken, and mop that cornbread in, your choice, giblet gravy or potlikker. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 W. Wendover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or

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O.Henry 95

Business & Services

etc. Consignment • 336-659-7786

etc. Home • 336-659-0900

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96 O.Henry

April 2018

2222 Patterson St. #A | Greensboro, NC 27407 336.852.7107 | Only one block from the coliseum.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Bargello and Needlepoint


taught by Jean Farish

StartiNg april 10, 2018

1614-C West Friendly Avenue Greensboro, nC 27403 336-272-2032

We Service What We Sell & Offer Personal Attention 336-854-9222 •

2201 Patterson Street, Greensboro, NC (2 Blocks from the Coliseum) Mon. - Fri.: 9:30am - 5:30 pm Sat. 10 am - 2 pm • Closed Sunday

ASHMORE RARE COinS & MEtAlS Since 1987

• 30 years as a major dealer of Gold, Silver, and Coins • Most respected local dealer for appraising and buying Coin Collections, Gold, Silver, Diamond Jewelry and Sterling Flatware • Investment Gold, Silver, & Platinum Bullion

Visit us: or call 336-617-7537 5725 W. Friendly Ave. Ste 112 • Greensboro, NC 27410 Across the street from the entrance to Guilford College

MondAy-FridAy: 10:00-6:00 sAturdAy: 10:00-4:00

Business & Services

Shop LocaL for beSt priceS

Voted Best Menswear Store 2015, 2016, & 2017 Greensboro’s Finest Clothier

Jack Victor Hart ScHaffner Marx Ballin trouSerS Bill’S kHakiS reMy leatHer GitMan BrotHerS Baroni couture

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the HUB ltd 2921-D Battleground Ave. • Greensboro 336.545.6535 | Monday-Saturday: 11 aM - 5 pM

April 2018

O.Henry 97

Business & Services

We Buy, Renovate and Sell Residential Real Estate



You are cordially invited to celebrate with the

Arts & Culture

Dolley & Me Tea Saturday, May 5 th at 11:00am A multi-generational event at the O. Henry Hotel that is perfect for adults & children along with their favorite doll or stuffed animal. The event honors First Lady Dolley Madison’s 250th birthday and benefits the Greensboro History Museum. Special Guest: NC First Lady, Mrs. Kristin Cooper

98 O.Henry

Event Tickets: $75.00 Each Seating is Limited, call today!

Presenting Sponsor: Stacey Ofsanko, Broker/REALTORÂŽ

For tickets & info, please call 336-373-2982 or visit April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

kevin rutan’s

12th annual



A New Mel Brooks Musical


Original direction and choreography by Susan Stroman By special arrangement with StudioCanal

friday april 20th 1pm-5pm

saturday april 21st 11am-5pm

sunday april 22nd 12pm-4pm

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

first time open to the public


new paintings

for spring!

at the studio 612 joyner st • greensboro, nc all major credit cards accepted


The Producers Is presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI). All authorized performance materials are also supplied by MTI.



20, 21, 26, 27, 28 @ 7:30 PM 22, 29 @ 2 PM 3, 4,5 @ 7:30 PM 6 @ 2 PM

Arts & Culture

B R 0 A D W A

Music & Lyrics by MEL BROOKS

Tickets: $10-30 (+NC Sales Tax and $2 Restoration Fee)

CTGSO.ORG or 336.333.SHOW (7469)

April 2018

O.Henry 99

Arts & Culture

ere Is Sweet Music Here

35th Anniversary Season

Exceptional, Innovative & Engaging Choral Performances for All

Saturday APRIL 14 8:00 pm Monday APRIL 16 7:30 pm

First Presbyterian Church

617 N Elm St, Greensboro

The season’s final concert will excite your imagination as we celebrate Bel Canto Company’s signature choral sound and 35 years of beautiful singing. | (336) 333-2220 Tickets: $30, $25 Seniors, $10 College Students, $5 High School Students & Younger

100 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


state of the ART • north carolina

Sueńo de Color Color Dreams Jenny Fuller F e at u r i n g

Dead and Gone • Original Artwork Oil on Linen Canvas • 36” x 48” • $3,500

Lunch & Learn with jenny at 11:30am-1pm ($20) artist’s reception 6-8pm (free & open to the pubLic)

come join us for a fun evening with food provided by café pasta & great art featuring Greensboro native jenny fuller.

T8pEm A D E V 5 A SApril 21st • ons the

f MeridithMartens.Artist • 910.692.9448

307 State Street, Greensboro (336) 279-1124 •

Arts & Culture

aPrIl 13, 2018

Cray r Matte e r

Is Dra ay Fun urten o C y s b

lD eD Host D braD FIe an

WORLD PREMIERE Murder and passion come to Hawboro in a scandalous new thriller.

APRIL 29-MAY 20 First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes murder. Triad Stage returns to Hawboro, this time to the wrong side of the tracks. A young woman beleaguered by her husband and terrorized by her mother-in-law finds comfort in the arms of another man. They carry out a plot meant to free Teresa, but the repercussions of their actions haunt them and threaten to drive them to madness. Join Triad Stage for this World Premiere loosely inspired by Émile Zola’s novel Thérèse Raquin. For mature audiences.

BUY TICKETS TODAY! 232 SOUTH ELM STREET | GREENSBORO | 336.272.0160 | TRIADSTAGE.ORG The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 101

Paul J. Ciener

Botanical Garden Chip Callaway Lecture Series

April’s Lunch and Learn at the Garden . . .

“Eat Your Way Through History and the Edibles in our Kitchen Garden” by Adrienne Roethling PJCBG Director of Curation and Mission Delivery

Thursday, April 12, 2018, 12:00 noon FREE to Members of PJCBG $2 donation for nonmembers Hear about the rich history of the Moravians and their settlement of Old Salem. Learn how their history ties into our garden displays and understand the successes of growing, harvesting, teaching and donating, the vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers that encompass the small kitchen garden space at PJCBG.

Registration is required. Register online or call 336-996-7888. Bring your lunch. The Garden will provide drinks.


Mark Your Calendars for April 14, 2018 Saturday, April 14, 2018 8:00 am-1:00 pm (PJCBG Members Only Pre-Sale Thursday, April 12, 2018, 1:00-6:00 pm) Plants for sun and shade, selected trees, shrubs, herbaceous perennials and more will be on sale. A list of plants will be posted on our website, prior to the sale. Proceeds benefit the future development of the Garden. Come find something perfect for your garden!

Spectacular Spring Tulip Bloom Saturday, April 14, 2018, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm Come and enjoy the over 24,000 bulbs that will be blooming in a glorious celebration of Spring (open and free to the public). Refreshments will be served.

Empowering Dreams. Embracing Legacies.

Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden invites elementary school students to

“Roots of Our Nutrition” in participation with

Tuesday, April 24 and Thursday, April 26, 2018 Students will enjoy a 25-minute guided tour of our Kitchen Garden where they can sample vegetables with edible roots such as carrots, beets, radishes and more. A short presentation will follow covering the functions of roots and the nutritional benefits of eating root plants. The cost is free, making this an affordable field trip opportunity. Tour availability is limited and reservations are required . One teacher or chaperone per every 10 students is required.

Please email or call Toni Hays at 336-996-7888 for more information and to reserve your time.

Paul J. Ciener BotaniCal Garden 215 S. Main Street, Kernersville 336-996-7888

102 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life & Home


w e m A k e FA s h i o n P e r s o n A l


L E T ’ S


M O V I N G !

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336.207.0515 •

©2017 BHH Affiiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

may 1 - may 10 Please contact me for your personal appointment.

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Pick up a good read, help those in need! Thursday, april 26 9am-8pm Friday, april 27 9am-8pm saTurday, april 28 9am-1pm Thanks To our sponsors!

Title Sponsors: Best Logistics Group and Triad Freightliner of Greensboro Dr. Seuss Sponsor: Triad Urgent Care, PLLC Gold Sponsors: Plybon & Associates • Brown Gardiner Drug Co. Kaley Orthodontics

3506 Lawndale, Greensboro, NC (between Cone Blvd. and Pisgah Church Rd.) 336-288-4721 •

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

gracious 4 bed 4 1/2 bath home overlooking Buffalo lake features a cook’s kitchen, 3 fireplaces. master on main. lower level could be guest quarters.


336.337.7230 •

April 2018

O.Henry 103


Steve & Cynthia Holzheimer


Bel Canto Company Saturday, February 10, 2018

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Gerald & Marjorie Donnelly

Jeff Carlson, Jill Amidon Strickland, Dr. Welborn Young Pat Bailey, Connie Kotis, Dee Irwin

Jim & Sue Keith

Connie Kotis, Bud & Jill Strickland Carolyn & Norman Smith

Glenn & Mary Lou Strohl

Deb Harris Richardson, Chuck Winfree, Susan Hill

Elena DeAngelis

Barbara Cromheecke, Suzannah Kleese

Rosanne Roberts, Vonda Moorefield

104 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Indira & Kevin Roberts

Olga & Debra Frederick

Dancing with the Carolina Stars Operation Smile Carolinas Saturday, February 10, 2018

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Sonny Vestal, Lisa Simpson

Kathy Carter, Brittany Carroll

Kimberly Watts, Barbara Lamb, Nancy Schildz

Pam & George Wheeler Justin & Emily Orab

Paul Mengert, Joselin Paz

Christy & Mike Wert, Rebekah McConnell

Christina Rama & Kami Rowan

Kendra Palmer, James Mandanici, Toni Timin, Judith Barber

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gregory Hopkins, Hayleigh Carroll

April 2018

O.Henry 105

Think Mother’s Day JULIE VOS JEWELRY TRUNK SHOWING April 18th through April 21st

Clothing, Accessories

Gifts & More!

1804 Pembroke Rd. • Greensboro, NC 27408 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) • 336.763.7908 Mon. - Fri. 11-5:30pm & Sat. 11-4pm by Celeste

lAdIeS ClothING, GIftS, BABy, jewelry, GIftS for the home, tABlewAre, delICIouS food

1738 Battleground Ave • Irving Park Plaza Shopping Center • Greensboro, NC • (336) 273-3566



Sewing Machines Vacuum Cleaners/Supplies Authorized Husqvarna, Viking, Pfaff and Brother Dealer Repair and Service Classes and Machine Instruction

Family Owned Serving Greensboro for over 36 year


1710 Battleground Ave. • Greensboro, NC

336.274.6793 • Mon, Tue, Thur, Fri 10:00am-5:30pm Wed 10:00am-1:00pm • Sat 10:00am-3:00pm

106 O.Henry

April 2018

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Beryl & Thaddeus McEwen

Evan Olson & Jessica Mashburn

GreenScene Academy of SHEroes

YWCA Greensboro Thursday, February 8, 2018

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Curtis Byrd, Jennifer Redfern, Jessica & DeJuan Gailes

Julie Grimley, Stephen Young

Bennie Bradley, Adrienne Egerton

Tyson Strandburg, Hannah Pomphrey

Carol Davis, Lynda Clifford

Sandra Hughes, Donna Pickett

Margaret Arbuckle, Jane Brabham

Renica Greene

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Anne Hummel

Wanda Bryant

Brandi Calhoun, Kia Garrett, Tika Robbs

April 2018

O.Henry 107


Nancy & Jim Bryan

Joan Samet, Phil & Peggy Johnson

Eastern Music Festival Scholarship Gala Friday, March 2, 2018

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Ronnie Graybon, Melanie Tuttle Patti & Al Stephens

Marilyn & Charles John, Chris & Laura Tew

Marc Samet & Deborah Kintzing, Kevin & Tace Loeb, Pamela Haber, Jason Mostofsky

Edward Cordick, Judith Saxton

Chris Williams, Joe Bryan Jr, Gerard Schwartz Steve & Meredith Musuli

Alejandra & Cliff Thompson, Linda O’Briant, Gerad Schwartz

Don McMillion, Tim Lane, Lou McMillion

108 O.Henry

April 2018

Jeff Johnson, Robin Lane, Bridget Brown Johnson, Timothy Lane

Joan & Doug Stone

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Simply Meg’s

Come visit our retail shop! 1616 Battleground Avenue, Suite D-1 Greensboro, NC 27408

Savvy Style. Purely PerSonal.

Dover Square

Floral Design Delivery Service Home Décor & Gifts Weddings & Special Events



1616-H Battleground ave 27408 • greensBoro, nC 336.272.2555 • 10am-5:30pm-mon.-sat. • www.simplymegs.Com

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Waterfront or Golf Course livinG

Lakefront Grandeur

Luxury Lakefront

Lakefront Splendor

Overlooks GCC golf

Walk to GCC golf course

2 7 0 0 L a k e F or e st Dr i v e

9 Cha r Leston s qua r e

7 BLue G i LL C ove

1 1 0 1 sunset Dr i ve

2202 L aFay et te avenue

Chesnutt - Tisdale Team Xan Tisdale 336-601-2337

Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687 ©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2018

O.Henry 109

Unique Shoes! Beautiful Clothes!! Artisan Jewelry!!! Shoes Sizes 6 - 11 • Clothes Sizes S - XXL

507 State Street, Greensboro NC 27405 336-275-7645 • Mon - Sat 11am - 6pm

110 O.Henry

April 2017

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Accidental Astrologer

Breaking Bad It’s Aries’ time to shine . . . and go their own way

By Astrid Stellanova

Star Children, don’t expect a description of the first sign in the

horoscope. Aries folks kick over the traces, when anyone dares apply adjectives to them. Lady Gaga. Leonardo da Vinci. Maya Angelou. All Aries, and all tending to have the kind of force field that others notice. Aries don’t take kindly to boredom, following the pack or tradition. They do take kindly to impulse, hacking a trail straight into the thicket and breaking norms right over your head if they have to, all in the name of the Aries fierce individuality. Diamonds, daisies and sweet peas are hallmarks of Aries, which sounds nice, right? Well, diamonds are the hardest substance on Earth — from the Greek word for “unbreakable” — just right for this fire sign. Ad Astra — Astrid Aries (March 21–April 19) Nobody would believe it, Ram. But your birthday most always knocks you sideways. What’s in a little ole number, Sugar? You can’t accept your age because you: Don’t feel it, look it and sure don’t act it. However, here you are — and that birth certificate don’t lie. As an actual fact, embracing that scary new number is the first step towards discovering that it may be your luckiest one. Honey, do remember that you are the lucky one until your number is, well, up? (And when did you ever care what somebody else thought, anyhoo?) Taurus (April 20–May 20) You, being an unusually mellow and chill Taurus this month, have everybody thrown for a little ole loop. Your newfound self-restraint is about as unexpected as a fainting goat at the petting zoo. Call it age. Call it wisdom. Call it about time. Your friends and family are cheering you on and loving it. Gemini (May 21–June 20) The heart wants what it wants. And then, well, snap, it doesn’t. You set out to get what you thought you wanted, made sure you got it, then threw it out the window of a moving car. Now you are going back and forth down that lonesome road hoping to find it and retrieve it. Sugar, it is too late for that, but you’re not too old to learn from it. Cancer (June 21–July 22) You remind me of that tea towel that reads: “Loose women tightened up here.” You’ve found a whole new sense of humor, new ways to enjoy yourself and break free, and the road to more discovery is straight ahead. Don’t listen to your critics. If they insist you get tight, do it with a cocktail. Leo (July 23–August 22) Some people are like poison ivy, flourishing on shade. That’s the problem with one of your closest confidants. Resist the urge to overshare. As irresistible as the gossip is, it is also toxic and some of that poison will spill onto you if you don’t watch it. Virgo (August 23–September 22) Trying to be all things to all people is like trying to teach sex education and driver’s education in the same car! That’s a lot like what you’ve been doing lately — straddling two very different goals and managing neither one. What is your true intention? What do you really want, Honey?

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Libra (September 23–October 22) A recent family fracas left you smarting from a little rope-a-dope. Shake it off, Sugar. Then get yourself a new attitude and close your lips. There is nothing you can say that will make things resolve, and it is not your destiny to leave every family feud with rope burns. It will play out and you can make an exit. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) You’re a secret intellectual. You like crossword puzzles and mind games. So, what are you doing joining a book club that only reads beer labels? Why are you hiding yourself when you are smarter than you want to admit? Fess up and step up. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) You didn’t just shoot yourself in the foot. You speared yourself. Lucky for you, this is not a fatal wound. In the future, you will laugh about the way you bumbled your way into a storm of epic proportions, but Honey, right now what you need most is a bandage. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) If the good guys really did wear white hats and sit tall in the saddle, life would be easier on all of us. But life ain’t a Western. And, frankly, you have a little secret of your own. If you could unburden yourself and make amends, you might stop picking fights with the bad guys. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Three times. That’s how often an opportunity is going to knock. After that, it may be a dry spell. Opening the door won’t be all that scary, Honey Bun. But letting a good opportunity walk away might be a thing to regret. Pisces (February 19–March 20) In the shoulda-coulda-woulda competition, you took first prize. Now try walking the path moving forward, instead of walking it backward. If we got it right the first time, we would all graduate from the big school of life. But nobody does. Secondguessing is not a goal to pursue. OH

For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path.

April 2017

O.Henry 111

O.Henry Ending

One, Two, Cha-ChaCha

By Mamie Potter

Mr. and Mrs. Guyes were the

tallest parents in the neighborhood. Mrs. Guyes had dark eyes and blond hair sprayed and teased to frame her high cheekbones. Mr. Guyes’ hair was thick and black. They were always tanned. They owned an upscale clothing store where they greeted us by name. Their children — a boy and girl — were quiet and well-behaved, thin and tall like their parents. They were the only Jewish people I knew.

The Guyes’ house — what would now be showcased as a Mid-Century Modern — was merely an anomaly among the ’50s’ split-levels and three-bedroom ranches on our street. It was one-story, long and sleek, where our houses were solid and functional with basements or bomb shelters. The siding was mahogany-colored in a neighborhood of “Mint Green” and “Sunshine Yellow” houses. The interior was filled with white leather couches that stayed white, and glass tables with no fingerprints. Our yard had a swing set and places where the red North Carolina clay and four-leaf clover thrived. The Guyes’ backyard was full of azaleas, flowers that seemed to grow year-round and endless green grass. That summer I was twelve and a half. Has there ever been a more selfconscious creature than a 12-year-old girl? All my limbs felt too long, my elbows and knees bony as a newborn giraffe’s. My face and breasts broke out at the same time, and I obsessed about getting rid of the pimples while I rubbed my breasts because I’d heard it would make them grow. One night my parents were having drinks on the Guyes’ patio. We never had people over for drinks on the patio — we didn’t have a patio. While the other children played in our yard, I hung around the adults as only adolescent girls do. I snuck looks at my mom, perched precariously on the Guyes’ privacy fence, spilling a little of her martini and laughing in a way I’d never heard her

112 O.Henry

April 2017

laugh before. I was embarrassed for her — she was being so silly. I wanted her to act like she did at home. Music came from unseen speakers. Mr. and Mrs. Guyes started dancing. Mr. Guyes would pull her close, then she’d twirl away, waving one elegant hand in the air, her linen sheath setting off her slim brown legs. I’d never seen grown-ups dance except on television. I worried that my mother and father would start dancing too. I sat at the edge of the patio, ready to leave if they did. Mrs. Guyes said something to her husband. They stopped dancing, and he walked over to where I sat and reached out his hand. “Would you like to learn the cha-cha?” he said. I was horrified that anyone was paying attention to me, but the idea of dancing with this very tall, very imposing grown-up? Out of the question. “No, sir, but thank you,” I said, standing, my face on fire, one foot headed toward the safety of my house. But my dad said, “Come on, Mamie, be a sport!” I never, ever wanted to disappoint my dad, so I let Mr. Guyes lead me by the hand. My palms were sweaty, and my face, if possible, redder. Mr. Guyes took me through the steps. As I cha-chaed my way around the patio, all of my awkwardness disappeared. I even twirled, pivoting on Mr. Guyes’ hand, delighted at my gracefulness. I never wanted the dance to be over. But the song ended, and everyone clapped. I said a quick goodbye and ran home. For months afterward, I practiced the cha-cha in our basement, finding the beat in almost every song. Mr. Guyes died late last year, and the memory came back to me: the white concrete patio that led to the cool interior of the house, my mom laughing on the fence, and my 12-year-old body moving gracefully through the hot summer night air. OH Mamie Potter, a Greensboro native, returns often to visit relatives, cruise her old haunts, and sit quietly at Green Hill Cemetery. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Learning the dance of life

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O.Henry April 2018  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry April 2018  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro