November 2013 O.Henry

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Come on in, we’d love to show you our homes. Great neighbors are always willing to open their doors to you. And at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Yost & Little Realty, we have a lot of doors we can open. Of course, we’re also experts on what’s outside of those doors. Our sales associates know the best parks, the best restaurants for date night and where the farmers’ markets are located. Because when you’re moving in Greensboro, you’re not just buying a home, you’re buying a neighborhood. We can help you with both.

We make great neighbors. ©2013 Real Estate Brokerage Services are offered through the network member franchisees of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Most franchisees are independently owned and operated. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

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CONTRIBUTORS Cynthia Adams, Karen M. Alley, Jane Borden, Emily Frazier Brown, Tom Bryant, Susan Campbell, Fred Chappell, Lynn Donovan, Tina Firesheets, Antionette Kerr,Sara King, Mary James Lawrence, Sarah Lindsay, Meridith Martens, Mary Novitsky, Nancy Oakley, Dennis Quaintance, Lee Pace, Sue Pace, Susanna Rodell, Noah Salt, Kristi Short, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Charles Watkins


David Woronoff, Publisher ADVERTISING SALES Marty Hefner, Sales & Circulation Director 336.707.6893, Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 ADVERTISING GRAPHIC DESIGN 910.693.2469,


Marty Hefner 336.707.6893, ©Copyright 2013. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

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November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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November 2013 departments

9 Hometown By Jim Dodson

12 Short Stories 15 Gate City Icon

17 Life’s Funny

19 The City Muse

21 Omnivorous Reader

25 Food for Thought


29 Artist at Work

50 Magnitude:

33 Lunch with a Friend

36 Pleasures of Autumn

39 Birdwatch

41 Street Level

45 Sporting Life

49 Game On

53 The Evolving Species

56 Life Of Jane

By Dennis Quaintance By Maria Johnson By Emily Frazier Brown By Stephen E. Smith By David C. Bailey By Maria Johnson By Jim Dodson

By Susanna Rodell

By Susan Campbell By Jim Schlosser By Tom Bryant By Lee Pace

By Sue Pace

By Jane Borden

98 Arts & Entertainment Calendar 113 Greenscene 127 Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova

128 O.Henry Ending By Lynn Donovan

Aunt Lydia Does Stretching Exercises Poetry by Sarah Lindsay

60 Side Attractions

Six chef-inspired dishes for your Thanksgiving table By David Claude Bailey

66 N.C. A&T’s High-Stepping Mentor The man behind the mighty blue and gold marching machine By Antoinette Kerr

70 Lucy

Further adventures of Mary Ellen, Kaleburger impresario extraordinaire Fiction by Fred Chappell

76 The Frenchman and the Flour Mill It was love at first site. By David Claude Bailey

88 The Flowering Heart of a Town Paul Ciener’s vision has become the Triad’s botanical treasure. By Karen M. Alley

93 November Almanac

Why November is the Norway of months. By Noah Salt Cover: Photographic montage by John Gessner of Eric Robert and the North State Milling Company he is revitalizing Photograph this page by John Gessner

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November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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the transcendental Month by Jim dodson

some years

ago on a speaking tour for a new book — a memoir detailing a summer my young daughter and old dog and I spent fly-fishing and camping our way around America — an interviewer for a national radio show asked me a surprisingly insightful question. The book’s title was Faithful Travelers.

“Even if that weren’t the title of the book,” she said, “I found a lovely tone of spirituality running throughout your story. I wonder if you might tell us what particular religious tradition you come from? I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, frankly, because it seemed to have so many different elements, even a touch of Eastern religions?” She smiled. “Hope that doesn’t offend you.” “Not at all,” I said. “But it’s kind of complicated.” “How so?” I explained to her that I hail from a Southern family with two dominant Protestant branches, one Southern Baptist, the other Southern Methodist. The Methodists had the best covered dish suppers by a long shot, but the Baptists had the best hymns by a country mile. Both were in my DNA because my paternal great-great-grandfather was a circuit-riding Methodist preacher, my maternal Southern grandmother a Southern Baptist with firm ideas about education and Suffragette inclinations. But this was only the beginning. As a kid, my first reading books were Greek and Roman myths, stories of gods shaping the lives of mortal men. My strong-willed West Virginia-born mother, however, came from the German Lutheran tradition, which explains why my older brother and I grew up attending the Lutheran church in Wilmington and later Greensboro. Most of my closest friends, however, were either Catholic or Jewish — though the Scout troops I attended were sponsored by a progressive Presbyterian church and a Quaker Friends meetinghouse. I was drawn to and influenced by the Scottish traditions of the Presbyterians and the Quaker belief in the soul’s Inner Light. In high school, through Bull Smith’s English lit class, I discovered the transcendental writings of Emerson and Thoreau and found their message of the omniscient divine everywhere in nature and man a liberating thought. Emerson’s fascination with the ancient religions of the East prompted me to read the Bhagavad Gita and the lovely Upanishads for the first time, the ancient Vedas of the Hindu faith. I was hooked on their poetry and power. In college, on the other hand, I was drawn to the liturgy and language of the Episcopal Church and even toyed with the idea of taking myself off to The Art & Soul of Greensboro

seminary. But I was in love with a practicing Buddhist named Kristin I’d known since Catechism class who introduced me to the eight-fold path to awareness and a veritable choir of Eastern voices — Rumi and Hafiz, Islam’s astonishing Persian poets, plus the Christian mystics Teresa of Avila and Thomas Merton. In the end, I followed my father into journalism. But my secret “God thing,” as Kristin called it, continued to grow and expand, reflected by titles in my ever-growing home library, where spiritual writings outstripped every genre save perhaps American history texts and poetry, prompting her to call me a “Southern-fried Transcendental who is trying to read his way to heaven.” In a way, she was right. Wherever I happened to be working as a journalist, I developed a habit of dropping into churches, temples and houses of worship of every sort just to see and hear what was going on. In my travels over forty years, I also found peace by withdrawing from the madding crowds by wandering off into old cemeteries or sitting in empty cathedrals, enjoying the still quiet voice you can only hear when you clear away the noise and distractions. When I built my house on a forested hilltop on the coast of Maine, I built gardens that led to woodland paths that in turn led to vernal pools and secret places where I could sit quietly deep in the bosom of nature — like an ancient Celtic pagan or the philosopher Plato, who believed that kindly spirits resided in groves of trees. “In some ways,” I admitted to my radio interviewer, “I’m probably unsuited for any single religion.” “So what would you actually call yourself?” “I suppose I’m a Quaking Buddhepiscotarian with an strong fancy for a good Methodist covered dish supper and old-fashioned Baptist hymns, though lately I think I may really be a Southern-fried Transcendentalist.” She smiled. “That’s pretty funny — theologically speaking.” “The poet Hafiz said God has the ultimate sense of humor and loves a good joke. The word ‘human’ comes from the same root as ‘humor,’ after all.” She asked me if I believed in an afterlife — specifically in heaven. I told her I hoped Saint Teresa of Avila was right that the way to heaven was heaven itself. Despite its joys and sorrows, that’s how life felt to me — a spiritual pilgrimage to a better world. All religions, I pointed out, share this idea in some way or another. “So what religious holidays do you observe?” “All the above,” I admitted with a laugh. “Though my favorite is Thanksgiving.” Though it would probably cause my pioneer Methodist and Baptist forebears (and maybe a few of my modern Lutheran and Episcopalian friends as well) spiritual heartburn to hear, the older I get the more I’m convinced that the manNovember 2013

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HomeTown made barriers that divide people of faith — denominations and rigid doctrines that sharply articulate religious boundaries — mean far more to man than they do to God, whoever and whatever God happens to be. In a world where more information is conveyed in a single day’s news cycle than all of man’s previous time on this Earth, and thanks to mobile phones no one is — in theory — ever alone, the survivability of our religious traditions may well depend on the people of all faiths finding and nurturing the essential spiritual common ground of love without boundaries. For reasons I’m at a loss to fully explain, these kinds of long thoughts always seem so much clearer to me come November, a month I’ve come to think of as the Transcendental Month because something about the clear light falling across harvested fields or through woods stripped bare of their leaves seems like a benediction to another year’s sacred cycle of life, a bittersweet reminder of our own fragile impermanence. Whatever else is true, there is something holy in the knowledge that we are also just passing through, perhaps eventually transcending the temporal cares of both nature and man, perishable as any last rose of summer, like the tiny yellow ones that held on in my terrace garden all the way to Thanksgiving week last year. Up in Maine, where the season closes quickly, I loved mowing my lawn for a final time, then draining and putting away the mower for the season, setting off to cover my tenderest perennial beds with salt straw and erect my ridiculous Rube Goldberg plant protectors, an effort against the coming snows. After this annual autumn ritual there wasn’t much left for a Southern-fried Transcendental to do in November but work his wood pile, after which I would often plant myself on a peeling blue wooden bench in what I called my Philosopher’s Garden — the highest point on my hilltop, a gentle bosom of thin soil cloistered by hemlocks, white spire birch and American beech — and read a bit of Emerson or Thoreau or the

poetry of Robert Frost or simply watch the glory of late autumn fade through the trees. It was the light and the deep quiet that made November such a hallowed time on my hilltop. Even now, years later, in a different phase of life, come the hallowed light of November, you’re liable to find me out walking a country road or tromping through the woods in the company of my dogs, pottering around in my gone-by garden or sitting out on the terrace with coffee two hours before dawn admiring a starry sky and planets that seem to shine even brighter in the Transcendental Month. Unable to pass an old cemetery with tilting stones, I’m all but guaranteed to pull over and go wandering for a bit, reading faded epitaphs and names, remembering souls who shared a walk through this transcendental veil. If the church door is unlocked early, wherever I happen to be that day, Greensboro or Wilmington or somewhere on a distant road, following a pattern of behavior I’m too old to abandon now, I’m bound to slip in and sit for a spell in the clear morning light, hearing a fine sermon in the sweet silence — to paraphrase Emerson — even before the Thanksgiving service begins. When the music starts, I’ll hope for “O God, Our Help in Ages Past,” my favorite autumnal anthem, Isaac Watts’ great hymn of remembrance that’s still sung in rural churches and great cathedrals across the world, the middle stanza of which never fails to catch in my throat and reassure a wandering spiritual pilgrim. A thousand ages in Thy sight, Are like an evening gone; Short as the watch that ends the night, Before the rising sun. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at

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November 2013

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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shortstories Curtains rising all Over town

We’re in awe

From the basement of Weatherspoon Art Museum comes Nature in All Its Glory, thirty-some works on display from November 2 to March 9 by artists who stand in awe of the world around them. The Bungles from the Creek Bed by the late North Carolina artist and UNCG alum Maud Gatewood (1934-2004) depicts the domes of the Bungle Bungle mountain range in Australia’s Purnululu National Park. Elaine Gustafson, the museum’s curator of collections, says, “Some works suggest the vastness of nature, its power or its beauty while others play up its subtleties.” She continues, “surprisingly, many of the artworks on view are quite abstract.” Gatewood’s rhythmic and alluring painting recreates the mountain range’s visually striking and unusual sandstone domes with alternating bands of orange and gray, Gustafson says. “Viewed in person, these striations visually flatten the enormous volume of the rocks. In the painting, Gatewood mimics the sensation by having some of the bands leap from one rock formation to another, across the intervening space.” The artist, she says, created unusual surface textures and patterns by using a variety of tools, such as combs, palette knives and tape. A sheriff’s daughter who grew up in Yanceyville, Gatewood traveled to Australia on a Fullbright grant in 1963. “Maud explored many different styles over the course of her career, from realistic to more abstract,” Gustafson says, “but she was always interested in technique and process and experimented frequently.” Info: (336) 334-5770 or DCB

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November 2013

Theater season in Greensboro is heating up in November, with three shows packed into the first three days alone. Two will run November 1 and 2 — Quake, a comedy about a young woman’s quest for true love, and Recent Tragic Events, a drama following twin sisters in the aftermath of 9/11, both at Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret (336-334-4392 or On November 1–3, Greensboro Playwrights’ Forum presents Stage Fright 5, ten original tales of horror and suspense by local bards at City Arts Studio Theatre in the Greensboro Cultural Center (336-335-6426 or Then on November 9–15, Peter Pan flies into Taylor Theatre at UNCG via the North Carolina Theatre for Young People (336-334-4392 or November 10 will be the last day to see The Mountaintop by Katori Hall, a play focusing on the last night in the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., at Triad Stage (336-272-0160 or From November 15–17, One City One Book (Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea is this year’s book) teams up with FaithAction International House to produce Out of the Shadows, a multimedia show highlighting the courage and hope demonstrated in the lives of ten of our community’s newest immigrants at Triad Stage (336-379-0037 or One word — Chicago — by the Livestock Players, on the stage of the City Arts Studio Theatre in the Greensboro Cultural Center from November 14–24 (336335-6426 or Thornton Wilder’s Our Town is coming to your town, beginning November 7 and continuing through November 16 via Guilford Technical Community College’s Fine Arts Theatre, (336) 887-3001 or visiting From November 16–20, the Community Theatre of Greensboro will take you over the rainbow with the Wizard of Oz at the Carolina Theatre (336-333-2605 or carolinatheatre. com). And then on November 17 Sally Struthers comes to town to kick off the 2013–2014 season of the Triad is Best of Broadway series with Hello Dolly! at War Memorial Auditorium (888-413-2929 or See O.Henry’s Arts Calendar for more details.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Miss Lindsay’s Fourth

Debt to the Bone-Eating Snotflower, proclaims the title page. Published this month by Copper Canyon Press, it is poet and National Book Award finalist Sarah Lindsay’s fourth book. “I half expected to be talked out of it,” says the Greensboro copy editor of Four Seasons Magazine, “or at least be asked to discuss it. But no one questioned it.” And why would they? This is a book replete with feathered whales, carnivorous Antarctic sponges, a Thai Elephant Orchestra and the eponymous snotflower — the dreaded bone-eating Osedax mucofloris. Then there’s the section titled Cosmic Turtles, eleven poems in which Aunt Lydia contemplates the universe, tries to love Komodo dragons and takes out the garbage. Let’s hope Lindsay will give us “Aunt Lydia’s Junk Drawer Anticipates the Day of Judgment” when she reads from the book on November 14 in UNCG’s Faculty Center at 8 p.m. Or maybe she’ll read “Deteriorating Inscription” — a poem about how the story told by an inscription carved in stone changes as bits and pieces of it fall away — when she’s at Glenwood Coffee & Books on November 16 at 4 p.m. Rhubarb wine won’t be served at either event, but it’s in the book, along with “a dash of physics, a dab of archaeology, and my last will and testament,” says Lindsay. See “Magnitude: Aunt Lydia Does Stretching Exercises,” one of her latest poems, on page 59.

sauce of the Month

The early Saturday morning sunlight in Bill Mullins’ honey booth at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market on Yanceyville Street lights up a bottle stuffed with yellow Datil peppers, orange habaneros and purple Thai peppers. The label says, “Pepper Sauce with Honey Wine Vinegar/ From the Kitchen of Carol Mullin.” Carol is Bill’s wife, and I’ve found that her tart sauce’s fragrant bouquet cuts through the sweet hog jowl aroma of collard greens like a steak knife cutting a fried pork chop. The nice thing about homemade pepper sauce is with each passing month, the sauce gets hotter and hotter. If it gets too hot or it begins to run low, you can always replenish the vinegar, especially if you get a bottle of Mullins’ mild honey-wine vinegar. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro, (336) 373-2402 or DCB

Veteran Voices

If you want to feel the meaning of Veterans Day, take in DEPLOYED, a readers’ theater of prose and poetry written by veterans and their stateside loved ones who weathered seven U.S. wars abroad. Molded into a show by Greensboro-based Touring Theatre of North Carolina, the writings were compiled by N.C. Poet Laureate Joseph Bathanti and TTNC founder Brenda Schleunes. The works will be read at 8 p.m., November 8–9 and 15–16 at Mack and Mack clothing store, 220 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 338-200 or MJ

a Field of Honor

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Come Veterans Day, no one can accuse Greensboro of ignoring its heroes. War Memorial Stadium honors those killed in World War I. War Memorial Auditorium remembers those who gave their lives in World War II, Vietnam and other wars since then. A brick plaza at Greensboro’s Country Park salutes all the city’s veterans, living and dead. Phill G. McDonald Plaza at Government Plaza downtown includes a marker naming anyone from Guilford County killed in Vietnam, including Medal of Honor winner McDonald. But none of them can compare to the Carolina Field of Honor, begun in September. It will cover 8.5 acres in Triad Park, on the Guilford/Forsyth border near Colfax, and features a fountain with a 57-foot-high obelisk surrounded by the five flags of the military branches. Add a curving brick walking path, an amphitheater and parade deck for ceremonies and other events, and the word “monumental” comes to mind. Years in the planning, the field will honor 150,000 veterans living in the Piedmont Triad, where, by one account, more veterans live than anywhere else in the state. Also memorialized, of course, will be those who died in conflicts from World War I through Afghanistan. The field’s home, 400-acre Triad Park, is owned by the governments of Forsyth and Guilford counties, each of which contributed $500,000 to the field. The opening is targeted for Memorial Day, 2014, and it will be “the finest veterans memorial in North Carolina . . . and one of the largest on the East Coast,” promises former Marine Bill Moss, who hatched the idea for the field with reinforcements from the local Marine Corps League Detachment and others. During the past five years Moss has worked almost full time raising money. Of the $5 million price tag, he says, only about $200,000 remains to be raised. The names of top donors will be displayed on a bronze plaque on the Wall of Support. Donations of any size are welcome, with commemorative bricks available. Info: (336) 851-0999 or JS November 2013 O.Henry 13

Gate City Icon

playful dreams

The O.Henry Hotel and Green Valley Grill fifteen years on . . .

by dennis QUaintanCe

Years prior to opening the O.Henry I was stopped

at a light on my slick BMW R65 motorcycle. I elbowed Nancy, my then-girlfriend (still my girlfriend, now my wife and mother of our 15-year-old twins — busy year), who was behind me. I pointed to where the O.Henry and Green Valley Grill now stand and said, “That’s where we’ll build our first hotel.” Sort of an audacious thing to say, given my bank balance and credentials, but dreams are free, and playful dreaming is at the core of my career and our hotels and restaurants.

The fifteenth anniversary of the O.Henry Hotel has led to a lot of reflection. The most delightful memories center around the design process we employed and some of the cues we took from local architecture. Most of all, I’m filled with warm feelings when I think about the camaraderie and collaboration I experienced during the whole process. A lot of those good feelings are grounded in my friendship with Don Rives, who was christened our “Minister of Design” back then. Don died five years ago. The best way to describe our feeling for Don is to read the plaque in the lobby of the O.Henry that we put up when we dedicated the adjacent garden to him: “Don Rives . . . gave back as rain what he received as mist; he taught us about beauty and joy and how to turn our dreams into a physical reality. In his memory, we lovingly dedicate this garden.” (Kleenex, please.) (There is even a bit of an “O.Henry Twist” in all this. I first saw that line on C. Alphonso Smith’s headstone in Green Hill Cemetery and thought, “That reminds me of Don.” Smith — and here is the twist — was the head of the English department at the U.S. Naval Academy and O.Henry’s biographer.) We decided right from the get-go that we wanted to bring back the community-centered hotels that all but disappeared when airline travel and interstates caused most hotels to move away from neighborhoods to commercial areas near highways or airports. We wanted to bring back to Greensboro not just a great place for travelers to stay, but also a place that folks from the neighborhood would enjoy, like the grand old hotels that were once real centers of community life. We wanted a place that was “in and of” our community. In order to make this dream real, we needed just the right location, a well-crafted building with enThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

during architectural appeal (Read: great proportions and appropriate materials, inside and out) and, most important, a sincere, competent and friendly group of people to take great care of our guests. We thought that the best way to get good outcomes with the design was to find buildings around here that folks have loved for years (or would still love if they hadn’t been torn down) and honor their memory by mirroring some of their design features and history in our hotel and restaurant. We settled on pretending that Charles C. Hartmann, the architect of the original O.Henry Hotel that stood at Bellmeade and Elm from 1919 till 1979, was still of the earth and was playing the role of lead designer. He also designed the Jefferson Standard Building and many other landmarks. So . . . the new O.Henry’s rustication of the first two levels, the shouldered arched windows and the black-and-white basket-weave mosaic tiles in the restrooms are all features that Hartmann would have surely used. Beyond Hartmann, our lobby pays homage to the lovely and warm honeyed-pine living room of the Hanes home in Winston-Salem that is now the centerpiece of the SECCA Museum. And who doesn’t love the urns atop Aycock School? Urns on the O.Henry are their first cousins. With the Green Valley Grill, we decided to pretend that there was already a building on the site that we would adapt and reuse. With that approach, we got to decide the precise building we would like to have found! What’s more fun or playful than that? We decided we’d like a building that was an amalgam of the power plant at UNCG, the little pump house in Lake Daniel and the store at the corner of Highway 150 and Lake Brandt Road. With that beginning and with Don employing proportion guidelines from Palladio’s The Four Books on Architecture, we ended up with the Green Valley Grill. (Don did all of the calculations by hand on yellow legal pads; he didn’t like machines like calculators.) What did I learn from all this? Be careful what you dream, because you might end up there. Dreaming, I’ve found, works out best when it is matched with pragmatism, but you’ve got to start with dreams and worry about all the practical stuff later. The objections to any dream — and there will be plenty — won’t go away just because you continue to dream. But if you develop the dream far enough, the positive factors might multiply and bulldoze the objections. If they didn’t, there wouldn’t be a Lucky 32, a Proximity Hotel, a Print Works Bistro, a Green Valley Grill or an O.Henry Hotel. Here’s to dreams and to my partners, Mike Weaver, Will Stevens and Nancy King Quaintance, who helped turn some of my dreams into reality and who stick with this daft and dewy-eyed dope and his impossible hopes! Cheers! OH Dennis Quaintance is CSO (Chief Storytelling Officer) for Quaintance Weaver

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November 2013

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Life’s Funny

Oh, Shoot My feat of clay

By Maria Johnson

I’ll be honest: I don’t like guns, mainly

because I keep noticing a relationship between guns and things that get shot.

I do, however, love sports. And I don’t find clay discs particularly precious. So when the XYs in my family came home from shooting sporting clays, talking about how much fun it was, it made me wonder if I would be any good at it. After all, it’s fall, and one never knows when one might attend an event like Blastin for Boobs, a ladies-only fundraiser that’s held the first Saturday in November at Shane’s Sporting Clays in Summerfield. The money goes to Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test, an organization founded by Greensboro’s own Martha Kaley. Yes, that was a shameless plug, and I’m hoping it lands me a Blastin for Boobs T-shirt that says, “Supporting the Original True Pair,” a play on the “true pair” of two clays launched at once. You gotta love a fundraiser with a sense of humor. Anyhoo, Shane himself agreed to show me how to shoot, and he is the kind of guy who inspires confidence because a) he has kind eyes and b) he is built like a cinder block. Let’s put it this way: If I were a shotgun, I’d get a Shane for protection. Shane asked if I’d ever shot, and I said that my North Carolina grandparents used to let me and my brother plink cans with their .22 rifle and that I was really good at hitting the player piano in that Western saloon shooting game you see in arcades. “So, no,” Shane said. Obviously not a fan of player piano music, I thought. Fair enough. He grabbed an unloaded 20-gauge semiautomatic shotgun and started teaching. First, we worked on the stance. Then he showed me how to put the butt end of the gun snug against the inside of my shoulder to keep the gun from kicking. To illustrate, Shane made a fist roughly the size of a car battery and drew it back. “If I hit you from here, I would hurt you.” Agreed. He moved his fist an inch from my shoulder. “But if I hit you from here, it wouldn’t hurt.” Actually, I was pretty sure it would. But I nodded. Next, he told me to put my cheekbone tight against the stock — it’s called cheek weld — and sight down the barrel to — I hope I’m not getting too technical here — that little pointy thing on the end. Shane said to pull the trigger when I saw the clay pigeon smack on top of the pointy thing. He went on about the physics of shooting, but I was already daydreaming about The Beverly Hillbillies episode where the Clampetts go skeet shooting. When it’s Granny’s turn, she hollers “Fling!” instead of “Pull!” and blasts two clays out of the air with one shot. “Let’s go shoot,” said Shane, snapping me out of my reverie. On the way up to Station One, Shane explained that sporting clays, skeet and trap are the names of three different games — not targets, as many people think. The targets in all three games are clay pigeons, which are saucers made of limestone and pitch. Sporting clays — the game they play at Shane’s — resembles The Art & Soul of Greensboro

golf because each station has a different target area. We arrived at Station One, where there was a low wooden stand and a launcher full of clays. Shane showed me how to load the gun safely — never until you’re on the stand and ready to shoot — and how the gun will not fire until the action is closed and the safety is off. Glasses on. Earplugs in. “Say ‘Pull’ when you’re ready,” he said. I was tempted to say, “Fling!” but I didn’t. “Pull.” BLAM! “Smoked it!” Shane said. “What? I said, lowering the gun. “I hit it?” “Yeah!” “Well, all right then,” I said. I felt like spitting. “Let’s try it again,” he said, reloading. “OK . . . Pull.” BLAM! “Missed it high,” he said. He loaded again. “Pull.” BLAM! “Smoked it!” Shane said. “This time, I’m gonna load two shells. You can shoot one right after the other. Tell me when to pull.” “Pull!” BLAM! “Pull!” BLAM! Two clays exploded like little fireworks. By now, Shane was laughing, and I was thinking, “This is a sport because . . . ???” Well, pride goeth before a fall. I missed the next zillion. Then we moved on to Station Two, or the Wobble Area. He said the launcher would throw clays every which way. That was putting it mildly. Here’s what happened a few times: “Pull!” I said, scanning the sky for a target. Pause. “I did,” Shane said. I finally shattered a low flyer and decided it was time to quit, mainly because my cheek ached. I was concentrating so much on keeping the butt of my gun tight to my shoulder that I’d forgotten about my cheek weld, which led to a condition I like to call butt cheek. I would snicker at my own joke here, but it kinda hurts to laugh. Still, I’m glad I went to Shane’s because now I know why people get a charge out of sporting clays. I also know something about gun safety. And I totally understand why the gun-toting hombres in Western movies always wore crooked little smiles. OH If you’re a duck, you’d better not quack around Maria Johnson. You can, however, reach her at November 2013

O.Henry 17

We’re teaming up with a few of Santa’s helpers... the few, the proud. Help us support the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign. Bring a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation to our office to help make this a Merry Christmas for underprivileged children in the Triad.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Drop-Off: Until December 17, during regular office hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Location: Ward Black Law office at 208 W. Wendover Ave., Greensboro Kick-Off Event: Join us at our annual Toys for Tots kick-off

event on Friday, December 6, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Bring your donation, thank a Marine and enjoy the festivities!


Final Drop-Off Date: December 17, 2013

208 W. Wendover Avenue | Greensboro, NC 27401

The City Muse

Coffee Mates

Make mine dark roast and The Walking Dead. Insurance anyone? By Emily Frazier Brown

I’ve noticed the

recent emergence of some businesses that I call “Coffee-ands” and wonder whether they’re a Greensboro anomaly. Where else, for instance, can you find a combo coffee-and-florist shop? On East Market Street, Chandlar’s Florist & Coffee House is the perfect spot for anyone who wants to arrive late, but totally wired, for mom’s birthday dinner. And who wants to be punctual but lethargic? At the coffee-andflorist Chandlar’s, you can grab both the perfect bouquet and your much-needed, post-work latte to go. And for anyone who wants to use his or her lunch break to shop for insurance quotes and become re-energized for the second half of the day, the formally and affectionately named Cafegency at the intersection of North Church Street and Wendover Avenue is the perfectly placed coffee-and-insurance agency.

Photograph by Sam Froelich


It’s 8:45 p.m. on a Sunday evening, and Geeksboro, a combination cinema/ coffeehouse on Lawndale Drive that also sells beer, is packed wall-to-wall with bodies who have forgotten personal space in lieu of the Breaking Bad series finale. Since 2012, it’s become the Gate City’s prime place to find favorite television shows, obscure movies and elaborate board games alongside favorite caffeinated beverage or a craft beer. I crawled over a small pile of purses and coats, took a sharp breath in to make my way between the crowd of people and a life-size replica of the famed, royal blue Doctor Who telephone booth. The line moves swiftly at Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema as patrons make their purchases of filled chocolate cupcakes, hazelnut lattes, small bags of popcorn, and 16-ounce Pabst Blue Ribbon “tall boys.” Come 9 o’clock the store darkens and the room grows mostly silent save for the shuffling of feet among those who arrived late and decided to stand in the back after finding no open seats. Downstairs is a makeshift theater, complete with seats and a projector, but those tickets were sold out several days before the finale’s show time, creating a massive overflow room out of the main floor upstairs. The staff is taking their tips in the form of two plastic cups labeled “Walt dies” and “Walt lives,” referThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

ring to main character Walter White and the nail-biting question as to how the AMC show will end. During commercial breaks I overhear Kelly, who has golden hair and fire-engine-red lipstick, speaking with Derrick, who sports boldly rimmed black eyeglasses and a button-up denim shirt, asking about Geeksboro’s turnout during shows like The Walking Dead and Girls. This is Kelly’s second visit. Derrick? He’s approaching something like his 212th trip. Geeksboro manager Joe Scott has been known to put Zombie-repellent hand sanitizer on sale during The Walking Dead, and the local gaming community shows up in droves for recurring Nintendo 64 and PlayStation tournaments. Parsing out the individual conversations isn’t easy in such a crowded room, but it’s possible to make out that Rick, who stands 6’ 3’’ and walks with a red-andblue striped cane, prefers The Lord of the Rings chess board to a traditional set. Meanwhile Carlie, flashing her new braces while clinging to her mother’s hand, can’t get enough of the full-size arcade games that sit in the corner of the back room. The buzz continues until the show is over, most people making plans to meet here yet again next week for some other cinematic addiction to accompany their caffeine. The evening air at barely 60 degrees on our way out reminds us that iced coffee will fade in popularity in coming months. But maybe not beer.


I had grown accustomed to briskly passing Terra Blue on my walks across South Elm Street. The vibrant blues and purples decorating the window and doorspace continued to catch my eye, but I never made plans to meet anyone there. I had, however, heard through the grapevine that it was a coffee-and-Wiccan bookstore, which I mentally tucked away as interesting, but not my particular cup of joe. On a particularly crisp day early this autumn, I heard about a tarot-card reading and unbeatable deal on incense. The colorful coffee-and-metaphysical-supply-with-a-wide-range-of-magical-herbs store didn’t disappoint in its full coffee bar or welcoming customer service. And Melinda’s intuitive tarot card reading left me feeling sanguine enough about my future that I agreed to sign on to the first round of a meet-the-family holiday plan with my new beau. What struck me most of all was the abundance of community that could exist inside four walls where things were for sale. Two women about my mother’s age were shuffling slowly among tapestries and reading materials, discussing among themselves how thankful they felt to have such a conveniently located store for their interests. Christine and Phillip, new to town to attend UNC-Greensboro, agreed that it was the charming Facebook posts the storekeeper puts up periodically that brought them in, and they’d been hooked ever since. I left with the feeling that I could face the next four months of my life thanks to the new downtown hideaway I immediately added to my go-to list for weekend afternoons — and the next four hours of my workday thanks to the coffee. OH Emily Frazier Brown, who can be reached at, is a resident of Greensboro who likes her coffee black, thank you. November 2013

O.Henry 19

211-A State Street, Greensboro, NC 336-273-5872

The Omnivorous Reader

Loves Lost

The blessing — and startling discomfiture — of a returning soul

By sTePhen e. sMiTh

An old edition

of the college history text The American Experience relates the story of a religious zealot who walked into a New England village and proclaimed that he was Jesus. The local Puritans grabbed him, branded his forehead with a B for blasphemy, tarred and feathered him and ran him out of town on a rail — “thus demonstrating,” the authors wrote, “what would have happened to Christ had he actually returned.”

Such is the premise behind Jason Mott’s first novel, The Returned. But it’s not Jesus who’s resurrected; it’s the dead, en masse. And they appear all over the planet without any particular rhyme or reason. The Puritan village in Mott’s novel is Arcadia, a town of 600 souls located in southeastern North Carolina, where Harold and Lucille Hargrave, down-home, right-thinking folk, answer a knock at their front door and discover, to their astonishment, a “government man” holding the hand of the living and breathing — and blameless — embodiment of their 8-year-old son, Jacob, who’d drowned in 1966. Some reader will no doubt suspect that Mott’s novel is a silly zombie thriller, another plotless horror story about the putrefied dead pursuing the living ad nauseum. Readers who are more attuned to the uses of fiction may suspect the novel is a parable or allegory for the troubled times in which

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

we live — big government intruding into the lonely, thwarted lives of ordinary people who long for a genuine spiritual awakening. Neither assumption is correct. The premise is straightforward: Jacob is one of thousands — probably millions — of dead human beings who return to the world of the living, bringing with them the disruptions such an event would entail. On a subliminal level, their reappearance plays on the guilt we experience when a loved one dies and we find ourselves overcome with a need to commune with them. What would we do differently if we were granted a second chance to interact with the loved and lost? For Lucille and Harold, both in their 70s, Jacob’s return is a blessing — and a startling discomfiture. In the decades since Jacob’s tragic death, the Hargraves have settled into a routine that allows them to cope with his absence. Now they must live in the world as it might have been and as it will be. Jacob, on the other hand, has no memory of having drowned and doesn’t know why he’s returned. He simply begins where he left off and hurries into the kitchen to catch up on all the eating he’s missed. “. . . there was the sound of Jacob sitting at the kitchen table, gulping down his lemonade and burping with great satisfaction. ‘Excuse me,’ the boy yelled.” How is it possible for the dead to walk the Earth again? Are these beings truly lost loved ones come back to life or are they sinister apparitions? Does their appearance signal the beginning of the end times? How does their intrusion affect belief in an afterlife? If the answers to these obvious questions are not contained in the novel, Mott does manage to touch on every human emotion — sadness, happiness, anger, disgust, compassion, rage, guilt and especially bigotry and fear, which are, finally, the overriding motivations for the actions taken by the True Living. As might be expected, religious belief comes into question. When the Hargraves first hear of the Returned, Lucille refers to them as the “devil,” November 2013

O.Henry 21


at old salem Experience authentic history, fresh-baked treats, unique holiday gifts, seasonal concerts and the holiday spirit.

november 1–december 31

November 9 shops at old salem holiday open house – music, food, shopping, and more Beginning November 15 candlelight tours – with music, games, food and drink November 30 – December 21 saturdays with st. nicholas – family activities and a visit with St. Nicholas December 14 salem christmas – A full day of hands-on activities and holiday fun! visit old salem or shop online for unique holiday gifts For a full list of events, classes & concerts, visit or call 336-721-735o 22 O.Henry November 2013 old salem museums & gardens, winston-salem, north carolina

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2:10:29 PM

Reader but when Jacob steps back into her life, she immediately resumes her duties as a loving mother. Harold isn’t so quick to accept this incarnation of his son, and he fumbles to comprehend what is essentially an unfathomable mystery. In his pocket he finds an old cross he’s carried since Jacob’s death, the words “God Loves You” worn from grief so that only the “O” and “Y” remain (a trifle obvious, perhaps). When Jacob, Lucille and Harold attend church for a town meeting, Pastor Robert Peters, a man caught up in his own dilemmas, both personal and spiritual, reacts awkwardly. “He took Jacob’s hand, being sure that even those in the back of the church, those who could not see, had time enough to be told what he was doing, how he was speaking of patience as he held the hand of the boy who had been dead for a half century and who was now, suddenly, peacefully sucking candy in front of the church, in the very shadow of the cross.” The Returned present an overwhelming challenge to the government, and Martin Bellamy, the bureaucrat who delivers Jacob to his parents, immediately sets about filling out the requisite forms. “Of course, even for people returning from the dead, there was paperwork.” When these mysterious beings begin to accumulate in excessive numbers, the government attempts to confine them in concentration camps, one of which is located in Arcadia. Soldiers are brought in to guard the Returned and to protect them from the True Living movement whose ultimate aim is to kill these innocent beings. Harold has himself interned with his son and takes responsibility for the child’s well being, while Lucille remains at home, preparing their meals and plotting to set them free. The novel concludes with an “Author’s Note” that explains how The Returned came to be written and supplies, albeit unnecessarily, Mott’s motivation for writing the novel. “In July 2010, a couple of weeks after the anniversary of my mother’s death, I dreamed of her. The dream was a simple one: I came home from work and she was there, at the dinner table waiting for me . . . [It was] an opportunity to see her smile, to hear her voice, a chance to stay with her in those last days of her life, rather than hide from her the way I did in the real world.” Guilt is powerful stuff. The Returned is a strong first outing — the novel has already been picked up for a TV series — and if readers are left with more questions than answers, the story’s innate appeal and thematic resonance far outweigh any technical deficiencies. OH



Find Your Holiday Fun in Downtown Greensboro

WFMY 2 Piedmont Winterfest: Ice Skating begins November 20

Triad Stage: Snow Queen begins December 1

Carolina Theatre: Classic Holiday Movies begins December 9

Festival of Lights First Friday December 6

Greensboro Ballet: The Nutcracker begins December 7

Seasonal Dining: at over 45 Restaurants and more...







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

Looking for gifts? Shop local on our online Gift Guide

Visit November 2013

O.Henry 23

Practice the art of collecting Collector’s Choice, a signature party and fundraiser, provides ample opportunities to meet & mingle with North Carolina’s best artists and take home something special.

December 7, 7pm 500 WORKS | 130 ARTISTS ON EXHIBIT | FOR SALE

Tickets available:


Downtown Greensboro | 200 N Davie Street | 336.333.7460

Food for Thought

Soupe de Courge Muscade Mary James Lawrence on her favorite pumpkin soup

By David C. Bailey

Say “pumpkin” and like most

Americans, I’ll respond “pie,” but I’m not a Frenchman. Mary James Lawrence, who conducts tours through France and Provence with French chef Xavier Hoffalt, has been taking notes on how the French dote on pumpkins every bit as much as we do — but sans the sugar. “Yes, the French love pumpkins,” she told me over the phone from Provence. France is a country where the taste buds have long ruled, “so it’s no surprise that some of the most delicious tasting pumpkins have been developed here. And right now, as Xavier and I shop the village streets for seasonal ingredients, we know fall has arrived because the street markets are loaded with pumpkins,” she says. “There are many varieties, but the one I like best is the mild-flavored Cinderella pumpkin,” so named because it is deeply ridged and somewhat squat, just like her magic carriage. “In French, it’s a courge

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

muscade. In English, the variety would simply be ‘Fairytale,’” she says. “It’s not strong in flavor and is often used to thicken shrimp, lobster or crab bisques,” chef Hoffalt adds, commandeering the phone. “We had pumpkins before we had potatoes and relied on them for our winter vegetable. We used them for everything. These varieties of pumpkins only need a cool dry place for storage, no refrigeration.” The French, he says, count on them throughout the winter for soups, gratins, souffles, vegetables, desserts. “And should one begin to go bad, we will candy it or make a confiture, even adding a few chestnuts. This is delicious in winter on a toasted baguette.” Lawrence admits she’s not a big pumpkin pie fan: “And to be honest,” she says, “I didn’t like pumpkin until I had soupe de courge muscade. It is one of the simplest soups I have ever made and absolutely one of the most delicious.” For making soups and even pies in America, she suggests asking for “cooking” pumpkins in the farmers’ market or supermarket, not the large ornamental pumpkins used for carving. Cinderella — or Fairytale — pumpkins are available in the U.S., so maybe ask your grocer if he or she has them, she says. Another possibility is using Hubbard squash. Connect with Mary James and Xavier at for more recipes and suggestions. November 2013

O.Henry 25

Food for Thought Recipe 3 1/2 to 4 pounds muscade * olive oil 1 1/2 cups onion, coarsely chopped 4 cloves garlic, trimmed 4 small potatoes, peeled 1/2 teaspoon savory pinch of ground nutmeg bay leaf and parsley bouquet garni 1/2 cup cream salt and freshly ground pepper chanterelles des pins, lightly sautéed in olive oil * truffle oil Garnish: homemade croutons or a few pieces of popcorn that have been tossed with truffle oil. Cut muscade into large chunks and peel. Set aside. In a large pot, sauté onion and garlic briefly in small amount olive oil. Add muscade, potatoes, savory, nutmeg, bay leaf and bouquet garni. Add water to cover (about 10–11 cups). Bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook gently until muscade is tender. Remove bay leaf and bouquet garni. Using an immersion blender, puree until smooth. Add cream. Season to taste with salt (Don’t be shy, it needs it) and pepper. Just before serving, stir in chanterelles. Serve hot, garnished with croutons or popcorn and a drizzle of truffle oil. Serves 6-8.

Homemade Croutons Dice stale bread, baguette preferred, into petite squares. Heat olive oil in skillet. Add croutons. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper and a bit of savory. Toast, stirring almost constantly until dry and crunchy. Store in a tin or glass jar. *U.S.A. SUBSTITUTIONS: For the muscade: Hubbard squash worked very well but since they’re not as fleshy, purchase about 6 pounds of squash. Great flavor and very similar to the muscade. For the chanterelles des pins: You need a small mushroom that can be sliced thinly. I have seen dried mushrooms at Whole Foods that appear to be like the chanterelles des pins. They would need to be reconstituted and sauteed. OH O.Henry’s senior editor, David Claude Bailey, loves Dogfish Head Punkin Ale even more than pumpkin pie.

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Office: 336-227-4433 Cell: 336-512-6278 Visual tour:

26 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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! e n i W 28 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Artist at Work

The King of Fun and Funky Artist Jay Schiavone’s whimsical jewelry business is booming.

By Maria Johnson

Here’s a favorite story of Jay

photographs by sam froelich

Schiavone, owner and creator-in-chief of The Artist Jay, a Greensboro jewelry-making business. He was in Morehead City, at a ladies-only fishing fundraiser — he’d donated his wares for the goody bags — when a woman came up to him and said, “I was on a bus in Jerusalem, and the woman next to me turns to me and says, ‘Are those The Artist Jay’s earrings?’” The woman recognized Schiavone’s work because her daughter in Pennsylvania ran a store that carried the distinctive aluminum jewelry. Small world, big ripple for Schiavone’s earrings, pendants, rings, bracelets and scarf rings, which are handmade in Greensboro and sold — for the most part — elsewhere. Of the 400-plus retail shops that carry Schiavone’s work, only three are in Guilford County — Daisy’s Designer Alley on Battleground Avenue, Buff Natural Nail Bar on Pisgah Church Road and Josie’s Boutique off N.C. Highway 68 in Oak Ridge. A little farther away, you’ll find his jewelry at Childress Vineyards in Davidson County. But the bulk of sales — prices range from $16 for a ring to $30 for a pendant set with stone — happen across the South and West. “I gotta place in Park City, Utah, that blows it out,” says the effervescent Schiavone. Shops in Busch Gardens and SeaWorld also carry his jewelry. Schiavone makes pieces inspired by turtles, whale tails and stingrays just for Sea World. His total catalogue boasts about seventy-five designs. Some are based on

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

geometric shapes. Others are whimsical versions of animals — geckos, dragonflies, owls and butterflies. Some are flowery. Some are squiggly. “I call our stuff fun and funky,” says Schavione. “It’s also classy,” says his assistant Angela Hatcher. “You could wear it to work and not be overly flashy.” The jewelry moves well into evening. Another assistant, Michael Holden, dangles a swirly pendant and proclaims, “If you wear this with a black dress, someone will come up to you and say, ‘Where did you get that?’ Guarantee it.” The trio is standing in their West Market Street “front office,” which contains two roving dogs, a bicycle, a forest of display trees and a wall of bins, each holding plastic packets of jewelry. You know the nuts and bolts section of a hardware store? This is like a hardware store for women. Only it’s not open to the public. It’s a warehouse and studio. In the “back shop,” other assistants — including Schiavone’s mom, Mary, and dad, Joe — are busy getting him ready for a show in Memphis. Schiavone spends much of his time courting retailers, but clients often seek him out. “We get more business from somebody walking into a shop, wearing a bracelet, and the owner says, ‘I like that. Where’d you get that?’” he says. “We get one or two new stores a week that find us.” Schiavone comes by his artistic and entrepreneurial talents honestly. His mother is a painter (her work also can be seen at Daisy’s), and his father used to restore cars for people who entered them in shows. Growing up in Maryland, Schiavone helped to baby Rolls-Royces, Jaguars and other luxurious machines. “I get my eye for color from my mom,” Schiavone says. “I get my handson ability from my dad — knowing how to take things apart and put them back together and make them beautiful. I was very fortunate.” November 2013

O.Henry 29

Artist at Work

As a young man, Schiavone followed a career path as serpentine as one of his bracelets. He lived in Los Angeles and tended bar at a club frequented by Ozzy Osbourne, Gene Simmons of Kiss and James Hetfield of Metallica. “I was there during the big-hair rock ’n’ roll days,” says Schiavone, now 47. “We used to party with Poison.” In time, he followed his parents to Greensboro, where his maternal grandmother lived. He worked in insurance and dabbled in art. He decorated wine glasses, pitchers and plates with beaded wire and sold them at a high-end gift shop. A Greensboro bicycle shop carried his custom-painted bike frames. Schiavone sold used cars after leaving the insurance business.
“Five years ago, I was selling cars at CarMax, going through a divorce and getting back on my feet,” he says. In need of money to buy Christmas presents for his son, he started messing around with his old friend, aluminum wire. He hammered out some jewelry and headed to a jewelry show in Charlotte. “I was the hit of the show,” he says. “I hoped to make $1,500. I made $4,200. Every night, I would go back to the hotel and make new stuff.” It didn’t take long for Schiavone to make the jump to full-time jewelry maker. He designed and made everything himself. People bought his stuff for different reasons. Some liked the brushed silver finish, which can be buffed with fine steel wool or metal cleaner. Some liked the recycling aspect — most of Schiavone’s jewelry is made from aluminum utility cable that he buys from salvage yards and unravels in his shop before bending and hammering it into high-voltage art. Some customers raved about the jewelry’s ultralight weight. “Women love it because they can wear something big and flashy, but it’s so light you don’t even know you have it on,” says Schiavone.

Almost all of the buyers liked the prices and knowing the jewelry was handmade in the United States. When orders poured in faster that Schiavone could fill them, he walked into a fire station near his apartment and said, “I need help.” He wasn’t talking about emergency medical care. He was talking about help making jewelry. He knew firefighters often have second jobs. Sure enough, he found talent in the firehouse. Now, he has a stable of ten local craftspeople — a couple of them are firefighters — whom he pays as subcontractors. He also uses a marketer in Salisbury to help him reach a nationwide audience. Schiavone, who’s now engaged and planning to move his headquarters to a barn at his new home, spends most of his time designing new pieces and traveling to promote his work
“I’ve realized I can’t do everything,” he says. Last year, the company moved 55,000 pieces of jewelry. Sales have swelled by at least 10 percent for each of the last two years. Schiavone leans on his parents and assistants to keep the business running when he is away. “I don’t know half of what goes on in here,” he says. “It’s in their hands, and they take care of it. I couldn’t do it without them.” He also credits a higher power with his success. “God has blessed us, big time,” says Schiavone, who wears a cross of twisted wire. “Every time we turn around, something happens that I know He had a hand in. That’s why I don’t worry about the competition.” That doesn’t mean Schiavone will sit still. He’ll debut a new line of jewelry in January, and he’s thinking about bending his talents and wire to another art form.
“I really want to do wall art,” he says. OH See more of Schiavone’s jewelry at his website,

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30 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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

43 Parks & Recreation Administration 43 Athletics Office


Ballfields & Concession Stands

9 Latham Park 11 Levette 10 Lewis 12 Old Peck 13 Pomona 14 Rankin 15 Revolution 16 Smith High School 7 Stoner-White Stadium 17 West Market

1 Allen Jr. High 3 Carolyn S. Allen Park & Athletic Complex

2 Barber Park 8 Joe Davis Park 18 Constance Griffin Field 4 I.C. Apple 5 Hampton 6 Hester Park 7 Jaycee Park Soccer/ Football Complex

24 48



Public Gardens

27 51 7 10

19 Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden 46 The Bog Garden 20 Greensboro Arboretum 56 Gateway Gardens

City Cemeteries

43 Cemeteries Office 51 Forest Lawn Cemetery 52 Green Hill Cemetery

53 Maplewood Cemetery 54 Union Cemetery

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Culture & Recreation

41 City Arts 38 Caldcleugh Multicultural

40 Greensboro Youth Council 24 Lake Brandt 25 Lake Higgins 26 Lake Townsend 43 MainStream Resources

Arts Center



at Hagan-Stone Park 23 Specialized Park Services 40 Youth Programs

Regional Parks

2 Barber Park 21 Bryan Park 27 Country Park 6 Hester Park




18 4

33 Lindley Center 34 Trotter Center 36 Peeler Center 18 Warnersville Center 37 Windsor Center

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57 34



7 Jaycee Park 55 Keeley Park 29 Price Park



43 40





Recreation Centers

30 Brown Center 31 Craft Center 57 East White Oak Center 4 Glenwood Center 32 Leonard Center 10 Lewis Center



43 City Beautiful 23 Gillespie Golf Course (Therapeutic Recreation) 33 Coach Al Lowe Boxing Center 40 Greensboro Farmers 39 Camp Joy Curb Market 44 Greensboro Seniors (Smith Senior Center) 42 Greensboro Sportsplex




11 2



16 5

6 36

Swimming Pools

39 Camp Joy at Hagan-Stone Park 33 Lindley Outdoor Pool 34 Peeler Outdoor Pool 16 Smith High School Indoor Pool 44 Smith Senior Center Indoor Pool 18 Warnersville Center Outdoor Pool 37 Windsor Center Outdoor Pool



Tennis Facilities

21 Bryan Park 6 Hester Park 7 Spencer Love Tennis Center 9 Latham Park 2 Simkins Indoor Sports Pavilion

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Visit us online for directions and facility information.

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• Afterschool programs, day camps, classes, special events, sports, parks, gardens, lakes and trails • City Arts - dance, drama, music, visual arts and Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center • Recreation centers, year-round programs for teens and seniors, MainStream Resources • Volunteer opportunities, social media sites and more!

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48 Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway (paved) 10 Bicentennial Greenway (paved) 49 Lake Daniel Greenway (paved) 50 Latham Park Greenway (paved) 58 Downtown Greenway (paved)

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PARKS, GARDENS, LAKES, TRAILS, SPORTS, RECREATION CENTERS & MORE! For a complete list of year-round leisure programs and activities for people of all ages and interests, visit Greensboro Parks & Recreation at:

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Lunch with a Friend

An All-Star Lunch — And Guy Sixty years ago this fall, Jimmy Jones was a budding Gridiron Star known for his fierce tackling. Even then he was a real sweetheart.

By JiM DoDson

“Oh, we’re in luck. The good

photographs by sam froelich

news is today is Wednesday,” says Jimmy Jones. “That means the special is country-style steak. The fellas all love it. And the price is right, too. The Wednesday special is five-seventy-five, which means it works out to exactly six bucks if you just get water. Where can you beat that?” he asks just as the waitress delivers a large oval platter swimming in thick brown gravy with attendant bowls of fried okra and green beans.

Jones promptly dumps his okra into the lake of gravy and winks. “It makes ’em even better.” Danny’s family-style restaurant on New Garden Road, it emerges, is a preferred weekly lunch stop for Jones and two dozen regulars of Greensboro Country Club’s “Tuesday-Thursday Golf Club,” a traveling golf group that Jimmy Jones not only helped organize some years back but typically establishes the games twice a week. Around the club, many know the group of largely retired business and golf executives as the “Jones Group,” but don’t try to call it that in Jimmy Jones’ presence. “Oh, no. It’s just a group of great guys who love golf and being together a couple times a week all year round — and eating country-style food,” he insists,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

deflecting any attention as he picks up one of Danny’s popular oversized biscuits, breaks it in half and dips it into the gravy. He points out that the group’s other favorite country-style hangouts include the Coliseum Country Cafe, The Spring Valley Restaurant and the Country Kitchen. “We’ll go anywhere for a great country-style meal,” he says, “especially if it’s cold and rainy outside. Most of us grew up with this kind of food, real Southern fare.” A waitress sets down a second platter, which features another Danny’s special, the homemade chicken pot pie, bubbling and brown, with generous chunks of fresh garden vegetables. The biscuit plate quickly empties. Moments later, owner Danny Thanos, a veteran of the Greensboro restaurant scene for more than thirty years and proud owner of his own single-digit golf handicap, appears bearing a third platter with his special marinated chicken souvlaki. Our man from O.Henry looks up from his pot pie and slices off a piece of the exquisitely grilled and spiced chicken and must admit: It’s simply outstanding. “It’s our secret recipe,” Danny provides. “The house specialty.” Jimmy Jones’ recipe for success relies on a genuine natural modesty and easy grace that belies his status among his friends and golf pals, a quality he displayed for nineteen years as the head of the Greensboro-based office of Graniteville Company, a legendary textile company from Aiken, South Carolina, that among other things delivered high-grade cotton twill and premium denim to Greensboro’s own legendary blue jeans manufacturers, Blue Bell and Wrangler. Part of that natural modesty undoubtedly stems from the flood of attention and statewide fame Jimmy Jones earned more than half a century ago as a gridiron star for the Greensboro High Whirlies and later the UNC Tar Heels. November 2013

O.Henry 33

Lunch with a Friend

Jones’ father, also Jimmy, was the owner of North State Chevrolet. The younger Jones grew up playing all sports in the city’s Rankin community on Summit Avenue and began making a name for himself while playing football for Rankin High before transferring for his junior and senior years to Greensboro High. Under the rules then in effect — refreshingly antiquated by today’s standards — a transferring player, even one with a rep for making bonecrunching tackles — was required to forfeit a year of eligability, though one could play junior varsity ball, which Jones uncomplainingly did. In 1953, however, his senior year under coach Bob Jamieson, Jimmy Jones was a kid on a mission, and quickly emerged as a major force playing both offensive center and defensive linebacker on a team that went 8-2. Jimmy Jones’ intelligent play as center earned him the attention of a number of college scouts, and his fierce style of playing linebacker resulted in fifteen solo tackles in one game — nine in the first half alone. Jamieson called him “the finest center in the history of this school” and he was one of only two North Carolinians who earned national Scholastic Magazine All-America honors that season. He also played both ways in the state’s annual EastWest All Star game, snagging an interception, a fumble, and MVP honors. “Jimmy Jones was just too mean to keep out of the game,” his coach at the North-South Shrine Bowl game at Charlotte was quoted after the North Carolina team nipped rival South Carolina 13-12 following a fumble recovery caused by a jarring Jones tackle. To no one’s surprise, he was named to the All Southern team and North Carolina’s Most Outstanding Football Player for 1953, harvesting sixty-three scholarship offers and an appointment to West Point. An honor roll student to boot, he opted to attend UNC-Chapel Hill, where he planned to study American history. “I really thought I might become a dentist,” he remembers with a laugh. “Turns out, I couldn’t handle chemistry.” By his sophomore year, Jimmy Jones was starting center and linebacker for a Heels team that struggled to a 3-7 record but gave number one ranked and undefeated Maryland some anxious moments on homecoming day when Jones blitzed through the line and snatched the ball out of the Maryland signal caller’s hands, scampering 41 yards to a touchdown. Maryland eventually won 25-7 but Terrapin coach Jim Tatum singled out Jimmy Jones’ gutsy play to reporters afterward. Tatum came to UNC as head coach in 1956, moving Jimmy Jones from center to guard on offense but kept him at linebacker on defense, where he continued to shine, causing mayhem in backfields, blocking punts and scoring occasional touchdowns. The team went 6-3 in his senior year and headed to the Cotton Bowl until Virginia upset UNC in the final game, but Jimmy Jones continued to pile up the honors: he was named first team All-ACC offensive guard and defensive linebacker, and went on to play in the NorthSouth Shrine Bowl Game played in Miami on Christmas Eve 1957. Instead of going on to the pros, he went to work as a sales trainee for Cone

34 O.Henry

November 2013

Mills, moved to New York, and was tapped by management to head up the Baltimore office less than one year later. “I missed playing football, to tell you the truth,” he said over the last of his country-style steak. “Johnny Unitas was in Baltimore and I actually, briefly, considered talking to coach Weeb Eubank and trying to go back to the game.” He pauses and smiles. “It would have been very difficult — near impossible, I suspect. Things worked out the way they should have.” Not long after arriving in Baltimore, he met and married his wife, Honor, a brainy and beautiful Hollins grad, in 1961. A year later, he moved on to run Cone’s Atlanta operations and eventually signed on with the Graniteville Company in Atlanta in 1970. In 1977, he returned to his hometown to run the company’s Greensboro operations. The Joneses have three children, two sons and a daughter, and eight grandchildren that keep them on the move. “In a way, coming home to Greensboro completed a circle,” Jones explains as the lunch crowd at Danny’s begins to thin out on a perfectly fine Indian summer afternoon for golf. “I never found a place that could match this place for quality of life. We once had five of the Forbes Top 500 companies in the nation here, but even through the hard times of watching the textile industry rise and fall, the spirit of people here has never wavered. We figure things out and move on. There’s always been a can-do attitude here.” Graniteville Company was sold in 1996, and at that point Jim retired. These days golf games with his pals may take priority — along with seeking out classic country-style cooking — but football remains a key feature of Jones’ daily life. His daughter, Honor, is married to John Garrett, wide receivers coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs. “Right now,” he allows, heading off to arrange a final head count for a Thursday outing to Roaring Gap, “I can barely watch the Buccaneer games. They’ve lost three games by a touchdown or less. I’m hoping it turns around quickly.” Our man from O.Henry thanked Jimmy Jones for showing us one of his favorite lunch spots — kicking off (you’ll pardon the pun) a new series of conversational lunches with fascinating Greensboro folks — in part because Jones is such an uncommonly fine ambassador for life in the Gate City, but also because — in the spirit of full disclosure — Jimmy and his wife were early and enthusiastic boosters of this magazine, fervently believing the city needed a magazine that loves the Gate City as passionately as they do. Proof of his enduring collegial spirit is that during the early days of the magazine, Jimmy blitzed his Irving Park neighborhood personally handing out copies of the new magazine to friends and neighbors. We’ve come to think of him, in fact, as the All-America linebacker of O.Henry magazine. We thanked him for the lunch and wished good fortune on his trip to Roaring Gap. “It was my pleasure,” he said, ever the soul of graciousness. “Come join us again. Wasn’t that six-dollar country-style steak something?” “An all-star lunch,” we couldn’t resist. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 35

Pleasures of Autumn

The Language of the Hunt

By Susanna Rodell

“Apple pie moonshine?” says Frankie, proffering a Mason jar filled with golden liquid.

“Yes, thank you,” I reply, reaching down from the saddle to take the jar, hoping its contents and anticipated mellowing effect will pass, via some kind of interspecies osmosis, to my not-very-mellow little mare, who is not at all sure about this fox hunting thing. Along with my new companions — members of Greensboro’s Sedgefield Hunt — Lady and I have temporarily retreated to the horse trailers due to a misunderstanding with the landowner. In the fox hunting world, I’ve learned, landowners are very important people. There are not many left who own enough acreage to host foxes and large numbers of humans on horseback following a pack of hounds. Landowners must be carefully cultivated. Apparently, on this gorgeous autumn day in Caswell County, the owner of these fields and woods is upset, and Fred the huntsman has been dispatched to smooth things over. The apple pie moonshine is actually really good — just enough sting and warmth, with a touch of cinnamon and clove. I convey my gratitude to Frankie, who has temporarily replaced her hunt cap with a tweed hat, a huge feather stuck through the band. Frankie has style. One thing that has always impressed me about the horse world is its healthy population of older women who refuse to play nicely. And in this world, as nowhere else, I meet adrenaline junkies my own age. But fox hunting is about more than adrenaline. You’ve probably seen the Olde-Worlde-type prints in your local antique shop: guys in red coats and top hats, mounted on wild-eyed steeds, leaping over fences accompanied by tricolored hounds. Looks like fun, right? So now in my semi-dotage, I’ve inherited this little bay thoroughbred mare

36 O.Henry

November 2013

from my daughter, who’s off to college, and I’ve decided to see what it’s all about. Sedgefield Hunt, bless its collective heart, runs a hunt school in September to teach the uninitiated. Fox hunting, of course, has a long tradition in England, where it brought together rural gentry to hunt down and kill the predators who raided their chicken coops. There’s a venerable history on this side of the Atlantic as well. George Washington was a passionate fox hunter, keeping detailed diaries of his hounds and horses. Sedgefield traces its history back to 1927, when Jim Hendrix brought some fox weanlings from the other side of the Mississippi. He raised them in the trunk of a giant oak tree in what’s now the Irving Park West neighborhood. Then he turned them loose. Through the 1940s and ’50s, the club hunted out of Sedgefield Stables, now the Sedgefield Show Grounds, south of the city. Suburban sprawl put an end to that. As with so many other communities, it forced the fox hunters to seek territory farther out of town. And since foxes aren’t much of a threat these days, and human attitudes have softened considerably, American fox hunters rarely kill them. Fox chasing, in fact, is a more accurate term. My old friend Paula, whose daughter used to ride with my kid, is a member of Sedgefield Hunt and one of the hunt school’s instructors. I’ve signed up, and after five sessions of intensive training, I’m out in the wilds of Caswell County with this intrepid group, ready to test myself — and little Lady. I’ve attended the first classroom session, held at the clubhouse at Flintrock Farm in Reidsville. Then the mounted sessions — on four consecutive Sunday afternoons. For the first session, Paula teaches us the language and etiquette of the hunt. A male hound is a dog hound. A female, of course, is a bitch. Hounds’ tails are sterns. The fox’s tail is its brush. Hounds do not bark; they give tongue. If they are milling around making noise, they are babbling. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Kristi Short

For a first time fox hunter and her little horse, it’s a spirited run of learning till November’s opening day.

Pleasures of Autumn We learn the hierarchy of the hunt: master, whippers-in (experienced riders who ride on each side of the pack and keep the hounds safe), members (riding behind the master in order of seniority); first, second and third flight. After the first session, we meet with our horses at the hunt’s territory on Plainfield Road, north of Lake Brandt. We start with the basics: how to get out of the way when the hunt staff comes through; how to canter calmly in a group across an open field. Lady stays vaguely under my control but she is not happy. An opinionated horse, she does not like to stay in single file as hunt etiquette demands. Very far back in her past, after all, she ran on racetracks, and the point was to be in front. This staying-behind thing is galling. Impatient, she tosses her head, tugging at the reins, trying to yank them out of my hands. When the lesson ends, I confide to Paula that it wasn’t the most relaxing exercise I’ve done. Sometimes, Paula tells me, it takes a year to make a hunt horse. Great. The second week, Fred introduces the hounds. The worst sin (one that will get a rider “excused” from the field) is for a horse to kick a hound. We ride around the pack, letting the horses check out the crowd. It’s a tan, black and white river of hounds, panting, peeing, sniffing, rolling in the tall grass. Lady’s cool, and earns a compliment from Fred. She’s had dogs underfoot all her life. Fred mounts his horse and leads the hounds out into the countryside. First Flight follows, and Second Flight, my group, follows them, with a gap in between. We proceed to wander through the gorgeous countryside and Fred blows his horn, encourages the hounds and cracks his whip. Lady jumps at the report, but she is trying hard, bless her heart, not to lose it. Lady and I mainly practice following, getting-out-of-the-way and not-freaking-out-completely. Over the following weekends, Lady gets a little bit calmer as we get used to the sound of the horn and whip. Alex, another experienced member, brings up the rear on her enormous Belgian cross, a horse built to carry a knight in full armor. In our group are John and Donna, a husband and wife from Colfax who are recent converts and ride mules. John’s mule, Wendell, stays in front of us. In each session, we get closer to the real thing. The hounds pick up a scent and give tongue. First Flight blows past us following the pack fast through the woods, and all of a sudden we’re after them, jumping over logs, branches lashing our faces, breathing hard. I grab Lady’s mane and hang on, and there it is: adrenaline! And then, just as quickly, Paula holds up her hand and we stop. It’s called a check. There’s a joke in the fox-hunting world that the most important gait for a horse is the halt. So now, on the first day of real hunting, we’re stalled. During this lull, as we wait for Fred the huntsman to return from his diplomatic mission, a flask passes around and people chat about their horses and their lives. Kit, a PA who flies for the Civil Air Patrol, is offering advice on where to find the requisite tweed jackets for cubbing season. A small, trim redhead with a wicked laugh, Kit recommends the local thrift shop. Fox hunters are often portrayed as snooty Old-Money types, but I don’t see much evidence of that here. There’s an interior decorator, a CPA and an office manager. And John and Donna’s mules never would have been countenanced a generation ago. Finally, Fred returns. All is well. A miscommunication. Apparently the landowner thought we wouldn’t show up since rain was predicted, and he gave permission for some guys to hunt deer. “It’s all cleared up,” Fred says. “Did you kiss his butt?” Kit wonders. “Big time,” Fred answers. “But now everything’s OK. You just need to have sex with him.” Guffaws all around. So we remount our horses and spend another two hours wandering around the countryside, plunging through the trappy woods, crossing creeks and skirting tobacco fields. Tradition-bound as it is, fox hunting is also hierarchical. As the newest person in the group, I’ve been bringing up the rear in Second Flight. At one point, as we hurry through a field beside the woods, Alex’s horse, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

appropriately named Dozer, trips and falls, dumping his rider. John, astride Wendell, takes a spill when Wendell makes a sudden turn. I reach out and catch Wendell’s reins, and a tense few minutes ensue while we ascertain that neither rider is hurt. Alex finds a nearby deer stand, climbs a few rungs of the ladder and remounts. John follows suit. No biggie. We spend the long afternoon zigging through the woods, zagging across creek beds, dodging holes and sharp cedar stumps. The creek banks are steep and slippery, and often I’m left to simply trust Lady to figure out how to navigate, fingers twined in her mane, trying to keep my weight where it will help her best. In the end, it’s what they call a blank day. The hounds find nothing to speak on, as Paula puts it — not a trace of the game they are allowed to chase: fox, coyote or bobcat. Cubbing (that is, hunting early in the season) can be unpredictable. But still, we’ve spent hours on horseback in gorgeous countryside. We head back to the trailers, dismount and untack our horses, sponging off the sweat. I cover Lady with a light sheet so she won’t get a chill and join the others for the traditional snacks, beer and wine. Good food is part of the tradition as well. It’s almost dark when I load Lady on the trailer and head for home. My muscles ache from the hours in the saddle. But already I’m thinking about Opening Hunt, the first weekend in November, when everyone will be decked out in formal attire, and the Blessing of the Hounds will happen, and medals will be given out with the image of St. Hubert, the patron saint of hunters. Silly? Maybe. But think about it: People have been doing this for centuries, and it’s kind of cool to be part of something so enduring. Not to mention the adrenaline. OH Susanna Rodell is a freelance writer and lifelong horse person who lives in Winston-Salem.

Rules of the Hunt

Lady and I are decked out here for cubbing. That means we are wearing informal hunting attire (also known as ratcatcher), although we are breaking a few of the rules. My mentor, Paula, notes that the Sedgefield Club is not as hard-line about this as many other hunts, and people have become more relaxed in recent years. “Back when I started hunting, people would be excused from the field if they didn’t have a hairnet,” she remembers. What I’m doing right: Tweed jacket, natural color breeches, shirt and tie. I could also be wearing a choker or a patterned or colored stock tie, but not a white stock tie, which is reserved for formal hunting, starting in November. I am also wearing a hairnet. What I’m doing wrong: I’m wearing black field boots (the only ones I own). Technically speaking, I should be wearing either black dress boots (without laces) or brown field boots. I noted with relief, however, that others in the hunt had the same kind of boots I did. I’m wearing the wrong kind of helmet. I should have a traditional velvetcovered one. What Lady is doing right: Brown saddle, brown leather girth, plain white saddle pad. What Lady is doing wrong: The bridle is all wrong. First of all, it’s black. Second, it has stitching on the noseband and the browband. It should be a plain, brown bridle with no stitching on the noseband or browband. The breastplate is questionable. It has elastic in it; technically, it should be all leather. But at least it’s the right color. November 2013

O.Henry 37

38 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Wild Turkey

A far cry from that bird on your Thanksgiving table, and the only species native to the United States

By Susan Campbell

Shorter days and cooler nights now

have many of us thinking about Thanksgiving — and that means turkey. Most of us look forward to feasting on the tender meat of this domesticated, large member of the fowl family. But its wild ancestors are a far cry from the bird we prepare on the fourth Thursday of November each year.

Anyone who has had the opportunity to taste a “real” turkey will tell you that there is no comparison. But hunters who pursue wild birds are far more often skunked than successful. Turkeys seem to have a sixth sense when being called or decoyed in. Fooling one of these birds so that they come within range is one of the biggest challenges turkey hunters (or photographers, for that matter) face. Not many people know that the wild turkey was very nearly our national bird. It is, in fact, the only bird species native to the United States. Benjamin Franklin nominated the turkey for this honor, but it lost in Congress, by only one vote, to the bald eagle back in the late 18th century. Although the cultivated variety is completely white, skittish and not very bright, forest-dwelling turkeys are glossy black, wary and rather agile for a bird with a wingspan of over five feet. They are typically found in mature forests with clearings, although they take advantage of open fields as well. Turkeys forage on a variety of food including insects, small berries, seeds The Art & Soul of Greensboro

and buds. Interestingly, one of their favorite fall foods, acorns, are often abundant in our part of the state. Individuals are known to associate in large flocks of fifty or more birds. In the early spring, older males will attract and attend to and defend a flock of several females. At this time, they can be heard gobbling and strutting in their characteristic puffed-up posture. Only during the early part of the breeding season, in April and May, are the birds solitary. Once the chicks hatch and reach about four weeks of age, hens will gather together with their young and form new aggregations. In the early 1970s there were only about a million turkeys on the landscape. Persecution and habitat alteration had resulted in dramatic reduction in the population. Now there are easily seven times that many — throughout not only the United States but in parts of southern Canada and northern Mexico. Here in North Carolina, turkeys can be found in almost every county. In recent years, Guilford County has experienced an influx from the Appalachian Mountains in the west as well as from the northern Piedmont, where they are abundant. It is not surprising that these big birds now show up to take advantage of seed around bird feeders and forage in grassy vegetation along our roadways as well as foraging for seeds and insects in agricultural fields across the area. So keep your eyes peeled! You too may spot one — or more — of these majestic birds here in the Greensboro area. OH For more information about wild turkey re-introduction efforts, go to Susan would love to hear from you. Send wildlife sightings and photos to susan@ or call (910)949-3207. November 2013

O.Henry 39


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40 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

Up in Smoke

How war and textiles killed off Greensboro’s thriving Cigar industry.

By Jim Schlosser

We might have been Cigar City instead of

Photographs by Greensboro Historical Museum

Gate City.

During the first half of the 20th century, workers, nearly all of them young women and girls of a tender age, hand-rolled millions of stogies for shipment from Greensboro to all over the United States. Few people remember or are even aware that the city was home to as many as fourteen cigar companies producing brands such as El-Rees-So, El Moro, Pinehurst, Betty Brown, Lango, Prince George, Commander, Little Tam, Lady Churchill and Cubanola, as well as one honoring the city’s namesake, the General Greene Cigar. Production numbers were staggering. At its peak, according to a 1922 Greensboro Daily News article, 90 million cigars were made here annually. That seems high, but the El Moro cigar plant said at its peak in the early 20th century it made 40 million cigars a year. Another large manufacturer, the Seidenberg Co., probably made close to that many. The company said it was always behind in filling orders. Michael Hill of the North Carolina Department of Archives and History says that between Philadelphia and Florida, no other city except Tampa made more cigars than Greensboro. Girls, perhaps as young as 12, labored in factories that ranged from tiny lofts in South Elm Street buildings to multistory plants that employed more than 300 at the El Moro and Seidenberg plants. Alexander Stoesen, retired history professor at Guilford College, was unaware of the city’s cigar legacy until he read a story I wrote for the Greensboro News & Record in 2008. Stoesen served three terms on the commission that approves new state highway historical markers. He continues to send in marker proposals to Hill, who oversees the program. Stoesen suggested a marker for cigars. Hill took it to the commission. “I didn’t think they would approve it,” Stoesen says, explaining that the idea seemed a bit politically incorrect, smoking having become something the government was determined to discourage. What’s more, the women employees worked in what amounted to sweatshops. But the commission liked the proposal. The industry was so large, and its reliance on women and girls was unusual. As a result, a marker went up at the corner of Smothers Place and South Elm Street last month that says: Manufacture of cigars rolled by hand thrived in Greensboro, 1903–55. Employing mostly young women, fourteen shops were clustered on South Elm Street. As a little boy, I visited my grandfather, James Otis Beale, who worked in a general merchandise store in the 300 block of South Elm. The air was saturated

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

with the aroma of freshly made cigars coming from around the corner from the El Moro cigar plant. Built in 1936 after the tornado of that year destroyed its factory at South Elm and Lee streets, the new plant was three stories high on what’s now McGee Street, between South Elm and South Greene, about where McCoul’s Public House is now. In this bland building, the company boasted, “All the cigars are made by girls . . . pretty girls.” The El-Rees-So cigar, the plant’s major brand, was named for John T. Rees, who founded the business in 1913. At its peak, the factory employed 300. The company’s other major brand was El Moro. As if the name El-Rees-So wasn’t enough, the company also honored its founder with a John T. Rees cigar. Interestingly, with tobacco fields surrounding Greensboro, the cigar plants shunned local leaf. They imported tobacco from Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Philippines and the Northern states. The factory owners found tobacco from those places produced more flavorful cigars. Greensboro’s excellent rail connections are cited as a major reason the cigar industry arose here. It apparently wasn’t a counter response to the giant cigarette makers, R.J. Reynolds in Winston-Salem, American Tobacco in Reidsville and Durham, and Liggett & Meyers in Durham. In fact, some cigarette making existed here prior to 1900, but most of them were snuffed out by the big companies. One of the earliest cigar factories, Seidenberg & Co., started small in 1903 and by 1911 occupied a five-story building at the corner of Greene and what’s now West Friendly Avenue. A reporter for The Greensboro Telegram in 1911 tiptoed around the working conditions of the 337 women and girls on the Seidenberg payroll. Note the qualifiers the reporter used: “The workers in the factory appear to be satisfied and to be treated with great consideration by their employers. A number of provisions for their comfort are in evidence [none was named] and it seems that the best arrangements possible under the circumstances have been made for their welfare.” Wages in 1911 averaged about $45 a month at the Seidenberg plant. That equals to $1,097 in today’s dollars, which amounts to $13,164 a year, hardly a living wage even now. It is almost certain that workers toiled more than five days a week and likely put in more time than eight hours a day. The Telegram story says on one Seidenberg floor alone 260 workers rolled cigars. As tight as that must have been, the company said it had room for more women, if only they could be found and hired. That jobs went begging indicates the work may have been of an undesirable nature. The Seidenberg Co., which was based in New Jersey with plants in various other cities, described itself as enormously successful, selling cigars in every part of the United States and always running behind in orders. The cigar making industry gave rise to a spinoff: the Carolina Cigar Box Co., on Spring Street on the edge of downtown. The company turned out boxes, November 2013

O.Henry 41



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42 O.Henry

November 2013


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level some as colorful as circus posters, with painted pictures of kings, queens, potentates and exotic places. Evidence of the cigar industry still can be found. A photo on the Internet shows a fading El Moro ad on the side of a building in Burlington. Ebay recently sought bids for a cigar box from the small Lang Cigar Co. The company founder, Roger Lang, bucked the trend of other cigar makers for a while. Before moving to South Elm Street, he made Langos in his home on Wharton Street in Fisher Park. He employed four men, no women. A handwritten memo he wrote circa 1912 says the company made 20,250 cigars in April and sold 16,905 of them. The Greensboro Historical Museum has on display in its re-creation of the city’s old Clegg Hotel lobby a number of boxes with El-Rees-So cigars. The display also includes a box for the General Greene cigar, made by Clegg Cigar Co., but devoid of stogies. Clegg started in 1889, perhaps the oldest of the local cigar manufacturers. Founder William Clegg also owned the hotel, which was near the cigar factory, both near the corner where the historical marker will stand. William Clegg also owned real estate and the Greensboro Patriots minor league baseball team. His cigar brands included one named for himself, another called Henry Vane and finally, the General Greene, which later became the company’s only product. Women no doubt made the cigars, but Clegg Co. stationery specified that the Gen. Greene was “for men only.” The cigar industry vanished in 1955 when one of the two last makers, El Moro, was sold to a Red Lion, Pennsylania, company, which has since been bought by Advantage Services, which is not far away, in Charlotte, in fact. It continues to make El-Rees-So. The El-Rees-So stogies at the historical museum date to the company’s Greensboro years. Historian Stoesen speculates that the demise of the cigar industry was related to a shift to cigarette smoking that intensified during World War I and World War II. Cigarette makers placed a four-cigarette pack in the mess kit of every soldier, sailor and Marine. Cigars became outdated, something older men chewed on. Many years after cigars burned out in the city, they are back big time, though without a return of the cigar plants. Quaint cigar shops in the Greensboro suburbs sell imported cigars. They still come in boxes, but sophisticated smokers store them at home and in offices in expensive humidors. There’s even an upscale, slick magazine devoted to cigar smoking, Cigar Aficianado. Greensboro never seemed to take pride in its cigar industry. Few mentions are found in old newspapers, and the chamber of commerce didn’t seem inclined to tout it. Perhaps, local boosters shunned giving public tours of cigar factories where girls and young women were stuffed into rooms as tight as boxed cigars. Historian Ethel Arnett quotes a civic leader in the 1890s as saying Greensboro citizens “looked askance upon the idea of converting Greensboro into a tobacco manufacturing center.” That was during the period when the Cone brothers had started their textile plants here. Greensboro apparently wanted to be known for cloth rather than cigars. As the cigar makers closed one by one, Stoesen speculates the women sought better paying jobs in the textile plants. Ironically, the same year the cigar industry ceased in 1955, Greensboro’s first cigarette plant in many years arose, Lorillard, a $13 million colossus on East Market Street. It has steadily employed more than 1,000 people for years. Lorillard moved its corporate headquarters from New York to Greensboro in 1997. And lest you think that Greensboro’s cigar industry was totally dominated by men, consider Guilford Cigar Co. on Lee Street. When it closed in 1955, records indicate that it was owned by a woman, Swannie Ingold. OH



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Jim Schlosser is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine He can be reached at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 43

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44 O.Henry

November 2013

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sporting Life

Ferry to Paradise Lost

Unless something changes soon, the charm of Ocracoke Island may be a sportman’s memory. By Tom Bryant

“Just pull your

vehicle up behind that pickup in lane one. The ferry is on time. You’ll find drinks and snacks and restrooms in the building. Remember to be in your car ten minutes before 4 o’clock. We’ll begin loading then. It’s a great day for a boat ride. Y’all have fun.” The lady with the ferry service was all smiles and looked happy to see us.

My bride, Linda, and I were at Cedar Island, looking forward to the ferry trip over to Ocracoke. It had been over a year since our last visit, and I was interested to see if there had been any changes since our last adventure around what I like to call “the loop,” which is one of my favorite road trips ever. The loop, because it’s a loop, can be driven two ways. One route goes to Raleigh, over to Manteo, then from Nags Head down to Buxton, Frisco, and pauses at Cape Hatteras. Then you take the short ferry over to Ocracoke and the long ferry to Cedar Island and then Beaufort. That’s the northern route. The southern route can be done by reversing the course. Either way will take you to some of the most striking, wild coastal scenery in North Carolina, if not the country. My first trip to the Outer Banks was in 1967. I was done with college, freshly out of the Marine Corps and had just married one of the sweetest girls in the world. Things were good. On our first trip, we lodged at the Bluff Shoal Motel, a small seven-room unit that was almost brand new, having been built the year before. On this latest adventure, we reserved a room at the same motel and were excited about our visit. In past years, we had passed by the little motel several times but hadn’t stayed there since our first journey in the 60s. This ferry trip was everything I remembered: seagulls hovering over the stern, backlit by a beautiful blue fall sky and puffy cumulus clouds. Every now and then, a gull would dive into the wake of the boat and pick up an errant baitfish that the ferry stirred up from the bottom. After a two-and-a-half-hour ride, we arrived at Ocracoke and the Bluff Shoal Motel in plenty of time for supper. Ocracoke is a small island, maybe fourteen miles long, and the only one on the Outer Banks accessible by ferry from the south and the north. It’s famous not only as an oceanside resort for people from all over the country, but for its pirate, Edward Teach, better known as Blackbeard. Teach hung his pirate hat at Ocracoke using Silver Lake, the small harbor that anchors the little village, as his haven. Later, unfortunately for him, he not only hung his hat but had his head, supposedly, staked to the bow of the British cutter Ranger. Blackbeard was caught and beheaded by the English Captain Robert Maynard, ending his infamous stay on Ocracoke Island the hard way. Silver Lake Harbor is still the center of all the happenings in the village with roads leading from the ferry dock across the small town to hotels, gift shops and restaurants. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The day after we arrived, we wandered the village, becoming reacquainted with shops and restaurants. One thing was very evident, and that was the influx of new owners of many eateries and retail stores that we visited. Right across the street from the motel is a little seafood place that advertises its happy hour with baskets of boiled shrimp for $6. It was as good as I thought it would be, and while we ate, we put together an itinerary for our visit the next day to Cape Hatteras. Unfortunately our last trip to the Banks and the little towns from Hatteras north warned that there was trouble in paradise, especially if you were a surf fisherman or enjoyed driving on the beach. We hoped to find out if the situation had changed in the year-and-a-half since our last visit to the area. The free ferry ride from Ocracoke to Hatteras takes about forty minutes and winds through the Pamlico on a circuitous route dodging the shoaling bottom of moving sand. There is always an ongoing battle with nature to keep the ferry cuts from closing, with the surf playing havoc with sand bars, requiring almost a constant need for dredging. Our ride was uneventful and on time, a big difference from our last visit when our ferry almost got stuck on a shallow bottom. We drove up Highway 12 to Buxton and stopped at one of my favorite fishing tackle shops. I went in to browse around while Linda picked up a few items from the grocery store next door. A young lady was behind the counter waiting on a fisherman buying lures. I couldn’t help overhearing their conversation. “How did it go yesterday?” she asked. “We had a great time. Caught some blues and a couple of drum. We’re going back out today to try ’em again,” he replied. “Surf fishing?” “Naw. We’re going in the boat again. The point is closed. Turtle nest, I understand.” “Yes, but it was supposed to open today. Do you want me to call and check?” “No, that’s OK. We’re leaving in a couple of days and I’m not gonna buy a permit for just one day” The permit, I found out later, was for driving on the beach and was quite expensive — $50 for one week and $120 for the remainder of the year. The young lady looked over at me and noticed that I was listening. “Can I help you?” “Well, you can. I’m an outdoor writer and am doing a follow-up story on one that I did a little over a year ago about surf fishing on the Outer Banks.” Her expression darkened. “I remember the story and I thank you for doing it. Things haven’t got any better. If anything, it’s worse. The Feds will hardly talk to us. They close the beaches at the drop of a hat. Stretches of Buxton were closed about all summer.” “How is that affecting your business?” I asked. “Exponentially,” she replied. “It’s terrible.” The fisherman paid for his purchase. “Yep, so you’re a writer? Who do November 2013

O.Henry 45

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Sporting Life you write for?” “Mostly magazines and newspapers,” I replied. “Well, let me throw in my two cents worth about fishing around here,” he said. “I’m from Williamsburg up in Virginia, and I’ve been coming down to the Banks to fish for years and it’s not the same. I’ve got friends over in Richmond who are primarily surf fishermen who have stopped coming at all. Too much of a hassle, they say. If you don’t have a boat and depend on surf fishing, you’re out of luck.” The lady behind the counter nodded her head in agreement. Linda and I left Buxton not feeling too encouraged about our morning information jaunt and decided to stop for lunch at a small deli, the same one from a year ago. I didn’t recognize the lady who helped us but I said, “We love your deli. We were here a while back and your sandwiches were great. The gentleman who owns the place was also a charter boat fisherman. Is he around?” “No, as a matter of fact we just bought it in July. The previous owners moved to Asheville.” “How about the gift shop next door?” Linda asked. “They went out of business last fall. There’s a beauty shop there now.” The more we talked to people, the more we realized how hard it is to run a small retail business, especially on the Outer Banks. Ferries are supposed to leave Hatteras for Ocracoke every thirty minutes. On this day, we had to wait for almost an hour-and-a-half for our turn. I counted about one hundred cars waiting in seven lanes for the trip. One of the security guys told me that most of them are day-trippers, staying somewhere on the Banks and riding the free ferry over to the island to check out the scenery. They were tourists from all over the country, looking to have a good time. That afternoon as I sat on the little front porch facing Ocracoke’s small Main Street, I watched as the tourist traffic paraded along. Rental golf carts were in the mix, along with bikes and hikers. The atmosphere was almost circus-like. I watched for a while until five loud motorcycles rattled the windows as they rumbled by. Fortunately, the motel has a private dock area behind it, facing Silver Lake Harbor, and I headed back there for some peace and quiet. I was the only one on the patio and kicked back in a weathered Adirondack chair. It was almost peaceful but I could still hear the hubbub from the street. I remembered the early days on the Outer Banks and reflected on how it used to be a fisherman’s haven and restful retreat. Now I’m afraid, if things don’t change, this place is well on the way to becoming just another beach town. OH Tom Bryant is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henry’s Sporting Life columnist. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

17th Annual

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Rethink. Recycle. Reward. Tuesday, November 19 through Saturday, November 23 The Carolina Hotel 80 Carolina Vista Drive v Pinehurst, NC

Enjoy a showcase of over 200 decorated holiday trees, wreaths, gift baskets and gingerbread houses displayed throughout a winter wonderland. The festival includes a silent auction, live entertainment, Festival Marketplace, Candy Cane Lane with Santa & Mrs. Claus and more. All proceeds benefit Sandhills Children’s Center. The Art & Soul of Greensboro






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November 2013

O.Henry 47

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48 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Game On

True Pioneer Women

How a pair of brilliant Greensboro gals — Ellen Griffin and Hope Seignious — created the first women’s golf team and the blueprint for the LPGA.

By Lee Pace

Seventy-five years

Photograph: LPGA

of history on the PGA Tour and eight career wins by Sam Snead tend to leap front-and-center when Greensboro and competitive golf come to mind. But it’s instructive on the eve of the U.S. Women’s Open returning to North Carolina (June 2014, Pinehurst No. 2) to remember that Greensboro was the Ellen Griffin incubator for what would become the LPGA and was the host city for the second U.S. Women’s Open ever played.

The year was 1947, two of the heroines were Hope Seignious and Ellen Griffin, and the venue was Starmount Forest Country Club. Greensboro had become established on the men’s pro tour with the launching in 1938 of the Greater Greensboro Open, an initiative from the local Jaycees to create an event that would foster civic pride and promote the community to outside business and tourist interests. With the competition being split in the early years between Sedgefield and Starmount Forest, and golfers the ilk of Snead, Ben Hogan and Byron Nelson taking first places, the GGO was a rite of spring as the pro tour moved north from Florida for its annual visits to Pinehurst, Asheville and Augusta. Through the World War II years and the mid-1940s, however, there was little incentive for top women golfers to turn professional. Most of the prestigious competitions were open only to amateurs, and there were only three tournaments available for female professionals: the Women’s Western Open, the Titleholders in Augusta and the Texas Women’s Open. Two young women golfers with local

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ties set out to change that. Hope Seignious (pronounced SEDGE-inus) was born in 1929 in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and began to play golf at the age of 7, with her father, George, teaching her the game. The family moved to Detroit and she became an accomplished junior golfer, winning the city championship at age 13. From 1933–39, she was the Michigan state medal-play champion. From Detroit the family moved to Greensboro, where George continued his successful career as a cotton broker. Meanwhile, Hope pursued her interest in golf in the Carolinas’ mild climate and in a Greensboro golf environment that included Greensboro Country Club, Sedgefield and Starmount Forest. Ellen Griffin began playing golf in the 1920s when her father was stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia. She graduated from Greensboro Woman’s College (now UNCG) in 1940 and, after earning a master’s degree from UNC, joined the faculty in the physical education department. She coached basketball but her passion was golf, and she would go on to teach the game at UNCG for more than two decades before then branching off in the mid1960s to start her own golf instruction facility known as The Farm. The game of golf was exploding in popularity through the late 1950s and early 1960s as President Dwight Eisenhower popularized the game and tour pro Arnold Palmer captured the public’s heart with his personal magnetism and aggressive style of play. Women were a part of that boom, and resorts like Pine Needles in Southern Pines, where LPGA member Peggy Kirk Bell and Griffin teamed to run womenoriented golf schools, helped fuel the fire. The LPGA since 1989 has awarded a top golf instructor with the Ellen Griffin Rolex Award. Hope and Ellen began sharing their ideas in the early 1940s, with Hope taking the lead, given her extensive background in the world of competitive golf. She envisioned a more formal, expansive and visible competitive venue for women, and in 1944, she, Ellen and a top amateur golfer from California named Betty Hicks organized the Women’s Professional Golf Association. Hicks, winner of the 1941 November 2013

O.Henry 49

Game On

Capture each giggle, each bubble, every moment. Today is about Lola and Grandpa and blowing bubbles. His laugh, her giggle, their time together. 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 bubbles with Lola. Together we’ll discover how to capture life’s most important moments.

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November 2013

U.S. Women’s Amateur, was president, Griffin was vice president and Seignious was secretary-treasurer. The operation was initially funded by George Seignious and operated out of the Dixie Building in downtown Greensboro. The women were simply attempting to follow the lead of men’s golf, which grew in the early 1900s from a sport built primarily around amateur competitions to one that offered a tour of professionals — golfers who could afford to travel from one city to the next, playing for prize money with organizers selling tickets to spectators. The domestic manpower drain during World War II opened opportunities for women, and the young Miss Seignious worked in Greensboro as an assistant club professional, according to various reports at both Greensboro Country Club and Starmount Forest. In the spring of 1945, as Nelson was winning the GGO at Starmount Forest on the way to his landmark eleven straight PGA Tour wins, Hope was hired as the new head pro at North Shore Country Club in Milwaukee. She became the country’s first full-time boss of a pro shop and was given the entire gamut of responsibilities: teaching, mending clubs, managing the caddie staff, handicapping and merchandising. PGA Tour manager Fred Corcoran validated the appointment, saying “in teaching and in shop operation smart, young business women are going to have increasing prominence and value.” Sports Illustrated magazine made note of her appointment in its account of the GGO, and the missive reflected some of the old-world, meatheaded attitudes still common in a predominantly man’s world: “Some of the players were appalled that a woman should become a head pro anywhere,” staff writer Walter Bingham reported, “but Sam Byrd, for one, insisted he was all for it. ‘Women have a definite place in golf,’” he said. “Sam Snead took the middle ground, saying, ‘I don’t have anything to say against it.’ And when Byron Nelson was asked, he replied with a laugh, ‘I can’t imagine a man wanting a woman to teach him much of anything.’” One of the WPGA’s first priorities was to inaugurate a women’s National Open. Hope persuaded the Spokane Athletic Round Table, a men’s fraternal organization with ample funds generated by the club’s slot machines, to host the first National Open in 1946 at Spokane Country Club. The club put up $19,000 in war bonds to pay the women golfers. It was a match-play format, and Patty Berg beat Betty Jameson 5-and-4 in the championship match, winning $5,600 in war bonds for the victory. Hope and Ellen used their Greensboro connections to land a venue for the second Women’s Open. The idea for a country club anchoring an upscale residential community three miles west of downtown Greensboro was hatched in the mid-1920s by The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Game On attorney A.M. Scales, who called the neighborhood Hamilton Lakes and hired the New England-based golf design team of Wayne Stiles and John Van Kleek to design the course. The course opened in August 1930, but like many neophyte businesses of the day, its prospects were smothered by the effects of the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and the ensuing Great Depression. Scales filed for bankruptcy, and nearly 5,000 acres fell into the hands of his lender’s daughter, Blanche Sternberger Benjamin, and her husband, Edward Benjamin. They renamed the club Starmount Forest and took over management of the club and developing the community around it. Unfortunately for the WPGA, though, the club didn’t have a heady stream of income from slot machines as did Spokane, so the purse in 1947 was substantially less than the year before. Ten pros competed for $7,500 and twentynine amateurs entered the championship, held in late June. Much of the labor and organization muscle for the tournament fell to the Greensboro Jaycees, who took on the work in addition to their annual sponsorship of the GGO on the men’s circuit. The championship was played at stroke play, and Jameson won with a 295 total, becoming the first woman to break 300 for seventy-two holes. She was a tall, athletic Texan who had won the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 1939-40 and had won the Texas state ladies title four years running, from 1936-39. Her scores improved throughout the competition, opening with a 76 and following with 75, 74 and 70. “Today I felt all my shots,” Jameson said after her six-shot victory over Polly Riley. “I could tell they were going to be good when I hit the ball. I just played for par every hole and didn’t watch anyone else. Making par is a hard enough job and there’s no sense worrying about what anyone else is doing. Even at the turn, I didn’t want to look at the scores.” Peggy Kirk Bell, who was still an amateur that year and finished in tenth


place, remembers that the course played an incredibly long 6,524 yards and par 76. That was just about 100 yards less than the course played for the men’s GGO earlier in the spring. “The women hardly got any breaks in playing short courses back then,” says Peggy, who later joined Ellen Griffin in pioneering the women’s golf school market at Pine Needles, the Southern Pines resort Peggy and her husband owned. “It wasn’t until years later that organizers figured out people like to see pros make birdies rather than struggle for pars and thus shortened the courses. My best round was a four-under 72 on Saturday, which set the course record for women. I would have won about eight hundred dollars after finishing in the top third of the field if I’d been a pro.” The third Women’s Open was held at Atlantic City in 1948 under the auspices of the WPGA, but the bright ideas that the women pros had were languishing amid the overall lack of appreciation for the women’s game from sponsors and spectators. The Seignious family was only willing to bankroll the WPGA for so long, and the organization disbanded in 1949 — but immediately gave way to the founding of the LPGA, which grew under the leadership of Babe Zaharias, Patty Berg, Fred Corcoran and some key friends in golf equipment circles, and remains the bedrock competitive organization of women’s golf today. Why didn’t the WPGA make it? Whether it was a lack of money or leadership or something else is hard to tell: “The WPGA had vision, great ideas,” Patty Berg said. “But we were able to operate for just so long.” Helen Dettweiler, however, has another view: “Hope thought it would be a good idea to get some girls together and try to get golf started on a pro basis. She had a lot of great ideas but they were, unfortunately, much too early.” OH Lee Pace is a Chapel Hill-based writer who has written ten books on golf history in the Carolinas. His latest is The Golden Age of Pinehurst—The Story of the Rebirth of No. 2.

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O.Henry 51


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52 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Evolving Species

When Bobby Met Janet A search for one’s unknown birth parents can yield heartbreak and surprises. And sometimes, an unexpected peace

By Sue Pace

Hazel eyes. High blood

pressure. Average height. That’s my DNA at work. And for most of my life, this gene pool of one remained a mystery. In 1960, there were no open adoptions. Only a sealed file in a drawer at the Children’s Home Society in Greensboro held the code to my migraines and stubby toes.

Searching for your birth parents is not for the faint of heart. It takes patience and thick skin. Greatly lacking in the first, I more than make up for it with the second. My dad’s death — plus an unexpected end to my long-term marriage, a quick move with my kids to a horse farm, my mom’s slow demise from Alzheimer’s and then an empty nest — all meant habitual transition for about eight years. Divorce. Disease. Diplomas. Death. I was always saying goodbye to someone or something. Let’s be clear: I did not go searching for parents. I know exactly where those who raised me are — in a simple wooden box, ashes mingled, sitting on a shelf in my study. Next to that box is a collection of photos of a family formed, not in nine months, but in the years after fertility tests, miscarriages and screenings. The older brother I grew up with is so very different from me. He is academically gifted, competitive, sweet. My mom was born to nurture and laugh. My dad conveyed love through actions, not words. Me? I’m the spoiled baby girl with blonde ringlets and plenty of confidence. We were parts of a puzzle with plenty of missing pieces. Somehow, we completed a picture of a loving family. Being adopted has always been natural for me. When I started a family of my own, I saw myself in others for the first time. My gene pool of one became three. But, somewhere along mid-life coinciding with my eight-year sabbatical from normalcy, I found myself standing in that road looking behind and ahead. All I could see were hairpin turns, exits, giant sink holes. Why not go looking for two teenagers who — I’d been told — made a mistake in 1960? I remarried in the fall of 2009, finding a calm in my storm. By 2010 my mom had died and my daughter was off to college. Early 2011, I started my search by contacting the Children’s Home Society. They sent me general information, but no names. A dear friend directed me to a sleuth of a woman who helps adoptees in their searches. After I gave her the generalities, she provided me with specifics and a birth certificate. From there the Internet delivered addresses, images, open Facebook pages. Google Earth let me ride along for street views of houses. One night in November 2011, with the house to myself, I poured a glass of wine and cold-called my birth mother. Hers was an unfamiliar voice so connected to mine. Janet was guarded, but kind. Forthcoming, yet disinterested. I asked. She answered. She was 20, unmarried and lived in a small town in Kentucky in 1960. She wanted to keep me and name me Jennifer. But women didn’t lightly buck convention in rural Kentucky in the sixties. So her father and mine (Bobby)

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

decided our fate. She moved to Greensboro to have me. Immediately after I was born, I went to the Children’s Home Society nursery. Six weeks later I became Susan, the daughter of a Yankee doctor and nurse who lived in Durham. Janet went back to Kentucky. In a departure from many adoption stories of unwed parents going their separate ways, Janet married Bobby two years later. They had two sons but divorced after thirty years in 1992, a seemingly happy family shattered by infidelity. They still lived within five minutes of each other. She did her best to filter her opinion of her ex. But I got the picture. She said she would let Bobby and her sons know I called but made it clear they would not be pleased. She was in poor physical health and preferred a solitary life. A heart broken and bitter. Better at friendship with Bobby than marriage, she said. Better keeping your friends close, your enemies closer, I imagined. She said she would leave communication to me. I still felt hopeful. But, by the new year, phone messages to her went unanswered. A Christmas card filled with photos was returned to me unopened. By March, I concluded that Bobby and the boys were calling the shots. So, I dialed back my interest for a while. I knew one day, unannounced, I would travel there to meet them. When my daughter secured a film internship in Detroit this past May, I saw a road trip coming together. She needed a ride home. What’s an extra ten-hour detour to Kentucky to find some kin, I asked? My family responded as expected to this rhetorical question. My 23-year-old son didn’t get why I wanted to go. My husband didn’t want me to get emotionally hurt. My daughter, always with a flair for the dramatic, predicted Bobby would shoot me dead on his front porch. Undeterred, and with my family’s reluctant blessing, I hit the road. I had no plan. I hadn’t had a plan in eight years. So, I just drove. Upon arrival I alternately stalked their houses for about an hour until I saw Bobby’s car in his driveway. He was standing on his porch picking out dead leaves from a plastic planter when I drove up. Go big or go home girl, I said to myself before getting out of the car. “Are you Bobby Lindsey?” I asked. “I try to be,” he casually replied — a lame attempt at sharp wit with a stranger, I thought. “I’m Sue Pace,” I said. My palms grew sweaty. “Who?” he asked. I approached the porch and repeated my name. When I said I was from North Carolina, I watched him take a step back and slump down in his chair, his whole body taking a long, deliberate breath. I didn’t see a revolver on the table, only a beer in his hand, so I asked if we could talk — and whether he might find a beer for me. Four hours went by. We drank and swapped stories. He showed me family photos. I am a blend of both. Bobby apologized for not choosing to raise me all those years ago, explaining that he was too young and foolish in 1960. I told him no apology was necessary. He said I was pretty and hoped this day would come. He just had a feeling about who I was when I reached the porch. His eyes were intensely blue, and still expressing, at 72, a bit of mischief. I wasn’t prepared to like him, but nothing about this journey was playing out November 2013

O.Henry 53

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The Evolving Species as expected. He told me Janet was in the hospital due to a fall. She hadn’t taken care of herself for a while. She never said a thing to him about my calling two years ago. Bobby played tour guide over the following two days. We drove by his parents’ graves and he showed me where he wanted to be buried. We rode through the hairpin turn where, at age 19, he and his buddy were drag racing some unknown locals. Taking the curve at 112 mph, they never slowed down. One car lost control. The other car disappeared down the straightaway. Bobby got out of the mangled metal, three blocks from his house, dazed and bloody. He tripped over his dead friend, who was missing the back of his head. While Janet was giving up a baby in Greensboro, he was just being too young and foolish in the curve of a road. He talked about their marriage, the boys, his indiscretions, her need to control. He asked me questions. For every word he spoke to me, it was clear there were volumes left unsaid. I was a memory buried deep in rural Kentucky. My birth brothers only found out about me during the divorce. Secrets come out when people want to get even. Bobby did not think they knew I had called their mother. I went to the hospital to see Janet. She was shaken, defiant and asked me to leave immediately. I respected her request. Some things can’t be resolved. It’s as simple as that. There is no good or bad guy in this situation. My parents taught me to accept there are two sides to every story. Both birth brothers contacted me several weeks after my visit. They said they were never told of my phone call to Janet until Bobby notified them after my visit. One lives in California and one in Georgia. Both seem accepting and kind. Conversations come easy through email and are humorous in tone. They are die-hard Kentucky fans. I’m a Tar Heel graduate who was raised a Blue Devil. They asked me about a December 14 basketball game between UNC and Kentucky. A planned January visit is now pushed up a little when I told them I could get tickets. It’s clear meeting me will be out-rivaled by sitting in the Dean Dome. With both my parents gone, my friendship with Bobby has been free of definition and expectations. Being the oldest sibling will be a little slower to navigate because I am, and will always be, the younger sister to a dear brother connected to me not through DNA, but through love. Janet, whom I’ve decided not to recontact, has chosen her own fate this time around. My gene pool is getting crowded. I’ve collected a few more puzzle pieces. I’ve said goodbye to that sealed file in Greensboro. But, like so much of the past eight years, I keep finding the welcome sign. OH Sue Pace lives on the outskirts of Chapel Hill with her husband, Lee, two occasional kids and an assortment of dogs, cats and horses. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 55

Life of Jane

The Night Playing Died By Jane Borden

When I was a child, my

Wild West was the golf course of the Greensboro Country Club, a great and dangerous expanse I crossed in order to plunder gold on the other side: a swimming pool and the neoncolored slushies beside. Rather than safely circumnavigate the course to reach our destination, as our parents insisted, my neighborhood friends and I — darting blurs of pot-bellies in bathing suits and Tretorns — always cut the direct route, hazarding, no pun intended, the dangers therein. Legend were the stories of kids thwapped in the noggin by a 5-iron-driven ball. Frequent were the sounds of “Fore!” from frustrated golfers. Never did we alter our path.

Once I got to middle school, the golf course served a second purpose as the site of sweeping, nighttime games. Almost every weekend, friends would filter through the neighborhood on foot or be dropped off by their parents, gathering on my front lawn and the one next-door. My next-door neighbor Jamie was my age — and a boy. In sixth grade, if you have a real, non-cootie-fearing friendship with a member of the opposite sex, then your group of pals immediately doubles. This was convenient because a gameboard the size of four city blocks requires at least a dozen players. 
Once everyone arrived, we drew straws to determine who was “It.” Then someone explained the rules to newcomers. First, the boundaries: anywhere between Carlisle Road and the club, and between Country Club Road and Sunset Drive (the golf course extending in the other direction from Carlisle, down Hood Place, was no-mans land and off limits). The remaining rules were simple. Whoever is “It” takes the flashlight. Everyone else hides. If the light shines on you, you must surrender and join the search party until everyone’s been found. And then we start over. This went on for hours. As soon as the kid with the flashlight turned his or her back to count the obligatory minute, the rest took off, on gawky legs in skateboard shorts and flip-top jeans, disregarding decorum or appearance, deeply dedicated to the game in the way one can only be at the age of 12. Someone once hid, troll-like, under

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that bridge by the pond near the corner of Briarcliff and Sunset. It was disgusting; it was awesome. People also tangled themselves deep inside the mini groves of fir trees that dot the course. This was a risky move, as these were usually the first spots visited by the flashlight. But they also provided some of the only opportunities for actual cover, if you buried yourself in needles and leaf-litter camouflage. The only thing mitigating the enormous size of our game board was its openness; there weren’t many places to hide. Sometimes the best tactic was to stay on the move. And this was allowed. You always knew the search party’s location — thanks to the flashlight, which had to remain on at all times — so you could sprint around accordingly. Then again, someone moving across an open lawn in moonlight isn’t hard to spot and tag. And so strategies were born and died. One time my friend Mary hid so effectively, in a tree top somewhere in the northeast quadrant near the corner of Country Club and Granville, that she was never found, a rare incident. We eventually had to split up and canvass the golf course shouting her name. “Mary! It’s over! Where are you?” “Here!” she finally shouted, but we still couldn’t see her, and had to follow her voice while she spent a full three minutes descending. We talked about this for weeks. She was a pioneer, a hero. How had she gotten up there? Wasn’t she scared? In retrospect, my most pressing question is, how had she entertained herself? All these years later, I find it remarkable that we liked the game. Sure, it was a little athletic, and had the titillation of darkness, but essentially it was hide-and-go-seek, which today I would deem exhaustively boring. Even though I currently play what’s technically called hideand-go-seek with regular frequency, I still chose the subjunctive “would” in the previous sentence because my 4-year-old nephew’s version of the game is hardly the same thing. He hides in one spot only, every time, with his legs stuck behind the sofa and the rest of his body in the open. And if you somehow haven’t found him in 10 seconds, he starts snorting and making his warthog face. The point for him is not to hide, but rather to be found. The point for me, is to laugh at his gross misunderstanding of the game; at the way he counts “1, 2, 3, 7, 3, 11” — and, obviously, at his warthog face, which is really quite spectacular, on account of his deep investment in it. My friends and I used to be that invested on the golf course, which I now find beguiling. Why did we care — about strategy, winning, any of it? I know we thought it was fun. I just can’t remember why. Today when I socialize I want to talk, joke, catch up, have a drink; I do not want to squat in mud for 35 minutes in solitude for the exclusive reward of outsmarting a friend. If forced to play today, my strategy, every time, would be to surrender immediately and hang out with The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Meridith Martens

In the delicious darkness of the golf courses, everything was a romping adventure. And then one night we started talking.

the search party. But no one dreamed of doing that in sixth grade. Nor did anyone ever run after getting tagged by the flashlight. We had a strict honor code and followed it intuitively. My mother, I came to find out, was also perplexed by our commitment, and therefore suspicious. She told me, just a few years ago, the whole time, she thought we were lying about tag, and were actually out there playing kissing games. “What? Kissing games?!? Mom! No! It was tag. We were really into it.” “Yeah, right.” That’s what she said! “Yeah, right.” I was livid. Didn’t she know we were preteen warriors? But then I became deeply amused. Hers was a wishful and flattering theory: She thought us much cooler than we actually were. For sure, other kids my age played kissing games. But not my friends and me. We were supremely nerdy and blissfully unaware. We had no style. We didn’t shave our legs. Sometimes, when I spent the night over at Jamie’s house with his sister and him, we stayed up late using stolen lighters to ignite our own farts. So, no: We didn’t practice the art of seduction. After indignantly convincing my mother of the truth, I considered her assumption and asked, “If that’s what you thought we were doing, why didn’t you try to stop it?” She replied, “What could I do?” 
I remember the night it changed. Developments are usually more slippery, harder to nail on a timeline, but this transition had its hour. One night, gathered on the front lawns and waiting for the stragglers, as per usual, people started to sit down, in a circle, started to talk. Then everyone had arrived, but we didn’t immediately start the game. Someone suggested it, and others generally agreed, but still didn’t move. People began to lean back on their elbows, stick their legs out in front of them, get comfortable, “hang out.” I understood clearly what this meant and didn’t like it. I remember standing, while everyone else sat, trying to figure out how to shift the momentum. It’s just an early example of a life-long trend: I’m always late to the party, always one step behind, clinging to the now, but powerless to stem the next. That night, I still wanted to play. But what could I do? We sat there all night, talking, laughing, nothing, until parents came to retrieve children in the same spot they’d been dropped. I remember predicting, in my head, that we would gather a few more times under the auspices of the game, and then stop altogether pretending we’d play. And I remember knowing — I really did — that we would never play again. We didn’t. OH Jane Borden is a native of Greensboro and the author of the highly acclaimed memoir I Totally Meant To Do That. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 57




Autumn at Laurelmor

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November 2013 Magnitude: Aunt Lydia Does Stretching Exercises A soft sweet cheese they make for daily bread, and in the vat of milk and rennet set an egg, to tell them when it’s done. While they’re feeding the chickens or sowing corn, the whey congeals in streaks and superstring curls. Rifts develop, curdy lumps, and gases congregate in spirals; the smell grows desirably rank as elements thicken into earths and metals, and when our unhatched robin-blue planet sinks, this batch will be ready. Or maybe enough dark matter exists for turning out firmer cheese, a dark dark marbled Swiss with black holes and delicious veins of stardust forming from windborne impurities, along one of which our Earth is a fleck of blue mold. Maybe they wrap it in burlap, so the rim of this universe bluntly prints a coarse fabric weave on the next one. Think of the milch cow they keep, its size, the heat of its flanks, the weight of its hooves, think of the one who comes to milk her, whistling square roots, perhaps, or wave functions, think of the breadth of space in the swinging pail. And think how you’ve nonetheless fit the whole barn, for a minute at least, in your head. — Sarah Lindsay

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 59


We Asked Six Talented Chefs To Pep Up The Thanksgiving Table. Wait Till You Taste What They Came Up With.


By dAvid clAude BAiley • photoGrAphs By sAM Froelich

Call me the holiday curmudgeon and I hope my sister, cousins, nephews and nieces don’t see this, but I’m frankly tired of canned cranberry sauce, overly sweet candied sweet taters, out-of-the-box dressing, green-bean casserole and J-E-L-L-O. Plus, my family always looks forward to making fun of — then eating with gusto — whatever bizarre dish I concoct for our annual get-together. So I used my position as O.Henry’s Serial Eater to contact some of my favorite chefs and ask them what side dishes they plan to cook that’s out of the ordinary and delicious. Now to decide which of them I’ll share with my own family.

Julie’s Cheesie Acorn Squash with Fresh Basil

Don’t call Deep Roots’ Julie Welch a chef. The mother of two who grew up on a working farm in rural Indiana prefers the title of cook, thank you. “Cooking is how I express my creativity and love for friends and family,” she says. “This is a variation on a simple recipe that was one of my favorites as a child. My mother, Evangeline, would use either acorn or butternut squash and serve it with butter and brown sugar. Use fresh, local ingredients to make this dish even more tasty.” Deep Roots Market, 600 North Eugene Street, Greensboro, (336) 292-9216 or

Recipe One medium-sized butternut squash (about 2 pounds) 1/4 cup pecan pieces (optional) 6-8 large leaves fresh basil 1/8 cup fresh goat cheese honey for drizzling salt and pepper (optional) Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees. If you are using the pecans, place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast them until they are aromatic and slightly crunchy (be sure to shake the pan while they are toasting so they don’t burn), and set aside. Wash and cut in half the butternut squash. Since the skin is very tough, be sure to carefully use a very sharp knife. Scoop out the seeds and fibrous strings with a spoon, place the squash halves (flesh-side down) in a shallow baking dish, and add 1/4” of water. Place half of the fresh basil leaves in the water. Cover tightly with foil and bake until squash is fork-tender, about 45 minutes. Remove the squash from the baking dish and place on a plate. Sprinkle each half with goat cheese, toasted pecans, and the rest of the fresh basil (finely chopped). Drizzle with honey, and salt and pepper to taste.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Cress Family’s Chocolate ChipPumpkin Bread Pudding

“I have always liked to cook with my mom and my grandmother, Vanessa Cress and Jan Miller,” says High Point native Derek Cress, executive chef at the Hampton’s restaurant at J.H. Adams Inn. The Cress family likes both pumpkin and chocolate, so a debate sometimes arose about the holiday dessert. Cress’ mom and grandmother came up with the idea of serving both pumpkin and chocolate in one dish — a bread pudding, says the Guildford Technical Community College Culinary Arts graduate. “It has all the spices and flavors of a pumpkin pie just transformed into a bread pudding with the added twist of chocolate chips,” he says. Hampton’s, J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 North Main Street, High Point, (336) 882-3267 or

Recipe 3/4 cup canned solid-pack pumpkin 1 1/2 cups whole milk (or 1 cup heavy cream, plus 1/2 cup whole milk) 1/2 cup sugar 2 large eggs plus 1 yolk 1/2 teaspoon salt 1 1/2 Cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice Pinch of ground cloves 2 tablespoons bourbon (optional) 5 cups cubed (1-inch) day-old baguette or crusty bread 3/4 stick unsalted butter, melted Preheat oven to 350° F with rack in middle. Whisk together pumpkin, milk, sugar, eggs, yolk, salt, chocolate, spices and bourbon in a bowl. Toss bread cubes with butter in another bowl, then add pumpkin mixture and mix. Transfer to a greased 8-inch square baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25 to 30 minutes. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 61

Sal Giaimo’s Sicilian Seafood Salad

Nino Giaimo grew up in Greensboro before attending East Carolina University, but his family hails from Sicily. One of their favorite dishes is a salad served during the summer and fall made from fresh Mediterranean seafood. “Every family has their own interpretation of this dish,” says the owner of Gia. The recipe comes from his dad, Sal Giaimo, but was adapted for American tastes and tables by Erin Hollas, Gia’s sous chef, who came to Gia from the Lantern in Chapel Hill. Gia, 1941 New Garden Road, No. 208, Greensboro, (336) 907-7536 or

Recipe 1/2 lemon 1 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon ground peppercorns 20 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped 1 bay leaf 6 quarts of water 1 baby octopus 1 pound peeled shrimp 1 pound calamari 1 stalk celery, chopped 1/2 carrot, peeled and chopped 1/4 cup chopped parsley Dressing 1/4 cup white wine vinegar 1/8 cup lemon juice 1/4 cup olive oil 1/4 cup canola oil 2 1/2 tablespoon oregano (or to taste) salt and pepper to taste Add lemon, salt, pepper, garlic and bay leaf to 6 quarts of water and bring to a boil. Add octopus and cook for 15 minutes. Then add shrimp and calamari, return to boil, and cook three more minutes. Remove from heat, strain and cool. Once the seafood is cool, cut it into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl along with the chopped celery, carrot and parsley. Whisk the ingredients for the dressing in a small bowl and pour over the salad. Toss and allow to marinate, chilled, four hours.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sweet and Savory Charred Brussels Sprouts with Ham and Cranberries

Like her upscale tacos, Kristina Fuller’s fancy charred Brussels sprouts were created and first served at her Adams Farm restaurant, The Bistro. The list of ingredients may seem a little unlikely, but the combination of flavors is tantalizingly delicious. “They’re sweet and savory and quite nice with ham or turkey,” says the owner and chef at downtown’s Crafted, the Art of the Taco. Crafted, the Art of the Taco, 219-A South Elm Street, Greensboro, (336) 273-0030 or

Recipe 2 bags Brussels sprouts 3 tablespoons olive oil Salt and pepper to taste 1/2 cup pancetta, diced small 1/2 cup dried cranberries 2 tablespoons honey 1 tablespoons apple cider vinegar Cut Brussels spouts in half and place on a baking sheet. Toss with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and salt and pepper and roast in oven at 450° F for 25 to 30 minutes or until browned on edges. Remove and let cool at room temperature. In a sauté pan on medium heat, add pancetta and start to render out fat. Let cook for 2 minutes, then add remaining ingredients and Brussels sprouts and cook until they have charred slightly and cranberries have softened. Serve hot with a drizzle of honey over top.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 63

Country Café Sweet Potato Dumplings

When Carolyn Johnson’s customers say they miss something their mother used to make, the chef and owner of Coliseum Country Cafe listens up. That’s how sweet potato dumplings got onto the menu. “I found a recipe online and didn’t think it would work, but I just went in the back and tried it,” she says. “People loved it.” Not bad for a former economics professor at Guilford and Greensboro College who, at age 39, decided to become a restaurateur. With a math degree from N.C. State, six years in economics from Chapel Hill and an M.B.A. from UNCG — but no professional culinary training — Johnson has been dishing up something loving from the oven — and stove top — since she opened on July 9, 1997. Coliseum Country Cafe, 1904 Coliseum Boulevard, Greensboro, (336) 299-1809 or pages/Coliseum-Country-Cafe/117083354976662

Recipe 1 cup sugar 2 cups water 1 large or 2 small sweet potatoes 16-ounce can Jumbo Flakey Biscuits (available from Aldi) 1/2 cup or more of brown sugar cinnamon to taste 1 stick of butter Preheat oven to 350° F. In a saucepan, bring the sugar and water to a boil. Microwave the sweet potatoes until they’re soft all the way through. Place a slice of sweet potato in the middle of each biscuit circle with a teaspoon or so of brown sugar on top of the potato. Bring up the sides of dough with your fingers and place seam side down into a greased 9-inch round cake pan. Pour the cooked sugar water over the eight biscuits. The water level should come almost to the top of your dough. (“It will seem like too much liquid but don’t hesitate . . . this water will turn into wonderful goo,” says Johnson.) Sprinkle with cinnamon. Melt a stick of butter (not margarine,” she says) and pour over top. Bake until doughstarts to brown, about 25 minutes or so.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Adams Family Potato Gratin with Dates and Blue Cheese

Matthew Adams grew up in Greensboro and trained at Johnson & Wales. Before becoming executive chef at Southern Lights Bistro, Adams worked in a number of Charleston restaurants, where he developed an interesting take on potato gratin. “I made it once for my family and now it is a holiday staple on our table,” says Adams, who’s made a name for himself locally as a musician. “This goes with any meat and is usually eaten late at night as dessert as well.” Southern Lights Bistro, 2415 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, (336) 379-9414 or

Recipe 8 whole dates 2 cups red wine 1 white onion, diced 2 cloves garlic, chopped 3 1/2 cups heavy cream 1 1/2 cups cream cheese 1 cup blue cheese Salt and pepper to taste 6 large potatoes — very thinly sliced 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese Boil the dates in the red wine until the skin is falling off. Let cool, peel and remove the pits. Save the wine. Saute onion and garlic in a sauce pot and deglaze with the leftover reserved, reducing by half. Add the heavy cream and bring to a boil. Add the cream cheese, blue cheese and the dates and reduce again, stirring often. Season with salt and pepper. Fold the sliced potatoes into the sauce and pour mixture into a 2-inch-deep nonstick pan, topping with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 360° F for 45 to 50 minutes or until the potatoes are fork tender. OH

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Diamond in the Ruff Like the Blue and Gold Marching Machine he directs for A&T State, Kenneth Ruff is a high stepping mentor on a mission. By Antionette G. Kerr

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs by Charles Watkins, N.C. A&T State University


o autographs, please,” reads the sign on Greensboro native son Kenneth Ruff’s desk. It’s hard to be modest when you’ve risen from a drum major at Grimsley High to be appointed, anointed and enrobed in the gold coat that the director of N.C. A&T State University’s marching band wears. “I tried to tell people that we were going to be famous,” he says of the weeks after he received the call for his Blue and Gold Marching Machine to open last year’s illustrious Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. Ruff marched his alma mater right into history as the first historically black school to open the legendary parade. With an estimated viewing audience of 53.5 million, the parade indeed catapulted the band into fame. “It’s like going to Hollywood for a band,” Ruff reflects. It was a dream come true that started the first day Ruff stepped out on the practice field. As a freshman at A&T State University he remembers his first round of grueling practices. “I came to be an engineer but wanted to see what this band thing was all about,” he says. Having come from the military corps-style band tradition at Grimsley High School, loosening up would prove to be the biggest challenge for the six-foot-two flutist. “Getting to the collegiate level of A&T was different mentally and physically,” he explains. Mastering the music was not a problem. Nor was moving in formation. What proved problematic was really getting down: “Some students are ready for the band’s style when they arrive,” he says. He was not. But in 1983 he would learn style on N.C. A&T’s sacred turf under his mentor, the late director Dr. Johnny B. Hodge, aka “Doc.” Hodge sparked his passion for the artistic style of the small band with the big sound that dazzled crowds. Doc was like a father to Ruff as he worked to master the band’s high stepping marching style and realized that this band thing was more about entertainment than anything else. “It saved my life and became my direction,” Ruff says. As friends headed down dangerous paths, often dropping out of school, music became Ruff’s saving passion. When he attempted to tell his mother he wanted to change his major from engineering to music education, she said, “No! No! No!” As a single

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mother who left the university to provide financially for her son, Linda was determined that Kenneth would one day earn an engineer’s salary. She had worked in factories and retired as a postal clerk so he could realize that dream. “We talked about it many a day,” she says, “and I didn’t want him to have to struggle the way that I did. It wasn’t till he finally looked at me and said, ‘Money isn’t everything’ that I agreed. ‘OK, you can change your major.’” He told her how Williams had once told him that “he wasn’t a rich man but he was blessed and God took care.” It all began when Ruff, an only child, begged his mother to let him join the band in the fifth grade. He recalls being so desperate that he agreed to play his cousin’s hand-me-down flute simply because it was free. Ignoring taunts about his instrument of choice, he went on to play in several concert bands and earned honors for All County Band. But he had no intention of making a career out of music until he became Grimsley’s drum major. In addition to their stylish, gravity-defying, caped escapades, drum majors are selected for their leadership abilities. They com-

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

mand the respect of the band and maintain discipline. After earning a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in educational administration and supervision from A&T, Ruff went on to earn a doctorate in education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. After serving as an administrator and band director at a number of high schools, he became a part-time assistant at A&T with his eye squarely on the post of band director. Students have since nicknamed him “The Bishop.” Senior trombone player Alex Rebelle says, “His name is Ruff, but we think he is a diamond in the rough.” Ruff helped Rebelle, a graduate of the Durham School of the Arts, quite literally find his voice. Though Rebelle was an introvert, Ruff placed him in public speaking positions. “He put me out there to speak to the news and eventually I learned to always be prepared.” Rebelle is pursuing a degree in mass communications, and he credits Ruff with dozens of similar instances of identifying potential in students on and off the field. Kimberly Sowell, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs, says Ruff shows students “what they are worth.” He’s also shown the community what the band is worth. Through car washes and other fundraising activities, the band raised a dizzying $500,000 in order to participate in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. With help from the university’s donors, students were also able to take in a Broadway show and tour the city. “And then the band went out there and put on an amazing show,” Sowell says. Some may think the Blue and Gold Marching Machine is all about high-stepping, dancing and loud music, but Ruff demands precision and says that “musicality is first and foremost with our band.” After a year of practice and preparation, the band performed a diverse medley of songs to honor the city, including the classic “New York, New York” and rapper Jay-Z’s tribute “Empire State of Mind.” In the center of sharp turns and complex formations, TV cameras focused on the band’s beautiful Golden Delights. This elite team of women (once called The Untouchables) has developed a sophisticated dance-majorette style that marries hip-hop and modern jazz. Ruff challenged them to look “like the Rockettes but to kick even higher . . . We had 60 seconds of uninterrupted television coverage,” he says. “We wanted to show the world what we could do.” Ruff remains a man on a mission. Since the Macy’ s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the group has been invited to entertain fans of NASCAR, the Carolina Panthers and Grammy-nominated R&B singer Janelle Monáe. With the passing of his mentor, Doc Hodge, in May, Ruff has fully accepted the yoke of the band’s rich legacy of mentorship, showmanship and excellence on and off the field. It’s time for The Bishop to make his move. OH Antionette G. Kerr, now the executive director of the Housing Community Development Corporation in Lexington, where her weekly “Just Sayin’” column appears in The Lexington Dispatch, never joined the marching band due to poor coordination so she became a cheerleader instead.

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Lucy Fiction by Fred Chappell

Illustration by Harry Blair


t eleven o’clock in the morning of June 20 Mary Ellen Ackerman showed up at Mr. Josh Joshi’s Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium. She was wearing tan knee-length shorts, a white T-shirt lacking a message and red sneakers. Her bright red hair was combed, insofar as it was combable, and her mother had insisted upon decorating it with a blue silk ribbon knotted into a bow. “Right on top,” she had said, “like a cherry on a sundae.” Drawing upon her rather shallow reserve of patience, Mary Ellen had submitted to the operation, not vocalizing her objections that cherries are red, the bow was blue, and she was not eager to look like a sundae.

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But she did want to look her best. Her visit with Mr. Joshi — or Mr. Ponder, as she often called him — was a business appointment. She had prepared what her father called a “portfolio,” a cardboard folder with an Agenda, which included necessities of Inventory, projected Expenses, ideas for a Contract between the storekeeper and herself, and a gaily triumphant estimate of Profits, annual and total. There were other materials included also, suggestions for Distribution and Promotion and so on. Mary Ellen had already decided that she would not spend the greater part of her life cooking Kaleburgers. She would get the delectable enterprise started, buy her horse — a fine mare to be called IQ — construct a stable and spend the remainder of her years devoted to the superb animal. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When she arrived at the Emporium she found that the large window in the door was outlined in black cloth. And when she entered, quietly and cautiously, she saw that the long counter in front supported a short skirt of black cloth drooping from its top. The person behind the counter was a policeman she had met, the one Mr. Ponder called Bad Cop. He was a very large African-American with shiny black shoes, a handsome badge pinned to his blue-gray shirt and an impressive pistol high on his right hip. He laid down the dingy, maltreated book he was looking into and smiled at her. “Hello, little girl.” “Where is Mr. Ponder?” she asked. “I’m not a little girl. I am 14 years old.” He smiled more broadly. “Fourteen is difficult. You’re Mary Ellen, right? I believe we have met before.” “Yes sir, we did. I have a business appointment with Mr. Joshi.” “Jacklight is not here just now, but he should be along pretty soon. He is attending a funeral.” “A friend?” she said. “Or somebody in his family?” “Yes.” “Well, which?” “He is in mourning. He has always been devoted to Lucy. I came by to look after his store until he returns. Would you like to sign this?” He held up a folded card. “I am asking all his friends to sign. It is a sympathy card.” She slipped off the backpack containing her Portfolio and leaned it on the floor against the corner of the counter. Then she took the card from Mr. Bad. A picture of some sad lilies in a sunset-colored vase decorated the front. Inside there were three lines completely blacked out with Magic Marker. Below the cancellations were two signatures, Drummond Washington and Will Hannah. “My partner and I have already signed. I am Sergeant Washington and he is patrolman Hannah. You met him also. Jacklight calls him Mr. Good Cop. That is Jacklight’s feeble joke.” “Why are the words all blacked out?” “I bought the card at the drugstore,” the sergeant said. “The sentiment was false, crassly commercial and utterly unworthy of the true devotion Jacklight had always felt for Lucy. I judged the phrases to violate certain guidelines we have in place, so I edited them. Please note that I do not say censored. I do not hold with censorship.” Confusion sometimes caused Mary Ellen’s nose to itch. She rubbed it briskly with her wrist. “Was Lucy a family person or a friend?” “Yes, she was,” he said. “The guidelines for expression are laid down by the Policemen’s Poetry Preservation Project. I am the Chairman pro tem for the Project. Not all the guidelines are in place because they are in process of formulation and approval. But it was clear to me that the language of the sympathy card was unfitting. Under existing Project guidelines, I am allowed to edit certain poems.” “What did those lines in the card say?” “They are gone from my memory. It might be best if they were gone from human memory . . . You say you had a business appointment. What sort of business?” “I want him to be my supplier so that I can sell Supremely Delicious Kaleburgers in volume.” “Supremely Delicious Kaleburgers?” “That’s what my dad said to call them. He said if I put Supremely Delicious in front, maybe people won’t notice Kale so much.” “Um,” said Sergeant Washington. “I am beginning to get confused somewhat.” He rubbed his nose with his left palm. “My shining goal is to own a swift horse. Mr. Ponder said IQ would be a good name because if you have a lot of that, you are swift.” “I see,” he said, though it was clear to her that he did not. “We can wheel and deal. He will get me ingredients and I will share my secret recipe and Kaleburgers will sweep the nation.” “Ah.” He rubbed his nose again. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


s she was considering whether to explain further, Mr. Joshi entered. The gray suit he wore made him look even thinner than usual. He wore a black armband and a black tie. His eyes were sorrowful when he gazed upon Mary Ellen. That was unusual. She had been coming to his store every day except Sunday for a week and his expression always brightened when he saw her and his sad eyes became less sad. “I am sorry about Lucy,” Mary Ellen said. “Yes,” said Mr. Josh Joshi. Three months and two days passed before he continued. “It is inevitable. And her passing was peaceful and painless. We count that as a blessing, do we not?” “Was she a family relative or a friend?” “She was indeed,” he said. “Very much so.” He strolled around behind the counter to shake hands, gravely and ceremoniously, with Mr. Bad Cop. It seemed for a moment that they might hug, but they avoided the gesture. “Would you like to see her picture?” He reached under the counter and brought out a leather-bound fold-over and laid it flat. When Mary Ellen came to look, he opened it slowly. She could not help herself. She broke into giggles uncontainable, minor convulsions that burgeoned, despite her every effort, into full-throated laughter. The men looked at her with startled expressions. The photograph showed a handsome cat with golden fur, darkish markings around the muzzle and ears signaling full alertness. “She is cross-eyed,” Mary Ellen said. “A goodly number of Burmese cats are cross-eyed,” said Mr. Ponder. “It is a genetic quirk usually found in the Siamese. But it added to her charm. The photo does not do her justice.” “I didn’t mean to laugh.” “I am certain that you did not,” he said. He thought for a while. “If you had meant to laugh that would indicate that you possessed defective sensibilities. But you did not mean to. Your laughter was spontaneous and innocent. Lucy was often a source of innocent merriment to young people.” “And now,” said Sergeant Washington, “she is gone. Do you know the Lucy poems of Wordsworth? There is a stanza that might seem to fit.” He took up the soiled and battered Selected Poems and opened it to the page he had marked. He read in a voice hoarse with emotion: “She lived unknown, and few could know When Lucy ceased to be; But she is in her grave, and, oh, The difference to me!” Mr. Ponder closed his eyes and waited until the world could bear it no longer. Then he said, “That is justly put.” Mary Ellen picked up her backpack. Mr. Joshi will not want to wheel and deal right now, she thought. He is too sad and heartbroken. “I’d better go home. I’ll come back later, if that’s all right.” “Yes,” he said. “Later will be better.” “Just a moment,” the sergeant said. “You forgot to sign the sympathy card.” Wordlessly, she came to the counter, accepted the proffered ballpoint, and signed Mary Ellen Ackerman in the neatest script she could manage. “You might like to take this book with you.” He pushed the Wordsworth toward her. “It is from the Policemen’s Poetry Preservation Project library that we are putting together from discards. We give them away to people, especially young people. Maybe you will find some useful ideas.” “Thank you.” She stuffed it into the backpack and departed.


he trudged across the lawns of the housing project in a state of droopy dejection. She had taken the backpack from her shoulders and trailed it behind her over the patchy grass. He had tried to hide his feelings, but she knew that Mr. Joshi must be angry with her. Yet she could not help laughing. Lucy in the photo was the goofiest-looking creature imaginable. How had she died? Not by violence, she hoped. There were some older boys in the projects who were mean to dogs and cats. She had been warned to stay away from them. November 2013

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As she went up the concrete stairway to the apartment, she carried the backpack in her arms like a big baby doll. She hugged it to her, as if to derive comfort. Her mother was not in the living room watching TV quiz shows. That was what she usually did almost every afternoon before she started making supper. The door to the parents’ bedroom was closed and through it came the sound of hesitant musical notes. Mary Ellen plopped her pack on the love-seat sofa and knocked. When she entered she found her mother sitting on the bed, plucking at the smallest guitar she had ever seen. “It’s a ukulele,” Laura explained. “Yookerlulu?” “U-ku-le-le. A kind of guitar they play in Hawaii. I used to pick out melody lines on it before I took them to the big guitar.” “Big?” “This was long ago. You were not even a gleam in your father’s eye. Back then I had a big auditorium-size Martin. It would really sound out. But when times got hard, it shrank down to this size.” She plinked four lugubrious notes, then muttered to herself, “No, that’s not it.” “What was wrong with daddy’s eye?” “It was just hard to get it to spark up in the good old-fashioned way.” She looked up from her instrument and stared at Mary Ellen. “Honey, what’s wrong? You look like you’ve lost your best friend.” “I laughed at a cat. I feel awful about it.” “It’s all right to laugh at a cat,” Laura said. Then, as if reconsidering: “At least, I think it is. Why did you laugh?” “It was cross-eyed. I thought it was going to be a dead person.” Her mother laid the ukulele on the bed and gazed at her daughter for a weighty moment. “Come and give me a hug. It can’t be so terribly wrong to laugh at a cat.” “I couldn’t help it.” “You don’t usually laugh at cats.” She smoothed Mary Ellen’s hair the best she could. “Oh,” she exclaimed, “you lost the nice bow I put in your hair. It was so cute.” “It’s in my backpack. I took it off because I was sad.” Laura patted the bed. “Sit here and tell me all about it.”


eaning against her mother’s shoulder, Mary Ellen recounted, in the most orderly sequence she could construct, the events of the morning, how she talked to Bad Cop because Mr. Ponder was absent, the black crepe, the severely edited sympathy card. When she came to the photograph of Lucy, she began giggling. Then she laughed and after that shed a few tears and sniffled and her mother hugged her twice. “I felt bad because I laughed. When I was coming back home I saw my shadow on the sidewalk with the bow on top. It made me feel worse, so I took it off and stuck it in my backpack inside the book that Sergeant Washington gave me.” “He is Mr. Bad Cop?” “He says he is not so bad. He says that is a feeble joke.” “Let’s have a look at the hair bow.” Mary Ellen brought her burden from the living room and set it gently on the bed next to the ukulele. She brought out the dilapidated copy of Wordsworth and opened it to reveal the ribbon, which now looked almost as frazzled and unappealing as the book. She handed it to Laura, not looking into her face. Her mother took it and carefully untied the crushed and crinkled bow. She laid out the length of ribbon on the thigh of her blue jeans and smoothed it with her palm. It did not flatten. “I put this bow in your hair because I was feeling especially happy. The bow means a lot to me. I did not think it would make you sad.”

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“Why specially?” “Yesterday afternoon I was looking for some bank records in the closet and I found something I thought had been lost a long time ago.” “What was it?” Laura chewed her lower lip for a moment. “I’ll show you after supper. Are you still feeling sad because you laughed? “Yes.” “Maybe a little ashamed?” She nodded. “Why don’t you make up a real sympathy card for Mr. Joshi? Compose it yourself. Put down your own feelings like Wordsworth did a long time ago.” She picked up the tattered volume, flipped pages, and handed it to Mary Ellen. “Maybe the book will help. But you must not copy. Write your own words.” “I don’t know what to write.” “Say how you would feel if Lucy was your cat that died.” “I never had a cat.” “What if you finally get that horse, Scallion, and he died?” “Her name will be IQ. IQ is swift.” “What could somebody say to you then to make you feel better?” Mary Ellen squirmed off the bed and took up her backpack. “I’ll try, but I don’t know if I can. I don’t want to wear the hair ribbon right now, though.”


he sat at her dressing table-desk and could not think what to say. I am sorry I laughed I didn’t know Lucy would be a cross-eyed cat . . . “Sucks,” she muttered. She tried hard to imagine how bad she would feel if her dashing mare, IQ, died in a stable fire, but no images or words came. She didn’t actually know IQ yet. Maybe she would be nothing like Mary Ellen imagined. It was hard to picture what a horse named IQ would look like. She lifted the pitiable volume of Wordsworth — what a weird name — and opened it at random. “I wandered lonely as a cloud That floats on high o’er vales and hills.” Lonely as a cloud. No way. In her Language Arts class Mr. Wordsworth would receive a gruesome grade. Miz Prescott would shake her head and frown. Mary Ellen too was uncertain. Mostly you see clouds in bunches, one on top of another or side by side or all tumbled together about the sky. Then she remembered that the other day, just at sunset, she had seen one cloud alone. The sun was behind it, so that its belly was purple and its edges were yellowish orange. All by itself. Was it lonely? Maybe Weirdsworth had seen a cloud like that. But what would Language Arts make you say? Lonely as a what? She turned through grimy pages, looking for the poems about Lucy. But when she read them there in the middle of the book, they offered neither aid nor comfort. Mr. W’s Lucy was a girl or a woman and not a cat. Mr. Joshi must have loved his Lucy so much he thought of her as a human-being person. Then she had a thought that pleased her. She and Mr. Joshi were going to wheel and deal and she would become wealthy and have a wonderful horse and she could name this golden mare Lucy, to memorize the memory of the cat. He would understand. He would forgive her laughter and help her all he could. She became so cheerful with the idea that she put the book aside and began to draw pictures of a structure she had been planning in her spare time.


upper was fresh tomatoes and the cucumbers that Mary Ellen tried to avoid and mac-and-cheese and peach ice cream. All through the meal Laura kept smiling about something secret in her mind. Eric had changed into after-work clothes. He had hung up his slacks and jacket and tie and put on blue jeans and a greenish tee shirt that sported a murky, faded logo: BURLY BIPEDS. Mary Ellen thought The Art & Soul of Greensboro

she made out the shape of a head-on motorcycle below the lettering He asked her what she had learned today. He asked her that question almost every night. School was out, as he admitted, but she should keep on learning, it was the only way to progress, “I learned that Mama can play the hookerlily. I knew she can sing, but I didn’t know she could play music.” Laura translated. “Ukulele. I thought I might have an idea for a song, but it didn’t come clear.” He grinned. “Hookerlily is good. It sounds like one of the club bands you used to be in.” “Club hand?” Mary Ellen said. “Club. Band. Bands that play in clubs and bars at night. Your mother used to sing lead with The Ponkruckers. There were kind of popular hereabouts.” “Sang with who?” “Your father is teasing me. I was in an all-girl band. We called ourselves the Ponkruckers. It was a joke on punk rockers.” “What are punk — ?” “I’ll tell you later,” Laura said. “It is hard to explain. Right now I have a surprise to show you and your father. But beforehand, would anybody like something more to eat?” After Eric poured himself more iced tea, all were content. Laura produced the blue hair ribbon and dangled it above her greasy plate. “Do you remember this?” Eric looked at it closely, brow furrowed. He shook his head. “Don’t you recall the Blue Ribbon Baby?” “Well, it seems like I ought — “ “You made me wear it to my business meeting,” Mary Ellen said. “It is not businesslike.” “You looked adorable. I found it yesterday in with some financial papers and I just couldn’t resist.” “I’m sorry I missed seeing Mary Ellen,” he said. “I was already at work.” “You know what else is adorable? Really, really adorable?” Laura lifted her dinner plate and took up the square white envelope beneath. She passed it to her husband. She was smiling wistfully and her eyes were misty. “What?” said Mary Ellen. He opened it and slipped out a Polaroid photograph. When he looked at it, he gave a low whistle of surprise. As he examined it, his eyes grew misty too and his voice was unsteady when he said, “How could I forget? Well, I didn’t really forget, I just — “ “What?” said Mary Ellen. It must be a picture of something awful, something grim and dreadful. But when he handed her the photo she erupted into giggles. Here was a baby lying on its stomach on a big white bath towel. Behind it was the base of an ornamented Christmas tree with presents beneath. A blue bow was twined around the Kewpie curl of light-colored hair. “She’s cross-eyed!” Her giggles turned to laughter. “She looks silly with that bow on top. And you can see her butt!” “I’m not real sure how that happened,” he father said. “I was lying on the floor to get the picture and I must have done something that caused you to look at me cross-eyed. But it’s a great shot, anyhow. Way cute.” “Me?” “That is Mary Ellen Ackerman, ten months old,” her mother said. “You were so precious. This picture says it all.” “I’m cross-eyed and you can see my butt.” “That’s the way baby pictures are supposed to look,” Eric said. “I took a lot of shots and this was the best. We thought we might have it printed up and make a Christmas card to send to our friends and folks.” “You were going to send a Christmas card of me cross-eyed and my butt to thousands of people?” She could feel that her face was flushed. Her neck The Art & Soul of Greensboro

was hot and there was a strange sound in her ears. “Probably not thousands,” he said. “Please excuse me from the table,” Mary Ellen said. She rose so quickly her chair fell over. She kicked it away and ran into her bedroom and slammed the door. She launched herself onto the bed face down. She pulled the pillow about her head. In a moment there was a light knock and her mother spoke through the door. “Honey, I’m sorry. We didn’t mean to embarrass you. You were just a baby. I don’t think you’d said your first words yet.” “Leave me alone, please.” She could not imagine what were the first words she ever spoke. But she was one hundred percent certain they were not, Will you please take a picture of my butt and send it to everybody you know. “You were so cute.” Then her mother fell silent and in a few moments Mary Ellen heard her return to the table and begin collecting dishes to wash. She turned onto her back and gazed furiously at the ceiling. She had experienced many a worst day of her life, but this was the very worst of the very worst, especially since she had burst out laughing at herself. It wasn’t fair. They should have told her before she saw the photo that she was the baby. She lay there, staring upward, for a long time. When her eyes began to burn she closed them and immediately the image of herself, cross-eyed, with a stupid bow in her sparse curlicue and her butt up in the air, flashed into her mind and would not go away. Then in a short while she thought, How ridiculous. Then, How funny. And then she was giggling without let or hindrance, giggles bubbling out of her as out of a fountain. She was happy that she had thought of a way to smooth things out with Mr. Ponder.


t nine o’clock the next morning Mary Ellen began reorganizing her business portfolio, discarding some clumsy advertising jingles and adding in her architectural drawings. She did not set out for the Joyful Sunrise Emporium until 10:30, waiting to afford Mr. Joshi time to open for business. It was possible that he would not open up but observe a day of mourning instead. The sky was overcast with clouds that did not look lonely. They looked like a mob. The hour was gloomier than she desired, but it was best to try to set things right as soon as possible. The door to the establishment surprised her. Yesterday its window had been enwreathed with black crepe, but today a garland of plastic flowers framed the glass. Once inside, she saw that the short crepe skirt had been removed from the length of the counter and replaced by a runner of orange, yellow, red, and purple plastic blooms. Swags of the non-vegetation were tacked up along the front. Atop the counter sat the bound photograph of cross-eyed Lucy and it too was heaped about with phony blooms. Mr. Joshi and Sergeant Washington were stationed behind, both wearing plastic-flower necklaces, even though the policeman was in uniform. “Good morning, Mary Ellen,” said Mr. Joshi, in the happiest tones she had ever heard him utter. Sergeant Washington boomed his greeting in stentorian manner. His grin was as broad as a piano keyboard. She was a little abashed by the unwonted joviality, a mood she could never have expected. “I have felt the tidings of good news,” Mr. Joshi said. “Lucy has moved into her new life and is comfortable within it. Joyful, even, for now she is a year or two younger than she was in her former existence.” “Good tidings indeed,” said the sergeant. November 2013

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Mary Ellen shrugged out of her backpack and hoisted it onto the counter. She looked from one man to the other three times. She took four deep breaths. “New life.” She whispered the phrase. “Well, as you know,” the sergeant said, “cats are supposed to have nine lives. Yet it has never been satisfactorily shown that they have only nine lives. Quite a few advanced thinkers put the number much higher. There is one farsighted lady seer who posits the number at infinity.” “What kind of new life?” “That is indecipherable,” said Mr. Joshi, “but it is a pleasant one.” “How do you know?” He looked into her eyes for one eternity and then another. “I feel it,” he said at last, “in my uttermost being.” “Jacklight is never wrong in these particular matters,” the sergeant said. He crossed in front of Mr. Ponder and came about before the counter. He was holding a necklace of the plastic flowers that he now hung around Mary Ellen’s neck. “It is a happy day. In Hawaii they call this a lei, but there it is made of real orchids.” “Thank you.” The men stood silent for quite a while, beaming at her, then Mr. Joshi said, “Did you bring business materials for us to discuss?” “Yes, please.” She unzipped the large compartment of her pack and took out a cardboard folder. After she opened it, she paused. Mr. Joshi seemed at peace with the situation. Did she still need to soothe his feelings? Maybe he had forgotten her unmannerly reaction to Lucy’s photo. She had placed the square envelope uppermost in the folder. When she laid her hand on it now, she decided to follow her plan. If he took her gesture in good spirit, that would mean that their friendship was solid and genuine. “Would you like to look at this picture?” She handed him the envelope. He raised his eyebrows, accepted the envelope, gazed upon it solemnly, and then slid out the Polaroid. He studied the image closely. A tentative, faint smile appeared, then spread across his face like an ice cube melting on a July sidewalk. He passed the photo to his friend. Mr. Bad Cop looked at the picture, then at Mr. Ponder. A signal seemed to pass between them and they both began laughing. Mr. Joshi’s laughter was inaudible. Sergeant Washington uttered a series of explosive barks like pistol shots fired inside a trash dumpster. They laughed for maybe thirty seconds and stopped together, as if a second signal had been transmitted. “That is one cross-eyed baby-child,” the sergeant said. “But I wasn’t laughing at her, you understand. I was laughing at the photo. That’s different.” Mr. Joshi leaned toward the sergeant and looked. He tapped the Polaroid with a beautifully manicured thumbnail. “The hair bow is slightly off-center. It pulls the image a little out of balance.” The sergeant laughed again. “If you ask me, that’s one funny-looking hair bow. It’s like somebody dressed this baby up silly so they could make fun of her. That would be a dumb thing to do.” “I don’t believe the humor is deliberate,” Mr. Joshi said. “The photographer is inexperienced. Remark how dark the background is. One can hardly distinguish the Christmas tree.” They did not seem to notice. Mary Ellen wanted to shout out loud, Don’t you see how I am butt-naked? To go on a Christmas card? She felt her face turn warm and red. Mr. Ponder was carefully replacing the picture in the envelope, still smiling. He handed it to her. “Where did you obtain the photograph?” “Mama found it with some old stuff in the closet. She said she thought I’d be interested.” “It is indeed curiously humorous. Now, shall we turn to our affairs?”

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ergeant Washington stood by for a while as Mary Ellen and her business partner began paging through her portfolio. Then he announced his departure and left after reminding Jacklight of an upcoming Poetry Preservation Project meeting. In reply, Mr. Joshi nodded abstractedly. He glanced perfunctorily at Mary Ellen’s financial calculations, the few minimal expenses, the estimate of brisk sales, and the enormous profit margin. He was more interested in the list of Kaleburger ingredients, making check marks and tiny illegible notes beside “blackeye peas,” “spinach,” and “red wine vinegar.” “I think Krazy Loon can help us out here,” he said. “Maybe.” “Krazy Loon?” “Yes. Maybe. I am of certitude he can supply us with an array of unusual spices. Perhaps we can interest him in taking a more active role in the enterprise.” “Krazy Loon?” The tufty-haired man Mr. Joshi called Warthog opened the door and thrust his head inside. “Gonna rain,” he said. “When?” said Mr. Ponder. “Twelve minutes, according to the TV.” “Thank you for the information.” Then he was absent. “You should be going home,” Mr. Joshi told Mary Ellen. “It is not optimal for you to get wet.” “All right.” He was looking at a drawing. “This building in the shape of a K is a pattern for the Kaleburger chain of restaurants, is it not?” “Yes. Don’t you think it will attract customers?” “It is unusual. But it will require a long time to put all your schemes together. It may be quite a while before you shall possess the horse you are to name IQ. You may think of pursing other avenues of opportunity in the meanwhile.” “I don’t want to name her IQ. I want to name her Lucy. To memorize your cat.” He turned from his examination of the papers. He looked at her for a very long time with eyes she thought might be tear-wet. His expression was sorrowful and happy. “Memorialize.” “Yes. Memorialize.” “Ten minutes before the rain comes down. According to Warthog.” “All right.” “Here is your backpack. If you will please leave your lists and drawings with me, I shall scrutinize them. Progress must be slow to be trustworthy.” She took off her lei and put it with the papers. “All right.”


s soon as she went outside she could feel the cool eminence of rain. The sky was full of dark, extremely gregarious clouds wallowing upon one another for obvious purposes. She set a quick pace across the highway and over the project grounds. She spoke aloud. “Those clouds are not lonely.” It should be, she thought, as lonely as a baby picture lost in a closet for one hundred years. OH This is the fourth in a series of stories about the headstrong Mary Ellen Ackerman by retired UNCG creative writing professor and former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. The three previous stories that ran in the November 2012, April 2012 and the September 2013 issues of O.Henry are archived online at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

hands-on From toddlers to middle school GMS

Great things are happening at ...

students develop a love of learning in and out of the classroom through individually guided, hands-on discovery and exploration. Come discover the GMS difference for yourself!

Open House Sunday, Nov. 10th at 1-3pm. Or call today for a Friday morning tour.

“Quenching the thirst of students who learn differently”

Come see for yourself

OPEN HOUSE Thursday November 7th 9:00—11:00 am 815 Old Mill Road High Point NC 336-883-0992

Prepare to be your best. Please join us for an Open House. Tuesday, Nov. 12 9:30am PreK-4 For a personal tour, please call the number below. 5400 Old Lake Jeanette Rd. 336.288.2007 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Frenchman and the Flour Mill A love affair in four stories

By Bill Hancock • Photographs by John Gessner


his is a pretty simple story, really. A love story. Of the most passionate, most obsessive kind — love at first sight. The heart races. Hands sweat. The jitters begin setting in. We’ve all been there. We each have our own stories. But maybe not exactly like this one. May 2006. Or maybe it was June. Eric Robert was en route to downtown Greensboro, heading along South Elm. We are talking not about the Elm Street of antique stores and tasteful restaurants, but the mostly vacant part, two blocks beyond the shopping district. On the wrong side, the south side, of the Lee Street intersection. The gritty, urban blighted part of South Elm. Just one block distant. But a world away. It’s best if Eric tells some of this himself. But first, it’s important to know that he is French, thus his last name, Robert, is pronounced Row-BARE, accent on the second syllable. As for his voice, you’ll just have to imagine that mysterious French intonation — trills, lyrical rhythms and all. “I drove by and a guy was putting up a for-sale sign. I stopped immediately.” Of course, from this you’ve quickly divined that he’s talking about property. A building, actually. More specifically a 29,000-square-foot, four-storieshigh, vacant and run-down flour mill. With fourteen silos. A neglected relic

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of downtown long ago. A big hulking beast. A real monstrosity. But why did you stop? “I couldn’t tell you. It’s just one of those things. I felt compelled to stop and ask him how much he wanted for it. We looked at the place. He wanted $165,000. I stayed maybe ninety minutes.” And you knew then, didn’t you? “Completely. It’s like an addict. My heart was pounding a little faster and my hands were sweaty and I had the jitters. I didn’t know what I was doing. It was a completely emotional decision. There was no rational explanation. I had no plan. All I knew was I could buy it. And I could do something with it.” You and I, we wouldn’t have gone near the place. Trust me. I’ve seen photos from back then. Looked closely at them. One-and-a-half acres and four creepy stories of brick-and-concrete wasteland, plus three separate basements. Peeling wallpaper, falling ceiling tiles from water leaks, windows boarded up, windows broken out. Vegetation squeezing through the cracks, some of it unrecognizable. Mold. Mildew. Asbestos. Even some lead paint. The bathrooms — let’s just say you wouldn’t want to use them. And the layers of bird droppings are best left with no further discussion. That’s how it looked in 2006. The city wanted it torn down. Like me, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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you’re probably a realist. A logical kind of person. We would have agreed with the city. But Eric, he’s different. He bought it anyway. You know what they say. L’amour est aveugle. Love is blind. Eric could see past the dilapidation and corrosion. Past the hundred years of junk and debris that he would have to haul off from inside the place. (The final tally: eighty-seven dumpster loads.) His eyes were on the interior wood and brick walls, the thick overhead beams, mixed oak and pine flooring — good wood and plenty of it. Aged lumber you can smell throughout the mill. It was captivating. And those outside metal storage silos at the south end of the building. Not an eyesore, but an opportunity. They dazzled him. He was sold. In his words, “It had that Wow! factor.” He hopes that, one day, part of it will become his home. And part may be a home for others, numerous apartments. His vision is of The Soho House in London, which is a private club for those in the film, media and creative industries. An exclusive getaway for good food and entertainment. Upscale, urban and very cool. Very popular. That became the concept for what Eric now calls The Mill. And, to begin with, it won’t be private. “This is going to be a lot less fancy. But it’s going to be for people who can appreciate that it’s downtown. It will be an urban destination where you can come and have a business lunch, or come with your pets or kids, and interact with the space. For breakfast, lunch or dinner, and then entertainment in the evening.” His vision? A cool event center at one end on the first floor, and an adjoining art gallery. About 6,000 square feet combined. And a business, or maybe a restaurant at the other end. An artist studio to rent out on the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

second floor (or maybe a bridal suite to rent), flanked by a 2,100-square-foot apartment for lease. Beside that, Eric’s own spacious office. Really spacious. The third floor: Eric’s two-bedroom apartment. And the fourth floor, maybe a kind of loft apartment or studio to rent. In the basements perhaps both a wine cellar and prep kitchen for the event gallery. You can see the love. It’s registered on his face.


e admires downtown’s Cafe Europa as well as The Green Bean coffeehouse a few blocks away, where you sometimes can find him on many weekday mornings. Add to that list Ollie’s Bakery in Winston-Salem. “I would love to have that kind of feel, that kind of business in here that they have. I don’t think fine dining would be good here. But a French bistro would be fantastic. A brasserie would be utopian. But there will be no compromise.” As for the living space, ultimately there will be apartments in those fourteen silos. Don’t misunderstand. He means inside the silos. Apartments in the round. Maybe one apartment for each silo, probably two floors each with 15-foot ceilings. Or some apartments spanning two of the silos. Various combinations are possible. It won’t be everyone’s dream home. But for the right people — those who “get” his vision — it will be the perfect place. At night, the silos will be illuminated so they can be seen from afar. A fixture, a beacon for the south end of downtown Greensboro. Could anyone have guessed all of this when it was built in 1912 as the North State Milling Company? That was back when Greensboro, the third November 2013

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largest city in the state, was a thriving farm-to-market hive with its East Coast railroad connection. Besides grinding and storing flour, cornmeal and livestock feed, North State housed a supply store for farmers — on any given morning, one of the busiest spots in Greensboro until the end of the 20th century. And then vacant for a decade or more, until Eric stopped by. And the vision began. “It’s not destined to target any particular group,” he says. “It’s destined to target particular likes. You’ve got the old and the new. The reclaimed. It all marries well together. Industrial furnishings and modern furnishings and machinery and equipment. When you interact with this space, you get it. This space will not leave you indifferent. And I know some people won’t like it. It’s for everyone, but not for everybody.” As you can see, Eric is one of those people some call a visionary. You know, the kind that the city says it wants to attract to downtown Greensboro. For its future. Only, the city fathers of Greensboro didn’t take to Eric Robert. They didn’t “get” his vision. And his mill was in the way, right in the middle of their planned urban renewal project. Never would they have expected anyone foolish enough to actually buy the old place. Its future was to be torn down. They fought Eric with legal battles, one time arguing for condemnation. Then twice trying to seize the mill through eminent domain.


he city put sticks in the wheel at every step of the way,” he says. So he fought back. And won. Each time. He’s apparently the only winner. Nearly all of the properties around his building have since been razed. You can almost guess what city officials thought of him. With that long hair, jeans, tight black T-shirts, heavy black leather boots with silver buckles. And that accent. It’s clear. He wasn’t one of them. Developers with grand plans don’t look like that, not in Greensboro. If only they’d known a little more about him. Maybe they wouldn’t have put up such a fight. Maybe they saw him as no more than an aging hipster with a fool-headed dream. But he’s been a worthy opponent. Love can make one a fighter. He has an M.B.A., owns his own successful design and graphics firm, lived the high life in L.A., made lots of money working for L.A.-based Guess clothing as its corporate marketing and visual director — “They were very good to me.” Partied with some of the “in” crowd of Hollywood. Got good tables at restaurants. Lunch once with Clint Eastwood. On a first-name basis with Michael Ovitz back before he took the reins as president of Disney. But Eric gave that up, relinquished it all to move back here and be closer to his son from an earlier marriage. He became creative director for the L’eggs and Hanes hosiery divisions of Sara Lee in Winston-Salem. There he helped redesign the L’eggs innovative egg packaging. Caught up in a company-wide round of layoffs four years later at Sara Lee, Eric became a partner in a New York branding strategies company. He also co-founded

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Designers Management Agency in New York, which represented more than a few Fortune 500 companies. He sold both companies in 2004, walking away — he is reluctant to acknowledge — a millionaire. Today he still owns a third business, qub studios (pronounced “cube” and, yes, lowercased) that creates branding strategies and showroom designs, mostly for the L.A. crowd. He runs it, via telecommuting, from The Mill and his home in Summerfield. Beyond French and English, he’s also fluent in Spanish, and his conversation — at least in English — can be casually sprinkled with proverbs: “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Should you want to know, that’s from the 16thcentury Dutch humanist Erasmus. To imagine preserving and reinventing this old flour mill, maybe you need to grow up in a place like Lyon, a two-hour train ride south from Paris. Maybe have all those old buildings and awesome architecture as your playground. His was a downtown neighborhood between the Rhone and the Saone rivers, both a short walk away. The ones they talk about on those Viking River Cruise commercials. At his disposal: ancient Roman theaters and streets on the hillsides, gargoyles overhead on the ledges of medieval buildings downtown. Bistros, courtyards and tight alleyways. But all mixed in with futuristic architecture. “Old is part of my heritage,” he says. “And the old and the new and how they can mix together.” It says much about the very fabric of his artistic eye. Maybe that explains some of this love affair with The Mill. As a teenager, Eric left France for school in Gabon on the west coast of Africa, after his father moved his business there. And following high school, he was put on a plane for America to go to college, landing in Washington knowing no one, barely able to speak English. But he learned the language, made his way eventually to Greensboro to study at UNCG, later to Elon for that M.B.A. And from there, out to Los Angeles. Maybe it’s time to pause and reflect on just how immense the task was that lay ahead of him to resurrect the old flour mill. For starters, the price tag would eventually be a bit breathless: nearly $3 million. No loans. All of it from Eric’s pockets, save for one federal energy grant. With the massive cleanup and the asbestos and lead paint problems resolved, the building was rewired, new plumbing added, and all 29,000 square feet fitted with fire sprinklers. And a new HVAC system. New masonry in some places. New carpentry in others. And a new roof. Much of the rest of the work he undertook himself, more than six years’ worth. Nearly all of it using recycled materials culled from untold hours of nosing around the yards at the D.H. Griffin salvage business in Greensboro. Windows and doors were replaced. He found a massive, double-wide wooden staircase, using it as the grand entranceway, taking visitors from the first to the second floor. From the old Fieldcrest Cannon plant in Kannapolis he carted off 15-foot-high cast iron spiral staircases — three of them. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The lengthy dog-legged bar in the event center was built by him with recycled doors and reclaimed metal and angle iron. “It doesn’t match anything. But it doesn’t have to,” he says. Piece by piece, and day by day, he gradually transformed the old building. Now the payoff might be at hand. It’s about 90 percent completed and should be open for business next spring. Gone is the ghostly, creepy feel. A new version of the old building is emerging. Bright, airy, urban. An industrial-loft feel to it. Different. Cool. Definitely cool. Since he bought the mill, I’ve had more than a few conversations with Eric in his second-floor office overlooking the front parking lot. Perhaps it is here, in his surroundings, that you get the truest picture of who Eric Robert is. It is a curious place with a little steam-punk vibe, a mashing of old and new, kitschy and cosmopolitan. The gi-normous room, surrounded of course by all that striking wood, old brick and overhead pipes and beams, is adorned with fertility masks and human body sculpture. Chairs designed during the reign of Henry III are only feet from an Aeron chair from the modernist Herman Miller company. Which is not far from bar stools welded in a Kannapolis metal shop. There’s a dart board, French and American flags on the walls, a globe, a skeleton. It does not escape my attention that a full-sized Western saddle is near one corner. He loves horseback riding. The music surrounding us in his office on a recent visit was something by Brigitte Bardot, in French of course, followed by a heavy metal band from Des Moines. Yet, when I ask about Edith Piaf, the celebrated French chanteuse of the 1940s, he is just as knowledgeable, punching in one of her songs and expounding on his mother country’s adoration of her. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

This building defines him. “All of my core values and work I try to associate with this place. I really would like to embody the simplicity, the elegance, the cool factor. This place is an inspiration to me. You know, with creativity, you can accomplish a lot of things.” You come away sensing that he is, unlike the rest of us, a citizen of the world. Europe, Africa, America, even Hollywood — all have been home to him. He knows the range of cultures. It extends even to his family back in France. One parent is Catholic, the other Jewish. He’s an eclectic mix. “I’m part of the fusion generation,” he says, smiling. And that’s what he brings to this spot on South Elm. The Mill is where he’ll intersect Greensboro with the world. And he’ll do it with the blessings of the city or without it.


ith the other buildings around him long gone, many of the city fathers are awaiting that massive urban renewal project on the boards now for years. As yet, nothing substantive has been done. And Eric isn’t waiting for them. “The way this building is conceived,” he says, “it can stand alone. It’s a little urban oasis. It’s going to be a destination. “But at some point, the city is going to have to decide whether I’m part of downtown or not.” He is speaking both geographically and otherwise. One thing is for sure. It won’t be torn down. He’s already seen to that. After all, Eric’s heart is in this. He’s smitten. And no one should stand in the way of true love. OH Bill Hancock is a writer living in Greensboro. November 2013

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The Flowering Heart of a Town The late Paul Ciener’s vision of a great teaching garden has become a botanical treasure in the Triad.


By K aren M. Alley • Photographs by Lynn Donovan

ravel back in your mind to the dog days of summer. It’s hot, with temperatures predicted in the 90s, coupled with the muggy humidity that’s a trademark of Kernersville. Now imagine you’re spending the day wearing a shirt and tie, talking with customers in the middle of a car dealership, where the asphalt radiates heat in visible waves, and the rows upon rows of cars intensify the rays of sun. For Paul J. Ciener, a household name to many in the Triad thanks to the familiarity of Ciener Woods Ford, the Kernersville dealership that bore his name from 1974 until 2007, that car lot was his second home. Cars were his passion and working in the business was more than just a job, it was a career that he had started as a young man working for the Ford Motor Company as a district sales manager. After years on the road, Paul decided to settle down and stay in one place, becoming general manager at a dealership in Eustis, Florida. When he decided to purchase his own dealership, he found the perfect spot in Kernersville, where he could not only have a successful business, but also a great environment to raise a family. Luckily for us, cars weren’t Paul’s only passion. On those hot, muggy days in August, Paul would come home from a long day, trade in his suit and tie for a pair of work gloves, and head out to the garden. Sure, he was still outside, dripping in sweat, but he was surrounded

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by nature. Turning up fresh soil, planting seeds and watching sunflowers reach towering heights provided a sharp contrast to the landscape of asphalt and steel he spent most of his day in. Gardening was a sweet release for Paul, and it helped bring a breath of fresh air to his life, both literally and figuratively. There wasn’t a strong legacy of gardening in the Ciener family, but when Paul moved his own young family to a 60-acre home outside of Kernersville, in rural Colfax in 1975, he cultivated his own desire for tilling the land. Paul planted a great variety of things in his garden, from fruits and vegetables to flowers and bulbs. His garden contained the typical crops of the Carolinas, including corn, okra and potatoes, but he also liked plants that would produce for years to come, asparagus, for instance. That also helps explain his love of fruit trees — cherries, peaches and apples. Paul didn’t just enjoy plants at his own home. He also loved visiting botanical gardens on his travels. Whether he was in a new city for business or pleasure, he made time to visit gardens, learning more about different plants and styles of gardening with every new adventure. Paul was able to visit the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain, Georgia, and many Japanese-inspired gardens such as Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden in Alberta, Canada, Portland Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon, and even the Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

In 1998, at the age of 59, Paul Ciener was diagnosed with colon cancer. The prognosis was not good from the start, and Paul knew he didn’t have a lot of time to create a bucket list and live out any unfulfilled dreams. In fact, the time between his diagnosis and his death was just three months. But in that time Paul spent as much time as he could with his family, and made some plans to help ensure his legacy would help Kernersville continue to grow and thrive. One of those visions was what has become the lush, vibrant and colorful addition to Historic Kernersville: The Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. “Dad wanted a botanical garden in Kernersville, and started a foundation as well as donating land to get it started,” says Greg Ciener. “He didn’t have time to provide specifics, but he communicated with my brother and me that he wanted it to be a world-class garden with a focus on education, especially for children. He felt confident that my brother and I and others in the community would help see his vision through.” As anyone knows who has planned a garden, even on as small a scale at your own home, these things don’t happen overnight. The lush Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden you see today while driving through Kernersville has been years in the making. Shortly after Paul’s death, a governing board was created, made up of Paul’s two sons, Greg and David, and Paul’s friends and colleagues, John Wolfe III, Michael Hayes, Mark Peters and acclaimed Greensboro designer Chip Callaway. They gladly took on the task of finding a suitable location for the garden, hiring landscape architects and garden designers, communicating Paul’s vision and spreading the word about their mission to help gain support in the community. “When we first acquired the property that is now the garden, it was a run-down, abandoned Dairy Queen in the middle of a field of kudzu,” Greg reflects. “One of our biggest challenges was trying to communicate my father’s vision to people and get them on board with funding the garden when all they could see was a bunch of kudzu.” Today as you enter the historic district of Kernersville and glimpse the verdant gardens bursting out of the property next to Korner’s Folly it’s hard to imagine this was ever a neglected field of kudzu. I never had a chance to meet Paul Ciener. But I can tell you that the goal of making this garden a living legacy has come true. As soon as you step out of your car in the parking lot you are greeted with a plethora of plants, including one called hens and chickens covering the curb and one of the biggest century plants I’ve ever seen. The walkway to the welcome center is lined with plants, many of them native to the Carolinas, all with labels so anyone can learn more about what they’re seeing. The variety of plants and beauty of the design rival gardens in much larger cities. In a visit to Paul J.Ciener Botanical Garden, you experience his vision in every part of the garden. For example, one of my favorite parts of this botanical garden is the kitchen garden. It is rare to find vegetables growing in true botanical gardens, partly because in the gardening world the vegetable people tend to run in different circles from the ornamental people. But that is changing, as Americans become more enthralled with growing their own food and learning about organic gardening. It turns out Paul Ciener was ahead of the game. According to Adrienne Roethling, the garden’s curator, the kitchen garden was one of the few specific gardening requests made by Paul. He was determined to have a place in his botanical garden where other vegetable-garden lovers could experience and learn about the different types of crops that grow well in our area. Walking through the raised beds planted with The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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heirloom tomatoes, pole beans and trailing cucumbers, you can picture what Paul’s gardens in Colfax must have looked like. The kitchen garden is planted with a variety of crops, from vegetables familiar to gardeners in the Carolinas to new varieties that will inspire visitors. “I purposely grew penguin gourds so that our volunteers could dry the harvest and paint them like penguins to sell in the gift shop this winter,” Adrienne explains. In the meantime, visitors get a chance to not only see different types of gourds, but also learn how to grow them on a tepee, a great space-saving idea. The kitchen garden leads to a cutting garden, another nontraditional element in botanical gardens. Most people expect to see plenty of things in bloom when visiting a botanical garden, but usually it’s in meticulously designed beds with pretty labels. The cutting garden, which is one of the garden’s favorite places for many visitors, looks a little like something from your grandmother’s backyard, and replicates the flowers Paul also loved. “As a teenager, I found it strange that my father liked to plant flowers in the garden, but his gardens were always full of marigolds and zinnias,” Greg says. In the cutting garden you will find plenty of zinnias along with dahlias, coneflowers and other colorful blooms. The plants grow close together, intermingled with each other. The many blooms attract pollinators, which also help the nearby vegetables. And the flowers are grown to be cut to make arrangements to grace the tables inside for special events. I was excited to see how much things had changed in the garden in the two years since my first visit. At the

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grand opening event I attended in 2011 much of the garden was still in the planning stages. It was hard not to feel a little underwhelmed as you drove into a common parking lot overlooking an empty field, with overgrown grass filling the space to the tree line. Today the entire location has burst into a lush retreat. During my visit the pattern garden, designed in the style of historic gardens in Charleston, was full of green, chartreuse and deep purple colors of more than twenty varieties of coleus, accented with tree-form Indian hawthorns. But in the fall the coleus will be pulled out and replaced with 25,000 bulbs, an annual treat that bursts into color in early spring From there the path leads to the Tropical Garden, where you’ll find elephant ear plants with leaves as big as a 2-year-old child, towering hardy bananas and beautiful blooming canna lilies that make you feel like you’ve left Kernersville and ended up on vacation in Florida, and, in fact, reminiscent of the gardens Paul visited during his early days working with Ford in Florida. All of these gardens not only look pretty, but they also serve as a teaching opportunity, providing a place where children as well as adults can learn about gardening, plants and the world around them. “Eating healthy was always important to my father, and he was always sharing his opinions on food with other people, including my brother and me growing up,” Greg says. “He wanted children to know corn on the cob doesn’t magically appear on your plate, and he knew that when a child takes the time to plant, nurture and harvest a food it tastes so much better.” In that vein, the garden is very much a teaching garden,

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playing host to experts from around the area to share their knowledge on everything from landscaping to cooking with your crops. Since its opening in 2011, the garden has held numerous classes and lectures, as well as hosting scores of visitors, from garden clubs and senior citizen groups to kids on field trips from area schools and preschools. This year marks another great venture for the garden as it continues to uphold Paul’s dream of education. Kitty Lyons, executive director, Tony Hayes, program director, and Adrienne Roethling have worked with the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School System to create a program in conjunction with the state’s core curriculum guidelines to provide hands-on education for the area’s schools. In October, all of the thirdgrade classes from Kernersville Elementary School came out to the garden in shifts, to learn about such things as the functions of plants, the life cycle of a seed and the characteristics of diverse habitats such as the desert and the tropics. “We hope to continue to grow this program so that more schools will participate next year,” Kitty says. It isn’t just educational opportunities that are bringing people to Paul J. Ciener Bontanical Garden. The facility is helping revitalize downtown Kernersville in ways Paul probably never imagined. A beautifully designed welcome center, built in keeping with the historic theme of the garden, includes a gift shop, a conference room and an event hall that has become a popular place for weddings, community meetings and special events, the flowering heart of the city. And what is in place now is only the beginning. Plans are already drawn up and plants are being grown in the nursery to expand the gardens to fill the entire seven acres. Future gardens will include an hourglass garden, a woodland garden and a Japanese garden. What was one man’s dream 15 years ago has now become a passion for many. (In addition to Paul’s family and friends, who not only belong to the board but also take a hands-on approach to the garden, the garden is blessed with a talented staff who spend each day working to live out Paul’s legacy.) Adrienne and Tony Hayes have worked hard to create the hands-on learning experience for third-graders that would make Paul proud, as area children receive first-hand knowledge of where their food comes from. As executive director, Kitty Lyons is channeling Paul’s spirit for the community by opening up the facilities to area groups such as the chamber of commerce for meetings and meals. The garden also couldn’t survive without its many volunteers, a group of about sixty people who share their time and talents making beautiful works of art to sell in the gift shop, teaching courses or pulling weeds. And most of all, the garden would not be a success without its many supporters, from the underwriters to the young moms with babies in strollers who walk through for a short respite in their busy days. Next time you’re driving west on Interstate 40, take a short detour up Highway 150 and drop by the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden. Stepping off the pavement and into the colorful gardens, you’ll experience that same magic Paul did each evening when he traded his tie for a work shirt and headed to the garden. A breath of fresh air is good for the soul, something Paul knew, and through the garden that bears his name, he is giving that gift to others in a living legacy. OH Karen M. Alley is a freelance writer and editor of Carolina Gardener magazine.

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“The thinnest light of November is more warming and exhilarating than any wine they tell of.” — Henry David Thoreau By Noah Salt

Why We Love Wind Monath According to Emily Dickinson, that famously shut-in wet blanket, November is the Norway of months, which may explain why so many people claim to dislike it. The days are colder, the nights longer, the furnace kicks on, the heating bill rises, rainy days seem extra dreary, and on and on. The ancient Anglo-Saxons, poor Emily’s ancestors, called November “Wind Monath” owing to its cold gray winds and driving rain. “November’s sky is chill and drear,” agreed Sir Walter Scott, “November’s leaf is red and sear.” In November, essayist Joseph Addison noted, the people of England hang and drown themselves. We at the Salt Almanac, on the other hand, submit that November is the perfect month for catching one’s breath for the coming holidays, taking stock and tidying up the garden and workshop. First frost in these parts generally holds off until about November 1, which means the weather is often quite pleasant for outside activities, perfect for an afternoon of pruning dead limbs off fruit trees, raking the yard a final time, digging up onions and potatoes, and putting in the last flowering bulbs and winter greens. Kale is the uber-vogue green this autumn. But we still love our collards. The first batches of both should be ready by middle month. Here on winter’s doorstep, an old English maxim holds that thick onion skins herald a cold winter, and this year’s Farmers’ Almanac has already gone on record declaring a potential winter for the record books, blustery and cold and unusually snowy. November 1 is All Saints’ Day, which traditionally began on All Hallow’s Eve — now called Halloween — when the veil between worlds was believed to be its thinnest, honoring the martyrs and saints of the Christian faith. This year daylight saving ends on November 3, and Veterans Day (Remembrance Day in Britain) falls on the 11th. Hanukkah begins on the 27th, the day before America celebrates Thanksgiving. In the event you need a little taste of Britain over your long Thanksgiving weekend, November 30 is Winston Churchill’s birthday. Why not raise a glass of Pimms to dear old Sir Winnie, the savior of Britain, who would be 134 years old this very year.

A Sir Winnie Sampler Our five favorite Lord Churchill quotes, plus one for the holidays . . .

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.” “A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject.” “Success consists of going from failure to failure without a loss of enthusiasm.” Nancy Astor: “Sir, if you were my husband, I would give you poison.” Churchill: “If I were your husband, I would take it.” Bessie Braddock: “Sir, you are drunk.” Churchill: “Madam, you are ugly. In the morning, I shall be sober.”

“Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit and watch leaves turn.” – Elizabeth Lawrence

“You can count on Americans to do the right thing — after they’ve tried everything else.” 92 O.Henry

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

See. Do. Share

CbyA holiday NOV OHenry.pdf

231 S Elm Street, Greensboro NC 27401



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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 93

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Greensboro Ballet


presents their holiday classic


EThe Nutcracker

featuring the Greensboro Symphony at the historic Carolina Theatre December 7-8 and 13-15*



ickets available at the Carolina Theatre, $15 to $45 (plus a $2.50 theatre restoration fee) 336-3332605 or www.carolinatheatre. com. Ask about discounts for children, students, seniors and military.




Tea with Clara

Sunday, December 8 and Saturday, December 14. Tickets: $20 For more information contact

B h

Greensboro Ballet at 336-333-7480 or

* Please note, the Symphony will not be playing at the December 15th show; tickets for that show will be discounted, as well.



November 2013

Arts Calendar

CMT on Tour: Hunter Hayes

NC Dance Festival Tour




ner Erykah Badu brings her unique blend of soul, hip-hop and jazz to eager audiences. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000; or

November 1–2

November 1

MINT TO BE. 8 p.m. How about a little R&B, • old school? Then head downtown at 8 p.m. for a

performance by Mint Condition, a Minneapolisbased group whose soul, funk and hip-hop inflections bring back memories of Earth Wind and Fire, the Commodores and other golden oldies. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

DOUBLE BILLING. UNC-G Theatre presents • Melanie Marnich’s Quake (7 p.m.) a comedy about a young woman’s misadventures in her quest for true Music/Concerts

98 O.Henry

Performing arts

November 2013

UNITED ARTISTS. Pottery and other fine art works, refreshments and a raffle ticket can be yours if you attend the Art Alliance’s Fall Student Art Show and Sale (November 1 from 10 a.m.–9 p.m.; November 2 from 2 p.m.–10 p.m.) Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2725 or artalliancegso. com.

November 1–2

PAS DE TOUS. 8 p.m. Get your kicks at the • North Carolina Dance Festival Tour as several com-

panies from across the state step up their game. Look for homegrown troupe, Terranova Dance Theatre, as well as Raleigh’s Eleanor White and Renay Aumiller Dances from Durham, among others. Aycock

November 1–2



love. Or catch Recent Tragic Events (9 p.m.), Craig Wright’s play that follows the lives of twin sisters in the aftermath of 9/11. Triad Stage’s UpStage Cabaret, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3344392 or

BADU BADU BING! 10 p.m. There’ll be • swooning to some crooning as Grammy-award win-

• •



November 1


History Lecture

• • Film


• • Fun


Auditorium, UNC-G, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4849 or

November 1–3

GHOST WRITING. Chills and thrills abound as • Greensboro Playwright’s Forum presents Stage Fright 5, a series of ten original tales of horror and suspense by local bards. Showtimes vary. City Arts Studio Theatre in the Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-6426 or

November 1–30

POT LUCK. Earthenware and stoneware, much • of it dating to the early and mid-19th century, fill the High Point Historical Society’s household pottery collection on view in the lobby of the High Point Museum, 1850 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859;

November 1–January 2014

CH-CH-CH-CHANGES. See how the High Point • cityscape has transformed over the years by taking in

Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November Arts Calendar

Orchid Presentation



We Made a Few Changes, an exhibition of large architectural artifacts and vintage postcards. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859;

November 2

COUNTRY COOL. 7:30 p.m. Grab your boots and cowboy hat for CMT on Tour: Hunter Hayes Let’s Be Crazy tour, featuring Ashley Monroe. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000 or; or

November 3

ETCHED IN STONE. 3:30 p.m. Douglas Butler • presents a program based on his book, North Carolina

Civil War Monuments. Learn about the commemoration of “The Troubles” and monuments memorializing them. Copies of the book will be available. High Point Public Library, Morgan Room, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3660;

The Art & Craft of the Cocktail 11/



Hamilton. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or

November 5–30

PEACENIKS. Enjoy a little serenity by taking in • Peaceful Warriors, an exhibition of sculptor Margot

Robinson’s clay vessels, whose charming expressions inspire tranquility and joy. Irving Park Art &Frame, 2105 West Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-6717; email:

November 7 & 9

RHAPSODIC. Greensboro Symphony Orchestra • and Tanger Outlets Masterworks series present Friends and Admirers, an evening with Brahms, Schuman and Slonimsky’s Jewish Rhapsody, with guest artist pianist Julia Zilberquit, Dmitry Sitkovetsky conducting. November 7 at 7:30 p.m., War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. On November 9 at 8 p.m. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456, ext. 225 or

November 7

THE ORCHID CHIEF. Noon. David McAdoo • will share his expertise with his presentation, “The

Wild Orchids of North Carolina.” Brown-bag it to the free Lunch and Learn lecture and discover the seventy orchid species that are native to the Old North State. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Gardens, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or

November 8

BOTTOMS UP. 7 p.m. Help raise money for • High Point arts by attending Vino Expo at High

November 7

THE SPLENDID TABLE. 6 pm. Wake up your • inner Martha Stewart and learn how to create a

Point Country Club at Emerywood. With more than 100 wines, beers and lagers for tasting, silent and live auctions for arts and entertainment packages, furniture, accessories and jewelry going to the

table for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s at “Holiday Tabletop Demonstrations” by Angie Key:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Casablanca at the Carolina Theater 11/

• • Art


Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


November 2013


O.Henry 99

November Arts Calendar cause, no artist shall ever starve in the International City. Reserve tickets ($40) by November 4 by contacting the High Point Arts Council at (336) 8892787 or

November 9-15

PAN-ORAMA. The North Carolina Theatre for • Young People presents Peter Pan, an original adapta-

tion by Janet Allard about the boy who refuses to grow up and his adventures with the Darling children in Neverland. Showtimes vary. Taylor Theatre, UNC-G, 406 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-4392 or

November 9

Celebrating the life of a loved one.

Greensboro, NC 27401 336-272-5157

CLAYDAY. 10 a.m. Pots, plates, sculpture, func• tional and whimsical pieces are among the offerings

of nearly 50 artists and artisans at the bi-annual Fall Pottery Festival, hosted by the Potters of the Piedmont (Rain date: November 10). Parking lot across from Earthworks Gallery, 500 North Elm Street, Greensboro. Info:

November 11

ROOTS. 6:30 p.m. Join presenter Larry Cates for • A Beginner’s Guide to Jumping the Pond, Part 1. Learn

how to locate and access 17th-century English records, useful for Southerners’ genealogical research. High Point Public Library, Morgan Room, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3660 or

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DRINK LOCAL 5:30 p.m. Under the tutelage • of seasoned cocktail veterans Dabney and Walker

Sanders, The Edible Schoolyard becomes the Drinkable Schoolyard, featuring The Art and the Craft of the Cocktail for adults only. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 574-2898 or

November 13

VOICES OF A CITY. 6:30 p.m. Nonfiction • writer Philip Gerard, head of the UNC-Wilmington

Fisher Park

Department of Creative Writing and regular contributor to Salt magazine, O.Henry’s sister publication, will be the keynote speaker at the annual membership dinner of the Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or

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100 O.Henry

November 12

November 2013

November 14–24

FROM CHI-TOWN TO YOURS. Crime • does not pay, but it pays to see true-life crime and

all that jazz, as the Livestock Players present the musical, Chicago (Thursday–Saturday, 8:05 p.m.; Sundays, 2:05 p.m.). City Arts Studio Theatre in the Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-6426 or

November 14

PIPING HOT. 6:30. The Music for a Great Space • series presents organist and composer Chelsea Chen,

praised for her “rare musicality” and “lovely lyrical grandeur.” Christ United Methodist Church, 410 Holden Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 638-7624 or

November 15

AMOROUS. 7:30. I can’t imagine a better date • night than a performance by country troubadour Jim

Brickman, who brings his Love Tour to War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000 or;

November 16–20

NO PLACE LIKE OZ. If you have a brain, a heart • and da noive, click your heels three times and land at

CTG’s Wizard of Oz. More than 100 children, teenagers and adults will take you over the rainbow in this production complete with winged monkeys, witches and more. Performance times vary. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3332605 or

November 16

RAPTOR-OUS. 8 p.m. Don’t be a desperado! • Take it easy instead by grooving to the tunes of 1970s

megaband The Eagles. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000 or;;

November 16

HIGH INFLATION. 3:15 p.m. Raise your spir• its—and some funds for Children’s Miracle Network

Hospitals at Balloons Over Belews. Partners CMNH, ReMax Realty and Belews Landing at Belews Lake offer hot air balloon rides, light refreshments, raffles, children’s bouncy houses and golf and boat tours.

The Eagles to the Greensboro Coliseum 11/


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November Arts Calendar Clubhouse at Belews Landing, Crow’s Nest Drive, Stokesdale. Info:

130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3732043 or

November 16

November 19

sponsor the inaugural Chicken Walk from Center City Park to benefit the Interactive Resource Center (IRC), which serves homeless people in Greensboro. The participation fee includes lunch, concert by Warren, Bodle and Allen, Chicken Walk T-shirt and a tour of the IRC. Info: (336) 508.3149 or

darkened theater watching Casablanca, starring Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. Shows at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

ONE LEG AT A TIME. 8 a.m. Bojangles, HERE’S LOOKING AT THEM. You’ll never • • Shamrock Corporation, Innisbrook Wraps and others notice the time going by when you’re sitting in a

November 17

ALL DOLLED UP. 7 p.m. Before the parade • passes by, get your tickets to Hello Dolly! starring Sally Struthers. The performance kicks off 2013–2014 season of the Triad Best of Broadway series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (888) 413-2929;

TITANIC’S TITAN. 7:30 pm. Robert Ballard, • veteran of 125 expeditions searching for lost ships

and their artifacts, will delve below the surface of the seven seas as part of Guilford College’s Bryan Series. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000; or bryanseries.

Fall Pottery Festival



November 20–31

November 18

November 19

ASHLEY! 10 a.m. Ashley Wahl, once O.Henry’s Muse and now editor of our sister magazine Salt, will share the secret to her eternal optimism and explore the meaning of life without Greensboro at the annual guild meeting of the Greensboro Historical Museum,

WINTERLUDE . The white stuff, as spon• sor WFMY News 2 likes to call it, is back. Sure

it’s artificial snow and ice, but until we get the real stuff, Winterfest’s hot chocolate, outdoor ice-skating rink and 120-foot ice roller coaster will transport you into a winter wonderland. Festival Park at Price

•• •

• • • • •

Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O'Henry Mag Nov 2013.indd 5

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November 2013

O.Henry 101

November Arts Calendar Bryan Performance Place, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: 336-207-5216 or

November 23

ing campaign. Pledge a $25 donation and receive a pottery bowl by regional potters or five Honor Cards, a holiday tradition courtesy of artist William Mangum. First Baptist Church, 1000 Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 553-2656 or

try duo Florida Georgia Line as they showcase their latest album, Here’s to the Good Times. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-300 or; or

November 21

November 23–January 1, 2014

Trans-Siberian Orchestra comes to town at the Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster. com; or

consisting of 4 miles with 100-plus displays and 1 million twinkling lights. No wonder it’s one of the Southeast’s Top 20 events. Check out the meet and greet with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Admission for cars is $15 (more for larger vehicles). Cash or check only. Tanglewood Park, 4061 Clemmons Road, Clemmons. Info: (336) 703-6400; www. Tanglewood/fol.

BOWLS ’N’ SOULS. 4 p.m. Soup’s on at the Feast LAISSEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER. 7:30 • • of Caring, the kickoff for the Urban Ministry’s fundraisp.m. Roll out the barrels of fun and welcome coun-

November 20

THE PLOTT THICKENS. 10 a.m. Who better • than historian Bob Plott, great-great-great granson of

November 21

Johannes George Plott, to tell the story of his family and North Carolina’s state dog, the Plott hound? High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859;

ROCK THEATER. 3 p.m. How can 1,500 shows LET THERE BE LIGHT! Move over, Clark • • over 15 years played to 10 million fans be wrong? Griswold! It’s time for Tanglewood’s Festival of Lights,

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$45 in-state $55 out-of-state *per magazine 102 O.Henry

November 2013

delivered to your home!

Call 910-693-2488 or email or mail payment to P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November Arts Calendar November 27

TOP-RAITTED. 7:30 p.m. Nineteen and counting! That’s right, in 2012 • Bonnie Raitt released her 19th album, Slipstream, which earned the singer/songwriter her tenth Grammy award. Hear selections when she shares the stage with Paul Brady. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-300 or;

November 29-December 1

GIFT CENTRAL. 9 a.m. The title of this event says it all. The Craftsmen’s • Christmas Classic Arts & Crafts Festival features hundreds of artists and craftsmen from all over the country and maybe even the North Pole who have been working all year to create that unique handmade gift for your special someone. Greensboro Coliseum Complex’s Special Events Center, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 282-5550 or



CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’. 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs • from a Southern Kitchen. Sit down to Chef Jay’s signature fried chicken, select

beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring on the 1st; Martha Bassett and friends on the 8th; Molly McGinn on the 15th; Martha Bassett and friends on the 22nd; and Molly McGinn on the 29th — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or

TOTALLY RAD. While every day is an event at Geeksboro, on the second • and fourth Tuesday of every month they serve up an unexpected blend of high and

m ‧ ‧

Treasures Antiques Consignments

low tastes. Criterion Tuesdays set a serious tone at 7 p.m. with classic films from the Criterion Collection. Pop culture at both its best and worst comes at 9 p.m. every fourth Tuesday with Totally Rad Trivia at Greensboro’s newest and most intimate movie theater, aka Geeksboro, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 355-7180 or


MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels 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


JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, fresh-brewed 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

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 Saturdays, 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 OH

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

• ••• •

Key: Art Music/Concerts Fun History Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Performing arts

• • Film

Literature/Speakers November 2013

O.Henry 103

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 105

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November 2013

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Worth the Drive to High Point

The Sweet Shoppe

Folks in High Point know there’s just one place to get their sugar fix. The Sweet Shoppe Bakery. If you have an insatiable sweet tooth, then this is what heaven must smell like. And if your teeth have any fillings, you might actually feel them ache a bit. But it will be worth it. On Friday afternoons, the bakery near Oak Hollow Mall bustles with business. The kids start to get out of school. People begin leaving work. And they head to the Sweet Shoppe for an afternoon snack. A sugar cookie or cream horn. An iced doughnut or an eclair. It’s the kind of place where parents can give their kids a dollar, and let them go in to buy their own cookie. They can watch them through the glass storefront, and see their proud smiles as they turn away from the counter. Cookies in hand, and pleased to have made their own purchase. This month, the bakery will turn out countless pumpkin, sweetpotato and pecan pies. And after Thanksgiving, the staff will work like Santa’s elves to assemble gift baskets and holiday party trays, in addition to their daily lineup that fills the bakery case. But what makes this bakery special are the people who run it. The family-run business, now in its 67th year and its third generation, got its modest start after World War II. It started with Judy Cagle’s father, James Sloop. Everybody called him “Daddy Jim.” During World War II, Daddy Jim was an officer with a medical unit stationed in Topeka, Kansas. He and his wife, Helen, were newlyweds. They frequented a bakery there for its doughnuts. When the war ended, Daddy Jim returned to High Point, ready to start his own business. He remembered those doughnuts in Topeka and called the owner to ask how they were made. His sister, Ruth Sloop Atkins, helped him start the business.

People gave Daddy Jim their sugar tickets — sugar was still rationed then — and he’d drive to Raleigh for sugar. According to him, his station wagon was so weighed down with sugar, his bumper dragged all the way home. He fried thousands of doughnuts each night and delivered them the next day to furniture and hosiery manufacturers throughout High Point. Over time, he added cakes, pies and other desserts. His handwritten recipes are still used. “Now, doughnuts make up very little of our business,” Cagle says. At one time, Daddy Jim had six stores, including one in downtown High Point. They even had locations in Greensboro for thirty years — Summit and Friendly shopping centers. Their last Greensboro store closed in 1991. Now they’re down to one bakery. Daddy Jim died at 95 last February from complications of Parkinson’s disease. Cagle’s son, Ken Jr., owns the business now. He didn’t intend to run the family business. He earned a computer engineering degree. But one Mother’s Day, a woman picked up a cake decorated with a portrait of her mother’s family. The woman returned later for a second cake because her mother was so moved by the image on the first cake that she didn’t want it cut. This made an impression on Ken. His mother, tried to dissuade him. It’s not been easy — the long hours, rising operational costs and missed family time. “Daddy Jim didn’t want me here at first . . . but I think he was glad the business will stay in the family,” Ken says. “And at the end of the day, this is what I enjoy doing.” The Sweet Shoppe Bakery, 2008 North Centennial Street, High Point. Info: (336) 882-8026 or — Tina Firesheets





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

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem Fifty Shades of Clay It seems inconceivable that the Piedmont Craftsmen’s Fair has reached the half-century mark, but it’s come a long way since its humble beginnings when a handful of artisans and collectors displayed their wares in the original Krispy Kreme Factory in 1963. Today the fair is considered one of the finest craft shows in the United States and was, in fact, named one of top ten in the country by American Style magazine. The two-day fair, from November 16-17, has become the cornerstone of “6 Days in November,” a weeklong celebration of arts and culture that seals Winston-Salem’s reputation as the City of Arts and Innovation. Combing a trip to the crafts fair with one or more of the wide array of events and shows featured in the Twin City that week is, well, worth the drive from the Gate City. And you can get a leg up on Christmas shopping by supporting a local Piedmont Craftsman by picking up a piece of jewelry, glass, pottery, wood furniture, photographs, prints or other items that enhance the quality of everyday life with their functionality and aesthetic elan. But better than the opportunity to shop

local is the venue that the fair represents for meeting crafts people in the relaxed and creative environment of their booths, surrounded by artistdesigned, handmade works. The continuous demonstrations also give you a chance to watch some of the finest artists in the Southeast at work, throwing pots, weaving rugs and even blowing glass, an experience you won’t get in a museum or most crafts shops. Roughly 120 artists of the Piedmont Craftsmen guild’s 350 or so member will have their goods on display in the fair’s spacious digs, the Benton Convention Center, 301 West Fifth Street, Winston-Salem. Fair proceeds help benefit Piedmont Craftsmen Inc., the permanent gallery and workshop space for the guild in the city’s downtown Arts District. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors, students and groups. A Preview Night Gala will be held Friday, November 15, for members and sponsors of Piedmont Craftsmen, Inc. Join as a sponsor at the door that night and avoid the crowds. Info: (336) 725-1516 or — Nancy Oakley

Now available at


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

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O.Henry 109

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DEPLOYED Showcasing the work of Veterans and their families November 8, 9, 15, 16 Tickets $17~20

Mack and Mack 336.338.2004

November 2013

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Paintings B y

C.P. Logan “Peaceful Warriors”

Arts & Culture

Featuring Sculptor

Margot Robinson Opening Reception Friday, November 8th 6-9pm Each sculpture in Margot Robinson’s Peaceful Warrior Solo Exhibit expresses their own unique personality. Resonant with enough serenity and joy to brighten the cloudiest day, the handcrafted sculptures evoke deep soulful emotion. With no two alike, they make up a village of strong loyal warriors who have attained peace within themselves. Their purpose is to inspire joy to all in their presence.

Exhibit Runs November 5th - 30th

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November 2013

O.Henry 111

November 9 - 17, 2013

Arts & Culture

The North Carolina Theatre for Young People presents

Fly with the boy who refuses to grow up as he takes the Darling children to Neverland where they encounter fantasy, fierce pirates and a world of adventure

An original Adaptation by Janet Allard

Directed by Rachel Briley | Flying Effects provided by D2 Flying Effects Taylor Theater, UNCG | 336-334-4392 or for tickets Nov 9, 16 at 2 pm & 7:30 pm; Nov 10, 17 at 2 pm; Nov 12-15 at 9:30 am & 12 noon

112 O.Henry

November 2013

North Carolina Theatre for Young People

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Dean Driver

Cracker Bone

Groove Jam for Urban Ministries Doodad Farm Saturday, September 21, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Gary Silverstein, Rich Hartness, Pete Campbell, David Bold, Paul ‘Doc’ Frybush

Suzanne Kenerly, Laurel & Ellis Driver

Michelle, Jeff & Tori Rosen

Elesa & Witt Dillon Patrick, Ezra & Clara Kelly

Rich & Mandy Lerner

Dhruvi & Poonam Parmar

Bob Johnson, Jame Malik

Kurtis Brandenburg, Sanders & Jim Hale

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Paul Doggett, Amy Gregory

November 2013

O.Henry 113

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Graham Ray, Lois Brummitt

Gardening Gala & Seminar N.C. Cooperative Extension Guilford County Center Thursday, September 26, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Martha & Eric Hoekstra, Annette Mundy

Edna Gaston, Pam Jones

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Laura Tew, Beverly Hicks

Dr. Holly Scoggins, Dr. Richard Olsen, Rod Swonguer

November 2013

O.Henry 115

Gifts Galore

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ANNUAL HOLIDAY SHOW -- NOVEMBER 22ND at Tyler White O’Brien Art Gallery! Join us Friday from 6-8pm for a Festive Celebration of art, food & fun! Live Music with GIVING UP NEVADA! Tyler White O’Brien Holiday Show will feature new paintings in all media by our artists. Handcrafted works including Precious Pottery, Gorgeous Glass, “Adorned by Lonnie” Jewelry, knit scarves & hats and unique gift items will be for sale. 307 State Street Greensboro, NC 27408 336-279-1124

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Phyllis Parks, Sara Lever, Pamaila Burgess

Alight at Tyler White Benefit for the Alight Foundation Tyler White Gallery Thursday, September 26, 2013

Photographs by Lynn Donovan with Cindy Jolly Donna Lee, Angela Pray, Mary & Mike Flinn

Bill & Darrow Stockdale

Melinda Madtes, Gloria Daniel

Charlotte Freeman, Susan Neorr

Neil Lutins, Mark Yates

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Mary Jones, Gail & Steve Bernstein

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 117

Webster’s Frame and Art

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Elizabeth Newsome, Mary Ellen Lowry

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Signature Chefs Auction Benefiting the March of Dimes Greater Triad Division The Empire Room Thursday, September 26, 2013 Photographs by Lynn Donovan with Cindy Jolly

Sabra Permar, Ashley Meyer, Amanda McLaughlin, Craig & Beau McIntosh

Katie Lindsay, Cameron Holcomb, Daune Galbraith

Cora Creef & Joey Cheek

Chef Reto Biaggi, Shelly Washington

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Chef Michael Harkenreader

Velvet Linville-Scales, Kara Cox, Ellen Kavanagh, Robin Davis

Kim & Worth Holleman, Teresa Moore

Hubbard Galbraith, with Emcee Rosemary Plybon

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

November 2013

O.Henry 119


Jenny Ragsdale, Tom Townes

TCDI-GTCC Foundation Golf Classic Pairings Party and Silent Auction Sedgefield Country Club Sunday, September 8, 2013 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Shanna Moore, Melissa McKinney Laura Pike, Lou Ann Parker

Jill Jones, Sara Carter Spencer

Alan Pike, George Clopton, Davis Montgomery Tyson Hammer, Jace Strandberg

George Ragsdale, Kevin Kemp

Brendie Bell, TJ Bell

Norris & Jackie Greenlee

Dan O’Shea, Lee Blakely, Kevin Carter

Bob & Marcia McLauren

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120 O.Henry

November 2013

Susan Bryant, Jim Belk

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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

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Irving Park

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Old Irving Park - overlooking 2 parks! This charming classic home has been updated and well maintained with hardwood floors on both levels and completely painted throughout. Updated baths, Plantation shutters, wooden blinds and wooden shutters. 2-car garage with office and half bath. A must see!

Irving Park

201 Parkmont Dr. Great family home updated and maintained throughout! Master Bedroom on main level. Office + LR, DR, Den & Sunroom on main level. Upper level had 3 bedrooms and 2 bonus rooms. 3.5 Baths. Hardwood floors on both levels except bonus. Fenced-in back yard. Recently added slate patio with stacked stone walls. Attached 2-car carport with storage area. True warmth and family comfort in great location!

Lake Jeanette

5207 Bodie Lane

Great house, great condition and great location! Master bedroom on main level. High ceilings, lots of hardwoods, additional space can be finished off. Wired for security. Screened porch, fenced back yard.

Willoughby Park 3722 Durness Way

Wonderful home in family neighborhood. 5 Bedrooms, 2.5 Baths, high ceilings, fenced back yard. 2-car attached garage, Large open kitchen - den, Patio.

Friendly West

7 Ramsgate Court

Wonderful, spacious end unit at Friendly West in private location. 3 Bedrooms, 3 Baths. Hardwood floors, 9 foot ceilings, 2 fireplaces with gas logs, extended den with wet bar. Must see!


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M A G A Z I N E The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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

Š2013 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.Ž Equal Housing Opportunity.

November 2013

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Premiere Custom Design & Retail Jewelry Since 1969

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122 O.Henry

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124 O.Henry

November 2013


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Learn a new skill such as bread baking, cooking and sewing

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Carley Mann & Associates Life & Home

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The Accidental Astrologer

What’s Written on the Wall By Astrid Stellanova

Readers, I am rethinking my love life. Even gifted seers sometimes miss what’s written on the wall.

Taurus (April 20 — May 20) The bull has got some explaining to do to those nearest and dearest. Yes, a bull can charge and scare the daylights outta everything else in the pasture. But outstripping a pack of mules, for goodness sake, is not exactly going to get you top honors and a gold star. For this month’s lesson, Ferdinand, start out with new tactics in the barnyard, which include some four-syllable concepts: diplomacy, persuasiveness, and intuition. Trade brawn for brains on the 17th and concentrate on a Sure Thing Moneymaker that will bubble up.

Scorpio (October 23 — November 21) If Scorpios are predictable at all (and yes, Mr. and Ms. Spider sign, you are), it is how much you enjoy a complication, er, drama, and how much you like a party. Nah, make that a complicated party. One Scorpio Mama orchestrated a birthday that required fourteen of us to drive 120 miles to meet at a country inn so we could spend an entire weekend carrying on and making over her. Like it was no trouble at all. If you put on your Big Boy and Big Girl pants, Birthday Spider, you will see it ain’t that complicated to have a good time. Celebrate. Stick a candle in a Snickers bar. Somehow, don’t ask me how, you made it to this ripe ole age. You got strange days November 1–3; better times by the 27th.

Gemini (May 21 — June 20) Let’s just say for the sake of argument that them lights up in the sky really are UFOs, and your boyfriend/girlfriend really did plant a tracking device on your Ford, and your well water has arsenic in it. But this paranoia thing has gotta stop. Here’s some tough love, straight from the Good Book according to me: Aliens do not want to study you, specifically, unless it is to figure out what you were thinking when you got that haircut. And odds are, your boyfriend/girlfriend is already dating again. And that funny taste is them old lead pipes. Drop them old fears and turn the Mother Ship around. The thing jarring you on the 25th ain’t a laser beam from Mars: It’s reality.

Sagittarius (November 22 — December 21) Sagittarius would suggest sage, right? Nah. Here’s what you got ahead: An opportunity is going to knock so hard even a deaf dog could hear it. Answer the door. It won’t knock but three times in a lifetime, so crack the door and see what’s waiting. There’s a fascinating time around the 19th that could pave the way for a very nice time come Thanksgiving. Eat all the pumpkin pie you can hold, and just enjoy weighing your options right on till the end of the month.

Cancer (June 21 — July 22) Nice times on planet Earth for Cancer, huh? You got a real genius for Me, Me — and Me. Now what are you planning to give back? Try this: start small. Give away the last stick of gum in the pack. Hand that construction guy on the corner a cold drink. Help an old lady load her groceries. Tip the waitress another dollar. See where this is going? It ain’t like we get one chance, or one holiday to be nicer to people. We get moments. So here’s what else I see: Something got resolved at the start of the month, and was easy peasy by the 3rd. Playing nice is going to feel real natural. This cycle will continue — you getting, you giving, for two more years. Things could sure be worse.

Beau has got a sense of humor but no intuition whatsoever. He thought I would actually enjoy a gym membership. That gift is right up there with a used vacuum cleaner. If Beau can’t figure out how wrong that idea is, he can crawl right back into that Cadi-lacky and hit the highway — flashing rims and all. Which leads me to how we are moving into the season of giving and caring. Don’t buy something they don’t want just because you think it will make YOU look good.

Capricorn (December 22 — January 19) If you come to the fork in the road, take it. (OK, I didn’t make that up, but Yogi Berra did. It must’a worked in baseball.) Anyhoo, there is a situation with the stars that means decisions made last month were probably wrong, so rethink. Trust your gut — go back, reverse, whatever, to mix it up and fix it up. You have a very positive holiday time coming up, with a trine on the 30th that will make you glad you rolled with your gut and finally trusted the knowing and generous Universe. Or at least, had enough persimmon pudding and sweet potato casserole to expand yours. Aquarius (January 20 — February 18) You are probably thanking your lucky stars you heeded ole Astrid last month. Now you are living high. And I do mean, literally. Listen here: Alcohol may not be the answer. But it can sure make you forget the question. And the question was, all along, what exactly? You got to master yourself and get a grip when a shakeup happens at the month’s start. But by the 22nd, you’re high as a possum in a pine tree. Call it high on life or whatever you want to, but somebody’s going to shake that branch and you heard it here, Honey. Pisces (February 19 — March 20) There’s a lot of humility in anybody who invented hair spray but never took the credit for it. I met the original Hair Net guru, as a matter of fact, who is unknown but should have gotten a Noble or Nobel or Pulitzer — or whatever prize it is. I myself, for example, had a huge role to play in the development of the first hair-care products, but given I have a lot of Piscean aspects never said a peep to anyone till now. You feel like that — like your name should be on every can. By the 10th, a nice bit of recognition makes you feel like you own the prize heifer at the State Fair. But hey, fantasy works and reality don’t, right? Wrong. Your real reward is still ahead. Hold tight. Aries (March 21 — April 19) Oh, my, fire sign. You’ve been about as subtle as the time you painted your house barn red just to tick off the neighbors. A fire extinguisher is about to become your best friend, Ram. So call your friends, simmer down and try to rein in some of that Aries aggression. If you can’t be a wonderful example of anything, you can serve as a warning to somebody. Two strikes at the home plate on the 14–15th might have you skittish and worried about your job, so at least check the want ads if the bases are loaded, you are swinging and you ain’t got nothing. Your mojo comes back on the 19th, sure as fire. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Leo (July 23 — August 22) You got fear and anger all confused. Fear is just false evidence appearing real. I read that on a fortune. Anyhow, righteous anger may be the only fuel you got. Don’t get on Facebook and make a proclamation, just tell ’em yourself. Grandpa Hornblower, bless his heart, loved to climb up on a soapbox and blare away — the only point made was he was ticked. And he was outta Blatz. The clouds part on the 10th before a trine, and you get to stand in the sunshine and roar your fool head off, Leo. Virgo (August 23 — Septeber 22) Of all the things you lost, I bet you miss your mind the most. At least, that’s how you feel because you are so used to over-thinking everything when you feel this good you wonder what bad stuff you’ve missed. This is one of those months that starts slow but ends up giving you a wild ride. You have got an opportunity to clear the room, and not because you had Taco Bell for lunch. I mean psychic room. Stop weighing everything ten times — you were right the first time. Trust ole Astrid, even if you doubt your own smart self. Coffee is a good diversion, anyhow, till you can drink vino and unwind. Libra (September 23 — October 22) Wheel and deal? That ain’t exactly natural for a Libra, huh? Lord knows, Mama used to get confused and say, stop all that self-defecation. But we knew what she meant. This ain’t Bank of America, and we ain’t checking your credit score. You could try a little self-promotion. Toot your own horn, honey, and take credit where it’s due. Everybody that knows you feels loyal to you — now turn that charm on a customer, or maybe a new client, and you are going to shine, Baby. Value yourself for a change and keep the change. On the 5th and the 10th deal with some money matters and don’t be shy. 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.

November 2013

O.Henry 127

O.Henry Ending

Waltzing with Lawrence Welk

How romance with a squeezebox almost led to accordian immortality.

By lynn donovAn

It happened

because of a knock on the door. Nobody knew at the time that the result of that knock would be me playing my accordion on television for Mr. Champagne Music himself, Lawrence Welk. But wait, I’m getting ahead of the story. Let me go back and explain.

The person who knocked on the door that day in 1962 was selling accordion lessons. My sister and I begged our parents to let us take them. Our parents gave in and signed a contract for a teacher to come to our house and give us periodic lessons. The lessons began, I fell in love with music, and my destiny was set when our parents bought us a shiny new 120 bass piano accordion. It was as big as I was. I practiced and practiced and began to play for extended family and school events. Believe it or not, the accordion was really cool back then. My sister, on the other hand, decided music was not her thing, so the accordion became mine. The teachers came and went, and as my skills grew, we started to search for a more stable learning environment. Enter one Sid Hellier, at the time Greensboro’s own Mr. Music, especially on the accordion. I traveled downtown to the old Nelson Piano & Organ House on Elm Street for lessons and eventually joined Sid’s newly formed Accordion Band as the “first chair” player. We rehearsed on Saturday mornings in the upper storage room of the music store with no heat or air. Our new band played all over the county at various events and venues. Our repertoire included all kinds of tunes from rags and waltzes to Broadway and pop, all in band arrangements just for accordions. We even appeared on stage in a local production of Showboat. We were, after all, almost unique. How many bands have you ever heard made up entirely of accordions? Over the years I continued to study accordion, but added piano and guitar to my repertoire, instruments that did not get the inevitable incredulous question, “You play what?” As I progressed musically, the piano began to win my heart. In my senior year of high school, I auditioned for early acceptance into UNCG’s School of Music. As an incoming piano major, I set aside my budding career as an accordion maestro and my squeeze box began to collect dust.

128 O.Henry

November 2013

However, the knock would not be silenced just yet. As I prepared to launch my career as a classical pianist, Sid received a call from Bill Boggs, the host of the morning TV talk show Southern Exposure. He was looking for a local accordion player to play on the air for his guest Lawrence Welk. I was recommended and suddenly found myself dusting off the keys of the accordion and setting aside Debussy to practice a pop tune for my grandmother’s idol. On June 5, 1972, I walked onto the set of a TV show broadcasting live from High Point. Soon I was serenading Lawrence Welk with my rendition of “More” as my mother, grandmother and aunt sat in the studio audience. I remembered every note and impressed even myself! As the applause died down, Lawrence (he asked everyone to call him Lawrence) came over to me, gave me a kiss, took my accordion and swept me into his arms. Soon Lawrence and I (and my accordion) were dancing a waltz. After recovering, I requested that he play a tune for my grandmother. He quickly strapped on my accordion and obliged with a German waltz. All of this on air live, no script involved. It all ended too quickly. That night at the Greensboro Coliseum my parents and I were special guests at The Lawrence Welk Show. We were ushered backstage to meet the entire cast, including Mr. Accordion himself — Myron Floran, who played a short tune for me. It was then that the invitation was issued by Lawrence himself for my accordion and me to come and audition for his show. I’ll never know if I would have been chosen for the show because Claude Debussy, a Steinway piano and UNCG won out. I never went for the audition. The accordion went back into its case, coming out only a few times over the years. Every now and then my mother likes to remind me that if I had gone to that audition she would be watching me today on television in reruns of The Lawrence Welk Show. What was and might have been. All because of a knock on the door. OH Like the Accidental Astrologer, Greensboro native and O.Henry’s constant photographer Lynn Donovan lives somewhere between Greensboro and Climax most of the time — and on Fancy Gap Mountain the rest of the time. Contact or find out more about her at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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