March O.Henry 2014

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In real estate, it’s called a closing. But we like to think of it as a beginning. Buying or selling a home is likely to be one of the single biggest transactions of your life. Thankfully, it can also be one of the most satisfying. With our real estate sales and mortgage professionals in your corner, we can deliver the tools to help you find the perfect home or connect you with qualified buyers. We also live in the communities we serve and know them better than anyone. Because while a new home is certainly about starting fresh, it’s always nice to have the experience of a Great Neighbor at your side.

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March 2014

©2014 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 4, No. 3

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1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 Jim Dodson, Editor Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director David Claude Bailey, Senior Editor 336.617.0090 • Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Judi Hewett, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser Contributing Photographers Kevin Banker, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich

Matthew D. Olin, MD

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Contributors Nancy Bartholomew, Jane Borden, Emily Frazier Brown, Susan Campbell, Brian Clarey, Edward Cone, Molly Sentell Haile, Alice Hodgkins, Sara King, Meredith Martens, Marty Novitsky, Nancy Oakley, Sandra Redding, Lee Rogers, Noah Salt, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Isabel Zuber


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Advertising Graphic Design 910.693.2469,


Marty Hefner 336.707.6893, ©Copyright 2014. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

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March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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March 2014 departments

7 Hometown

10 Short Stories 13 Doodad

15 The City Muse

17 Life’s Funny

19 Omnivorous Reader

23 N.C. Writer’s Notebook

25 Best Reader Memoirs 2014

27 Lunch with a Friend

31 Food for Thought

35 Pleasures of Life

37 Birdwatch

39 Game On

42 Street Level

45 Life Of Jane

By Jim Dodson

By Maria Johnson By Emily Frazier Brown By Maria Johnson By Stephen E. Smith By Sandra Redding

By Deonna Kelli Sayed By Brian Clarey

By David Claude Bailey By Maria Johnson

By Susan Campbell


49 Moving Sale

Poetry by Anthony S. Abbott

50 Lintheads

By Stan Swafford Generations of Carolina families grew up in vibrant mill communities like Cone’s fabled White Oak, where no one knew they were poor.

54 The Magical World of Harry Blair By Maria Johnson An engaging look inside the head of our favorite artist

58 Wiley Cash Comes Home By Wiley Cash A gifted writer finds his place of the heart

60 Restoration Drama

By David Claude Bailey A house — and its owner — come back from the brink.

69 March Almanac

By Noah Salt Miss Lawrence’s first flower and other true signs of spring

By Mary Seymour By Jim Schlosser By Jane Borden

70 Arts & Entertainment Calendar 82 Worth the Drive

85 GreenScene 95 Accidental Astrologer

96 O.Henry Ending

By Astrid Stellanova By Jim Gutsell

Cover Photograph by Lynn Donovan Illustration this page by Harry Blair

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March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gold rush.

Art for Eyes | Eye for Arts Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | Becky Causey, Licensed Optician

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March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Pure Gardenlust

By Jim Dodson

One chilly, rain-swept morning last month, the production staff at our magazine surprised me with a birthday breakfast of coffee and sweet rolls in the conference room, complete with a gift that warmed my aging teenage heart — a vintage copy of Playboy magazine. But more on that in a Hugh Hefner moment.

“So,” asked Kira, “did you actually see your shadow?” My birthday, you see, happens to fall February 2, aka Groundhog Day to a wider world that’s thoroughly sick of winter, a red letter day I rejoice in sharing with the likes of rocker Graham Nash, model Christie Brinkley, Irish writer James Joyce, TV philosopher Tommy Smothers, Dog the Bounty Hunter and the late actress Farrah Fawcett. We’re a jolly diverse bunch of G’hogs. Apparently, somehow, sweet Kira had failed to hear that Punxsutawney Phil had in fact seen his shadow at the annual public event that was only slightly less interesting than this year’s Super Bowl, presaging six more weeks of winter weather. Groans rolled round the table. “That takes us two weeks into March,” lamented someone over her cinnamon roll. “I’m sooooo cold! Rain. Sleet. Gray . . . ugggh!’ Though admittedly I am a true child of winter who loves all the above, including the occasional white-out blizzard, I sympathetically felt her psychic pain and pointed out that the beloved groundhog is often spectacularly wrong in his super-hyped forecasts, and that I — being something of a walking expert on February 2, with decades of experience to back up my observations — predict spring will be here before you can say “the taxman cometh.” This visibly lifted the spirits of the entire table, or maybe it was the sugary bear claws. In any case, that’s exactly the moment our clever art director Andie Rose presented me with my gift, the aforementioned vintage men’s magazine — the Special Eighth Anniversary Issue of Playboy magazine from December 1961. My late Southern Baptist grandmother would have been grandly appalled, but the student of the magazine world in me was delighted almost beyond measure. Compared to anything one can see in seconds on the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Internet or simply a rerun of The Bachelor any night of the week, this antique timepiece recalls a time when sex possessed an aura of respectable mystery and almost everything that mattered to a curious teenage mind was left almost entirely to the imagination. The issue featured only two discreetly bare breasts (that I could find) in 210 pages but also a poignant remembrance of Ernest Hemingway by his brother, a review of Miles Davis’ latest album, a tribute to slapstick comedy, a lone Vargas Girl and a chaste pictorial of Christmas at the new Playboy Club in Chicago where — egads — everyone kept their clothes on. Improbable as it may sound, many of us who came to love magazines like Playboy and Esquire during their peak years did so largely because of the great story telling and fabulous writers who graced their pages. In truth, it must be said, teenage lust did play a role in this cultural awakening. I was 12, after all, the spring I discovered a stack of Playboy magazines kept in perfect chronological order on a high and dusty shelf at the back of Mr. Winterbottom’s immaculate garage, which I was paid to sweep while the Winterbottoms went off to Carolina Beach for Easter. Mowing lawns along our block in 1966 for three bucks a shot was my first paying gig, and the garage job paid a dizzying bonus of ten whole dollars. The discovery of all those taboo Playboys was pure adolescent ecstacy. Foolishly, I told my best friend about the discovery and even spirited home a copy of the magazine for, ahem, closer inspection, which my mother later found hidden beneath the bathroom mat and occasioned an official conversation with my dad about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the sky up above. And you know the rest. It was, after all, sudden spring in Carolina, middle March in fact, and everything was either popping out or rising up voluptuously — azalea blooms, ACC basketball, tree sap, afternoon temperatures, the height of mini skirts March 2014

O.Henry 7


Capture each story, each laugh, every moment Today is about Henry and Sarah and a cozy winter day. His funny stories, her laughter, their Saturday morning. At Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, our focus is on living. Our care is about enabling you to live more fully, with comfort from pain, relief from symptoms and choices on how to live. So the most important thing about your day becomes laughing with Sarah. Together we’ll discover how to capture life’s most important moments.

For comfort, support and living more fully


Th a t R e a l l y M a tte r


on models in Life magazine, and so forth. For better or worse, crazy as it sounds, I will always associate the pleasant smell of a freshly mown lawn and the musk of trimmed boxwoods with my own teenage springtime awakening. My best friend’s mom, a song went some years later, really had it going on. Unfortunately, within hours of my extraordinary discovery at the back of the Winterbottom garage, half the neighborhood kids had gathered and done more damage pawing through Mr. W’s naughty archive than any dedicated hit squad of school librarians or my own Southern Baptist aunts most certainly would have done. Mysteriously, he never mentioned a word about the tattered editions, leading me to wonder if Mrs. W even knew of their existence. What a difference fifty years makes. Some years ago as another March appeared at our doorstep, my wife was amused to discover that I appeared more interested in the White Flower Farm spring planting guide than browsing her latest Victoria’s Secret catalog as I soaked weary bones in the tub after a long day working in the yard. “Don’t tell me you’ve finally outgrown your teenage lust,” she gently needled, bringing me a welcome Sam Adams beer. “It’s simply nature’s way,” I agreed. “Teenage lust is eventually replaced by middle-aged gardenlust. That happens to men as we age, science has shown — in my case, for better or worse, it’s stronger every March.” She smiled, only half buying it. “Gardenlust, eh?” “Yes. It’s a well-known seasonal human condition characterized by an uncontrollable urge, predominantly in males after a certain age, to get one’s hands on luscious mounds of virgin soil in an effort to grow something beautiful. Symptoms include, but are not limited to, coveting other people’s gardens, addiction to garden catalogs and a general longing to become a landscape architect.” “In other words, you’re more plowboy than playboy now.” Her amusement was complete. “I wouldn’t have put it that way,” I replied with a certain defensiveness soothed only by the bath and beer. “You could say as a fellow’s interest in Playboy magazine dims, his interest in serving nature grows.” She still looked skeptical. “Well, nature boy, can I get you anything else to sooth those weary bones?” “Another Sam Adams, perhaps. And, oh — could you hand me that copy of the Victoria’s Secret catalog? I care more than ever about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees.” And you know the rest. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at

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March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Phone. Home. Tyler Redhead & McAlister is proud to introduce our new website, Now, finding your next home or checking home values in your neighborhood is as simple as touching the screen. Go to and bookmark our site on your home screen to tour all of the Triad’s for sale and sold properties. Both current and easy to use, is the only real estate website you need. The Art & Soul of Greensboro / 336.274.1717 March 2014

O.Henry 9

Short Stories Rubinsesque

“Nancy Rubins is one of the leading artists of our time who has created some of the major public sculptures of the last twenty years,” says Nancy Doll, director of Weatherspoon Art Museum, “and yet she has never had a major solo museum exhibition in this country.” Born in Naples, Texas, and working out of Topanga Canyon, California, Rubins has sculptures in Paris, Las Vegas, Lincoln Center in New York and the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art. Through May 4, Weatherspoon is featuring the first exhibit that includes

Beer Here!

other media and explores the relationships among her various bodies of work — Nancy Rubins: Drawing, Sculpture, Studies. “Her sculptures, using airplane parts and full-scale boats, rise and cantilever into space,” says Doll, “in ways that suggest they’re much lighter than they are.” On March 6 at 6. p.m., Lynn Book, a specialist in interdisciplinary practice, and Amy Catanzano, a poet and experimental fiction writer, both from Wake Forest University, will lead an Art After Dark workshop at the museum focusing on Rubins’ work. The workshop is free, but pre-registration is required: t_dowell@uncg. edu. Info: (336) 334-5770, DCB

Right across from the Coliseum on the corner of Chapman and West Lee Street is a big, brick, nondescript building, which is apropos for a place called the Bunker. Just in time for March Madness, every Friday from 5 – 9 p.m. the front lobby of Natty Greene’s 20,000-barrel-capacity brewing facility becomes the Bunker at the Brewery, a tasting room where you can tap into the homegrown beer-maker’s latest and greatest creations for $4 a pint on draft or $3 a bottle. Recent special releases have included chocolate stout, weizenbock and IPAs a’plenty. And just in case your team didn’t triumph during the games, growlersized bottles can be ordered so you have plenty of beer to cry into. And while you’re waiting, you might want to reflect upon a quote from General Nathaniel Greene that’s displayed on the wall: “We fight, get beat and fight again.” Info: (336) 274-1373 or DCB

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March 2014


So what’s with the March 22nd Birthday Bash being planned at the Greensboro Historical Museum? It turns out that on March 25, 1808, the commissioners of the new town of Greensborough paid Ralph Gorrell $98 for the forty-two acres needed to create the new county seat of Guilford. Wanting to stage a party, the museum decided to celebrate the 206th anniversary of that date. If you were 206, wouldn’t you want to party? March 22nd was chosen instead of the 25th because it is a Saturday, the best day for drawing a crowd. With doors opening at 11 a.m., director Carol Hart will share stories about the “Birth of a City” at noon. At 2 p.m., the museum’s community historian, Linda Evans, will give a survey of how Greensboro’s neighborhoods developed historically, “Why We Love Our Neighborhoods.” Jugtown potter Travis Owens will be in the museum’s gift shop to introducer a signature piece of pottery he created for the occasion. For museum members, noted author and O.Henry authority Elliott Engel will present “Our Slippery Mother Tongue” at 7 p.m. Nonmembers can attend the event by joining the museum. Reservations and info: (336) 373-2043 or JS

Green Seen

The Greensboro Farmers Curb Market on Yanceyville Street will be greener than ever when vendors celebrate St. Paddy’s Day on Saturday, March 15. Anticipating spring’s bounty, shoppers can go green with spinach, creasy, parsley, mustard greens, turnip greens, kale, lettuce and even green tea. Lamb will be available for Irish stew and shepherd’s pie; sausage for bangers and mash; and Irish soda bread to soak up the gravy. Fresh green herbs, potted and by the bunch, will also be for sale. Drawing on his Irish forebears, Chef Brendan Hofacker of the Worx restaurant downtown will be offering samples of Irish fare in the Harvest Community Room. Included will be a preview of items that will be available on Monday, March 17, at The Railyard at South End. And with the luck of the Irish, children 12 and under can compete for treats, searching for four-leaf clovers hidden around the market. 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, (336) 373-2402 or DCB

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Oh Yes, We’ll Have Some Tomatoes

“March is not too early to think about tomatoes,” says Karen Neill, Guilford County’s urban horticulture agent. “Start your own seeds so that you have transplants ready to go outside in late April or early May. This gives you the ability to be selective about the different cultivars versus just what the garden centers have to offer.” Go to, and just try to resist ordering seeds on the basis of their evocative names — Box Car Willie, Aunt Ruby’s German Green, Eva’s Purple Ball, Earl of Edgecombe, Hillbilly and Giant Syrian. With seeds on the way, consider attending Totally Tomatoes: All About Our Favorite Fruit, offered four times during March in four different locations by the North Carolina Cooperative Extension Service. Look for tips and techniques to thread your way through the perils of cutworms, blight, wilt, mosaic, tomato hornworms, nematodes, blossom end rot, drought and flood. No one said it was going to be easy. (336) 3755876 or DCB

Tales and Trails

“Why Are There So Many NC Writers?” That’s the question that Literary Trails of North Carolina author Georgann Eubanks will answer at UNCG on Wednesday, March 26, at 4 p.m. “Writers have tended to ‘bunch’ in towns where university creative writing programs are thriving,” she says. “Greensboro is, of course, legendary in that regard.” For instance, Eleanor Ross Taylor, the distinguished poet encouraged her husband, short-story writer Peter Taylor, to teach at Woman’s College. “The Taylors attracted Randall and Mary Jarrell, Allen Tate, and a great many visiting writers, including Flannery O’Connor,” she says. “Then just think of the women writers who were in school there — Doris Betts, Heather Ross Miller, Emily Wilson, Sally Buckner, Kathryn Stripling Byer and Claudia Emerson, to name a few.” And North Carolina itself? Edna Ferber got the story for her novel Showboat in Bath. “Robert Frost came down as a very young man aiming to commit suicide in the Dismal Swamp, but decided to hang out with duck hunters instead. Rachel Carson spent time at Lake Mattamuskeet and in Beaufort.” And who knew that novelist William Styron (often identified with Tidewater Virginia) was actually the grandson of Alpheus Styron, who was born in 1848 on Portsmouth Island near Ocracoke? “I could go on and on,” she says — and will — in the Martha Blakeney Hodges Reading Room on the second floor of UNCG’s Jackson Library. Info: (336) 256-0112 or library. DCB

All That Jazz

“Let’s fly down, or drive down, to New Orleans,” goes the song. “That city . . . so pretty . . . it’s so extreme.” Once upon a time, jazz fans could only hear genuine New Orleans jazz within the crowded confines of Preservation Hall, three blocks from the Mississippi River in N’awlins’ French Quarter. Thanks to the touring Preservation Hall Jazz Band, on Saturday, March 22, at 8 p.m. you can hear the saints go marching in without leaving Greensboro. ArtsGreensboro and the N.C. Arts Council have teamed up with the Carolina Theatre to bring the venerable jazz band to the Carolina for a one-night engagement. And word is that the theater’s orchestra pit will be open for those who can’t resist dancing. So shake a leg. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or www. DCB The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sauce of the Month

I remember first tasting sriracha sauce, aka Rooster sauce, with its distinctive bright green cap and a cocky rooster strutting across the label, two decades ago at the Big Lips Café in Charlotte. It was love at first bite — garlicky enough to stay on your breath all day, hot enough to make you want to order another Singha beer, but not as sticky sweet as Thai chili sauce. It immediately joined Texas Pete in my pantheon of perfect hot sauces — condiments so essential you can’t imagine going to the beach without them. When Texas Pete-originator TW Garner Food Company in Winston-Salem came out with CHA!, its take on sriracha, I opened the bottle with trepidation. I thought that the recently introduced Texas Pete Garlic Hot Sauce was superb. Texas Pete Hotter Hot Sauce is fine, but risking my Tarheel street cred by saying so, I prefer McIlhenny Tabasco Sauce. I dribbled some CHA! on my over-easy eggs and sausage at breakfast. I spritzed my leftover meatloaf sandwich with it at lunch. At supper, I literally squirted it onto my stirfried basil chicken. In a side-by-side taste test with the original Tuong Ot Sriracha from Huy Fong Food in California, I found CHA! just as hot and garlicky and maybe a tad little less sweet and salty. I wouldn’t turn around for the difference, and it made me proud to be a North Carolinian — and an American, considering the original sriracha was invented by a Vietnamese immigrant in Rosemead, California. DCB


Everyone focused on ONE theme: “Begin Again!” Individually or Collectively. There are no limitations Poetry, memoir or short story Just begin Jot your thoughts on crumpled slips of paper rescued from the bottom of your purse Or on a cocktail napkin while sipping a pint at the corner bar. Craft your words carefully punching each letter on your keyboard. Or hurry and tap your thoughts in a memo on your cell phone while waiting in line And if autocorrect spits out the wrong words Begin again

One City, One Prompt is a global initiative of the Transformative Language Arts Network to get everyone to write using the same prompt: “Begin Again!” The effort in Greensboro — where/southeast/greensboro-nc — is led by local poet and poetry facilitator Jacinta White and runs from March 1 until April 30. To sponsor a workshop, submit or share, or for more information, contact TF March 2014

O.Henry 11

TWO ARTISTS | ONE SPACE Noé Katz + John Beerman

April 11 - June 22, 2014

Noé Katz

Noé Katz, Fruit of Love, 2002, oil on linen canvas, 34 x 42 inches

Moving to North Carolina from Mexico City, Noé Katz is an internationally known artist with work in private collections and museums such as the Museo de Arte Moderno in Mexico City, the Tokoro Museum of Modern Art in Omishma, Japan, and the Museum of Latin American Art in Long Beach, California. This is the first time works by Katz have been on exhibition in North Carolina.

John Beerman, Grandfather Mountain, White Clouds, 2013, oil on linen, 30 x 36 inches

John Beerman John Beerman has exhibited widely throughout the United States and is represented in numerous public collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, North Carolina Museum of Art, and Weatherspoon Museum. Included in this exhibition will be new oil paintings for sale from the Grandfather Mountain series.

Presenting Sponsor

Greensboro Cultural Center | Downtown Greensboro |

Photograph by David Bailey

Meet Me for Scupper

I’m meeting my barbecue-loving friend for supper at a new place downtown. When I get there, my friend looks worried. “Tell her what you told me,” he says to owner Brian Lampkin. “We have a no-cook kitchen,” says Lampkin. But my friend, who is on the leeward side of a deadline, likes the look of the menu, especially after he swills a Mother Earth kölsch. “I needed that,” he says, foam clinging to his mustache. “Man does not live by books alone.” Lampkin knows it. So do his business partners Steve Mitchell and Greg Grieve. Together, they own Scuppernong Books, the latest bookstore to give downtown Greensboro a whirl. Others have come and gone, but none has paid as much attention to the fact that readers — and writers — love a feast, moveable or otherwise. Mitchell, a writer and experienced chef, runs the no-cook kitchen (read: it would have been prohibitively expensive to equip and vent a kitchen during the rehab). Wielding a food processor and nary a microwave, he creates vegetarian fare with flair. Breakfast oats with coconut milk, chia, maple syrup and cocoa.Tabouli. Hummus, cheese and pesto plates. Smoked gouda-and-apple sandwiches. Local and homemade peanut butter paired with the exotic jams of “Jammin’ George” Daher. “We’re trying to do the freshest, the healthiest and the most local things possible,” says Mitchell. My friend and I gobble up the pun-filled menu, which is refreshed quarterly with new dishes and with short stories and poems submitted by local writers. The food categories make us laugh. Baked goods fall under “Yeast of Eden,” entrees under “Naked Lunch (Or Dinner),” and side items under “The Prince of Sides.” We will split a pimiento cheese sandwich and a side of butternut squash salad, along with a Mediterranean platter of hummus, olives, feta cheese and stuffed grape leaves. We soak up the atmosphere. The gurgling espresso machine. The creaky wood floors. The hand-lettered signs with Art Deco flourishes. The tables decoupaged with New Yorker covers. The front-window niche, a favorite perch of landlady and Greensboro city councilwoman Nancy Hoffmann. Our food arrives. My friend’s eyebrows rise as he tucks into the aged cheddar amplified with homemade mayo and sassy peppers. “Fresh basil,” he says as he tries the squash salad. He stabs and nibbles a garnish. “Mmmm, pickled green tomatoes.” “Who needs ’cue?” he says, as he slathers hummus atop a slab of focaccia. Brian the owner moseys over. “A glass of scuppernong wine for dessert?” my friend asks. Brian says he knows that some people like scuppernong. They ask for it. He’ll probably cave. “I think I’m fighting a losing battle,” Brian says. My friend insists there are good scuppernongs out there. I’m think I’m sitting in the best one. — MJ

DeconstructeD easy to wear HanDmaDe witH love in st. louis

Gaia 45 Miller Street Winston-Salem (next to Whole Foods) 748-1114 Mon-Fri 10-6, Sat 10-5

Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, (336) 763-1919 is open every day beginning at 10 a.m. weekdays and noon on Sunday. See for closing hours and events. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

O.Henry 13

Finger Food

The City Muse

At Taste of Ethiopia, eating with your hands is the least exotic pleasure on the menu

By Emily Fraser Brown

“Talk about a bonding experience,” my

Photograph by Sam Froelich

friend Tea mumbles with a mouthful of chicken and lentils, trying her best to balance the next bite of cabbage atop her torn piece of injera while laughing.

We could have asked for utensils, but it felt better this way. Taste of Ethiopia, the new Greensboro restaurant at 106 North Westgate Drive, offers a truly exotic diversion for those unfamiliar with Ethiopian delicacies — and the traditional way to consume them, communally, picking up your food with your fingers. Sure. Individual entrées are available on separate plates and utensils can be provided. But we chose instead to partake in gursha: Sharing our meal, without forks, spoons or knives, and hoping for the best for our blouses. The menu itself says nothing about what a luxury chicken and lamb would be in Ethiopia. The variety and excellence of vegetable dishes on the menu do. There was a brief wait for a table, families pouring out after a shared meal with hands flying wildly across the table, fighting over the last shred of flatbread or the final piece of lemon chicken. We waited outside for only a few minutes, talking with a group of people who were also new to the restaurant. “Did you see people eating with their hands?” asked a stocky gentleman only a few years older than ourselves, fidgeting with the zipper of his flannel pullover. “Don’t complain, I thought maybe we’d have to sit on the floor,” answered his date, tucking her arm beneath his. I had never given thought to the seating customs of Ethiopian dining, but he speculated that the law would require them to have chairs. He looked it up on his iPhone. “I can’t find it, but it says here that we shouldn’t eat with our left hands,” he adds. By this point we knew his name was Nathan and he’d brought his fiancée, Abigail, because of the low-gluten options. Tables had been cleared for us and we wished each other the best with handling the dining etiquette. My friend and I abandoned Western manners as soon as we got a whiff of the kitchen. A combination of meat and yellow split peas, seasoned and simmered in a red pepper sauce before being mixed with onions and a concoction of spices, fills The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the center of our oversized, communal tin plate. Injera — Ethiopia’s equivalent of the tortilla — is rolled loosely, surrounding the food as if to protect its generous portions from slipping off the side. The soft, absorbent flatbread is the country’s best-known food. Larger than a Frisbee, it can serve as the plate, utensil, side and comforting accompaniment, allowing you to guide each bite to your mouth and then savor once again the mixture of flavors that permeate the bread. It isn’t graceful. We tear into the injera, scooping up beef wat (stew) and devouring what doesn’t fall on the heavy plastic tablesetting. A diner at a neighboring table, wiping off rice and red lentils from his stone-washed, weathered jeans, shrugs casually, “I guess I didn’t come here expecting it to be neat.” We agree, wiping the rim of the plate with what injera is left to gather up the last of our lingering red pepper sauce. The restaurant is owned by Azeb Senke, his wife, Lulit Kifle, and her mother, Elias Ashame. Azeb is a physician by day. By the time you finish your meal, you feel as if your food was cooked and served by friends. “It’s sort of like we’re lucky Ethiopians,” Tea points out as we wait for the food coma to pass, rubbing our stomachs with only the smallest tinge of regret. At that moment, basking in gluttony and a cup of Ethiopian coffee (they’re the birthplace of the caffeinated beverage we desperately depend on, by the way), I felt like we were lucky no matter our origins. She was right, though. The restaurant is the perfect spot for those who are vegetarian or vegan because they’ll have so much to choose from, but not necessarily out of dietary concerns or taste preferences. As I mentioned, meat isn’t universally served in Ethiopia. And due to local religious customs, shellfish and pork are often explicitly forbidden. The quality of service and the privileged menu options mean that every diner eats like royalty at the new restaurant. The challenge may be finishing what you’re served. People newly arrived murmur about how hungry they are, noting that they haven’t eaten in however many hours, anticipating injera heaped high with vegetables. Gursha is meant to create closeness, familiarity and create a sense of family around mealtimes. And who would not want that? Now, Taste of Ethiopia has brought it to the Gate City, inviting us to be as satisfied by the sense of togetherness as the enticing and exotic food that we share. OH Emily Frazier Brown, who can be reached at, is a resident of Greensboro. March 2014

O.Henry 15





K er n

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Life’s Funny

Fit To Be Tried

Getting in shape with the silver crowd

By Maria Johnson

By the time you read this, I might be

able to find a parking space at the gym again. But as I write this, it’s still a matter of circling the lot twice and pretending I don’t see the old lady heading for that space with her blinker on.

Yep, the resolution-aries were still out in force. You know, the people who flood the gym in January, flush with New Year’s resolutions to get in shape. By March, some — not all — are still at it. I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I’m hardly a gym rat. In fact, I almost never go in the summer. But in the winter, when the weather is crummy, I might go a couple of times a week — usually when I have a deadline or when there’s housework to be done. Who needs that noise? So much bending, stretching, lifting and stair-climbing involved. Anyway, I’ve been barely going to the gym for many years now, and I’ve learned a few things that I’m willing to pass on. First, join a gym with lots of old people. Screw working out with young, fit people. They’re so serious. Instead, hang with the silvers. They’re much more relaxed and friendly, and being around them will make you feel so much better about yourself. Nothing boosts the ego like watching a pant-suited senior do leg presses of thirty pounds then taking her place, bumping it up to thirty-five pounds, and gutting out a few quick reps. Boo-ya! A word of caution if you go this route: You’ll have to endure a lot of conversations about vitamins. And grandchildren. And weather. And how the country has gone to hell. And the evils of the “Intranet.” And illness. And the big one: surgery. God almighty. Surgery. Can someone explain to me why, as people get older, they explain their surgeries in more graphic detail? My husband’s grandmother was a master at this. Here’s how she once described a friend’s hip replacement: “Well, they sliced her open like a chicken. They popped her thigh bone out of the socket. Then they sawed off the bad part. They drilled right down the center of the bone. They squirted a bunch of glue in there and hammered a metal piece in. Like a peg in a pegboard. Then they snapped the bone back into place, and sewed her up the best they could. Her scar looks good. A little jagged, but good.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

I nearly fainted just hearing about it. You have to be ready for this kind of thing if you work out with oldsters. And here’s some advice on using cardio equipment. Cardio equipment, for the uninitiated, is anything with a TV screen attached, a clue to the boredom you’re about to experience. That’s why you should watch a show that makes you mad. For me, it’s House Hunters on HGTV. REAL ESTATE AGENT: I think this home has everything you’re looking for. REASONABLE SPOUSE: Look, honey! The granite countertops you’ve always wanted! UNREASONABLE SPOUSE: Why is there no electrical outlet above this toilet? AGENT: I’m sure you could have one installed. UNREASONABLE SPOUSE: Is that a lemon tree in the backyard? Lemon juice erodes my tooth enamel. Pretty soon, I’m gripping the TV screen with both hands, trying to throttle the unreasonable spouse (good for biceps and triceps), and my heart rate is racing into the aerobic zone. Mission accomplished. Also, remember to take a pair of ear buds to plug into the sound because otherwise you are going to be stuck watching closed-captioned sports shows, which is like listening to a bad translator who’s always correcting himself. For example, you watch an athlete at a post-game press conference. He laughs. He cries. He pounds the table with his fist. He looks heavenward. And all you see is: COACH SAID JUST GO OT THERE . . . AND PLAY ARE GAME . . . AND THE SCARE . . . SCORE . . . TAK CARE ISEF . . . This kills your communication skills over time. You’ll find yourself going home and saying things like: I TOL YOU KIDS . . . PICK UP YUR CLOSE . . . WHLE I AT GYM WATCHIN GRAMMYS. . . GRANNIES . . . Keep these things in mind. Maybe I’ll see you ’round the leg press. Better yet, maybe you’ll quit. Parking 100 yards from the door and walking all that way is getting to be a real drag for us fitness buffs. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. When she’s not strangling TV screens at the gym, she can be reached at March 2014

O.Henry 17


Alumni Weekend and 175th Gala APRIL 4-5, 2014

PLEASE JOIN US SATURDAY, APRIL 5, 6:30PM-10PM FOR THE 175TH ANNIVERSARY GALA! LEA CENTER AND FRONT CAMPUS Heavy hors d’oeuvres, wine & beer, entertainment, special recognitions and exhibits celebrating “Greensboro College: Then and Now” will be on display. After Five Attire (Black Tie Optional) For ticket information and a schedule of events contact Scotti Early at 336.272-7102 ext 265 or

The Omnivorous Reader

Dixie Madness

How the 12-year run of the legendary Dixie Classic basketball tournament shaped and fueled the growth of the game in the South — sewing the seeds of “March Madness”

By Stephen E. Smith

You’d tune the old

Philco to a local AM station and hear a gravelly voice emanating from the great void: “This is Ray Reeve reporting from the Dixie Classic for the Tobacco Sports Network . . . ”

Not so many years ago such an announcement would have generated a level of excitement equal to, or even exceeding, the passions sparked by today’s March Madness. If you’re a rabid basketball fan, you should know — you have a responsibility to know — that the Dixie Classic is where it all began. Bethany Bradsher’s thoroughly researched and objectively written The Classic: How Everett Case and His Tournament Brought Big-Time Basketball to the South is the history of the popular postChristmas basketball round robin which began in 1949 and ended in 1961 amid charges of point shaving and payoffs. Even if you’re not particularly fond of basketball — such creatures do exist — Bradsher’s history is compelling. And timely. Younger readers should understand that in the late ’40s, college sports in North Carolina generated little enthusiasm. UNC’s “Choo-Choo” Justice and Duke coach Wallace Wade briefly attracted national attention, but basketball was an afterthought at state universities and private colleges. Then Case, an Indianan by birth and a former high school coach, took over the basketball program at North Carolina State University, and within five years he had transformed the culture. Bradsher does an admirable job of offering up tournament stats and describing key games and plays, but The Classic is more than a mishmash of hairbreadth one-pointers and miraculous ball handling. During the twelve years the tournament enraptured basketball fans, the region was caught up in racial turmoil and the agonies of social change. Bradsher captures that anguish and still manages to convey the passion experienced by the fans

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

who attended the tournament. And what a remarkable cast of characters she has to work with — the natty Frank McGuire, a frantic Bones McKinney, Oscar “the Big O” Robertson, William “Billy” Packer, Jumpin’ Johnny Green, and the Gray Fox himself, the best coaches and hoopsters of the time. Add to this heady mix a greedy bunch of mobconnected New York gamblers and you’ve got yourself a classic say-it-ain’t-so story. What Bradsher tells us is that Case knew what he was about. As soon as he arrived in Raleigh, he began recruiting players from his native Indiana — known among State fans as “Hoosier Hotshots” — and named them the “Red Terror.” He dimmed the lights during the pregame introduction of his players, had his team warm up in red capes, and he cut down the nets after every win. His vision for the Raleigh-based Classic was straightforward: Have the best four teams in the region — UNC, Duke, Wake Forest and State — play in a tournament that included four exceptional out-of-state teams, and fill the new Reynolds Coliseum with cigarette smoke and screaming fans. To this end, he installed a Hammond organ and a row of lights dubbed the “noise meter” that seemed to react to the cheering of the crowd (the device was actually manipulated by a Coliseum employee). Within three years, the Classic was a roaring success, and every kid in the state was digging for tickets in his Christmas stocking. But the tournament had a built-in dilemma: location. The Classic was held in the segregated South, and the introduction of black players, who began arriving in Raleigh as members of invited teams, elicited a vehement reaction from local fans. Tournament organizers had to wrestle with Jim Crow laws. When Mel Streeter, a black player for the University of Oregon, was scheduled to play at Reynolds, Roy Clogstone, State’s chancellor, wrote to Oregon’s athletic director suggesting that his team would have a much more enjoyable trip to North Carolina if Streeter remained on the Oregon campus. Oscar Robertson was refused accommodations at a local hotel, and when he was greeted at the Coliseum with racial epithets, something had to give. And did. If contemporary college basketball is colorblind, the Dixie March 2014

O.Henry 19

u 26 Paths to Leisu o re – F Y 21 ind One For

43 Parks & Recreation Administration 43 Athletics Office


Ballfields & Concession Stands

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Reader Classic helped make it so. But it wasn’t racism that brought down Case’s creation; money killed the Classic. And Bradsher excels at laying out the subtle sequence of events and detailing the various enticements — most of them monetary — used by New York gamblers to lure players into the fix. “The point spread,” she writes, “created ethical gray areas for players drawn by the notion of making a quick fortune. It’s easy to pull off and virtually impossible to detect, the gamblers would tell them. You don’t have to lose the game — you only have to make sure that your team stays within the spread.” Which is exactly what the guilty players did. Basketball was Everett Case’s life, and he knew his teams better than anyone. He sensed that something was amiss on the hardwood and reported his suspicions to authorities. In March 1961, Sports Illustrated published “The Facts About the Fixes,” exposing the pointshaving scheme, which had also taken place at other colleges and universities. Only a few State and UNC players were involved, but it only took a few. William Friday, the president of the Consolidated University of North Carolina, stepped in and canceled the Dixie Classic forever: “When a kid’s life is threatened — and I know it was threatened, and the district attorney did, or he wouldn’t have been here — you had to eliminate the problem.” Careers were ruined, the gamblers were prosecuted, and in some cases, the names of innocent players were sullied. This much is certain: The publication of The Classic couldn’t be more timely. Sports and related academic programs at UNC are under scrutiny, and money is more of a factor in college sports than ever before. Talented athletes opt to go pro without earning a degree. Football players at Northwestern University are pushing for unionization. Warren Buffett has offered $1 billion to anyone who can produce a perfect March Madness bracket for the NCAA’s Men’s College Basketball Tournament. Where does this leave us? Bradsher quotes Friday: “The bad thing about the picture you see today is that it’s not only bigger, it’s worse. There’s so much more money involved. We’ve turned our universities into entertainment centers . . . . And strong voices have got to rise up and say, ‘No more of this. No more. Of. This.’ And maybe it will start to right itself.” Don’t bet on it. OH Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 21

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March Kudos

Poetry is the journal of a sea animal living on land, wanting to fly in the air. — Carl Sandburg Congratulations to Becky Gould Gibson of Winston-Salem. The North Carolina Poetry Society announced her manuscript, Heading Home, the winner of the Lena Shull Book Contest. Gibson will be honored on April Poetry Day at Catawba Valley Community College. This poet, frequently praising the work of others, calls Anthony (Tony) Abbott’s House of Cards amazing.

By Sandra Redding Words, words, words . . . Chisel them; hammer them; stack them. Kaleidoscopic in color or Quaker gray, they become forms to touch, taste, bite into, love. — Anonymous

This Month’s Readings

Barnes & Noble, Greensboro, CRM2795@ March 6, 7 p.m., Mike Axsom, Making Memories Down South; March 20, 7 p.m., Anne Barnhill, Queen Elizabeth’s Daughter The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, March 15, 7 p.m., Andrea Weigl, Pickles and Preserves; March 17, 4:30 p.m., Erika Robuck, Fallen Beauty; March 23, 2 p.m., Anthony S. Abbott, The Angel Dialogues Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, March 4, 8 p.m., Bruce Holsinger, A Burnable Book; March 25, 7 p.m., Michael Parker, All I Have in This World Pomegranate Book Store, Wilmington, (910) 4521107: March 29, 4 p.m., Lavonne Adams, What Matters UNC Greensboro, Friends of the Library, March 26, 4 p.m., Georgann Eubanks’ presentation: Why are There so Many N.C. Writers? Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library

Many Returns

Our five-shamrock award goes to Jason Mott of Bolton. After earning a B.F.A. in fiction and an M.F.A. in poetry from UNC Wilmington, he published two successful books of poetry: We Call This Thing Between Us Love and “. . . hide behind me . . .” Mott gains inspiration from mythology, folklore and, gracious me, COMIC BOOKS. After he dreamed of his dead mother, an experience he found more comfortable than eerie, the novel The Returned evolved. No zombies here. Only people returning to help their loved ones. Are all the returnees good folk? Read the book to find out or watch Resurrection, the serial movie Brad Pitt’s production company developed from the novel. Tune to ABC on March 9 for the first episode.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Words can save us, especially if they are Tony Abbott’s. — Lee Smith The Angel Dialogues by Anthony (Tony) Abbott of Davidson debuts March 14. These skillfully crafted poems, describing angels fluttering through the poet’s imagination, combine humor with keen insight. “If I were allowed to choose my angel, I might embrace Gacie,” Fred Chappell says. “Solicitous, assured, understanding, cheeky (say what?), impudent (!), mischievous (?!), wiseacre (?!), she is the counselor who does not insist, the consoler who does not impinge; she is the One who will trust me when I cannot trust myself. . . . Thank you, Tony.” The emotional colors and complexities of the solitary life compel me. I imagine them seriously in my chapbook, Miss Havisham in Winter — by Mary Elizabeth Parker This cycle of poems reflects on adjusting to the last season of one’s life. A Greensboro writer, Parker has published extensively. Additionally, during eighteen years as chair of the Dana Awards, she has encouraged numerous writers with expert advice and monetary rewards. Several Dana winners have published books. For complete Dana Contest rules, go to

Dates to Remember

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day (3/17) by reading Irish verses. Wake Forest University Press (, Winston-Salem, is “the major publisher of Irish poetry in North America.” No leprechauns up to mischief here. Instead, scholarly angels pass out poems and candy to stressed-out students dreading exams. On the first day of spring (3/20), get ready for summer magic. Register for a Writers-in-Residence Program offered to published N.C. writers by Weymouth Center in Southern Pines. Writers selected can stay up to two weeks to work on a project. For information and application, contact Be warned, some swear the ghost of Thomas Wolfe lurks in the halls of Weymouth. Wolfe, among many celebrated writers of the past century, visited this historical estate owned by James Boyd. Boyd, who loved fox hunting, penned five historical novels. “I’d rather ride than write,” he confessed to friends.

Winners All

What is your favorite novel by a North Carolina writer? We will feature the book receiving most votes in the June column. Have you won writing awards or grants? If so, send details to Writer’s Notebook would love to include you on our Winners List. What do you want on this page? What writerly events are taking place in your neck of the woods? Let me know at Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s first novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, has just been published.

March 2014

O.Henry 23


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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T h o u s a n d

W o r d s

Best Reader Memoirs 2014

Swing Low, Sweet Chariot By Deonna Kelli Sayed

I learned most of what I needed to

know about the world under an old oak tree in my Big Momma’s front yard. The kingdom I created in that magical space, betrothed to me by a tire swing, predicted the shifting geographies that would define my life.

My mother dropped me off at Big Momma’s in the mornings on her way to work. I would crawl into her bed while she fried up thick bacon, eggs, (in a cast iron skillet, of course), toast, and smothered it with Karo corn syrup before she called, “Ke-ll-ii, time to eat!” When she hollered for me, which was often, she’d stretch my name out to three-and-a-half syllables long, just like when she’d go out on the back porch and call me in from the woods, the same way she did the cows. The first syllable always started low, but she ended the last on a higher pitch that flustered her timorous Chihuahua that we called Tiny. Big Momma lived at one end of the field. My aunt’s trailer sat at the other end (incidentally, the same trailer where I was conceived), and our house rested behind the field just beyond the tree line. The geography of familial history determined the boundaries of our daily lives just as it did for my homesteading Irish ancestors who settled the land. By October, the oak tree’s leaves gathered underfoot. And I, an only child and rarely in the company of playmates, spent hours raking the leaves into elaborate interior blueprints. I constructed fortified walls and long corridors. There were small rooms for sleeping, larger rooms for play. I envisioned an imaginary husband, children and friends. I had my life down to the smallest of details. The swing became my vehicle of flight. I floated over my creation and enjoyed the omniscient view of my kingdom. As I dangled, I sang aloud, “What a friend we have in Jey-sus,” off-tune and in glorious praise. I swung high enough to see my house peeping through the naked trees, far enough to imagine I glimpsed the pond at the end of the dirt road that my mother swore housed an alligator during her youth. I swung low enough to sometimes catch the earthworms rummaging through the dirt. I could almost fly over the field, which offered the predictable cycle of soybeans one year, rye grass or oats the next. If I became bored with the eloquence of my domestic design, I exited the tire, raked the leaves back into a pile and started over again. Everything functioned in controlled parcels, from my leaf house under the oak tree to the predictable sweetness of Karo syrup that Big Momma poured over my sausage. This is what the idea of home offers: stability, certainty, fortitude. It is where everything has a place and you never wonder about yours.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

During a holiday visit from my cousins, I revealed my wonderfully constructed domain. We soon argued over room dimensions and family dynamics. “I want to be the daddy,” my older girl cousin dictated, “and I get the biggest room!” “I am the daddy!” I protested. I felt that I should be the boss, not my city folk cousins who played in the Gulf of Mexico and atop urban concrete rather than foliage, earthworms and sixty acres of ancestral land. Then, Big Momma came out to the porch and yelled, “Ke-ll-iii, time to eat!” and we forgot about the contested kingdom under the old oak tree. I grew too big for Big Momma’s house the summer of my 11th year. My parents determined I could stay home alone, which was only yelling distance away. I decided that shaving my legs and becoming a rock star held more importance than the imagined geographies of constructed leaf homes. The following year, the boundaries of my known world fell apart when some boys pushed me up against the darkened entrance of the high school and took away the last remaining moments of my childhood. Everyone knew about it, all the kids at school, the teachers, the sheriff, even my city cousins who played in the Gulf of Mexico. Traditions failed to protect against the ensuing social and legal horrors, regardless if the dirt smelled like my history and that of my ancestors. I never swung on that tire swing again. Years later, after I had embraced a faith where pork no longer touched my lips, the confidence of boundaries ceased to matter. I married a man from a land far away. Five stepchildren who spoke a foreign language lived within my walls. The scent of strange spices clung to the air, and the only flying I did took me across large oceans and to foreign soil. Home changed every year or so, as did the cultures I had to navigate. Kelli would no longer be my name. The boundaries of my identity became as precarious as those leaf houses I built; negotiable, sometimes fragile, often thick with the sediment of life, adventure and hope. Then, one day, I would leave my marriage and all the certainty it afforded to build a room of my own, yet again. No small corner could contain me. I left with no job, income or assets — nothing — except the ability to fully unpack the magnitude of my stories. That, of course, and the faith that I knew how to throw everything in a pile, draw new corridors and rooms, and fly above my creation over, and over, and over again. OH Deonna Kelli Sayed is a Greensboro-based writer and an editor of loveinshallah. com, the website accompanying The New York Times featured book Love, InshAllah: The Secret Love Lives of American Muslim Women. March 2014

O.Henry 25

Decorating Your Home

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26 O.Henry

March 2014

5:02 PM The Art & Soul of2/4/14 Greensboro

Lunch with a Friend

Sticks & Stones and a Surefire Cure for the Blues For Greensboro radio legend Chris Roulhac, great friends, good music and sustainable food are the key to keeping on.

By Brian Clarey

She comes

Photographs by Sam froelich

here often.

Here at the very corner of Walker and Elam, Sticks & Stones Clay Oven Pizza sits at the heart of her heart-shaped world. Chris Roulhac went to Grimsley High just down the road a piece, though like a right Southern lady she declines to name the year of her matriculation. And she’s spent more hours near this particular intersection, once the nexus of the city’s music scene, than even the most loyal regulars at the Suds & Duds. At the old Blind Tiger, which for more than twenty years languished across the way, she fed her appetite for local music and the people who made it, often corralling them for spots on “The North Carolina Show,” which she’s hosted for fourteen years on Guilford College’s community station, WQFS FM, 90.9 on your dial. And this building here, now fitted out with a hand-built brick-and-clay oven and a short patio festooned with artistic fencing, is the scene of another chapter in Very Recent History. This place was once known as Wild Magnolia’s, a quirky New Orleansthemed bar and grill, with an ample stage built into the corner run by a bulldog of a man named Mike Rowe. It had blazing hot food and one of Greensboro’s widest selections of draft beer back when that was as rare a thing in these parts as a crawfish boil. I discovered Wild Mag’s almost fifteen years ago, fresh from the Crescent City, and I was drawn to its vibe — genuine New Orleans artwork as opposed to posterized clichés, an actual Mardi Gras Indian headpiece and apron, even an homage to Big Al Carson, the fattest entertainer on Bourbon Street, painted on a air duct. New Orleanians generally make fun of businesses that trade off the city’s cul-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ture and name. But Wild Mag’s was the real deal, right down to the sounds that came out of the place four nights a week. Here she saw seminal Greensboro bands like Tornado, Braco and the Allison King Band. “I think I saw Jim Croce’s son here,” she says. And it’s possible — likely, even — that I first met Chris right here in this space, back when the Abita Turbodog flowed and the house band jammed, with Mike Rowe himself tickling his classic Hammond B-3. But the truth is, from the day I moved to Greensboro, I can’t remember ever not knowing Chris Roulhac. “This place was great,” she says. “The Blind Tiger was more of a younger crowd, [but] you could come here and there would be people on the dance floor with white hair and college kids and everyone in between. “I miss being able to bounce back and forth,” she adds. Now, at a table near the windows with a shaft of pale winter sun cutting across, Chris Roulhac lets out a gentle sigh. “Have you heard how Mike is doing?” she asks. “I haven’t had an update lately.” We both know something happened to Mike Rowe, something bad. We know he still draws breath, that he’s laid up somewhere here in town, and very little beyond that. And there in that flush of white sunlight, we share a moment of silent bereavement for our friend. Chris Roulhac cares. She cares because she’s been there, felt the ache of loneliness and sorrow. She knows about the blues. They came on suddenly in late 2000, when her young husband, H. Christopher Sears, died in his sleep and she was left to raise their son, Will, then 5 years old, by herself. But she wasn’t alone. Chris had gathered an enormous circle of musicians, March 2014

O.Henry 27

Lunch with a Friend artists and performers around her over the years, and it was to them that she surrendered her grief. In doing so, she learned a peculiar truth about the blues: The best way to fight them off is to help a friend in need. “After something like that, you kinda need to feed your soul,” she says. “It really makes things more precious.” So she immersed herself in the scene, and gave back the love on her radio show. “When you have a small child, you’re on the floor playing with Duplo blocks for hours or sitting on the playground,” she says. “I liked being a mom and we did a bunch of stuff together, but after a while you just want to be an adult. “There were two hours a week I could control and do what I wanted to do.” She remembers the first song she spun as a DJ: a song from the CD of her cousin’s band, the Beauty Feast, that had been making inroads in the New York City scene. And so she launched a broadcast career that championed all kinds of music — rock, Americana, blues, bluegrass, hip-hop and more, as long as it had some kind of North Carolina connection — but at its essence was really about just one kind of music, a genre the kids call “friendcore,” which is to say, any type of music made by the people you know and love. Before long they began dropping by the studio, that crammed space up in Guilford College’s student union that looks like an indie-rock bomb went off in a walk-in closet, to talk about gigs and craft. Sometimes they’d pull out their guitars and play a number or two, like when bluesman Logia Meachum created a song for her right there on the spot. “Of course I wasn’t taping the show that day,” she says. Over the years, appearing on the show has become something of a rite of passage for Greensboro musicians. You’d be hard-pressed to find a working local band that hasn’t spent time in the cramped WQFS booth benefiting from her gentle encouragement. It began, she says, with Patrick Rock who, local music aficionados might remember, was gigging pretty hard back in the early 2000s, holding down sets at the Blind Tiger, Keegan’s, the Rhino Club, Ham’s and anywhere else that would have him. “He was the first one who asked me,” she says. “I had no idea how to do an interview or anything like that.” Evan Olson came a little later. “I was already a fan,” she says. Olson has been a pillar of the Greensboro music scene since the 1980s, when he played with a young Ben Folds in Majosha. And then there was Bus Stop and the jingles and the TV spots and the film soundtracks, with a few thousand gigs and counting in between. “You just go up to them and say, ‘I’ve got a radio show,’ and usually they’ll talk to you,” she says. “Probably the secret with musicians is to say, ‘How’s it going with y’all?’ and they’ll talk for an hour, or more if you’ll let them.” She takes on all comers, from Mike Garrigan of Collapsis and Athenaeum to Aaron and Benton James of the Urban Sophisticates, and the mix of tunes she spins similarly knows no bounds. “Even if I don’t know that much about it,” she says, “I’ll play it.” The Sticks & Stones website bears a quote from Dave Grohl of Nirvana and Foo Fighters, and all the menu items are named for Ryan Adams songs: Sweet-

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March 2014

potato fries are Silver Bullets; My Blue Manhattan is an Italian sandwich with locally cured meats; the Heartbreaker is a modified Caesar salad. “I like that the rosemary garlic potatoes are Rescue Blues,” she says. “Cool. Very cool.” Roulhac’s adhered to a vegetarian diet for the past twenty years or so, with occasional forays into seafood and eggs. “I love animals,” she says. “The thought of them suffering . . .” But Sticks & Stones is as sensitive as a restaurant can be in regards to sustainability, local sourcing and healthy fare. Beef is free-range and grass- fed; pork comes from pasture-raised hogs; all dairy is bereft of hormones and antibiotics. There was a time when the corner of Walker and Elam did not immediately bring to mind the tenets of clean living, but Sticks & Stones owner Neil Reitzel, who lives nearby in the Lindley Park neighborhood, has changed up the beat in the last ten years. He was one of the guys who started the Blind Tiger here back in 1988, and later opened Fishbones on the corner of an intersection that quickly became Ground Zero for the city’s nightlife denizens. Reitzel took his time with the Wild Magnolia’s space, opening in spring 2008 after more than a year of creative and carefully considered renovations. The brick oven he installed in the kitchen has been steadily seasoning since then. He took over the lease at the old Blind Tiger location in early 2011 and is contemplating plans for a vegan restaurant there. Or maybe a brewpub. Maybe both — Reitzel is not yet ready to commit. Here at his pizza joint, we order a slate of items to be shared: a salad called “Dance All Night,” with baby spinach, goat cheese, mushrooms and roasted red-pepper dressing; and the pizza named “Magnolia Mountain,” with mushrooms, arugula, ricotta and kalamata olives. Nothing with a face. And we can’t resist an order of Rescue Blues to get us started. “I try to do two-thirds raw food,” Roulhac says, gathering much of her wares at the farmers market that sets up in the parking lot of Sticks & Stones every Saturday morning. “I get a big bag every week,” she says. “It’s seasonal. Eggs, butternut squash, carrots, Brussels sprouts, apples, pears, greens, broccoli, kale . . . You can pick out whatever you want.” Sometimes she’ll stop by Sticks & Stones afterward for breakfast. “They have amazing biscuits,” she says, “until they run out.” The fries are raised an octave with subtle herbing and coarse sea salt. Leaf lettuce provides rhythm against the creamy goat cheese and the mellow red-pepper dressing in our salad. The pizza, atop an artisanal crust so light it’s almost fluffy, is a song unto itself. Yesterday on her radio show, Chris Roulhac spun a little funk, then some Bob Margolin into a jazz instrumental, a little Matty Sheets and a number from Amelia’s Mechanics. “Probably real DJs would cringe with a mix like that,” she says, forgetting for a moment that there are no real DJs anymore. “When I grew up, we had famous DJs right here in town,” she says. “The Carter Brothers’ dad, Diamond Carter; Dusty Dunn, Bob Poole. A lot of these stations,” she says, pausing to find the right words, “aren’t they just, like, machines?” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Lunch with a Friend Roulhac can barely conceive such a thing. “I’ve made so many amazing friends through this,” she says. “All of them are in my heart.” And it is in this way that Chris Roulhac took a weekly radio show and her bottomless grief and turned them into something more. Now she’s presided over generations of the Greensboro music scene and is part of the invisible machinery that makes it all happen. Her role is that of nurturer. “If they need help or something, like if somebody’s sick or something,” she says, “they’ll talk to me about their girlfriend problems or if they’re trying to split up with their wives or husbands. I’m like a confidante or friend.” Over the years she’s put on dozens of fundraising events to help musicians down on their luck. From there she moved to assist Triad Musicians Matter, a more formalized apparatus to help musicians in need, where she acts as fundraising coordinator. And she’s the president of the Piedmont Triad Blues Preservation Society, a group charged with the mission of keeping the blues alive in our little corner of the world and also putting on the city’s annual Carolina Blues Festival, which takes place this year on May 17 in downtown Greensboro. It’s a daylong affair, with sponsor booths, food trucks and, always, an awesome lineup. “I think [I got the job] because no one else wanted it,” she says. “I think that’s how it happened.” During her administration she’ll help the Blues Society establish a scholarship, the culmination of years of discussion and planning. She’ll keep up with the scene via her radio show, and go to as many shows as her schedule allows. “You just need to get rid of fear and use your talents,” she says, likening the situation to that of the Brand New Life, a popular Greensboro Afrobeat band that picked up and moved to Brooklyn last year. “They’re just going for it,” she says. “They’re not gonna be on their deathbeds like, ‘What if I had taken a chance on my music career?’” She is proud of them. She is proud of all of them, just as proud as she can be. Almost fourteen years ago, Chris Roulhac’s husband died from what she describes as “an enlarged heart.” And in many ways, this woman, whose heart is also a few sizes bigger than the norm, has just begun to live. And now the beam of late-winter sun has moved across the table. The plates are cleared. The meal is done. OH Brian Clarey is the editor in chief of the newly launched newspaper Triad City Beat. “The North Carolina Show” airs on WQFS Guilford College Radio, 90.9 FM, Wednesdays from noon until 2 p.m., subject to change. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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March 2014

O.Henry 29

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30 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Food for Thought

True March Madness Everything goes better — especially cheesy biscuits — with homemade bacon jam

As for the jam, use really good, applewood-smoked bacon. Nueske’s is sweet and flavorful, she says. Blanch the bacon if you must, but it will lose some of its flavor and smokiness. And don’t forget the coffee and bourbon at the end. It’s a little like making bacon jam with red-eye gravy in it, she says. Finally, don’t hesitate to make it yours by adding a secret ingredient — orange zest or smoked Spanish paprika, for instance. Or Scotch or rum instead of bourbon. “It’s something to play with,” she says. “Put your own flavors together.” And Mary James says if you want another killer bacon recipe in your repertoire, check out her bacon sesame brittle: search/label/bacon

By David Claude Bailey

Photographs by Kevin Banker, Pig platter courtesy of carolyn todd’s

“Men think

anything’s good if it’s a little bit sweet and salty,” said Mary James Lawrence after I raved about the bacon jam she delivered for the O.Henry Christmas party just before she flew to the south of France on a truffle hunt. Along with the bacon jam was a plump, folded foil package containing two dozen cheese biscuits she’d made earlier. Next day at the party, the warmed-up biscuits, golden brown, slathered with jam, disappeared in a flash — and it wasn’t just men scarfing them down.

When Mary James found out I wanted the recipe so readers could whip up something special in anticipation of March Madness, she said, “I’m not surprised. Have you ever made anything with bacon in it that was NOT a hit? You’ll always be everybody’s favorite hostess when the bacon jam shows up!” And who doesn’t like biscuits made with butter and amped up with cheddar cheese? “Because of all the butter in them, they’ll be crunchy if you serve them as soon as you make them,” she says. “But you can make them ahead of time and freeze them and they’ll still be moist and delicious.” Always use a premium sharp, aged cheddar, not store-brand, she says. If you really want to put on the dog, buy some quail eggs from Super G Mart, or another Asian market, and fry up a dozen to put on the biscuits. (“Don’t try to devil them unless you have teeny tiny hands,” Lawrence advises.) The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Bacon Ginger Jam 1 pound applewood smoked bacon* 1 1/2 cups shallots 1/4 cup fresh ginger 4 large cloves garlic 1/3 cup brown sugar 1 cup strong black coffee 1 1/2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper Few grinds of fresh black pepper 2 tablespoons bourbon Prep: Cut bacon into very thin pieces and then into tiny dice. This is easiest to do if it is partially frozen. Peel and clean shallots, cut into quarters and then into thin slices. Peel ginger, slice and then stack slices and cut into slivers. Peel garlic, slice and then roughly chop. March 2014

O.Henry 31

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32 O.Henry

March 2014

1/31/14 3:27 PM

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Cooking: Add bacon pieces to skillet and sauté until cooked, but still soft, not crisp. Stir occasionally. Add shallots, ginger and garlic. Cook until shallots are translucent. Add brown sugar, stir briefly, then add the coffee, honey, balsamic vinegar, salt and cayenne pepper. Over medium heat, reduce until thickened enough that a spatula can be pulled through it leaving an open trail . . . 15 minutes or so. Add bourbon and cook for a minute or so to evaporate the alcohol. Cool and refrigerate. Bring to room temperature to serve. * Nueske’s Applewood Smoked Bacon yields the best result.

Cheesy Biscuits 3/4 cup buttermilk 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour 1 tablespoon sugar 1/2 cup butter, diced 8 ounces very sharp cheddar cheese, grated (2 cups) Preheat oven to 450. Measure buttermilk and place in freezer for 5–10 minutes. In the meantime, whisk flour and sugar in a medium bowl. Add butter and work with your fingertips to incorporate it into the flour. Don’t overdo this. You should still be able to see the bits of butter. Add cheese and toss to combine. Now quickly stir in chilled buttermilk. Turn out onto floured surface and pull together into a solid mass. Pat or roll out to a 1/2" to 3/4" thickness. Cut into desired size (I used a 1/2" cutter) and place on baking sheet. For crispy biscuits place 1/2" apart. For softer biscuits, place them so sides touch, with no space between them. Bake in preheated oven until golden and speckled, about 10—15 minutes. Yields about two dozen if 1/2" thick, or three dozen if 1/4". For the second year, David Claude Bailey, O.Henry’s senior editor, ordered a whole side of bacon from R.M. Felts Packing Co. in Ivor, Virginia, and gave it away for Christmas. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 33

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34 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pleasures of Life Dept.

Nurse Whoopee

Everyone needs a little nudge in the art of romance. Valda Ford is here to give it to you.w

By Maria Johnson

When it comes to

Photograph by lynn donovan

the workings of the human body, Valda Ford knows what she’s talking about.

Ditto romance. So it was natural for Ford, a registered nurse who does dinner programs for people who want to add zest to their sex lives, to branch into writing romance novels. And that’s how Sins, Secrets & Lies, a self-published 94-page paperback quickie, was born recently. “She watched him walk in from across the room,” the book begins. “Though the room was large, she immediately identified his frame, his walk, his air. It had been more than a year since we last saw him. Their circumstances had not changed. She was still engaged to the man her parents had picked for her so very long ago.” Mmm hmm. We know where this is going. Or do we? Practicing what she preaches, Ford takes her time, lingering on the power of suggestion, talk and mutual respect as precursors to satisfying sex.
“Sex without romance is porn,” says the 59-year-old Ford, a High Point native who’s been around the world, and the block, a few times. Crowned homecoming queen at Andrews High School in 1972, she went on to be twice married, twice divorced and twice a mom. Her younger son died as a baby, and Ford’s questions about his medical care prompted her to go to nursing school, launching a career that has taken her to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone, Ghana and Omaha, Nebraska, where she taught college students and worked as a diversity expert. She returned to High Point in 2011 after her son, Alphonso, asked her to come home. Long a speaker on leadership and health issues, she started doing educational sessions called Sex is Not for Sissies! after speaking to 800 women at a hospital-sponsored event in Cincinnati and being approached by a 74-yearold widow who had a new, younger boyfriend and wanted sexual advice. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I said, ‘You think he’d be a stud?’ She said, ‘I think he would be.’” Ford dispenses information in a dinner-and-a-show format at hotel ballrooms and event centers. Forthright, funny and factual, she asks audience members to write their intimate questions on index cards. She answers the anonymous questions after dinner, with an eye toward increasing sexual knowledge and fun. “I believe that great sex and safe sex can go together,” she says. Always fascinating with storytelling, Ford wrote romantic audio snippets, had them recorded by a velvetvoiced man, and posted them on one of her websites, sexisnotforsissies. com, to help female listeners slip into a more playful mindset. “The majority of women I know have multiple obligations, and getting themselves from worker-mother-philanthropist into the role of lover might take a little nudge,” Ford says. She promises a sequel to Sins, Secrets & Lies, and maybe even a name for the female protagonist, who is simply “she” in the novel. The reason? So any woman can think of herself as the main character in a story that fuses mild erotica with Ford’s technical know-how. The result is never clinical, though this may be the only bodice-ripper you’ll ever read that contains the word cervix. At the same time, Ford, who holds a master’s degree in public health, plans to invite men to her next Sex is Not for Sissies!, a suggestion made by the male videographers and sound technicians who have heard her talk. Women, too, have urged her to make the sessions coed. “They say, ‘Let the guys in. They need to learn this stuff.’” OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. Ford’s next Sex is Not for Sissies! is scheduled for 6—9 p.m. on March 8 at the Technology Center of the Piedmont Triad, 510 Hickory Ridge Drive, Greensboro. For more information, go to or call (336) 870-5571. The cost, with dinner, is $35 for singles/$65 for couples. March 2014

O.Henry 35

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336.272.3061 36 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


American Robin The return of Spring

By Susan Campbell

As spring

Photograph by Debra Regula

comes to the Piedmont, few migrants are this far north, let alone back and ready to breed. But flocks of American robins have been evident all winter, feasting on dogwoods, hollies and other berry-laden shrubs. And now they are more interested in starting a new family than eating. They are, indeed, the “early birds.”

American robins are found throughout most of the United States and Canada. They are one of the most familiar birds on the continent. In winter, thousands from across Canada and the northern tier of states move southward, not as a response to the drop in temperatures, but in search of food. Although robins are insectivorous during the warmer months, they turn frugivorous in winter. Flocks of thousands are known to forage and roost together here in the Southeast. Both male and female robins have long black legs, orangey-red breasts and dark gray backs. Males, however, have darker heads and more colorful breasts. Robins use their thin, yellow bills to probe the vegetation and soft ground for invertebrates in the warmer months. Spiders and caterpillars are common prey as well. These birds use both sight and sound to locate prey. It is not unusual to see a robin standing still and then cocking its head as the bird zeroes in on a potential food item just under the soil surface. Here in North Carolina, come March, male robins return to the ter-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ritories they have defended in past summers. In bright, fresh plumage, they will sing most of the day from the tops of trees and other elevated perches, attempting to attract a mate. Their repeated choruses of “cheeri-o, cheeri-up” echo from lowland mixed woodlands to high elevation evergreen forests as well as open parklands in between. Females will accept a male for the season, but once summer draws to a close, so does the bond between the two. Females are the ones who select a nest site and build the nest. Suitable locations are typically on a branch lower in the canopy to support a hefty, open cup nest. Twigs and rootlets are gathered and then reinforced with mud, often the soft castings of the very earthworms they love to eat. The nest will then be lined with fine grasses before the female robin lays three to five distinctly light blue eggs. Constant incubation by mother robin takes about two weeks, followed by two more weeks of feeding by both parents before the young fledge. Robins can potentially raise four broods in a season — although very rarely do all the nestlings survive. And fewer yet (about 25 percent) will make it through their first year, to breeding age. Surviving young of the year will wander, often with siblings or a parent, until late summer when they will flock up with other local birds. Small groups in North Carolina may move farther south if winter food here is scarce or if competition with larger northern flocks is too great. But not long after the New Year dawns, the same birds will be on the way back. Increasing day length triggers their return journey. And thus, the cycle will begin anew. OH Susan would love to hear from you. Send wildlife sightings and photos to susan@ or call (910) 949-3207. March 2014

O.Henry 37

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38 O.Henry

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March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Deuces Wild

Game On

This March, Summerfield Wrangler James Cooler and the semi-wild Quarter horse he chose from a thundering herd will be a long shot at the prestigious Wild Card world championship in Lexington, Kentucky. Just the way horse and trainer want it

By Mary Seymour


Cooler is a regular kind of guy. Thirtysix regular, to be exact. At six-feet tall, with gray-blue eyes, a well-toned torso and a wide boyish smile, he models for Wrangler here in Greensboro.

But that’s just his side job. His real job is wrangling horses. He’s a natural horsemanship trainer — which means he uses horses’ natural instincts and psychology to train them. It’s the polar opposite of the old tradition of “breaking” horses through domination and physical force. By encouraging trust and understanding, Cooler develops a close bond with each horse he trains, echoing the relationship horses have within a herd. Cooler learned about horses from his father, a Montana emergency room doctor who treated countless horse-related injuries. Deciding there had to be a safer way to ride, Don Cooler developed Cooler Horsemanship in the early 1990s. The entire Cooler clan spent weekends traveling from one dusty Western town to the next. They held dozens of clinics and worked with hundreds of horses. For James Cooler, it was a priceless education. And a calling. Every now and then an extraordinary opportunity arrives in life; it’s up to the recipient whether to drop it or do a full-tilt grab-and-run. Cooler has had two huge opportunities in his life: The first one was a gamechanger, and the second one is still in play. Back in 2005, Cooler was grieving the untimely loss of his father to brain cancer. At 25 years old, without his dad as mentor and partner, he no longer had the spirit to be a horseman. He was struggling to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. Enter Kate Finnerty, a massage therapist and aesthetician whose true passion was horses. She and Cooler fell in love, and together they decided to resurrect

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Cooler Horsemanship ( They moved to Summerfield, North Carolina, in 2009, married, and tackled the challenging task of making a living from training horses and teaching natural horsemanship. Cooler Horsemanship developed a loyal following and grew slowly but steadily. In 2012 Cooler Kate, their four horses, two dogs and cat moved to Flintrock Farm in Reidsville. Business was good, but they longed for something to vault them to the next level. They took a dice-rattling gamble in January 2013 and submitted Cooler’s application for the prestigious Road to the Horse’s Wild Card competition. A lot of other trainers around the world had the same idea; more than 400 applicants threw their hat into the ring. The competition was fierce for good reason: Road to the Horse is arguably the most famous colt-starting contest in existence. The judges chose seven Wild Cards from horse country in Florida, Kansas, Montana, Texas and Canada. Their eighth choice came from a little town in North Carolina. Tootie Bland, the colorful owner and producer of Road to the Horse, called Cooler herself to share the good news that he’d been chosen. “She told me, ‘I have news that is going to make your weekend,’” recalls James. “I said, ‘You didn’t make my weekend. You made my whole year.’” Cooler traveled to Road to the Horse in Lexington, Kentucky, in March 2013, along with his fellow Wild Cards. Through a lottery system, he chose a semi-wild quarter horse out of a thundering herd, with a ticking deadline to go with it: one year to turn his colt into an uber-performance horse. In March 2014, Cooler will compete against the other Wild Card contestants at the 11th Annual Road to the Horse World Championship of Colt Starting in Lexington, with thousands watching and seven cameras capturing the event for a multidisc DVD. The winner will step into the arena and go hoof-to-hoof with Swiss horseman Antoine Cloux, Canadian Jonathan Field and Australian Dan Steers for the title of top natural horsemanship trainer in the world. March 2014

O.Henry 39

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That’s right, in the world. The pressure is mounting; some days James feels it more than others. Wild Card updates appear regularly on the Road to the Horse Facebook page ( They’re all stepping up their game, adding videos of extreme obstacle courses, cowboy dressage competition and reining championship wins. Cooler prefers to focus on the here and now. “I’m trying to eat well, exercise so my body feels good and ride a lot,” he says. “Outside of that, I just work with lots of horses to keep my hands fresh. And, of course, I’m trying to keep my mind off the pressure.” Cooler loves the horse he picked, Career Cat, whom he renamed Deuce. A muscle-bound hunk from the 6666 Ranch in Texas, Deuce is smart, sensitive, light on his feet, yet jet-powered from the hind end. His herding instincts are hard-wired into him — he comes from a long line of cutting champions. “Deuce just has so much raw talent,” says Cooler. “Shaping it a little bit every day is challenging but rewarding as well. He doesn’t hand it over, but if you earn it right, he gives you his all.” Deuce will stay on as Cooler’s horse for life. Road to the Horse offered all Wild Card competitors the opportunity to buy their horses; Cooler is using his Wrangler modeling income to purchase Deuce. The two of them look as if they’ve been together forever, moving with Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers grace, albeit with one partner weighing over a thousand pounds. On March 13 and 14, 2014, they’ll perform the dance of a lifetime at the Wild Card finals ( The competitors will be judged on their horse’s health as well as their performance in pattern work, an obstacle course and a freestyle demonstration. Cooler, who can ride perfect galloping circles without a bridle and saddle and juggle while standing on his horse, is mum about his freestyle plans. You can bet whatever he pulls out of his cowboy hat will be big. Winning the Wild Card competition, not to mention Road to the Horse, is a long shot, but Cooler believes in long shots. “My dad loved to play poker, and he always called deuces wild. Deuce’s name is a tribute to him and the fact anything can happen — in poker or life.” OH Mary Seymour is a writer, counselor and lifelong horse lover. She is the author of Galloping Mind (, a blog about her adventures in natural horsemanship.

40 O.Henry

March 2014

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March 2014

O.Henry 41

Street Level

From Cuba with Love

By Jim Schlosser

When you’re the grandson of Sherwood

Anderson, one of America’s most famous and innovative writers, you damn well better have a spark of creativity yourself.

Well, Grandpa would be proud of David Spear, even though Spear himself has only a vague memory of the author of the celebrated series of short stories Winesburg, Ohio. “I can remember him patting me on the head,” says Spear of the famous relative who died in 1941. Spear’s mother, Marion (Mimi) Lane, was the daughter of the first of Anderson’s four wives. Besides, Spear says, he has always played down his kin to Anderson. He doesn’t even mention it in biographical sketches. His aim has always been to keep expectations others have for him from rising too high. Spear’s family, with help from Sherwood Anderson’s son, Robert Anderson, bought the Madison Messenger in Rockingham County and ran it for fifty years before selling. Spear, now 76, still lives in Madison but always seems to be in Greensboro, where he graduated from Guilford College. He’s constantly pondering whether to move to Greensboro, as he is particularly attracted to downtown. His house and studio in rural Rockingham stands on an honest-to-God passage named Tobacco Road. His first book, The Neugents: Close to Home, a

42 O.Henry

March 2014

photo essay of a hardscrabble farm family living on Tobacco Road, earned Spear a Guggenheim fellowship. One of the last times I met with with Spear he had published a book based on a long stay in Mexico. In Visible Spirits, he photographed Mexicans, then used Photoshop to introduce objects and moods into the photos. He drove 260,000 miles in a Mitsubishi taking pictures. Before doing his book on Cuba, Ten Days to Havana, Spear visited the Caribbean island nation twice. He decided it was ripe for a photographic book based on impressions that turned out differently from what he had anticipated. He did the photography in 2012 while still recovering from a broken back after his lawn mower toppled onto him. Though he owns the finest Canon cameras and lenses, Spear left them all at home. In Cuba, he made about 500 photos using the camera in his iPhone. “I think it may be the first book done with an iPhone,” he says with wry understatement. Ironically iPhones are one of those gadgets he complains about ruining American creativity. But he says in the right hands, the little camera phone can produce wonderful photos. He narrowed the number of pictures to twenty-eight, and wrote a long text at the end of the book, exploring the lives of the people he met on the streets of one of Havana’s poorest sections. He took notes on their feelings about living in a communist state. The answers surprised him. Most Cubans said they were content with their lives, and there were no government eavesdroppers around when they spoke. He tried to blend into street life by looking ordinary, a man with a cell phone, The Art & Soul of Greensboro


David Spear’s ten days in Havana

which while not commonplace among Cubans, is not unfamiliar. “I didn’t want to carry a big camera,” he says. “It’s big and obnoxious and makes you look like a tourist.” “I was not going to be aggressive. Be patient, I told myself. Stay away from the clichés: Ernest Hemingway. Old cars. Women with rags around their heads.” Nearly all the pictures are of people. Their stories are told through their facial expressions and through their activities, most of them taking place on the streets. The washer woman in a neat but decrepit laundry; a watch repairmen bent over parts of a watch carefully picking at a piece; a white and black Cuban couple looking cuddly on a bench; a man who invented a device he called a “Bazoca” firing spray that kills mosquitos; a man in a straw hat, smoking a cigarette that had burned to a half inch of his finger; a grizzled man wearing a sleeveless T-shirt; a woman in a tiled kitchen, with a pressure cooker decorating the stove and a bear and other magnetic do-dads on her blue refrigerator; a man without his head showing under a 1950s-era car making repairs; a beautiful young woman, hair blowing with the wind, standing at a seawall. “I lived with a family and just walked the streets. I was looking for good photographs but also good stories.” He had no trouble communicating with the Cubans, speaking what he calls “survival Spanish plus” he learned from months spent in Mexico working on Visible Spirits. One of the most fascinating shots is of a long line of flattened soda cans. The innovative man who collected them lined them up in the street, then waited for passing trucks and cars to crush them — ready for recycling. His visit to Cuba left him with paradoxical views about the nation that was held under the iron hand of Fidel Castro for decades. Life has been loosened a bit under his brother Raul. “Cubans are very inspiring,” Spear says. They are very open. What I saw was not a lot of sad distressed people. They don’t have the material wealth we have, of course, but they have the means to live.” Spear has traveled the world taking photos and his work appears in such important collections as the Museum of Modern Art in New York. “He has a really rare ability to walk into a place and connect with his subjects,’’ says Edie Carpenter, director, curatorial and artistic programs for Greenhill. She says light and emotion get transcended from his camera to his photographs. Spear will be part of a four-photographer group show starting in July at Greenhill, called Light on China. The ever-wandering Spear has also spent time in China photographing. Of the Havana barrio, he says, “No one is starving down there.” That doesn’t mean they are eating heartily as do most Americans. To his delight, the svelte Spear says, “I didn’t see a single fat person.” He says the Cubans have been leaders in organic gardening, by necessity. They lost fertilizer when the Russians pulled out in the 1990s, leaving Cuba economically adrift. The people had to be innovative. He saw community gardens in vacant lots and other empty spaces. What he didn’t see, but expected to, were political posters of Fidel Castro and Che Guevara and other Communist rebels boasting of the Revolution that brought Castro to power in 1959. For sure the government still controls Cuba. But little by little privately owned restaurants and shops are opening and people are allowed to rent rooms to foreigners. He got a haircut — an awful one — in a privately owned barbershop. The cost was 40 cents. He liked the absence of commercial advertisements. He didn’t see a single billboard. He found that Cubans aren’t geared to manufacturing and making goods. They pour energy into the arts, music, medicine and a few other endeavors.He found the paintings fabulous. Havana seemed like New York of old when he saw youngsters with sticks in the streets hitting the tops off soda pop cans in games of street baseball, much like the game of stick ball Americans in New York played generations ago. No wonder Cuba has produced so many great baseball players. Many defect to America, where riches await them. Eventually, he says, Cuba is going to be more capitalist and enterprising — like The Art & Soul of Greensboro

us. But make no mistake. He believes, as do other progressive thinkers, that moderate socialism is not necessarily an evil. Without Americans realizing it, he points out, socialism undergirds the United State’s free enterprise system. The highways, most schools, air traffic system, the ports are run by the government and benefit capitalism. “Cuba is over-regulated, no doubt about it. But we have regulations in this country, too,” he says. Cubans seemed relaxed. He said people didn’t look over their shoulders to see if they were being watched while he took their photos. He was allowed to roam without a government aide at his side. People worked for government-owned businesses, but they didn’t seem to be working too hard. “Dominos is big time,” he says. “Put up a card table on the street and go at it. Mitt Romney would walk through the streets and say 100 percent of these people are slackers. But they are not living to get rich.” Some expressed anxious thoughts about the U.S. abolishing the embargo that prevents trade between the two countries. They fear an American take-over will bring back the days of Fulgencio Batista, the dictatorship that preceded Castro and turned Cuba into an island of sin and pleasure and quick riches for some. Of course, Spear saw things he didn’t like. The streets are filthy; the houses in disrepair; hustlers try to con you out of David Spear money on the streets (but he saw no beggars with tin cups). He heard that people yearning for economic freedom still build boats to escape to Miami ninety miles away. (But Raul Castro has eased travel restrictions. Spear says he has heard, but didn’t see, an emerging middle class in Havana.) One occupation Castro claimed he eliminated, but really didn’t, was prostitution. Spear found ladies of the night plentiful, even in the daytime. He decided no form of government could suppress the world’s oldest profession. On his first trip to Cuba he was photographing a prostitute when two of her colleagues attacked him trying to get his wallet. Using a mono pod, he managed to beat them away. People are always urging him to take a zoom lens on his travels. He tells them, “No, I got two good feet. I can walk closer.” He did succumb to using color for the first time. He says black and white would make Cuba feel grainy. “It didn’t feel that way. It’s very colorful.” He came back feeling America needs a new health care system, whether it’s President Obama’s or not. While in Cuba, he broke crowns in his teeth. He went to a dentist who concocted a mixture and re-secured the crowns When he reached for his wallet and asked how much he owed her, she waved him off. Medical care is free in Cuba. Nevertheless, he went out and bought her a bouquet of flowers. He’s back in Madison now working on his memories of his long newspaper career, which saw the Messenger take an early stand in favor of racial integration. It editorialized against the Klan and other hate groups. In that respect he’s following Grandpa. Sherwood Anderson wrote for small paper in Troutdale, Virginia. Sherwood Anderson also wrote his memoirs and, as a progressive thinker like his grandson, a book set against the famous textile mill strike in Gastonia long ago. As the old saying goes, “The acorn never falls far from the tree.” OH Jim Schlosser is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. He can be reached at jim@ March 2014

O.Henry 43

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44 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

Tureen Trouble One was a problem. But three is perfect

By Jane Borden

After receiving duplicates of a few items on my wedding registry, I found myself in an enviable position: with store credit at Carolyn Todd’s, one of Greensboro’s finest purveyors of fancy-pretty things. Family, friends and family friends all advised me to put the entirety of the credit toward a tureen, an item which sounds like part of a military convoy, but rather is a large serving dish. Like a canteen, a tureen holds liquid — they’re designed for soups and stews — but unlike a canteen, there is no situation requiring one for survival.

This last point may be unknown to my chorus of advisors, however, who chanted, “You must have a tureen.” You mean, like a smoke detector or health insurance? “Everyone needs a tureen.” I see. Like a liver? “You just shouldn’t be without one.” Ahh, so more like a kidney. I zeroed in on the definition of the word “need” because I was then, as I am now, poor, which you already know because the word “author” appears in my byline. Since Carolyn Todd’s doesn’t sell beans and rice, Wi-Fi, or car loan payments, my grand idea was to appropriate the credit toward a collection of smaller, beautiful things, which would make lovely birthday presents for friends and family over the next year. But my advisers explained that this The Art & Soul of Greensboro

was rude: My generous wedding guests wanted to give something pretty to me, not to my friends and family. I accepted the wisdom of this sound argument, but will point out that it was made by people who didn’t once return an unused, jumbo bottle of Piggly Wiggly-brand club soda to get the $1.19 in cash. Nathan, by the way, was totally befuddled by the prospect, asking, “But what do you do with a tureen?” I replied, “You look at it.” To be honest, I, of course, wanted one; they’re beautiful. I just wasn’t sure I’m the sort of person who’d actually have one. I don’t cook much, so it would exist exclusively as a work of art, and the rest of our art is modern, alternative . . . how to explain . . . my aunt calls it “bohemian.” But I do have fond memories of my mother’s tureen — as well as a strong memory of the day my sister and her friend shattered it. While they jumped around in our other sister’s room, a ball on the chandelier, hanging from the ceiling directly beneath them, unhooked itself and crashed onto the tureen, taking out, with eerie precision, a depicted lemon wheel, and splaying cracks across the lid in every direction outward from the wheel’s circumference. I called Mom recently to ask if she’d cried that day. “I think I was too angry to cry,” she said, and then added, “but . . . you know . . . it was just a thing.” True, but . . . you know . . . we never jumped around in that room again. And . . . you know . . . now that my sisters have young children, they keep their own tureens — also acquired with store credit from wedding-registry duplicates — bubble-wrapped in closets. At the time of my wedding, I used this last bit of information, to buttress the anti-tureen argument, but my council of elders had a response for that too: Even if I didn’t want one now, I would later, when I was older, but by March 2014

O.Henry 45

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane then it would be too late; now was my only giantstore-credit chance. One life, one tureen, one shot. So I went for it. A couple of months later, Nathan and I received a second tureen. His grandmother, who made her living as a dealer of Haviland china, had been collecting pieces for his wedding present since the time that he, at age 12, pointed at a pattern in her garage and said, “That’s pretty.” We knew we were receiving dinner and salad plates from her. But the matching tureen was a surprise. We were thrilled, and also very thankful, and also somehow the owners of two tureens. Nathan: “What do we do with them?” Me: “Look at them.” Over Thanksgiving that fall, my mother, who’s known to her grandchildren as Sweet, announced an activity called “Shopping at Sweet’s House.” She said she wouldn’t wait until she was dead for my sisters and me to start receiving her belongings. She wanted to enjoy the giving, and share in our appreciation. So she’d covered the dining room table in a motley assortment of fancy-pretty things: a brass plant pot, a silver butter tray, a painted flower cachepot, a variety of delicate china figurines, serving spoons and embroidered tablecloths, and one enormous tureen bearing a cracked/glued/ repainted lemon wheel on its lid. Even damaged, the tureen was by far the most valuable item, and yet, after the first round of giddy choices, it remained. Then we each made a second selection. And still it waited. Frustratingly, I otherwise would desire it greatly — and not in spite of the crack, but because of it, and the memories it evokes. But if it is true that no situation requires a tureen for survival, then it follows that multiple tureens might actually be a hindrance to survival. I suppose you could throw them at a bear? But wouldn’t you rather drop them and run? That afternoon, I assumed my sisters, who’d already stowed their own bear weapons, agreed. So I did some quick math, counting the remaining items, and then working through the alternating order in which we selected: I would be taking home the tureen. And so I did. Which means that, ultimately, I was right: I am not the sort of person who owns a tureen. I’m the sort who owns three. We look at them every day. OH Greensboro native Jane Borden, author of the highlyacclaimed I Totally Meant To Do That, displays her multiple fancy-pretty things in her L.A. apartment.


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March 2014

O.Henry 47

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March 2014


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Moving Sale

March 2014

I am parked at the top of the hill. The cars stretch all the way to the bottom. They don’t know me, these strangers who burst from the door of our home carrying what they can haul away in their white pickup trucks, their black vans. A woman in purple shorts waits to get in. I stand in the yard under the deodara cedar and watch the lamps and tables burst into the spring morning. The azaleas are almost gone, brown at the edges. Someone has even bought the doormat. I walk around the back, and hear the small waterfall empty into the pond. I climb the stairs to the deck and into the dining room where the gold chandelier still glows. My friends stand in line and hold their purchases up to me. Tell me the story of this one, a neighbor asks, holding the glass elephant my patient from dialysis gave me. Another has a tiger, and the two Kabuki actors I bought in Cambridge fifty years ago stride out the door in someone’s arms. Upstairs, a beautiful cherry bureau stands in the empty bedroom. No one has bought it. Not for sale, I scrawl on a scrap, and take the small brown bird with metal feet from a nearby shelf where twenty copies of my first book wait to be shoveled off to Habitat or to the trash. The Degas dancers still hang on the wall of the guest bedroom downstairs. At the end of the day I will come back for them. It’s hard to breathe the air of so much history. Our life parades on down the hall and out the door. A pickup truck backs up into the yard. The double bed is loaded in the back. The wheels spin and the truck leaves angry ruts in the soft spring grass. — Anthony S. Abbott Abbott served as president of the North Carolina Poetry Society from 2009 –2011. His newest book of poems, The Angel Dialogues, will be released this month. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

O.Henry 49


A world that once bore the sting of a class-driven insult is now a simple badge of honor to those who remember a happy life in area mill communities By Stan Swofford

I was a “linthead”

long ago, a third-shift linthead, which meant that when I walked out of the mill at 7 a.m., my sandy blond hair was shimmering white in the sunlight, as if I had been caught in a sudden snowstorm. But it wasn’t snow, of course, although it does snow occasionally in mountainous McDowell County, where I grew up and worked for a year at the American Thread Co. It was lint — bits of thread and cotton that made me prematurely gray four hours into my shift. But I didn’t care. I was in my mid-20s, just back from a year in Vietnam on a helicopter gunship, and full of piss and vinegar. I was a “bobbin boy,” the guy who gathered and cleaned the bobbins for the production workers, most of them women, who spun the thread on huge looms. When the bobbins were full of freshly spun thread, I helped them “doff,” or clear their machines and prepare them for another round of spinning. I had a dangerous job, not because of mill machinery or the remote possibility of contracting brown lung disease, but the distinct probability that one or more women, who were paid according to their rate of production, might surmise that I favored one over another of them — which sometimes I did. I was grateful for my job. Money from it, plus the G.I. Bill, would allow me to finish college. I didn’t mind lint in my hair. It would comb out — most of it, anyway. The important thing every morning, which was my evening, was to find my buddy, Billy Ray, and head to the closest legal establishment that sold cold beer at 7 a.m. I don’t remember the name of this fine place, but it was filled with third-shift mill hands like Billy Ray and me. I knew that because most of them had that prematurely gray linthead look, although some sported blue hair. It all depended

50 O.Henry

March 2014

on the color of the cloth and the millworker’s job. But you had better be smiling and have that look yourself before referring within earshot to one as a linthead. That was a word that could get you a fat lip, fast. I saw more than one beer-fueled dust-up over that word, and heard numerous arguments that almost erupted into blows. “Linthead,” if directed toward a millworker by someone who thought he or she belonged to a higher social class, was a word that stung — a demeaning term of disparagement, not only in the mills that sparsely dotted Appalachia, but in the bustling Piedmont, once home to, and economically powered by, thousands of millworkers. The textile industry moved into its heyday in Greensboro in the late 1940s, when the city had between 60,000 and 70,000 residents, and began to boom after the war. Begun 120 years ago in Greensboro by brothers Ceasar and Moses Cone, Cone Mills was the world’s largest denim maker. Burlington Industries was the world leader in rayon weaving. Blue Bell was America’s leader in overalls manufacturing, and Guilford Mills had begun production. Greensboro became a world leader in textile manufacturing. Lots of lintheads lived here and in nearby towns such as Gibsonville, where Cone owned Minneola Manufacturing Co. Greensboro and Burlington, of course, were home to any number of Burlington Industries mills. “Lintheads made this part of the world,” declared 83-year-old Shirley Adams, who with her husband, Bud, went to work for Burlington when she was 16. “Lintheads put food on our tables and clothes on our backs.” Burlington had a lot of lintheads, but the greatest single concentration in the Triad was in the mill villages built by Cone Mills for its workers. Moses and Ceasar Cone named their first mill Proximity because it was adjacent to the Piedmont’s cotton fields. They then persuaded their friends in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs left and lower right Provided courtesy of Cone Denim LLC, a division of International Textile Group, Inc.

South Carolina, Emanuel and Herman Sternberger, to come to Greensboro and partner with them to build a flannel factory. They called it Revolution because they were certain Southern textile moguls would consider it a game changer. Two other mills soon followed — White Oak, the largest denim mill in the world throughout most of the 20th century, and Proximity Print Works. The Cones would amass many other textile and textile-related holdings, but these were the four core mills, constructed just northeast of the city limits at that time, that would lay the foundation for Greensboro to become known as the textile capital of the world and put bread on the table for thousands of people during the looming Great Depression. And that’s why former mill workers, whose hair is now lint-free but white with age, no longer bristle when they hear the word “linthead.” In fact, they now accept it as a badge of honor. Mill workers built the economic underpinning for Greensboro and much of the rest of North Carolina, but especially Greensboro, say Judith and Paul Sams to just about anybody who will listen. The couple, who now live in Whispering Pines, grew up in a Cone Mills village in Greensboro. They remember the hard work and sacrifices that their parents and the parents of other mill children had to make. They also recall the term linthead and remember its sting. The Samses are well aware that they are members of the last generation to know what it was like to grow up in a mill village They’re on a mission to raise enough money — they figure it would take about $25,000 — to sculpt and place a statue of a millworker on the site of the old Revolution mill, which is now becoming an upscale retail and studio complex. Paul Sams said developer and owner Jim Overton likes the idea and believes the statue would complement the development’s textile memorabilia room. “Don’t forget the millworker,” says Judith Sams. “Never forget the millworker.” The Samses know how easy it would be to forget. Much has changed since the Proximity, Revolution, White Oak and Print Works mills were all humming, smoking and producing goods in Greensboro, along with Burlington Industries and Guilford Mills. Out of the original four Cone Mills plants, only the White Oak mill, now called Cone Denim, is operating. It and Burlington Industries are owned by the International Textile Group, which has headquarters in Greensboro. Guilford Mills, which moved its headquarters to Wilmington in 2005, was recently sold to the Lear Corporation of Michigan. During their peak, in the mid-to-late1940s and into the ’50s, it took almost 2,700 workers living in about 1,500 Cone Millowned houses on about 450 acres to operate the mills. The Cones built five completely self-sufficient “villages,” or towns — one village for the families of each mill, and one village for black workers, assigned to the most menial jobs in each of the mills. The villages were named for their residents’ mills: Proximity, Revolution, White Oak, White Oak New Town and East White Oak, which was the village for black workers and their families. The houses, many of which were renovated in the 1940s, were usually one-story, wooden frame structures with three, or The Art & Soul of Greensboro

possibly four, bedrooms, although some were brick and a few had two stories. They were built solidly and, though spare, were well-proportioned. Some, with white porches and swings hanging from the ceiling, still stand between Summit Avenue and Church Street harboring memories collected since they were built at least seventy or more years ago. Most are good memories, say former mill village occupants, some of whom worked in the nearby mills and some who grew up in the houses. Cone, to ward off labor disputes and unionization, tried to anticipate and fill workers’ every need. In addition to living in mill-owned houses, workers worshipped in mill-built churches, attended mill-provided schools, and played on mill ballfields and in mill recreation centers and Y’s. Workers and their families bought groceries and clothes at company stores. If a worker or family member became ill, Cone provided doctors and nurses. If a worker or spouse had a baby, a Cone-provided doctor or nurse likely was there for the delivery. Dr. A.K. Maness delivered Bobby Hill in the back bedroom of Hill’s parents’ mill house in the Proximity village. Hill swears that Maness held the U.S. record for delivering babies. “He said he could recognize anybody at Cone by just looking at their hind-end,” Hill says. Hill was one of eight in his family who lived in the five-room brick house. Hill recalls the family paid a dollar a month for rent and 25 cents for electricity. Like most mill children, he didn’t encounter any ugliness about his mill background until he completed his early grades at the mill schools and entered what was then the Greensboro school system’s Aycock Junior High. That’s when the linthead taunts hit him. “I tried to ignore them,” he says, his eyes flashing at the memory. Hill quit high school at 16 and went to work in the spinning room at Cone’s Proximity plant, the third generation of his family to work for Cone Mills. His grandfather, Luther Courtland Hill, worked in the mill for sixty years. After a stint in the Navy, which included action during the Korean War, Hill returned to work at several Cone mills, including Print Works and White Oak. He later took advantage of training Cone offered him and became a construction inspector. Ultimately, Hill first became a building inspector for the city of Greensboro and then president of the North Carolina Building Inspectors Association. When he was elected president of the association, someone noticed that he didn’t have a high school diploma. The association contacted the White House, and President George W. Bush issued him an honorary high school diploma. If that’s what a linthead background will get you, he’ll take it, Hill says. So will Joe Lewis Davis, 79, who grew up in Cone’s White Oak village and later had a park named after him. Davis’ father, Isaac Newton Davis, worked forty-four years at the White Oak Plant, supporting a family of seven on his mill pay. “We ate a lot of pinto beans, cream potatoes and cornbread,” Davis says, and they lived in a three-bedroom, one-story house on 20th Street. But in 1950, the Davis family moved into a newly remodeled four-bedroom, two-story house, with a garage, on 20th Street. Cone Mills, which had begun selling the houses to its March 2014

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs upper left and right Provided courtesy of Cone Denim LLC, a division of International Textile Group, Inc.

workers, sold it to Isaac Davis for $12,000. “I never saw my daddy so proud,” Davis says. Davis loved growing up in a mill village. “The people were good to one another,” he says, “and they believed in working for what they got.” Unlike some of the people in junior high and high school who called him “linthead.” “I took it as a joke,” he says. “Or I tried to, anyway. Some couldn’t.” Davis worked part time in the mill during summers. “I hope you don’t get too attached to it,” his father told him. He didn’t. When he wasn’t working in the mill or going to school, Davis usually could be found swimming or playing basketball at the White Oak or Proximity YMCA. That’s where he got to know Oka T. Hester, the Greensboro Parks and Recreation director. Hester gave him a job, and to Davis it was a very special job. Hester told him that Cone Mills was about to donate the White Oak Y to the city. Would Davis like to run it? “I was 21 years old.” As manager of the Y, Davis essentially started his own mill village parks and recreation department. He organized ball teams in the mills and got to know all the superintendents. Cone paid for the equipment. He organized teen dances on Friday nights, charging 25 cents admission, and hired two police officers to keep things orderly. “People came from all over the county,” he says. “People still come up to me today and say, ‘Joe, I met my wife there.’” Davis became one of the most well-known residents in the Cone Mills villages, so well-known that the city decided to name a park after him. It’s at 1410 19th Street, a seven-acre park with a softball field and walking path. “I’m proud of it,” Davis says. Delane Nabors Pate is proud of her mill village upbringing, and she remains a bit puzzled at why people often seemed sorry for her. Pate’s parents worked at the Proximity plant for more than forty years. She vividly remembers them coming home with their clothes covered in blue denim lint. Her father once held her up so she could look through a window to see inside the plant, and all she could see was “this blue fog of lint.” But life was good, she says. Everybody seemed happy. It was when she graduated from Proximity and entered the new Page High School that she learned she was “poor.” Here’s how she described it in a piece she wrote for The Bobbin & Shuttle, a magazine published by the Textile Heritage Center in Cooleemee: “When the school year began, there was a newspaper article that said Page Senior High was an ‘experiment’ for Greensboro. School officials were trying to see the results of sending rich kids to school with poor kids. I was baffled. I remember looking around for the poor kids, but I never saw anyone I considered poor. I even asked my cousin, Janice Ritter, if she had seen any poor kids to which the newspaper was referring. She had not seen any poor kids, either. “Many years later, I attended a Page High School reunion, and someone brought another newspaper article that proclaimed the school system’s ‘experiment’ a success. In complete sincerity, I asked, ‘Who were these poor kids they keep referring to in this article?’ Only then did someone clue me in. I was one of the poor kids — the mill village kids, the Proximity students. The rich kids had gone to Aycock. “All this came as quite a shock to me, as all of my friends that I had grown up with had about the same things I had and were very proud of it. Imagine that, to find out as an adult that we were ‘poor.’” Even the segregated residents of Cone’s East White Oak village, separated from the other villages by U.S. Highway 29, felt enriched — not by money, but an ongoing sense of community. “It was wonderful,” says Marthella Richmond Jones, building manager of the East White Oak Community Center, the only original building remaining in the village. “We would get together and cook out almost every day. Everybody knew everybody and took care of everybody. Every family who lived here rented a house. And every Christmas a truck would come by with turkeys and hams.”

Photographs lower left and far right © Carol W. Martin/Greensboro Historical Museum Collection

Benjamin Filene, UNCG director of public history, and nine of his graduate students conducted interviews with East White Oak and other residents of the Cone Mills villages for an oral history project. The students uncovered immense affection for the mill villages and a determination to keep alive their memories. When the city was about to demolish the East White Oak Community Center, which had begun as a school, residents sold chicken dinner after chicken dinner to buy it. Cathy Gant Hill says her grandfather, Truman Gant, told the Greensboro City Council “how important it was to the community, and they listened to him.” This sense of community and commitment prevailed throughout the villages, and was armor against acts and words of rudeness and putdowns, such as “linthead.” “What power that statement has — ‘We didn’t know we were poor,’” Filene says. “But they know. Deep in their memories, they know how much they gave to the mill.” Lynn Rumley, director of the the Textile Heritage Center in Cooleemee, says the mill village system was really part of a “social contract” between the mill workers and mill owners, “and both sides benefited.” It got much of the South through the Great Depression, she says. “Companies divided up the work, so every household had some money. Nobody locked their doors.” Some professors labeled the millworkers “docile,” Rumley says. “Some people looked down on them and called them lintheads, and consider them pushovers. But they’re people of commitment and solidarity.” Indeed, the state, including Greensboro, endured its share of labor unrest and violence. Six millworkers were killed during a strike in Marion, and others in Gastonia in 1929. In 1934, 400,000 workers joined a nationwide strike called for Labor Day, but with many across the state living in company housing, such as those of Burlington Industries and Cone Mills, some workers were evicted and the strike failed. In 1925, millworker James Evans led a successful walkout at Cone’s White Oak plant after the workload was doubled and pay remained the same. Five years later he was among hundreds of workers who created a chapter of the United Textile Workers of America at Cone, and he was among forty who were fired immediately. The union chapter did not survive. “Linthead” is a word Alan W. Cone says he’s is not too familiar with. “I never heard it a lot,” he says, “and certainly never used it.” Cone, 86, worked in the family mills in the 1940s and ’50s. He’s the only Cone left, he says, who actually worked in the mills. Cone says he got to know some of the millworkers when he and other supervisors actually went into the plant with stopwatches and timed how long it took them to do their jobs. “Some of them could fool the hell out of us,” he says. Cone says he found millworkers to be “extremely interesting. They underThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

stood what I was doing and why. We became friends.” Cone says he was always impressed with how “loyal” workers were to the company. “It was a happy community,” he says. “They had everything they needed for a good life.” Former millworker Joe Davis, who enjoyed his mill village childhood, even though it meant being branded a “linthead,” says Cone Mills “definitely left its mark here. They were good to the millworkers. But the millworkers were good to Cone.” OH Stan Swofford, a former award-winning News & Record reporter, teaches journalism at UNCG and continues to struggle with a novel that is still mostly in his head. March 2014

O.Henry 53

TheMagicalWorld of

Harry Blair To draw is to believe, to laugh divine By Maria Johnson


arry Blair is pregnant. Never mind that he’s a 6-foot-4 man with a head the size of a mini-keg. He’s pregnant with ideas for an illustration that’ll be born, here at his drawing board. Ideas are swirling in his head. He’s trying to get settled. To find a focus. The illustration will be paired with an O.Henry magazine story about a Guilford College professor who fell into a ditch back in the ’70s and was rescued by an unlikely, but perfect, hero. Harry has just read the piece, and here’s what he’s thinking: He could draw the professor crossing the ditch like a tightrope walker — umbrella in one hand, briefcase in the other hand — balancing on a wooden board that will slip a moment later, dumping him into the red clay maw. He could draw the hero lifting the hapless professor out of the ditch. Or he could draw the scene from a low angle, as if he were inside the ditch, with the professor in front of him and the hero peeking over the edge. Harry folds himself into a chair at the edge of his drawing board. His studio is a small room with great light at the top of the stairs in his Hamilton Lakes home. Matchstick blinds sift the midday sun. A small plastic fan whispers a stream of air in his face. It creates a feeling of movement. Harry sits in the flow. He squares up a pad of high-quality paper. In his right hand, he takes a pencil. In his left hand, a fat gray eraser faceted with the friction of mistakes. His right hand moves in quick, sweeping motions. Rudimentary shapes appear. Triangles for bodies. Circles for heads. A semicircle for an umbrella. Two lines for the wooden board. He peels off one crude drawing. Then another. Then another. He squints at them, judge and jury, weighing their merits. This is what he loves. The freedom to decide. He argues with himself in his head. The professor’s raincoat is central to the story, but one drawing does not show

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much coat. Plus it gives away the ending. He axes it. The two remaining drawings show the raincoat — but only one of them shows the hero. Harry wants to hint at the hero. He’ll go with the image of the professor in the ditch and his savior peering down. Magic.


If you’ve lived in Greensboro for any length of time, you’ve seen Harry Blair’s work. On garbage trucks. And water bills. And almost everything else under the aegis of the City of Greensboro. It’s a curly “G” that ends, in the middle, with a white oak leaf. He drew the logo for a contest in the mid ’80s. He won $1,500. He thinks of it every time he gets a water bill bearing his design, a funny kind of thank-you note. “I’m like, ‘What the %@#$! ?,’ ” he says. It’s hard to write about Harry without using swear symbols. He curses a lot. The characters in his drawings — his published drawings — do not: the wacky little dog in advertisements touting Greensboro’s Fun Fourth celebration every summer does not curse; the characters in the storyboards that Harry whips out for advertising agencies do not curse; the characters that Harry draws to illustrate stories in O.Henry magazine, and its sister publication Salt in Wilmington, do not curse. Neither did the bespectacled, be-sandaled character named Harry, namesake of a comic strip that Blair had inked for a couple of Greensboro weeklies in the late 1980s and early ’90s until Harry, the artist, not the character, got in trouble with the publisher of Style magazine. The papacy was changing hands at the time, and local Catholics were The Art & Soul of Greensboro

not amused when Blair drew strips featuring a new pope from North Carolina, Pope John Bob the Second. Pope John Bob’s papal hat had a bill. He bought a white and gold bass boat, which fish jumped into. He gave communion with pork barbecue. “The whole Catholic nation rose up, and I was the great Satan for a while,” says Blair. “It was, ‘You do not draw a cartoon of the Pope.’” The publisher of Style told Blair to stop drawing Pope John Bob. Blair quit the magazine. “They were real nice, and I wasn’t that mad about it,” says Blair, “but I didn’t want to be shackled.”

Photograph by Kevin Banker


Harry is 68, but it wasn’t that long ago that he realized he was different. He was teaching a child to draw. He asked the boy to draw a car. The boy asked for a picture of a car. “You’ve seen a car, haven’t you?” said Harry. “Yes,” said the boy. “Well then, draw it,” said Harry. The boy stared at him. That’s when Harry realized everyone does not carry around a portfolio of images in his head. Harry does. Animals. Objects. Bodies in motion. Faces. Especially faces, where emotions are revealed in fleeting expressions. He’s not sure where it came from, this ability to photograph things in his mind, then bid them to travel down his arm, through his right hand, through his pencil and onto paper. As far as he knows, nobody on either side of his family was an artist — as far as he knows. “My guess is that there was somebody who could draw, but they had to work on a farm, and no one saw any value in it. I’d love to know who that was because you do get stuff from your ancestors.” Here is what he does know: His mother, Inez, was always reading to him, always laughing, always giving him books and turning a blind eye when he marked them up. He reaches to his bookshelf and pulls out a volume called Up Front, by Bill Mauldin, one of the greatest cartoonists of the Greatest Generation. The biography is packed with sketches of GIs from World War II. It also contains, in the margins and flyleaves, the early pencil drawings of Harry Blair. Guns. Knives. Flags. A musical staff. A chef’s hat. “I drew all over The Art & Soul of Greensboro

things,” he says. “It kind of defined me.” He also was defined as The New Kid for most of his young life. His father, Harry Sr., a hard-working, serious-minded Scot, traveled for the Southeastern Cemetery Association. He wore a tie bar that looked like a shovel. The first ten years of Harry’s life, the family moved every year as his father trained cemetery salespeople in different cities. They settled in Greensboro in time for Harry to attend Aycock Junior High. He was an OK student and a tireless artist. For a history class at Page High School, he and a friend made a mock newspaper page, complete with stories and drawings about Cuba’s involvement in the SpanishAmerican War. “We got a D because it wasn’t a written report, typed out on five sheets of paper,” he says. That was fifty years ago. Harry’s face turns pink when he talks about it. “It pissed me off,” he says. “Still does.” His father warned him. He needed a trade; he wasn’t going to make any money drawing pictures. “I trusted him,” Harry says. “But I didn’t believe him. I knew in my mind I couldn’t stop. It was who I was. He enrolled at UNC-Chapel Hill, where he took a few art classes on the way to a degree in radio, television and motion pictures. His art teachers didn’t challenge him much. He didn’t care. He kept drawing. “It was just so much @#%<* fun,” he says.


Looking at his sketch, Harry’s not happy with the professor’s expression. “It’s important to get the exact expression because that’s what carries the day,” he says. “That’s still not right. He’s humiliated, and he’s in a predicament, and he’s startled by the sight of this guy. I wonder if he needs to be looking up.” He erases the professor’s face, which has been turned in the direction of the reader, and draws the face in profile. He adds glasses. And a beard. And a dorky hat. And a wide open eye. “Yeah,” he says. “That’s better. I like that better.” March 2014

O.Henry 55

reprimanded for wearing a bow tie to a company function. He retaliated by posting anonymous cartoons on the office bulletin board. “It got pretty stinky,” he says. He fell back on ad work. His itch to illustrate went mostly unscratched until O.Henry magazine came along in 2011. Now, in addition to freelancing for Mullen ad agency in Winston-Salem, Harry’s a contributing editor at the magazine. His drawings regularly illustrate the “O.Henry Ending,” on the last page, and other features. His renderings of Mary Ellen, the plucky young red-headed heroine of Fred Chappell’s continuing series, have helped the story develop a following. Harry loves Mary Ellen. In his first drawing of her, which appeared in the summer of 2012, she wears a long shoelace around her neck. Harry’s mother, who died in 2005, wore a long shoelace around her neck. She had a collection of laces. They were athletic shoelaces, in different colors to match different outfits. “I asked her about it, and she said, ‘I just tried it and like it,’” Harry says. “It was the perfect example of her originality.” He thinks of her often. “I know she’s here,” he says. “I just don’t know how.”



He taught art at Page, his alma mater, for three years. There was too much paperwork, not enough freedom. Harry needed to create. And he needed money. His dad was right. And Harry was right. The answer was storyboards. For forty years, Harry’s bread and butter has been drawing storyboards for advertising agencies. Storyboards are like giant cartoon strips. They sum up, in a few cels, what a television commercial will show. Clients need to see what they’re spending money on before production, and storyboards are cheaper and faster to make than video drafts, especially when Harry is at the drawing board. He’s known for his speed. And for his stubborn use of pencil in a world gone mad for computerized tablets and styluses. And for the shapely women who populate his storyboards. Harry loves women. Really. Loves. Women. Picasso loved women, he says. Matisse loved women. Not that he’s comparing himself to them as an artist. But as an admirer of women? Oh, yeah. What is it about women — other than the obvious? Harry’s blue eyes glitter. “I’m not sure it’s anything other than the obvious,” he says. He has drawn for major companies. Walt Disney. Sony. Hanes. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. Wonderbra. “Someone was looking out for me,” he says. After work, he hung out with ad people. And newspaper people. And lawyers. They pooled at a bar called J.J.’s, on the collar of downtown. Harry sat there, sipping and sketching the regulars. The owners pinned his caricatures to the walls. “It was like Sardi’s,” Harry says, referring to the New York restaurant that’s papered with caricatures of patrons. “It was just a great bar.” He dabbled in illustration. He did a couple of humor books for columnist and author Jerry Bledsoe. He was in on the ground floor of Compute!, a Greensboro-based magazine aimed at early computer users in the late ’70s. The magazine ran pages of code for readers to type into their clunky machines to create games. Orson Scott Card, the science fiction writer who lives in Greensboro, reviewed tech books for the publication. Harry illustrated the magazine’s covers. “It was up to me to make it look interesting and exciting when, really, it was like Pong,” he says, harking to the granddaddy of video games. Harry left Compute! in 1985, after a corporate buyout chilled the climate. He was

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Harry’s working on the professor’s raincoat, adding epaulets and buckles at the cuffs and back. “This makes it look a little geekier,” he says. “The coat still has to be the star of the show.” The professor stands in a puddle. His umbrella is grounded in the mud. He holds a briefcase in his other hand. The fallen board is a slash behind him. Now for the face of the hero. Harry draws a long chin. A short Afro. Arched eyebrows over surprised eyes. A mustache over a bemused smile. “How in the world did you get in there?” Harry says, voicing the thoughts of his hero. Sometimes, he’ll work on an illustration for seven or eight hours, finish it, look at it, hate it, and toss it. “It probably would be fine,” he says, meaning his editors would use it. “But I have to like it.” He likes this one, but something isn’t right. The hero isn’t big enough. “He needs to look gigantic,” Harry says. He erases the body and draws it larger. That’s better. “Now, what’s he wearing? Something that says ‘athletic.’”


Harry has been in a few ditches himself. After his first marriage. And after his second marriage. He slid into a deep funk when the second marriage ended. He worked and he slept. That was it. “It was so bad for me not to be happy,” he says. When Maureen Mallon, an acquaintance from the advertising world, found him, he was eating out of cans with the lids still attached. “I guess you don’t know any better,” she said. “I guess not,” Harry said. They dated for ten years. Once, she made a crack about Greensboro. “I love my city,” Harry said, deadpanning about what the difference of opinion meant for their relationship. “I don’t know if this is going to work.” “Ooooooo,” she said, feigning trembling hands. That’s when Harry knew she was the one. They married in 2003, on the side of Grandfather Mountain, surrounded by their five children from previous marriages. Harry wore a kilt and formal Prince Charlie jacket, a nod to his Scottish ancestry. Maureen wore a fitted, off-white dress that she found at Marshall’s for $39. “She was just beautiful,” Harry says. Slowly, they are reshaping their Greensboro house into a Prairie-style gem. Maureen, now a general contractor, subs out the work. Harry is happy again. “She gave me my life back,” he says of his bride. She — more specifically her daughter Caitlin and son-in-law Evan — also gave The Art & Soul of Greensboro

him a new buddy, Hudson Blair Brennan, now 13. He and Harry play golf. They talk sports. They sit in Harry’s garage — a man cave stocked with TV, fridge, director’s chairs, salt-and-vinegar potato chips and Cheerwine — and watch Cartoon Network, and Moonshiners and Monty Python. They roar with laughter. “He’s very childlike,” Maureen says. She means Harry.


He’s ready to ink the drawing. His marker is pinpoint fine, but he doesn’t trace every line. A hint is all that’s needed. The eye fills in the rest. “An imperfect line is a lot more interesting than a perfect line,” he says. “Charlie Schultz knew that.” Super-realistic art? Admirable for its virtuosity, Harry says. But anything short of that is tough to pull off. It’s hard to imbue anything with emotion if you’re too realistic. Forget what your subject looks like. What does it feel like? “I go by feel,” Harry says.


Essential to being an artist is collecting experiences. You can be married three times, though Harry wouldn’t necessarily recommend the first two. You can cook a Brunswick stew every winter, stir it with a canoe paddle, invite your friends, drink beer and irk your wife by leaving the stove, a sawed-off 55-gallon drum, in the yard all year round. You can spend crisp Friday nights working with a chain gang at high school football games, measuring first downs with your buddies from high school, eating free candy bars from the concession stand and getting hit by players flying out of bounds. You can make a Not-ivity scene. Here’s how: 1. Set up a regular Nativity scene because, no matter what local Catholics think, you really do believe. 2. To the throng of admirers around the stable, add figurines of Mickey Mouse and R2D2 and a sumo wrestler because you also believe that He likes to laugh. 3. Hope you’re right about 2. Laughter. That’s his religion, he says. His mother gave him that. Oh, she dressed him in a green suit and took him to church when he was little. But he could see that laughter was what got her through the tough times, including her lifelong care of a daughter with Down syndrome. He feels the divine in laughter. One summer when he was in college, he went door-to-door selling encyclopedic dictionaries to working-class families in Alabama. That was the summer a neo-Nazi tried to recruit Harry to his cause. No thanks, said Harry. It was the summer an attractive woman came to the door in a black teddy and invited him in. “I was a horny little *#&@!, but it scared me to death, and I got out of there,” he says. Another woman sicced her Chihuahua on Harry. “Eat ’im up, Tiny!” she shouted Harry was a great salesman, but after a while, he didn’t want people to buy from him. Sign me up, they’d say. OK, but we’re out of The Art & Soul of Greensboro

stock right now, Harry would say. I’ll get back to you. But he wouldn’t. They didn’t have money for dictionaries.


He opens a tin of Schmincke watercolors. They’re German, and they cost $300. They don’t look that different from the watercolors that school kids buy, but Harry swears by their richness. Painting with watercolors is dicey business. Bleeding colors. Wrong colors. Water drops. They can be awful things. Wonderful, awful things. “If you’re afraid of these little mistakes, these happy accidents, it won’t look as good. The looseness and spontaneity — I hate to keep using those words — but that’s why you get happy accidents. You can’t be afraid.” He dips a puffy brush into water and paints the sky with clear water. It will condition the paper and reduce the amount of color he’ll have to use. He touches the brush to a paint square and spreads the color around in an enameled dish. He washes the sky grayish blue. He picks up a little brown and dabs the sky. Clouds. He swishes the brush in water and picks up yellow, then brown, then orange for the raincoat. The puddle at the professor’s feet is still white. Switching to a brush with a sharp point, Harry touches the puddle with blue, a trick to impart the idea of water. It’s too blue. He wads a piece of paper towel and touches it to the puddle to lift color. Now, the excess blue is gone, and the light spot looks like the glare of a reflection. A happy accident. He dapples the puddle with yellow, the reflected color of the raincoat, and the puddle jumps to life. He tickles a mulberry paint square for the hero’s sweatshirt, carefully painting around the letters on his chest. You can make out G-U-I-L. That’s enough. The hero is a young black man. Harry paints his face with brown, pink and tan. No sky, no face, nothing in nature is a uniform color, Harry says. Even if it’s the same color, it appears lighter in some places and darker in some places when light hits it. The rusty ditch will be darker in the background, lighter in the foreground, darker at the bottom, lighter at the top. He saves true black for the umbrella and the professor’s pants. He flecks the bottom of the pants with bright orange. Mud. He picks up a pencil again to add rain lines, starting at the bottom of the picture and flicking his hand upward. That makes the lines appear fatter at the bottom, just like real raindrops. He digs a thumbnail into his pocketknife. He’s not happy with one of the buckles on the professor’s raincoat. It’s too heavy. He scrapes the paper until the buckle softens. He leans back. “For better or worse, that’s it.” Harry is not pregnant anymore. But he will be again. Soon. Pure Magic. Maria Johnson is a contributing editor at O.Henry. To see Harry Blair’s finished painting of the professor in the ditch, turn to the O.Henry Ending on the last page of this magazine.

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Coming Home

Tracing the shape of the Old North State — and a gifted writer’s journey across the places of his heart — is both a painful and healing experience, marking one for life


By Wiley Cash

etting a tattoo that runs the interior length of your upper arm gives you a lot of time to think, and that’s what I was doing: getting a tattoo and thinking. It was September 25, 2013, my first full day as a North Carolina resident after five years in graduate school in Louisiana and five more years teaching at a college in West Virginia. Before that my life had spanned North Carolina’s geography. I was born in Fayetteville, and I grew up in Gastonia and Asheville. Now, here I was in Wilmington, getting a tattoo. My wife and I had chosen to move to Wilmington because it’s where she’s from, and it’s where we met. From the minute we planned to move back to North Carolina, I’d been telling her that I was going to get a tattoo of the state. And that’s what I found myself doing, shirtless and laid out on a padded table in a room that was a little too bright and a little too cold with a guy named Chris swabbing my arm with alcohol. It felt like I was at the doctor, but unlike being at the doctor I already knew that what was about to happen was definitely going to hurt. Once he’d cleaned my skin, Chris gently laid the stencil paper across the interior of my right arm, and after he slowly lifted it away it left behind a perfect outline of North Carolina. “So,” he asked, “why are you getting this tattoo?” I was cold and nervous, probably shaking a little, but I managed to lift my head and give what I thought to be a pretty good answer: “Because it’s permanent.” “We’re going to start with the far western tip,” Chris said. The needle began to hum, and Chris reached out and held on to my arm. I felt the pinch against my skin, and I closed my eyes. Cherokee, Jackson, Haywood and other counties where I’d spent years hiking, camping and exploring as a student at the University of North Carolina at Asheville. I envisioned Chris’ needle as it traced North Carolina’s border with Tennessee, drawing the western boundary of Madison County, where my first novel, A Land More Kind Than Home, was set. I’d visited Madison every chance I had while I lived in Asheville, and when I began writing the novel during my time in Louisiana, I’d chosen Madison as the setting because my memories of it spoke to the way I feel about western North Carolina: traditional and wild, both in the best senses of the words. The needle skirted Yancey County, where my sister, Jada, lives in Celo and where I spent a lot of cool summer days on the South Toe River, escaping the Louisiana heat. After he’d left North Carolina for New York City, Thomas Wolfe had also stopped to visit relatives in Yancey County in the mid-1930s. But his visit hadn’t been as peaceful as mine; he witnessed a shootout in downtown Burnsville, and in 1937, he was called back to testify in a murder trial. Once the needle rounded the northwest corner of the state, I imagined it dipping down through Surry County on Interstate 74, traveling the same path my wife and I took on our way home from West Virginia. It would always be dark by the time we’d made it that far, and we’d pass through Winston-Salem and see the city’s skyline from the highway. And then it was on to Greensboro, where I’d been a graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I’d lived in an old house right off Tate Street, and I spent a year and a half eating hot dogs from Yum-Yums and walking back and forth past Fred

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Chappell’s office, too terrified to pop in and introduce myself after his novel I Am One of You Forever had changed my life both personally and artistically as an undergraduate in Asheville. If the needle could have continued down I-40, it would’ve eventually run out of interstate once it reached the coast. My parents left Gastonia in 1998 and settled just south of Wilmington, and my brother followed not long after. I was living with him while we renovated a house during the summer of 2005 when I met my wife at a downtown piano bar. We were married five years later — and just a few blocks away — on a snowy Saturday in February. But Chris’ needle hadn’t headed down I-40, which would’ve been the shortest way to Wilmington. No, he took the long route, following the northern border with Virginia and heading south at the eastern edge of Currituck County. “I want to get the details of the Outer Banks correct,” he said. “So this may take a while.” Who knew that such a skinny chain of islands could take so long to draw or hurt so bad while being drawn? By the time he made it to Brunswick County I knew we were on the homestretch, and not just because he was literally passing by my parents’ house in Oak Island. I imagined my mom standing on the porch and suddenly feeling a strange vibration, only to look up and see the tattoo needle blotting out the sun. I figured she’d just shake her head and go back inside the house and tell my dad I’d made another questionable decision. It was also the homestretch because we were barreling toward Gastonia, my hometown and where my second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, is set. It’s about a washed-up minor league baseball player who kidnaps his two daughters from a foster home, and I had a blast recasting all of my old haunts in fictional form: Tony’s Ice Cream, my elementary school, Lineberger Park, and the minor league stadium where the Gastonia Rangers played. While Chris followed the state’s southern boundary, my thoughts drifted ahead to January and February when I’d be on tour in support of the novel, and I’d have the opportunity to return to Gastonia for a reading, just as I would have the opportunity to visit many of the places I love in this state: Asheville, Shelby, Charlotte, Chapel Hill, Southern Pines, Raleigh, Pittsboro and Wilmington. I was already looking forward to all the different kinds of barbeque a trip like that would entail. And then it was over. Before I knew it, Chris had turned off the needle and was wrapping my arm in plastic to keep it protected, and he was telling me all about how to care for the tattoo over the next couple of days. I sat up, light-headed, and looked at my arm; it was exactly what I’d always wanted, and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Chris must’ve sensed that my mind was somewhere else, because he tried to get my attention by stressing the importance of keeping my arm clean so it wouldn’t get infected or damage the tattoo. But I wasn’t listening. I knew I had already started to heal. OH Wiley Cash is the New York Times best-selling author of A Land More Kind Than Home. His second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, which is now available wherever books are sold, tells the story of a washed-up minor league baseball player who kidnaps his two daughters from a foster home in Gastonia, North Carolina, Cash’s hometown. He and his wife live in Wilmington. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

PhotoGraph by Tim Sayer

Story of a House

Life Restored A near death experience changed James Keith’s life, inspired a new career and saved a grand College Hill gem of a house By David C. Bailey • Photographs by Kevin Banker


ith a throaty thrum that can only come from a vintage V-8, a ’58 Cadillac careened to the curbside of valet parking at the downtown Oklahoma City Skirvin Hilton Hotel. The Olympic white-and-chrome classically collectible Series-62 sat there, its hydraulic valve lifters purring. James A. Keith had arrived in more ways than one. “It was a good moment,” says Keith, sitting five years later in his snug dining room of 303 South Mendenhall, his two pugs, Smee and Tootles, snuffling in his arms. His wife, Amanda, sits by his side, stroking Little Girl, one very contented cat. Keith had come to Oklahoma City for the 50th anniversary meeting of the American Choral Directors Association. While other choir directors rode around in buses, Keith and his cronies from UNCG sank back into the red-andblack leather interior of his Caddy to be squired around town by a tow-headed, teenage chauffeur. “I valeted the hell out of that car,” he recalls. And why shouldn’t he have? With a newly minted master’s degree, he was teaching classes in conducting, music theory and voice at one of the best music schools in the Southeast while conducting the UNCG men’s choir and serving as music direc-

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tor at Pilgrim United Church of Christ in Durham. About a year earlier, he’d bought a historic home in College Hill, and its restoration was going well. And his land yacht was the talk of the conference: “Everyone had heard about it and wanted to see it. Taking it to Oklahoma City was purely for vanity,” he admits. In a tragic upset almost Aeschylean in scale, less than forty-eight hours later, Keith would be in a coma, near death in the burn unit of St. Elizabeth’s hospital in Lincoln, Nebraska, his vocal chords and lungs seared from an inferno fueled by his Cadillac’s interior — a voiceless voice professor. When Keith’s mom called, his lead doctor, whom the Keiths say looked just like Dr. Frankenstein, had said, “I don’t know what to tell you. He can’t oxygenate; without oxygen, he can’t live.” Competing with Smee and Tootles to sip Benedictine from a snifter just the other day, James Keith obviously lives — and breathes — and gives voice to how his near-death experience has altered his universe. “This accident really changed the game,” Amanda says. “After the accident, James reprioritized.” For one, he and Amanda have become much closer: “The fire ended up making me want to spend as much time as possible with the person who means the most to me,” Keith says. He’s also decided to change careers, go back to school — at 32 — for The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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his fifth degree and become an ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist. And instead of moving back out West, for now they’re staying in the house that took on a rich personality as they dug into its history, the same home that provided Keith with hours of therapy as he worked on it day after day during his recuperation: “The house,” Keith says, “has given us a canvas on which to paint a new life.”


n 2003, James and Amanda met in McPherson, Kansas, population 13,000. There, Amanda had grown up the daughter of a luthier who mixed repairing musical instruments in his downtown shop with selling model trains. Keith, the son of an Apache helicopter technician, had left Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, where he was studying voice, to get a degree in automobile restoration at McPherson College, a century-old, small, liberal-arts college in central Kansas. To Amanda, a small-town girl attending college in her hometown, Keith was the big-city foreigner from Phoenix. “He’ll tell you that he chose me to be his accompanist,” Amanda says, “but he really didn’t have a choice; I was it.” Says Keith: “I like girls way too much, short girls with curly hair in particular, and she struck me just the right way.” They married when he was a 23-year-old junior. She was 20 and a sophomore. They moved into a wreck of a penthouse office that had been converted into an apartment. It had 13-foot ceilings and a massive skylight that left the floor dusted with snow. With the Keiths old enough to buy alcohol and live off-campus, their pad became party-central. It also became a proving grounds for House Restoration 101. Keith’s woodworking experience with vintage cars — essentially wooden-bodied, motorized carriages — provided him with essential woodworking skills: “You have to get everything just right or else the doors won’t shut,” he says. And the wiring work he performed on automobiles transferred nicely to upfitting the frayed and tangled web of wires, first in his apartment and later on Mendenhall. By the time Keith graduated in 2006, with dual majors in vocal performance and historic auto restoration, he had decided to get a master’s in choral conducting. He applied at UNCG and at the University of Washington’s prestigious program in Seattle. Interviewed and accepted at UW, a professor there suggested he go ahead and audition at UNCG for the experience. Cocky over his acceptance in Seattle, he breezed into Greensboro almost on a lark: “I wore torn jeans, untucked shirt and long hair for the interview,” he says. “I looked like a train wreck.” His attitude changed when he picked up a baton and led the men’s chorus: “The quality of the choir blew me away. It was like conducting a wall of sound. They could sing anything you put in front of their faces.” After they hit a high G in one passage, he remembers shouting ecstatically, “Damn, tenors!” It didn’t hurt that he got on with Jenkins Restoration in nearby North Wilkesboro, rewiring and doing interior work on Cadillacs. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“We moved to North Carolina for James’ master’s, thinking we’d only be here two years,” Amanda says. “We were both raised where you can see for miles,” Keith says, “and it’s very difficult to get used to the tree canopy here.” But he soon found himself totally engaged in UNCG’s music program. And in the interim, he became associate music director at Greensboro’s landmark First Presbyterian. Amanda got a job right away as house manager at High Point Theatre before deciding to go back to school in publishing at UNCG. In April, she will become manager of Wake Forest University Press. Little by little they discovered they liked not only UNCG but Greensboro. Keith had found the small-town culture of McPherson appealing, but missed Phoenix’s bigcity attractions. “Greensboro is right in the middle. It’s a big small town,” he says. UNCG, meanwhile, offered Keith a stipend to lure him into teaching there while pursuing his doctorate. And then, one day on his way to school, he saw a for-sale sign at an imposing, three-story house on Mendenhall. “It was in poor condition, but remarkably well-preserved,” Keith recalls. Occupied by members of Greensboro College’s women’s volleyball team, “it was right on the edge of failing,” he says. The radiators had been jury-rigged. Airconditioning units hung from most of the windows. A roof leak channeled water into the house. Keith remembers the main wiring harness as a multisnake-headed Medusa. Still, Keith says, “There was something special about the house.” It somehow stood proud in an area thick with Queen Anne and Victorian grand old dames. Amanda was consulted: “I brought her over and she was so excited about all the natural light that came into the house,” Keith says. “It took my breath away,” she recalls. “I think I drove the Realtor nuts with how many times we came to look at the home.” The to-do list involved major systems: new central heat and air; all new wiring; all new plumbing; roof repair. Not a single window opened. And asbestos was an issue in the basement. Never mind the damage from a fire in the attic, an inspector said. The cypress used to frame and build the house was impressive, structurally superior to anything available nowadays, Keith says. Though a little tired and down at the heels, 303 South Mendenhall had good bones and had aged gracefully. Her history? Mostly a mystery, something that was all the more intriguing to the Keiths. The family in New York who owned the house wanted $300,000. Keith offered $230,000. “I wasn’t low-balling just for kicks and giggles. I presented them with a list of repairs,” all of which had to be performed before they could move in. The Keiths ended up paying $248,000, closing in 2008. Did he get a bargain? “No, but it was fair,” especially considering that it was in College Hill, Greensboro’s first historical district. Keith dove in on the restoration, having given up his job restoring Cadillacs in North Wilkesboro. Instead of fixing other people’s cars, he’d decided March 2014

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to concentrate on his beloved 1958 Caddy. And on his 1958 MGA. Or on his 1968 Cadillac convertible. Or his 1998 Silverado. Or his 1940 La Salle. Keith tackled the house’s wiring singlehandedly. A friend and he did the plumbing. “I like taking problems and making them no longer problems,” Keith says. It’s what attracts him to auto and home restoration. And, oddly enough, to choir directing, where each new piece of music that the chorus tackles starts out rough and ragged, and, by degrees and skilled direction, becomes the ethereal work of art the composer envisioned. “I like fixing things,” Keith says. He says he is indebted to so many others who helped: David and Leslie Millsapps, aka DLM builders, for tackling the dormers; The Century Slate Co. for restoring the copper gutters and roof; Chris Hair for painting (“He has become a part of the family. He has painted every room in the house”); and Taylor-Made Comfort Inc. (“for designing a noninstrusive, state-of-the-art digitally zoned central heat and air system”).

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Most of that work had been done by the time his ’58 Caddy plowed its way through a Nebraska corn field, fire blazing out from the chrome engine cowl vents between the windshield and the hood. Keith remembers thinking, “This is something I can’t fix.” Although he doesn’t recall details of the accident, bits and pieces come back to him: “One flashback makes my stomach turn. There was smoke up to my eyes. I couldn’t see the steering wheel and I was immersed in black. I remember jumping out. I don’t know how fast.” Amanda says the police report describes the car going over the median of U.S. Highway 81 near Strang, Nebraska, crossing the oncoming lane and parting corn for 100 yards before it stopped and burned into a blistered hulk. “When I woke up, the doctor said, ‘Nice to see you. I didn’t think you’d make it,’” Keith recalls. He could barely whisper. “Before the fire I had vocal chords of steel,” he says. He lost 55 percent of his lung power. “The doctor also told James he’d never sing again,” Amanda says. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I wasn’t a big fan of that,” Keith says, “so I worked to bring my voice back.” In less than a year, he was able to sing the judge’s part in Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera Trial by Jury. But his voice will never be the same, something that’s problematic for a would-be choir director. Right after the accident, Keith at first found it difficult to go anywhere in public, even to the grocery store. Working on the house provided excellent therapy. Whereas previously, the house had been challenging and absorbing, Keith says that after the accident, “It became a deeply personal thing so I wanted to know everything about the house, because it had survived — and oddly enough, it had survived a fire.” He delved into the house’s history with a vengeance. “With a little bit of guesswork and some dumb luck, I discovered that the world is, indeed, as small as it seems sometime.” From census records, he discovered the original owner was Effie Anderson, the widow of fruit and produce wholesaler W.I. Anderson — as in the stately W.I. Anderson and Company building at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

201 North Church Street next to the library, currently the offices of Purrington Moody Weil Law. W.I. Anderson’s history was easy to uncover. After he and his company rose to great prosperity and prominence, he died of appendicitis at age 36 in 1914. A little more digging revealed that after Anderson’s death, his widow, Effie, asked the most prominent architect at the time in Greensboro, Harry Barton, to build 303 South Mendenhall. Keith was floored. Their seemingly modest home, the only wooden structure Barton is known to have designed, was drafted by the same architect who designed the neoclassical Presbyterian Church of the Covenant on South Mendenhall, along with Guilford County’s monumental courthouse and no less than seventeen buildings on the UNCG campus. Keith kept digging. He discovered that Effie sold the house to her daughter, Fannie Anderson Sutton, and her husband, Connie Vernell Sutton, both prominent Greensboro citizens, in 1946. The house stayed in the family until March 2014

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1954 and was well-maintained. And then the house fell into disrepair as ownership passed to nine different entities, including Greensboro College. Hot on the trail, Keith heard that a friend of a friend’s friend had an extensive and detailed checklist. It was signed by Barton and specified, almost to the nail, how the house should be built. Small world. It got even smaller when Keith learned the name of the man who had the list — Alan Sutton. Thinking it sounded familiar, he picked up First Presbyterian’s directory of members and found that he and his choir had been making a joyful noise to a church member who grew up in 303 South Mendenhall. Keith and Sutton have since become fast friends, with Sutton plying the Keiths with family photos taken in the house and filling the couple in on what College Hill was like sixty years ago. “That house was a great place to grow up as a child,” Sutton recalls. “I used to slide down the banister of that staircase.” He recalls how the neighborhood was full of kids, “and the nice thing is we could stay outside from morning till night when the streetlight came on.” He remembers riding his bike down to Franklin’s Drugstore on Tate Street, where he could get a Coke and a hot dog for fifty cents. He praises the house for being simple, warm and highly functional. “But it stands out, proud and tall,” he says. The Keiths’ house is modeled after the Colonial Revival architecture that The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Philadelphia native Barton, who studied at the Beaux-Arts Institute of Design in Paris, would have been steeped in. The three-bay façade recalls Philly townhouses, but what separates the Anderson house from so many others is Barton’s attention to graceful details, such as the delicate lattice around the porch; the sidelights and transom surrounding the front door; the six-over-six window sashes. Showcasing the details is its handsome face to the street. The distinctive small steep shed roofs between the second and third stories and the dormer windows, along with the two porches graced with slender Doric columns, give the house a stately and imposing presence that dominates the block. Although the first floor has some formal touches — an L-shaped coffered ceiling in the foyer, an intricately detailed newel post, still-functioning RichardsWilcox mahogany pocket doors and an imposing mantel that protrudes three feet into the room with a highly distinctive design — the house’s interior is simple, and simply beautiful in its understated elegance. Little features echo Barton’s love of domesticity: the brass foot pedal beneath the dining room table that once summoned the butler; the butler’s pantry that still retains its original cabinetry, with glass doors, a pull-out carving board and two grain bins; and the “Anne Frank” hideaway closet within a closet on the third floor. The Keiths have been almost slavish in restoring the house to its original interior appearance. Handsome family heirlooms comprise much of the furniture, but the musical instruments that the pair play are as stunning as any of the other furnishing, including a 1927 J&C Fischer Art Deco-inspired piano that Frank Lloyd Wright commissioned. The basement, however, is a different matter. Descend the stairs and enter the Keiths’ underground lair, with its original cypress beams exposed and its poker table. You might be tempted to call it a man cave until you discover that two of the four beer pulls beckoning from the granite bar flow with ales that Amanda recently brewed. A second kitchen provides snacks. A 480-bottle cedar wine cellar is almost bare. “It’s empty because we spent all the money building the cellar and can’t buy any wine,” Keith jokes. The accident has changed Keith’s focus, making it much more local. As the Keiths relied on their College Hill neighbors and Preservation Greensboro Inc. to thread the restrictive and often tricky labyrinth of restoring a home in a historic district, their basement, just like their apartment in Kansas, became a popular gathering spot, especially after James became president of the College Hill Neighborhood Association. Little by little, the Keiths have become part of not only the UNCG community, but of the College Hill neighborhood. “I consider buying this house a major life event,” Amanda says. “It gave us both new things to learn and do, and it changed our experience of the South. It will be really hard to leave this house.” The accident and its aftermath have also changed Keith. “It focused me,” he says. Most recently, that focus has turned to medicine. Throughout the healing process, I saw a number of ENT doctors,” he says. “I ended up shadowing some doctors and found that I loved the work.” Years ago, he had considered medicine, but he says, “I knew I didn’t have the discipline to go through something that rigorous.” But taking post-baccalaureate classes alongside competitive students determined to get into medical school has convinced him he’s matured. He’s preparing to take the MCAT with his eye on Wake Forest. Keith bought another ’58 Caddy, which he’s restoring and has named the Phoenix. The first thing he did is fireproof the interior. But unlike automobiles, a house is never fully restored, so the Keiths continue to fine tune 303 South Mendenhall. “As everybody says, ‘You’re never done,’” Keith says. There will always be something to fix, but, then again, James Keith loves fixing things, whether it’s his Series-62 Extended Deck Caddy or the medusa-like fuse box in the basement. His next job as the ultimate fix-it man will be making repairs on the most challenging system imaginable — the human body. Keith recalls about how he once got outfitted in scrubs to watch surgery. Afterward, “as we came back out, everybody looked at us differently,” he says, “and I remember thinking, I want that responsibility.” OH O’Henry’s senior editor, David Claude Bailey, drives a vintage ’81 Jeep CJ7. March 2014

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“The first day of spring was once the time for taking the young virgins into the field, there in dalliance to set an example in fertility for nature to follow. Now we just set the clocks an hour forward and check the oil in the crankcase.” — E.B. White, One Man’s Meat, 1944

By Noah Salt The month of March, with its violent winds that signal change of season, takes its name from the Latin Martius, the first month of the early Roman calendar named for Mars, god of war but also guardian of agriculture. The new Roman year began with the vernal equinox on March 21, observed with food and wine festivals in honor of Juno, the goddess of home and garden, to celebrate the lengthening of days and start of the growing season. The practice ended with the Western world’s adoption of the Gregorian Calendar in 1752. For what it’s worth, the Almanac gardener has long maintained that the arrival of spring would make a far better moment to commence the New Year than the traditional January start — a nice glass of freshsqueezed orange juice on the sunny terrace in place of an Alka-Seltzer on the rocks and a driveway to shovel. Besides, in place of all those pointless bowl games and diet ads, we’d have basketball’s March Madness for the New Year.

Harbinger of Spring

Eight years ago the AG and his bride and three bossy dogs moved into a rambling old house whose principal charm was a woefully neglected back terrace presided over by a pair of trained Savannah holly trees. The house’s previous occupants clearly weren’t gardeners, evidenced by a surrounding border that had been left to grow wild with weeds and brambles. In the midst of cleaning out the beds, however, we found a small waxy-leafed mystery plant struggling for life that looked familiar. I decided to look it up and discovered it was a very young hellebore, Helleborus orientalis, better known as the Lenten rose. All our foundling needed was a shovel of good organic matter and a bit of room to grow, quickly spreading and establishing itself as the undisputed star of our backyard shade garden. The delicate white blooms of this hardy gem first appear in late February and typically last almost into early summer. Hellebores actually belong to the buttercup family but have been popular in cottage gardens since the Middle Ages, when monks used their mildly poisonous blooms for making purging toxins. Few garden plants have such a romantic heritage. In Christian lore, the five-pedaled blooms supposedly sprang from the tears of a poor girl who had no gift for the baby Jesus. According to another legend, Alexander the Great may have died from being treated with a purging tonic made from hellebores, though the facts remain a mystery. No mystery about our garden’s hardy survivor, though. Come March, long before the dogwoods and azaleas begin their show, our Lenten rose rewards us with glorious blooms that last a small eternity — the true herald of early Southern spring.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Miss Lawrence’s First Flowers

With us, daffodils are in bloom by the middle of March. They bloom before the leaves are on the trees, and the shrubs that bloom with them are leafless too. Very early in spring, the purple-leaf plum is in flower with the saucer magnolia, Japanese quince, forsythia, and Thunberg spirea. By this time the common primrose is in bloom with perennial candy-tuft and black-purple pansies. Dutch hyacinths bloom with daffodils. I often wonder why they are not generally more planted. The soft tints are charming in combination with early spring flowers, and they are a welcome change from so much yellow. In late March, the silvery blue of the hyacinth ‘Electra’ is delightful with yellow primroses of the Munstead strain and white candytuft. — The Home Garden, by Elizabeth Lawrence, 1943

A Brief Garden To-Do List

1. Last chance to prune, divide and shape shrubs, before leaves appear. 2. Rake out perennial beds and supplement with fresh organic material. This is the time for planting tender bulbs such as dahlias, tuberous begonias and gladiolus. 3. Garden shops and nurseries are at capacity with their broadest offering of late summer perennials, plants like coreopsis, coneflowers, autumn sedums, and asters. Now’s the time to plan and shop. 4. Sew leaf lettuce and spinach as soon as the soil is ready, carefully spacing plantings to assure continual harvest. 5. Apply a good organic spring fertilizer to your lawn. Clean and replenish bird feeders.

Garden Beasties

“If you can leave a little corner of your garden to grow wild, this will please the fairies, and many little animals will visit by day and by night. Some of these may partake of your seeds and flowers, yet this is only nature’s wise plan, for moles improve the soil and birds assist pollination. Each insect and animal plays its part in the Great Scheme, and its soul has mystery. Even the humble crawling beasts bear secrets within them to which we should pay reverence.” — Garden Spells, By Claire Nahmad March 2014



March 2014

A T. Rex named Sue

The History of Tea



March 1

March 1

BARS’N’BEAMS. 11:30 a.m. Watch gymnasts from around the world fly through the air with the greatest of ease at the 2014 AT&T American Cup. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474,

March 1

MIGHTY WINDS. 8 p.m. Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and its principal clarinetist Kelly Burke get romantic with superstar David Shifrin for an evening of Mozart and more for the Classical Romantics concert, part of the Tanger Outlets Masterworks Series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3355456, ext. 224,

March 1

JAM SESSION. 8 p.m. The Swamp Nots, Fredd Reyes, plus Bobby Doolittle and Jim Carson are just a few of the performers taking the stage at Listen Local, an informal open-mic concert featuring anyone with some musical chops. Mack and Mack, 220 South Elm Street. Tickets (336) 643-8643 or


• • Art


70 O.Henry

March 2014

Performing arts




March 1–2

MARCHÉ AUX PUCES. (9 a.m.; 10 a.m.). It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . . Super Flea (Market, that is). Browse among antiques, collectibles, jewelry and other assorted eye-candy. Info: Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets (336) 373-7474,,

March 1–3

BOOKIN’ Where can you get wine, cheese and a crack at 40,000 gently used books, DVDs, CDs and curiosities? At the annual book sale in the Social Hall at Beth David Synagogue. There’s a $5 cover charge on Saturday when the sale opens at 7 p.m. On Sunday, doors open at 10 a.m. and on Monday at noon, with no cover charge either day. Beth David Synagogue Social Hall, 804 Literature/Speakers

• • Fun




TIE-DYE FOR. 10 p.m. (Doors open at 8 p.m.) Covers of covers characterize the Jerry Garcia Band Cover Band (JGBCB), an Athens, Georgia-based group that sings the rock classics by Van Morrison, the Beatles, Bob Dylan and more — all Jerry Garcia favorites, former front man for the Grateful Dead who covered them in his own side act, the Jerry Garcia Band. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets (336) 272-9888,

• •

ACC Women’s Basketball


Winview Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 294-0007.

March 1, 8, 29

FORGE AHEAD. 10 a.m. Horseshoes, anyone? Or maybe some andirons? Watch a costumed blacksmith in action at Historical Park. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859,

March 1–April 13

À LA JAPONAISE. Nature as illustrated during Japan’s Edo period (1615–1858) comes alive in Bugs, Beasts and Blossoms: Japanese Woodblock Prints from the Dr. Lenoir C. Wright Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770,

March 1–May 4

MOD SQUAD. Check out the luminaries in American painting in the first half of the 20th century at American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keefe to Rockwell at the Reynolda House Museum of Art in Winston-Salem — one of two stops in the Southeast for the exhibition organized by the Brooklyn Museum. While you’re there, don’t miss a companion, behindthe-scenes exhibit, Reynolda Moderns, highlighting the

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March Arts Calendar

Rolling in Dough

Job Fair




innovations of R.J. and Katharine Smith Reynolds’ 1917 estate. Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (888) 663-1149 or

March 1–May 4

Dance Competition 3/

give the gift of life at the Paul Ciener Blood Drive. Need incentive? All donors will be entered into a drawing for a $1,500 gift card for a vacation getaway. Paul Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or

March 4 BONE-A-FIDE. If you haven’t seen her massive • jaws and claws, do. A T. Rex Named Sue, a life-size • KING CREOLE. 7:30 p.m. Bons temps are guar-awn-teed as Louisiana’s Terrance Simien & cast measuring 42 feet long and 12 feet high. The best

the Zydeco Experience celebrate Mardi Gras with lively Creole tunes. High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 8873001 or

March 1–May 16

March 5–9

BACK (BRUSH)STROKES. What better way to celebrate retirement than with an art exhibition? Adele Wayman: A Retrospective, 1962–2013 commemorates the work of the H. Curt and Patricia H. Hege Professor of Art. Guilford College Art Gallery, Hege Library, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 316-2450,

SWISH! The ladies take center court as the 2014 ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament gets underway. Times vary. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474,;

March 3

TEA TOTALERS. 12 p.m. Steep yourself in the world of Earl Grey, Orange Pekoe, Lipton and more for Cindy Watson’s The History of Tea, a Lunch and Learn Lecture that explores the origins of everybody’s favor-

IN VEIN. 2:30 p.m. It doesn’t matter if you’re a blueblood or a trueblood: Let ’em stick it to you so you can

March 6

Key: The Art & Soul of Greensboro

• • Art


Performing arts

ite brew, from the trade route in China that brought it to the West, its effect on American culture and health benefits. Bring your own lunch, and drinks (sweet tea, one hopes?) will be provided. Paul Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or

March 6

preserved fossil of a Tyrannosaurus rex continues to bring thrills to children of all ages. Nature Science Center, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 288-3769 or



CHERCHEZ LA FEMME. 7:30 p.m. Artist Adele Wayman discusses feminist inf luences on her work with retired women’s studies professor Carol Stoneburner at Meditations of a Woman Painter II. Guilford College Art Gallery, Hege Library, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3162450,

March 6

NIKKI-PEDIA. 6 p.m. Awards and praise have been heaped on poet, writer, commentator, activist and educator Nikki Giovanni, who explores the black American female experience through her art. Hear her insights at the Friends of UNC-G Libraries dinner. Tickets are available for the program only. Elliott University Center, UNC-G campus, Greensboro. Tickets: Triad Stage, (336) 272-0160,

• • Film


• • Fun


March 2014


O.Henry 71

The Lollipop Shop

Irving Park

Beautiful Children’s Clothing & Gifts

march special

$5 off shampoo, cut & style! For new clients only

Hop on in! Easter’s on its way! Irving Park Plaza

Lori O’Donnell Owner/Stylist

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1738 Battleground Ave. Greensboro, NC 336-273-3566 • Mon - Fri 10-5 pm & Sat 10-4 pm

Our wonderful shop is for sale. Please call if interested

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Shannon Bishara Stylist

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April Haumann Nail Technician

Amy Sellers-Kane Stylist

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336.285.9379 • Irving Park Plaza • 1736 Battleground Ave. Greensboro, NC 27408 Gift certificates available

72 O.Henry

March 2014

Clothing u Lingerie Jewelry u Bath & Body Tabletop u Baby Home Accessories 1826 Pembroke Road, Greensboro, NC 336-274-3307 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) Monday thru Friday 10:00–5:00 Saturday 10:00–4:00

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March Arts Calendar March 7

RIFFIN’. 6 p.m. Their name is Too Human, their sound, divine. Friends of the High Point Library and High Point Museum host an evening of jazz. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859,

March 8

• ALL IN THE FAMILY. 11 a.m. How do you put together information about your family tree? Let

experts from Interwoven Heritage Services show you at the workshop, Preserving Your Memories: A Primer on Recording Your Life Story Through Oral History and Artifact Preservation. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859,

March 8

YOU PECHA! 2 p.m. Fifteen North Carolina artists present and discuss their work in pecha kucha format (twenty slides, each appearing for twenty seconds) at the Open NC Art Review. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3337460,

March 9

TRUCKIN’ Noon until 4:30 p.m. Bringest thine

own book of verse. Grove Winery will provide the jug of wine — and a bunch of food trucks as part of the N.C. Food Rodeo that comes to Grove on the second Sunday of each month. Grove Winery & Vineyards, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Gibsonville. Info: (336) 584-4060 or

Opening Day, presented by Food Lion, which includes three first-day games, FanFest, all topped off by a concert by N.C.’s own Scotty McCreery. And then: Let the madness begin! Game times vary. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474,;

March 11

March 13

BRIT WITS. 7 p.m. Get ready for Hell’s Grannies, singing lumberjacks and the Upper-Class Twit of the Year, classics among the mashup of sketches in the classic 1971 Monty Python’s And Now for Something Completely Different. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605,

HOW DOES HER GARDEN GROW? 10:30 a.m. Enjoy brunch and learn how Douglas Thomas and her husband created an earthly paradise — including 40 acres of wildflowers — on their 400-acre historic estate, Twin Maples, in Salisbury, Connecticut. Reservations required. Paul Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Tickets: (336) 996-7888 or

March 12

March 15 ROUND TABLE (AND SOFAS AND CHAIRS). • Noon. Lunch and learn about the furniture industry at a •EAT YER GREEN(S). 1 p.m. Soda bread? Bangers and mash? Green mashed potatoes? Find out which Irish Museum Guild meeting, featuring Raleigh resident and speaker Kenneth Zogry. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859,

March 12–16

IT HATH MADE US MAD! Hoops, of course. The 2014 ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament returns to its rightful home for the twenty-fifth time. Come to

culinary gems are on the menu at Cooking Together: St. Patrick’s Day Favorites. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 574-2898,

BANDEMONIUM. 7:30 p.m. Conductor Evan Feldman strikes up the Greensboro Concert Band for an installment of the Music Center’s OPUS Concert series. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, 5800

• • • • • Irving ParkIrving Park Irving Park Key:

rving Park



Performing arts



• • Fun



SUMMERHOUSE SUMMERHOUSE 1722 Battleground Avenue, Greensboro Open Weekdays 10am- 5pm; Sat 11am - 4pm 336.275.9655 • The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Custom Monogramming Available on In-Store Items 1724 Battleground Avenue, Suite 104 • Greensboro, NC 27408 336.275.1555 March 2014

O.Henry 73

Lucky Dog!

Your dog will love our boredom-free run, fetch, swim, slide play space DAYCARE




15 Battleground Court, Greensboro NC 336.763.3064 Two Winston-Salem locations 336.765.7833 and 336.602.1538 Clemmons 336.766.0123

74 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March Arts Calendar Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-2026 or

IDE-SPLITTING. 8 p.m. Improv reaches new heights in Broadway’s Next H!T Musical, an unscripted mix of comic plot twists, one-liners and the audience’s favorite imagined songs. High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: 336-887-3001 or

but misguided Charity Hope Valentine are the focus of Sweet Charity! part of the Triad Best of Broadway series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474,;

for the series? Then sign up for dinner beforehand (5:30 p.m.) by March 14. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 North Holden Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605,

March 19

HAMMER TIME. 8 p.m. Forget Llewyn Davis and go hear the real deal. Folksinger John McCutcheon strikes a chord — or two — on the hammer dulcimer and other traditional instruments. High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 887-3001 or

FLAME GAME. 3 p.m. Under Peter Peret’s baton, the Philharmonia of Greensboro — and special guests The Dance Project: School at City Arts — set the house ablaze with Stravinsky’s Firebird Suite. Lewis Recreation Center, 3110 Forest Lawn Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-2026 or

SCHMOOZAPALOOZA. 10 a.m. As one of the Triad’s biggest networking events it has included the likes of BB&T, Procter & Gamble, Caterpillar and Duke Energy. Come see what the GTCC Spring Job Fair holds. Medlin Campus Center, Guilford Technical Community College, 601 High Point Road, Jamestown. Info: (336) 334-4822, ext. 50229, or

March 17

March 21

March 16

•WAR-TORN. 7 p.m. Rebecca West’s 1918 novel, The Return of the Soldier, reflects on the psychological

scars of battle and their role in a love triangle. Learn more at Friends of UNC-G Libraries’ Book Discussion, led by Dr. Keith Cushman of the university’s English department. Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library, 320 College Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 256-0112 or

March 18

IF YOU COULD SEE HER NOW. 7:30 p.m. Then by all means, do. The misadventures of tenderhearted

ROLLING IN DOUGH. 5 p.m. What better way to noodle around than to make your own pasta? Whole Foods’ experts show the secrets at a Teen Cooking Class, “Making Pasta from Scratch,” at the Edible Schoolyard. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street. Tickets: (336) 574-2898,

March 21

KEYPALS. 7:30 p.m. Schumann, Debussy, Chopin and Poulenc fill the bill as clarinetist Jon Manasse and pianist Jon Nakamatsu — aka the Manasse/Nakamatsu Duo — take the stage at the Ingram Memorial Concert for Music for a Great Space. Want to help raise funds Key:

• • Art


Performing arts

March 21

March 21

NO SPACE OR TIME. 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 6 p.m.). He’ll be singing a song — and many others — for you. Leon Russell brings his blues-infused brand of rock to town. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888,

March 21–23

TWINKLE TOES. See how much talent America’s really got as dancers and other performers vie for top honors in the NexStar National Dance Competition. Times vary. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474,;

• • Film


• • Fun



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Bringing Exclusive Madison Avenue training and experience to the Triad

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


March 2014

O.Henry 75

March Arts Calendar March 22

WELL, BUST MY . . . 10 a.m. Watch costumed interpreters make buttons the old-fashioned way — out of thread. Then try it yourself ($1 per button). Historical Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859,

March 22

SWANK SOIREE. 7 p.m. Celebrate diversity and inclusiveness in the community at the 2014 Guilford Green Foundation Gala. O. Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 790-8914 or

tricksters of the hardwood, the Harlem Globetrotters, who bring their 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour — and best game — to town. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets (336) 373-7474,;

March 23

HIGH EIRE ACT. 3 p.m. The luck o’ the Irish will be yours if you catch Direct from Ireland: Celtic Nights Emmigrants Bridge, a blend of ballads, stories and step dancing from the Emerald Isle (no Riverdance jokes, please). High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: 336-887-3001 or

March 26

March 22

• STEP TO IT! 7:30 p.m. Swing your partner round and round to some live swing music. And don’t worry if you’re new to the dance genre. The Swing Dance Society will show you all the right moves. Greensboro Shrine Club, 5810 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 508-9998 or

PEN-ULTIMATE. Friends of UNC-G Libraries explore reasons behind the Tarheel State’s write stuff with the lecture, “Why are there so many N.C. writers?” Presented by Georgann Eubanks, the project is the result of a grant from the North Carolina Humanities Council. Hodges Reading Room, Jackson Library, 320 College Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 256-0112 or

March 22

March 27

DOWN-HOME CHANTEUSE. 8 p.m. Missy Raines and the New Hip bring a fresh mix of folk, country and newgrass to Triad Acoustic Stage. Mack and Mack, 220 South Elm Street. Tickets: (336) 643-8643 or

March 23

COUTURE FOR A CAUSE. 6 p.m. Fashion meets compassion as Restoration Place Counseling hosts its fifth annual fashion show and auction. Proceeds go to the organization’s mission to offer affordable counseling for women and girls of the Triad. Greensboro Country Club, 410 Sunset Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 542-2060,

BASKET CASES. 2 p.m. What’ll it be? Hot-Hand Jersey? Make or Miss? Trick Shot Challenge? You and other hoops fans get to decide the rules for the irrepressible,

March 28–30

Business & Services


March 29


Fashioning Your Face for Excellence

Make-up & up-do stylist.... that comes to you! •Weddings •Professional head shots •Special Occasions

Amber Marlowe 336-772-4405

SOUTHERN LIVING. Check out cabinets, countertops, bath fixtures, garden patios and more at the Southern Ideal Home Show. Special Events Center, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 373-7474, or

Organizing and Personal Assistant Services Alli McVann

336-461-6900 Bonded - Insured

MARKETPLACE FOR MUSIC. 8 a.m. Allegro rather than andante is the pace to assume if you want to find a good deal at the Symphony Guild Super Sale. Keep your elbows, er, sharp, for deals on clothing, jewelry, electronics, toys, sporting goods and then some. Proceeds benefit the Guild’s educational programs. 707 East Bessemer Avenue, (the former Trader’s Chevrolet), Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 632-1812 or

March 29

BEAK HOUSE. 8 p.m. Buck buck up — or cluck up, if you prefer — by yucking it up with comedy troupe, Etta May and The Southern Fried Chicks on their Cage-Free Comedy Tour. High Point Theatre, 220 East Commerce Avenue, High Point. Tickets: (336) 887-3001 or

• • •• • Summer Fun Key: Art History

Music/Concerts Sports

Performing arts

• • Film



camps half day & full day for ages 3 through rising 10th graders workshops for the serious dancer weekly classes for ages 18 months-adult

Summer 2014

project the school at city arts For more information or to register

76 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Dance Your Summer Away at

The School of Greensboro Ballet


FULL DAY SUMMER PROGRAM Quenching the thirst…

Summer Fun

Enrichment with academics

June 16th—August 1st

Choose from one of our camps. Offerings for 3-6 year olds include: Flowers and Fairies • Princess Nutcracker • Once Upon A Time

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

...And for older ages: BOYS ONLY Camp • Dancers & Dolls Camp Young Dancer’s Workshop

Open Classes for experienced dancers ages 13 and up and an exciting summer intensive offering.


Come Join Us Today!

Call 601.3395

Lakeside Facility • 5040 Bass Chapel Road • 8 Har-Tru Soft Courts with Subsurface Irrigation and State of the Art Lighting • 4 Lighted all season Tennis Courts • Nationally Ranked and Recognized USPTA Tennis Pros • Tennis Programs and Social Events for all levels of play and ages • Two 6 Lane Pools with Baby Pools, Water Slides and Diving Well

Turnstone Facility • 312 Turnstone Trail • • • • •

Fun and Competitive Swim Team Poolside Social Events for all ages Group and Private Swim Lessons Full Service Grill and Lakeside Dining Fitness Programs for Men and Women including Free water Aerobics • Basketball court and fenced playground area • Large Rental space for Parties and Events

Check Out Class Times and more at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

O.Henry 77

March Arts Calendar

Extr aordinary Choice, Exceptional Lifestyle.


BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music, movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Pre-Registration: (336) 574-2898 or

A new season brings new opportunities to choose a retirement lifestyle that exceeds your expectations. Well•Spring residents enjoy exceptional retirement living with the most diverse mix of social activities and healthcare plans in the area. Here you can maintain an independent lifestyle while enjoying new friendships and opportunities for enrichment.


CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Y’all come for Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Tuck into Chef Jay’s signature fried chicken and gravy, select beverage specials, including buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it, and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring on the 4th and 11th; Molly McGinn on the 18th; Martha Bassett and friends on the 25th — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or fried_chicken.htm.

At Well•Spring, we strive to be your first choice for retirement living. Contact us today to learn more about our awardwinning community.


(336) 545-5468 • (800) 547-5387 4100 Well Spring Drive, Greensboro, NC 27410

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro. com/live_music.htm.



JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www.

Fridays & Saturdays

Brow waxing ServiceS

15-20 Species daily Catering available Private luncheon space available For the finest in local seafood creativity

Make Your Appointment With The Experts Today!


NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or


IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. The Idiot Boxers create scenes on the spot and build upon the ideas of others, creating shows that are one-of-a-kind — at the Idiot Box, 348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or

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

2002 New Garden Rd Greensboro, NC 27410 Sunday - Thursday 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm Friday & Saturday 5:00 pm - 9:30 pm We are open in the snow! w w w. r e e l s e a fo o d g r i l l . c o m

78 O.Henry

March 2014

• • • •• • • • Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Adventure Cultural Travel Educational and

Cultural Travel Experiences

Life & Home

Specializing in Europe • Design / facilitate educational and cultural travel experiences for individuals, families and small special interest groups

Small Special Interest Group Departures for Fall 2014

Downton Abbey Gardens, Castle and Egyptian Collection & a few days in London September 14-20 Glorious Gardens of the Loire Valley & Ile de France with Chip Callaway September 21-30

Weezie Glascock Cultural Travel Experiences 336.275.1010

Fisher Park Treasure Todd E. Rotruck

REALTOR®, Broker 336.402.1668 My hoMe info 24/7! 336.478.4670 (code 10405)



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home & garden

March 28-30 Greensboro Coliseum Complex

Discount Tickets Available at ©2013 An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro 800.849.0248 | A Southern Shows Inc. Production

March 2014

O.Henry 79

Caring for you and your investment

P hil Barker’s Refinishing Refinishing of

Life & Home

Antiques • New Furniture • Office Furniture • Finishing available

buy • sell • invest

Carley Mann & Associates Carley Mann Realtor/Broker 336.337.5672

in lacquer colors

Melissa Greer Realtor / Broker, GRI, CRS

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80 O.Henry

March 2014



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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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March 2014

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Worth the Drive to High Point Adventures in Paradise

Yasmin Leonard Photography

Don a wetsuit and descend a wet, slippery canyon with little more than a smile while a waterfall gushes over you. Ski indoor snow-covered hills in Dubai. Run solo through an empty African desert. Ski naked. These are some of the things you can experience vicariously at the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. They are among the best films entered in the annual Banff Mountain Film Festival’s international film competition. Even if you’re risk-adverse, these films allow you to experience what it’s like to be an adventurer surfing icy waters in remote Arctic areas or skiing down mountains so tall that the only way to the top is by helicopter. The film festival slaloms into the High Point Theatre March 16. Paul Harwood, outdoor programs and outreach market coordinator for REI, one of the festival’s sponsors, says the films’ High Point appearance usually draws between 600 and 900 people. With films running from six minutes to half an hour, the High Point festival generally offers six to eight different adventures over two hours, Harwood says. There are about thirty films on tour. Though short, the films tell compelling stories even if you’ve never skied, surfed or climbed a mountain. The cinematography is beautiful — the subjects, inspiring. For instance, the eight-minute film Sensory Overload features blind kayak-

er Erik Weihenmayer, who, from Everest to ice-covered rocks in Colorado, conquers vertical extremes. He’s even skydived solo from 12,000 feet. But he says kayaking is the scariest thing he’s ever done. One of the festival’s best films, El Ultimo Helero —The Last Ice Merchant — tells the story of Baltazar Ushca — the last person to practice the long-lived tradition of harvesting glacial ice from the tallest mountain in Ecuador. The documentary High Tension Rock recounts the intense fight between Sherpas and famous climbers last spring on Everest. Fists flew. Rocks were thrown. Obscenities and death threats were shouted. The 36-minute documentary also explores the business built on man’s quest to scale the world’s highest peak. Keeper of the Mountains, which won a special jury mention, profiles Elizabeth Hawley, who settled alone in Kathmandu in 1960. She began chronicling Himalayan expeditions for The Himalayan Database. Spry and spunky, she continues to update these records, even as she turns 90. Each year Banff films travel to forty countries for more than 840 screenings. Proceeds from tour screenings generally benefit a local outdoor program, community cause or nonprofit related to adventure and outdoor recreation. To learn more about the festival or to watch short film trailers, check out Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour, 7 p.m., March 16. Admission is $15. Info: High Point Theatre box office (336) 887-3001 or OH — Tina Firesheets

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82 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem Your Own Special Island At 1,925 performances, its Broadway run was second only to its creators’ earlier hit, Oklahoma! Otherwise, Richard Rodgers’ and Oscar Hammerstein’s 1949 musical, South Pacific, heralded a series of firsts and bests. Among its ten Tony Awards (including Best Musical, Best Score and Best Libretto) were wins in all four acting categories, the first and only musical to do so. It won the 1950 Pulitzer Prize for Best Drama, a first for a music man like Rodgers; It was among the first Broadway shows to sell souvenirs and with memorable songs such as “Some Enchanted Evening,” “Bali H’ai” and “Younger than Springtime,” the original cast recording became the best-selling record of the 1940s. Most significantly, South Pacific was the first musical to confront a serious social issue, racial prejudice. The story of a World War II American Navy nurse, Nellie Forbush, her romance with a French planter, Emile de Becque — and her prejudice toward his illegitimate children of mixed race — and the tragic subplot of Lt. Joe Cable confronting his own prejudice toward a Tonkinese girl he has fallen in love with will be on full display in Piedmont Opera’s production of South Pacific this month. It’s a seemingly unusual choice for an opera company, but says Executive Director Frank Dickerson, “We decided to do some classical American musical theater the way it used to be done.” That means using a larger-than-normal, thirty-six-piece orchestra

49 Miller Street next to Whole Foods Winston-Salem 723.4022 Monday-Friday 10-6 Saturday 10-5

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

(the Winston-Salem Symphony under the baton of Artistic Director Jamie Albritten). “We have a number of classically trained singers who can project more,” Dickerson adds. Among them is Branch Fields, a six-year veteran of the New York City Opera who plays de Becque, an operatic role for which he was understudy in Lincoln Center’s 2008 revival of South Pacific. Jesse Darden, a fellow of UNC School of the Arts’ A.J. Fletcher Opera Institute, will play Joe Cable, while Susan Neves, another opera singer, takes on the role of Bloody Mary. But, says Dickerson, “We have a mix of musical theater singers, too.” Chiefly, Jennifer DeDominici (Nellie), who has sung everything from Maria in The Sound of Music to Aldonza in Man of La Mancha, as well as some operatic roles. The production will take advantage of UNCSA’s Design and Production Department, “one of the best in the country,” says Dickerson, and a local costume maker who has worked on several productions of South Pacific. With sets provided by Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, and the acoustics of the Stevens Center accommodating the genre, South Pacific, Dickerson assures, “will be world-class. Better than a Broadway touring production.” Or in a word, enchanting. Info: Performances of South Pacific will be held March 14, 16 and 18. For tickets call (336) 725-7101 or go to (For last-minute tickets, call the Stevens Center Box Office at (336) 721-1945). A shuttle from Greensboro to Winston-Salem for the March 16 matinee is available for $10. To reserve, call (336) 725-7101. OH — Nancy Oakley


March 2014

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84 O.Henry

March 2014

In Office Surgical Suites 333-9022 • 211 State Street • Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Robbie Perkins, Shirley Frye, Darryl Jones, Dr. Greg Myers

Reception honoring Greensboro’s former City Manager Denise Turner Roth Bennett College’s Global Learning Center Wednesday, January 29, 2014

President Rosalind Fuse-Hall, Denise Turner Roth, Connor Joseph Roth, Chip Roth, April Harris

Jamal Fox, Sharon Dooley, Wendell Phillips Liz P. Summers, April Harris, Mayor Nancy Vaughn

Photographs by Wanda Mobley

Dr. Rachel Obie-Winstead, Annie Tyson Jett, Yvonne Johnson, Deborah Hooper, David Marshall

April Harris, Shirley Frye, Denise Turner Roth, Michelle Gethers Clark, Rosalind Fuse-Hall

State Street

we love

Danny Thompson, Dan Lynch, Rosalind Fuse-Hall, Pat Danahy


Ed Kitchen, Ken Miller, Bryan and Nikki Baker

State Street Art of Cloth Parsley & Sage Fenini Comfy USA Winter Sun Chalet Amma

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Ladies Night


(opEn Till 7pm • WinE • FinGER Food • Good ConVERsaTion)

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

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Robin Hager, Phyllis Shabitz

Circle of Red Luncheon American Heart Association & Go Red for Women Friday, February 7, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jennefer Gulledge, Todd & Kim Rangel, Jackie Fernandez

Missy Russell, Adrienne Cowan, Loury Floyd

Cassie & Karl Robinson XXXXxxx

Sherry Ryter-Brown M.D., Pam Cook, Natalie Borders Melanie Tuttle, Myra Bruggman, Rebecca Gibson, Jennifer Bates

Cheryl Hancock (Circle of Red Chair), Richard Habib

Jacqueline Brannon, Frances Giaimo Richard Powell, Susan Hendricks, Jennifer Bates

Katie Gaynor, Amanda Bootby Xxxx


Treasures | Antiques | Consignments




Dennis Whitman 336.549.0219 Kathy Whitman 336.681.7098 10233 North Main Street • Archdale, NC 27263 Hours 10 am - 6 pm Monday thru Saturday Like us on Facebook

86 O.Henry

March 2014

Saturday, March 29 Reductions of 10% or more! 106 E. Railroad Ave. Gibsonville, NC Downtown Gibsonville behind the Red Caboose Just minutes from Greensboro

336-446-0234 Mon-Sat 10-6, Sun 1-5

Call us for furniture restoration! The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Spring! The Perfect Time For A New Nest... Old Irving Park

New Irving Park

3803 Round Hill

This updated 2 story plus lower level home is meant for family living & entertaining. Covered porch, lower level rec room, garage and fenced back yard with gardens and house generator. Price upon request.

Old Irving Park

206 Sunset Drive

Stately & elegant classic home -- Golf course lot (14th tee of Greensboro Country Club) No expense spared in renovation and updating with attention to detail. Price upon request.

Ascot Point

Chesnutt - Tisdale Team

Xan Tisdale Kay Chesnutt 336-601-2337 336-202-9687

1810 Huntington Road

Golf course lot with best backyard view. Great home with updated kitchen and main level bedrooms and baths. Price upon request.

6 Ashton Square

One of a kind at Ascot Point! This home is meticulously redone. Main level master with his/her closets. 3BR and 2BA upstairs. 2 car attached garage & enclosed garden. Price upon request. ©2013 An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

Greensboro’s birthday bash Saturday, March 22 from 11 am - 5 pm

In March, 1808 Ralph Gorrell sold 42 acres of land for $98 to create the town of Greensborough and we’re celebrating!

Hear about the “Birth of a City,” learn about your neighborhood’s history, enjoy special tours and meet Jugtown Potter Travis Owens. There will be special activities for children and more! FREE Admission • Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am -5 pm, Sunday from 2 - 5 pm • 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro • 336-373-2043 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Downtown Greensboro

cultivating beauty

358 S. Elm St. 336.763.2317 tues-thurs 8:30-8pm, Fri 8:30-6pm & Sat 9-5pm

Downtown Greensboro’s Newest Bistro Brunch Saturday 11 am-3 pm • Sunday 11 am-4 pm 106 Barnhardt Street Located in The Railyard at South End

1.336.285.9391 Like us on Facebook

Come. Sit. Heal.

Pet of the Month Dr. John Wehe 120 W. Smith Street



• Preventative and Wellness Care • Hospitalization • Medicine/Surgery • Dentistry • And more...

88 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Tim Swink


O.Henry Hotel Book Fair UNCG MFA Writing Program & O.Henry Magazine Sunday, January 26, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan J. Edward Gray, Mandy Lane Kinney, Kate Black

Michael Parker, Ann Fitzmaurice Bob & Lois Losyk

Jo Maeder

Gabe & Anthony Cuda, Holly Goddard Jones, Weston Cuda, Katherine Skinner, Julia Smith, Glenn Perkins

Katherine & Jeri Rowe Jim Dodson

Steve Davis, Anne Batten, Susan Dalton, Don Miller Fred Chappell, Neil Lutens, Susan Chappell

Daniel Inman, Sarah Ball, Dena Harris

Hunter, Donna & Mitch Camp, Steve Cushman

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

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Downtown Greensboro

Natalie Goldberg




Living Color speaks to aspiring artists and those who dream of painting, and gaining confidence.

March 27 7:00pm For Details Call

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Come find out why we are where your dog wants to be!

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336.272.1620 705 Battleground Ave. 90 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Joe Thompson

Evelyn Edwards, Nancy Fuller

A Tartan Evening English Speaking Union of the U.S. and Greensboro Historical Museum Tuesday, January 28, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Sam Moffitt, Patty Kinkade, Leslie MacNeil Dent, Kate Hood, Francis Young, Jerry Cecil, Margaret Young, Jim & Wyn Hrdlicka, Melody Glick

John & Janice Sullivan

Bette Dunker, Rip Bernhardt

David Thomas

Bob Pitts, David Thomas, Pete Campbell, George Robinson, Sallie Huss, Mary McConnell, Laura Pitts, Kitty Robinson, Hoke Huss Pat Talbert, Tracey Maxwell, Nora Garver

Patrick Parrish, George Robinson, Lisa Anderson Bob Demery

David & Connie Carter, Pat Maine

Greensboro Scots Country Dance Society

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

March 2014

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American Moderns 1910–1960 Arts & Culture

FROM O’KEEFFE TO ROCKWELL February 7-May 4, 2014 R E Y NOL DA HOU SE M U SEUM of AM ERICAN ART 2250 Reynolda Road | 336.758.5150 |

American Moderns, 1910–1960: From O’Keeffe to Rockwell has been organized by the Brooklyn Museum. Reynolda House is grateful for local support of the exhibition by major sponsors First Tennessee Bank and Wake Forest University. Image: Georgia O'Keeffe (American, 1887-1986). 2 Yellow Leaves (Yellow Leaves), 1928. Oil on canvas, 40 x 30 1/8 in. (101.6 x 76.5 cm). Brooklyn Museum, Bequest of Georgia O'Keeffe, 87.136.6. Reynolda House is supported by the Arts Council of Winston-Salem & Forsyth County.


So Excited! pointer the


Support your Carolina Theatre by attending our third annual

Benefit Gala featuring The Pointer Sisters! Choose from an elegant pre-­show dinner or high-­energy cocktail party, or just attend the concert.

thursday, april 24, 2014 (336) 333-­2605 The Carolina Theatre receives major support from ArtsGreensboro.

92 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Arts & Culture

530 South Elm Street In the “South End” | Historic District Greensboro, NC 27406 336-389-9934

Fine Art & Antiques

Saturday, April 26, 8:00 pm Monday, April 28, 7:30 pm


A concert that trancends culture, time and genre and celebrates the diverse

Temple Emanuel - Greene St 713 N Greene St, Greensboro influences of Jewish literary, cultural $20 General Admission; $18 Seniors; and religious tradition on choral music $5 Students; Group Discounts Available

(336) 333-2220 OR Major funding for this concert provided by ArtsGreensboro and the North Carolina Arts Council.

Join us at Irving Park Art & Frame on Friday, March 14, 6-9pm for the “Night at the Gallery” Reception. This unique art collection, by self-taught artist Jill Mongelli, tells the unique story of single mothers, from all across the country, and their journey of strength, faith, inspiration, courage and truth to “pay it forward”, or better yet, “paint-it-forward.”

Proceeds from the sales of this show will benefit

Amber Waves of Inspiration

Event is free and open to public with plenty of free parking and handicap access

Monday-Friday | 9:30 - 5:30 • Saturday | 10 - 4

2105-A W. Cornwallis Drive Greensboro, NC

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

| (336) 274-6717

March 2014

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fo Co r m on in ly g t th o re Wi e ns pe to r f nor S m al an em ce s!

Arts & Culture

Rodgers & Hammerstein’s

South Pacific

Paintings B y

C.P. Logan

Victorian 11x14 original oil Original Oils, COmmissiOns, WOrkshOps, studiO Classes, Online Classes, painting parties

Motor coach transportation is available from Greensboro!

Piedmont Opera invites you to one of the most celebrated musicals of all time. Tickets are selling fast- Call today!

March 14th, 16th and 18th The Stevens Center of the UNCSA 336.725.7101 or

Exquisite Frames Museum Quality Framing Photo Framing

We have a passion for making things beautiful 251 N. Greene Street


94 O.Henry

March 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Accidental Astrologer

Have Free, Will Travel By Astrid Stellanova A client spotted me at the P.O. and the poor old thing was a little pouty, claiming my astral forecast got her down. Lordamercy, ole Astrid is a straight-shooting truth teller, but free will is free will, and that don’t just apply to the Baptists. The world’s best actor, Kevin Bacon, once said, “The fault, dear Reader, lies not in our stars . . .” Which means, it ain’t Astrid’s fault if sometimes I laid some bad news down. Anyhow, this month you’ll hear only from Good News Astrid. I don’t want no moping around when I get to the P.O. window to pick up next month’s Hair, Nails and Karma Secrets shipment.

and get back to whatever magic elixir you’ve been drinking. Honey, it’s working.


Virgo (August 23 –September 22) Beginning March 2, Saturn is retro in Scorpio till late July. What that means is you go full retro all the way — you will be tempted to second-guess everything from family ties to whether a neighbor tried to poison the cat. But you have more friends than frenemies, and just chalk this mess up to the stars messing with your mojo. One very tempting offer is coming your way; take it slow and serious but it is probably to your benefit to say yes, and thanks, much obliged. This is the universe offering you repayment for something nice you did in the fourth grade. It’s that retro thing working in your favor, see?







Pisces (February 19–March 20) Birthdays are like Spanx. They may take some getting used to, but once you get your groove thing on, things look pretty doggone good. You’re wearing them birthdays well, too. Looks like a little sunscreen and lipo went a long way. Here’s how Pisces is going to roll for 2014: If you like icing, lick it. If you like cake, have it. Do it your way, my fishes, and make your wishes. This spring brings a transit through Pisces in Venus by April 5 till early May, bringing you straight to the golden-plated gates of love. Brace yourself for a good time. Aries (March 21–April 19) By now, everybody who knows you knows how much you like action and traction. Guess what? With both a lunar and solar eclipse in the same month, you get your wish: all the action you can handle. Just be sure your loved ones can handle you. If money feels tight, open your pockets. More’s coming. Don’t hock that gold chain yet. You are working a whole new attitude, which might even get you to a new latitude. (Sometimes astral vibes slide straight in on the FM channel via my back molar! It’s like dental Sirius — one bicuspid over I can hear Jimmy Buffett.)

Taurus (April 20–May 20) A bull doesn’t have to take any bull, so let that be your motto. With a new moon in Pisces, Taurus may want to do like my celestial guidebook says and write a novel. (Or not. How many Taurus novelists do you know right off hand?) You’re skeptical, I know, thinking, Astrid consults with a celestial guide? But then, a Taurus couldn’t imagine a red, white or blue-blooded Taurus bull with inertia. You got enough forward momentum to take charge of the arena, pasture or office, and that, for certain, is no bull, Baby.


Gemini (May 21–June 20) A transit in your sign this month is sure good for business, Sugar. But what business are you in, exactly? That’s what the universe is asking you. Clarity, little twin, is the main aim. This month is such a blur, too, complicated by not one, not two, but three lunations. When you are awake and conscious, you have great opportunities. You got more wishes and dreams coming true than a toddler at Disney World. Save a little magic, and spread it around. Not everybody has your good luck — and this month you get second, third, fourth and fifth chances.


Cancer (June 21–July 22) Busy is your middle name right now. But you kinda like it like that, don’tcha? On the 1st and 16th, take time out when a full moon occurs in Virgo. A full moon in Virgo happens again on the 30th. If you want to travel, try something creative. Dollywood is a personal favorite. You can plug in or drop outta sight, or just do what Astrid does. Sit real still till it gets clear, figure out your wardrobe and accessories, then fill the tank and pack the Samsonite. Sometimes all you need is a thong and a prayer. And leopard print goes with everything.


Leo (July 23–August 22) There’s busy, and then there’s wild. You, Child, are dialing full tilt toward wild. If you have the strength by the middle of the month, go on a trip with your one-and-only and make some memories that don’t require clothes. (Honey, when Astrid talks about skin in the game, she ain’t talking about football, either.) If you wait till the 16th, there’s a full moon in Virgo, which means money. Check the soda machine — you might find some quarters waiting. Refresh your beverage

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Libra (September 23–October 22) Beware the Ides of March. Ole Astrid is just kidding — it’s just a few uh-ohs. By the 17th, Mercury is in Pisces so you will have a replay of events from back in January. (OK, I don’t know how to say this like it’s good news.) The uh-ohs of March are all about work — lots of work details in play, but nothing you can’t handle, Dumpling. The flip side: Your love connection is a lotta fun. You could use the balance, get it? Take that windfall, or bonus, and treat you and someone special to a couple’s massage. Y’all deserve it.

Scorpio (October 23–November 21) When Kim Kardashian and Kanye West named their Scorpio baby “North,” Astrid was not surprised. I reckon they wanted to remember which end of the baby was South. Scorpios are big on feng shui. You may want to rearrange the furniture, because you need an outlet and you like doing things your own way. Energy is flowing, but in March you will feel your best in your own space just chilling. Move the sofa but don’t move outta town. My hunch is to trust your hunches. You’re a natural intuitive, but you already knew that, right?

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) You’re probably glad February ended without another incident, and March is going to be a whole lot smoother. The big drama is over. Ole Astrid sees a nice situation building from March 5–April 5 when a transit in Aquarius enters your third house. Suddenly, after everybody and his brother wanted you to come to dinner, or go shopping, or just hang out, things got quiet. Don’t freak out, Sugar. A connection was made, so enjoy what’s coming round the bend. Just you wait; destiny has you on speed dial.


Capricorn (December 22–January 19) Coming out of a retrograde may leave Capricorns a little undone. Now you may feel like you are living life backward, but that is almost never true. Unless, of course, it is. (Astrid ain’t Einstein, but honestly, sometimes I do think we are living parallel lives.) If you apply for a loan, you’ll get it. If you are in the market to meet somebody, you will. When you count your Chicken McNuggets, there will be an extra one. In short, there might be a few hiccups to weather, but you are a lot luckier than most of us this month.


Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Well, with a new moon at the beginning of March in Pisces, another water sign, you get a chance to just ride that big old creative wave like David Hasselhoff on Baywatch. This month it don’t matter if you’re catching a wave or playing poker. Everything is lining up for you just the way my boyfriend Beau likes it when he’s got silver in his pocket and a cue stick in his hand: resources, talent and opportunities. Rack up, and get ready to address the ball, cause you got an astral chart even Minnesota Fats woulda loved this month. No win-lose nowhere, Honey, just win-wins. OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path.

March 2014

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O.Henry Ending

Fished From a Ditch By Jim Gutsell

As a young English

professor at Guilford College, I had never been one of the well-organized sort who, in the old days, would sharpen all my pencils each morning as a prelude to the day’s work and knew what they would be doing on Thursday at 2 o’clock. Rather, my main problem had always been knowing the time, determining the day of the week and judging how long it would take to get where I needed to be. One rainy Monday morning in the spring of 1970, I found myself standing six feet below the surface of the campus turf and already a little late to my 8 o’clock class. My problem was compounded by a new, cream-colored London Fog topcoat, recently bestowed by my mother.

Mother did not like my pipe; she did not care much for my beard; but there was nothing she could do about those. What she could do, and was determined to do, was fit me out with a coat to make her proud. I had uselessly tried to explain the obvious attraction a cream-colored coat would have for dirt. So now I wore it, perhaps for the first time. I parked my old white Ford Falcon behind my building and dashed to my office for something. Then, while hurrying across the grass toward my classroom, I discovered that the steam pipe buried under the entire length of the campus had been dug up over the weekend. The ditch facing me was a good three feet wide and six feet deep, and bordered on each side by a considerable mound of rain-soaked clay. Already a little late to class, it was clear that walking around the nearest end of the ditch would make me later. Looking for alternatives, I spotted a piece of studding someone had put across the ditch — a bridge! Walking the board would be much faster than circling the end of the campus. Could it have been for nothing that I, as a boy, had practiced escaping savages by crossing fatally deep crevasses on log bridges? I could generally

96 O.Henry

March 2014

make fifteen feet on a curb or railroad track before losing balance. Now I had a briefcase and an umbrella for balancing aids and only eight feet of board to cross. My first careful steps went well enough, but then the board began to bend and bounce up and down in a progressively lively fashion. At the very middle of the ditch, the bouncing board made its greatest flex, threw me up a bit, and rolled over. And there I was descending into the crevasse — a large, black umbrella open on my right side, briefcase at the end of my outstretched left arm. As I floated down — or so it seems in recollection — I visualized the event as seen by a bystander and felt I had been transported into a Charlie Chaplin or Buster Keaton film. I found myself in about an inch of water and precisely in the middle of the ditch, untouched by its walls, not a smudge of red clay on pants or — more importantly — on the unblemished coat. But I was hopelessly stuck between vertical, unclimbable clay walls. There was no point in shouting to an empty campus from a long crack in the lawn. It was raining. Students not already in class were still sleeping. Faculty would not be wandering around in the rain at that hour. While pondering the serious lack of useful options, I heard something above and looked up. There, right over me, next to the umbrella and against the cloudy sky, was the beautiful face of M. L. Carr, radiating a poorly concealed grin, a saving angel dropped down from the wet heavens. I don’t recall exactly how he did it, but M. L. reached down with his exceptionally long arms, lifted me straight up and set me down without even the slightest smear of red clay on my coat. I made it to class (only a little late), hung up my clean coat, took roll, handed back papers and talked about literature as if nothing unusual had occurred. What was there to say? It was a funny thing, but I was just as glad not to be featured in the student newspaper that week under some headline like: “Dr. James B. Gutsell Fished from Ditch by M. L. Carr.” Such, such were the joys. Note to readers: M. L. Carr’s team won the national NAIA basketball championship. He ended his professional basketball career as general manager and head coach of the Celtics, then went into business, and while I was still teaching, became a member of the Guilford College Board of Trustees. OH Jim Gutsell, who can be reached at, eventually accepted fate, embraced mud, took up making and teaching pottery — and sometimes these days wears an old London Fog knitted vest as he wrestles with words. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

...and a happy ending

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