June/July 2012 O.Henry

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June/July 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Launched 2011 in North America, prolific Italian jewelry designer Roberto Coin introduces his first ever silver jewelry collection, The Fifth Season. Exclusively sold at

June /July 2012 9



the greensboro shoe

WINE GUY 41 THE Zinfandel... By TC Frazier SPORTING LIFE 45 THE Paradise Closed By Tom Bryant 79 arts Calendar 89 greenscene FUNNY 94 LIFE’S getting shagged

STORIES 12 SHORT Your guide to the good life CITY MUSE 21 THE smoke and Mirrors

By Ashley Wahl


a sweet song in the Chest

By Antionette Kerr


By Maria Johnson

By Stephen E. Smith




the Man Who loved trains


the Patient Fisherwoman By Felton Foushee

By Jim Schlosser


Perfectly natty By David C. Bailey

By Jim Dodson




good Country Cookin’ By David C. Bailey


49 The Proposal 50 Love on Wheels 54 The Sons of Polecat Creek

Poem By Deborah Solomon By Jim Schlosser

The days of Greensboro’s beloved passion pits may be gone but they sure aren’t forgotten

By Jim Schlosser

Two of America’s most accomplished storytellers — O.Henry and Edward R. Murrow — got their starts beside a meandering creek south of Greensboro

60 The Unbroken One

By Maria Johnson

Writer Jamie Lisa Forbes never gave up on her award-winning novel of the American West. Lucky us

62 Linbrook Hall 70 Mary, Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? By Ashley Wahl

A grand vision of a modern day Marconi and his bride

By Lee Rogers

Tough love makes for one fabulous garden

75 Midsummer Almanac

By Noah Salt

CoVeR imAGe By CARol W. mARTiN/GReeNsBoRo HisToRiCAl museum ColleCTioN PHoToGRAPH THis PAGe By CAssie BuTleR 6 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro











The Greensboro Shoe An ode to Nettleton shoes and the golden age of haberdashery

By Jim Dodson


ot long ago, a fellow son of Greensboro named Ron Crow dropped into my office with something in a bag. “I have something special to show you,” he said. “You may have never seen anything quite like them.” With this, he opened the bag and withdrew a pair of twotoned, black and white Nettleton tassel loafers. The were in mint condition, containing their original shoe trees, no less. In a word, I was speechless. Growing up in Greensboro, where Nettleton tassel loafers enjoyed iconic status among men of style and ambition, it was impossible not to know of — and dream of someday owning — a pair of real Nettleton loafers. My first pair came when I was 15. But more on that in a Market Street minute. As I admitted to Ron, I knew Nettletons came in an array of famous colors — black, brown, British tan and Cordovan. But I had no clue they came in twotoned black and white as well. He smiled. “They even came in alligator.” “Did you have those, too?” “Nope. I had black and the British tan and these. These were very special, maybe a one-time deal, I don’t quite recall. I bought them around 1966 or so. Funny story about them, though. Tells you about the appeal of Nettletons.” Crow was a rising young executive for J.P. Stevens in those days. Not long after he bought his two-tone Nettletons he wore them at a business convention at the posh Breakers Hotel in Palm Beach, Florida. “I was walking beside the pool when a well-dressed fellow said to me, ‘I know this may sound strange but I want to buy your shoes.’ I thought he was kidding but he was dead serious. ‘In fact,’ he said, ‘I’ll give you five hundred dollars for those shoes right now.’ I laughed and told him I’d have to think about it. Ironically, the next day, I saw the guy again and he made the same offer.” “He really wanted those shoes,” I said, marveling at his resolve. I’m not sure I’d have been so resolute. Five hundred dollars was five hundred dollars in 1966. “He did. But these were my Nettletons and I couldn’t let them go. They were the Greensboro shoe, you know.” He held them up for me to examine, almost forty years after that encounter. “Beautiful, aren’t they?” he mused. “Such workmanship. And almost like the day I bought them.” Ron’s Nettleton reverie took me back to the early summer of 1968 when I was cutting grass along Dogwood Drive and about to start the 10th grade at Grimsley. All my neighborhood pals owned Nettleton tassel loafers, and I decided I needed my own pair. The ones I wanted at Younts-DeBoe Clothiers on North Elm Street cost $33.50, a small fortune to me. But it was money I was ready to invest. One Saturday afternoon in June, I rode my bike all the way downtown and went to see Planet of the Apes at the Center Theater. Afterwards, I went up to Younts-DeBoe to see if the store had my size in British tan Nettletons. Stepping into Younts-DeBoe was like entering another world, a world of welldressed men of distinction. Fine handmade shirts and neckties were displayed under glass and stocked in elegantly crafted wooden drawers. Suits and sports jackets hung in alcoves of finely crafted wood. Sporting attire, custom fitting and tuxedos were on the second floor, as I recall, and fine footwear shoes had a separate alcove of their own. An elegant fellow in a tailored suit measured my foot and accepted my hardThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

earned $33.50 lawn mowing funds, writing down my custom-fitted order for one pair of size 10 ½ medium-width Nettleton tassel loafers in British tan. “How long will they take to get here?” I asked, vaguely disappointed not to be able to wear them that very day. “No more than a few weeks,” he replied. “Are you in a rush for an event?” “Not really,” I was forced to admit, thinking Planet of the Apes probably didn’t count. “Just high school at the end of summer.” In those days, Greensboro was a city full of fine men’s clothing shops. “It was a golden age of men’s and women’s fine clothing,” insists Gordon Turner, who arrived from Chapel Hill to work for The Hub on Jefferson Square not long before Ron Crow found his sweet Nettleton two-tones. “This was the crossroads of the South, teeming with lawyers and doctors and businessmen, and there were great clothing shops on just about every corner of downtown.” Turner, 68, who runs Gordon’s Menswear Ltd., remains one of the Gate City’s last independently owned and operated full-service men’s clothiers along with The Hub and Lindsay Odum, both on Battleground Avenue. He’s something of a menswear historian and ticks off a list of Greensboro’s venerable men’s shops. “Several were real institutions, almost legendary. Johnson and Albert, Hall-Putnam, Vanstory’s, and of course Younts-DeBoe. You also had Gene Lashley and Wright’s Menswear and The Hub. There was also the National Shirt and Hat Shop and eventually out in Friendly Center you had Bernard Shepherd, Joel Fleishman’s and Guy Hill. The department stores along Elm Street were booming, too — Meyers, Ellis-Stone, and Thalheimers. They all had great men’s departments. Greensboro was where everyone for fifty miles or more came to buy their clothes.” There was great pride in the classic clothing these shops sold, he notes, and the competition served everyone well. “Most of it was well-made American clothing and shoes that were made to last — Nettletons being the shoe here in Greensboro.” I asked him why this was the case. “To begin with, they were beautifully made and excellent leather, handstitched, with a last [the form each shoe is made around] that was outstanding. The signature toe seam and tassel were almost unique in the shoe industry. A.E. Nettleton was a fine old company that dated back to the days of the Civil War. Teddy Roosevelt, Charles Lindbergh and the Wright brothers wore their shoes. A.E. Nettleton was actually the first [in 1937] to patent the word ‘loafer,’ which they aggressively defended. I know this from direct experience.” When Hall-Putnam and Younts-DeBoe closed its door in the late 1970s, victims of a rapidly changing menswear marketplace, the Hub where Turner worked was able to briefly pick up the Nettleton loafer line. “I made a trip up to the plant to see how they were made,” he remembers, “and was very impressed by the quality of their shoes. The only thing that surprised me was that the tassel so loved by men in this town — the Greensboro Shoe, as they even called it up there — was well-named. Greensboro was really the only place the shoe was a best-seller — and here, of course, it was an icon.” June/July 2012

O.Henry 9


The beginning of the end for this golden era of haberdashery, he thinks, really began when Belk bolted for the new Carolina Circle Mall in the early 1970s, causing the other anchor stores downtown to follow suit. The Hub and Vanstory’s eventually moved to Four Seasons mall and elegant YountsDeBoe closed its doors downtown. Over the next two decades, imported cheaper clothing and outlet retail stores finished off the classic men’s (and women’s) clothing stores just about everywhere. A changing American workforce and more relaxed styles also played a major role in their demise. “The relaxed cultures of Silicon Valley and casual Friday were bad for our business. Suddenly folks were going to work in blue jeans and polo shirts, dressing down, as they liked to say, and well-made high quality clothing — which used to go hand in hand with a man’s working life — weren’t of such importance. “In 1982,” Turner adds, “roughly 75 percent of the stock of a quality men’s store was American made. Today it’s probably ten percent, if that.” He notes that even premium quality giants like Brooks Brothers and Polo do their largest business in outlet shops these days — selling products made to sell at a lower cost to bargain-minded consumers. Lindsay Odum quite agrees. “You really saw a cheapening of consumer clothing by the 1990s with the arrival of outlet malls and discount stores, most of which relied on clothes made inexpensively overseas. Suddenly cost rather quality became a determining factor in many consumer minds — and the fine men’s shops (women’s too) paid a price for that.” Fortunately, he notes, some informed consumers will always prefer high quality goods to inexpensively made bargains that last half as long. Odum operates two popular stores, one in Greensboro and a larger shop on Main Street in High Point. Ironically, about this same time, the famous A.E. Nettleton’s factory closed its operation on East Willow Street in Syracuse, New York, a decade or so before I

began courting my wife, Wendy, in the nearby village of Fayetteville. After learning that the company’s logo was still visible on an old building in North Syracuse, I set off on a lark to see if I could find the factory that once made the loafer I wore for all of my high school and half my college days. That original tan tassel loafer I wore got resoled at least twice and probably wore out three different sets of leather heels. It was a nice surprise to find not only the factory building still intact and bearing a ghost sign of Nettleton Shoes, but also an independent shop in part of the building run by a former employee of the company who still had dozens of leftover used and new Nettletons for sale. These included several pairs of the beloved Greensboro Shoe, but sadly none in my popular 11-medium size. According to Gordon Turner and other Nettleton addicts, there have been several attempts to replicate the beloved tassel loafer — including by Turner himself. “None have been very successful,” I’m afraid. The problem is the workmanship. The company destroyed its original molds and nobody has been able to perfectly copy the toe seam and last, including the fine Italian shoemaker I contracted with to try and make the shoe.” “In other words,” I told him, thinking of a far-off summer night when I took Ginny Sikworth to the Cinema Theater to see Romeo and Juliet and had them on sans socks — my first official date, happening just weeks after I acquired them — or when I cruised the Boar and Castle with friends on our way to the late-great Piedmont Drive-in, “I guess the Greensboro Shoe belongs only to the ages now.” “Yes,” he agreed solemnly. But then gave a sly smile. “But I’ll bet if you could see into the men’s closets of Greensboro, you’d find at least a hundred pairs of genuine Nettleton loafers, some with several pairs, probably most of them in great condition — ready to put on and wear just like the golden age was still here.” OH

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10 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Short Stories Your guide to the good life in the Triad

Cake and Porter

William Sydney Porter, best known as the short story writer O.Henry, loved to eat, among other vices. So, he’d love the float that will roll through downtown streets in the 2012 Fun Fourth Parade. It will be delicious-looking, decorated with a big birthday cake to celebrate the 150 birthdays that have passed since O.Henry was born in 1862 on a now infamous date, Sept. 11. He died in 1910 at 48 in New York. As extra topping, O.Henry will be the parade’s grand marshal, perhaps the first deceased person bestowed that honor. The parade will start at 9:30 a.m. at North Greene and Bellemeade streets. The procession, with about 40 to 50 entries, will travel south on Greene, turn east on Market and north on Church, ending at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, across from the rear of the historical museum. Once the parade ends, the public is invited to the museum to enjoy a piece of birthday cake in O.Henry’s honor. JS

Oh My Squash

Yes, Google will produce recipes for zucchini jam and even zucchini wine, but after your neighbors stop coming to the door whenever they see you with a grocery bag brimming with Cucurbita pepo, don’t you think it’s about time to consider giving those zucchinis to Share the Harvest? It’s so simple: Gardeners with surplus veggies drop them off at any of about a dozen sites around town. From there, volunteers working with the N.C. Cooperative Extension Service, UNCG’s Department of Nutrition, The Interactive Resource Center and Greensboro Urban Ministry collect and distribute the goods to families trying to overcome food (and zucchini) insecurity. Click on www.sharetheharvestguilfordcounty.com to find a drop site and the days and hours they’ll accept produce. And please, if it’s so large or overripe you wouldn’t eat it yourself, put it on your neighbor’s doorstep, ring the doorbell and run. DCB


The Barn Dinner Theatre in Greensboro has added 11 shows of the musical Soul Sistas, which was a sellout during its seven-week run in March and April. The encores will be June 2-3, 8-9, 15-16, 22-24 and 29-30. The production features high energy singing and dancing with six actresses and a live band performing songs made famous by African-American women including Nancy Davis, Billie Holiday, Nina Simone, Patti LaBelle, Chaka Khan, Gloria Gaynor and Donna Summer. For tickets, contact the Barn at (336) 292-2211 or (800) 668-1764 or go to barndinner.com MJ

The Shoe Makes the Man

Feeling low? Down in the dumps? Maybe you need a consultation with Dr. Shine, downtown Greensboro’s only practicing shoeologist. “You feel so much better about yourself after you get a shoe shine,” says U Thant Devlin, proprietor of First and Ten by Shine Unlimited, located right next to Cincy’s chili parlor on 117 East February One Place, (336) 333-9785. Mount the leather-upholstered two-seater that once graced the lobby of the Guilford County Courthouse and let Dr. Shine work his therapeutic magic. “It gives you a spiritual uplift,” Devlin says. Though shines start at $7, may we recommend the “Big shine” for $10, for those “who want to make a big impression from the ground up?” DCB

12 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Short Stories

Sauce of the Month

Down on Main Street

What else would you expect of a neighborhood with a main street named Independence, but a festive Fourth of July parade? The procession has taken place every year since 1947 in the Kirkwood neighborhood, where the other main street is named Colonial. It’s an event of motley floats, decorated bikes, enormous flags and other red, white and blue concoctions. There’s a grand marshal. One year it was the neighborhood’s oldest resident, who was then 104. It’s also a reunion gathering. People who have long departed Kirkwood, known for its starter homes, return to see old neighbors and to show loyalty to a neighborhood that has aged nicely since it began to boom when World War II servicemen returned home looking for a place to live and start a family. JS

Bubba Greene, Mover and Quaker

Coincidence? We think not. In the last issue of O.Henry, we published several letters advancing ideas for the betterment of society from our correspondent Bubba Greene to a bunch of bigwigs. One of Bubba’s letters was to Quaker Oats, suggesting they remodel their mascot to look a little feistier, like the Fighting Quakers of Guilford College. Well, what do you know? The day the magazine hit the stands, The Wall Street Journal published a story saying that Quaker Oats was giving their mascot a makeover. In fact, the story quoted the very fella who received Bubba’s letter. Now, it’s true that Bubba did not expect any credit for his idea, but he asked Mr. Justin Lambeth, the head marketing man, to let him know what he thought, and so far, Mr. Lambeth has been mum. Bubba says he called Quaker Oats, asking to talk to Mr. Lambeth, but he was unavailable. Bubba says two can play that game. He says from now on, he’ll be unavailable to Quaker Oats, and he’ll be sending his cereal-related ideas to General Mills. Cheerio(s), Mr. Lambeth. MJ The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Charles S. Shepperd Jr. learned to cook barbecue from his daddy, who operated a barbecue stand specializing in St. Louis-style ribs. But the secret ingredient in Sir Charles Gourmet “Hot” BBQ Sauce (sircharlesgourmetsauces.com) comes from his mother, Choice — and you can forget about him telling you what it is. Maybe what makes it so round and smooth, yet interesting, is lemon juice or ginger or cinnamon or sambal oelek, a fiery chili “that burns as it goes over the palate and then fades,” says Shepperd, who’s a culinary school graduate and former corporate chef now concentrating on a line of sauces he bottles himself. “I make my sauce with love and the only way I can put love in my sauce is make it myself,” he says. To sample his St. Louis-style sauce — spooned over his excellent meatballs — drop by the Yanceyville Street Greensboro Farmers’ Curb Market, and Sir Charles will coach you on making St. Louis ribs as good as his daddy’s. DCB

How-to: The Art of the Perfect ’Mater Sammich

“Plant ’em in the spring, eat ’em in the summer,” warbles Guy Clark. “All winter without ’em’s a culinary bummer.” In case you’re lost, that’s Clark’s classic tribute to one of only two things that money can’t buy: true love and homegrown tomatoes. I figure Clark, being a Texan, must not know about the new Sunday South Elm Urban Market — southelmurbanmarket.com — or the two other Greensboro farmers markets open on Saturday — gsofarmersmarket.org and www.triadfarmersmarket.com. If he did, I bet he’d drop by and pick up some ’maters so ripe he’d have to change his shirt after slicing them. Bread’s next, and I like it white, as in pan Siciliano from Loaf — 227-B South Elm Street (336) 271-3344. Momma put “minner cheese” on our sandwiches, and My Three Sons Pimento Cheese (www.mtsgourmet.com) is “Just Like Mom’s, Maybe Even Better.” Think extra-sharp cheddar and fire-roasted jalapeños, something my mom didn’t know a thing about. Want to go gourmet? Pick up a bottle of Tunisian organic olive oil and some French Champagne vinegar tinted with balsamic from Midtown Olive Press in Friendly Center — 3354-141 West Friendly Avenue (336) 315-6000. Add mozzarella and you’ve got a Caprese sandwich. And if you’re really determined to take your ’mater sammich over the top, Jane Morgan Smith, who grows Perigord truffles in King, recommends adding some of her truffle butter — www.trufflesnc.com — to your mayonnaise. DCB June/July 2012

O.Henry 13

Short Stories Insider’s Guide to EMF

Those who prefer Bach to Beyoncé already know why the Eastern Music Festival is such a big deal. Over the years, though, the five-week musical extravaganza, from June 23 through July 28, is gaining ground with audiences across the musical spectrum, from jazz lovers to fans of the blues. EMF — the name most people know the festival by — is a renowned summer camp for gifted orchestral and piano students between the ages of 14 and 22 held on the campus of Guilford College. Because enrollment is capped at 200 students and the instructors are world-renowned artists, competition is stiff. For young musicians, an intimate student-to-teacher ratio of 2:1 is almost unheard of. The EMF faculty is made up of professional musicians from all over the country. And, like the students, they are here to perform during the five-week classical music festival that runs simultaneously with the camp. Over 100 concerts and musical events are open to the public during EMF. Here are a few events to keep on your radar for the 2012 season, even if you’re a classical music newbie. An Evening with Marvin Hamlisch — -Read Marvin Hamlisch’s online bio and you’ll learn that the American composer — also musical director and arranger of Barbra Streisand’s 1994 concert tour of the United States and England — has won three Oscars, four Grammys, four Emmys, a Tony and three Golden Globe awards (www.marvinhamlisch.com). A Special Evening with Marvin Hamlisch is a preseason performance celebrating EMF’s 51st season. Tuesday, June 12 at 7 p.m./Dana Auditorium, Guilford College/ Tickets: $49–125 Tannenbaum-Sternberger Young Artists Series — A list of EMF’s alumni — which boasts the likes of Eliot Chapo and jazz sensation Wynton Marsalis — is proof that EMF’s ambitious young pupils are in training to become the musicians of our future. Parents or grandparents bringing children (under age 12) can purchase tickets for $5; kids get in for $1. Thursdays and Fridays, June 29 to July 27 at 8 p.m./Dana Auditorium at Guilford College/Tickets: $19 for general admission; $25 for reserved seating (July 26 & 27 “finale” performances, which feature concerto competition winners, run $25 for general admission; $31 for reserved seating.) EMFfringe — The Greencards are a progressive bluegrass band based in Nashville, Tennessee. Does the fact that they went on a 31-date tour with Bob Dylan and Willie Nelson strike a chord? Friday, June 29 at 8 p.m./ Location TBA/Tickets: $24 MUSEP — EMF and City Arts collaborate for two Music for Sunday Evening in the Park (MUSEP) events, which are free. EMF students will perform a Pops concert on the lawn of Guilford College on Sunday, July 8. And a free EMFfringe concert is scheduled for July 22, details to be announced. Pianopalooza — Don’t miss a chance to see EMF’s talented young pianists during an enchanting evening of solos, duets and costumes fit to tickle the ivory keys. Wednesday, July 25 at 8 p.m./Dana Auditorium, Guilford College/Tickets: $19 for general admission; $17 for students and seniors EMF Orchestra featuring Maultsby and Griffey — Don’t miss tenor Anthony Griffey and mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby — both North Carolina natives — sing alongside EMF’s world-class orchestra. Gerard Schwarz, EMF Music Director, conducts. Saturday, July 28 at 8 p.m./Dana Auditorium, Guilford College/Tickets: $34 for general admission; $44 for reserved seating Most tickets can be purchased through the box office at Triad Stage, 232 South Elm Street, (336) 272-0160, or online at easternmusicfestival. org, where you can also find a complete schedule. AW

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June/July 2012

O.Henry 15

Short Stories

The Quaker Way

When a college grows old, unlike humans, it had better get better. Or face extinction. Guilford College, home of the Eastern Music Festival and the Bryan Lecture Series, believes age has brought enhancement. The college is celebrating 175 years since it was founded by Nathan Hunt and other Quakers as New Garden Boarding School in 1837. New Garden expanded to become Guilford College in 1888. Guilford can boast of being the oldest co-educational institution in the South and fourth oldest institution of any kind in North Carolina. From day one, girls entered New Garden and then Guilford on an equal basis with boys. The faculty always enjoyed a degree of gender balance. The school has faced and overcome major obstacles. For instance, it was the only North Carolina college to remain open during the Civil War. Guilford is the South’s only college founded by Quakers. Although Guilford is independent with no formal ties to the Society of Friends, the school adheres to Quaker traditions. “They are woven into our core values,” says one school administrator. Still, the Friends Church, or Quakerism, permeates the campus, including street names honoring Quakers of long ago. Even the athletic teams are nicknamed the Quakers. The campus, with its grassy quad, which is more circular that squared, has never looked more beautiful. School finances are sound, thanks to the

leadership of president Kent J. Chabotar, whose specialty just so happens to be higher education finances. In its “Advancing Excellence” campaign, Guilford is now working toward a goal of $60 million to enhance the campus, swell its endowment and develop the college’s faculty, among various other initiatives. Gone are the “thees” and “thous” spoken by students and faculty into the early 20th century. The Eastern Music Festival’s presence on campus for 51 years proves Quaker intolerance toward music long ago vanished. One thing hasn’t changed. Guilford has resisted the move of many private North Carolina institutions of higher learning to add master’s degree programs and drop the

name “college” for “university.” These are trying times for higher education, especially small liberal arts colleges with modest endowments such as Guilford. But alums and others needn’t worry, suggests a recent issue of the Guilford College Magazine dedicated to the 175th anniversary. “To those who have doubt about the future,” the article says, “we can only echo the words of Nathan Hunt, our founder, whose vision proved true before: ‘Have faith! Have faith.’” Those who have it and who survive for another 25 years can look forward to a bicentennial in 2037, with more pageantry than the 175th observance. But nothing too splashy. Simplicity is a certainty. That’s the Quaker way. JS

Free Museum Admission “The President is Coming”

U.S. Presidential Visits to Greensboro, North Carolina Currently on view Eighteen presidents have visited Greensboro. Come see the new display in the museum lobby and vote for the president you would most like to take to lunch. Don’t forget to tell us where you would go!

Fighting the Fires of Hate

America and the Nazi Book Burnings June 21 - August 12 The book burnings were a constant symbol of Nazi tyranny before, during, and after World War II. The museum is hosting this traveling exhibit from the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Come visit the Greensboro Historical Museum Shop where there is history in every purchase! 130 Summit Ave. Greensboro NC 27401 (336) 373-2043 Tuesday - Saturday 10 AM - 5 PM Sunday 2 PM - 5 PM www.GreensboroHistory.org

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June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

High Point Bank has served the Triad community with principled integrity for more than 100 years. Our customers don’t see us as just a local bank, they see us as a better bank. From sophisticated trust services to financing a home, we honestly and earnestly help manage the financial side of life. It seems managing money is back in vogue, too. Visit a branch or HighPointBank.com to see what better banking can do for you.

Short Stories

1006 Country Club Drive Grand Living in Old Irving Park

All the Doodad Night

In the summer of 2010, Dean Driver went to summer camp in New Hampshire, but rather than learning canoeing or first aid, he studied with his singer/songwriter hero Cliff Eberhardt. “I’d never performed on stage in my life — or even had a real desire to do so,” Driver says, “but the place was so welcoming that I ended up doing just that. It was a great awakening for me.” And the genesis for a new music venue in the Triad, Doodad Farm. About a year ago, with the help of his wife, Laurel, an environmental engineer for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and both of his daughters, Riley and Ellis, Driver and friends turned a 140-year-old tobacco barn into a performance stage. “We started having concerts out there as soon as the last nail was hammered in the stage,” he says. The farm is about 10 miles from downtown Greensboro between Interstate 40 and 85 where they merge. “Doodad” is derived from what Driver says he’d like to be called by any potential grandkids. Until they arrive, he’s using the farm “to connect people with art. So much of the music we get today has been digitized, sanitized and commercialized,” he says. “We walk around with our iPods feeding us music, isolated from the world.” Even when we go to concerts, we often end up watching the performers via giant screens. Once upon a time, Driver says, music was made by your neighbors and friends, even by members of your family. “We were intimately connected to it,” Driver says. “Our mission is to reconnect those broken connections, to move people closer to the source of the art they experience.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Take the Doodad Beat Farmers, the brainchild of Barry Gray, a member of the Burlington band Graymatter. Here was a band that was open to anyone who wanted to join. “We now have eighteen members from age 11 to 55,” Driver says, “many of whom had never performed on stage prior to this experience.” All songs, by the way, are written by members of the band. Dean and Laurel Driver are offering up their stage to artists for non-commercial purposes. “All we ask is that you take care of it and leave it in good condition.” They’ll consider benefit concerts for a worthy cause, picking circles or session to teach kids how to play an instrument. “We’ve yet to say ‘no’ to anyone,” he says. The farm can also be rented out for weddings, reunions and private parties. For more information, check out Doodad Farm on Facebook: www.facebook.com/pages/ Doodad-Farm/231643253548690 On Saturday, June 2, Doodad will feature Thomas Wesley Stern (www. myspace.com/thomaswesleystern), an American folk music band out of Jackson, New Jersey. Sunday, June 3, Durham singer/songwriter Jon Shain (www.jonshain.com) will perform. Click on www.facebook.com/pages/DoodadFarm/231643253548690 for details. Doodad also sponsors a songwriters’ circle on the last Thursday of every month. Like all Doodad Farm concerts, events are free, though donations are encouraged, says Driver, “every cent of which goes to the band.”

Grand living and stylish entertaining are enjoyed at this palatial home. Stunning appointments adorn this magnificent four bedroom, four and one-half bath home. Set in the heart of Old Irving Park this home comprises approximately 6950 square feet of exhilarating living space where Brazilian cherry wood and custom stone tile floors extend throughout. Price upon request.


Yost and Little Realty Xan Tisdale 336-601-2337 Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687 Xan.Tisdale@pruyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@pruyostandlittle.com June/July 2012

O.Henry 19

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The City Muse

Smoke and Mirrors

Mermaids on the sidewalk, belly dancers below, plus a little pomegranate hookah in the night By AsHley WAHl


here’s a mermaid on South Elm Street who used to live on West McGee. She sunbathes on the sidewalk. Her home is Mary’s Jewelry Box. So when the shop moved, so did she. Inside the Box, where consignment jewelry is a steal, women sift through retro beads and brooches, examine vintage hairpins, and try on gaudy bauble rings. The place is a treasure chest — and three times larger than its previous space on West McGee. Among a wild treasure-trove of plastic, synthetic stones and base metals, find second-hand earrings for less than five bucks. Back outside, Ariel’s caudal fin cooks on the sidewalk. The wind flirts through her sun-bleached hair. Propped up in a wicker chair, the fabric ladyfish lures the random passerby with her bare midriff. Perhaps she’s lonely — a companionless soul in this bipedal world of material surplus. Or does happiness spring from her shiny possessions? A matter of time, I fear, until a crow poaches her flashy necklace. ** Ascend the stairs at 313 South Greene Street, beside the hollow shell of the late, great Rhinoceros Club, and find hidden treasures. Walk-ins are welcome at Fahrenheit Kollectiv (Suite 201), an upscale salon from which an Avett Brothers song pours forth into the open hallway. One door down, at Twisted Dance Studios (Suite 200), Middle Eastern music beckons. Here, you can learn to belly dance for the price of a pair of cheap earrings. In the studio, drumbeat is slow and steady. Feet are bare, and women tie on colorful hip scarves embellished with rows of shiny golden coins. Tonight’s instructor, Becca, demonstrates shimmies, shakes and undulations. She ties up her T-shirt so students can see what her belly does. And to see if their bellies are doing something similar. In the mirror, six pupils watch their bellies torque. Each belly looks different. Some bear stretch marks — but all are free and confident. “Nothing is sexier than a confident woman doing something that she loves,” says Sarah Sills, who co-founded Twisted Dance with Lynn Hoffman in February 2010. “We do not care about competitions, recitals, perfection or conformity.” A girl with red hair and blue toenails watches an octopus tattoo dance on her ribcage.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I call him ‘My Companion,’” she says. Hip scarves jingle away. Feeling the music, Becca makes a piercing, trilling sound with rapid movements of her tongue. Loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo! She sounds like an exotic bird. “It’s called a zaghareet,” she explains of the celebratory ululation. We’re invited to mimic the sound, to encourage our fellow hip shakers, while undulating to the thumping bass. Etiquette requires us to cover our mouths while zaghareeting. Loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo-loo! We sound like hyenas. Belly dance, it turns out, is a great shoulder workout. ** Besides the large communal water pipes, there is nothing Middle Eastern about Sky High Hookah Lounge and Smoke Shop — an urban shisha den on South Chapman Street. Black lights and rap music set the ambience. And black-and-white pictures of Hendrix, Marley, Joplin, Lennon and Dylan decorate the walls, alongside other celebrities known for making nature’s herb (tobacco, what else?) look sexy and cool. My companion’s toenails glow bright green. An extensive menu of flavored tobacco (called shisha) starts at $7.99. Exotic flavors sound like alcohol shooters, and there’s even a house specialty called “Sexy Mint.” I wonder what makes mint worthy of such an erotic adjective. The smoke shop sells glass, metal and corncob pipes. Munchies are available, too. Friends pass the hookah. Pomegranate, when inhaled, is cool and smooth. But do I feel sky high? Have I achieved nirvana? Had visions of a hookah-smoking caterpillar convincing me to eat magical cake? Figured out how mint is sexy? Sadly, I would have to say, “No.” On one of the sleek black sofas across the room, a young woman who looks like Lauren Hill blows smoke — slowly — from her mouth and nose. Her midriff is bare. A crew directs her every movement. As she undulates for the camera, I feel strangely compelled to zaghareet. Perhaps she will appear in the next ad for Sky High Hookah Lounge, making mint-flavored tobacco look sexy. ** It’s dark out, but The Blind Tiger illuminates Spring Garden Street. There, companions gather to listen to music, shake hips, show off tattoos. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer.

June/July 2012

O.Henry 21

Artist At Work

A Sweet Song in the Chest By Antionette Kerr


oised like the Greek goddess Aphrodite, Khalisa “Kelly Rae” Williams claims her space on the stage at The Element Poetry Slam at Guilford College. With her smooth brown hands slightly flexed, drawing the audience’s eye to the gentle dip above her thighs, she squares her shoulders, then bows her head so deeply that it appears to sink into her own chest. This is how she finds her special place, just as her mother taught her to do. The young poet meditates, eyes closed, rehearsing the lines of the poem that she had just recomposed in her car on the way to the Slam. She has decided to share a piece inspired by a young schoolgirl entering a beauty contest. The child wore a tiara — and way too much makeup — dreaming of becoming a radiant fairy-tale princess. Kelly Rae’s own not so subtle curves elicit rising eyebrows. Some poetry lovers lean forward to gape at this heavenly creature. Unfazed, Kelly Rae waits for the perfect moment of silence. Tonight she has the collective powers of Maya Angelou, bell hooks, Stacey Ann Chin and Nikki Giovanni behind her, as she stands on the stage armed with one weapon — the microphone.

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June/July 2012

Her eyes closed tightly, she moistens her lips and speaks out: “There are women with stories of struggle, suffering somewhere in the boroughs.” The listeners appear transfixed by her words as she recounts how “Life curved our fingers around pencil lead . . . and spelled out survivor.” In the tradition of West African storytellers, praise singers and oral historians, Kelly Rae Williams has become Greensboro’s griot, sharing raw and unbridled stories of women, dangling bootstraps rather than glass slippers. She is also the co-founder of Poet.she, a league of Triad women writers. She continues her poem, inspired by the strength of the women in her life, “who would never sit in castles waiting for Prince Charming to come and save them.” Finger-snaps of approval echo in her ears. “Amens” abound from women in quiet corners. “Go in Poet,” other performers shout. The ticking slam clock registers that she has 2 minutes and 48 more seconds to impress the judges. “Do you know what I wanted to be when I grew up?” she asks, bending to speak to a group of young girls seated on the floor at a local middle school program. Originally from Gary, Indiana, Kelly Rae Williams came to Greensboro to share the voice that poetry found within her. She inherited her gifts from her family — riff and rhythm from her grandfather, Chicago The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Cassie Butler

In the tradition of a West African praise singer, Kelly Rae Williams gives a powerful voice to female poets

jazz artist Emmanuel Williams; her creativity from her father, Jeff Williams, who left his corporate gig to become a full-time painter, welder and writer. And from her mother, Francette, who joined the debate team at the University of Michigan long before female poets wandered onto stages, she learned to love poetry, beginning at the age of 6. “Turn up that happy song in your chest, child,” her mother would tell her. “But little girls don’t dream of growing up to become poets,” she says. Instead, Kelly Rae entertained childhood dreams of becoming a model or actress. Her parents recognized her need to perform and enrolled her in classes to study dance, singing and stage performance. Following the footsteps of her older sister, a filmmaker and script writer in California, she enrolled in the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s film school. She says she soon realized there was nothing magical about the industry’s obsession with what she refers to as the “Vanity Fair” woman and came to resent the film industry’s discriminatory treatment of women, particularly women of color unwilling to perpetuate the image of the damsel in distress. She began to study creative writing and found “her divine purpose” one day when she wandered onto the stage of Wilmington’s Bottega Art Gallery. Poetry poured almost spontaneously from her, and she found herself irretrievably drawn to other poetry slams, a live performance medium originated by national slam master Mark Kelly Smith in Chicago in the early 1980s. The slam gives voice to nameless and faceless poets who sign up to share their raw, truthful, unedited, uncensored poetry on a community stage, unhampered by all the baggage of bios, books or formal education. Kelly Rae discovered that she could evoke the words and works of great writers like Zora Neal Hurston, Langston Hughes and Ntozake Shange through her spoken word performances. Poetry slams, she realized, were community events that closely embodied the African-American tradition of call and response. At a poetry slam, artists are limited by time and other guidelines regulated by the Poetry Slam Incorporated. Poets’ works are immediately evaluated and ranked by judges randomly selected from the audience. Slam poets don’t have to wait to read literary reviews: “If you can convince a person who doesn’t know you to vote for your poetry, then you must be a good writer and performer,” Kelly Rae explains. For almost three minutes, Kelly Rae is a poet heroine giving a voice to legions of silent women. Midnight hovers over Georgia like slave masters over dark shoulders Silence sleeps, but black hands and feet cannot Fireflies and croaking frogs mock us Mimicking our misery with their groans Laughs carry off in the distance and echo likes whips ricocheting in the wind Feet bleed like sweet juice gushing from that The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Georgia peach The aroma of sweat and wildflowers hang in the air Bittersweet taste Hands burn like brass knuckles beating backs Petite in stature, Kelly Rae sometimes delivers her words like thunder. At other times her voice is an instrument that she plays much in the rhythm of jazz that her grandfather played in Chicago when she was a little girl. But she found her true mentor in Greensboro — Anjail Ahmad, director of creative writing at North Carolina A&T State University, where Kelly Rae earned a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing with a concentration in poetry. More important, Kelly Rae learned how to play poetry by ear, and those who are in tune can hear the heartbeat of her ancestors in her use of repetition and riffs. Intertwining elements of history, culture, music and literature, she unravels misogynistic myths for the audience at Guilford and replaces them with poetic truths. Kelly Rae leaves the stage with an almost perfect slam score. In poet speak, she sneaked onto the male dominated slam dais and “spit” knowledge on the audience. She “brought it” like the Trojans brought their horse, smuggling into the house a platoon of women’s stories that fairy tales forgot. The randomly selected audience members turned judges award her the highest score. She politely wades through the sea of male poets on the front row to get to the stage and claim $500 in cash, a remarkably handsome sum for a poetry slam. “They have never heard the poetry of Maya Angelou, Zora Neal Hurston and other renowned writers,” she proclaims to her Poet.she Twitter followers. “We have to do something!” Aided by Poet. she cofounder Paula Latham, the group has come to the rescue of women’s voices by hosting workshops, all-female Slam Invitationals and a literacy campaign striving to enhance creative arts and writing programs. Members of Poet.she teach poetry and creative writing at four different elementary schools, the Greensboro’s Children’s Museum and The International Civil Rights Center & Museum. You can find Kelly Rae Williams, Paula Latham and Poet.she wherever women writers need a voice. After all of her studies, she still credits her mother as the inspiration for Poet.she and her best friend. If you listen closely, you can hear a tone that is almost spiritual when she describes her mother, also a poet, though unpublished. If Kelly Rae could wave a magic wand, she would create an environment that encourages women writers of all ages to take control of their stories. There would be no damsels left in distress in the kingdom of Poet. she. As the Slam Champion takes on this mission, of “No Woman’s Voice Left Behind,” others sit back and imagine how what she says in her performances will impact the future. Maybe one day a 6-year-old girl will read fairy tales and dream of becoming something more powerful than a princess. How about a Spoken Word poet? OH

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O.Henry 23

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Omnivorous Reader

Music to Our Ears A trio of definitive works on the lost and beloved stringed instruments of America By StePHen e. SMitH


t’s a familiar story: A Southern boy growing up in the 1920s or 30s hears Big Bill Broonzy or Charley Patton on the radio and decides to take up the guitar or mandolin. He flips through the Sears, Roebuck and Montgomery Ward catalogues or visits the local music or dry goods store and picks out an instrument, hands over the $20 he earned working in tobacco, and the rest is, as they say, a sizable chunk of American musical history. The fretted instruments purchased by the majority of Americans during the last century weren’t crafted by Martin or Gibson, both high-end producers, but by Lyon and Healy, Regal, Kay, Harmony, all of Chicago, or by Oscar Schmidt of New Jersey. These large manufacturers supplied mail order companies and mom-and-pop stores with instruments that were sold under the distributors’ trademarks — Supertone, Concertone, Tonk Brothers, Wurlitzer, etc. (American Fretted Musical Instrument Makers lists 1,800 such trademarks that existed between the Civil War and World War II.) Reference works on Martin and Gibson abound — Philip F. Gura’s C.F. Martin and His Guitars, Dick Boaks’ Martin’s Masterpieces and Spann’s Guide to Gibson 1902-1941 are worth a careful read — but there’s always been a dearth of information concerning the manufacturers whose medium- and low-end instruments were ubiquitous in America — and especially in the South — during the last century. Centerstream Publications (Centerstreamusa.com) now offers detailed histories of at least two of the larger Chicago manufacturers — Lyon and Healy (better known as Washburn) and Regal. Available in hard- and paperback, each volume draws upon period trade magazines, distributor catalogs and, when available, oral histories — and each edition contains a generous number of color photographs that document examples of the manufacturers’ finest work. Hubert Pleijsier’s Washburn Prewar Instrument Styles: Guitars, Mandolins, Banjos, and Ukuleles 1883-1940 is the history of Lyon and Healy, the music company that produced the majority of American stringed instruments in the early part of the 20th century. Given Lyon and Healy’s production figures from 1887 to 1940, one in every 60 Americans (the population of the United States was 79 million in 1900) purchased an instrument from the company or one of its distributors. Before World War I, the firm prospered and expanded its offerings, and with the onset of the Jazz Age the demand for stringed instruments soared, establishing Lyon and Healy as the dominant American manufacturer. Its products sold well because they were reasonably priced — $10 to $40 — but the instruments weren’t cheaply manufactured. Assembly-line guitars and mandolins were constructed of Brazilian rosewood, mahogany and ebony, all pricey, quality materials, and the workmanship was often of the highest quality. But most of these cheaper instruments received heavy use, and the company often stretched its resources by constructing lighter instruments that tended to crack or warp with wear and age. Most surviving Lyon and Healy guitars and mandolins contain a written, stamped or branded trademark and/or serial number that identifies the style, the year of production and the retail price, but the company’s files have long been lost. The rumor, which Pleijsier refutes, is that the records were destroyed in a fire, and for many years collectors were unable to date their instruments. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

By examining thousands of surviving Lyon and Healy guitars and mandolins, Pleijsier has deciphered the serial numbers, providing a service to collectors and establishing approximate production numbers for each style of instrument. During the Great Depression, the company fell on hard times and the Washburn trademark was taken over by other manufacturers. By the onset of World War II, production of stringed instruments had shifted to smaller, quality shops or to mass-production manufacturers who offered cheap, poorly made instruments. Lyon and Healy exists today as a retailer of harps and autoharps, and the Washburn name has been appropriated by an American-based company that does the majority of its manufacturing in China and Indonesia. Bob Carlin’s Regal Musical Instruments 1895-1955 is the definitive reference work on the establishment and evolution of Regal, an Indianapolis manufacturer of stringed instruments that moved its operation to Chicago in the early 1900s. Regal and Lyon and Healy were at times in their separate histories the same or cooperating entities. In 1904, Lyon and Healy purchased the assets of the Regal Co. and sold them off to dealers, but by 1905, Lyon and Healy was producing guitars and mandolins under the Regal trademark. The mark was transferred back to the Regal Musical Instrument Co. in 1924, and many of Lyon and Healy’s better craftsmen went with the re-established Regal company. What sets Carlin’s research apart from that of Pleijsier’s is a lengthy and revealing oral history by a knowledgeable Regal employee, Joseph A. Phetteplace, who began work in the inlay department in 1927 and completed a lengthy apprenticeship in all aspects of producing stringed instruments. His recollections provide an invaluable insight into the workings of the factory in the early years of the 20th century, including an example of compassion necessitated by the onset of the Depression. “Now, about this time work began to slack off at the factory,” Phetteplace says. “Every so often one or two fellows would be laid off. One day the bookkeeper from the office, a fellow named Frank, came out and said, ‘Joe, we’re having a little problem. We’ve got to lay off one more man this coming week and as far we can figure it has to be between you and the Polish gentleman back there. . . .’ I told him, ‘Frank, I don’t think there should be any question here who should be June/July 2012

O.Henry 25

The Omnivorous Reader

laid off because, after all, he has five or six children. I’m single and just have myself to support and I certainly can find something to do, so I think you’d better lay me off.’” Phetteplace went on to establish his own inlay shop that produced piecework for Regal. As with Pleijsier’s study of Washburn instruments, Carlin’s history offers color photographs of Regal’s fretted instruments and traces the company’s evolution to its demise in the 1950s. The Regal trademark now appears on instruments produced in China. The Larsons’ Creations by Robert Hartman is the story of Carl and August Larson, Swedish brothers who immigrated to Chicago in the 1890s. Their two-man operation crafted about 2,000 instruments between 1900 and 1940. And their guitars and mandolins, lavishly appointed and meticulously crafted, are highly sought after by collectors. A playable example of a Larson instrument will cost from $3,000 to $60,000, if you can find one to buy. Hartman’s book goes into meticulous detail, explaining the role of the guitar in America, the lives of the Larson brothers, and the qualities that made Larson guitars, harp guitars and mandolins extraordinary. The key paragraph reads: “The Larson brothers lived their lives in the same manner as they ran their business. That is to say, in good times they enjoyed the fruits of their labors but only to moderate degree and never flaunted their success. They were not interested in getting rich, which was quite evident by the prices they charged for their product. The satisfaction of the customer and the pride derived from their work was [sic] their biggest reward.” Gene Autry, Patsy Montana, Rusty Gill and Carolyn DeZurik, Lloyd Perryman, Joan Baez, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Les Paul, and almost every musician on Chicago’s WLS and WJJD radio programs owned and played Larson brothers’ instruments.

26 O.Henry

June/July 2012

Unfortunately, there are no “Larson” stringed instruments. The brothers’ product was sold under a variety of brand names: Maurer, Euphonon, Prairie State, Meyers, Dyer, Stahl, Stetson, Knutsen, Leland, Mayflower, Bradbury, Southern California Music and the occasional Regal. Chapter three of Hartman’s book is devoted to the Larsons’ innovations — laminated bracing, cutaways and semi-cutaways, laminated necks, a rod system (tone bar) to stabilize the instruments, and to qualities such as the woods used in construction, the various body designs, the finishing and inlays, and the stunning tree-of-life fingerboards. To help with the identification of Larson instruments, Hartman includes advertising illustrations and 32 pages of quality color photographs of the Larsons’ high-end instruments. Hartman’s chapter on harp guitars will be of special interest to both vintage guitar collectors and shade-tree musicians. In the early years of the last century, harp guitar orchestras performed in towns and cities across America — friends and neighbors entertaining one another — and the Larson brothers, under the Dyer trademark, were the premier producers of such instruments. Because of the tension exerted by the heavier harp strings, surviving examples are extremely rare and much sought after. So when you come across that dusty half-busted guitar or mandolin in Grandpa’s attic, you might want to examine it carefully. In addition to being a manifestation of your ancestor’s aspirations, it might be worth a pile of money if sold to the right collector. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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June/July 2012

O.Henry 4/26/1227 10:03 AM

Street Level

The Man Who Loved Trains Jimmy Carter’s passion for railroading was right on time


hen W.J. (Jimmy) Carter Jr. died last year, a railroad journey that had rolled on for more than 70 years ended. As a boy in the 1940s and early 1950s, Carter had the family chauffeur drive him downtown to the Southern Railway Station on East Washington Street. They’d make their way up through the tunnels to the tracks. Carter would stand on the platforms and watch train after train, many stopping, others speeding by. The boy loved trains, real and toy. He had a model set up in the basement of his family’s big house on Sunset Drive in Irving Park. But his family’s name was synonymous with North Carolina textiles. His father, W.J. (Nick) Carter Sr., and Nick’s brother, Harry Carter, founded Carter Fabrics in the 1930s. The company opened a big plant on what’s now South Elm-Eugene Street in south Greensboro and another in the Carter brothers’ original hometown of Wallace in eastern North Carolina. Carter Fabrics eventually was absorbed by the giant J.P. Stevens & Co. textile empire. The Greensboro plant closed in 1995 and was demolished in the early 2000s. The site is now a city fire station and governmental complex, with an area set aside on the lawn as a memorial to the Carter plant. W.J. and Harry Carter were passionate about their alma mater, N.C. State University. They donated money to help build what at first was called Carter Stadium, now known as Carter-Finley Stadium. Carter Gym at Campbell University is also named in tribute to their generosity. As a teenager, Jimmy Carter showed a lack of enthusiasm for following the family tradition of working in textiles. Instead of textile-oriented N.C. State, he enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill. After graduating, he worked awhile for J.P. Stevens, but eventually told his father he intended to make railroading his career. His father supported the decision, but in a letter Jimmy Carter wrote in 2009, he mentioned that his father warned him “that by the turn of the 21st century the railroad industry may be gone.” In January 1964, Jimmy Carter joined Norfolk & Western Railway in Roanoke, Virginia. He worked in the company’s headquarters until his retirement in October 1993, when the company was known as Norfolk Southern Railway, after a merger in the 1980s of Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway. Many people who work for railroads get their fill of the business on the job. After quitting time, the last thing they want to see is another locomotive or boxcar. Engineers are amazed at constantly seeing people at track side staring at passing trains and taking photos. What is the fascination? Jimmy Carter would be one of those enthusiasts at track side, even during those years with the railroad. He was a regular on steam train excursions that Norfolk & Western and Southern Railway sponsored before their merger. Once, he and his wife, Polly, went to Idaho and learned how to engineer a diesel locomotive. When the two traveled, they took the train whenever possible. “We think he was conceived on a train,” says Polly Carter, joking and wondering where her late husband’s fascination with trains had come from. “I don’t know.” 28 O.Henry June/July 2012

Carter had a room set aside in the couple’s Roanoke home for his model railroad complex. It included pre-merger black and gold Norfolk & Western engines and apple-green Southern Railway locomotives. Eventually after he retired, he and Polly moved to a condominium in Greensboro’s Fisher Park. He stuffed a closet with his vast collection of railroad books, with the overflow spilling into a bookcase in the bedroom. Books included histories of what rail buffs call “fallen flags,” defunct railroads such as the Wabash, Frisco, Rock Island and the Virginian. One book seemed to have been written especially for guys such as Carter: The Men Who Loved Trains. To enjoy the sound of trains of old, Carter would listen again and again to a phonograph recording of Norfork & Western steam locomotives demonstrating their strength as they climbed steep grades in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia. Railroad art decorates the condo’s walls, including sketches of the Greensboro railroad station and the depot in Wallace, which Carter visited often during summer stays in his father’s old hometown. Carter’s second cousin, 38-year-old Will Carter, grandson of Harry Carter, showed a visitor around the condo recently. He opened a kitchen cabinet and lifted out a drinking glass with the old Southern Railway logo. He said it was one of a complete set “and there’s plenty more” from other railroads. He said Uncle Jimmy, as he called his much older cousin, was a walking railroad timetable. Will Carter remembers being with Jimmy at the bar of the Marriott Hotel in downtown Greensboro. A woman who was a stranger to both of them was sitting nearby telling someone about a rail journey she had enjoyed in Mexico. Jimmy Carter couldn’t resist piping up and telling the woman she must have been on route so and so, on train number so and so. Hadn’t it reached its destination at such and such a time? he asked her. The woman was astonished. Carter was right on all points. “It could have been the Pacific Northwest, Canada or wherever,” Will Carter says. “I feel pretty confident he would have known the schedule of practically every railroad.” Carter’s railroad collection includes letters he wrote to top railroad people, not as part of his day job but as a rail enthusiast. Until his death just shy of age 72, he was lobbying for a return of the passenger train era. “He was an advocate of re-railroading America,” Will Carter says. It anguished Carter to see rail lines disappear, especially the one that once followed Battleground Avenue out of the city to Summerfield, Stokesdale, Belews Creek and on to Mount Airy. He saw those rusty, weedy tracks as once having potential as a commuter line. In retirement, he constantly attended meetings where railroad issues were discussed. Once, when he couldn’t attend a gathering where the speaker was an editor of Trains magazine (Carter collected it and other rail magazines), he talked Will Carter into going and taking notes on 3 by 5 cards. Instead of working for a railroad, Jimmy Carter probably could have afThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

PhotograPhs Courtesy oF the Carter Family

By JiM SCHloSSer

Street Level

forded not to work at all (as if working for a railroad was arduous for him). But that wouldn’t have been in keeping with the Carter family way, Will Carter says. “Making your own way was part of the program,” says Carter, who, after a hiatus from college, re-enrolled a few years ago and will graduate with a degree in English from Guilford College this spring. Jimmy Carter got the best of his father on the issue of trains versus textiles. “Little did we know,” he said in that 2009 letter, “that in the first decade of the 21st century railroading was doing quite well and textiles would be in the doldrums.” Trains keep rolling through the South Elm Street crossing. Those carrying freight extend longer than ever. Special trains carry truck trailers that once hauled textile goods but have had to find new cargo in recent decades.

The old Southern station that Jimmy Carter visited as a boy closed in 1979 when only one passenger train, the Crescent, stopped compared with as many as 40 in bygone times. The station reopened earlier this decade after an extensive rehabilitation and a renaming, the J. Douglas Galyon Depot. Jimmy Carter was there for the grand opening. Five Amtrak trains now stop there, with more in the works. A symposium on railroads, past, present and future was held recently at the Greensboro Historical Museum. Afterward, the audience rode a train to Charlotte and back. It was a fun, informative day. The only thing missing was Jimmy Carter, who would have been there taking notes and sizing up the fine points of the day’s journey. When the train returned to Greensboro, Carter would have pulled out his Hamilton pocket watch and nodded with satisfaction that it was precisely 6:47. Train No. 75 was right on time. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Gracious Mingling of Elegance and Ease in Old Irving Park 803 Hood Place, Greensboro

This Old Irving Park French style home is a true period home and a classic. It was designed by New York architect Charles C. Hartmann and built in 1932. The total remodel was crafted by Charlotte architect Martin Grennville. The original structure and interior finishes have been preserved and everything else has been replaced. This state-of-the-art home, on a quiet cul-de-sac, boasts large rooms, a master retreat, guest quarters, a four-car garage, slate roof, spectacular grounds and gardens that overlook Greensboro Country Club’s golf course. The architectural assets include imposing arches, generous moldings, rich hardwood floors, windows preserved with restoration glass, magnificent hardware, custom painting, hand-made wrought iron railings, Neutron lighting system, security system and gates. Orderly and symmetrical grounds and gardens form gracious outdoor rooms. A picture of garden grandeur is created with a mix of paths, spiraling topiary, mazes, garden gates, flower beds and gurgling fountains. Whether you need a home for serious entertaining or peaceful family intimacy this residence offers both. Price upon request.


Yost and Little Realty

Xan Tisdale 336-601-2337

Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687

Xan.Tisdale@pruyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@pruyostandlittle.com June/July 2012

O.Henry 29

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30 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Good Country Cookin’

The Serial Eater

Places that mama would have loved By DAviD C. BAiley


sometimes take my home state for granted until a friend from, say, New York or Florida comes to visit and goes home smitten by the Piedmont’s lush countryside and its incredible country cooking, especially when it’s prepared with fresh-off-the-farm ingredients. It’s summertime and the Clemson okra, Silver Queen corn, burpless cucumbers, purple string beans and German Johnson tomatoes are ripe and ready to make their way from Piedmont farms onto your plate. Accordingly, I’ve assembled four spots — each one a short, scenic ride away from Greensboro and all of them value-priced. Each

PhotograPhs by Cassie butler

Ye Old Country Kitchen

The Lowdown: One of my fondest childhood memories is going to church picnics with my family. Like father like son, I’d chow down on that good old country cooking until I thought I’d pop. Ye Old Country Kitchen way out in Snow Camp recaptures that old-timey churchpicnic style with authentic comfort food and a warm, Y’all Come atmosphere. When I was a little fellow, Daddy always advised starting with the dessert table in case there was a run on Aunt Ruby’s chocolate chess pie or my grandma’s blackberry cobbler. The same advice holds true at Ye Olde Country Kitchen, where desserts include all the old favorites such as Japanese fruit pie and some new ones, like Cheerwine cake. And with a museum-worthy collection of John Deere tractor models and four decades of antiques and memorabilia crowding the walls and shelves, the spacious dining hall is chock full of the family’s treasured keepsakes. But the reason this place is packed, even on weeknights, is the food — from crispy fried chicken with a crunch you can hear clear across the table to thick slabs of succulent roast pork. The Lore: Ye Old Country Kitchen is operated by Bryan and Melodee Wilson. Bryan is the son of James and Louise Wilson, who run The Sword of Peace Outdoor Theatre next door. The outdoor drama commemorates Snow Camp’s Quaker roots. Ye Old Country Kitchen celebrates the area’s culinary heritage. “I hope that when people eat here it reminds them of

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

of them plates food that is a cut or two above what’s served in other restaurants in the rural Piedmont. These are places where time seems to slow down and no one is counting the calories. And every one has a rich history and bears the unmistakable and loving stamp of its owner’s personality. You may want to call first because some of the hours of operation are limited or downright odd. And you definitely want to take the scenic route to get to them — out, for instance, the Old Greensboro-Chapel Hill Road on the way to Snow Camp. Or down Liberty Road to Climax. Or along Randleman Road all the way to Randleman. Y’all come. One thing’s for sure; you won’t go away hungry.

something their grandmother fixed,” Bryan Wilson says. In fact, the German chocolate pie, the hypocrite pie (egg custard and dried fruit) and the lush fruit cobblers are all home-cooked by no less than Louise Wilson herself. “I don’t use mixes,” she says. The Victuals: Lord a’mercy. Where do I begin? The best recommendation is to go for lunch on Sunday, when the variety of viands will be the greatest, but do pace yourself. Maybe start with one piece of barbecued chicken and one of fried, and maybe a thin slice of locally raised roast beef au jus. The green-bean casserole with home-fried onions competes with the hash-browns-andcheese casserole for best vegetable. Fried okra or squash are crispy, and the potato salad with boiled eggs makes me miss my momma. But however you go about it, for goodness sake, save room for desserts. Don’t miss: Believe it or not, the sour-cream cornbread and, of course, the banana pudding. The tab: $5.95-8.95 for lunch and $7.95-10.95 for dinner, depending on what day it is and what’s being served. Info: Ye Old Country Kitchen, 327 Drama Road, Snow Camp (336) 376-6991 [website non-functional, though they say it will be up by June. I wouldn’t bet on it.] Hours: Thursday to Friday, 4:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (Open on Wednesdays beginning in July); Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Sunday noon until 8 p.m. June/July 2012

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only picture perfect

is acceptable.


High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem

Four Winds Café

delivers intimate and crisp service. The Lore: A former corporate chef for R.J. Reynolds who cooked to rave reviews at The Vineyards in Winston-Salem, chef Holmes, and his wife, Peggy, saw a for-sale sign in the window of a truck stop on their daily commute from Greensboro to their horse farm on Monnett Road. With Steven tackling the open kitchen from which he often greets customers and Peggy redecorating the dining area, the cafe opened in May 2006. Word of (well-fed) mouths spread and today you’d best get reservations at night to avoid a wait. Then again, waiting’s not all that bad, sitting on the park benches out front surveying swaths of rolling, green countryside. The Victuals: In the bargain arena, the Four Winds’ rotating meal deals, which come with

Goat Lady Dairy

have their free-range way on the 75-acre working farm. A five-course, sit-down dinner is offered on Friday and Saturday one weekend per month except January, February, July and October. For the first time this year, a lower-priced Sunday buffet is being offered on Friday and Saturday evenings in June and September. The victuals: Don’t be surprised to find goat cheese offered throughout the meal, but it’s the fresh vegetables and herbs that elevate Goat Lady Dairy’s salads and soups to sensational dishes. Entrées are always hearty and enhanced with, for instance, fresh garlic, local mushrooms, seasonal fruit and, always, heightened creativity. But whether it’s the fig-and-honey-laced goat cheese or the ripe and pungent chevre camembert, the cheese course is the highlight of any meal at Goat Lady Dairy. And desserts are definitely over-the-top. Don’t miss: The early pre-appetizer course served as people are arriving, often featuring raw, fresh-from-the-garden crudités. The tab: $60 for the five-course dinner, $35 for buffet supper ($15 for children 12 years or younger). Info: Goat Lady Dairy, 3531 Jess Hackett Road, Climax (336)824-2163 or www.goatladydairy.com Hours: Five-course Dinner: Hors d’oeuvres served on the porch beginning at 5:30 p.m., with a tour of the farm at 6 p.m. and supper at 6:45 p.m. Buffet supper: Hors d’oeuvres served beginning at 3:30 p.m., with a tour of the farm at 4 p.m., and supper at 4:45. Consult website for reservations, dates and availability.

The Lowdown: One thing that’s appealing about country cafés is the heaping helpings that come without big-city price tags, although sometimes the food might lack, well, sophistication. Not so at the Four Winds Café, a tony little bistro down Liberty Road near Climax. There, you’ll find chef Steven Holmes dishing up chic cuisine at prices you’d expect at a humble meat-and-three. Don’t let the painted-asbestos exterior of the former Southeast Truck Stop fool you. Inside you’ll find a light and airy interior graced with table linens, blond Windsor chairs, fresh flowers, artists’ paintings and prints, and contemporary spot lighting. An amiable and professional wait staff, dressed in black, of course,

The Lowdown: Pay attention: “Our meals are a dining adventure,” Goat Lady Dairy’s website shouts at you in capital letters, “not a restaurant.” Almost everything about dining at Goat Lady is decidedly different and, above all else, seasonal. For starters, there are only a few times a month they serve meals at all — you simply have to check the website. Most of your dinner will have been picked just hours before you eat it from the farm, which has been in operation 200 years. What’s on the menu is determined by what’s growing, so you won’t know exactly what you’ll be eating until it’s served. Be prepared to pay in advance online and expect to spend part of the evening listening to the Goat Lady Dairy’s patriarch, Steve Tate, lauding the benefits of sustainable farming. You’re also welcome to pet — and be nibbled and nuzzled by — adorable goats as part of your visit. Although there are some tables that seat four, six and eight, most guests eat with diners they’ve just met unless you’ve come with a tableful. And if you’re anything like me, you’ll enjoy every minute of it, from seeing which chickens lay green eggs to sitting on the porch after the meal, eating chocolate goat-cheese truffles and listening to the crickets and frogs. The Lore: Neighbors gave the late Ginnie Tate, Steve’s sister, the nickname of goat lady after she arrived with her Nubian goats in 1984. The dairy was licensed in 1995 and its artisanal goat cheese has deservedly become a Piedmont legend. The Tates also raise vegetables following organic principles and let their chickens

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

soup or salad and homemade French bread, are nothing short of phenomenal. On a recent evening, diners could choose from eight plates priced at $12 or less. Fried shrimp — wrapped in lettuce and tomatoes, drizzled with hot sauce and ranch dressing — goes for $9. But this is a meat-lovers’ haven. Pork tenderloin dusted with Jamaican spices and topped with Caribbean relish is only $11. Six other entrées, served with soup and salad, are priced at $20 or below, including baby back ribs, a grilled beef steak served with a Jack Daniels demi glace, and shrimp and grits. Also on tap are rib-eye steak, double-cut lamb chops and crab cakes. Don’t miss: Steve’s creamy, tasso-ham-intensive shrimp and grits or any one of his chocolate extravaganzas. The tab: Lunch: $2.75 for a hot dog to $8 for a shrimp po’ boy; supper from $9 to $24. Info: Four Winds Café, 5924 Liberty Road, Climax. (336) 674-6100 or www.4windscafe.com Hours: Dinner is served from Wednesday through Saturday, 6 p.m. until 9 p.m.; lunch is served from Tuesday through Friday, 11:30 p.m. until 2 p.m.; brunch is featured Saturday from 8 a.m. until 11 p.m. Closed on Sunday and Monday.

June/July 2012

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Our Birthday Boy Before Fame Came Calling Age 25

O.Henry Magazine invites you to...

Dinner with O.Henry A Gala Celebration of William Sydney Porter’s 150th Birthday on Friday, September 21 A Gourmet Dinner from America’s Gilded Age at the O.Henry Hotel with Music and Characters from his most beloved Short Stories An unforgettable Evening to Benefit Greensboro Historical Museum For Information



The Wild Onion

The Lowdown: From Mason jars filled with emerald green dill pickles at the front counter to the squirrel on the wall, guarding the cash register with a .22-caliber rifle, the Wild Onion has all the features of the consummate country café, only a lot zanier. In a setting that combines Amanda Allen’s homespun humor with her excellent eye for old-timey junque, sit down in one of the mismatched chairs and eat off a vintage plate while porcelain pigs and tin chickens gambol all around you. “Pie Fixes Everything” reads one sign. “Unsupervised children will be given a free puppy” threatens another. In today’s world of corporately created, cookie-cutter restaurants, the Wild Onion is one-of-a-kind and, yes, most definitely wild. The Lore: “My focus at The Onion is to run a clean, family friendly, slightly twisted restaurant,” says Allen, a California transplant who opened The Wild Onion six years ago after her parents decided to retire in their hometown of Randleman. “I don’t believe in cans or boxes or plastic food. We try to buy local whenever we can, and peel every potato, snap every bean and hand-cut all our meats.” The Victuals: Combining her momma’s recipes with formal French brigade training, Allen takes comfort food to the next level. Granted, the menu lists such items as Chicken

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

in a Bubble Bath (chicken and dumplings) and Wooly Worms (fried pickles and homemade corn dogs served with “wooly sauce”), but that’s just Amanda being Amanda, such as when she peppered the menu with “rack of raccoon” and “peacock gizzards.” (“That’s a joke,” she had to tell some patrons.) Don’t let all the Hee-Haw joshing fool you. Allen is a pro, and her fare is slow-cooked with care and love. Her chicken and hand-rolled dumplings is a silky dish and oh-so-satisfying. Ribs are savory and fork-tender. The slaw is sassy, and the buttery creamed corn is fresh cut from the cob. “Food is the most amazing thing. A good meal can bring a family closer, make an old dog do tricks or win the heart of a

man,” Allen says. Sure did mine. Don’t miss: The whole, battered deepfried okra, the luxurious peach cobbler or the huge, battered-andfried “wild-onion” appetizer. The Tab: From $6.50 for the GovernmentCheese Cheese Burger to $8.95 for an all-you-can eat entrée with two vegetables and a dessert. Info: The Wild Onion, 815 North Main Street, Randleman. (336) 498-9453 or www. thewildonionnc.com. From Thursday to Saturday: Noon until 8:30 p.m.; Sunday: Noon until 2 p.m. OH

June/July 2012

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36 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Hophead

Perfectly Natty Variety and imagination remain hallmarks of the popular downtown brew pub By David C. Bailey

Photograph By Sam Froelich


nstead of just reading about the beers I’ve been sucking down over the past few weeks, you could belly up to the bar at Natty Greene’s downtown pub and, because of a sort of convergence of specialty beers following American Craft Beer Week (May 14-20), order any of the following: Colonial, a West Coast American IPA laden with citrus, pine and floral aromas; unfiltered Fullmoon American Strong (5.6 percent) Pale Ale; Bayonet ESB, an “Extra-Special” and “Extra Bitter” full-bodied coppertoned ale; Freedom IPA, a hop bomb imported from the Raleigh brew pub with grapefruit and pineapple notes; or, best yet, a farmhouse-style Belgian saison, weighing in at 7 percent and bristling with hibiscus and Kaffir lime leaves. Not bad for a brew pub that started out eight years ago with an inoffensive Golden Ale, brewed light and bright in hopes of converting Greensboro’s Budweiser and Miller addicts. And that’s exactly what Guilford Golden and Southern Pale Ale have done since 2006, in large part by serving dollar pints on Thirsty Thursdays at the ball park. “That’s your yellow, fizzy beer territory,” says Dan Morgan, the 2010 winner of both of the state’s most prestigious home-brewing awards — the Carolinas Brewer of the Year and the Carolinas Master Brewer. “Natty’s got its beer out to the people who are not normally your pale ale crowd. That helped convert a lot of people.” And that’s something head brewer Scott Christoffel is just a little bit shy about admitting: “It’s hard to say that,” he says, but although Guilford Golden is a creditable ale, he specifically formulated it to appeal to lager drinkers: “It’s on the other side of that fine line of, ‘Hey, it’s not water,’” he quips. “It was a stepping stone. Get them in the door.” Once in the door, it’s a slippery slope, says the prodigiously bearded Morgan, owner of Big Dan’s Brew Shed. “It’s kind of like eating spicy foods; you build a tolerance, and then you’ve got to have it hotter and hotter.” And beer drinkers always want it “more bitter and more bitter,” he says. Or weirder and weirder. In an age when the likes of Left Hand 400 lb. Monkey, Breckenridge Agave Wheat, Victory Hop Wallop and Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere are readily available at your local Bestway, it became increasingly obvious to UNC Greensboro drinking buddies Christopher Lester and Kayne Fisher that Natty Greene’s Pub & Brewing Co. had better turn up the gain. The pair opened downtown Greensboro’s first brew pub in 2004 after concepting three highly successful bars based on a formula of combining a good selection of craft beer along with decent food. Echoing the name of their favorite beer in college, Natty Bo — aka National Bohemian — Natty Greene’s was born. But it was not universally embraced by the Triad’s surprisingly large population of beer geeks. “It’s like they went from four mediocre beers to

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

begin with to 15 mediocre beers,” says one beer connoisseur, who admits, “I know I sound like a prick, but it doesn’t feel like there’s a whole lot of ambition in their beer, not a whole lot of passion.” Like other beer nerds, he prefers the extreme beers of brewer-owned-and-operated brew pubs, such as Olde Hickory Brewing, which came out with a Death By Hops IPA, or Foothills in Winston-Salem, known for its much anticipated, once-a-year-release of Sexual Chocolate Imperial Stout. And although Natty’s has come out with some truly ambitious, out-there formulations — plummy Nathanderthal Barley Wine or Flanders-style Sour Ale aged in wine barrels, for instance — some home-brewers are still yawning: “There are always going to be some people who are going to be too cool for that,” Morgan says. “If they’re drinking a beer you’ve heard of before, it’s already too popular.” However, a recent realignment of who brews what — and where — holds promise for those of us looking for the ultimate extreme beer, say, a Flemishstyle ale with notes of barnyard, horse blanket, wet dog and — I’m not making any of this up this up — cat pee. Sebastian “Seabass” Wolfrum is Natty’s director of brewing operations. That means he supervises the three other brewers and is ultimately in charge of all 285,000-plus gallons of beer made annually and distributed statewide, whether bottled, kegged for bars and restaurants or brewed in the pubs. “The guys downtown were basically cut loose,” Wolfrum says, “and told, ‘All you have to do is make specialty beers. Keep the variety coming.’” The “guys” responded in spades, and the pubs now offer 30-40 different beers a year along with Natty’s core beers. “With highly qualified brewers in place, we would only limit ourselves by not letting them create,” says co-owner Kayne Fisher. “The brew pubs afford us the opportunity to experiment. And some of those experiments will be so popular that the brewery will make them for mass distribution. “It keeps things fresh and exciting for all of us, the pubs and the people who support our brand,” says Fisher. For instance, Mike Rollinson, the head brewer at the Greensboro pub, developed 5.6 percent Fullmoon American Strong Pale Ale to rave reviews and is making a batch that he’ll tap in June. His dry-hopped Colonial IPA and Old Fort Cascadian Dark Ale were also slurped down. “Rollinson brews for hop-heads,” Wolfrum says, “beer drinkers who like strongly hopped beers” — as in yours truly. “I was a walk-on at Natty’s,” says Rollinson, who owned a landscape company for ten years before joining Natty Greene’s in 2006. “I learned everything I know about brewing on the job. I had never home-brewed before working at Natty’s.” The secret to knowing what to make, he says, is the direct customer feedback a pub provides: “I’m basically throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.” Michael Morris, who’d brewed for Southend Brewery and Big Boss Brewing Co., is the head brewer of the Raleigh pub and his signature June/July 2012

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38 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Hophead beer is Freedom American IPA, which the brewery will bottle for limited release starting July 4. Christoffel, Natty’s head brewer, developed Natty’s basic core brands, all now made at the brewery: Guilford Golden Ale, Buckshot Amber Ale, Old Town Brown Ale, Wildflower Witbier, Southern Pale Ale and several seasonals such as Red Nose Winter Ale and Elm Street EnglishStyle IPA. Christoffel brewed at the prestigious Left Hand Brewing Co. in Colorado from 20002004, working his way up to head brewer. “Scott came in throwing fast balls,” Dan Morgan recalls. Christoffel says that in his second year as brewer, Natty’s made 22 specialty beers. Morgan says tapping Christoffel’s Smoky Mtn. Porter is “like drinking a steak.” But, oddly, Morgan’s biggest compliment goes to Guilford Golden: “That’s the mark of a good brewer, brewing a light beer and brewing it cleanly with no off-flavors and still making it interesting.” Get ready for one of Christoffel’s most ambitious efforts. With one eye on the World Beer Cup, the Olympics of competitive beer-making, Christoffel spent his winter coming up with a refreshing summer ale, the brewery’s first Belgianstyle saison. “Saison’s a great category,” he says. “You can go crazy with it.” But don’t get the picture of a cackling mad scientist, mixing up some

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

wild formula in a big brass tun. “I sit down with a pencil and paper,” he says. “You’ve got to know the style guidelines, and the style guidelines say it’s got to be this color and it should have this much alcohol content. Now how do I get there?” Through 25 years of brewing experience and a diploma from the World Brewing Academy, for starters. Here’s how he did it. In formulating his saison, Christoffel knew he had to use some unmalted wheat, which gives the ale its spritzy character. A saison also has to have an alcohol level of more than 7 percent; a color range between a pilsner and a pale ale; and the inspired addition of just the right blend of herbs — piquant Kaffir lime leaves, he decided, and exotic chaparral, an herb with an almost medicinal note. Before he did anything else, Christoffel painstakingly cranked those parameters into an equation. He says he immediately knew “to get over 7 percent alcohol means I’ve got to have over 90 percent pilsner malt, because it’s so much lighter in color than pale ale.” Next came the hops. Christoffel asked himself, “Do I want it to be bitter? No, I want it to be somewhere pleasantly in the center — as hoppy as a really good pilsner. I also want the flowers and Kaffir lime to stick out.” Accordingly Christoffel added European hops, milder than American hops. Farmhouse yeast was a given, meaning he

had to account for the yeast’s distinctive clove and banana aromas. Once he’d formulated his recipe, it was time to make a 10-gallon pilot brew. His experience and training suggested letting the ale brew for a week at 83 degrees Fahrenheit, another week at 65 and then letting it sit for six weeks at 32 degrees, a process called cold conditioning. At that point, the ale went before a taste panel. The informal panel of other brewers decided it might need more hops and, “I thought it needed something else,” says Christoffel. “It just wasn’t full enough. It had a void.” In went hibiscus flowers. He brewed a second batch, presented it to the taste panel and made adjustments, basically scaling back the hops. “I wanted the flowers and the Kaffir lime to stick out,” he says. But the ultimate test of the beer came next: “We had a keg in the brewery tasting room, and it was gone in, like, two days. It’s great when they work out. Sometimes, it can be a little tedious.” Says Wolfrum, “Behind every good beer is a perfectionist.” OH David Bailey’s first “real” beer was in a pub in Oxford, England, while hitchhiking across Europe. He was 16. The beer was warm and bitter. “I’ve never looked back,” he says.

June/July 2012

O.Henry 39

Food –&– Dining

40 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Wine Guy

Zinfandel… The true American grape By TC Frazier


hen one thinks of things uniquely American, many images come to mind: baseball, jazz, Norman Rockwell to name a few. However, when it comes to wine, one might say chardonnay or cabernet sauvignon, which both grow extremely well in the United States, yet neither can quite call itself truly American like the lustrous zinfandel grape. The first record of zinfandel being produced was in Croatia in the 13th century. Still grown there today under the name “crljenak kasštelanski” (say that three times fast), it is making a comeback in the war-torn nation. It then migrated to Italy in the 18th century, although some records date its arrival in the States before Italy via Vienna, Austria. The Italians call it “primitivo” and today it enjoys fair success there but nowhere near the production (or quality, in my opinion) than the U.S. To complicate matters and depending on whom you ask, or what book you reference, there is debate on whether primitivo is actually zinfandel. Furthermore, let’s go ahead and talk about the 500 pound elephant in the room. Zinfandel is a red grape that makes red wine. Like any red grape, depending on contact with the skins, you can turn it to a rosé or a white for that matter. Some of the best champagnes and sparkling wines are made mostly with pinot noir, and all over the New and Old World, producers make stunning dry rosés from an array of red grapes. Unfortunately, in the mid 1970s, a winery that shall remain nameless, well, their name rhymes with “butter nome,” made what was originally a foul-up in the winery, a beverage that set zinfandel and blush wine back 50 years, white zinfandel. On one hand, I’ll say they made lemonade from lemons and laughed all the way to the bank. However, it created a huge wave of semi-sweet to sweet, very unremarkable and quite forgettable, flabby pinkish hue wines that shouldn’t be listed in the same category but have to because they are technically made from grapes. By that rationale we should call all brandy cognac because they are made from fruit, but we don’t, because, well, there are standards! Sorry, some things need to be said. I digress. Many people may find it interesting to note that up until 1998, there were more total acres of zinfandel planted in California than cabernet sauvignon. In fact, in 1970, there were more zinfandel vines in California than cabernet sauvignon, merlot, pinot noir and syrah combined! To be fair, a large portion of these acres was used to make the unfortunate wine I described above. However, as true to the American spirit, many wine makers, rebelling from the status quo, started making mouthwatering, big-fruited dry zinfandels. Very soon producers like Paul Drapier (Ridge Vineyards), Mike Grgich (Chateau Montelena, Grgich Hills) and Helen Turley (Pahlmeyer, Bryant Family and Turley Wine Cellars) gained a reputation as some of the best and were pioneers in seeking out unique California terroirs suited perfectly for this late ripening grape. Like most Americans, we have descended from all over the world to come to this great land to prosper. When you think of grenache and syrah, the Rhone Valley comes to mind. Riesling, you better mention Germany. Sangiovese, no place like Tuscany. In the States we grow all of these varieties and quite well, but there is no other wine growing region on Earth that dedicates as much time, energy and resources to zinfandel as we do. The The Art & Soul of Greensboro

result, depending on the producer, can range from rich, ripe, spicy, high-alcohol wines with concentrated, intense flavors, to ones that can be light, fruity, and at times, whimsical. So the next time you find yourself enjoying a glass of zinfandel, just remember, you’re not only drinking a great wine, you’re literally drinking Americana. Cheers! C.G. di Aire-Zinfandel-Sierra Foothills, CA Located in the heart of Amador County (north of Lodi), C.G. di Aire was opened just over a decade ago and is the brainchild of food scientist and inventor Chaim Gur-Aireh. After earning his Ph.D. in food science, Chaim worked at Quaker Oats where he helped develop the breakfast Cereal Cap’n Crunch. In the year 2000, Chaim and his wife, Elisheva, purchased a 209-acre parcel of uncultivated land between the south and middle forks of the Cosumnes River in the Shenandoah Valley of the Sierra Foothills. Average retail: $16.99-$19.99 Pezzi King-“Old Vine” Zinfandel-Dry Creek, Sonoma, CA Zinfandel is the foundation of Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley. Warm days followed by coastal cooling nights produce fruit-forward wines with the perfect balance of acidity and sugar. Low yielding old vines are a winemaker’s dream to work with for their desired concentration of flavors and structure. The wine unfolds layers of dark chocolate, fresh cracked pepper, raspberry and brown sugar. The mouth is lush, with a rich entry of mixed berries, black currant and wild cherries, coupled with well-knit tannins. Average retail: $18.99-22.99 Storybook Mountain-Zinfandel-Mayacamas, Napa, CA Storybook Mountain is located at the top of the Napa Valley, on an eastern slope of the Mayacamas Range whose ridges separate Napa from Sonoma. The zinfandel tradition began at Storybook Mountain in the early 1880s when its red clay-loam hillsides in the Mayacamas Range were first planted with this varietal. Here, an ideal match of terroir and grape allows zinfandel to show its true potential. Storybook Mountain’s sought-after estate wines are carefully hand-crafted from choice grapes grown in certified organic estate vineyards surrounding the winery. They are aged at least 12 months in the best French, Hungarian and American oak barrels, inside century-old caves dug deep into the mineral-rich volcanic rock underlying the hand-tended vineyard. Average retail: $35-$40! OH TC Frazier lives in Greensboro and has been in the hospitality business since he was 14. He currently is employed with Dionysus Wine Distributors. June/July 2012

O.Henry 41

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June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Paradise Closed

The Sporting Life

Surf fishing on Cape Hatteras is one of life’s great sporting experiences — assuming you can get on the beach By toM BryAnt


the Gulf Stream, that amazing current that controls so much of the habitat of sea life, flows north, colliding with the Labrador current that’s running south right off Cape Point, the southernmost tip of the barrier island, Cape Hatteras. The dynamic that occurs with the interaction of waves and seafloor is monumental and only happens at this special part of the Atlantic. The result of this explosive wave action is the creation of a vast, underwater shallow series of sandbars, known as Diamond Shoals. The shoals are famous for being the most treacherous part of the eastern coastline of the United States with so many wrecked ships that it’s known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic. There is another occurrence right off the coast of Cape Point, where wild waves hammer bait fish into a daze, and that’s the amazing concentration of bluefish, cobia, king mackerel and red drum. Surf fishermen, the lucky ones to have fished this part of the Banks, claim this to be the Mecca of their sport. Now, I’m a surf fisherman. Let me rephrase that. I have been known to cast a six-ounce weight with a hook baited with shrimp into the surf in the hope of catching something that might be swimming, preferably with fins. But as far as the dedication it takes to become a real surf fisherman, I haven’t got it. Haven’t got it yet, but after my recent trip to the Outer Banks, it could be right around the corner. I guess it all happened in a duck blind last season when my good friend Art Rogers and I were commiserating about the lack of ducks, and Art said something like, “We should put these shotguns in the truck, grab a couple of surf rods and ride around to Hatteras and do some surf fishing.” Our duck impoundments are right on the Pamlico, fourteen miles to Ocracoke as the duck flies; or in our last duck season, doesn’t fly. I remembered that Art was a big surf fisherman back in the day, so I convinced him to tell me some of the old tales of fishing Cape Point when the blues were running. “It was a wonderful time, Tom. There were five of us: Marshall, my brother; Harold Sharpe, a fellow who worked with us at the mill; Jennings Gower from Charlotte; and Marty Morris, the real guru of surf fishing. Marty really taught us how to do it right, the tricks of the trade as it were. If you get over to Hatteras and want to know how it was in the good old days, give him a call.” “You know, I’m gonna do that. Linda and I love the Banks, and this would make for a great road trip. When was it y’all used to go down there?” I asked. “It was in October most of the time, late seventies, eighties and into the early nineties,” he replied. “We would usually go on Wednesday and come back on Sunday, a good long weekend.” “Give me the drill,” I said. “How would it work?” “When we first started going, we would drive up to a likely spot and then walk over the dunes to fish. We would move up and down the beach as far as we could walk, fishing as we went. Later, we acquired a four-wheel drive Wagoneer, and then we really got into it ’cause we could drive on the beach down to the Point. “It was something. Four-wheel drive vehicles from all over the country would line up on the surf as far as you could see. Surf fishermen would wade out, cast, and slowly walk back. You know, even with all those people, I never saw anybody get out of hand. If you hooked up on a big fish, the people on either side of you would reel in so they would be out of your way. We met one group, I think from Ohio or Pennsylvania, some place up north. They were nice folks. The next year we pulled up beside the same group on the same stretch of beach. Fishing Hatteras was a tradition for a lot of people in those days. We would fish all night sometimes.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 1970 on Cape Hatteras, North Carolina Art Rogers has a way with a tale. He’s the kind of guy that people love to associate with, and he’s never met a stranger. I listened intently as he described his experiences fishing on Cape Point. “Tom, it was magic, There aren’t many places more magnificent than the Cape Point of Hatteras on a rising tide with a full moon. The surf is pounding so hard out on the shoals that it’s hard to hear a normal conversation. “One time, we really got into the blues. They weighed about twenty pounds apiece. We caught dozens. We kept what we could use and put the rest back. We had rigged a little gas stove on the back of the Wagoneer and would clean the fish and cook them right there. It’s hard to find anything better in the best restaurant.” “What do you think?” I asked. “Do you reckon you guys will ever go back?” “I don’t know, Tom. Things have changed. There’re more rules and regulations now. You have to have a permit to drive on the beach, which might be a good thing. But they close the beaches at the drop of a hat. I understand that the Point is closed right now. Nesting birds or something. It didn’t seem to bother them when we were fishing there. It would be interesting to check it out. Why don’t you do that?” And that’s exactly what I did. Linda and I left early on a Monday morning, allowing enough time to make the ferry from Cedar Island to Ocracoke. The route we planned is what I have affectionately named “The Big Loop.” It’s a trip I’ve taken several times in the past, and I still get excited every time I do it. If you want to see the North Carolina Outer Banks, I highly recommend this ride. Plan at least four days to do the trip justice. We arrived at the Cedar Island landing in plenty of time for the ferry. The trip takes a little over two hours to get to the famous spit of land reputed to be the long-ago hideout of the infamous pirate Blackbeard. On the ferry ride over, I did a little reading on the rules and regulations that Art had mentioned in our conversation. The Cape Hatteras National Seashore and Recreational Area stretches over seventy miles from Bodie Island to Ocracoke Island. One ominous little piece of information I noticed in some of the research papers I had gathered before our trip was that in 1954 the National Park Service dropped the use of Recreational Area except in official correspondence. Was this an omen of things to come? I wondered. In 2007, the National Audubon Society and the Defenders of Wildlife sued the Park Service for not protecting shorebird and sea turtle nesting June/July 2012

O.Henry 45

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June/July 2012


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

areas. This suit led to what every individual that I talked with described as the over-zealous enforcement by the National Park Service of beach closures and off-road vehicle use. They all felt that the new rules had destroyed what had made the Outer Banks so popular with surf fishermen. Some of the comments were introspective and thoughtful, and some were vehement declarations that the Park Service was killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Cape Hatteras is the diamond in the necklace that is the Outer Banks and is the southernmost island that doesn’t require a ferry to reach. That is if you’re coming from the north. Our little motel was right on the beach, and the first thing I did after arriving was walk out on the boardwalk over the dunes to check out the famous beach everyone talks about so much. The tide was out and waves slowly pounded the shore with a relaxing rhythm that put me in mind of a nap. Next to the dunes were four surf-casting rods standing in their holders awaiting the owners who probably had stopped fishing for lunch and naps of their own. No nap for me, though, as I decided to make some rounds and talk to the locals. What I heard on that beautiful sunny day didn’t sound good for the future of the Bankers who make



a living from all the mainland visitors. Some of the comments: — From 2007 my business is down over 55 percent and you know what they told me? At 62 years old, I’m still young enough to find another job! — My husband and his friend were ticketed just for walking on the beach. They missed the ‘closed beach’ sign. — They have meetings where we express our concerns but nothing is ever done. It’s the penniless villagers against the giant federal government. The birdwatchers, their lawyers, and big money behind them are hard to fight. — Sometimes I feel like I’m on the Titanic. With the ferry problems to the south and bridge problems to the north and the park service closing the beaches at the drop of a hat. Who’s more important, us or the piping plover? We’re on a sinking ship. — They wrote the rulebook and threw out common sense. We’re fighting a losing battle. Earlier in the week, I had contacted Cyndy Holda, the public affairs specialist at the Park Service, to get her comments on how things were going since the new rules were put in place. She told me, “Since February, we have issued 4,359 beach driving permits, and everything seems to going along smoothly. This has been a six-year planning process to get where we are today. Our task is to manage this National Seashore for the good of

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the park, for the good of wildlife, and for the good of people.” I could tell by the tone of Ms. Holda’s voice that she took her job quite seriously. That afternoon when I returned to the hotel, I rang up Art’s good friend and fishing buddy, Marty Morris. Marty and his wife, Sue, retired to Frisco just north of Hatteras seven years ago. I asked him how the fishing was going. “Tom, the only time I see the ocean now is from Highway 12. I got rid of my Wagoneer. Don’t fish anymore. It’s not the same.” He expressed many of the same complaints I had heard earlier. When I asked him what he liked most about fishing the Banks when the times were good, he said, “I loved taking my four-wheel drive vehicle up the beach, finding a quiet place where I could commune with nature and God, and maybe catch a few fish.” As we were leaving Hatteras the next morning driving up to Nags Head, I noticed Park Service signs posted about every 10 to 15 feet on both the sound side and the beach side of Highway 12. The signs read Area Closed. 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.

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O.Henry 47

MUSIC for a

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Martha & the Moodswingers Wally West Little Big Band

Swing Jazz


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Greensboro Big Band

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6 pm

Sweet Dreams

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul

7:15 pm

Knights of Soul

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul

Lindley Park Starmount Dr. at W. Market St. & Wendover Ave.

6 pm

the bo-stevens

Country, Honky-Tonk

Hagan-Stone Park 421 South, right on Hagan-Stone Park Rd.

7:15 pm

Warren, Bodle & Allen


7:30 pm

Greensboro Concert Band

Classical, Pops

White Oak Amphitheatre Greensboro Coliseum Complex


6:30 pm

EMF - Young Artist Orchestras

Classical, Pops

Guilford College Founder’s Lawn


6:30 pm

Philharmonia of Greensboro

Classical, Pops

Barber Park 1500 Dan’s Rd.


6 pm


6 pm

Katelyn Marks


48 O.Henry

7:15 pm

Lisa Dames

6:30 pm

Greensboro Concert Band

6 pm 7:15 pm 6 pm 7:15 pm 6 pm

7:15 pm June/July 2012

Allison King Band Rob Massengale Band West End Mambo Soul Biscuit Doby Groovin’ Band

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June/July 2012 The Proposal He said: I’ll love you till the day I die — At least I’ll try. Her reply: Silly man … love is not to try. Love comes unbidden Like blinks the eye. Like rains the sky. Like maidens’ sigh In novels read by those who cannot find it elsewhere. Real love, they say, is so much less than promises and wine And golden rings Yet so much more — The core, Of everything. You darling sweet romantics are a bore. I need more. Be there for me When my soul, sore From flayings and betrayings Begs a salve. Be then my ointment. Smooth me, soothe me, keep me safe. Talk in whispers, tell me truths, Make me laugh until I cry. Understand. Then sacrifice a tiny bit of you, for me. Say I love you with my life — And I will be your wife. But not until …

— Deborah Salomon

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June/July 2012

O.Henry 49

Love on Wheels

The days of Greensboro’s beloved passion pits may be gone but they sure aren’t forgotten By Jim Schlosser • Artwork By Larry Johnson


he food? The Castleburgers were to die for. But hearty, greasy victuals alone didn’t motivate teenagers with surging testosterone to aim their wheels toward Greensboro’s drive-in restaurants in the 1950s and 1960s. “You’d go out there to make out,” declares artist Larry Johnson of Graham, using vintage teen-speak that meant hugging, kissing and maybe a little more. “It was also the meeting place, to see and be seen.” All roads lead to Monroe’s, as the commercials for Monroe’s Drive-in on East Bessemer Avenue blared through dashboard radios. The Sky Castle on High Point Road was where a guy and a girl could snuggle in those pre-bucket seat days. They’d send up a request for “Earth Angel” or another doo-wop ditty. Disc jockey Al Troxler, broadcasting live from WCOG Radio in a glass booth above McClure’s Restaurant, dedicated tunes to people and cars, such as Larry and Laurie, getting intimate in the front seat of the Green Lizard. In those days, guys from rural schools liked to christen their cars, which were extensions of their raging masculinity. And that car had better be clean and shiny or that would be the last time any self-respecting honey would climb aboard. The Boar & Castle on West Market Street was the busiest and best known drive-in in Greensboro. It was also ideally situated for making out. You pulled around back, where lights were dimmer and a line of trees and vines added

50 O.Henry

June/July 2012

“My friends and I used to go to the Hot Shoppe a lot — as I remember it was best known for the wonderful orange drinks, slushy/smoothie-like. The Hot Shoppe was where the “innocents” went. Monroe’s was for a more daring crowd. Sky Castle for the extra daring folks. Boar & Castle was the place where all the popular people hung out. My older brother loves to tell the story about a group of guys who pulled up at Monroe’s, turned off the car and all four wheels fell off.” — Anne Hartsook Finn

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

to the darkness. Castle curb hops, waiting for fogged up windows to be rolled down so they could deliver food, often witnessed steamy scenes. Greensboro’s glorious independently owned drive-in restaurants — some called them passion pits — are long gone, like so much in America. But they live on in Larry Johnson’s paintings, and some couple’s fondest memories. In 1989, Johnson did a series called Cruisin’ Greensboro. The series featured watercolors of the Boar & Castle, the Sky Castle, Monroe’s and The Hot Shoppes on Summit Avenue. Years later, he was commissioned to paint Bob Petty’s Oakwood Drive-in on High Point Road. Bob Petty’s was one of the area’s only places serving beer on Sundays. In those days, you only had to be 18 to drink it. The four Cruisin’ Greensboro paintings, signed and numbered, cost $100 originally. Buyers who have held on to them for nearly 25 years, Johnson says, receive offers of $800 to $1,000 for a set. “I heard a lady gave three hundred dollars for a Boar & Castle,” he says. “I hated to see a set broken, though.” He gets calls from all over the country from ex-Greensboro people inquiring about the paintings. To meet demand, he has reissued prints of the drive-ins in the Cruisin’ series. They are signed, though not numbered, and are priced at $25 each. When Johnson painted the series, only Monroe’s remained. He had to hustle to find photographs to augment his own memories of his days of hanging out at drive-in restaurants. He and his Graham and Burlington buddies used to pool loose change to buy 50 cents worth of gas for rides to Big G to visit the drive-ins. As a young boy in Graham, visions of the Sky Castle mesmerized Johnson. He listened to Castle music on his mother’s turquoise radio, which he strategically placed in the kitchen window. “It was like a world away,” the artist says of that iconic spot on the “Hi-Fi Road,” as the High Point Road was nicknamed because of its many electronic stores. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“As a young teenager I spent the three years of my high school time at the Hot Shoppe... I would cruise between the Hot Shoppe and the Boar & Castle. I rarely parked at the Boar & Castle because most of the kids there were from Greensboro High School (the writer attended Page); most of my parking time was spent at Hot Shoppe. I loved their onion rings and Orange Freezes; over the years I probably consumed enough of them to fill a 50-gallon drum. To this day over 50 years later I have yet to find anything to compare.” — Bob Vaughn

“I grew up in the neighborhood behind Bob Petty’s. Some memorable Saturdays, Mrs. Petty would give us kids a hot dog and a Coke and we were in hog heaven, baby. She was a real sweetheart.” — Ed Crabtree June/July 2012

O.Henry 51

“Joe and I fondly remember them all, and how in the days of 25-cent gas, a Friday or Saturday evening date was not complete until you had been to the movie, then to the Boar & Castle for a burger and fries, and then “dragging” Elm Street and out to the Hot Shoppe, and back down High Point Road to the Sky Castle. You had to drag them all to see who was out with whom on any given evening.” — Brenda Williams (Joe Williams, her boyfriend back then, is now her husband)

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June/July 2012

“As a member of the Class of ’61 at Page High School, it was customary to cruise the local drive-ins on Friday and Saturday nights. At the Sky Castle you gave your order by way of an intercom, and requested your favorite song to be dedicated to you and your girlfriend. At the Hot Shoppe, I remember looking at the moon one night and thinking it was a new Shell Gasoline sign it was so big on the horizon.” — Bob Douglas The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“The drive-ins are gone, but not the memories of the people who went there,” he says. “When the people are gone, the only thing that will be left out there are the prints.” At 69, he still paints. He has just completed a colorful scene of a backyard auction at a farmhouse. His house and studio are filled with prints of rural scenes and of old gas stations, including the classic, stucco, but long-gone Sinclair station that pumped gas for decades on U.S. Highway 70 between Burlington and Greensboro. In a garage workshop on the opposite side of the house from the studio, he has built eight cars from scratch. Some resembled those that rumbled into those drive-ins, mufflers snorting and, upon departing, tires squealing. Signs plaster the garage walls for such oldie products as Tru-Ade, Red Coon Chewing Tobacco, Spur gas and Cheerwine. A vintage Texaco pump stands in front. A Meritta bread sign decorates a door, like those once common on curb market and grocery store entrances. He likes searching for stuff from his teen years. He finds the relics provide him with inspiration in recapturing days gone by for his paintings. He longs for those times of drive-in restaurants, corner gas stations and outdoor auctions. “It seemed like a gentler time. It seemed like a sleepy Sunday morning in May, that era did. I always thought it would stay that way.” He believes the Vietnam War, civil rights protests, assassinations and other upheaval changed the nation’s mood and tastes. New trends replaced the drive-ins. The Olive Garden now occupies the site of the Sky Castle. The Hot Shoppe is now occupied by a Libby Hill Seafood Restaurant.. “You blinked your eyes and they were gone,” he says. “It was a great time to be alive. I wouldn’t trade it for nothing.” OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I was too young to drive during the heyday of the Sky Castle; so I only went there when my father or a friend’s father was driving. I don’t remember much about the food except for the chocolate milkshakes, which were fabulous because they included whipped cream and a cherry.” — Joe Brantley

“You would go to Monroe’s and drive around. Everyone had a favorite carhop. They would call him by his first name. All the muscle cars came driving through. On weekends it was really a hot spot, a landmark of Greensboro. It was a happening place.” — Billy Burris

June/July 2012

O.Henry 53

The Sons of Polecat Creek Two of America’s most accomplished storytellers — O.Henry and Edward R. Murrow — got their start beside a meandering creek south of Greensboro BY JIM SCHLOSSER • PHOTOGRAPHS BY CASSIE BUTLER

54 O.Henry

June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Dawn and Pat Short stand on their property. Behind them is the beginning of Polecat Creek, which has a history as winding as its shallow waters.


creek with a foul sounding name flows slowly, carrying memories and reminders of famous people, places and events. “That little trickle,” Pat Short says, “is the beginning of Polecat Creek.” He’s standing on his property and looking down at a spring. Water seeping from it forms a shallow creek that gains strength as it combines with three spring-fed creeks a short distance away. The creek meanders south for about eight miles where it empties into the Deep River in Randolph County. Short’s spring is on his and wife Dawn’s 19-acre farm on old Randleman Road just outside Greensboro’s southern boundary. “There is a lot of history along that creek,” he says. Indeed, two of America’s most historical figures are children of Polecat Creek. William Sydney Porter, better known as the short story writer O.Henry, wrote hundreds of stories, including “Gift of the Magi,” a Christmas classic. Edward R. Murrow was a World War II radio announcer and pioneer TV commentator. He and Porter were born in houses — one standing, one collapsed — beside Polecat Creek. Famous armies encamped along the creek. A gristmill gave its name to a well-traveled road in the area. Miners pick-axed gold and copper along the stream. A young woman died in an accident at a ford that would later bear her name. A state highway historical marker at the state route 62 and Randleman Road informs passersby that Murrow was born a mile east, where route 62

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and Davis Mill Road intersect next to Centre Friends Meeting. Efforts were made long ago to place a similar marker honoring O.Henry. On a knoll there stands the ancient house on Randleman Road where he is said to have been born on Sept. 11, 1862. That means the 150th anniversary of his birth is being celebrated this year. The birth date isn’t disputed, but the birthplace is. Some historians contend the writer was born in the 400 block of West Market Street in Greensboro. Others argue for Polecat Creek, where they say Porter lived until age 3 and then moved with family to the Porter family homestead on West Market. Porter remained there until about 20 when he left for Texas. The smart money about who’s right is on the late, meticulous local historian, Ethel Arnett. In 1962 she wrote a book, O. Henry From Polecat Creek. The title says it all. Arnett says that Will Porter’s father, physician Algernon Porter, moved from West Market Street around 1858 to what was then a log house above Polecat Creek. According to Arnett, Dr. Porter relocated because he hoped there would be less competition in the Centre Friends community, which had only one other doctor. The move also might have been influenced by the doctor’s inheritance of six slaves. There wouldn’t have been room for slaves on the West Market property. One slave didn’t like the move and sought revenge. The family who replaced the Porters in 1865 still own the dwelling. One member, Sylvia Brown, lives there. The family has always referred to the dwelling as “the O.Henry House.” June/July 2012

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Kaye Otwell believes without a doubt that her sister’s house, behind, is the birthplace of William Sydney Porter, known around the world by his pen name O.Henry. Right: Alongside the driveway of the debated birthplace of O.Henry, a large millstone once served as a flowerbed. Brown’s sister, Kaye Otwell, who serves as family historian, says there’s no doubt O.Henry was born there. Many long-gone old timers in the community vouched for the site, she says. “There is no reason to dispute these elderly people,” says Otwell, who lives near the house. The creek passes it after flowing under Randleman Road coming from Pat and Dawn Short’s property. A big Dutch elm tree that probably dates to O.Henry’s time stands precariously in the front yard. The dwelling dates to 1810. “This house has raised so many people from different families,” Otwell says, adding she believes the Worth family, of whom O.Henry’s grandmother was a member, built the place. A family member, Jonathan Worth, was elected governor while living in nearby Randolph County. Supporting the claim that O.Henry was born there is the 1860 census. It shows Algernon Porter living in the southern district of Guilford County, although the census is unclear on exactly where. His famous son would be born two years later. While conducting her research, Arnett spent considerable time in the house with Otwell’s late grandmother and in the surrounding Centre community. Arnett made her case convincingly. A 1982 map showing Guilford County’s rural roads marks the house site as “O.Henry’s birthplace.” Otwell recalls that after Arnett’s book was published, generating considerable publicity, strangers stopped cars below the house to pick up pebbles — O.Henry souvenirs. Edward R. Murrow would come along years after O.Henry, in 1908, two years before the writer’s death at age 48. The Murrow birthplace is about a mile south of the O.Henry House as the creek flows. The Murrow home at

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the time was without electricity, running water, heat and other amenities. One biographer said, “He was born in the 20th century, but he was born of the 19th century.” “The modern world was emerging but had not touched Polecat Creek,” writes Joe E. Perico, author of Edward R. Murrow: An American Original, published in 1988. “There were no cars in Polecat Creek or electricity. There were no phones in Polecat Creek.” Murrow was born to a restless farmer, Roscoe Murrow, and a pious mother, Ethel Murrow, who wouldn’t say “hello” because it included the word “hell.” To expand his horizons beyond the Centre and Polecat Creek community, Roscoe Murrow joined the Army during the Spanish-American War. When he returned, according to another biographer, A.M. Sperber (Murrow: His Life and Times, 1996) he began telling friends “that one of these days he would be moving on to something better. Somewhere. Anywhere.” He made good on that pledge. In 1914, he took his wife and 6-year-old Egbert Murrow, as Edward was called as a child, left the community and moved across the nation to Washington state, where he became a train engineer. Ed Murrow would return occasionally as a youngster and as an adult to the Polecat Creek homestead to visit relatives. On one such visit in 1942, after speaking at Woman’s College (now UNCG), he met his future wife, Janet, who was aboard a train that had stopped at the Greensboro station downtown to pick up Murrow and other passengers. Later, after the Murrow family’s departure, the Polecat Creek house became the property of Ed Murrow’s cousin, Edgar Murrow, who added The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Through a tangled jungle not far from the creek, one with a machete can find the collapsed birthplace of Edward R. Murrow, the famous World War II broadcast journalist. modern conveniences. He kept the property pristine. When he died, the house came into the possession of a branch of the family in High Point. The members let the land and house fall into disrepair. A fire heavily damaged the house in the 1970s. Since then briars, brambles, wild trees and other flora have cloaked the house in greenery. Only the front door remains visible. The creek flows about 300 feet down a hill from the house. Mary Murrow Hamilton, the broadcaster’s 84-year-old second cousin, who lives behind the Murrow homestead, says Murrow poked fun at himself for being born on Polecat Creek. For any city slickers unaware of rural names, a polecat is a skunk. At first, having lived on Polecat Creek didn’t amuse young Will Porter. “His schoolmates, being normal boys ever on the lookout for something to joke or tease about, evidently made Will feel very self-conscious about where he was born,” Ethel Arnett writes. But O.Henry grew up to be a man of humor, both as a writer and conversationalist. Arnett says later in life he quipped about being a product of Polecat Creek. By then O.Henry was making $1,000 a story, wearing fine clothes and living in Manhattan. He was more sensitive about being a convicted felon — imprisoned for three years on flimsy evidence of bank embezzlement in

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Texas — than he was about having been born on a creek with a funny name. Ed Murrow, like O.Henry, rose from the primitive surroundings of Polecat Creek to the good life in New York City. He was a highly paid, award-winning broadcaster. He wore suits from Savile Row in London and was the epitome of sophistication in diction and manner. Mary Hamilton, who dined with Murrow when both lived in New York and saw him on his occasional returns to the Polecat Creek homestead, says he never forgot or apologized from whence he came. Still, biographer Sperber says there was “a cultural gap” when Murrow returned. Sperber draws a picture of a dapper Edward R. Murrow, wearing tailored clothes and accompanied by a wife who graduated from exclusive Mount Holyoke College, greeting “the Murrow women in their Sears dresses.” Murrow lived along the creek long enough to swim in the mill pond. The pond is now a wide spot in the creek made by a still-standing stone dam that Mary Hamilton’s father built. It served as a gristmill that operated at least into the 1920s. Near the dam stands a stone that children called Big Rock. “I spent my childhood playing around that dam,” Mary Hamilton says. “People went swimming. All the neighborhood did. You could stand on Big Rock and jump into the deep water. People who grew up around here knew Big Rock” And why not hum “Down to the River to Pray” from the film O Brother, Where Art Thou because Hamilton says an evangelical church conducted baptisms down at the creek. In all likelihood, toddler Will Porter waded and played in the creek. Will’s childhood memories, though, were not likely all pleasant. The Porters reportedly had problems as slave owners. A female slave so hated the move from Greensboro to the sticks that she tried to burn down the house in hopes of forcing the family’s return to town. The fire was quickly doused but evidence remains, Kaye Otwell says. Mysteries inhabit the property. She points to a spot in a distant field where slave quarters stood. She says she has plowed up shards of glass and china there. Also, Otwell says six babies were buried without gravestones prior to her family’s arrival in 1865. Their identities are unknown. She says it was always her family’s practice not to plow the burial ground out of respect for the dead. The name Polecat Creek has been kept alive in recent times by Kari Sickenberger and Laurelyn Dossett, who named their roots folk band after the creek. The two musicians have recorded tunes and appeared on Garrison Keillor’s “Prairie Home Companion” show. A general store on Randleman Road is named for the stream. An outfitting business calls itself Polecat Creek even though located in Jamestown near the Deep River. The creek was known long before the Porters and Murrows encountered it. In the 1770s Royal Governor William Tryon’s army, trying to put down rebellious Colonists in the area, camped along “Pole Cat Creek,” as it was spelled then. A history of Randolph County tells about how an advance party of Tryon’s men was “stopped two miles from Deep River by flooded Pole Cat Creek; they made a miserable camp the next two days through heavy rain with nothing to shelter them but tree limbs and bark. “On Wednesday May 29th the army crossed Pole Cat by felling a large log and walking Indian file, taking five hours.”

Nearly a hundred years later, at the end of the Civil War, a remnant of Confederate General Joseph Johnston’s forces encamped on the creek bank beside Davis Mill, which was owned at the time by Pat Short’s great, great, great grandfather, James Davis. The gristmill was just north of where the stream passes under present Davis Mill Road. Visitors to the site recently noted some big rocks taken from a nearby gold mine at the mill site. Two millstones can also be seen among the ruins. Short says a man who built himself a mansion in Sedgefield decades ago used the mill house timbers as beams. James Davis’ home, with wild trees encroaching, still stands above the mill. Short believes the weathered structure is sturdy enough to be restored. When Joseph Johnston’s men surrendered and went to Greensboro to be paroled, they left behind armaments and other war materials. Locals collected them, including bayonets and a big bass drum that apparently belonged to the army’s band. When a Yankee commander came through the area searching for left-behind Confederate materials, he made the locals give up their booty. At a ford near Davis Mill, a young woman named Nancy tried to cross it on an ox cart. The cart tipped over, pinning the girl underneath. She drowned. After that the site was called Nancy’s Ford. The creek is picturesque on the south end, especially as it flows by the Murrow property. The water pours through a hole in the dam and the stream is wide. But the water doesn’t move fast enough for Mary Hamilton. “I long for Polecat Creek,” she says. “It is drying up. The water table is shrinking.” Beth Otwell says water flow has slowed by the O.Henry house too. Pat Short says the same is true at the creek’s source. They blame droughts of recent years for lowering the water table. Walking the creek is almost impossible without a machete. Briar bushes trap and scratch. Some say the tunnel to the Fentress gold and copper mine is still visible along the creek, but one man, native Jay Phal Hodgin, says the shaft is obliterated by wild trees and growth. He speculates that the tunnels extend under a subdivision built above the mine. Mary Hamilton has lived in New York, Washington and Atlanta but chose to return to the Polecat Creek nine years ago. She still works, a bookkeeper at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, commuting to her house on Davis Mill Road above the creek. “I love Polecat Creek,” she says. She would like to see the Murrow property and the land along the creek, including the dam and Big Rock, improved and turned into a park honoring Murrow. She says the house could be restored partially so visitors could at least get an idea of what it was once like. Otwell also couldn’t be pulled away from the creek, with its fascinating features. Near her house survives a dam built by Indians who were in the area centuries ago. She says all sorts of critters live along the creek, including deer, coyotes and fox. The other day vultures were picking at the remains of a big catfish from Polecat Creek. “Last summer a bobcat went through our yard,” Otwell says of one of the most elusive, rarely seen creatures in these parts. Funny, one animal she has never encountered: a skunk. OH

...all sorts of critters live along the creek, including deer, coyotes and fox.

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The Unbroken One Writer Jamie Lisa Forbes never gave up on her award-winning novel of the American West. Lucky us By Maria Johnson • Photograph By Cassie Butler

Before a ride, Jamie Lisa Forbes stands with her 12-year-old Arabian named Cody.


amie Lisa Forbes has brought a visual aid to her book reading. It’s a framed, color photograph of the Wyoming ranch where she lived for half of her life. The spread covered 23,000 acres. Most Easterners have a hard time grasping that kind of space. She saw it in their faces when she lived out West. “They have this visual shock of the open space,” she says. Hence the aerial photograph. There’s a windmill in the foreground. A pasture, outbuildings, a house. A river flows behind a tree line. The mountains rise in the background. Living on that panoramic scale, Forbes says, it’s hard to feel important. “There’s a constant feeling of insignificance. You’re aware of how small you are,” she tells a dozen people who have gathered to hear her read in a corner of the bookstore, between the e-readers and the educational toys.

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In fact, Forbes is small — a wafer of a woman with steel blue eyes and hair the color of sun-dried hay. But she’s far from insignificant, especially now that she has moved to Greensboro, started a law practice and chalked up a major prize for her fiction writing. Last year, she won a WILLA Literary Award, which is named in honor of Willa Cather, an early 20th century author who won a Pulitzer Prize for her depiction of frontier life. The WILLA is given for outstanding writing about women in the West. Forbes’s contemporary novel, Unbroken, won praise for its characters and rendering of ranch life. Sitting in a hotel banquet hall in Seattle, listening to the judges’ comments, Forbes felt strangely disconnected from the book that had absorbed the last decade of her life. “I’m thinking, ‘Who wrote that book?’” she says. “It’s like the book existed apart from me.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

But it didn’t. Forbes lived the wind-slapped life she wrote about. The nut of the story is the relationship between the women in two ranching families who are bound by isolation and interdependence. There is Gwen, the faded rodeo queen and mother of two, who is married to a taciturn rancher and their hard-bitten way of life. And there is Meg, the single-mother ranch hand who works for the absentee, alcoholic landlord and catches constant flak about being a woman working a ranch alone. Forbes, who grew up on a ranch, faced similar doubts as a young woman. “My father was dead set against me being out there, working with the men,” she says. “I went through everything Meg went through.” Forbes also knows about Gwen’s life, having raised a son and a daughter on the ranch while her marriage splintered. Forbes, who is Jewish, met her husband on an Israeli kibbutz, a collective farm where she lived after graduating from the University of Colorado at Boulder with degrees in English and philosophy. They married and moved to the ranch where Forbes had grown up. Her husband was used to hard work on the kibbutz, but Wyoming ranch life was entirely different. “He had a huge culture shock,” says Forbes. They worked side-by-side, cutting hay; castrating, branding and dosing cattle; helping cows through calving. Forbes worked part-time as a paralegal. At night, when the house got quiet, she wrote. A couple of her short stories were published. Her ranch life ended after 15 years, when her father’s family sold the land. “Losing a ranch is a devastating thing, and our marriage breaking up was one of the consequences,” she says. She brought her children to Greensboro, mainly because a friend, whom she’d known since their days at summer camp, lived here. In two weeks, Forbes found a job as a paralegal and a place to live. A few years later, when her son and daughter left home, Forbes enrolled in law school at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She was 43. “I thought, ‘It’s now or never,’” she says. In her final year of law school, Forbes started writing a book that had been whispering to her for ten years. She tried to ignore it. She told herself she couldn’t write anymore, and she couldn’t possibly write a story as long as a novel. So, she faked herself out. She told herself that she wasn’t really writing a novel. She was just writing the story that was in her head. Her daughter read the first three chapters. “Mom, you need to keep going,” she said. “This is really good.” Forbes kept writing her not-a-novel. Seven years later, she shopped it to agents and publishing houses. An editor advised her to pare the story to highlight the relationship between the two women. By then, Forbes was practicing law in a Greensboro firm. She wrote at

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nights and on weekends. “I was always relieved when I could set aside my work and go back to Gwen’s house,” she says. Unbroken was published by Wyoming’s Prong Hong Press in 2010. Forbes came up with the book’s title after reading the prize-winning poem “Prairie Prayer” by Bruce Roseland. Do I have what it takes to survive, or will I shatter and break? Hammer me thin, Stretch me from horizon to horizon, I need to know the character that lies within . . . “I understand what this guy was saying,” says Forbes. “To me, this was Gwen.” Forbes misses the ranch at times. She misses the sight of a calf being born. The electric colors of wildflowers. The smell of frozen sage. The joy of seeing a fox crossing a meadow with her kits. The lovely laziness of puffy white catkins drifting down from cottonwood trees. There’s a picture of a cottonwood tree — bare and bent but enduring — on the cover of her book. It’s a good emblem for life on the range, she says. People ask her if she’ll ever go back. She hesitates. “I often think about that,” she says. “It would be hard because I’ve grown to love it here, to love this life as well.” She’s hooked on North Carolina springs, on the azaleas that blush outside her home in southeastern Guilford County. Two of her three grandsons live in Charlotte. She practices law — family, tax and estate — on her own now, working at times with another attorney. She keeps a few remnants of ranch life. There’s a blue heeler in the backyard and an Arabian horse stabled in Alamance County. Forbes rides every chance she gets. “I don’t think I could have ever given that up,” she says. Neither will she give up writing, though she plans to leave ranch life alone in her next book. The setting will be southeastern North Carolina. Legal work once took her to Bladen County, and she became fascinated with the place. “It’s like going back two decades to go to that part of the country,” she says. She’s more than 100 pages into the story. She still can’t believe she’s writing a second book. Or that she finished the first one. Or that it was published. Or that she, a little ranch girl who spent childhood hours writing about the life she knew, won a big award for doing the same thing. “I’m astounded,” she says. “It’s like hitting a ball out of the park. I’m just watching that ball go, and go, and go, and realizing that somehow I put it out there.” OH

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Linbrook Hall A grand vision of a modern day Marconi and his bride BY ASHLEY WAHL • PHOTOGRAPHS BY VICTOR STEEL

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Story of a House


f “old money” comes to mind while touring Linbrook Hall, guess again. Jerry Neal wasn’t coddled with a silver spoon. He grew up in the foothills of the Uwharrie Mountains, where his Depression-era parents taught him the values of hard work and simple living. Six years ago, he and his wife, Linda, built one of the largest homes in the southeastern United States. When Biltmore owners came to visit, they were wowed by the home’s window treatments. Jerry Neal laughs while recounting the story: “They actually said, ‘You have nicer curtains than we do.’” No doubt, the Biltmore House is bigger, five-and-a-half times the size of Linbrook. But visit Linbrook Hall and you’ll still feel dwarfed by its largerthan-life grandeur. Ascend the blinding-white, Alabama limestone steps. Pass through the classical Palladian portico with its towering Ionic columns. Marvel at a pair of twelve-foot solid oak double doors, which weigh 400 pounds apiece. Inside, light floods in through transom windows, adding to the warm, mirrored glow of the Brazilian cherry floors. High ceilings are gardens of highly ornamented plaster molding. But from the foyer, eyes go straight to the sweeping double-flight staircase, an indulgently romantic feature that climbs gently up toward the six-story rotunda. The elegant wrought-iron balustrade resembles spiraling vines. Look up through the oculus and feel as though you’re in the Pantheon. Siamo a Roma? Nope. Right here in the Piedmont — a stone’s throw past the Guilford County line, in the northwestern corner of Randolph County. But don’t get the idea that the Neals live here. All told, the Neals have spent a total of six nights in the home’s master suite. They live in a modest farmhouse built in 1976, which is located on one of the estate’s neighboring properties. “Linbrook is too big for just two people,” says Neal. So why build a 60-room mansion in the first place? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

To understand, you need to know a thing or two about Jerry Neal. Here, on the property where Linbrook now stands, a young Neal once developed a taste for wild honey and inherited an undying love for the tract of land tilled and treasured by his family for nearly 250 years. His eyes brighten as he recalls his boyhood. On Sundays, Neal’s family broke bread in his mother’s childhood home: a 1905 farmhouse built by Neal’s great-grandfather, a hardscrabble farmer named Edd Hoover. Neal remembers the taste of his grandmother’s chicken pies and blackberry cobblers, homemade in the old wood-burning stove. After meals, he and Grandpa explored the nearby fields and forests. On their walks together, Edd showed Neal nature’s wonders. “He showed me the trees from which he harvested wild honey,” Neal remembers, pointed out which plants were edible, and how to identify various wildflowers, herbs and trees. Neal learned how in 1763 an ancestor named Andrew Hoover built a gristmill on the land, at the confluence of the Uwharrie and Little Uwharrie rivers. Edd showed Neal where the gristmill once stood, and remnants of old whiskey stills. Like his father, Edd Hoover was a sustenance farmer. “Everything grown on the farm was either used to eat or feed the animals,” says Neal. “Grandpa Edd gave me an appreciation for the property.” When you overlook the back lawn from Linbrook’s third-floor balcony, you see that a large rock dominates the garden. “My parents met on that rock when they were 14,” says Neal. A plaque tells the story of Neal’s parents, Albert Neal and Bertie Dorset, in Albert’s words. Neal’s memoir, Built on a Rock, uses this rock as a metaphor for his foundation. The book also tells the story of how he met Linda. At about the same time his first marriage failed, and so, too, did a business venture that had led Neal to Findlay, Ohio, Carolina beckoned, and Neal moved back home. “My mother asked Linda if she would go out with me,” says Neal. Linda worked for Neal’s parents at Alma Desk Company in High Point. June/July 2012

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Sweeping double-flight staircase, wrought-iron balustrade, ornamental plaster molding and six-story rotunda make for a grand, romantic entrance indeed.

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Like Neal, she’d been married once before — and she told him she had no intentions of remarrying. But Cupid worked his charm. Wedding bells rang in 1978. “We had nothing,” says Neal. “She drove an AMC Gremlin. I had a ’64 Plymouth Valiant with a hole in the floorboard.” “Our marriage was my salvation,” Neal writes in his book. And when Neal was presented with an opportunity to dive into another technological endeavor, Linda was the one who encouraged him to do so. In 1991, Neal founded wireless microchip maker RF Micro Devices with Bill Pratt and Powell Seymour. Less than a decade later, the company exploded into a world-leading, multi-billion-dollar business. With Forbes pegging his annual compensation at more than a million dollars, Neal and his bride could afford to establish the 400-acre Linbrook Heritage Estate, on which their house now stands as a 32,000-square-foot testament to the American Dream. He writes his success story in an earlier book called Fire in the Belly: Building a World-Leading High-Tech Company from Scratch in Tumultuous Times. For Jerry and Linda, Linbrook is a dream home — a house composed by cherry-picking their favorite elements of various architectural styles. Charleston architect Bill Huey helped the Neals blend Jeffersonian Classicism with high-style Greek Revivalism in a way that is both harmonious and, the Neals believe, complementary to the surrounding landscape. In all, Linbrook took nearly three years to design, and equally long to build. A one-mile driveway seems a fitting approach to this utterly arresting structure. Much of the house was modeled after the work of Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, particularly the grandiose proportions of the home’s exterior. Indeed, at first glance, Linbrook resembles a sprawling Palladian villa. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The grand proportions of Linbrook Hall were modeled after the works of Venetian architect Andrea Palladio, who was influenced by both Roman and Greek architecture. A defining feature of the Palladian style: symmetry. Formal greeting room (top) and formal dining room (nearest above) flank the foyer. Details, such as wall color and antique chandeliers, were left to Linda Neal.

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Granted, some critics might call it a trophy house or a McMansion. And purists will point out that the house is unbalanced: The eastern guest wing has no match, bending the rules of symmetry laid down by classical Roman design. But Lowell McKay Whatley Jr., author of The Architectural History of Randolph County, North Carolina, concludes in a lengthy blog post that it is not a McMansion: “All its elements fit and work together, and the house commands its setting as if it grew there, belongs there. The combination of house and landscape gives us the same sense of satisfaction and exhilaration we experience when viewing some natural wonder.” In truth, Neal’s vision for Linbrook Hall was not meant so much to make some grand archictectural statement as to be a home that honors his bride by raising funds for charities that benefit children, specifically St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and Victory Junction Gang Camp. “My heart is with the children,” says Linda. And so he built a modern wonder he hoped would inspire people to drive miles — not just for gawking, but for visiting and enjoying. Upon entry, the main block appears perfectly symmetrical. Formal greeting room and dining room flank the main hall, which boasts an opulent staircase that echoes that on the Titanic. Linda’s portrait hangs in the formal greeting room above the Count Rumford fireplace, which, as the name suggests, was designed by the eighteenth century physicist also known as Benjamin Thompson. Neal gushes about the efficiency of the shallow hearth. Fact: All things scientific fascinate him. In addition to his collection of antique electronic equipment — including a functioning telegraph — he also accrues rare clocks. One operates on changes of temperature. Then there’s the custom-built, rolling-ball clock in the library. In the master bedroom: a 1775 clock made in France. “There were only two of these made,” says Neal. As a boy, he was positively obsessed with Guglielmo Marconi. And he’s been tinkering with electronics since he was barely old enough to reach them. And what book worm wouldn’t love Linbrook’s all-mahogany library? Or the open loft study on the fourth floor? But when he’s got a good book to

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read, Neal retreats to the cupola, where, surrounded by windows, he can study the night sky. “Basically it’s my observatory,” he says. From the cupola, Neal has a panoramic view of his property. And it’s the perfect spot to watch the autumnal cavalcade of the change of the leaves. The walls inside the house are sparely furnished. No use for clutter here. Crystal chandeliers and antique mirrors are spectacles enough. Linda chose all of those, in addition to the house’s earthy colors — harvest golds, midnight blues, sage greens. “My wife will tell you that my idea of color was to paint the whole house beige,” says Neal. The interior trim work around the windows and archways is, in a word, stunning. And on the ground floor, floor-to-ceiling windows open out onto the veranda. There’s a staging pantry in between the formal dining room and grand kitchen — Linda’s favorite room. A chef might eat his weight in butter for a chance to use the AGA cooker, which accumulates stored heat from a low-intensity, continuously burning source. How many guest rooms? Neal’s lost count. Nine? Not to mention an entire guest wing, accessible via limestone breezeway. There are four floors, and a laundry facility on each one. A gallery on the fourth floor displays artifacts of varying sentiment: a plaster bust of Marconi made in 1924, Edd Hoover’s antique radio, arrowheads found on the property, Thomas Edison light bulbs, Linda’s antique doll collection. Entertainment is on the ground floor. Find sauna, game room, a commercial equipment gym and a complete, high-definition theater with leather reclining seats. To date, the Neals have hosted several concerts at their big house in the hills. Rock and Roll Hall-of-Famer Percy Sledge has performed at a charity The Art & Soul of Greensboro

On the first floor: informal living area opens into kitchen. The mahogany library is among Jerry’s favorite rooms. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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event here. Ditto Charlie Daniels. Linbrook Hall is also open for tours, and available for private events such as weddings and corporate functions. In March, the house was filled with a cast and crew of about 100 people, most of them local, for the filming of a Hallmark Channel movie starring Sherry Stringfield, Katie LeClerc and — prepare to swoon, girls — hunky British actor Adrian Paul. Based on a book by Beverly Lewis, The Confession is an Amish drama set in high society, directed by Michael Landon Jr. Spoiler alert: In the movie, Sherry Stringfield’s character dies in the master bedroom. When the film airs later this year, Neal and Linda hope it will drum up a bit of public interest in the estate. Or at least let people know it’s here. Linbrook Hall may be monumental, but it’s equally well-hidden. Ultimately, it was built to serve as a platform for giving back. “From a conceptual point of view, I look at [Linbrook] as a factory,” says Neal. “The antiques and the beauty of the place are the pull, but the purpose is to raise funds for charity. We never expect to make any money here. The tours just help offset some of the expenses.” With the flip of a switch, Neal demonstrates Linbrook’s impeccable acoustics. A limited edition Steinway piano in the formal greeting room plays itself. “A Taste of Honey” swells to the second and third floors. “I can hear it just as clearly from the cupola,” says Neal. And from his perch, he looks out across the vast spread of land he grew to love — the setting of his own foundation — no doubt flashing back to his boyhood walks with Grandpa Edd. OH

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June/July 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

This page: An eastern guest wing is accessible via the stunning Alabama limestone breezeway. Note the transom windows, used throughout the house for optimal light. Left: The Neals have spent a total of six nights in Linbrook’s master bedroom, in blue, which was recently used for a death scene in a Hallmark Channel movie. Linda’s antique dolls and toys decorate guest bedrooms.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In the Garden

Mary, Mary, How Does Your Garden Grow? Tough love makes for one fabulous garden


By Lee Rogers • Photographs By Cassie Butler

an there be a more magical place in Greensboro to eat Fudgesicles and listen to soft birdsong than Mary Hart Ellison Orr’s garden? On this particular day, the luminous snowballs of viburnum are making a gorgeous display, and the ferns are just beginning to unfurl. Budding hostas, peonies and Solomon’s seal contribute to that most delicious time in a garden when the new growth approaches absolute perfection. Orr’s horticultural masterpiece is tucked behind a lovely vine-encrusted brick cottage, and it is built on top of an eight-foot-high brick retaining wall surmounted by wrought-iron rails and trellises upon which climb Sally Holmes and Ballerina roses. Through the railings you glimpse a very serene moss-carpeted woodland that borders Buffalo Lake and makes such a nice counterpoint to the joyful energy of her enclosed perennial and rose borders. I just wanted to fall down and roll around in it except that there is no turf in which to do so. The whole area is paved with flagstones cunningly interplanted with mosses, blue star creeper and Corsican mint, along with other delightful miniatures. The centerpiece is a formal rose garden encircled with forget-me-nots. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

June/July 2012

O.Henry 71

Mary Hart is aided and abetted in her work by Callaway Associates landscape designer Merwyn Varnado, and today they are contemplating the murder of the pansies and forget-me-nots past their prime. I personally think they look splendid and beg them to reconsider. This sweet garden is masterminded by a small and ruthless person who tells me in soft, ladylike tones about learning that death is as much a part of gardening as giving things life: “My first gardening experience was with my grandfather, who lived at 606 Simpson Street and who also, all those years ago, kept chickens and a milking goat,” she says. In addition to tomatoes and flowers, the garden included frogs and chickens. “There was nothing that we didn’t grow, and I certainly learned how to kill things.” Especially squirrels. The technique was simple: Put the critters in a garbage can, put the lid on, fill it up with water, “and they drown, scratch scratch scratch on the galvanized can,” she says. Ew . . . how long did it take? “Not long . . . until the water gets to the top. And he would also drown stray kittens.” Her grandfather, in other words, was tough. He encouraged the frog colony in the backyard pond, but only because it supplied fresh frog legs to fry. “And I helped him decapitate chickens. I was the one with the ax. He held the neck out. We did more wonderful things in that backyard.” After she tells me about “the little plungers of DDT,” I shudder to think what! “My grandmother E was a wonderful gardener and the best cook in the world,” continues Orr. She would go out “with a pickax with her dress on like they wore to garden in. She was a cook who grew her own tomatoes and then would make the best ketchup you ever tasted.” That was before the day of air conditioning, she says, “and we would be in that kitchen with a peck of tomatoes, sweat running down your face dripping into the ketchup. Gosh, it was so hot!” But it was really a passion for flowers that came to Orr from an early age, and it is deeply connected to her love of family and friends. She grew up on Bessemer Street in Fisher Park “in the last house before Cridland. And of course Cridland wasn’t there, just a beautiful woods and a stream.” She remembers “huge groves of Catherine crabapples outside my window. And I would climb out on my roof and sleep under them when they were in bloom. You’re just in love with things like that. I’ll never get over sleeping under those trees.” It is all about love with Mary Hart. “You know, one of my favorite Greensboro gardens was Lou Tucker’s. The roses were in the front yard, and her house was small and the backyard was her perennial garden, and it was so lush and welcoming and gracious,” she continues. “Gardens reflect the owners always, I think, and that was the way she was. She was one of my favorite people in the world.” Seeing these beautiful gardens and knowing the people who tended them has made the most profound impression on Orr. “My favorite gardener in the world was Mac Armfield. I just adored her and her garden. And I know that she had help, but Mac was a fabulous gardener,” Orr tells me. “I remember standing as a child looking out a window into a huge rectangle of boxwood, and around the inside perimeter of the boxwood were 10 million blue forget-menots and then a huge rectangle of emerald green grass. It was

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just so perfect. The whole woods . . . there must have been 10,000 jonquils in the woods. Oh, it was so glorious!” Every outdoor lover I know can recount some story from early childhood of being enthralled by a vision of breathtaking beauty. Whether an individual blossom or an enticing curve of the road, these glimpses of the divine capture us completely, and we spend our lives trying to recreate them. I myself saw brownies and fairies, but others feel awestruck in a religious way like the poet Dorothy Gurney, who wrote the famous garden verse: “One is nearer God’s heart in a garden Than anywhere else on earth.” Inspired or not by such visions, Mary Hart feels peaceful and content in her garden. Naturally, she gives credit to every gardener who influenced her style or taught her anything. She includes her sister, Katie Rose, and her good friend, noted landscape designer Chip Callaway, on that list. But hard garden labor was probably the finest teacher, and she was never afraid of that. “I actually learned to garden because I realized I didn’t know anything.” So she called a local nursery, “and I told them that I would work for free if they would teach me how to garden. And so for three growing seasons at Spraggs [Gardens] I worked and did everything there was to do.” That was while she was raising three children at home. And then she went on to open her own florist’s shop with her friend Susan Martin. “You know, my mentor when I was grown was Cordelia Cannon,” Orr continues with another tribute to a wellknown Greensboro gardening personality. “She was the person who let me believe in myself as a gardener. Granddaddy made me love it, and Spraggs taught me how. And Cordelia just meant the world to me, not just personally but how much she helped me become a better gardener.” Every plant in Orr’s garden is a friend. Many have traveled with her from earlier homes, and others were gifts from her wide circle of acquaintance. The boxwood and forgetme-nots and snowballs came from Sunset Drives, the poet’s laurel were Granddaddy’s, the hellebores were from Merwyn — every plant seems to have a story behind it. Her grandmother’s egg baskets are there lined with sheet moss and planted with ferns and ranunculus. And the living wreath of blue star vine adorning the wrought-iron gate was originally started by professional horticulturist Jennifer Manning, who has helped her over the years. Orr describes her as “a person who is creative, who knows dirt and who has a very feminine and lyrical sense of gardening. I just adored her.” The whole creation is all beautifully tended. This is the kind of stuff we drool over in the magazines, but who actually knows how to do it? Mary Hart answers that question beautifully. This is not some Irving Park diva who likes to “garden” but wouldn’t want to chip a fingernail. She has such a generous nature and eagerly gives credit to everybody else, but I know that this fabulous garden is maintained primarily by Mary. It is a work of devotion and joy but also sometimes tough love. Just ask the squirrels. OH Lee Rogers, a landscape designer in Greensboro, last wrote about UNCG gardens for O.Henry magazine. Contact her at lee@ leerogersdesign.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


348 N. Elm Greensboro,







30 distinctive designers, merchants, and artists from across the state.

Furniture • Art • Accessories • Gifts 348 N. Elm Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 336.455.3593

Tuesday -Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

By Noah Salt

The Summer Solstice With roses at their peak and honeysuckle in delicious bloom, across time and culture, the summer solstice has been greeted with vivid public celebrations marking the year’s longest day and official start of summer. The midsummer month, named for the great Roman goddess of the moon, Juno — she of women and childbirth — traditionally heralds matrimony and summer’s high growing season, the time roses are at their peak and first cutting of hay may be assured. An English almanac from 1688 sternly advises, however, the need of precautions against elves and fairies on midsummer’s eve, when wise homemakers swept their hearths clean and set out bowls of fresh milk with sops of new white bread to assuage potentially troublesome spirits. Wild mugwort, corn marigold and dwarf elder were also gathered and hung on doors or burned in bonfires to prevent unwanted trouble. A cuckoo heard on the longest day itself meant a wet summer and an excellent fruiting season were likely. The summer solstice falls this year on June 20 when the sun reaches its highest point in the Northern Hemisphere’s sky. Modern solstice celebrations range from fertility dances at Stonehenge to eco-friendly arts and jazz festivals taking place across the United States, including the delightfully wacky Greensboro summer solstice celebration scheduled for the Greensboro Arboretum on June 23. Face-painting, drumming, live music, food vendors and a crafts bazaar will highlight the event, which last year attracted upward of 5,000 participants — almost all in fairy wings and glitter. A fire dance at 9 p.m. will highlight the family-friendly event. In many places midsummer day is a national holiday meant to encourage community celebration of summer’s coming bounty.

Ten Things We Love About Midsummer No chance of snow Fireflies Swimming in a mountain lake Fried oysters and cold beer Late afternoon thunderstorms Trashy beach novels Napping in the shade Mowing the lawn Flip-Flops Real peach pie

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing in the trees, just as things grow in fast movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Transit of Venus Summer’s celestial highlight is easily the transit of Venus, a true once-in-a-lifetime event, among the rarest of astronomical happenings in which the planet Venus crosses the face of the sun and may be seen — using proper protective lenses or precautions taken to view a partial eclipse — with the naked eye. The first known viewing of the transit took place by a young English astronomer on Dec. 4, 1639, and was used to approximately determine both the diameter of Venus and also its relative distance from the sun. Thirty years later, Capt. James Cook observed the phenomenon during his maiden voyage to the Pacific. According to Sky and Telescope Magazine, the transit occurs only four times every 243 years. The last time it took place was June 8, 2004, and the next one will not happen until December 2117 — so don’t miss out. Asia and the western Pacific will enjoy the best views of the six-hour event, but all of North America — particularly the Pacific Coast — will be able to catch the action, weather permitting, on June 5, roughly around 5:30 p.m. Across the centuries, a host of leading astronomers have chased the transit in quest of more precise solar calculations. The most unfortunate case belongs to Frenchman Guillaume Le Gentil, who was persuaded by Edward Hailey (of comet fame) to pursue favored spots for viewing the transit for eleven years — only to return home and discover that he’d been officially declared dead, his wife remarried and his estate plundered by greedy relatives. Litigation persuaded the King of France to restore his lost income as well as his forfeited seat in the prestigious Royal Academy of Sciences. He remarried and reportedly lived happily for another 21 years, proving Venus rules all in matters of science and love.

“June gardens are so bright and shining and clear that they seem incapable of aging. Their physicality is everywhere beguiling and as much as they are demanding, as much as the gardener must be swift with all of his work, there is so much joy in it, the stripling growth so responsive to the smallest of ministrations that his fatigue seems to get submerged by elation and is at most a fugitive thing. It is satisfying to bend and tie the first long cane of the roses, plot and space a little park of sticky cleome, try new plantings in new beds, see last year’s seed-grown clematis take off and throw bloom after bloom.” — “Summer” by Robert Dash, from The Writer in the Garden

Life and Home Style

Accommodations at Formby Hall Golf and Spa Resort www.formbyhallgolfresort.co.uk Cost for land portion of trip, does not include airfare:**

Golfer sharing room: $4,850.00 • Non-Golfer sharing room:$3,395.00 Single accommodations also available

** Airfare can not be quoted till 331 days from departure.

Price includes Golf at the following courses: WALLASEY GOLF CLUB (Birthplace of Stableford Golf) ROYAL LIVERPOOL (Hoylake, site of Bobby Jones's 2nd British Open title) SOUTHPORT AND AINSDALE (British Open qualifying site) ROYAL LYTHAM & ST ANNE'S (Jones's first British Open and 2012 British Open) ROYAL BIRKDALE (where Arnold Palmer won his first British Open) Airport transfers from Manchester on trip begin and end dates (Transfers from London can be arranged but not included in cost.) 7 nights accommodations at Formby Hall • Full English Breakfast daily • Welcome and Farewell Dinners 5 Rounds of golf with transport to and from courses (Caddie fees NOT included) Personally guided history of the clubs and memorable evening discussions with Jim Dodson Taxes and hotel porterage Contact

Saveur Magazine Travel Advisor, A Way To Go Travel, Independent Consultant

(336) 275-1010 • weezieglascock@gmail.com

Arts & Culture

AN ART-FULL SUMMER Henri Matisse, Jeune fille accoudée au paravent fleuri (Young woman leaning on elbows before flowered screen), 2023 (detail).

Nick Cave, Soundsuit, 2010.

Four Exhibitions from the Collection

Matisse and the Decorative Impulse

Ursula von Rydingsvard, Spoon-Laddle, 2011.

Apr 14 - Jul 8, 2012

Recent Acquisitions

Marie Laurencin, Le Concert (The Concert), 1926.

May 26 - Aug 19, 2012

Close Relations and A Few Black Sheep: Sculpture from the Permanent Collection

Formative Matters: Simple Childhood Pleasures

Jun 2 - Sep 23, 2012

Jul 21 - Oct 21, 2012

Free Parking. Free Admission. Free Thinking. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro • Greensboro, NC 27402 336.334.5770 • http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu

Arts Calendar

June/July 2012 June 1

ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 10 p.m. ITMA Showtime The Art of Design II. Artwork inspired by (or inspiration for) textile design. Exhibit runs through June 30. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: (336) 420-4810.

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

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FATHER OF THE YEAR AWARD DINNER. 6:30 p.m. Black-tie optional. Tickets: $150. Grandover Resort, Greensboro. Info: www.diabetes.org/foty.

STAND-UP COMEDY. 8 – 10 p.m. Tickets: $7. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.

ART EXHIBIT. Exhibit will highlight pieces acquired between 2009 and 2012 that have not yet been exhibited publicly. Comprised of sculpture, painting, works on paper, and photography. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

June 2


PIEDMONT FAMILY FUN FEST. 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. A day of family fun and music presented by the Greensboro Jaycees. Proehlific Park, 4517 Jessup Grove Rd., Greensboro. Info: www.piedmontfamilyfunfest.com.

June 2 – 30

BARN DINNER THEATRE ENCORE SHOWS. Soul Sistas, musical. A cast of six women. High energy dancing and singing. View website for schedule. The Barn Dinner Theatre, 120 Stage Coach Trail, Greensboro. Info: (336) 292-2211 or barndinner.com.

June 3


PARISIAN PROMENADE. 1 – 5 p.m. The recreation of a spring afternoon in Paris, featuring sidewalk artists, live music, children’s activities, family games, sidewalk cafés and more, including a poodle parade. Free admission. Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden, 1105 Hobbs Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2199 or www.GreensboroBeautiful.org.


VISUAL & CULINARY VOYAGE TO TUSCANY. 3 – 5 p.m. Slide presentation by Roy Nydorf and his wife ,Terry Hammond. Registration required. Cost: $12/non-members; $10/members. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter. org.

MUSEP CONCERT. 6 p.m. Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. Live music from Martha & the Moodswingers (Swing); Wally West Little Big Band (Jazz). Free admission; donations welcome. Blandwood Mansion, W. Washington & Edgewood Streets. Info: (336) 373-2489.

June 4

CHIPPING IN GOLF TOURNAMENT. 11:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Proceeds from tournament benefit the Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

June 6

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from The Nutbush Ramblers. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. 1 – 5 p.m. Close Relations and A Few Black Sheep: Sculpture from the Permanent Collection. On display through Sept. 23. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

CAROLINA CLASSIC FILM. 7:30 p.m. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957). Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

FLY-BY-NIGHT THEATRE CO. 8 p.m. (weekdays and Saturday); 2 p.m. (Saturday and Sunday). The 27 Club by Tommy Trull. The Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: $10. Info: (336) 337-9298.

MOSAIC FESTIVAL. 12 – 8 p.m. International food and music downtown. Free. Festival Park at Price Bryan Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 210-5092 or greensboromosaic.com.



ARTVENTURE DAYS. 8:30 – 5:30 p.m. Art-filled days of creative exploration designed for Pre-K – 8th graders. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7475 or www.greensboroart.org.

June 6 – 10



DANCE PROJECT WORKSHOP. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Jan Van Dyke, Artistic and Executive Director for Dance Project, Inc., will teach an Intermediate Modern Workshop. Single class: $12; Full workshop: $40. Greensboro Cultural Center, Studio 323, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2727 or www.danceproject.org.

June 5

June 1 – August 19

• •

June 4–7

June 4–8

FRIDAY NIGHT LIVE. 7 – 10 p.m. Live music from “I Was Totally Destroying It” and “Frontier Ruckus.” Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. www.centercitypark.org.


Children’s Museum. Lunch and refreshments provided. Sponsorship opportunities available. Starmount Forest Country Club, 1 Sam Snead Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or www.gcmuseum.com.

MUSEP CONCERT. 6 p.m. Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. Live music from Greensboro Big Band (Swing/Big Band Jazz). Free admission. Bring non-perishable food items to support Feast Not Famine Food Drive. Friendly Center. Info: (336) 373-2489.

June 10 – July 1

MAINSTAGE THEATER AT TRIAD STAGE. 7:30 p.m. The Illusion. 7:30 p.m. (Sun., Tues. through Thurs.); 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun. matinee) A comic fantasy by Tony Kushner freely adapted from Pierre Corneille’s L’Illusion Comique. Tickets: $10-$44. Triad Stage at The Pyrle Theater, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www. triadstage.org.

June 12

NOON AT THE SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute docentled tour of new exhibit, Recent Acquisitions. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

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AN EVENING WITH MARVIN HAMLISCH. 7 p.m. Tickets start at $49. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College. Info: easternmusicfestival.org. CENTER CITY A.M. BRIEFING. 8 – 9 a.m. Bimonthly meetings for those who live, work or support the downtown area. Includes information on developments, activities, growth and projects. Guilford Merchants Association, 225 Commerce Place, Greensboro. Info: (336) 378-6350.

June 13

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TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Clay & Benjy. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

June 7

BB&T BEACH MUSIC CONCERT SERIES. 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Featuring The Craig Woolard Band. Festival Park at Price Bryan Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 317-9376 or www.chsnc.org.

MET OPERA HD BROADCAST. Anna Bolena Summer Encore. Running Time: 3 hr. 10 min. Tickets: $20/adult; $18/ seniors; $16/students. Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 205 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 297-9440 or www. greensboroopera.org.

June 8

June 14

WORLD OCEANS DAY. Join hundreds around the world to celebrate our shared ocean. Free with admission/ membership. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www. natsci.org.

SUMMER SUPPER IN CENTER CITY PARK. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Family-friendly evening. Reservations: $35/adults; $10/children 6-12; free for children 5 and under. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark. org.

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STAND-UP COMEDY. 8 – 10 p.m. Tickets: $7. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.

BB&T BEACH MUSIC CONCERT SERIES. 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Featuring Eric & The Chill Tones. Festival Park at Price Bryan Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 317-9376 or www.chsnc.org.

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. Who Framed Roger Rabbit. Running Time: 104 min. Tickets: $6; $4/student/ senior/military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

June 15


SUMMER SOLSTICE PARTY AT WAM. 6:30 – 9 p.m. Zone of Contention: The U.S./Mexico Border. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

RALPH STANLEY & THE CLINCH MOUNTAIN BOYS. 8 p.m. Tickets: $26.50/adults; $24.50/students, seniors and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

GREENSBORO ASTRONOMY CLUB MEETING. 7:30 p.m. Learn about the stars and universe. Free. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

June 8 – 10

SKETCH COMEDY. 8 – 9:30 p.m. “Something to Say.” Admission: $6. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www.idiotboxers.com.

June 9

June 16

GREENSBORO CHILDREN’S THEATRE. How Jack Got Scared. 7:30 p.m. (Fri.); 2:05 & 4:30 p.m. (Sat.); 2:05 p.m. (Sun.) Tickets: $5-$10. Greensboro College, Huggins Performance Center, 815 W. Market St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2026 or www.thedramacenter.com.

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m.Cost: $10/nonmembers; $8/members and students under 21. Vintage Theater, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

• • Film

June 10


• • Fun


• •

CENTER CITY CINEMA. 8:30 p.m. Ghostbusters. Free. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www. centercitypark.org.

A CELEBRATION OF SCALES & TAILS. 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www.natsci.org.

Sports June/July 2012

O.Henry 79

RELAX YOUR GRIP. You know what the golf pros say: You’ll get better results if you loosen up. Good advice off the course, too, which is why we suggest you consider a few days in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Aberdeen Area of North Carolina to reconnect with your spouse, your family and your inner self. Our charming resorts and spas will take you a world away from your day-today stress. Our unique shops, potteries and galleries will offer a little retail therapy for those in need. And then, of course, there are our famous championship golf courses to simultaneously calm the mind and reinvigorate the spirit. We’ll return you to your life with a relaxed outlook and a new grip on your priorities.


PINE NEEDLES LODGE & GOLF CLUB Home of the Ladies Golfari Site of three U.S. Women’s Open Championships, Pine Needles and Mid Pines have challenged golfers for more than 80 years. Whether you are planning a golf outing with friends, a vacation with the family or a romantic getaway our resort destination makes a most memorable experience among the beautiful Sandhills of North Carolina. Come experience a tradition like no other at Pine Needles Lodge and Mid Pines Resort. 800.747.7272 · pineneedles-midpines.com

June /July Arts Calendar •

ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. 1 – 5 p.m. Zone of Contention: The U.S./Mexico Border. On display through Sept. 2. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

MET OPERA HD BROADCAST. Le Comte Ory Summer Encore. Tickets: $20/adult; $18/seniors; $16/students. Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 205 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 297-9440 or www.greensboroopera.org.

June 16–17

GREEN DRINKS GSO. 5:30 – 7 p.m. A social networking event that celebrates green living and sustainability. Meetings held every third Wednesday of the month in alternating locations. Info: greendrinks.org/nc/greensboro.

ROOTS ROCKIN’ PRODUCTIONS REGGAE REUNION MUSIC SERIES. 12 – 9 p.m. Multicultural family-oriented music festival featuring various reggae artists, arts & crafts vendors, food vendors and children’s activities. East Lee St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 558-5715. Tickets: eventbrite.com.

June 16–30

THTR 232. Winnie-the-Pooh. 11 a.m. & 2 p.m. (6/16, 6/23, 6/30); 10 a.m. (6/21, 6/22, 6/28, 6/29). Tickets: $10/adult; $7/children, students and seniors. UNCG’s Brown Building Theatre, 402 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4392 or www.triadstage.org.

June 17

MUSEP CONCERT. 6 p.m. Featuring Sweet Dreams (Blues, R&B, Soul) and Knights of Soul (Blues, R&B, Soul). Free admission. Bring non-perishable food items to support the Feast Not Famine Food Drive. Lindley Park, Starmount Drive at W. Market St. & Wendover Ave. Info: (336) 373-2489.

June 18

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Celebrate rhythm and rhyme every third Monday each month. Open mic. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2471.

June 20

June 20–30

THE BROACH THEATRE. 8 – 10 p.m. Red, White and Tuna by Jaston Williams, Joe Sears and Ed Howard. The Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 549-2985 or www.broachtheatre.org.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

OMNISPHERE SHOW. 8 & 9 p.m. Laser show features rock songs from the popular heavy metal band, Metallica. Tickets: $5. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or www. natsci.org.

June 22–24

JABBERBOX PUPPET THEATER. 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) Rumpus in Rome. An original puppet play for adults. Tickets: $15; $10 (Sun. matinee). Marianne’s House, 301 E. Hendrix St., Greensboro. Reservations: (336) 273-7292; or (336) 272-7888. Info: www.jabberboxpuppettheater.com.

June 23

June 21

AARON NEVILLE QUINTET. 8 – 10:30 p.m. Experience the indelible spirit of New Orleans. Tickets: $47.50; $42.50; $37.50. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

THTR 232. Fashionistas by Janet Allard, directed by Jim Wren. A high-fashion adaptation of the classic story of Echo and Narcissus. Tickets: $15. UpStage Cabaret, Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

BB&T BEACH MUSIC CONCERT SERIES. 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Featuring Carolina Breakers. Festival Park at Price Bryan Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 317-9376 or www.chsnc.org.

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. Gremlins. Running Time: 106 min. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

• • •

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Kris STAND-UP COMEDY. 8 – 10 p.m. No Nonsense Ferris. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: Comedy features the best comedians in North Carolina. www.centercitypark.org. Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports Key:

• •

SWING DANCE. 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. Cost: $10/nonmembers; $8/members and students under 21. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

June 20–23

June 22

Tickets: $7. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.

• •

June 23 – July 28

EASTERN MUSIC FESTIVAL. Over 100 music-related events, including classical, jazz and bluegrass. Greensboro. Info: easternmusicfestival.org.

June 24


JAZZ BOOK CLUB SOCIAL. 3 p.m. Featuring the sounds of the popular novel Hotel On The Corner of Bitter & Sweet by Jamie Ford. 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

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June /July Arts Calendar

Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

MUSEP CONCERT. 6 p.m. Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. Live music from Warren, Bodle & Allen (Folk Rock); The Bo Stevens (Country, Honky Tonk, Rockabilly). Free. Hagan-Stone Park. Info: (336) 373-2489.

June 29 – July 1

JABBERBOX PUPPET THEATER. 8 p.m. (Fri. & Sat.); 2 p.m. (Sun.) Rumpus in Rome. An original puppet play for adults. Tickets: $15; $10 (Sun. matinee). Marianne’s House, 301 E. Hendrix St., Greensboro. Reservations: Debby at (336) 273-7292; Marianne at (336) 272-7888. Info: www.jabberboxpuppettheater.com.

June 27

• •

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Serendipity. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org. MET OPERA HD BROADCAST. Don Giovanni Summer Encore. Running Time: 2 hr. 55 min. Tickets: $20/ adult; $18/seniors; $16/students. Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 205 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2979440 or www.greensboroopera.org.

June 30

DANCE PROJECT MASTER CLASS. 6:30 – 8 p.m. Andrea Weber, Cunningham Company Member, will instruct. Cost: $12/advance; $15/at door. Greensboro Cultural Center, Studio 323, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2727 or www.danceproject.org.

June 27–30

THTR 232. Fashionistas by Janet Allard, directed by Jim Wren. Tickets: $15. UpStage Cabaret, Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

GREENSBORO 48-HOUR FILM PROJECT. 7 p.m. & 9 p.m. Greensboro is one of more than 100 cities hosting oldest and largest timed filmmaking competition. Films will be screened. Tickets: $10/film; $25/all three films. See website for screening schedule. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

June 28

ART EDUCATORS WORKSHOP. 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. Learn basic casting techniques suitable for the classroom using clay, plaster, and paper pulp. Registration: $30/members; $40/ non-members. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

BB&T BEACH MUSIC CONCERT SERIES. 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. Featuring Sleeping Booty. Festival Park at Price Bryan Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 317-9376 or www.chsnc.org.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

July 6


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

ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. 6 – 10 p.m. Life is a Beach. Exhibit runs through July 28. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: (336) 420-4810.

STORYTELLING SHOWCASE. 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Join members of the Triad Storytelling Exchange. African American Atelier Gallery, 200 N. Davie St. Greensboro. Info: Charlotte at chamlin1@triad.rr.com.

• • Film

July 10

NOON AT THE SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-min docent-led tour of new exhibit, Zone of Contention: The U.S./Mexico Border. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

CAROLINA KIDS’ CLUB FILM. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Alvin and the Chipmunks. Rated PG. Tickets: $5; $20 for a 5-pack. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

ROOTS ROCKIN’ PRODUCTIONS REGGAE REUNION MUSIC SERIES. 12 – 9 p.m. Featuring various reggae artists, arts & crafts, food vendors and children’s activities. East Lee St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 558-5715. Tickets: eventbrite.com.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Hitchcock’s North by Northwest. Running time: 136 min. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

HIGH FIVE ON THE FOURTH. 11 – 11:30 a.m. Join 3,500 others in an attempt to break the world record for the most simultaneous high fives. Festival Park at Price Bryon Performance Place, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-4595 or www.high5onthe4th.com

July 7–8

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. The Goonies. Running Time: 114 min. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military.

July 9

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Funny Face (1957). Starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire. Tickets: $6. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

STAND-UP COMEDY. 8 – 10 p.m. Comedy show featuring the best comedians in North Carolina. Tickets: $7. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.

ART GALLERY & OPENING RECEPTION. 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. By Example: NC Potters and Their Mentors. Featuring twenty young NC ceramic artists. Exhibit runs through August 26. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.


MUSEP CONCERT. 6:30 p.m. Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. Live music from EMF Young Artist Orchestras (Classical, Pops). Free. Guilford College, Founder’s Lawn, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489.

FUN FOURTH FESTIVAL. 9:30 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. A community celebration of Independence Day for Guilford County and the Piedmont Triad. Free. Downtown Greensboro, Inc., 122 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2744595 or www.funfourthfestival.org.

June 29

• •

July 4

June 27–28


LEDISI, ERIC BENET & CHRISETTE MICHELE IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Seven-time Grammy-nominated singer Ledisi stops in Greensboro for her Be Good To Yourself (BGTY) headline tour with Eric Benet and Chrisette Michele. Tickets: $29.50 (lawn); $59.50 & $75 (reserved). White Oak Amphitheatre. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

July 8


• • Fun


July 11

• • •

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Dave Desmelik. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org. MET OPERA HD BROADCAST. Les Contes d’Hoffmann Summer Encore. Running Time: 3 hrs. Tickets: $20/adult; $18/seniors; $16/students. Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 205 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 297-9440 or www.greensboroopera.org.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. On the Waterfront starring Marlon Brando. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 11 & 12


ART EDUCATORS WORKSHOP. 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. Woodblock Printmaking with Mona Wu. Registration: $45/ members; $60/non-members. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

July 12

SUMMER OF LOVE FILM. 7 p.m. Mary and Max. Animated film explores a bond that survives much more than the average friendship’s ups-and-downs. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.


June/July 2012

O.Henry 83

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June /July Arts Calendar

MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Rated PG. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

$6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

Maximum Overdrive. Rated R. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 17

July 20

July 13

STAND-UP COMEDY. 8 – 10 p.m. Tickets: $7. Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Sunset Boulevard (1950). Running time: 110 min. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

BEST OF GREENSBORO 48-HOUR FILM PROJECT. 7 – 9 p.m. Awards ceremony follows screening. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605; www.carolinatheatre.com; www.48hourfilm.com/greensboro.

July 13–15 & 19–22

July 18

MULTIMEDIA PERFORMANCE. 7 p.m. Invisible, Greensboro’s experimental multimedia performance collective presents The New Obsolete. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

CAROLINA KIDS’ CLUB FILM. 9:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Rated G. Tickets: $5; $20 for a 5-pack. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

SUMMER MUSICAL. 7 p.m.; 2 p.m. (Sundays) Children of Eden presented by Livestock Players, Greensboro Children’s Theatre and 3rd Stage Theatre Co. Tickets: $15. Weaver Academy Theatre, 300 S. Spring St., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160. Info: (336) 373-2026 or www. TheDramaCenter.com.

•• •

• •

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

July 21

July 15

GREEN DRINKS GSO. 5:30 – 7 p.m. A social networking event that celebrates green living and sustainability. Info: greendrinks.org/nc/greensboro.

July 16

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Jailhouse Rock (1957). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Thick-N-Thin. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

July 14


WOODY GUTHRIE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION. A discussion of Guthrie’s autobiography (11 a.m.) followed by a 12 p.m. screening of Bound for Glory (1976). Hemphill Library, 2301 W. Vandalia Rd., Greensboro. Info: Ronald.Headen@Greensboro-NC.gov.

MUSEP CONCERT. 6:30 p.m. Live music from the Philharmonia of Greensboro (Classical, Pops). Free. Barber Park, 1500 Dans Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489.

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Celebrate rhythm and rhyme every third Monday each month. Open mic. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2471.

• • Art


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

• •

July 19

• • • •

SUMMER OF LOVE FILM. 7 p.m. An Oversimplication of Her Beauty. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Hitchcock’s Shadow of a Doubt (1943). Running time: 108 min. Tickets: Key:

MET OPERA HD BROADCAST. Lucia Di Lammermoor Summer Encore. Tickets: $20/adult; $18/seniors; $16/students. Regal Greensboro Grande Stadium 16, 205 Northline Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 297-9440 or www.greensboroopera.org.


MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. Stephen King’s


• • Fun


CENTER CITY CINEMA. 8:30 p.m. The Muppet Movie. Free. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

ART EXHIBIT & OPENING RECEPTION. 1 – 5 p.m. Formative Matters: Simple Childhood Pleasures. On display through Oct. 21. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

JOHN TESH IN CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $20; $39.50; $55. White Oak Amphitheatre. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

July 22

MUSEP CONCERT. 8 p.m. Music for a Sunday Evening in the Park. EMFfringe TBA. Free. Guilford College, Founder’s Lawn, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489.


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Arts Calendar July 23


GREENSBORO SUMMER SOLSTICE. 2 p.m. Featuring face painting, musical performances, hooping, drums and dancing. Greensboro Arboretum, 401 Ashland Dr., Greensboro. Info: greensborosummersolstice.org.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train (1951). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 24

WOODY GUTHRIE CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION. Screening of Woody Guthrie: Ain’t Got No Home (2007). Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: Ronald.Headen@Greensboro-NC.gov.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

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July 25

CAROLINA KIDS’ CLUB FILM. 9:30 a.m. – 12 p.m. Babe. Rated G. Tickets: $5; $20 for a 5-pack. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

• •

TUNES AT NOON. 12 – 1:30 p.m. Live music from Donna Hughes. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org. SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Bringing Up Baby (1938). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 26

• •

SUMMER OF LOVE FILM. 7 p.m. Kooky. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

MULTIMEDIA PERFORMANCE. 6 p.m. Invisible, Greensboro’s experimental multimedia performance collective presents The New Obsolete. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn. Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 26–28

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK. 5:30 p.m. As You Like It. Presented by Livestock PlayersBarber Park Amphitheatre, 1500 Dans Rd., Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160. Info: (336) 373-2026 or www.thedramacenter.com.

July 28

SWING DANCE LUAU. 7:30 – 11:30 p.m. Cost: $8/ nonmembers; $6/members and students under 21. Oriental Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or www.piedmontswingdance.org.

July 29

MUSEP CONCERT. 6 p.m. Live music from Katelyn Marks (Country); Lisa Dames (Traditional & Contemporary Country). Free. National Military Park, Hwy. 220 North, Old Battleground Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489.

July 30

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. Hitchcock’s To Catch a Thief (1955). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

July 31

• ••• • •

SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL. 7:30 p.m. The Bells of Saint

Key: Art Music/Concerts Film Literature/Speakers Sports

86 O.Henry

June/July 2012

• • •

Performing arts Fun History

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts Calendar

Mary’s (1945). Tickets: $6; $4/student, senior and military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.


FITNESS BY THE FOUNTAIN. 6 – 7 p.m. Free. African Dance (6/4, 7/2 & 7/30); Zumba (6/11); Yoga (6/18); Line Dancing (6/25 & 7/23); Tai Chi Ch’uan (7/9); Boot Camp (7/16). Center City Park, Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.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.


FITNESS BY THE FOUNTAIN. 6 – 7 p.m. Free. Pilates (6/6); Masala Bhangra (6/13); Evolution (6/20); Hooping (6/27); Salsa (7/11); Yoga (7/18); Jazzercise (7/25). Center City Park, Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.centercitypark.org.

• ••

WEDNESDAY NIGHT BLUES JAM. 8 – 11 p.m. Local Blues musicians perform at the Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-1123. MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rodeo. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: 336-379-0699.


WEEKLY WINE TASTING. 5-7 p.m. New flights featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.


FINE WINE FRIDAYS. All wines by the glass are $5. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

Events Schedule

Fridays & Saturdays

•• •

WEEKEND WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. Live music at WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505. 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.

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.


CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR. 11 a.m. Dynamic leaders in our community conduct story hour. Make-and-take arts activities follow. All books are written for children, especially ages 5-12. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org.

WEEKLY WINE TASTINGS. 4 – 6 p.m. New flights featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

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June/July 2012

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John & Cindy Knowles, Jeff Peck, Lisa Cone

Shannon Dahlstedt, Allison Ray

Morehead Park Dedication at Greensboro’s Downtown Greenway Sunday, May 6, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

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GreenScene First Friday in Downtown Greensboro Friday, April 6, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Laurel Matsudaire, Lindsay Crabtree, Bethany & Phil Stringer Marcia Woodward

Back: Pat, Jack, Dottie, Jacky & Susan Cooke Front: Anne Upson, Tricia Cooke

Erin Hayes, Kailey & Katlyn Walker, Torey Loewen

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GreenScene Irving Park Fun Day Friday, May 4, 2012

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Tilden Chamblee

Doris Enochs, Lucy Froelich, Lyndsey Owen, Gillian Boehmer

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Greensboro Cerebral Palsy Association’s 60th Anniversary at Wellspring Retirement Community Thursday, April 19, 2012

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Getting Shagged

Life’s Funny

Like learning to drive a stick shift, it’s all in the motion By Maria Johnson

Photograph By Cassie Butler


o, I think I can dance? Not really. My history as a dancer is checkered. And I don’t mean Chubby Checkered. Though it is somewhat twisted. When I was a kid, I watched Lawrence Welk with my family on Saturday nights and twirled around the den with my mom, trying to outdo Bobby and Cissie. When I was a teenager, I watched American Bandstand and learned The Bump. If you can call that learning. I also had a fleeting fascination with The Hustle. I am not proud of these things, but they are the facts of my dancing life. It is also a fact that the most fun I ever had dancing was with a college boyfriend who liked to dance in a style best described as push-me, pull-me, spin-me-but-not-too-much-because-I-don’t-want-to-step-on-that-guy-doing-TheGator. I had no idea what the whole shebang was called until I moved to a small town in North Carolina, and someone asked me if I wanted to go “shayg-un.” And I said, “What?” because those were the days of Shoōgun, and I thought maybe he was inviting me to watch a miniseries. And he said, “You know, shayg-un to baych music.” I had no clue what he was talking about until we went to this concreteblock club and I saw people doing what I’d been doing in college. “Ooooooooh,” I said. “Shagg-ING to beeeeech music.” Anyway, that was the last time I did anything vaguely shaggish. Until I met Kim Maynard. A friend told me about Kim. She said he was a top-notch handyman and an even better dancer. She said he was in the Shaggers Hall of Fame in North Myrtle Beach, so I figured Kim could show me the proper way to do the signature dance of the Carolinas. I knew Kim was the real thing because the first time we met, R & B was playing in the background, and Kim was shuffling his Top-Siders under the table. He told me about how he started dancing when he was in high school in Spartanburg, South Carolina. He noticed that girls liked guys who could dance. Soon, he was hitting clubs like the Crystal Lounge, learning at the feet of his mentor Bill “Buzz” Sawyer Jr. “Let the music go in your ears and out your feet.” That’s what Buzz said. Kim carried that advice everywhere he went. From 1978 to 1982, he entered 40 shagging contests, won 23 of them and never finished out of the money. He rarely competes anymore, but a few nights a week, when he’s not worn out from his handyman business, Kim heads to Thirsty’s 2 or The Clubhouse, where the shagging faithful gather. Kim said he would teach me some steps called The Basic. Just out of curiosity, I asked him if there was anything simpler—like The Real, Real Basic. He said no, that The Basic is as basic as it gets. So we met at The Clubhouse on a Wednesday night. Kim took my hands and asked if I remembered what he told me about the steps. “Up-two-three. Back-two-three. Step. Step,” I said. “Right. Now, let’s see it.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“What?” “The steps.” “The steps?” There was a concerned looked on Kim’s face. But he’s a pro, so he stood beside me and put his arm around my waist. “We’ll do them together.” He counted the steps, and we did them together, and whaddaya know, it worked. He turned around to face me, and it still worked great. Until it stopped working. To put it in mule terms, I geed when I should have hawed. We jolted to a halt. Kim explained that the shag is a male-lead dance, and that the woman does what the man wants her to do. Suddenly, my life as a couples dancer—or lack of life as a couples dancer—made sense. But what the hey, it was just one night, and Kim knew a lot more about it than I did, so I went with the flow, and, yes, I’ll have that beer after all. In general, I worked on smoothing it out, which goes against my natural tendency to jump. “You’re bouncing again,” Kim said. “I know,” I said, bouncing. “I like to bounce.” “Don’t bounce,” he said. “OK,” I said, bouncing. By now the place was filling up with the happy din of people who were friends, and Kim introduced me to some other Hall-of-Famers. Turns out, the Triad is home to a slew of great shag dancers. Then Kim danced with some women who knew what they were doing. You know how you can tell when something is really good, even if you can’t begin to explain how it’s done? Like Michelangelo’s paintings and French food and Bubba Watson’s hair? That’s the feeling I got watching Kim dance with those women. It was smooth and elegant and downright sexy. I swigged my brew. It was time to go from the sublime to the ridiculous. Kim took my hand. We went to the dance floor. We started off pretty well, then someone got out of time, then someone faked it and danced in place until she got back into time. At one point, Kim spun me, and I came out of the spin right on time and kept the steps, and Kim gave me this tongue-biting look of satisfaction, like, “You nailed it,” and I wanted to jump up and down, and hug him, and give him a high five. But I didn’t. Because I’m working on that bouncing thing. OH June/July 2012

O.Henry 95

O.Henry Ending

The Patient Fisherwoman Lessons learned from the end of a bamboo pole

By Felton Foushee


rowing up in Greensboro, I was fortunate to spend a lot of time with my great-grandmother, Dorethea Raleigh, a daughter of Collins Grove, a small African-American community off Fleming Road near what is now Bryan Boulevard. Once upon a time, there were a number of similar communities scattered around the Gate City, many of which have been swallowed up by Greensboro’s growth. If it’s true that the earliest years of life are the most important in terms of shaping a young person’s attitudes and character — those moments that occur, if you will, without the learner even being aware of it — then I count myself very lucky to have been around Miss Dorethea during the first twelve years of my life. She was a woman from another age who was born in 1909 and lived to the ripe old age of 77, the matriarch of our family whom everyone simply called “Grandmother.” Not surprisingly, she was pretty rigid and Old School about a lot of things — how you behaved and what you said and whether you lived up to your promises. She was also a woman of faith and one of the hardest working people I ever saw — up every morning before the sunrise making a full breakfast she expected you to eat, always gardening or canning vegetables. In our family, Grandmother’s word was final — and her discipline wasn’t something you wanted to experience first-hand. The breadth of her life came to fascinate me. She’d lived through so much social change — from Prohibition and the rise of the glorified American gangster to the Great Depression and the Second World War, the birth of the modern civil rights movement right here in Greensboro, an event that changed all our lives for the better, black and white alike. Upon her passing in 1987, an uncle gave my sister Loraine and me some of our great-grandmother’s things. Inside a small leather binder were a number of expired driver’s licenses that Miss Dorethea had possessed over the years. The photos on the licenses were oddly comforting because they showed her at various stages of life. The clothes changed, the years changed, the style of eyeglasses she wore changed. But the expression she wore was always comfortingly the same, and our great-grandmother looked just as we remembered her. Proof of this was right on the licenses themselves, the designation of the license owner’s race. On the oldest one she was listed as a “Negro,” on the next “Colored,” and finally “Black.” It was as if our great-grandmother’s identity seemed to always be in flux, yet she was as consistent a person as I have ever known. Most memorably of all, at least where I am concerned, Miss Doretha was a passionate fisherwoman, and if the weather was tolerable she was most likely on the bank of a favorite pond with her beloved casting rod in hand, waiting patiently for a hungry fish to make the grave mistake of tugging

96 O.Henry

June/July 2012

her line. The fish’s error in judgment always ended up costing him, for I never knew my great-grandmother to lose a fish once she had it hooked. Her gentle tugs at the line were an extension of her remarkable patience. She would never rush the experience, and I spent many hours playing, fishing, napping, snacking and often being bored out of my young mind while she sat patiently on the bank waiting for the big bass to finally bite. Every so often she’d turn her head to check on what I was up to, but mostly her eyes remained fixed on the line, even when she relieved her mouth of a wad of snuff and saliva. Lunch consisted of canned pork and beans or Vienna sausage and always a ginger ale — and still her eyes never left the line in the water. Mind you, we kids all got to fish too, but only with bamboo poles and conventional bobbers. For the most part, we observed these behaviors from a distance as she would not allow us to play anywhere near her chosen spot on the bank, and certainly not to touch her casting rod. Too much noise was bad for the fish and disturbed her intense concentration. I don’t think she ever failed to bring home a good-sized fish. Last month, upon graduation from college, I couldn’t help but think how pleased and proud Miss Dorthea would have been of me. More importantly, the older I get, the more I appreciate her hard-earned wisdom and take solace in these special memories I have of Miss Dorthea Raleigh because she showed my sister and me the value of having patience in life, and with it. Her life, by all accounts, was full of moments when that fabled patience and endurance were tested, yet she lived without fear and worked hard and raised a family and passed down one valuable life lesson after another to generations of our family — many of which she was probably never even aware of. My great-grandmother’s days were ending on this Earth more or less as mine were beginning. Her love was fishing. Mine is golf. But something still passes between us. We all seek solitude in some form or another. As another summer dawns, I can’t help but think about how far I’ve come — in golf and more so in life — because of the lessons in patience she taught me. She was in her own world when sitting on the bank of Black Cow pond or the meandering Haw River, or even casting from the end of pier down at Topsail Beach. Fishing was her sanctuary, and waiting patiently for a big fish to come along and tug on her line, I think, was a reward for a remarkable life that had come so far and given so much. OH Felton Foushee recently graduated from UNCG with a degree in media studies. Illustration By Meridith Martens The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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