February 2013 O.Henry

Page 1

3902 D OVER PARK ROAD - $3,650,000

6875 BOWMAN DAIRY ROAD - $1,695,000

8 LOCH RIDGE COURT - $1,679,000

On 2 lots overlooking Grandover’s east course, this masterpiece is 3 floors & over 10,000 square feet of exquisite finish and design. Bedrooms, baths, living & entertainment on every level; 4-car garage, 3 bars, heated marble floors, alarm system with motion sensors.

Ranch/horse farm with 48.2 acres located minutes from Greensboro and Burlington. Large custom built home with master on the main, tennis court and pool. Rolling pastures, pond, 2 horse barns, 1 hay barn, lovely private setting. An amazing property.

Provincetown. 6 bedroom, 5 full bath & 3 half bath home on private cul-de-sac overlooking Buffalo Lake. 11,400+ SF. High ceilings, custom moldings, hardwood/tile flooring. Master suite on main level with his & her closets. Heated pool, security system & generator. A must see.

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8 SAILVIEW COVE - $1,593,000

1101 SUNSET DRIVE - $1,590,000

8 CLUBVIEW COURT - $1,200,000

A one-of-a-kind property in Northern Shores Estates. Premium location with expansive water views, custom-built with all the amenities you would expect & then some, great storage in addition to the living areas. Great layout with 6 bedrooms, 6 full and 2 half baths.

Beautiful home with golf course view on elevated lot in historic Old Irving Park. 5 bedrooms, 5 full & 2 half baths. 10’ ceilings on main level, 2 gas log fireplaces - great room & keeping room. Master bedroom on main level with adjoining large bath with whirlpool tub & oversized shower.

Stunning home features dramatic 2-story den with handsome fireplace & stately windows overlooking terrace & golf course. Fabulous kitchen with Viking & Wolf appliances; first floor master suite with spa bath; keeping room, breakfast room, formal living & dining rooms.

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21 LOCH RIDGE DRIVE - $1,095,000

1914 LAFAYETTE - $1,045,000

Magnificent estate home on a beautiful Provincetown cul de sac, graced with 6 fireplaces, a grand dining room, paneled library, theater with full bar, gourmet kitchen, a grand master suite with glamorous bath. This home also enjoys a full basement with a gym & sauna.

Old Irving Park beauty with fabulous updates. Open floor plan with period details and natural sunlight. Master, plus bedroom with private bath on main level. GCC golf course lot with unobstructed views. Impressive patio with outdoor kitchen and water/fire feature.

Tom Chitty 336-420-2836

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 3, No. 2

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



227A North Spring Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 www.ohenrymag.com

Holds the keys to your Heart.

Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director andie@ohenrymag.com Ashley Wahl, Associate Editor 336.617.0090 • ashley@ohenrymag.com Cassie Butler, Photographer/Graphic Designer Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors David C. Bailey, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser Photographers Sam Froelich, Stacey Van Berkel

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David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales & Circulation Director 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 Amy Grove, 336.456.0827

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4 O.Henry

February 2013



Advertising Graphic Design Cassie Butler, 910.693.2464 cassie@pinestrawmag.com ©Copyright 2013. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

1/9/13 12:26 PM

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

this year, someone will celebrate a milestone... a birthday an engagement a promotion a victory a graduation


we’re here for all of life’s celebrations!


departments & columns

February 2013 Features

Sweet 45

Poetry By Sarah Lindsay

The Life of Bryan 46 By Jim Schlosser

The enduring legacy of Joe Bryan

Heart of a City 48 The Helping another may be the ultimate expression of love

The Love Nest 60

By Maria Johnson

Stylish, modest, and oh-so-thoroughly-modern

Winter Bloomers 68

9 Hometown By Jim Dodson 12 Short Stories Your Guide to the Good Life City Muse 17 the By Ashley Wahl 19 The Omnivorous Reader By Stephen E. Smith 23 Vine Wisdom By TC Frazier 25 Food For Thought By David C. Bailey 29 Artist at work By Jim Schlosser 33 Street Level By Jim Schlosser 39 The sporting life By Tom Bryant 43 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 78 Arts Calendar 86 The GreenScene 95 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 96 O.Henry Ending By Jo Maeder

By Lee Rogers

Brilliant garden color in the season’s darkest days


February Almanac

By Noah Salt

Winter stars for dummies and St. Valentine unplugged

6 O.Henry

February 2013

Cover Photograph of Joseph & K athleen Bryan

Courtesey of the Bryan Archives, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA

Photograph this Page by Stacey Van Berkel

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Forever 52 By Jim dodsoN


n a cold Friday in late January of 1975, I skipped a senior history seminar class at college and drove three hours home to surprise my father for his 60th birthday, bringing him a bottle of his favorite Napoleon brandy. I found him sitting alone in his cozy office behind old Irving Park Shopping Center, reading Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings, a collection of essays about life and faith. The office was empty, I learned, because he’d taken his six employees to lunch at Irving Park Delicatessen and then insisted — owing to snow flurries in the air — that they take the afternoon off, typically never mentioning it happened to be his birthday. My old man’s youthful energy and generous optimism had even fooled me. Had my mother not phoned me on the sly just to let me know my dad was turning 60, I might have skipped what turned out to be a memorable afternoon with him. The moment I appeared before him, at any rate, flushed with cold and holding his favorite tipple, he hopped up and gave me a warm hug and wondered — with a sudden look of mild concern — why I’d come home unannounced. Was everything OK back at school, with life in general, with my new girlfriend? I assured him everything was just fine with all the above, and that I might even soon graduate. I’d simply come home, I pointed out, to mark his important milestone of a birthday. “It’s not every day you turn 60,” I said. “Don’t make it sound so old,” he shot back genially. “My best years are ahead. Besides, I subscribe to both Satchel Paige and Lady Astor on the subject. Paige said getting older is all a question of mind over matter — as in, if you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.” “What about Lady Astor?” “She refused to admit she was a day older than 52 — even if it meant all her children were illegitimate.” He laughed, I laughed, and we pried open the Napoleon brandy and had a legitimate snoot to Paige and Astor and being forever 52. In just over a week, he reminded me, I would turn 22. “Blink your eyes, young buck, and you’ll be turning 60, too. You won’t believe how quickly you’ll get there. The bad news is, your golf game won’t be worth a hoot. The good news is, you may be a lot wiser and happier than you The Art & Soul of Greensboro

can even imagine at this point. That’s why you should never waste a minute complaining about the way things turn out. Everything evolves and there are always compensations.” This was vintage Opti the Mystic, the silly nickname my brother and I had for our everupbeat father the eternal optimist, the gung-ho early riser, a true believer and adman with a poet’s heart. Whatever else was true, he did seem an almost ageless character in our eyes, an inspiration to his friends and employees and — save the graying temples — almost immune to growing old. Yet I remember sitting with him companionably sipping my brandy as the snow picked up outside and asking him — a bit smugly, upon reflection, sounding every bit the history seminarian — to tell me a dozen things he’d learned in 60 years. “Oh,” he said vaguely, clearly enjoying my surprise visit and his toddy, “this and that. You already know some of them. You’d probably laugh, being almost 22.” “Try me,” I insisted. So he did — though I can only recall the broad strokes of his reply. The usual themes of his core beliefs were certainly present — always keep an open mind, never stop learning as you go, laugh at yourself, whatever you give to others comes back double in other ways — things my brother and I had heard him say (and rolled our eyes over) forever. The funny thing is, whatever cornball things he articulated that afternoon, he was spot on about two observations. His best years did in fact turn out to be ahead of him. Though he was soon diagnosed with colon cancer, requiring radical surgery and a major lifestyle adjustment, he never complained and went right on working and living his upbeat philosophy for the next two decades, arguably displaying even a greater zest for life and people, significantly growing his business, moderating a weekly men’s Sunday discussion group at church, hacking around with his regular golf buddies and taking my mom off to the mountains or coast for weekends away. He closed his office only a few weeks before he passed away, and I was smart enough to place my busy life in Maine on hold and come home to be his daily caregiver until he slipped away one sleety March morning. We talked about this and that and managed to leave nothing left unsaid. This month, wonders of wonder, I turned 60. My children are now the age I was when I surprised my father at his office February 2013

O.Henry 9


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10 O.Henry

February 2013

with a very good bottle of brandy on a snowy January afternoon long ago. Funny how that happened in the blink of an eye. Both are living and working in New York City, starting brave new careers and broadening their young lives, and though I would be delighted if they suddenly showed up unannounced and bearing a fine bottle of Italian plonk for the old man, I’d also be a bit worried they were needlessly taking important time away from their busy schedules just to observe my birthday. Besides, thanks to Satchel Paige, Lady Astor and Opti the Mystic, I would likely tell them, my new aspiration is to someday be forever 52, a highly legitimate ambition since 60 is said to now be the new 40. In any case, when all four of our kids recently came for Christmas, we agreed to postpone the birthday party and plonk until a family beach gathering in July. By then I’ll probably be on straight ginger beer anyway. The strange truth is, I’ve never felt more alive and fulfilled by work and relationships — not to mention optimistic about the future — than this moment, come to think of it, any other time in my life. I’m not quite sure how I earned this good fortune, though it may have something to do with the things my old man used to say to me that made me roll my eyes. Funny how he grew smarter as I grew older. Not so funny, I think, how quickly I went from 22 to 60. Even so, with a little luck, I hope to save my best for last, too, whatever that turns out to be. Yet if you asked me to state what I’ve learned in 60 years of living, I would have to admit I’m still in learning mode, definitely a work in progress. All I can tell you for sure is: Gray hair happens. So do life’s triumphs and trials, large and small, most of them unforeseen. Learn to deal with whatever comes along with grace and humor and an open mind and you’ll be better for it, having earned every gray hair on your head. Never stop learning. Cicero learned to play the harp at age 60. Picasso began painting in the nude at this age. Don’t tell anybody, but I’m contemplating learning to play the harp in the nude. Create your own life. It’s yours to do with what you please. Find your passion and purpose and chances are you’ll never go wrong. Love matters most. Share liberally. As I still tell my grown-up kids [insert eye roll here] and really anyone else who will listen these days, it’s corny but true — love in all forms is the most powerful force in the universe. The thing that will make you happiest and keep you forever 52. oH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro


short stories Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

let them eat cake

As one of thirteen cake-loving siblings, Margaret Elaine Gladney remembers “looking through the glass window of the oven door” with the eyes of a child and watching as yet another cake rose in the oven. Baked by her mother, Margaret S. Gladney, the lemon pound cake was untouchable — reserved for the annual church revival at New Goshen United Methodist Church on Randleman Road. “I remember my brothers and I used to pout and wait around just to lick the mixing bowl and the beaters,” Gladney says. “Most of the time, we had to wait until the church revival dinner to eat the cakes.” Today you can sample a slab on the corner of Lee and Elm streets at The Sweet Shop, celebrating its second anniversary this month on Valentine’s Day. Call ahead and ask if the zesty lemon-glazed version is available. Or the banana-pudding pound cake, studded with vanilla wafers and covered with tons of sweet goo. Isn’t there a bowl-licking cake-lover in your life who misses his or her momma’s cooking? Info: (336) 790-0242 or www.sweetshopnow.com. DCB

slight charge for cover(s)

Cheap date alert! On Saturday evening, February 16, a few bucks will get you wine, cheese and all of the pre-loved books you can handle at the 11th annual Beth David Synagogue used book sale. Saturday night, there’s a $5-per-person admission charge. Most of the 40,000 available books cost $3 or less. Other items for sale: Judaica, foreign language materials, LP records, DVDs, CDs, cassettes and videos. Saturday’s hours: 6:45–10:30 p.m. The sale goes on — minus cover, sips and nibbles — Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and with a bag sale on Monday from noon to 6 p.m. The synagogue is at 804 Winview Drive in Greensboro. Info: (336) 294-0007 or www.bethdavidsynagogue.org. MJ

Worth the drive

12 O.Henry

February 2013

In the 1920s and ’30s, photographer Edward Steichen turned modern fashion into fine art, dramatizing celebrities such as Gloria Swanson, Katharine Hepburn and Martha Graham. See his iconic gelatin silver prints on display at Reynolda House Museum of American Art from February 23 through May 19. The exhibit, Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography, will also showcase the dresses, shoes and hats worn by two of Reynolda House’s former residents, Katharine Smith Reynolds and Mary Reynolds Babcock, who were no doubt inspired by Steichen’s dramatic cover photos for Vogue and Vanity Fair. Can you say haute couture? Several events are planned in conjunction with the exhibit, including Star Power Thursdays, which feature live music during extended gallery hours. Museum is located at 2250 Reynolda Road in Winston-Salem, in the historic 1917 estate of Katharine and her husband, R.J. Reynolds. For more information, call (336) 758-5150 or visit www.reynoldahouse.org. AW

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

sauce of the month

Short Stories

If you’re in the Wylin Grason Farms store at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market and ask Michael Blake about his Chunky Five Pepper Super Hot Sauce, he’ll tell you it’s adapted from his grandmother’s recipe. His sister, Debra Blake Ocock, says her brother is being overly modest: “He’s not big on tooting his own horn,” she says, “but he loves making new stuff.” Everybody in the family loves to cook and has always canned vegetables from their gardens, but Michael has taken the lead in perfecting his family’s sauce and pickle recipes to sell in the store. Like the label says, the sauce is both chunky (with savory pineapple) and, as advertised, super hot (with cayenne, jalapeño and potent habanero peppers). Family-owned and operated, Wylin Grason Farm (named after Debra’s children) is a fifth-generation farm specializing in beef, farmgrown produce and a cornucopia of sauces and condiments based on family recipes. “A lot of people come in to buy our sauces,” says Ocock. “Michael’s a sauce person.” Info: (336) 362-1705. DCB

risqué Business

Those familiar with the works of playwright Tennessee Williams may know why his Southern gothic, Kingdom of Earth, is so rarely performed — and are stunned to hear they can see it at Triad Stage this month. Casting is challenging, for one. A waif-thin showgirl won’t do. Bring on the broads with the hourglass bodies. Myrtle is a gal with curves. Then there’s Lot, who is frail and pasty, not to mention dying of tuberculosis. Whoever portrays him had better master effeminate mannerisms. Chicken, Lot’s multiracial half-brother, is somewhat of a stud. Add sexually suggestive content and you’ve got a real eyebrow-raiser. Two brothers. One harlot. You get the idea. The sponsor? Greensboro-based lingerie and gift purveyor Priscilla McCall’s, where, the jingle goes, fun and fantasy meet. This Triad Stage production will deliver the same. Show opens Friday, February 15, and runs through March 3. Or you can take your sweetie to catch the previews February 10 -14. Triad Stage is located at 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. For tickets and more information, call (336) 272-0160 or visit www.triadstage.org. AW

Hark! the Herald angels sing

Ben thinkin’

Dude, what if that key had fallen off the kite during your little electricity experiment and you’d been locked out? And what did you really think of the French during your time as U.S. ambassador? And was John Hancock a showboat for scrawling his name so big on the Declaration of Independence, or what? Founding father Ben Franklin — actually Philadelphia actor Bill Ochester in costume — will be available to answer these burning questions and more at a February 28 educational dinner hosted by the N.C. Museum of History Associates, an organization that provides financial support to the museum. The event, to be held at the Greensboro Country Club, includes a cocktail hour, dinner and Ochester’s program on the life and times of Poor Richard. A question-and-answer session will follow. There’s no admission for the event, but non-Associates who attend are expected to join the organization, which offers single memberships starting at $50. For reservations, call Carol Grossi at (919) 807-7853 or cgrossi@ncmuseumassoc.com. MJ

“Their voices were like angels to me,” says Kay Lain about the tuxedoed barbershop quartet that she hired to sing on her father’s 81st Valentine’s Day. As assistant to the news director at FOX8 News in High Point, Lain had learned that quartets from the Greensboro Tarheel Chorus deliver singing Valentines annually to raise funds for the chorus. After her mom passed away in 2004 following 54 years of marriage, her father, Bill Cecil, eventually met someone else and got married a second time. “He loved to surprise her with gifts,” Lain says, “and always looked forward to Valentine’s Day so he could shower ‘his Martha’ with loving gifts.” But just before Valentine’s Day, her dad got

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a diagnosis of cancer on his birthday, February 4, and wasn’t able get out of the house to buy Martha so much as a Valentine. In fact, his voice was so weak he could barely whisper. Lain arranged for the four vocalists from the Barbershop Harmony Society to drop by the house to sing what he could hardly say: “The quartet showed up right on time, with a beautiful long-stemmed red rose in hand for Martha,” Lain recalls. “She walked over to my dad to thank him for the flower and the quartet started to sing.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the house. “During the second song, ‘Let Me Call You Sweetheart,’” Lain says, “my dad pointed to his eye for ‘I,’ and to his heart, and then pointed to Martha. So, it was his way of saying ‘I love you.’” Her dad passed away a week later. (See the video Lain made by going to www.youtube.com and typing in “klain 612 valentine for Martha.”) Singing Valentines in four-part-harmony by chorus members can be scheduled for Thursday, February 14, and Friday, February 15, by calling (855) 789-7464. For $50, the four-part deliveries include a long-stem rose, a greeting card and two love songs. More elaborate performances with a dozen roses and chocolates are available for $100. For more information email gsosings@att.net. DCB February 2013

O.Henry 13

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February 2013





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Short Stories

© Greensboro News & Record, All Rights Reserved

Moment in Time


renda Florence was a 10-year-old reluctant and unknowing hero that September day in 1957. As she would tell me many years later, “I was just doing what my mother told me to do.” What her mother told her (and her 11-yearold brother, Jimmy) to do that day was join three other black students from southeast Greensboro in enrolling at all-white Gillespie Park Elementary, which then taught grades one through nine. The school board had approved their transfer to Gillespie, thus making Greensboro the first city in the South to publicly announce it would abide by the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision ordering an end to segregated schools. Brenda thought she hadn’t done anything remarkable that day until I called her many years later asking for an interview. To her surprise, I let her know that she had become a hero in the civil rights movement. A photo

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

from the time shows her and the other four students (Jimmy Florence, Russell Herring, Elijah Herring and Harold Davis) on a sidewalk passing jeering and heckling Ku Klux Klansmen. “It was awful. I was scared to death,” Florence told me. In 2008, the N.C. General Assembly passed a resolution honoring the Gillespie Five along with Josephine Boyd (Bradley), who integrated Greensboro Senior High School (now Grimsley) the next day, and five other integration pioneers from Winston-Salem and Charlotte. In giving the group an Old North State Award, Gov. Mike Easley said, “If you think about what was going on in this state, the nation, the South in 1957, you’ll understand the courage it took for them to walk in the face of fear and criticism.” The Gillespie students were the first in the Southeast to integrate a previously all-white elementary school. Florence went on to a career with the U.S. Postal Service and now lives in retirement in northwest Greensboro. JS

February 2013

O.Henry 15

Drop a Hint


Sterling silver charms from $25

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“Love of My Life” Gift Set Available Starting January 15 Purchase a PANDORA “Love of My Life” gift set for $200, featuring one Iconic Bracelet, two “Love of My Life” clips, and one “Language of Love” charm in a special porcelain box (a retail value of $230).* *Good while supplies last. See our store for details.

Geeks in Love

By Ashley Wahl

Photographs by Sam Froelich


e are all a little weird and life’s a little weird, and when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up with them and fall in mutual weirdness and call it love.” — Dr. Seuss


Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema is a wondrous assemblage of freaks and geeks. Meet comic book junkies, dragon slayers, film nerds, bloggers, online gamers, Apple genii, caffeine addicts, beer snobs, Trekkies, wordsmiths, literati, wearers of bold and quirky horn-rimmed glasses — prescription or fashion, no matter. Hipsters also welcome. Joe Scott is among the film nerds — as in: dreamt he would build his own movie theater one day. Last year, a financial advisor told him that his dream would cost him two million dollars. Give or take. “So I built Geeksboro instead,” Scott says, and opened the doors mid-November. Thank geekiness. Now folks who frequent Acme Comics don’t have to leave Lawndale Shopping Center to read this week’s post-apocalyptic zombie thriller. Count 132 steps from the Acme checkout to a seat at Geeksboro, where you can enjoy it along with a cup of Krankies coffee. Some geek will likely tell you that the beans were roasted in a vintage gas-fired drum in Winston-Salem. The space is bright and funky with industrial ceilings, swanky leather couches, and a bar stocked with North Carolina craft beers and PBR tallboys. You can B.Y.O.B.G. — Bring Your Own Board Game — or play what’s there. Duel of Ages, anyone? And don’t leave without scoping out the arcade corner. Four quarters buys three games of Indiana Jones Pinball. Bet you a dollar someone here knows that Mr. Jones’ full name is Henry Walton “Indiana” Jones, Jr. the “King of Shangri-La.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The City Muse

“That’s Dr. Jones,” the Muse imagines being corrected. The cinema is downstairs. No cup holders, but with fifty seats, there isn’t a bad spot in the house. Just try not to kick over your PBR tallboy, orange soda or cup of Joe.


It’s Thursday, and 5 o’clock somewhere, but the Muse orders a chai tea latte for the 4 p.m. showing of Holy Motors, a Franco-German fantasy flick that some folks might categorize as WTF Cinema. I might agree with them. Pardon my French acronym. “We play films that would not play in the Triad otherwise,” Scott says. No kidding. Basically, Holy Motors is a day in the life of Monsieur Oscar. The catch: You never know who Oscar is. He sits in the back of a white limousine, which doubles as a dressing room, and is escorted to nine “appointments” that require him to transform into a series of obscure and in some cases downright surreal roles. Think deranged leprechaun romping through the Pere-Lachaise cemetery, kidnapping Eva Mendes — who doesn’t say a word — from a high fashion photo shoot and dragging her into his underground lair, where she proceeds to sing him a lullaby until he’s sleeping like a babe. Yep, it’s even more bizarre than that — as are coming attractions. The previews before the show let you know what’s coming soon. Forget Netflix. Watch first-run independent and foreign films here, where you can occasionally make out muffled geeky banter — or perhaps some rousing game of Duel of Ages — coming from upstairs. Lovebirds should visit www.geeksboro.com to see what quirky romantic indie film is playing here this month. And bring your own book on Valentine’s Day for BookUp, Greensboro’s spin on Seattle’s Silent Reading Party. Participants swear it’s sexier than it sounds. If you’re single, who knows, you just might find love. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer. February 2013

O.Henry 17

February is “love your heart month.” It’s the perfect time to do something very special for yourself and your heart health. Throughout February, we’re offering a gift certificate for a FREE heart risk assessment to every woman who stops by Kernersville Medical Center. The assessment includes: • A blood pressure check • A cholesterol check • A weight/BMI screening

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The Omnivorous Reader

Travel Can Be Murder On tour with the Grande Dame of mystery



have a weakness for fictional characters who are intrinsically ridiculous, among them P.G. Wodehouse’s Earl of Emsworth, George MacDonald Fraser’s Harry Flashman, and Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot, with whom I became acquainted forty years ago while riding the Silver Star (I imagined I was onboard the Orient Express) into D.C.’s Union Station. Since then, I’ve been coping with a serious Agatha Christie addiction, which is, thank goodness, mitigated by the knowledge that I’m not suffering alone. Christie is the most published writer in the universe. Her mysteries and occasional romances have sold billions of copies (yeah, billions). Although Christie was not fond of her Hercule Poirot, I dig the old weirdo, and by extension, the author who created him, and when I learned that Mathew Prichard, the grandson of the grande dame of whodunits, had edited a book of his granny’s correspondence, The Grand Tour: Around the World with the Queen of Mystery, I grabbed it. The letters and postcards collected by Prichard were written by Christie during her marriage to her first husband, Lieutenant-Colonel Archie Christie, financial advisor to the Dominion Mission Exhibition, as they toured parts of the British Empire in 1922 on a promotional trade mission. The young couple deposited their 2-year-old daughter, Rosalind — “my little Rosy-Posy” — with Christie’s sister, and set out on a tour of South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada via Hawaii. During her travels, Christie wrote to her mother frequently — “Dearest Mummy” — recording her observations and often including black and white photographs, many of which, although of poor quality, are reproduced in this collection. Her misThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

sives are full of anecdotes about sunburn, recurring seasickness, surf boarding (in the ladylike prone position most of the time, although she managed to stand on her board while in Hawaii), and other routine activities and minor irritants. The attraction for Christie aficionados is a rare glimpse into the author’s personal life and a taste of her decidedly Victorian sensibilities. When she writes of her fellow travelers and the local characters she encounters, she assumes a prissy, gossipy tone — she is, after all, writing for the amusement of family — and never hesitates to take a nasty poke at an eccentric acquaintance. She’s especially fond of skewering Major Ernest Belcher, Archie’s grumpy, overbearing boss on the mission, and relishes detailing her encounters with eccentric Colonials, as she does with a man she nicknamed “the Dehydrator” — “If anything put him in a bad temper he was so impossible that one loathed him with a virulent hatred. He behaved exactly like a spoilt child.” What Christie fans will find most endearing are snatches of her droll humor. She describes a Ms. Hiam as empty-headed: “I forget if I told you but she said four times the other day what an extraordinary thing it was that there should be a Llandudno and a Clifton in South Africa ‘Just the same names as in England!’ I hinted that it was a phenomenon fairly often encountered in our colonies, but she repeated ‘Actually the same as in England’ and seemed to think it was a clear case of thought transference.” Christie is generally lighthearted and forthright when expressing her class consciousness, but her observations regarding the locals are ethnocentric in tone and content. In Australia, she observes: “Amongst the various servants, station hands, general helpers, etc., most of who [sic] were half-caste, there were one or two purebred Aborigines.” In South Africa, she mentions the “litFebruary 2013

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tle curly heads” of the children about Rosalind’s age and expresses a mild degree of guilt about leaving her young daughter. In Honolulu she writes: “There are Japanese everywhere — all of the servants and waiters in most of the shops. Their English is not good, and they never understand a word one says.” She is, however, full of praise for Americans: “Most of the women are fascinating, nearly all of the men have an individual and fantastic taste in headgear. . . and all the sailors have the funniest little tight round white caps!” (On Waikiki Beach, Christie snapped a photo of 14 male surfers, among them future actor and businessman Duke Kahanamoku, whose autograph would later appear on thousands of vintage souvenir ukuleles. Christie doesn’t mention Duke in her letters, and he’s not identified by Prichard in the photo’s caption.) Despite her keenness of observation, Christie is amazingly unaware of the decline of the empire she’s touring and seemingly oblivious to the more than 2,000,000 deaths suffered by the United Kingdom and its dominions during the world war that had ended only four years earlier. Notable also is the fact that Christie often mentions her first husband, Archie, who is only vaguely alluded to in most of her autobiographical writings. Unfortunately, readers are not provided any insights into the matrimonial difficulties that would eventually lead to divorce. The only hint of foreboding is contained in Christie’s mother’s warning concerning Archie: “If you’re not with your husband, if you leave him too much, you’ll lose him. That’s especially true of a man like Archie.” Four years later, Archie would ask for a divorce in order to marry a younger woman, and Agatha would vanish for an 11-day real-life mystery. Anybody who’s suffered an Agatha Christie addiction will love this book. Christie was a prolific writer whose life was, except for her divorce, amazingly uneventful, and this record of her travels reveals the source of her inspiration for exotic settings, convoluted plotlines, and memorable characters. Immediately following her grand tour, Christie wrote her third mystery, The Man in the Brown Suit, which draws heavily on her travel experience. Alas, I grieve the passing of books such as The Grand Tour. How many contemporary luminaries — literary or otherwise — bother to write letters, scribble witty postcards, and print photographs? Textual scholars must be in despair. Fifty years from now our descendants will be reading The Collected Tweets of Justin Bieber. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com.

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Vine Wisdom

The Winter Grape Late-harvest grapes yield some extraordinary wines

By TC Frazier


ebruary is a great time for drinking wine, but when you mention harvesting grapes in the middle of winter, you might see frost or even snow outside, and think it’s an impossibility. Au contraire, mon frére. I’m thinking about the most challenging type of wine made. One that is as rich as a stick of butter and as hedonistic as foie gras. Of course I’m referring to the expensive, lavish and quite possibly most misunderstood vintage of them all, late-harvest wines. Sauternes, eiswein, tokaj, trockenbeerenauslese — late-harvest wines come bearing many labels. Given the involved steps, price and headache it takes to produce late-harvest wines, no wonder they bear noble names. After all, “a rose by any other name would smell as sweet,” but few vintages taste as fine as late-harvest wines. Wine can be cultivated in only certain distinct microclimates throughout the globe. Even fewer are the areas that can produce truly world-class wine. And only in a few select areas can wine be produced where the grapes themselves freeze without the blistering cold destroying the vines. Germany, Austria, France, Hungary and Canada all meet this criteria. And vineyards in these countries are consistently producing some of the most sought-after and rarest late harvest wines in the world. The reason these delicious treats are so expensive has to do with the time of year when the grapes are picked. Conventional harvest dates for Northern Hemisphere vines are between September and October. After that most of the fruit falls to the ground in the inevitable cycle of the seasons. By January, the prime time to pick late harvest grapes, over 75–90 percent of the vines are barren. It doesn’t take an economist to tell you that this is a very expensive way to farm. Some late-harvest grapes end up resembling raisins because they are allowed to wither fully before harvesting. Once the clusters are frozen, they are hand-picked, pressed as soon as pos-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

sible and fermented. The end product is aged in oak barrels or stainless-steel tanks. The resulting high-sugar content tends to be thick, sweet and very rich; hence the halfbottle sizes and consumption of only two to three ounces at a time. Many of the classic examples of late-harvested sweet wines come from Europe. While the Germans claim to have invented late-harvest wines, the French have their own legend for the origin of their famous Sauternes wines that are enhanced by, yes, moldy grapes. It seems a chateau owner told his workers not to pick his grapes until he got back from a trip. By the time he returned, the grapes were infected with a fungus that shriveled them. Despite their disgusting appearance, the grapes were picked and turned into wine. The taste was so exquisite that the owner declared his grapes would thereafter always be picked after the fungus arrived. The friendly fungus of the legend is Botrytis cinerea, known affectionately as noble rot. It promotes evaporation, causing the grapes to shrivel and leaving a more concentrated sweet juice. A wide range of grapes can benefit from the positive effects of noble rot such as riesling, chenin blanc, gewurztraminer, sauvignon blanc, semillon and furmint. Recently, a friend asked me what I would like to have as a last meal. That was a very tough question, almost like trying to decide on a favorite band. However, when I thought, “What would be the last bite?” foie gras and a sip of late-harvest was a no-brainer. I can honestly think of no other epicurean way to go out. So next time you are in your local wine shop, you may overhear someone say, “Oh yeah, that stuff is sweet and expensive.” Limiting our vocabulary to that is an injustice to the effort spent in creating it. I like to think of the poor soul who had to wake up at 2 in the morning and pick grapes while it was below freezing. Those people are my heroes! Here’s to the late-harvest pickers. Cheers! OH TC Frazier lives in Greensboro and has been in the hospitality business since he was 14. He currently is employed with Tryon Distributors. February 2013

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Food for Thought

Chicken and Waffles

Cooking maven Mary James Lawrence shows us how to make this iconic soul food dish

By David C. Bailey

Photographs by sam froelich


his is supposed to be Mary James Lawrence’s iconic and much-requested recipe for the chicken potpie that was the single most popular item available for take-out at Roosters Gourmet Market. Only the recipe that Lawrence, who ran the market for many years, had scribbled on a notepad called for sixty-eight pounds of chicken. Piecrust after piecrust, roasted chicken after roasted chicken, she couldn’t get the calculus for making one pie quite right — a tad too moist and lacking a little “Je ne sais quoi,” which Lawrence, who conducts tours of Provence, pronounces with complete élan. “Then a light bulb went off,” she says, pouring waffle batter into a sizzling waffle iron on the counter of a kitchen that could double as a museum of newly hatched foods. “Why not the same wonderful flavor of the Roosters chicken-and-gravy filling but over homemade waffles, which are less intimidating for most cooks than homemade pie crust?” she says. “And if someone is really lazy, they can buy, God forbid, frozen waffles and rotisserie chicken.” In case you haven’t noticed, chicken and waffles are suddenly a hip combo. International House of Pancakes has been pushing them with a national ad campaign. Closer to home, UNCG grads Damion Moore and Rand Wadsworth opened Dame’s Chicken & Waffles last year on 301

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Martin Luther King Jr. Drive after their first location in Durham was a big hit. Though the pairing of piping hot and freshly baked waffles with chicken dates back at least to Thomas Jefferson, it’s also a soul-food standby, made famous by Roscoe’s House of Chicken and Waffles, founded by Harlem native Herb Hudson in California. Lawrence remembers first trying the combo at a Shaw House fundraiser for the Moore County Historical Association in Southern Pines. “I remember to this day the yummy luncheon we had: creamed chicken on waffles and prune cake for dessert.” Forget using frozen waffles or mix, she says. And the quarter cup of cornstarch is not a misprint. “You can use two cups of cake flour instead of the flour and cornstarch since cake flour already has cornstarch in it,” Lawrence says. “The cornstarch makes them lighter.” Just like the addition of whipped egg whites and buttermilk. The resulting waffles are moist, light and simply transcendent, resembling cake right out of the oven, though not in the least bit sweet. Add more sugar, if you must. As for the chicken, Lawrence says, “I don’t know why on earth people don’t roast their own chicken. It takes salt, pepper and a pan. Put it in the oven and your house will smell great all day long.” And, sure, you could use a good quality of chicken broth to make the gravy, but using pan drippings and “especially roasting the bones really brings out the flavor.” Above all February 2013

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Food for Thought else, don’t take a knife to the chicken: “Cutting it in cubes is a sacrilege. Hand-pull it, just like pork. I do the same thing for chicken salad and casserole. It integrates into the dish a lot better. I think cubing changes the flavor and texture.” Finally, use white pepper in the gravy just before serving it. It mellows out the sauce: “It’s gentler and not as pungent,” she says. “Oh yes,” says Lawrence as an afterthought, “some folks top it all off with a drizzle of maple syrup!”

Chicken and Waffles Savory Buttermilk Waffles

1 3/4¾ cups flour 1/4¼ cup cornstarch 2 teaspoons sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/2½ teaspoon baking soda 2 eggs, separated 1 cup buttermilk ½1/2 cup cold water ½1/2 cup butter, melted and cooled 2 teaspoons baking powder

In a small bowl, combine egg yolks, buttermilk and water. Add melted butter. Stir into flour mixture. Beat egg whites until stiff. To finish, stir baking powder into batter. Then fold in beaten egg whites. Cook on waffle iron according to manufacturer’s directions. Want a sweeter breakfast waffle? Increase sugar to 2 tablespoons. Roast Chicken

1 5-pound roasting chicken Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt and baking soda. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the chicken, pat dry and place in a roasting pan. Sprinkle with salt and liberally grind pepper over

the bird. I never truss or tie the chicken. Thighs will cook better if they are not pressed up against the breast. Bake at 400 for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 and continue to bake for one hour or until the internal temperature reaches 170 degrees.

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February 2013


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Food for Thought Remove from oven. Allow to cool. Save all the pan juices and fat. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, pull the meat from bones and set aside. Save all bones and skin. Drain the fat and pan juices into a small bowl or fat separator. Set the pan aside. Sauce

The first step in making the sauce is browning the stock. Break up the carcass with your hands. Spread it out in a roasting pan along with the pieces of skin. Place in an oven preheated to 450 degrees. Roast until brown. Turn over the bones and continue to roast until completely golden —15–20 minutes per side. If they begin to brown too much on one side, add a scant amount of water to the bottom of the pan. Once golden, transfer bones to small stockpot. To release all the brown pieces in the roasting pan, heat the pan briefly on top of the stove and add half a cup of water to release all the yummy bits and pieces. Add to the stockpot. Also add reserved pan juices and, if desired, the fat. 1 medium onion, cut into sixths 1 carrot, cut in chunks 1 stalk celery, cut into four pieces Add 10 cups water to the pot along with the

vegetables. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Remove the lid and continue to cook for another 30 or so. Cool and strain. At this point, you can refrigerate the stock until you’re ready to complete the sauce. This will allow fat to come to the top and solidify which makes it easy to remove. There’s lots of flavor in the fat though — and you can use it instead of the butter in the next step. 1/2 cup butter (or reserved chicken fat) ¾1/2 cup flour 4 cups roasted chicken stock (above) Salt to taste or 1 teaspoon Minor’s chicken base Freshly ground white pepper To complete the sauce, melt the butter in a medium saucepan. Add flour and cook for a minute or so. Add four cups of the stock. Season. Add Minor’s Base, if desired. Whisk and stir constantly until sauce thickens. Once it thickens, stir occasionally. Cook on medium for about 15 minutes until mixture is lightly reduced. Taste for seasoning. Add chicken and cook for another 10 minutes. Serve with the roast chicken over hot, crisp waffles. Repeat, repeat and repeat. OH



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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 2013

O.Henry 27

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Artist At Work

Home Again

For artist Tammy Milani, whose beautiful tableware captured the fancies of Oprah and Paula Deen, returning to her first love of design became the key to greater success

Photographs By Cassie Butler

By Jim Schlosser


ometimes an artist who achieves success becomes so overwhelmed with the business of production that his or her artistry somehow gets lost. That’s what happened to Greensboro ceramist and tableware designer Tammy Milani. Working out of a studio near her garage, by 2005 she had become not just a nationally known artist, but also a growing brand name. Her handmade tableware incorporated playful colors and her product lines had whimsical names, such as “If Pigs Could Fly” and “Ralph’s Cups.” The line of plates, cups, saucers and platters that she designed were on shelves in 76 retail shops in 26 states and Canada. And once, while Oprah Winfrey was in Greensboro giving a speech, she was wowed with Milani’s designs after she opened a gift package of Milani Home brand products. Soon Milani had moved into a warehouse and had nearly a half dozen employees working for her. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Looking back at those high-flying times, she remembers being at a trade show in Atlanta. A man, Alex Tsao, of Dallas, approached her. He specializeded in taking artists under his wing and handling the business details of their work, including manufacturing, leaving them free to design. “Whenever you’re ready,” he told her, “give me a call.” “As if he knew that I’d be ready someday,” the ceramist recalls. “I was naive. I thought I could do it all, that we’ll end up getting bigger and I’d get someone to do the things I don’t want to do.” She felt confident because her colorful designs were so well received. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2005 compared dining on Milani tableware to “eating off art.” And here’s what The Star-Ledger in Newark, New Jersey, said in 2007: “We love the bold graphics on these Tammy Milani casserole dishes . . .” Even Paula Deen, the defacto Queen of Southern Cuisine, made frequent mentions of Milani’s work on her show on the Food Network. Milani was achieving her goal of “making drinking a cup of coffee an artistic experience, a piece of art pretending to be a cup.” But by late 2007 and 2008 she had become frustrated with mounting February 2013

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business pressures. She was beginning to feel overwhelmed by accounts receivable, products stuck in customs after being shipped from her manufacturer in Peru, retailers calling with requests for more tableware. More to the point, she was spending less time at the potter’s wheel and kiln in her studio behind her Starmount Forest home. There she molded clay, decorated it by hand and fired it in her kiln. These prototypes would then be sent to Peru to be mass produced by hand and sent back to her for shipment to retail shops. She found that she was becoming so involved with the minutiae of the business that eventually she was shortcutting the design process. For instance, she made sketches for a line called Athena on a flight to Peru, turning over paper sketches instead of ceramic prototypes to the manufacturer. Then came the Great Recession and its dire consequences. Some retailers carrying her goods shut down, including her Greensboro outlet. Seated in her kitchen, as large and well equipped as most restaurants, she reflects, “I had to sit back and think what my priorities are. Is it to stay in business and ride this out . . . or to re-evaluate how I wanted to create a brand?” Her answer was to eventually pick up the phone and call Alex Tsao and tell him, “You’re right.” As a result, her potter’s wheel is no longer accumulating cobwebs. She’s in action again. She shows a visitor pieces of tableware — cups, saucers, plates — that she is making for Halloween. That’s Halloween 2014. She’s now under contract to Tsao, whose clients often have long lead times from the time a product is done and winds up in stores. “He does the manufacturing; he does the marketing; he does it all,” she says. “But he depends on my designs.” The tableware decorated with bats, spider webs and other ghostly creations will show up in Pier 1 Imports. Milani says plans are for her work to eventually appear in Dillard’s, J.C. Penney and other big retailers. She says the new arrangement enables her to work toward her original goal of creating a brand aimed at the “art of living, from cooking to tableware to entertaining.” She’s unsure if her future products will bear the Milani Home brand in major retailers, some of which prefer to use their own house brand.

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February 2013

But Milani Home won’t vanish. Now that she’s free from the details of running a business, she has time outside her work for Tsao to make products for old customers, family and friends and a few retailers who survived the economic crisis. She’s having fun again, She never lacks for design ideas. She sees them everywhere. She has also started a blog with recipes, mostly for Mediterranean-style food. And she plans to do a cookbook. After all, she grew up around food. Her Lebanese-born parents owned Arrowhead Restauarant and Motel on Interstate 85/40 at the Mebane exit. Her parents were constantly cooking food from the old country, and family were always coming to enjoy it. Others in her extended family make their living from food. Her cousins own Ghassan’s restaurants. One thing struck her as she watched those festive family dinners. “The plates and platters,” she once said, “didn’t seem to reflect the love and artistry that went into the contents” of the food. But changing that wasn’t in her immediate plans at the time. She wanted to be a singer. She studied voice and theater at Catawba College. Her parents adamantly opposed her getting into show biz. Frustrated, she went to Lebanon for a year to live with relatives, get in touch with her heritage and think things out. She had trouble returning. She got caught in a war that made life in Lebanon hellish. Once home, she did some work in entertainment, but eventually married Mo Milani, executive vice president of the Koury Corporation, with holdings that include the Grandover Resort and Conference Center. They have three children. One is following her mother’s old dream. She’s in Los Angeles pursuing a singing career. If Tammy Milani’s latest endeavors with a blog, cookbook and designs for chain retailers fall flat, she says, “I have decided not to worry about it.” She is not going to let work destroy the quality of life that she says went out the window with the demands she encountered with the Milani Home business. Meantime, her creative juices are churning. The Halloween work for Pier 1 Imports is about done. Tsao has told her to “think holidays.” She’s considering Christmas designs. Not this Christmas, but the Yule season 2014. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs By Cassie Butler

Artist At Work

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February 2013

O.Henry 31

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

The Keen Details The Triad is basically a living museum for the homes — and influential ideas — of Charles Barton Keen

Reynolda House

Top: Photo Courtesy of Reynolda House Museum of American Art Bottom: Charles Barton Keen, 1928. COurtesy of Sara Keen Pilling

By Jim Schlosser


harles Barton Keen was the architect of millionaires. From the early 1890s until his death in 1931, Keen designed houses and estates along Philadelphia’s famous Main Line and in exclusive neighborhoods on Long Island and in Boston. He also designed the clubhouse at the isolated and super exclusive Pine Valley golf club in New Jersey, considered one of golf’s most treacherous challenges. Later in his career, Keen commuted from Philadelphia to Winston-Salem. In the words of architectural historian Margaret Supplee Smith, “The opportunity to come to New South money was irresistible.” In Winston-Salem, he designed at least twenty houses in the ritzy Buena Vista neighborhood, at least six in Greensboro’s Irving Park, and several in Durham’s Hope Valley. He designed a clubhouse for Greensboro Country Club after the old one burned. With urban growth, many of his houses in the North have been demolished. Not so in Greensboro, WinstonSalem and Durham. By all accounts, they all still stand, except for the Greensboro Country Club clubhouse, which has long been replaced. The works include Keen’s best-known creation, Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. Built between 1912 and 1917 for tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, the estate covered 1,067 acres and included a dairy farm, a nine-hole golf course, extensive gardens and Keen’s signature creation, a long, stucco house with green tiles and solid columns. The cost of the entire project was $120,000. “That’s the amazing thing; they have survived,” Smith says. “This makes this area practically a museum of Charles Barton Keen.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Smith, Harold W. Tribble professor emerita at Wake Forest University, presented an exhibit in 1981 on Keen at Reynolda House, which has been preserved as an art museum. The exhibit was done after many visitors expressed as much interest in the house, the architect, the landscape and the family who lived there as they did in the art displays. Smith will bring her expertise on Keen to Greensboro February 19 when she speaks at a Greensboro Country Club event sponsored by Preservation Greensboro and the Charlotte Chapter of the Institute of Classical Art and Architecture. A Smith friend who shares her love of Keen’s work, architect James Collins comes closest to a modern-day Keen. He divides his time practicing in Greensboro and New York and specializes in building grand homes, particularly in Irving Park. He spent 16 years in Philadelphia, exposed daily to Keen houses on the Main Line. “When I came here twelve years ago, I was driving around Irving Park and about wrecked my car. All those Charles Barton Keen houses,” he says. He includes Keen touches in the houses he designs. He and Smith toured Irving Park recently and counted six Keen homes — three resemble Reynolda House with their stucco facades and green tile roofs: the former Smith Richardson House at 1700 Granville Road, the former Richardson Preyer House at 603 Sunset Drive, and the former Alexander McAlister house at 700 Country Club Drive. Three other Keen creations show little resemblance to Reynolda but demonstrate how Keen designed in various styles. The other three Keen houses are the old Clement Wright house at 105 Sunset Drive; the Jackie Humphrey home at 1607 Carlisle Road; and the Bill and Kathy Burling house at 205 Irving Place. Smith and Collins February 2013

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34 O.Henry

February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

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McAlister House say three houses on Sunset and Meadowbrook Terrace were also possibly designed by Keen. What defines a Keen house, Smith says, is “ a great sense of development, detail and siting.” She says he attracted repeat clients because his work was top notch and he was so amicable to deal with. Clients really liked working with him. During their tour, Collins and Smith stopped to look at a Keen house on Sunset Drive, a Colonial Revival that once belonged to textile magnate W.J. (Nick) Carter. The original owner was Clement Wright. Debbie Vetter, the present occupant, says she possesses, but has misplaced, the house’s original blueprints. Collins and Smith are immediately interested. Keen’s drawings are rare. They urge her to keep digging. “I love this house,” Vetter declares, explaining it was in shambles when she and her husband bought it. “I didn’t think you could make it livable.” She says she and her husband have tampered very little with the original Keen design. Collins and Smith say Keen belonged to the Philadelphia School, consisting of talented architects who designed on the Main Line, creating houses that fit comfortably into the landscape. At Reynolda, landscaper Thomas Sears of Philadelphia, who frequently collaborated with Keen, designed the grounds. Sears’ front lawn, which included the golf course, stretched so far that R.J. Reynolds’ son, Zachary, landed his airplane there. Sears may have done some of the landscaping at Keen’s Greensboro creations. Keen’s first commission after Reynolda was in 1918­, the Alexander McAlister House across from the second fairway of the Greensboro Country Club golf course. McAlister, president of old Pilot Life Insurance Co., had developed (with two other men) Irving Park in 1909 and then Sedgefield in 1926. The McAlister house was recently sold to a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

young couple who have done extensive renovation to the house and grounds, but haven’t touched the stucco facade and green tile roof. Smith says when people view the McAlister house, they exclaim, “That’s Reynolda.” But Smith says the proportions of the houses differ markedly. The McAlister house also lacks the long horizontal dormer that’s part of Reynolda, as well as certain other Keen stucco and tile houses. She adds that the McAlister house is also more formal than Reynolda. “Reynolda is not your ostentatious, knockyour-socks-off Biltmore,” she says while inspecting a master bedroom in the house. “It is something that is more informal and set in the landscape.” Keen liked to design what he called an American farmhouse, which “is actually what this bungalow is.” Never mind that this bungalow has 55 rooms, a swimming pool, a bowling alley and other flourishes. Katharine Smith Reynolds, RJR’s younger wife, created the estate’s dairy farm, which was operated by a multitude of workers who labored in Keen-designed buildings that today constitute a tony shopping area, Reynolda Village. When he came to Winston-Salem, Keen already had 20 years of design work for the rich behind him in Philadelphia and other Northeast cities. His initial Winston-Salem client was Robert Lasater, married to R.J. Reynold’s niece. Keen built him a Tudor Revival house, with grounds by Sears, on a downtown thoroughfare once known as Millionaires Row. Keen eventually had so much work in WinstonSalem and vicinity he moved to the Twin Cities. After eight months, however, he returned to Philadelphia. He came back on a commuting basis in 1923 when Kate Reynolds hired him to design a public school, R.J. Reynolds High School. It remains one of North Carolina’s most impos-

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photo Courtesy of Greensboro HIstorical Museum Archives

Street Level Because Keen did so many ing schools, perched high on a hill houses, in so many styles, magnifioverlooking Hanes Park. cent neighborhoods resulted in the “Keen looked for ridges. He Piedmont. “You get substantial, designed on ridges,” Smith says. well-designed buildings in relatively Smith believes that Kate small cities,” Smith says. Reynolds, in hiring Keen for While he was organized and effiReynolda, may have been influcient as an architect, capable of many enced by a Keen house in the first projects at one time, he apparently issue of House and Garden magazine. was not as successful as a family man. His Northern houses often were Smith describes his family as dysfeatured in design magazines. Kate functional. She also said they had no Reynolds also may have been aware appreciation of his architectural work. that Keen did a house and dairy Smith says his papers disappeared farm in York, Pennsylvania. “He was a skilled architect who 4th Greensboro Country Club, 1921 after his death, apparently destroyed by family members. could put architectural styles to“One of his granddaughters,” gether wonderfully,” Smith says. Smith says, “didn’t even know he was an architect.” After 1923, he also designed a house for Winston-Salem’s other royal His papers may be gone, but fortunately his buildings remain. A new family, the Haneses. He used brick for most of their mansions instead of the generation of buyers are moving in and renovating without removing Keen stucco preferred by Kate Reynolds and several Reynolds relatives. details. They are paying hefty prices. Whereas Alexander McAlister probably Local architects were not happy an interloper from the North was getting paid $25,000, maybe less for his house, it was on the market most recently for so many huge commissions. That’s why, at Kate Reynold’s urging, Keen more than $1 million. OH moved, although for a short stay, to Winston-Salem. He brought with him architect William Roy Wallace, and made him a partner in the firm of Keen Jim Schlosser is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. and Wallace. Wallace bought a house in Winston-Salem and after a brief return to Philadelphia came back and practiced in Winston-Salem for the rest of his life.

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O.Henry 37

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The Sporting Life

Dog Heaven

On Earth they were our most faithful companions

By Tom Bryant

Photographs Courtesy of Tom Bryant


fierce wind was blowing a cold steady rain out of the northeast, and I was at home standing under our arbor wishing I were someplace else, like in a duck marsh. 2012 roared by a little too fast for me to keep up, I thought, as a particularly strong gust blew rain in my face. A little colder and it could snow. Isn’t this just the way, duck weather arrives when duck season leaves. Linda, my bride, was at the beach visiting with some of her girlfriends and I was on my own for the day. I had planned to dewinterize the little Airstream to get her ready for our early spring trip to Everglades City in Florida; but with weather like this, I probably needed to pour in some more antifreeze. The heck with it. There’s freshly laid wood in the den fireplace and some old hunting photos and journals to sort through. Today’s the perfect day to reminisce and remind myself why it is I spend so much time in the woods. I had a warm fire going after only one match, thanks to Pinebluff Boy Scout Troop 206, then went in the kitchen for a cup of freshly brewed Dunkin’ Donuts coffee. I arranged all the photos and journals I wanted to look at and kicked back in my old leather chair. It was going to be a good day. I’m not the most orderly person in the world but, fortunately, Linda is. She had gone through a lot of photos, family as well as sporting, and had organized them in several albums. There were still quite a few more pictures that were randomly stacked in boxes, and I started with those first. The first photograph I pulled from the nearest box was a stopper. There were five of us standing around a pickup truck that had a dog box in the bed. A field trial, I thought. Paddle was my first yellow Lab and she was just a puppy. This was her first field trial and we were at a Tar Heel Retriever Club event on Edwin Clapp’s farm in Siler City. It had to be in the early

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

’80s, as Paddle was just three or four months old. The five of us in the photo were a lot younger, just like our dogs, but in some cases not as well behaved. At the time I considered it as a random occurrence, the five of us from varied backgrounds with retriever dogs all about the same age. We would become lifelong friends, and I’ve kept in contact with the guys over the years. Dick Coleman was sitting on the tailgate, I was leaning on the side of the truck, arms crossed, deep in a conversation that long ago disappeared from memory. Jim Lasley was on the other side of the vehicle laughing at something Edwin had said, and Tom Pate looked as if he was just taking it all in. It happens sometimes. The stars align, the moon happens to be in the right quarter and good luck abounds. We all had great retrievers, and I can remember each dog and the personality it sported as well as its owner’s. Edwin’s dog, Dick, was a big male yellow Lab that was so smart it was uncanny. Dick won more than his share of field trials and made game retrieves that we still talk about. Jim’s dog, Sandy, a golden retriever, was the most loving dog I can remember, other than Paddle, of course. There was one goose-hunting trip we made to Easton, Maryland, when Sandy rode in the center of the rear bench seat between Jim and me and was more civilized than the rest of us on that adventure. Somewhere, maybe in one of these boxes, I have a photo of Sandy sleeping so close to the giant fireplace in the Tidewater Inn he almost could have been one of the logs. Dick’s dog, Honcho, a blocky, black Lab built low to the ground, had a head that we jokingly referred to as being as big as an alligator’s. Honcho had a mind of his own. One of my fondest memories is the evening Jim Lasley and I drove Dick home after a Ducks Unlimited banquet. Dick had just bought the little black fur ball at the event’s auction and we were riding them home for two reasons: one, to make sure they got there, and the other, to run interference for Dick when he introduced his new life-long friend to February 2013

O.Henry 39

40 O.Henry

February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Sporting Life his bride, Lida. Tom’s dog, Princess, was the different one of the group. A petite Boykin spaniel, she more than made up with heart for her lack of size. She could compete with the bigger dogs and actually show some of them how it should be done. Unfortunately, she was not allowed to participate in the Tar Heel Trials because, at that time, the AKC did not recognize Boykins as a registered breed. It worked out OK, though, because Princess was a family dog and Tom’s dad hunted with her more than any other member of the family. Later, Tom got a long-legged, rangy black Lab that made retrieves that did the Labrador breed proud, but Tom never forgot that Princess set the standard. Last but not least in this canine quintuplet was my yellow Lab, Paddle. It’s often said among the sporting dog crowd that if you put in the time and pay your dues, you will one day have a

. . . if you put in the time and pay your dues, you will one day have a dog that will make you proud. dog that will make you proud. Not just occasionally but all the time. I was lucky; Paddle fit the description from the very beginning. She was so smart in her special dog way that I was constantly amazed. In field trials, she placed second in her first puppy stake, and won her first derby contest. In actual hunting situations, she made some retrieves that seemed next to impossible. She loved my old Bronco because when she was in it, we were on the way to something fun. Coleman even thought I should let Paddle drive after we had a hard day afield. All these dogs have gone on to that great duck hunting marsh in the sky, just waiting for us to join them. As a matter of fact, one of the five men who were standing around that old pickup in those early dog-training days has already made the trip. Life goes by in such a hurry that I’m sure some of us will be following in the not too distant future. It’s good to know that Coleman and the dogs are waiting. OH Tom Bryant, who graduated from Elon and lived in Alamance County for decades, is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henry’s Sporting Life columnist. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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42 O.Henry

February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

A Room of My Own Sometimes it’s comforting to share a space with whoever came before you

By Jane Borden

Illustration by Meridith Martens


rian Wilson sang, “There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to/ In my room, in my room/ In this world I lock out all my worries and my fears/ In my room, in my room,” and all of America related. Yet, most of our rooms had been occupied, in as private a way, by dozens of others before. In twelve years, I moved into and out of eight apartments in New York City. Each time, a new space was just that: new. Mine, immediately, exclusively. I’d envision where pieces of furniture or works of art would live, never imagining the foreign lamps and conversations that had previously roosted, even though the very nature of my occupation was predicated on sequential tenancy. This is a strange defense mechanism we intuitively employ, or rather, selectively employ, because, of course, there are countless spaces in which we exclusively imagine past ghosts. See where Thomas Jefferson once slept. Wander stone-walled rooms where Incan priests sacrificed animals. Then again, these postmortem pictures and our desire to construct them are born of clues left behind, in hotel ledgers or missionaries’ diaries. This must be why, before we move into a previously occupied space, all clues have been removed. We want a clean slate, to know nothing of our home’s ex-boyfriends. Otherwise, those people’s worlds will seep into the borders of our own, like color filling a cartoon pane that’s already

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

drawn. That’s what happened when I found a toy ring in a dusty corner of an elevated side room in my basement apartment in Clinton Hill, Brooklyn — and how I came to live with the previous tenant of 175 Green Avenue. The ring became a talisman. I’d brush my teeth and watch the little cave morph from my office into a child’s playroom, pink and green, cluttered and carpeted. Then it would shift again, now filling with the posters, hair ties and lip glosses of a teenage girl who might have procured the token from a gumball machine, with friends who have similar ones in different colors. For reasons I don’t fully understand, it brought me great comfort to think of the imaginary girls’ footsteps pacing the same circles as mine, of them waking in the middle of the night to the same degree of darkness, to imagine their ghost belongings occupying simultaneously the same space as my corporeal items. “There’s a world where I can go and tell my secrets to/ Because others have before me and their secrets remain, collecting on the walls like pillows, stopping up gaps under the doors/ In our room, in our room.” It’s a brand new space that would leave me uneasy, fearful that my worries and my fears would find ways in through cracks not yet clogged. But each to her own. Some people feel panic when they look at the stars and fathom their smallness in the universe, while others feel peace. OH Jane Borden is a native of Greensboro and the author of the highlyacclaimed memoir, I Totally Meant To Do That. February 2013

O.Henry 43

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 2013 Sweet Besides the candles and whatnot, the book says to scatter raspberries between the sheets — a faint echo, she supposes, of ancient, earnest fertility rites involving fire and pomegranate seeds, to enrich an evening meant to cry out “Whoopee! We’re so wild with desire we don’t care about staining the bed or getting pips in odd places, or squandering perfectly good expensive out-of-season fruit!”

Half a candlelit hour later, he’s warming up his snore, and she, by the soft midnight glow from the street, stretches for the few berries she saved and indulges a little leftover greed, sharing with the elderly dog resettled at their feet.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

— Sarah Lindsay

February 2013

O.Henry 45

The Life of Bryan

By Jim Schlosser


t may sound corny, but Jim Melvin says, “Good morning, Mr. Bryan,” as soon as he steps into his office each morning. He says, “Good night,” when leaving. Joseph M. Bryan, better known as Joe, has been dead for more than thirteen years. People in their early 20s or older people new to Greensboro probably have no concept of Bryan except as a municipal park with two golf courses, an expressway to the airport and a business school at UNCG. They don’t realize that he’s still with us. Money he left continues to do an awful lot of good. It pays for programs, organizations and events, including Alzheimer’s research at Duke, the United Way of Greater Greensboro and the city’s annual Christmas parade. The Joseph M. Bryan Foundation, which Melvin heads, even purchased the community Christmas trees that glow in Center City Park. Oh, Bryan Foundation money helped create the park. NewBridge Bank Park downtown? That was a Bryan Foundation initiative with Action Greensboro. The foundation helped bring the Elon University School of Law to Greensboro. Bryan gave — he disliked that word, by the way, much preferring “invested” — more than $10 million to Duke University for Alzheimer’s research and other programs. Every college in Greensboro has benefited from Bryan’s largesse, including 25 to 30 students who annually receive scholarships to the Bryan School of Business at UNCG. Bryan never attended a college. He had to quit a boarding school he was


February 2013

attending because his aunts couldn’t afford it. They had taken over his care after his mother entered an insane asylum. “He gave his entire estate to the community. He loved this town,” Melvin says of Bryan, a transplant from the North who didn’t arrive in Greensboro until he was 35, in 1931. “He gave it all to you and me. So the board of the foundation feels responsible to do what he would want us to do.” Bryan lived to be 99 years and 3 months old, and was still going to the office daily until he reached the age of 98. Those who do remember him recall a robust man with a baritone voice and white mustache who often wore a Greater Greensboro Open (now Wyndham Championship) green blazer and similar coat from Augusta National Golf Club, where he was the oldest living member for years. People also remember a man who was gruff. He fooled you, Melvin says. “He wasn’t gruff, but he wanted you to think he was.” Gruffness came in handy when giving away money or dealing with a boy who boldly walked into his office one day asking to see the richest man in Greensboro. According to Melvin, people thought they could fool Bryan with their knowledge of a cause. But Bryan never entered a venture without knowing a great deal about it in advance. He had a technique of asking just the right questions from those requesting or proposing. “If he felt there was no appropriate answers given to these questions,” Melvin says, “he would not participate in the program.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph of Joseph Bryan and Chino II, July, 1982, Joseph M. Bryan Archives, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC, USA.

How Joe Bryan’s legacy lives on today

Painting of Joseph bryan by tom edgerton, 1997.

Bryan has given away more money in death than life. He set up the foundation in 1984 with $450,000, making small bequests. When he died, he left $66 million, most of his estate, to the foundation. Some family members showed surprise and anger. When they sued to see the contents of the will, they found no surprises. Melvin, Bryan’s longtime friend and confidante, became president of the Bryan Foundation in 1997 after Bryan’s estate was settled. The foundation’s worth is now $90 million. It has amassed that much even while giving away an equal amount since 1997. Melvin remembers as mayor in the 1970s and early 1980s a newspaper story broke that federal cutbacks would force the city to end its annual teenage summer employment program. Some 400 teens would be without jobs. Melvin received a call from Bryan. He wanted to know if what he was reading was true. Assured it was, he asked how much the program cost. Melvin said $100,000. “He sent a check over that day,” Melvin says. Bryan Park is named for Bryan though he contributed no money to its initial creation. Melvin and Bryan thought a nice building was needed for meetings and social events to offset the sight of the park’s dreadful clubhouse and grill. (It offered a Bryan Burger, but he always ordered a ham and cheese.) Melvin got an estimate, $600,000 for the Bryan Enrichment Center. Fine, build it, Bryan said. The architect came back saying the actual cost would be $900,000. Melvin was halfway into telling Bryan features could be trimmed but Bryan boomed, “Go ahead and build it at that price.” Next, bids arrived from contractors. The lowest was $1.3 million. Melvin called Bryan to say they’d go back to the drawing board. “Don’t make any changes. Build it,” Bryan said. After Bryan’s death, Melvin had the shabby clubhouse torn down. He replaced it with a $2.1 million structure paid for by the Bryan Foundation. The park held important meaning to Bryan, who loved the outdoors. Melvin drove Bryan there often so he could watch people play golf, picnic and enjoy themselves. To make sure the park was kept top notch, the foundation leased it from the city and hired a private management firm to operate it. “He wanted everybody in Greensboro to be a member of a country club,” Melvin says, and that meant having two of the nation’s finest municipal courses and practice facilities. The Champions course, where holes border Lake Townsend is considered a design gem, and work of art. And the soccer facilities are unsurpassed. The list of Bryan’s contributions to the city runs long and deep. Among the earliest was $5,000 to the United Way. The gift is now $300,000. The foundation pays for the giant balloons in the revived Christmas parade. The crowds now lining the curbs along the downtown route approach 100,000. A community Christmas tree and a parade may seem minor bequests, but the foundation and others believe — and Joe Bryan did, too — each downtown improvement adds a piece to the puzzle to the center city’s resurgence. Some people were surprised the foundation would put money into a ball park, but Melvin saw it as economic development, a foundation goal. It was The Art & Soul of Greensboro

hoped it would attract investment in northwest downtown. And it has, as the new apartments along Smith Street near the park demonstrate. Many mistakenly assumed Bryan became rich from marrying Kathleen Price Bryan, daughter of Julian Price, who built Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co. into an enormous enterprise. For decades after his retirement as a Jefferson executive, Bryan kept his panel office on the eleventh floor of the seventeen-story Jefferson Building, which Price built in 1923. Bryan sat in Price’s old chair. The carpeted floor in the middle of the room had a hole from where many had stood asking for money. Asked why he didn’t buy a new carpet, Bryan said, “I can’t afford it.” The answer was his response when someone suggested he buy something for himself. Melvin says the Bryans never commingled their assets. At age 19, after serving as an ambulance driver during World War I in France, Bryan made money fast in New York as a cotton broker dealing with a company in Haiti. A photo shows a rakish-looking Bryan in boots, carrying a pistol on his hip in Haiti. At 23, Bryan bought a seat on the New York Cotton Exchange, the youngest member ever. He borrowed the needed money from an uncle who was a doctor. Melvin says Bryan paid back every cent. Bryan later would make millions investing in oil. Joe and Kathleen Bryan lived their entire lives in one home, a Georgian style house in Irving Park. The foundation now owns it for use as the UNCG’s chancellor’s home. On Christmas Eve, Bryan would let his no-nonsense guard down to dress up as Santa Claus and open the home to neighborhood children. The couple had no beach or mountain home. Bryan did have a farm across from what’s now Smith High School. It had a modest farmhouse. He willed the land and house to his longtime secretary. Bryan’s philanthropy dates way back. In the conference room of the Bryan Foundation in a building at the corner of West Wendover Avenue and Cridland Drive hangs a photo of Bryan handing a check for $1,200 to Sam Snead. Snead had just won, in 1938, the first Greater Greensboro Open. Bryan had underwritten the event in case it failed financially. Despite his wealth, Melvin says, Bryan remained frugal. He wore the same suits, well-tailored, for twenty or thirty years. Bryan always wore a coat and tie to the office, a tradition Melvin continues. Melvin wants the public to know the good Bryan did alive and in death. “This is not about you or me or the foundation board. It’s about a guy going out and doing all the good you can do and keep on doing. His tentacles are all around this community.” He was the ultimate “doer,” said the late William Friday at the dedication of a statue of Bryan at Bryan Park in 1994. Roger Soles, the former Jefferson-Pilot chairman, a man who didn’t hand out compliments often, once said, “He has really done more for this city than anyone.” Besides the naming of the park and boulevard, the city showed its gratitude with a giant party at the Coliseum on Bryan’s 95th birthday. About the only thing he failed to achieve was living to 100 and seeing Bryan Boulevard completed. While the 6.2-mile highway was being built from Benjamin Parkway to the airport, his chauffeur drove him to the site often. He lived to see it completed to New Garden Road. OH February 2013

O.Henry 47


Heart of a Photographs By Sam Froelich


February 2013


The Art & Soul of Greensboro


his story is about a homeless man, a beautiful clock, and a city with a heart. Several years ago, a woodworker and Navy veteran named Don Ames arrived in Greensboro from Michigan hoping to find a job in the local furniture industry. On his first night in town, however, while staying at a downtown motel, Ames was robbed of all his money. The next day he hit the streets, taking up a position at the corner of Lee Street and Murrow Boulevard, collecting enough spare change from strangers to buy a tarp and begin setting up a place for himself in the woods off Freeman Mill Road. You’ve seen Don or someone like him a hundred times over the years — homeless, weathered from the streets, silently anchoring a city corner with a sign that asks for help. On any given night, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness, as many as two million people sleep in public and private shelters, on streets or in makeshift camps like the one Don Ames soon called home on the southern flank of the city. Contrary to the stubborn stereotype, experts say, owing to the effects of the Great Recession, less than a quarter of these folks suffer from mental illness — the vast majority, in fact, are veterans, young people and families who simply couldn’t afford proper housing and stay afloat when their livelihoods vanished. Don Ames was fortunate to have fallen between the cracks in Greensboro, not only because few cities anywhere can match the Gate City for the number of churches, private organizations and local and state governmental entities that serve the diverse needs of the homeless and others in crisis, but also because of a heightened attitude of compassion that seems to prevail here among all economic classes — the desire of one neighbor to help another, even if that neighbor happens to be hungry, homeless and a complete stranger. Some say this results from the city’s legacy of Quaker service to humanity. Others cite our rich cultural diversity as a natural means of breaking down barriers and outreaching to others in need. In June of 2007, the United Way of Greater Greensboro launched an ambitious campaign aimed at ending homelessness in Guilford county — which, entering its sixth year, seems to be generously bearing fruit. Whatever the source of Greensboro’s civic compassion, the heart of a city is revealed in countless ways every hour of the day through the work of more than two hundred different remarkably coordinated organizations, church groups and grassroots Samaritans striving to break the cycle of poverty on our streets. “What the people of this city do to serve the homeless, the hungry and people in a variety of needs is, in a word, incredible — unlike any other place I’ve seen,” notes the artist William Mangum, whose own encounter and subsequent caring involvement with a homeless man years ago served as the inspiration for the Honor Card that has raised more than $4 million to combat homelessness across North Carolina. This year Mangum’s nationally recognized Honor Card celebrated its 25th anniversary. “Lots of cities have excellent services and dedicated places for those in need of assistance to seek help, but few if any have the amazing level of cooperation we enjoy between service groups and every kind of organization, ” echoes Liz Seymour, the director of the Interactive Resource Center,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a visionary nonprofit center that opened its doors in 2009 offering a broad menu of vital services in one easy-access location on East Washington Street. Created with public grants and private funding and resources from the community at large, the IRC provides its “guest clients” the basics of showers, laundry services, medical care and screening, even a barbershop. Unlike most conventional shelters, the center offers storage lockers, access to telephones (with personal voice mail), resource counseling, job and life skills training and replacement IDs — all vital elements for someone aiming to rebuild a life. On any given day, you’ll see guests playing chess or reading books or magazines or showing up to attend computer lab training, check mail or work on a job application. The center offers classes in everything from art to resumé writing and even boasts its own “street” newspaper. Don Ames was one of the center’s first clients — and remains one of its strongest advocates. “Without this place I’d probably be dead,” he notes, adding how Liz Seymour and the services offered by the IRC and the community at large enabled him to purchase new equipment and get back to doing what he loves best — making beautiful objects from wood he gathers around town. Two years ago, inspired by Bill Mangum’s Honor Card, a pair of local retired businessmen named Ernie Manuel and Pete Pearce created a nointerest loan empowerment program that found its way to the Bryan School of Business and Economics, where Dr. Chanelle James matched homeless folks with an entrepreneur spark with her business students, the goal being to create a viable small business. To date more than a dozen folks have participated in the program, including Don Ames, who today lives and works from a shed off Freeman Mill Road, running a small business called the “Carolina Scoller” making wooden puzzles, crosses, chessboards and clocks, including the beautiful ornate “Rhinelander” wooden church clock that now graces Liz Seymour’s modest office. “In a way,” she reflects, “I think Don’s clock is a perfect symbol of what’s happening in Greensboro. Piece by piece lives are being restored and put back together by compassionate people who support the goal to end homelessness in this county.” Though there are many fine examples to choose from across Guilford County — a group that refurbishes bicycles and uses the funds for underwriting a shelter, or a dedicated group calling itself the Burrito Bikers that dispenses food and clothing without fail every Saturday morning in Center City Park — O.Henry offers five stories of how lives have been transformed by a city with a heart. One tells of a Master of the Universe who fell from grace in order to find it. In another, an addicted mother is saved by a real-life angel. In our third story you’ll meet a remarkable young man who has refused to let his disabilities slow him down for a second. Then comes a cook who was once in the grip of addiction but now dishes up love from behind the counter. Finally, two ladies from a start-up church began feeding people out of the trunk of their cars and created a remarkable Sunday morning outreach and unexpected street fellowship. For more information, please contact the Interactive Resource Center at (336) 332-0824 or visit the website, www.gsodaycenter.org. OH

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Heart of a City

A Master of the Universe Comes Clean By Jim Schlosser


orget the image of a drunk passed out in an alley, empty bottle of Richard’s Wild Irish Rose against the wall. In fact, during his long addiction, Warren Margulies designed ads for the company that made Richard’s Wild Irish Rose. Stoned or drunk — he was often both — Margulies came up with clever ads for Fortune 500 companies. “I worked in a most creative atmosphere,” he says of his get-high days in New York in the 1960s and 1970s. “The more creative you were, the more drugs you used. I was very creative.” At 21 he was heralded by IDEA magazine as one of New York’s ten best designers. “My ego was out of control,” he says from his office at Fellowship Hall, where, as a primary counselor, he tries to help others conquer addiction problems. He used LSD, opium, cocaine — you name it. As for pot, “It was like brushing your teeth. I never considered it a drug.” During an era of innovative ad work, he participated in the campaign to paint Braniff International Airways planes bright colors and to redesign flight attendant outfits in snappy, colorful styles. He did full-page ads in The New York Times for the airline and for the carrier TWA. He worked at an agency with a fellow copywriter who penned the classic Alka Seltzer line, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing.” He didn’t start drinking until he was 27, when a client said you were expected to drink at business gatherings, not take drugs. Even so, Margulies stayed with drugs, while building up to a fifth of vodka a day. “I never really ever came to work hung over,” he says. “Stoned, yes. If anything I thought it would enhance my creativity.” He said he didn’t stop taking drugs for fear he’s lose his creativity — and job. He moved South for warmer climes and to work for the now-defunct ad firm, Long, Haymes and Carr. The money was good. In New York, he once received a signing bonus of $70,000. “I thought I was a baseball player.” Here, he became a partner with Trone Advertising, perhaps the Triad’s bestknown agency. He was a master of the universe. People saw him as a serious, hardworking guy. Although others in the business had addiction problems, for them he felt no compassion. His attitude was, “If you can’t drink like me, it’s your problem,” he says. “If you can’t keep up with me, it’s your problem. I was an The Art & Soul of Greensboro

incurable elitist, full of myself, making a lot of money. I won’t say how much but it was six figures and no low six figures.” He had a wife, two children, a big house on two-and-a-half acres in Oak Ridge and a vacation house at Smith Mountain Lake. As he grew older, Margulies’ health deteriorated, and he began to experience heart palpitations and heavy sweating. When he didn’t take enough drugs, he had withdrawal pains. He sought help and was told he needed to enter treatment. On October 1, 1996, he checked into Fellowship Hall, a highly respected treatment center off Hicone Road. He hated it at first. “Then because of the treatment, I didn’t want to leave,” he says. “I was able to recognize I was an addict. It was with a sense of relief to know I was an addict. I was 48. I had spent most of my life on drugs and alcohol. One of my big fears was I wouldn’t know who I was without drugs and alcohol.” After 28 days at Fellowship Hall, he returned to Trone for two years. Being off drugs and booze didn’t affect his creativity. His Fellowship Hall experience, however, pointed him in a new direction. He moved to Smith Mountain Lake for two years and decided to go back to school to study chemical dependency. He did occasional ad consultancy work. He worked with a mental health clinic in Martinsville and then in Florida. He liked helping people. “I went from six figures to $21,000 a year,” says the 65-year-old Margulies. He had money from selling his share of his partnership at Trone. He also sold his Summerfield and Smith Mountain places. He and his wife now live in Old Irving Park. He eventually returned to Fellowship Hall, but this time as a counselor. “There is nothing more humbling than to offer people what I found here sixteen and a half years ago,” he says . “Fellowship Hall is a very special place. I have never seen any kind of facility that comes close to it in compassion, authenticity and just understanding chemical dependency.” He says once you go through the 43-year-old Fellowship Hall program, it becomes a part of your life. As for where he’d be today had he not entered Fellowship Hall, he says without hesitation, “Probably dead.” For more information about Fellowship Hall, call (336) 621-3381 or go to the web site, www.fellowshiphall.com. OH

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Heart of a City

Touched By an Angel

A real life Mary Magdalene finds her way home


By Maria Johnson

onica Crockett believes in angels. One of them knocked on the door of a crack house nine years ago to tell Monica she’d been accepted into Mary’s House, a Greensboro recovery program for homeless, addicted women with young children. It was a light at the end of a long tunnel. Born to a 13-year-old mother who became pregnant after she was molested, Monica became a mother herself at 16. A year later, she was living on the streets of Winston-Salem, trading her body for crack or the money to buy it. She stayed out there for seventeen years, high most of the time and often pregnant. She had six children. Her family absorbed five of the kids; Monica abandoned most of them in the hospital. She tried a few rehabs. They worked for a while. Then it was back to the street, where she gathered a string of criminal charges. When she was pregnant with her sixth child, a judge ordered her to attend a day program for expectant moms. Monica stayed clean and applied to become a resident of Mary’s House, a nonprofit named for Mary Magdalene, the Biblical figure who was possessed by demons and thought to be incurable. Before Monica knew whether she was accepted, she had the baby. She took him home. Things were OK for a while, but within months — about the time her son started eating solid food — Monica was back on the street. With her son. And her demons. She fed her son French fries and soda with the money left over from buying drugs. Other crackheads were her son’s babysitters. Her family was done with her. She seemed incurable. One morning, Monica was walking in the back door of a crack house when there was a knock on the front door. “Is Monica in there?” someone called. It was the counselor who’d arranged Monica’s interview at Mary’s House. She’d been looking for Monica for five days. Monica met her at the front door. Let’s go, said the lady. You’re in. Not now, said Monica, I’m going to use this stuff. Give me the baby, said the lady, and we’ll wait in the car. Monica handed over her son. The lady and the baby waited for three hours.


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Monica peeked out the window. She saw her son in a car seat. They made eye contact. He looked so sad. “For a brief moment, I felt his pain,” Monica says. “Something said, ‘If you don’t go now, you’ll never see this child again.’” She walked to the car. Her face was sunken. Her wig was cockeyed and shabby. Her clothes were dirty. She looked so bad that when she got to Mary’s House, the woman who’d interviewed her didn’t recognize her. “This is Crockett,” said the woman who brought her in. “The hell it is,” said the woman at Mary’s House. Later, when Monica was alone with her son, she broke down. The next day was his first birthday. She had nothing to give him, so she promised him a gift for later: a good mother. The next two years at Mary’s House were tough. Monica entered the program at age 34, but she had the maturity of a teenager. She was street-wise and sassy. The women at Mary’s House stood their ground. And they stood by her. They hugged her and told her everything would be OK. They taught her how to parent, cook, clean, bathe herself properly. They showed her how to make a plan for each day, how to speak respectfully, how to dress with self respect. They took her to group and individual therapy, guided her through relapse prevention, helped her find a job, and when the time was right, helped her move into an apartment supported by Mary’s House vouchers. Even then, Monica was scared. When she panicked, she ran back to Mary’s House. They let her in, loved her, and nudged her back into the world. She has been clean for nine years now, and she works at Mary’s House part-time, coordinating transportation for the eight residents and their children. She drives them to appointments, movies and other outings. At night, she goes home to her family: her youngest son, who’s now 10 and a straight-A student and her 5-year-old daughter. There’s a good man in her life. They have a house. He wants to marry her. She’ll probably let him. Her other children still live with family members, but on holidays and special occasions, they come to her house and sleep all over the place. They want to be with her. And she wants to be with them. “It’s such a blessing,” says Monica, a radiant, eloquent woman who was once possessed by demons and thought to be incurable. For more information about Mary’s House, call (336) 275-0800, email maryshousegso@aol.com or go to the web site, maryshousegso.org. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Heart of a City

A Webmaster Who Won’t Say No


By Ashley Wahl

hen Josh Cranfill has something to say, people listen. He talks slowly, avoiding superfluous words, and when he gives speeches, he always opens with the same line. “I am an individual with a physical disability,” he will say, which might seem like an obvious statement when you see him, but keep listening. “The word individual comes before disability. I am an individual first. The disability is part of who I am, but it is not who I am.” Philosopher is obviously one of his many guises. He also answers to coach, poker shark, blogger and — his friends will tell you — deadpan comedian. Four years ago, he became Webmaster for Greensboro Cerebral Palsy Association Inc., a nonprofit United Way agency located at Gateway Education Center that provides educational, play, and therapeutic services for multidisabled infants and toddlers with severe developmental delays. Although Josh depends on his parents and nurses for the majority of his needs, he was able to design the entire website through a single microswitch controlled by his left thumb, which so happens to be the strongest muscle in his body. The opportunity allows him to give back to the same program that gave him and his family hope despite all odds. Josh was a healthy-looking baby. At birth, he weighed nearly seven pounds. For first-time parents René and Allen Cranfill, life seemed so promising. And then, suddenly, it did not. Days after his first birthday, “we noticed that he stopped rolling over and stopped standing up in our laps,” says René. Two months later, Josh was diagnosed with WerdnigHoffmann disease, the most severe type of spinal muscular atrophy. Doctors told René and Allen that their son would live for another four months. Maybe. Most likely, though, pneumonia would take his life. “Our world turned upside down,” says René. “I quit work. If I had four months to spend with my son, I was going to enjoy every moment with him.” Each day brought more heartache. Then, Josh turned 2. It hadn’t occurred to René and Allen that the doctors might be wrong. A neighbor told René about the Greensboro Cerebral Palsy Association (GCPA), an early intervention program at Gateway Education Center. Josh’s medical requirements were such that he was accepted into the program almost instantly. “It became my security blanket,” says René. “I realized that I was not the first parent to have walked through those doors with a child with special needs. It was OK for me to have a child who was different. We could get through it.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Cranfills could stop grieving and start living. Josh received intensive therapy five days a week. He learned to drive an electric wheelchair and started talking — all before his third birthday. “Him being here gave me my time at home to be a mommy. Not a teacher or a therapist,” says René. Executive Director Linda Lyon describes the GCPA Infant/Toddler program as a constant bombardment of positive stimulus. “Many of the children who find their way into the program are among the lowest two percent of surviving children coming out of local neonatal units,” says Lyon. “In many ways, Josh was one of the lucky ones.” This month marks his twenty-ninth birthday. Each day is a new string of obstacles and triumphs. When doctors told him not to go to public school, for instance — “he’ll stay sick,” they said — Josh went anyway. Generally, his peers accepted him. Teachers were another story. “I had something to prove,” says Josh. He made the honor roll through high school, even when his disease killed most of the muscle cells in his dominant hand. In 2007, he earned his bachelor of science in leisure/sport management from Elon University. Notice the gold ring on his right hand. And the sliver of a tattoo left uncovered by his shirtsleeve. When he asked for a sleeve tattoo, which was going to take the artist roughly five hours to complete, Josh promised that he wouldn’t flinch. A sports fanatic, he is also the assistant varsity football coach at Western Alamance High School, the place where he made all those good grades and crossed the stage over a decade ago. He operates his wheelchair by using a microchip that fits over his thumb. You bet the players can hear him. Add his microphone and amplifier and Josh is unstoppable. On game nights, however, his pep talks aren’t usually about football. “I love to win,” says Josh. “I’m a very competitive person. But at the end of the day, there are more important things to life.” Hope, for instance. “For me, life isn’t going to get any easier,” says Josh. “I have to accept that.” René wipes a tear from the corner of her son’s eye. “God made me the way I am because he knew that you and Dad could handle it.” For more information about Greensboro Cerebral Palsy Association Inc., call (336) 375-2575 or go to the web site, www.gatewayearlyintervention.org. OH

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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Heart of a City

Love on the Menu


By David C. Bailey

ith the glistening stainless steel of Potter’s House Community Kitchen as a backdrop, chef Wayne Darrell Campbell smiles as the three hundred fifty-plus guests he helps to feed every day file through the cafeteria line, loading their plates with hearty mac’n’cheese, seasoned green beans and savory chicken casserole. Some of them are just down on their luck. Others are habitually homeless. All of them are hungry. Campbell should know. He was standing in that very line eight years ago. “This organization sheltered me on and off for thirty years,” says the energetic and trim Campbell, who rarely wears the chef’s toque that came with his culinary degree. “This place fed me every day and never asked for anything in return,” he says of the Greensboro Urban Ministry, the parent organization of Potter’s House. The Ministry is an ecumenical nonprofit that provides food, shelter and emergency intervention to anyone who needs it. Campbell, 52, recalls how decades of substance abuse had made him cynical and distrustful. “I didn’t think they cared for me. I didn’t know why they were doing it,” he says. “But I know now. These people loved me until I was able to love myself.” Speaking of love, Campbell says, “Nobody used that word in our house. Pop was a functioning alcoholic. Momma was always looking for something else in life and ended up finding it in a bottle.” The family lived in a project neighborhood, Smith Homes — his father a truck driver, his mother collecting welfare. “I was a thief from the time I was born,” he says. His parents, he says, regarded his stealing as a game. “I thought I was James Brown and they’d pay me money to dance.” While he slept, his parents would take the money back. “Then I’d go in my pop’s pockets and steal his change and put it in my shoe and come down the steps, jingle, jingle, jingle,” daring them to catch him. “To my mind it wasn’t wrong; I stole from everyone I came in contact with” — the corner store, neighbors, relatives. He started drinking at 11. By 12, he’d smoked pot. Acid and cocaine came next. By 16, he was shooting heroin. “One of my mom’s boyfriends gave me my first shot of dope and I liked it,” Campbell says. “I needed to keep feeling the way I was feeling because that was a way I didn’t have to think about what I didn’t want to think about.” Campbell quit school and went to work in a warehouse at 16. “When I wasn’t working, I was partying and stealing,” he says. “I don’t know whether I fell in with a bad crowd or the bad crowd fell in with me.” They robbed one convenience story and then another: “We were going down the road The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and the whole highway lit up with police lights,” Campbell says. The judge sentenced him to twelve years. He was 17. It was in prison that Campbell got his culinary degree. When he got out, he had good intentions. “But you know what I did?” he asks rhetorically. “Everything I said I wouldn’t do — cheating, lying and deceiving.” He couldn’t keep a job. He couldn’t keep a roof over his head. He couldn’t form a steady relationship. But he did manage to stay out of prison for seventeen years until a federal check-forging charge caught up with him. Once out of prison, he went from one job to another until he was back on the streets: “It didn’t dawn on me that I was homeless. That’s how messed up I was,” he says. By 2005, he’d been shot once and had overdosed on drugs five times. “God had a veil over me, protecting me.” On July 3, 2005, Campbell says he got some drugs and a bottle of wine, “and every time I hit the dope, I threw up. I could taste the poison,” he says. “I looked up and I prayed.” It wasn’t the first time, but this time instead of just asking for help, “I made it a little different. I said, ‘Lord take this from me because it’s going to kill me.’” Two days later, on July 5, “I woke up and from that day to this day has been the best day of my life.” He began attending Alcoholic Anonymous. Campbell credits his AA sponsor, Larry Barnhardt, with helping him stay with the program. When no one else would take a chance on giving him a job, the Greensboro Urban Ministry, which had fed and housed him for years, hired him first as a janitor in 2006 and then as a chef. “God touched enough hearts to allow these people to hire me and give me the keys to their building. That’s a trust I honor.” He worked his way up to supervisor. He bought and lives in the house next to the duplex where he used to shoot dope. He found a woman who helped him turn his life around. He attends church regularly. “I give all the glory to God,” Campbell says. “It ain’t nothing I did.” Like the Greensboro Urban Ministry, he says, “God just waited on me.” For more information about Greensboro Urban Ministry and Potter’s House Community Kitchen, call (336) 271-5959 or go to the web site, www.greensborourbanministry.org. OH February 2013

O.Henry 57


Heart of a City

Awakening at Friendly and Elm


By Jim Dodson

ain or shine, snow or sleet, they’re always here on Sunday morning,” says a man who simply goes by Father Time on the streets of Greensboro. “That should tell you something about their hearts. These people are kind of like real life angels to us.” In the gritty street-level world of urban homelessness, where tomorrow is today and actions speak a thousand times louder than words, Father Time is speaking of a band of dedicated grassroots volunteers that sets up stations for distributing food, clothing, hot meals and other essentials of life by the southern flank of Center City Park without fail every Sunday morning, a grassroots fellowship of the lost and found that is making a real difference in hundreds of lives — including their own. “We’re hardly angels,” insists Kay Dunman with a husky laugh, placing a freshly made egg salad sandwich and other nutritional snacks into carry bags for the line of folks waiting patiently behind the open trunk of her hatchback. Dunman, one of the event’s original participants, a busy human resources director for a local manufacturing firm, greets everyone receiving a sandwich — made in her kitchen at five that very morning — with the same bright smile and warm greeting. “We’re simply ordinary people trying to help others and spread the love of God. And believe me, this does as much for us as for the people we serve. I was afraid when I first came out here. But now I’m in love. These people are my family.” Indeed, improbable as it may seem, given the harshness of life on the streets, an unmistakable air of conviviality and family warmth characterizes this impromptu weekly gathering that will soon mark its fourth year of life — drawing anywhere from 50 to 75 volunteers from several area churches and upward of 200 homeless or others in need on any given Sunday morning to an otherwise starkly empty downtown — an updated spiritual echo, one might even say, of the miracle of the loaves and the fishes. “It is, in a way, a little like a miracle how this whole thing began and continues to grow,” allows Mary Yonjof, the event’s de facto founder, who this particular morning is helping a young Florida woman who arrived at a Greensboro shelter overnight but woefully unprepared for the cold select a proper coat and gloves. One noontime as Yonjof and her teenage son, Alex, were passing through downtown on their way to lunch to talk about his college plans, Alex spotted a homeless man and casually wondered to his mother, “Why don’t you find a way for the church to serve people on Sunday morning?” As it happened, the Yonjofs were members of a new church called Awakened City Church, looking for a way to broaden their Christian outreach. “I mentioned it to our head pastor, Frank Bishoff, and he liked the idea, thinking it might be something others in the church would be interested in.” Mary put out the word and other members responded. The first Sunday morning, Yonjof, who works as a nurse at Cone Hospital, and a handful of others from Awakened City showed up near the

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corner of Friendly and Elm with coffee, twenty or so homemade sandwiches and doughnuts they purchased with their own money. “It was a pretty lowkey affair but the people we met were so appreciative it was a real eye-opener. We knew we were on to something important. But it was up to the Lord to lead us from there.” From this mustard seed of faith in action grew an impressively spontaneous street ministry now called “Redeeming Life Ministries,” a weekly lovefest that to date has fed and clothed thousands, provided hundreds of pairs of boots, coats and blankets, personal care items — even job placement opportunities — and created an ever expanding coalition of other churches and businesses that support the Sunday morning gathering. During the week, Yonjof’s free time is spent securing donations of life essentials from generous local companies and taking supplies and food, clean water and clothing to several of the homeless “camps” scattered around the Gate City. Alex now works as the Awakened City Church’s youth minister, bringing more and more younger volunteers to serve in the outreach ministry. On this particular morning, yards from where Kay Dunman is handing out sandwiches, Steve Tennant from Bales Weslyan Church in Jamestown, closing in on his second year as a volunteer, is dishing up his wife, Cindy’s, famed goulash while she helps a young woman try on gloves and scarves. “One of the things we’re trying to do is break down the stereotype that homeless folks are addicts or mentally ill,” says Cindy, noting that many of the people the Sunday morning outreach serves increasingly are families — many with jobs — that have simply fallen between the cracks. Before the weekly awakening winds down, at the opposite end of the block, Randy Judd and Barbara Baker will have dispensed more than two hundred cups of fresh-brewed coffee and delicious fried bologna sandwiches grilled on-site, while a group from a new home-based church called Missio Dei that includes Page High School’s athletic director, Rusty Lee, offers homemade oatmeal, grits and fruit. “The best part of this is the human face this puts to homelessness,” Lee points out. “These people aren’t invisible to us anymore, just statistics. They really are you and me.” Mary Yonjof’s vision keeps quietly growing. “We had no idea this would become what it has become. I would love to see more churches in the city become involved, and be able to serve even more people. It’s all up to the Lord,” she adds with an almost radiant smile, pointing out that the first day it rained and the volunteers showed up, the folks waiting were flatly astonished. “They couldn’t believe we were actually here,” she says. “Best of all, we’ve never missed a Sunday yet.” For more information visit awakencitychurch.com, or email Mary Yonjof at maryyonjof.earthlink.net, or call (336) 339-2756. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Kay Dunman

Mary Yonjof The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Edgar, Suzanne and twin boys, Max and Miles, happy in their home, gathered ’round the maple plank table made by Suzanne’s father February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Story of A House

The Love Nest

Stylish, modest, and oh-so-thoroughly-modern By Maria Johnson • Photographs by Stacey Van Berkel


he’s a collector. He’s a minimalist. She likes to get out. He likes to stay home. She leans toward buying. He salvages every chance he gets. Knowing that the marriage of Suzanne and Edgar Cabrera holds this kind of dichotomy, you might think their home would be a schizophrenic mess. But that would ignore the unifying principle: Both of them are designers and illustrators, which explains how the young couple — both graduates of UNCG’s interior architecture program — have fashioned a stylish, thrifty love nest from a modern ranch home in north Greensboro. Because they live and work in the 1,600-square-foot space, which they share with their beagle, Pokey, and their twin 20-month old sons, Max and Miles (aka the interns), the Cabreras aim to make their three-bedroom home functional, beautiful, restful and, to a toddlerish degree, indestructible. “It’s a work in progress,” says Edgar. “That’s part of what we enjoy — constantly working and doing what we can, whenever we can.” The changes they’ve made — including painting the front door yellow and brushing black paint over the vertical wood siding to mimic the barns that Suzanne admired on a trip to Kentucky — are laid over good bones. Edgar saw them the moment Suzanne showed him the angular house in the Natchez Trace neighborhood off Pisgah Church Road. They’d looked at about 20 listings, and Suzanne had already stalked the latest prospect, peering through the windows of the 1981 home and liking what she saw. “This is it,” Edgar told Suzanne as they pulled up. “Don’t look at any more. This is our home.” The house had clean lines. It wasn’t too big or too small. It sat on a cul-desac lot backed by a curtain of trees. Inside, the former owners had made some improvements. They’d installed stainless-steel appliances and added a sizable deck. The hardwood floors were in good shape. Ditto the great room’s vaulted ceiling with exposed beams. The yard was planted with azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias, and it had an attractive gravel sitting area off the deck. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Someone had taken good care of the place. The Cabreras, who were frustrated by years of living in rentals, were ready to take over. “We wanted something with character, something we could give our touch,” says Edgar. Their touch is a fusion of tastes rooted in their childhoods. Suzanne grew up in North Carolina, near Grandfather Mountain. She spent much of her youth riding with her parents to flea markets and antique sales where Mom and Dad prowled for vintage toys and kitchen items while Suzanne gathered Wizard of Oz memorabilia. “I thought if you didn’t have a collection, you were pretty boring,” she says. Enter Edgar, who arrived from the Dominican Republic at age 18. He traveled light, with one suitcase. It was a habit borne of necessity in his impoverished native country. “We had only what we really needed,” says Edgar. He lived in New York City for several years, then relocated to Raleigh and met Suzanne at the apartment complex where she worked. A graduate of the journalism school at UNC-Chapel Hill, she had discovered she was a better designer than writer. She was headed for the interior architecture graduate school at UNCG. Edgar appreciated design. As a boy, he was enchanted by the hand-drawn sketches in an architect’s office where his father, a photographer, worked. But architecture school was too expensive, so Edgar shelved his dreams. They stirred again when he saw sketches in the design studios at UNCG. With Suzanne’s encouragement, he got his academic footing at Guilford Technical Community College, then transferred to UNCG, where he, too, studied interior architecture. After graduation, Suzanne taught at UNCG, and Edgar worked for furniture maker Natuzzi. Then they started a business: An Open Sketchbook. Working together while the boys sleep and trading shifts when they’re awake, the Cabreras create illustrations for freelance clients. They’re also developing their own stationery, which they sell on their website, www. anopensketchbook.com. They’ve been accepted as exhibitors for the upcoming National Stationery Show in New York. They hope to offer their wares in retail shops soon. February 2013

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Above: Throughout, dark walls with light trim make accents pop. Below: Pokey, the Cabreras’ affable guard dog

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Company headquarters is a bedroom that they’ve converted to an office. Suzanne works at a sleek plywood desk that Edgar built to fit the height of a molded plastic chair that Suzanne snared at the Liberty Antiques Festival. He faced the drawers with teak tiles that were headed for the Natuzzi dumpster. He used the same resilient squares to pave the twins’ room and the kitchen. Edgar works at a desk that belonged to Suzanne’s grandmother, who owned several pieces of mid-20th century furniture. That was a boon for Suzanne and Edgar, who love the simple lines of the era. They idolize the late husband-wife team of Charles and Ray Eames, whose hard-shell chairs and other lean designs helped to define American modernism in the 1940s and 50s. The exclamation point of the office is a paper-art beehive suspended from the ceiling. The hive, which once hung in the Anthropologie store in Friendly Center, was given to them by their pal, designer Addie Brown. “Doctors have doctor friends; we have designer friends,” says Suzanne. The couple’s home has benefited. On the hearth in the great room stands a wooden figure done by former UNCG design teacher Novem Mason. For years, Edgar jokingly asked for the sculpture. One day, to Edgar’s surprise, Mason said OK. “I couldn’t believe it,” says Edgar. “It’s a gift we really cherish,” says Suzanne. The same goes for the hearty multipurpose table, which Suzanne’s father made from maple on the family’s property. The sideboard was Suzanne’s grandmother’s dresser. Across the room, on an end table, rests a bundle of letters written by Suzanne’s grandfather when he fought in the Mariana Islands during World War II. The Cabreras have a standard for their tchotchkes, which are displayed sparingly: They must have a history, even if it’s recent history of the Cabreras’ own making. “We feel weird about having our own work in our own home,” says Suzanne.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mid-century heirloom furniture adds history to each room. Paper pennants, handmade by Suzanne, and sentimental wall art fill the home with the couple’s quirky style. As for the “A” on the mantel? Apropos of nothing. “We’re just into fonts,” says Suzanne.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Enter the boys’ room and find double the fun — and surprisingly little clutter. Right page top: Slate green walls for the master bedroom, where tidiness continues and décor is minimal Right page bottom: Prolific Mother Jade, nurtured by Edgar from a cutting


February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“But we have it because it’s meaningful,” says Edgar. So in the twins’ room, you’ll see Suzanne’s concert-style posters based on Mother Goose rhymes (the posters are also available at the couple’s website). Standing at the sideboard, you’ll want to touch the smooth wood of Edgar’s handmade “memory box,” which contains a journal with his drawings of family life. Swags of Suzanne’s handmade pennants — “Enjoy the Moment,” and “Joy to the World” — dangle over the sideboard and the fireplace. On the kitchen wall, you’ll smile back at Suzanne’s painting of their grinning beagle, Pokey. The portrait hangs in a cluster of the Cabreras’ greeting cards and an invitation, drawn by a friend, to their baby shower. The invitation shows a bird’s nest with two eggs. Make it. Find it. Inherit it. Receive it as a gift — or a piece of mail. That’s how the Cabreras roll when it comes to decorating. In their kid-friendly foyer, which harbors a toy shelf and two shiny red trikes, hangs a framed bubble mailer that once cushioned a wedding gift from a blogger friend in New Jersey. The friend used a ballpoint pen to sketch an old man’s face on the back of the mailer. “We could not throw that envelope away,” says Edgar. The Cabreras have bought a few new items along the way. They purchased a lacquered credenza and a linear taupe sofa from Natuzzi. Suzanne used money from a teaching prize to buy a rainbow of molded plastic chairs that surround her father’s plank table. The twins’ cribs came from Ikea. The quilts on their bunk beds came from Walmart. The Cabreras have bought lots of paint and stretched it. The yellow that covers the front door also blossoms on the bunk beds and on the door of the storage shed. For the interior walls, they’ve chosen mostly dark shades of brown, blue and green — the better to make accents pop. As one of their friends notes, the Cabreras have a thing for orbs. Above the maple table hang two creamy orb-shaped lights. On a low table behind the sofa, sharp-tongued snake plants jut up from The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Suzanne experiments with paint at a plywood desk built by Edgar; Edgar works at a desk that belonged to Suzanne’s grandmother; Paper-art beehive designed by a friend.


February 2013

squashed orb pots. Edgar has placed similar pots on the deck and inside the front door. Gardening is one of his passions. “I love to see things grow and track their growth,” he says. “The plants will tell you when they like a spot, and when I find the right spot, I feel like I’ve done my job.” He pampers the plant they call Mother Jade, a prolific succulent that hunkers in the window of the master bedroom. He nurtured her from a cutting that a friend gave him. The slate green room also displays photobooth snaps of Suzanne’s parents as newlyweds; childhood photos of Edgar and his brothers; and a water-stained poster that Edgar found outside his boyhood home. The poster depicts Dominican hero Francisco Caamaño, who fought to restore a democratically elected government after a CIA-backed coup in 1963. “He’s somebody any Dominican would sympathize with,” Edgar says of Caamaño. “He gave his life for the country.” The Cabreras love having a place for their prize possessions. “That’s when the place you’re living in becomes your home,” says Edgar. “Not only do you have a home, the things you have have a home.” The careful editing of belongings, the repetition of shapes, the absence of clutter — they all add up to a relaxing haven for the Cabrera family. “It feels like a retreat,” says Suzanne. “It’s extremely peaceful here,” says Edgar. The interns notwithstanding. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Winter Bloomers Now is the time to envision next year’s winter garden with spectacular hellebores, cyclamen, Chinese ginger and — dare we say — even a garden of moss

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By Lee Rogers Photographs By Sam Froelich


o outside and look at your garden. If it does not sparkle, don’t blame winter. Perhaps you haven’t found the right winter interest plants. First and foremost in this group are the hellebores. If you haven’t tried these beautiful bloomers, go directly to Gethsemane Gardens, about 20 minutes north of town on U.S. Highway 150 and get yourself some. Do not pass go. Do not collect a million dollars. I am serious, people. There you’ll find Janice Nicholson, our local Queen of Hellebores. Go out there during her upcoming Hellebore Days and pick the varieties you like best. The hellebores she has in stock are as many and various as the tribes of Israel, so you might want to get started with one of the more common species — what used to be H. orientalis, better known as the Lenten rose. “It has hybridized so much that they don’t even know what H. orientalis is anymore,” Nicholson explains. “They just say H. x hybridus and it’s got lots of different strains in it.” But forget about the nomenclature. Plant Lenten roses in deciduous shade, keep them watered the first year, and then they’ll take care of themselves. The flowers (technically sepals) last from February through April, gradually fading to a dusty pink, and the leaves resemble a giant pachysandra. They’re somewhat slow to get started, but once established will multiply like crazy, and you can start giving away the extras. It is one of my go-to plants for dry shade along with epimedium, polygonum, Danae racemosa, Aucuba japonica and Mahonia bealei. Gethsemane also offers H. foetidus (aka stinking hellebore). Or check out H. argutiolius (the Corsican hellebore), an old standby. Both of these make striking 2–3 foot clumps of foliage and put flowers out at the end of their stems. This makes them a little top heavy while they are blooming, but in my garden I have massed them together and let them flop around at the base of the oak-leaf hydrangeas that otherwise just look like bare clumps of peeling cinnamon twigs in winter. It works great! Nicholson points out that H. foetidus is not really stinky so don’t be put off by the name. You’ll find it has the coolest blossoms — clusters of acid green cups with maroon markings and large fronds of narrow, serrated, dark green leaves. Ivory Prince is also a beautiful Corsican hellebore hybrid with gorgeous silvery green compound leaves and upward facing flowers, creamy colored but tinged with rose. It is worth growing for the foliage alone. Both of these kinds of hellebores benefit from being cut back hard in early spring when the new growth starts to emerge. You don’t really have to do this with the Lenten rose, though I like to get out there and cut off the most tattered leaves. Nicholson says you can handle the autumn fern the same way, another splendid winter garden plant that everyone should grow. “We sell more autumn fern than any other,” says Nicholson. “You don’t even have to cut it back. Only the bad fronds.” It can sometimes get a little beat up by late winter The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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weather, but new fronds emerge with a beautiful coppery tinge. It thrives in moist shady locations but can tolerate some sunlight with extra irrigation. I spot another of my favorites, Asarum splendens, the Chinese wild ginger. These plants make nice tight mounds of dark green and silver, heart-shaped leaves and brighten up a shady corner all winter long. The odd flowers are urnshaped, purply-brown thingies hiding at the base of the plant underneath the foliage. They’re sort of ugly and attractive at the same time. But I always get a thrill out of finding them tucked underneath there just because they’re secret from almost everybody. I have noticed that my Asarum splendens lie down flat and look pitiful during a summer drought, but then so do I, so I don’t hold that against them. Another worthy candidate for winter flower power is the hardy cyclamen. These diminutive plants resemble a florist’s cyclamen, only daintier and more petite, and they will flourish in dry shade right up in the root flare of a tree. Their flowers start popping up out of nowhere in November, shortly followed by tight mats of silvery green foliage. Nicholson says the easiest to grow in these parts is the C. hederifolium. I, in fact, have had success purchasing the corms from a catalog and starting them that way. But it takes a while, so if you’re impatient, go ahead and buy a few plants. Don’t forget that it disappears completely in summer, but if you plant around the corms with annual flowers or deciduous perennials you can make that space serve double duty. This year Nicholson is growing a few cyclamen coum as well, and they are even tinier and cuter than the hederfolium. They would look fabulous blooming in a moss-covered container or in some shady nook right where you will see them during the dreary days of January. Another wonderful groundcover that disappears in summer the same way is the arum lily. Variegated arrow-shaped leaves begin shooting up on strong foot-high stalks in November and last all winter long. They

will fill in all the blank groundcover spaces between hostas and ferns for the entire winter season and are also extremely beautiful and durable for flower arrangements. Besides offering the regular Arum italicum pictum, Gethsemane also has the variety named after William Lanier Hunt, the noted botanist and author who donated the land for the North Carolina Botanical Garden in Chapel Hill. One often ignored groundcover is the whole tribe of mosses. Nicholson has the most splendid moss garden growing all around the root flare of a very large maple tree in her parking lot. She explains that when she was forcing bulbs in the winter, “I dressed the pots out with moss that I collect on the farm. Whatever I had left over I threw out here under the tree and this is what happened.” And it’s easy to maintain, she says: “I have discovered that you can spray Roundup over it to kill the seedlings of things, and it doesn’t kill the moss.” I can’t wait to get home and try this in my garden. With the help of her husband, Jerry, Nicholson has transformed this former tobacco farm into a personal plant kingdom where she welcomes and educates visitors. You will leave Gethsemane loaded up with treasures and revitalized with fresh garden design ideas. Hardworking and unpretentious, Janice Nicholson is as rooted in Guilford County as the mosses she grows. She started Gethsemane Gardens Nursery and Landscaping on her husband’s family property near the Osceola farming community where she grew up. Nicholson named her business Gethsemane in spite of the advice of her graphic designer, who thought that using the name of the garden where Christ was betrayed by Judas might turn people off. “Life is a struggle,” she says matter of factly. And the name fits her circumstances, she says jokingly of her second career running a nursery: “This is what I’m stuck with,” she says. “This is what I’m doing.” Besides two nearby churches, one Methodist and the other Baptist,

please call today for appointment 4004 spring garden st suite e greensboro, nc 27407 336.855.0903 thekitchenstudioinc.com

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Irving Park




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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

are named Gethsemane as is the local community. “You know, I was in the corporate world for 22 years,” she volunteers. “I was manager at Bur-Mil Club when they broke it all apart.” Bur-Mil Club was in the middle of an extensive recreational facility adjacent to Lake Brandt that was maintained for Burlington Mills’ employees and executives. In 1989, Burlington Industries sold the facility to the county, and it was opened to the public as BurMil Park. About a thousand people lost their jobs at the time and in many ways, Nicholson still regrets the move. “I enjoyed my work there, and had they not pushed me out I’d still have been there. I’d have retired from there,” she says. “At the club we had two hundred and forty-six acres. We had a nine-hole golf course, tennis courts, swimming pool, day camp, fishing lakes, business meeting rooms that would rent for the week.” The formal dining room hosted wedding receptions and rehearsal dinners, she says. “And I had a staff that loved making the place look pretty,” she tells me as we sit by the woodstove in her cozy sales room. Nicholson enjoyed the floral garden design aspect of her job and went to see former employee Morris Newlin to ask if he thought she could make a successful business specializing in seasonal flower plantings. “Morris said no, but you might could do maintenance. Let me think who I can send you to.” He sent her to Ray and Garry Comer of Turf Services, who put her to work on a mow-and-blow crew. “Now I was 42, and I’m on a truck with these young kids. People thought I was crazy, and they thought I couldn’t do it,” she recalls. Pretty soon people started asking her to do their gardens, and the landscaping part of her business took off. More recently, she’s concentrated on her nursery work, but both enterprises have been personally rewarding. “Since I started in this business, I’ll bet you I haven’t run across ten people in twenty-five years that are not really nice people. They were helpful even though I didn’t know squat.” Without formal horticultural education, Nicholson has learned the landscape and nursery trade by traveling the state to attend short courses and workshops whenever possible. She has the energy and strength of a farmer combined with a decorator’s eye for color and design, and has transformed herself into a remarkably knowledgeable plantswoman. The Gethsemane Gardens you visit today is definitely not your big-box plant store. Nicholson is enthusiastic about the wide world of ornamental horticulture and tries to sell only the plants that prove durable and hardy after testing. “If I find out I can’t grow them, I don’t offer them,” says Nicholson. “I want my customers to be successful gardeners. Many times I talk them out of something to my detriment.” You’ll know you’ve reached Gethsemane Gardens when you see the giant herbaceous border next to the road. Turn into the gravel driveway crossing an open field and pull up next to the greenhouses and various outbuildings teaming with chickens, turkeys, and lop-eared bunnies. It is a peaceable kingdom built with hard work, imagination and devotion. This small jewel of a nursery has become a destination for Greensboro plant collectors. Gethsemane is open for retail sales seasonally and plants can be bought year-round online. Winter hours other than Hellebore Days: “Anytime by appointment,” Nicholson says. She also has a booth at the Yanceyville Street Greensboro Farmers Curb Market . Hellebore Days are February 15 through March 23, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Saturday with guided tours of Woodland Garden on February 15 and March 23 at 11 a.m. Information at (336) 656-3096 or www.gethgardens.com. OH Lee Rogers, a landscape designer in Greensboro, last wrote about all season wonders for O.Henry magazine. Contact her at lee@leerogersdesign.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Irving Park





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February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Many are the stars I see, but in my eye no star like thee.” By noah Salt

Popular English Valentine message, The Good Husbandry Almanac, 1677

Winter Stars for Dummies Boy’s Life, the redoubtable resource on all important matters of civilization relating to the happy boyhood of the Almanac Gardener and millions of other Boy Scouts, offers a sure-fire and simplified way of reading the major constellations of the winter stars. Here’s the scoop. First find the Big Dipper in the winter night sky, the easiest body of stars to identify. It resembles an antique well dipper and is part of Ursa Major, the Great Bear. At the high end of the dipper sit two “pointer stars” that will allow you to draw a straight line to Polaris, the North Star, which serves as the end of the Little Dipper’s handle, aka Ursa Minor. From the North Star, you can draw a line to five stars that form a distinct “M” to the left and slightly higher in the sky, the constellation Cassiopeia — the Queen of the classical firmament. Turn around and you’ll see three dominant stars shining, forming the belt of Orion, the great hunter. Follow a line down and to the left — slightly east in the middle evening sky — and you’ll see Sirius, the bright star marking Canis Major, the Great Dog constellation. Trace Orion’s belt up to the right — west, by turns — and you come to the V-shaped constellation known as Taurus the Bull. Consider yourself a veteran star traveler now. Your merit badge is in the mail.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

St. Valentine Unplugged Like most commercialized American holidays, Valentine’s Day contains vestiges of both Christian and Roman tradition, the most appealing romantic legend evolving from a 3rd century priest named Valentine who secretly married young soldiers to their beloveds after Emperor Claudius II — believing unwed soldiers were more effective — banned marriage for young men. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, he was put to death. Another part of the legend holds that shortly before his death, Valentine fell in love with his jailer’s daughter and sent her a love letter revealing his passion for her shortly before he was executed. The common view is that Christian authorities, who assumed lasting power in the early 5th century, declared the man a saint and established St. Valentine’s feast day in the ides of February primarily to “Christianize” the popular pagan festival called Lupercalia, a fertility festival in which Roman priests would gather at a cave where legend held the city’s founders, Romulus and Remus, were nurtured by a mother wolf, or Lupa. Following the sacrifice of a goat and a dog to symbolize purity, strips of skin were dipped in sacrificial blood and carried through the streets where young women were eager to be gently slapped and marked with blood — believing this only enhanced their fertility. Afterward their names would be placed in an urn and chosen by eligible bachelors — often leading to marriage. By the Middle Ages, St. Valentine’s Day was one of the most popular feast days in Europe, when the first Valentine’s greetings were sent out usually in the form of poetry. The oldest Valentine card was a love poem written by the Duke of Orleans to his wife after being imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1415. The first mass-produced cards in America appeared shortly before the Civil War, made of lace, ribbons and colorful pictures. Today, according to the Greeting Card Association, more than one billion Valentine’s Day cards are sent annually, 85 percent of which are purchased by women, making this the second largest card-sending holiday. OH

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76 O.Henry

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February 2013

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b er

uy Arts Calendar 2 013

February 1


February 2

SPIRITUAL RENAISSANCE SINGERS OF • GROUNDHOG DAY CELEBRATION. 10:15 a.m. GREENSBORO CONCERT. 4 – 5:30 p.m. International • Come see Woody, the NSC’s own groundhog, make his Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St. Info: (336)

• FIRST FRIDAY. 6 – 9 p.m. Free self-guided walking tour of local art galleries, art studios, museums, alternative art venues, plus live music and more. Downtown Greensboro, 122 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7523 or www.uacarts.org.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 9 p.m. Two Artists, One Space: Andrea Donnelly and Heather Lewis. Artists create both a physical and mental gallery experience using wall-size fiber works, shadowing and stenciling. Show glorifies the artistic process, transforming everyday objects into mental and physical mysteries for the viewer to explore. Musical performance by Lake Isle. Free and open to the public. Exhibit on display through March 24. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: www.greenhillcenter.org.

• ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 9 p.m. Blackout. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro Cultural Center. Info: (336) 333-7475 or www.cvagalleryart.org.

official prediction of whether spring will come early this year in Greensboro, or if we should plan for six more weeks of winter. Free with general admission and/or membership. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

JEWELRY MAKING CLASS. 11 a.m. Call to register. Artemis and the Scavengers, 106A College Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 855-7959 or www.artemisandthescavengers.com.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT LIVE. 7:30 p.m. The hit interactive stage show that gives contestants pulled right from the audience the chance to win appliances, vacations and even new cars by playing games from television’s longest running and most popular game show. Tickets: $32, $37, $42. War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Diali Cissokho & Kaira Ba. Featuring Senegales griot Diali Keba Cissokho, a vocalist, percussionist, dancer and master of the kora (21-string African harp). Diali hails from a famed lineage of musicians and storytellers traceable to the 14th century in his native West Africa. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtiger.com.

February 3

PHILHARMONIA OF GREENSBORO. 3 p.m. Pillow Pops Children’s Concert. Free admission; donations welcome. Bur-Mil Clubhouse, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Rd., Greensboro. Info: www. philharmoniagreensboro.org

“Lake Isle,” February 1 Key:

• • Art


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February 2013

Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org.

February 5–9

ARTQUEST STUDIO PROJECT. 12:30 – 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Friday). Drawing doesn’t have to be done with paper and pencil. Visit Heather Lewis’ installation at Green Hill, then play with stencils to make your own composition in shadows. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

February 6

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Treehouse. Three-piece band from Myrtle Beach, South Carolina; fusion of reggae, alternative and jam-rock. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtiger.com.

February 6 – 10

RINGLING BROS. PRESENTS BUILT TO AMAZE. A circus spectacular showcasing an international cast of performers. Tickets: $12 and up. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7400 or www.greensborocoliseum.com.

February 7

SUSTAINABILITY FILM. 6:30 – 8 p.m. The City Dark, documentary film. A search for night on a planet that never sleeps, chronicles the disappearance of darkness. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

February 7–10

GREENSBORO PLAYWRIGHTS’ FORUM. 8:05 p.m. (Thurs. – Sat.); 2:05 p.m. (Sun.) An Evening of Short

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Plays #28. City Arts Studio Theatre, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Suggested donation: $10. Info: (336) 373-2026.

February 8

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 8 p.m. Express Yourself. New works by Charlotte painters Jenny Fuller and Kelley Brugh; pottery by local artist Molly Lithgo. Meet the artists. Exhibit on display through March 8. Tyler White Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124 or www.tylerwhitegallery.com.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 9 p.m. Diana Al-Hadid. Exhibit on display through May 5. Syrian-born, but raised in the U.S., Al-Hadid is known for integrating references to Western European and Islamic mythology to create gravity-defying works built from layers of gypsum, steel, cardboard, wax and paint. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

MEET THE AUTHOR. 7 – 9 p.m. Comedian-author Darryl Littleton will discuss his book Black Comedians on Black Comedy: How African-Americans Taught Us to Laugh. Tickets: $5. High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 887-3001 or www.highpointtheatre.com.

February 8–9

SOUTHERN ENTREPRENEURSHIP IN THE ARTS CONFERENCE. Join fellow professionals, emerging and mid-career artists, and students at the fourth annual SEA conference. Hosted by the North Carolina Entrepreneurship Center and the Entrepreneurship Cross Disciplinary Program at UNCG, the event features artists and others talking about how to develop successful ventures. Elliott University Center at UNCG, 507 Stirling St., Greensboro. Info: sea.uncg.edu.

February 8–17

COMMUNITY THEATRE OF GREENSBORO. Doubt, A Parable. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7469 or www.ctgso.org.

February 9

BREAD & BUTTER MAKING IN THE HISTORICAL PARK. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Costumed interpreters bake bread and make butter in the Hoggatt House. All ages welcome. Free. Drop-in. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE. 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Red Clay Saxophone Quartet. Tickets: $18/adults; $15/ seniors; $5/students. Gall Brower Huggins Performance Center, Odell Building, Greensboro College. Tickets: (336) 333-2605. Info: (336) 638-7624 or www.musicforagreatspace.org.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Introductory jitterbug lesson starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by live swing music. No partner or experience necessary. Member: $8. Nonmember: $10. Vintage Theater, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508 9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

ALL STARS COMEDY SHOW. 8 – 10 p.m. Featuring comedians Michael Mack, Tim Statum and Patrick Garrity. Presented by Rock 92’s Two Guys Named Chris Morning Show. Tickets: $20/general admission; $25/day of show; $30/VIP (includes pre-show reception). Must be age 21 or older to attend. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 8:30 p.m. Unifier CD Release Show with The Fair and the Foul, The Lake Isle and Sugar Glyder. Tickets: $10/day of show. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtiger.com.

February 10

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Zoogma. Known for their energetic performances and light show; carefully crafted beats and melodic textures. Tickets: $8/ advance; $10/day of show. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtiger.com.

INSIDER TIPS FOR WRITERS. 2 – 4 p.m. “What do Editors Want?” Free presentation by career editor Chris Roerden, author of national Benjamin Franklin Award-winning Don’t Sabotage Your Submission and Agatha Award-winning Don’t Murder Your Mystery. Bring your questions. Sponsored by Sisters in Crime of the Triad. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St.,

Kelley Brugh at Tyler White, February 8th The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GREENSBORO’S AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE. 2 – 4 p.m. “Lifted Voices.” Costumed interpreters share compelling stories in the museum’s Voices of a City galleries during African-American History Month. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or www.greensborohistory.org.


• • Art


Performing arts

• • Film

• •O.Henry• 79

Literature/Speakers Fun February 2013



February Arts Calendar High Point. Info: (336) 883-3660 or www.murderwewrite. com.

February 12

February 13

authors from around the country talk about their recently published books with attendees at each table. Includes SECCA tour, book sales, signings and prizes. Cost: $22$25. Tables of 8 at special price. Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art, 750 Marguerite Dr., Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 460-4722 or www.booksmarksnc.org.

Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

or www.theblindtiger.com.

TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Kung Fu (new• NOON AT THE ’SPOON. 12 p.m. Twenty-minute funk) • BLIND BOOKMARKS BOOK CLUB MOVABLE FEAST. docent-led tour of new exhibit Certificates of Authenticity. with A.T.V. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, • 3 p.m. During light tea, more than a dozen published Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888

BLIND TIGER SHOW. 9 p.m. The Slackers (Jamaican rock & roll) with the Leeves and Common Foundation. Tickets: $10/advance; $12/day of show. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www. theblindtiger.com.

AFI TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Easy Rider (#84). Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America. Rated R. Running time: 95 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $5/ students, seniors, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

MEET THE AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Friends of the • UNCG Libraries presents Wiley Cash, author of A Land More Kind Than Home. Free event. Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library, University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Info: (336) 256-0112 or www.uncgfol. blogspot.com.

February 12–16

ARTQUEST STUDIO PROJECT. 12:30 – 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Friday). Drawing doesn’t have to be done with paper and pencil. February 10 – Visit Heather Lewis’ inMarch 3 stallation at Green Hill, TRIAD STAGE then arrange a variety of Dudley High School Class of 1930 PRODUCTION. kitchen objects to make Kingdom of Earth. A “Lifted Voices” February 9th your own composition Southern Gothic by in shadows. Green Hill Tennessee Williams, directed by Preston Lane. Tickets: Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: $10-$48. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.


• • Art


Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun



Kingdom of Earth A Southern Gothic by Tennessee Williams directed by Preston Lane

February 10 – March 3

MERIDITH MARTENS, artist Large Scale Paintings Custom Residential & Corporate Design

910.315.1214 • meridithmartens@nc.rr.com www.meridithmartens.com 80 O.Henry

February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 14

GREENSBORO BIG BAND. 6 p.m. Sweet Sounds Valentine’s Dinner and Dance. Dinner: $25; free concert. Bur-Mil Clubhouse, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3803 or www.city-arts.org.

GEEKSBORO VALENTINES BOOKUP. • 6 – 8 p.m. B.Y.O.B. (Bring Your Own Book) to

Greensboro’s spin on Seattle’s Silent Reading Party. Wine and beer available for purchase. Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema, 2134 Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 355-7180 or www. geeksboro.com.

WAM JAM. 6 – 7 p.m. UNCG Jazz Studies majors, led by professor Chad Eby, perform original compositions inspired by works by artist Diana Al-Hadid. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY POPS CONCERT. 8 p.m. Valentine’s Day with Mark McVey. McVey and his wife, Christy Tarr-McVey, perform the best of Marvin Hamlisch on stage with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org.

February 14–15

SINGING VALENTINES. Four-part barbershop harmony quartets deliver love songs and fresh-cut roses to your Valentine at her/his office, business or home. Donations: $50; $100 (includes one dozen roses and chocolates). Proceeds support student a cappella group

February Arts Calendar

development and build awareness of the four-part harmony barbershop singing style. Info: www.greensborobarbershop.com.

Greensboro. Tickets: www.greensborocoliseum.com; Info: www.jamtour.com.

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. The Plaids (80s dance party music). Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www. theblindtiger.com.

February 15

GREENSBORO ASTRONOMY CLUB MEETING. 7:30 p.m. Open to the public. Guests welcome. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

February 16–18

USED BOOK SALE. 6:45 – 10:30 p.m. (Saturday); • 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Sunday); 12 – 6 p.m. (Monday).

Over forty thousand books, most of which cost less than $3. Proceeds support education and community programming. Cost: $5 (Saturday only). Social Hall at Beth David Synagogue, 804 Winview Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 294-0007.

RASCALL FLATTS IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Changed Tour 2013 with special guests The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly. Tickets: $24.75 & $54.75. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: www.greensborocoliseum.com; Info: www. rascalflatts.com.

February 16

February 19–23

BEL CANTO COMPANY FUNDRAISER. 6 p.m. Amore. Fine wine, plated dinner and silent auction followed by 8 p.m. performance. Hear the lighter side of Bel Canto when members perform favorite jazz standards and musical theater tunes. Revolution Mill Studios Event Center, 900 Revolution Mill Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2220 or belcantocompany.com.

ARTQUEST STUDIO PROJECT. 12:30 – 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Friday). Drawing doesn’t have to be done with paper and pencil. Visit Heather Lewis’ installation at Green Hill, then arrange lace and fiber to make your own composition in shadows. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www. greenhillcenter.org.

WINTER JAM. 6 p.m. Christian music’s largest annual tour headlined by Grammy-winning, multiplatinum recording artist Toby Mac. Admission: $10; no ticket required. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St.,

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February 2013

O.Henry 81

Calendar February 20

BOOK LOVERS SOCIAL. 6 – 8 p.m. Connect with fellow book lovers. Featuring door prizes, mocktails, food and music. Register by Feb. 15. Free; donations welcome to benefit the GPL Book Discussion collection. Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

February 21


5 – 8 p.m. Mystical Places. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon. uncg.edu.

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. • 10 p.m. Tiny Boxes (progressive musicality meets groove) with Timbre Coup. Doors open at 8 p.m. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-9888 or www. theblindtiger.com.

February 22

OMNISPHERE LASER SHOW. 7, 8 & 9 p.m. Rock out to the tunes of Led Zeppelin as an amazing laser light show spans the 40-foot dome OmniSphere Theater. Tickets: $5. Recommended for ages 13 and up. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

BILL COSBY IN CONCERT. 8 p.m. Cosby’s success spans five decades and virtually all media, remarkable accomplishments for a kid who emerged from humble beginnings in a Philly project. Tickets: $45, $55 & $75. War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

PURE PRARIE LEAGUE & POCO IN CONCERT. 8 – 10 p.m. American country-rock. Tickets: $37.50, $32.50, and $24.50, depending on seat location. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

February 22 – March 2


GREENSBORO. Once on This Island, Jr. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7470 x 200 or www.ctgso.org.

Community Theater of Greensboro February 22 – March 3

• • • • • • • •

Key: Art forming arts Fun ers

82 O.Henry

February 2013

Music/Concerts PerFilm Literature/SpeakHistory Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February Calendar February 23

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 1 – 5 p.m. The Penetrating Gaze. Exhibit on display through June 16. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

WINTER LUAU. 7:05 p.m. A Murder Mystery Gala & Silent Auction. All proceeds benefit the City Arts Drama Center Booster Club. Admission: $25 (includes food and interactive murder mystery show). Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Introductory jitterbug lesson starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by live swing music. No partner or experience necessary. Member: $8. Nonmember: $10. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5089998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org. MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER & • SHAWN COLVIN. 8 – 10 p.m. Acclaimed

songwriters Carpenter and Colvin share the stage as an intimate duo, performing material spanning their vast catalogues as well as some of their favorite songs. Tickets: $49.50, $44.50, or $29.50, depending on seat location. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

• • • • • • • •

Key: Art forming arts Fun ers

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Music/Concerts PerFilm Literature/SpeakHistory Sports


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February 2013

O.Henry 83

Antiques & Consignments

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Jewelry Antiques Oriental Rugs Fine Furniture Decorative Accessories & Much More 6428 Burnt Poplar Rd. Greensboro, NC www.triadantiques.com | 336-662-0544

84 O.Henry

February 2013

Mon. – Wed 10-6 Thurs. – Sat 10-8 Sunday 1-6

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February Calendar

February 23 – May 19

ART EXHIBIT. Star Power: Edward Steichen’s Glamour Photography. Katharine Smith Reynolds and Mary Reynolds Babcock had great appreciation for haute couture. See their dresses, hats, shoes and jewelry on display alongside Steichen’s iconic gelatin silver prints. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Rd., Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 758-5150 or reynoldahouse.org.

February 26

MEET THE AUTHOR. 6:30 – 8 p.m. Meet Walter Dean Myers, the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature, and hear him discuss his new book, Reading is Not Optional. Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

AFI TOP 100 FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Titanic (#83). A 17-year-old aristocrat, expecting to be married to a rich man by her mother, falls in love with a kind but poor artist aboard the luxurious, ill-fated R.M.S. Titanic. Rated PG-13. Running time: 194 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $5/students, seniors, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3332605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

• KID ROCK IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Rebel Soul Tour. Tickets: $29.50,

Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3356465 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org.


LIVE MUSIC AT LUCKY 32 SOUTHERN KITCHEN. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs From a Southern Kitchen. Featuring Chef Jay’s skillet fried chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Info: (336) 370-0707.

OPEN MIC COMEDY AT THE IDIOT BOX. 9 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic. Admission: $4 (includes one drink). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.


MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic musice by AM rOdeO. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699.


7 p.m. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 • JAZZTateNIGHT. St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

$49.50, $59.50, $89.50. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: www. greensborocoliseum.com; Info: www.kidrock.com.

Fridays & Saturdays

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

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

February 26 – March 2

ARTQUEST STUDIO PROJECT. 12:30 – 5 p.m.; 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. (Friday). Drawing doesn’t have to be done with paper and pencil. Visit Heather Lewis’ installation at Green Hill, then arrange objects from nature to make your own composition in shadows. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

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

February 27


• ART FOR LUNCH. 12 p.m. Enjoy a thirty-minute talk on Diane

JAZZ IN THE A.M. 11 a.m. Featuring saxophonist Alex Smith and friends. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

Al-Hadid with Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

Saturdays & Sundays

KATS: THE MEERKAT MUSICAL. 1 & 3 p.m. The Natural Science Center’s meerkats take center stage. Duration: 30 minutes. Free with admission/membership. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

February 28

THINK TANK THURSDAY. 6:30 – 7:30 p.m. Discover the connections between seemingly unrelated ideas in this new series that looks at contemporary culture by pairing scholars with community experts. Free and open to the public. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.weatherspoon. uncg.edu.


LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET COFFEE. NC Hot Club with Rex Griffin (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) Irish Music (3 – 6 p.m.) Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754. OH

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY MASTERWORKS CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Americans Abroad. Tickets: $24-$42, depending on location. War Memorial Key:

• • Art


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

To add an event, e-mail us at ohcal@ohenrymag.com by the first of the month prior to the event.

Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


Friendly Shopping Center (336) 292-9396

Battleground Avenue (336) 288-8011

Sports February 2013

O.Henry 85


Nellie McKay

The Triad Acoustic Stage at Mack & Mack featuring Nellie McKay Friday, January 11, 2013 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Leslie & Brandon Singerman Robin Mack, Bill Payne, Joann Smith

Natalie Wurz, Mare Holloway

Chris & Fenna Corry

David Hundley, Bill Porter

86 O.Henry

February 2013

Victoria & Neal Clegg

Brian Stark, Shelly Mott

June Barron, Jonathan & Anne Smith

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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2206 Hawthorne Irving Park Estates, Greensboro

Brick family home on a no-thru street. Master BR on main. 2-story family room & entry, coffered ceiling. Kitchen with center island & granite counter tops offers private views of gardens & patio. Bonus Room on upper level. Large custom wine closet in 3-car garage with glass doors. Price upon request.

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4BR/4.5 BA -- Full finished Basement. Move-in condition with many extras: Generator; Central Vacuum; 3 Car Garage; Ceiling Fans; Raised Deck; Garden area; Neighborhood Pool; Porch; Security features; Bonus Room, Den and lots of Storage. $499,999

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Easy living at Canaan at The Noles. Master BR on main. Great kitchen with stainless steel appliances, hardwood floors on main, carpet in Bedrooms, tile Baths. Master Bath with separate shower & tub. Great storage & closet space. Upstairs additional Bedroom plus bonus and continental bath. 2-car attached garage. Ready to move in! $355,000

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 2013

O.Henry 87

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The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market is hosting a series of heart healthy activities throughout the month of February that will include cooking demos and tastings, health screenings, physical activities, and a raff le.

120 East Lindsay Street Greensboro, NC 27401 contactus@burtonspharmacy.com

88 O.Henry

February 2013

Open Saturday mornings year round. Check our website regularly for current hours and exciting events held all year round. www.gsofarmersmarket.org 501 Yanceyville St • 336-373-2402 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Lizzie Odom

Ebony Royal, Nyia Montgomery, Shawn Wells

Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade Monday, January 21, 2013 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Tesha, Lariyah & Onyesti Gainey

Voneasha Davis, Brean Pope, Shannon Steward, Akiilah Miles, Ashlee Vann

Aycock Middle School Marching Band Dudley High School Marching Band

Kathy Holcomb Barry Raleigh, Keith & Bridley Jenkins, Kennedy Simmons


Grimsley High School Flag Team

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 2013

O.Henry 89

Beautiful apartment homes move-in ready Jewelry, art, & gifts Handmade & Fair trade to celebrate your spirit! 352 S. Elm Street Downtown Greensboro 336.274.2212 www.onlyjustbe.com

Large selection of handmade gifts for Valentine’s Day!

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February 2013

Call 336.617.0090 or email dstark@ohenrymag.com O.Henry Magazine P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Martin Luther King Jr. Day Parade Monday, January 21, 2013 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Jannette Harley, Gary Cooper, Renee Hood, James Morrison

Peach, Sarah Barnett, Sarah Lamphier, Sarah Ausiewisz

Amanda Bradford, Lissette NaranjoRodriguez, Maddox & Sean Reaves

James, Zion & Alice Williams

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Amy & F.J. with Davis & Matthew Carney

Elizabeth Burke, Cheyenne Stroud, Oreiona Warren, Shawn Stroud, Mykayla Warren

February 2013

O.Henry 91

Area Schools

hands-on Greensboro’s premier Montessori School... Serving children ages eighteen months through eighth grade, where students develop a love of learning through individually guided, hands-on discovery and exploration. Come discover the GMS difference for yourself! • Authentic Montessori curriculum, exceptional and caring faculty • Unparalleled environmental education programs • Low student-teacher ratios • Before & after-school care, enrichment programs & Middle School sports Open House Tours: February 8th & 22nd at 9 am. Call today to reserve your spot!

92 O.Henry

February 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Drew & Adrianna with Diego & Joseph Genco

Ice skating at Winterfest in the Price-Bryan Performance Space at Festival Park Saturday, January 19th, 2013 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Traci & Brad with Ava & Teaghan Marschand

Malaika, Marek & Amani Affomso Hayden Whitman, Kate Calhoun, Maggie Whitman, Adam Calhoun

Robert & Avery White, Nick & Ellie Heinzelmann Cheyenne Foster, Amy & Rachel Stanley

Steve Roper, Wendy Chandler

Abel Duliep, Andra Radu Roger & Jessica Powell, Rezzi Booker, Kiasha Cochran

Sean, Tylor & Jamie Lawrence

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February 2013

O.Henry 93

Life’s Funny

The Fruit of Love

Sometimes it’s just easier to make dinner reservations By Maria Johnson

Photograph By Cassie Butler


o there I was, messing around online, looking at some cute Valentine’s Day cards, which, of course, led me to a site about romantic meals, which, of course, led me to a list of foods that are supposed to be aphrodisiacs. Well, that got me to thinking it might be fun to whip up some frisky vittles instead of going out for Valentine’s Day. I know. Crazy. I think every woman — including myself under normal circumstances — would agree that you should not look for reasons to stay in and cook if your husband or sig-other has been brainwashed by the holiday machine to think he’s duty-bound to take you out. You go with it. But at that moment I was caught up in the wouldn’t-it-be-cool-ifs. Back to the list. Most of the mood food was the usual stuff. Oysters. Chocolate. Pomegranate. Puffer fish that has been prepared by a sushi chef who knows what he’s doing so he doesn’t poison you, et cetera, et cetera. And then there was something I’d never heard of: durian. Durian is a fruit that grows in Southeast Asia, where it is known as the “king of fruits,” presumably because it’s so big and heavy and spiky that it has been known to kill people when it falls from trees and hits them. Seriously. And what would that obituary look like? “Kia Mitsubishi Daewoo, 37, went to his heavenly reward after being clobbered by a freakin’ piece of fruit Wednesday . . . .” ? There’s just no good way to explain that at a visitation. Here’s the kicker. Durian stinks. It stinks so much that it’s banned in hospitals and on mass transit throughout Asia. Apparently, it is not uncommon to see signs on trains that say no cell phones, no smoking, no food, no durian. You’d think that people would stay away from something that stinks and kills by blunt-force trauma, right? And if they don’t, there must be a good reason, right? That’s why I called my Filipino friend Maria — because she is a great cook and if anyone had a good recipe for durian, she would. And here is what she said: “Hell, no.” Actually, she didn’t use those exact words. She’s way too nice for that. But that’s what she meant. Then she put her husband, Ricardo, on the phone, and he said he never had eaten durian because it smelled like “a dead, rotting animal.” But then he admitted that some of his cousins like durian and that you could make candy from it. At this point, there was a delicately balanced scale in my mind with “murderous and putrid” on one side and the equally weighty “candy” on the other side. Then Ricardo put Maria back on the phone, and she said, “Sometimes, they have durian at the Super G Mart, and please don’t bother me with your stupid fruit questions anymore.” Actually, she didn’t say that either. But that’s what she meant. So, off I went to the Super G Mart, an international grocery store. Well, what an eye-opening experience for a Piggly Wiggly girl like me. It was like being in JFK International Airport, only it seemed everyone was schlepping a root vegetable instead of a laptop. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

I tried not to look like a tourist. I asked a clerk if they had durian. She led me to the freezer case and there — right next to the banana glutinous rice rolls — was a litter of durians. They were as big as footballs and as heavy as bowling balls, which at $2.99 a pound equals a lot of candy in a heartshaped box. They looked vaguely like medieval maces. I asked the clerk if she knew how to eat a durian. She pointed me to the office and said, “Please don’t bother me with your stupid fruit questions anymore.” Not really. But that’s what she meant. So I talked to the store owner, the very affable Stephen Kim. He knew all about durian. He said the fruit was unbelievably sweet and creamy, and that you should let the durian thaw awhile, then cut off the felonious husk, then eat the flesh like ice cream. Apparently, freezing the fruit cuts down on the smell. I asked him if he knew about durian’s, er, romantic reputation, and he said he had read that was true. Wink-wink. Then he gave me a durian and sent me on my way with these words: “Be prepared.” The next afternoon, I commenced my experiment with a carving knife, a partially thawed mace and newspapers spread all over a picnic table. I tried to cut into the fruit. Ha. I waited an hour and tried again. Ha, ha. Another hour. Ha, ha, ha. I nicked a finger. The sun was setting. I had to let my husband in on the plan: I was going to use him as a guinea pig to test a Southeast Asian horndog fruit for possible inclusion in a Valentine’s Day meal. Gimme that knife, he said. Well, it wasn’t a pretty sight, seeing a grown man wrestle with a spiny, fetid fruit. It kept slipping. He nicked a finger. He called for a leather glove and wished for a chain saw. He grew breathless. Both of us wondered if this energy wouldn’t be better spent elsewhere. Finally, he hit upon the idea of carving the fruit like a turkey breast, vertically near the skin, then across. Success. He handed me a slice. The flesh was pale yellow and soft, the consistency of an avocado. Sweet. Oniony. With notes of gasoline. My husband tasted it. “This is nasty,” he said. “Yeah,” I said. “Do you feel anything . . . you know . . . ?” “I feel you should make a reservation for Valentine’s Day,” he said. What can I say? You gotta love a man like that. OH Maria Johnson says she’ll stick with chocolate. February 2013

O.Henry 95

O.Henry Ending

Critter Control

It’s Groundhog Day again and I’m ready, sort of. Maybe. By Jo Maeder


nitially I thought the groundhogs on my property were adorable as they sat up tall on their hind legs and sniffed the air. They became “abhorable” when they dug under my backyard fence and gobbled up the pretty bulbs I’d planted. I didn’t, however, despise them enough to take up my neighbor’s offer to shoot them. The county animal control site pointed me to professional wildlife removers. I paid one $115 to trap and remove what looked like a cross between a rat and a beaver on steroids. Another groundhog (aka woodchuck, not to be confused with a gopher) soon took its place. That led me to buying a reusable trap for $35. The first time I tried using it, I bagged a squirrel. The moment I pushed the heavy spring-loaded door open, he tore out of his prison in a blur of fur. Then I nabbed a possum. Possum not happy. Possum make scary guttural I-put-a-pox-on-you-and-yourcat grrrrrrrrrrrrrr sounds. He clung to the inside of the trap when I tried to let him out. I saw a series of rabies shots in my near future. I vowed never to trap again. With my luck I’d get a skunk. The trap found a new home. I surrendered to coexisting with the stupid looking furry things. Fast-forward several years. One is burrowing under my driveway where it meets my garage door. Hello Elmer Fudd sans shotgun. Forking over another $115 to get rid of him, I noticed my pro had a trap that opened at both ends, unlike the one I’d tried using before. “The two-ended ones are better for groundhogs,” he said. “They think it’s a tunnel.” Soon I was the proud owner of a two-ended metal Havahart trap. I spotted a groundhog. I watched where it fled into the underbrush leaving a slight trail. I set the trap in front of it and tossed two handfuls of fresh arugula inside. The next morning I had the bugger. Now what? The company I used before wanted $65 to take him away and return my trap. I trapped him. That seemed high. I had to hurry. What if the poor thing was hungry? Needed water? If I bought a Havahart I must have a heart. I went with the company that had the lowest price and could get there the fastest. The next day I was still getting calls from the pros I hadn’t reached the day before. One said, “I live nearby. I won’t charge much next time.” His name was John. Trapper John! How many times had he heard that line? Though the one in the TV show was a doctor, not a trapper. Did they ever explain how he got that name? Another man called me back. “You have to be careful about trapping groundhogs out of season,” he said. “You can shoot them year-round, but you can only trap them at certain times. I had an in-law from up North come down and do what you did. She got a visit from the game warden and a fine.” What?! “I’ll get back to ya. I want to help.” He was so good-ole-boy friendly that I suspected he might be a game warden. Hmm. Better not give him my address. (I never heard from him.)

96 O.Henry

February 2013

Two weeks later I saw another groundhog in the same place as the last one. Nabbed him, or her. Called Trapper John. Now that I’ve lived in North Carolina for nearly a decade, I’ve learned how to do the Folksy Mayberry Chit Chat. The curt New Yorker in me can still rear her head, but now I feel bad when she makes a cameo, whereas before I didn’t. I told John about my opossum trapping. He said, “You don’t have to worry about catching rabies from one. It has to do with their body temperature being different from mammals because they’re marsupials.” As I stood in the doorway trying to keep my cat from escaping her eternal trap with me, I learned that you can get a booklet anywhere that sells guns that specifies the hunting seasons. He also informed me, “It’s no longer legal to shoot crows year-round.” He’d never heard of a trapping season for groundhogs. “Groundhogs? Phhhhhtt.” He waved his arm down like he was batting away a nasty cobweb. He also told me groundhogs don’t hibernate. “They go in and out of it here, just like North Carolina bears.” Bears. Never thought about bears. Great. Before John left, he removed some metal wires that he’d twisted around each door of my trap to keep them closed. “There was a guy once who trapped a raccoon. Put it in his van. It got out, jumped on him while he was driving. Van flipped over. He was in the hospital for a month. He got out of the business. We bought his fifty traps.” After he left, I remembered my friend Ted telling me his dog had chased a groundhog up a tree. “Groundhogs can’t climb trees!” I’d said. Yes, they can. I’ll have to show Trapper John the photos the next time I see him. And I’m sure I will. OH Jo Maeder is a writer and owner of Mama Jo’s House of Dolls. Contact her at reachout2jo@gmail.com Illustration by Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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