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M A G A Z I N E Volume 5, No. 4 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director andie@ohenrymag.com David Claude Bailey, Senior Editor dbailey@ohenrymag.com Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Kira Schoenfelder, Graphic Designer Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson Contributing Photographers Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Hannah Sharpe, Mark Wagoner

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Contributors Lavonne J. Adams, Judith Behar, Jane Borden, Grant Britt, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Ann Deagon, Clyde Edgerton, Pat Fitzgerald, Nancy Gotter Gates, Molly Sentell Haile, Carla Harper, Terry Kennedy, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Valerie Macon, Meridith Martens, Ruth Moose, Nancy Oakley, Ogi Overman, Anna Lena Phillips, Walt Pilcher, Mamie Lewis Potter, Sandra Redding, Debra Regula, Lee Rogers, Cynthia Strauff Schaub, Noah Salt, Emily Smith, Astrid Stellanova, Shelby Stephenson, Bill Thompson, Bob Wickless

O.H

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

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Circulation Darlene Stark, Circulation Director 910.693.2488 Advertising Graphic Design Dana Martin, 336.617.0090 Subscriptions 336.617.0090 ©Copyright 2015. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

4 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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April 2015

O.Henry 5


April 2015 Features

65 Mama’s Garden

Poetry by Shelby Stephenson

66 The Well-Dressed Gardener From outrageous to au naturel By Lee Rogers

72 The Threads of Success

UNCG’s budding designers strut their stuff By Cynthia Adams

78 Remembering Randall

A retrospective on Greensboro’s most famous poet. By Terry Kennedy

82 Garden of Verse

Springtime in the hearts of our favorite local poets By Various Poets

86 Magnificent Obsession

At home with a brilliant horsewoman By Cynthia Adams

93 April Almanac

The beauty of rain and lilac madness By Noah Salt

Departments 11 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 14 Short Stories 17 Doodad By Grant Britt 19 O.Harry By Harry Blair 21 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 25 Omnivorous Reader By Brian Lampkin 29 Scuppernong Bookshelf 33 Notes from the Porch By Bill Thompson 35 Coco Chanel By Carla Harper 39 Papadaddy By Clyde Edgerton 41 Goodbye, Honey Boo Boo By Cynthia Adams

43 Montagnards Movie By Molly Sentell Haile 51 Game On By Ogi Overman 57 Chasing Hornets By Wiley Cash 59 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 61 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 96 Arts & Entertainment March Calendar 113 N.C. Writer’s Notebook By Sandra Redding 1 15 Worth the Drive to High Point 117 GreenScene 127 Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 1 28 O.Henry Ending By Mamie Lewis Potter

Cover Illustration by Harry Blair Photograph this page Amy Freeman

6 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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10 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Simple Life

The Birds of Paradise By Jim Dodson

Maybe T. S. Eliot

Illustration by Kira schoenfelder

had it right about April. It is the cruelest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory with desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.

That was certainly the case for me thirty-five years ago this April when I ventured out to a rain-rutted ball field with broken fences, a few blocks from my house in midtown Atlanta, simply looking to write a sweet little piece for the Sunday magazine where I worked about the return of spring and rebirth of youth baseball in my racially mixed neighborhood. Truthfully, I hoped such a piece might provide a much-needed lift to my mood, complicated by the breakup of my marriage engagement to a local anchorwoman and the work I’d been doing of late, interviewing pointy-headed Klansmen in Alabama and writing about Atlanta’s dubious new designation as the “Murder Capital of America.” In short, it was a city under siege from a wave of terrifying murders of adolescent black kids that started the summer of 1979. More than a dozen young men had been killed by some unknown person or persons, their bodies grimly tossed into the Chattahoochee River. The police seemed helpless to find the perpetrators, and the city was on a knife’s edge of tension. Maybe sixty kids showed up for the League tryouts that warm April afternoon, barely enough to compose five teams. I watched them go through their drills and the league’s director, a slightly frazzled woman with gray hair and a clipboard, a tough old bird named Miss Brenda, divide them up into squads, leaving one team — the Highland Park Orioles — one player short. They were also missing a coach. Miss Brenda spotted me making notes behind the sagging third-base fence and walked over. “Hey, you know anything about baseball?” I admitted I’d played growing up in North Carolina. Baseball was my passion at that time. I was also personally subsidizing Ted Turner’s cellar-dwelling Braves with a season ticket and had just written a profile of Braves slugger Dale Murphy for a national sports magazine. “Great,” she said, “you can coach the Orioles. Their coach didn’t show up.” “Oh, really, no I can’t,” I protested. She gave me a hard look. “Why is that? You don’t like kids?” So I gave in. I really don’t know why. She handed me a list of twelve names and a shopping bag with fifteen Oriole orange T-shirts, all the same size. “I’ve got you guys scheduled for a first practice tomorrow. The season starts Saturday morning. You’re playing the Astros. Last year they won the league title.” I went back to my new apartment on the ground floor of an old mansion on Monroe Drive and opened a cold beer, wondering what I’d gotten myself into. Eleven players showed up for the first practice, seven black kids, four white. Four players were head and shoulders above the rest — Alvin, Pete, his brother, Freddie, and Rodney. They were pals from the same block in Capital Homes, pos-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

sibly the worst housing project in the city, a place so dangerous even the beat cops I knew well hated to venture there after dark. The Gang of Four, as I took to calling them from day one, filled the most vital spots on the field. Easygoing Freddie went to first, his chatty brother Pete pitched, Alvin took third and a fireplug named Rodney caught. Pete and Alvin would alternate at pitcher. Both had blazing fastballs and remarkable control. If the infield was anchored by four terrific athletes, the rest of the field was chaos, seven kids who’d never played organized baseball. Two didn’t even have decent gloves. The first of many financial investments I made in the team was to purchase a couple of fielder gloves the night before our first game. Another was to spring for a dozen (cheap) orange baseball caps. We got drilled that Saturday by the mighty Astros, a lopsided game owing in part to the fact that Rodney the catcher failed to show up. The fill-in catcher kept jumping out of the way of Pete’s fastballs. “His daddy won’t let him come no more,” Pete explained. “Why is that?’ “He don’t want him to get killed by the crazy man.” After the game, I drove the gang home in my aging Volvo wagon. On the way there, for reasons that elude me, I stopped at Woody’s and bought them chocolate milkshakes. Woody’s was a neighborhood institution, run by a couple of fastidious fellows who made the city’s best milkshakes and cheese steaks. The gang lived off a street ironically named Paradise Street. Pete directed me to Rodney’s house. I knocked and the door opened. A wary black dude stared at me and asked me what I wanted. I told him who I was and explained that we’d missed having Rodney at our first game. “He wants to play. But he ain’t comin’ no more,” the man said. “Why is that, sir?” “Cause all this killin’ shit goin’ on. I don’t want him walkin’ nowhere.” I nodded. “What about this. What if I agree to pick up Rodney and his friends and bring them home?” His gaze narrowed suspiciously. “Why would you do that?” “Because he needs baseball,” I said — choosing not to add that suddenly I realized I needed it, too. “You do that,” he said, “and he can play.” The next Friday afternoon we demolished the Chandler Park Yankees, who never even got a hit. The Gang of Four was incredible. After the game, I foolishly sprung for milkshakes again. Over the next eight weeks, as the grim body count from Atlanta’s missing and murdered children crisis mounted, we didn’t lose a game — won them, in fact, by lopsided margins, football scores. Pete and Alvin were basically unhittable. Ready Freddie was cool as a cucumber, and Rodney was born to catch. I started calling them all the Birds of Paradise. In a way, that’s what they were to me. We easily won the league championship in early June, wiping the field with the once mighty Astros. We got nice little trophies and Miss Brenda wrung my hand. April 2015

O.Henry 11


Simple Life

“Thanks for helping out,” she said. “See you next spring.” “Thank you,” I said. “But I might have a job in Washington.” “Nah,” she said. “You’ll be back. The Birds will too.” On the way home, we stopped off at Woody’s for a final milkshake and cheese steak. The team was so rowdy the owners threatened to throw us out. The winter of 1980 was a busy one for me. I followed candidate George Bush across the frozen tundra of New England for the presidential primaries and went with him to Puerto Rico. I wrote more murder stories and hung out with the last gator hunter in the Okefenokee Swamp. Washington was still making noises, but the job offer didn’t come. Miss Brenda called right at the crack of April. “Tryouts are this Wednesday, Coach. I’ll let you have the same players who’ve come back.” The Birds of Paradise were all back. The routine resumed — adding a couple more from Capital Homes to the load. Naturally our first game was a no-hitter. Milkshakes and cheese steaks followed. The Birds of Paradise asked to see where I worked, so I brought them downtown to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. They were beautifully behaved, perfect manners all around — though on the way home, as usual, they ransacked my car. I suggested a team cookout at my apartment, hoping their parents might come. Only one white mother came. My new girlfriend helped out. The Birds had a glorious time playing my records and wrecking my home office, even finding my stash of Playboy magazines. We didn’t lose a game in season two. Our victory supper was held at Woody’s, of course. The owners now welcomed us. The best part came when Dale Murphy stopped by to say hello. The Birds went crazy. On a lark, I called up the president of the Buckhead youth baseball league and suggested we play an unofficial Metro championship. He liked the idea and suggested we do it at their field in the all-white suburbs. I even drove

Pete and Freddie out to see the field. Unlike ours, their field had lights, actual bleachers, a perfect grass surface, even a concession stand. A day later though, the Buckhead guy called me back and said we had to cancel. “Some of our parents think it might make your kids feel bad, given all that’s going on right now.” I took the Birds for a final round of shakes and steaks at Woody’s and apologized. A week or so after this, a self-styled music promoter named Wayne Williams was arrested for the murder of two adults and accused by Atlanta police of being responsible for twenty-three of the twenty-nine missing and murdered children. A year later he was convicted and is serving a life sentence. Not long after that, I left for Washington and eventually moved to New England. A decade later, I tracked down the original Gang of Four and invited them out to dinner in Buckhead with my wife Alison. Pete, Ready Freddie and Rodney showed up. Alvin was in the Army and couldn’t make it. Rodney was about to join the Navy. Freddie and Pete had both gone to college, Freddie on a scholarship. We had a fine time, talking about those remarkable baseball seasons, then we hugged and parted, promising to stay in touch. Not long ago I was in Atlanta on business and was pleased to discover Woody’s was still there, still packed, still selling great cheese steaks and shakes. I sat in a corner booth where the Birds used to gather, making way too much noise and horsing around, thinking how grateful I remain to them for ransacking my life when I needed it most. Wherever they flew away to in this world, I hope they know how much they meant to me. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com.

O.Henry Magazine sends a sincere

Thank You

to the sponsors and attendees of

Night of Literary Stars Presenting Sponsor

12 O.Henry

April 2015

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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wardblacklaw.com/coffeebook All proceeds through the website will be donated to the Interactive Resource Center, Greensboro’s day shelter for those experiencing homelessness. www.gsodaycenter.org April 2015 O.Henry 13


Our picks for what’s happening in Greensboro this month

Frontz and Center

Some of the world’s finest watercolors — recognized as 2014-15’s “best in show” by the prestigious American Watercolor Society — will be on display at Greensboro’s Ambleside Gallery. Out of more than a thousand entries, thirty-one were given awards, including Leslie Frontz (frontzstudio.com) from Lexington, whose Chinese Red is pictured here. “Painted from a hotel room in New York City while attending American Watercolor Society’s annual banquet, the painting was accepted into the following year’s annual exhibition,” says Jackson Mayshark, whose Ambleside Gallery has represented Frontz since 2007. It is Frontz’s fourth painting to receive a major award from the AWS. “Aside from its unusual and captivating perspective,” Mayshark says, “the brilliant red awnings sing out in contrast with the more muted colors of the surrounding shapes to create a dramatic and vibrant scene.” Frontz’s painting along with dozens of others will be on display through April 24. Information: (336)-275-9844 or www.amblesidearts.com   

Proclaiming

Although they didn’t get to sit beside it, inbound passengers to Greensboro last month might have shared a flight with the Emancipation Proclamation, which gets its own ticket — plus two handlers whenever it’s on loan from Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection at the Indiana State Museum. Signed by Abraham Lincoln and on display through April 26, the yellowed, original 1864 document declares that the slaves in rebellious states are “then, thenceforward, and forever free.” In addition to hearing the museum’s “Voices of a City,” stories of African Americans seeking freedom and equality, visitors can see an inkwell into which Abe dipped a quill before signing the proclamation, slave shackles, images of the Lincolns and three of their sons, Robert Todd, Willie and Tad, and a miniature pamphlet version of the proclamation, one of 50,000 given to African Americans by Union soldiers as they marched throughout the South. Information: (336) 3732043 or greensborohistory.org

14 O.Henry

April 2015

In his seventh book, Hamburger 2, frequent O.Henry contributor Billy Ingram writes about one of the strangest commercials on TV: “One of TV’s first stars,” Ingram writes, “was the Old Gold dancing cigarette pack of the early 1950s, a truly bizarre advertising concoction.” Can you picture “an oversized cigarette pack with lovely legs that danced aimlessly around in front of a curtain while the announcer promised a taste, ‘made by tobacco men, not medicine men’”? Old Gold dancer Jeanne Snow reminisces what it was like to be featured in a commercial on Stop the Music with Bert Parks in 1950: “I was one of the cigarette packs,” she recalls, “under my maiden name Jeanne Jones (sometimes Jeannie). My dancing career is so long behind me but the Old Gold commercial keeps coming up in current TV . . . Incidentally, we were NEVER called the Dancing Butts.” More cigarette commercials are available along with information on how to order Ingram’s book at his website: www.tvparty.com/ vaultcomcig.html

What We’ll be Eating

Yes, we’ll be eating oysters — roasted, baked and raw — on Friday, April 24, beginning at 7 p.m. at the annual Greensboro Oyster Roast — ours dipped in the blackened serrano mayonnaise sauce. But since this year’s feed is at Chip and Liza Stamey’s house, we also plan to sample the flatbread pizzas, fired in Chip’s outdoor pizza oven, topped with, yes, pit-cooked Stamey’s barbecue. Prepped as usual by Pepper Moon Catering, an estimated 6,000 oysters from both the Texas Gulf and the Chesapeake Bay will be slurped to benefit Family Service of the Piedmont. Last year, 1,100 attendees raised $280,000 to make Greensboro’s families safer and healthier. Info: www.oysterroast.info

Blooming Fun

Though spring has sprung, it’s not until April that the Triad really gets showered with events celebrating the season’s full force. Consider, for instance, a session on bird-friendly gardening at the Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden in Kernersville at noon on Thursday, April 9 (www.cienerbotanicalgarden.org). Or, again at Ciener, on Saturday, April 12, behold 25,000 tulips and daffodils. That same Saturday you can stock up on bedding plants at the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market’s annual plant sale. To celebrate Earth Day, the City of Greensboro invites residents to the Kathleen Clay Library beginning at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 18. Whoever brings the most plastic bottles for recycling takes home $500 (www.greensboro-nc.gov). On Saturday, April 25, enjoy the strains of blues musician Peter May, again at the Farmers Curb Market, while chowing down on grits at the Gritty Blues Fest. Then on Sunday, April 26, Groovin’ in the Garden kicks off on three stages at noon with Jazz at Gateway Garden (greensborobeautiful.org). The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs By: the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection, courtesy of the Allen County Public Library and Indiana State Museum, Traci Arney Photography, Lynn Donovan,

Short Stories

Dreaming of Jeannie


Looking Up

UNCG’s continuing celebration of the shared 450th birthday of Galileo and Shakespeare reaches its zenith this month when internationally renowned avant-garde composer Philip Glass, who composed an opera on Galileo, comes to campus on Tuesday, April 14. Glass along with Black Swan violinist Tim Fain will perform at 8 p.m. in Aycock Auditorium. On Wednesday, April 15, Galileo biographer John Heilbron will chat about, among other things, what Shakespeare and his British contemporaries thought about Galileo’s bold notions. The staging of Glass’s opera Galileo Galilei will follow, beginning on April 16. Weatherspoon earlier joined the colloquium with Skyward, featuring the work of several artists who, like Galileo, are fascinated by celestial observation — through April 19. And on May 1 at 8 p.m., star gazers are invited to gather in Snow Camp at the collaborative Three College Observatory to learn more about some of the celestial objects, like the moons of Jupiter, that Galileo discovered with his newly-invented telescope in 1610. “We cannot teach people anything,” Galileo once said. “We can only help them discover it within themselves.” Information: performingarts.uncg.edu/globe-and-cosmos/

City View

Three of the newly published 27 Views of Greensboro spring from O.Henry contributors — Maria Johnson, founding editor Jim Dodson and Jim Schlosser. Join them on April 18 at 4 a.m. at Scuppernong Books when Eno Publishers debuts the book. With writers ranging from Diya Abdo to Ann Deagon, from Lorraine Ahearn to Logie Meachum, from Mark Smith-Soto to Veronica Grossi, the varied voices will paint a picture every bit as diverse and eclectic as the city itself. Info: www.enopublishers.org.

Circus Maximus

As acrobats, contortionists and death-defying aerialists of Cirque de la Symphonie’s twist and turn to the dazzling and multicolored tones of Rimsky-Korsakov’s Scheherazade, Bernstein’s Candide and Bizet’s Carmen, Greensboro Symphony audiences will surely wonder if they’re at a pops concert, a circus or a smorgasbord of masterworks. The answer is all three — with performances at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 11, and at 3 p.m. Sunday, April 12. Info: greensborosymphony.org

Ogi Overman Time to come out of hibernation, brothers and sisters, and shake off those ol’ wintertime blues. Put away the boots and toboggans and put on those boogie shoes and party hats. Spring has sprung and music is in the air.

• April 16, City Market: April

means City Market is back for its third season, and you’ll notice some improvements down by the railyard on South Elm. Kicking off the thirdThursday-of-each-month party is 2013 Piedmont Blues Preservation Society Talent Contest winners Lawyers, Guns & Money. What a threesome.

• April 16, Greensboro

Coliseum: Sometimes the word “superstar” is tossed around too easily. But in the case of Kenny Chesney, it is the perfectly appropriate description. No further embellishment needed. This is the big one, Elizabeth!

• April 17, Carolina Theatre:

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem

As if last year wasn’t stellar enough, RiverRun International Film Festival (April 16–26) has grown to eleven days. And its April 17 gala reception has expanded to the spacious Millennium Center in downtown WinstonSalem. Adding to its status as a qualifying festival for the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences in the documentary shorts category, the festival has become a qualifier of animated shorts. But the, er, reel story is the selection of films — about 150 — that include the popular North Carolina shorts, and this year’s Spotlight program, “Black American Cinema from1971 to 1991.” Six highlighted films include 1971’s Shaft, the first in the Blaxploitation sub-genre and She’s Gotta Have It (1986), Spike Lee’s first full-length feature that paved the way for later films by black filmmakers, whether Robert Townsend’s comedy, Hollywood Shuffle (1987) or Oscar nominee John Singleton’s Boyz n the Hood (1991). Info: RiverRunfilm.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ogi Sez

If Chesney is the King of Country, then surely Rhonda Vincent is the Queen of Bluegrass. She and her band, the Rage, put on one of the best stage shows in the business. And her mandolin chops are as hot as her voice is mesmerizing.

• April 19, Revolution Mills

Event Center: To fans of the slide guitar, David Lindley is godlike. Throughout the ’70s, his instrumental virtuosity defined the sound of Jackson Browne. Heck, it defined the sound of slide guitar. What’s more, he plays several other stringed instruments with equal style and grace. (See page 17 for more on Lindley)

• April 28, Lucky 32: Marvelous Molly McGinn is not an infrequent contributor to the famous Tuesday fried chicken night at Lucky 32. But this time she gets to share the stage with her rowdy pals from Wurlitzer Prize. Go. Eat. Enjoy. April 2015

O.Henry 15


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Doodad

David Lindley’s Big Little Music Turning down the sound

By Grant Britt

Photograph by Kim Sallaway

D

avid Lindley wants your attention. But his way of getting an audience to tune into him is by turning down, not up. A really good musician, he insists, does not “have to play above the level of conversation and keep ’em dancing.” He discovered the concept of what he calls his “big little music” watching Madagascar musicians playing percussive instruments like reeds or rattles softly behind acoustic instruments, and realized if amplified it would make a huge sound without being earsplittingly loud. “There’s a certain level you go down below where people no longer have to use earplugs,” Lindley says, noting that people are happy to hear music the way it really is. “When you turn it down a bit, people hafta lean forward and listen, and sometimes it causes a little friction in the audience because people turn around and tell people to shut up.” And to further get their attention focused on his performance, Lindley insists the only audio and video devices allowed at his shows are human, not mechanical. “Right before a show, I bring a whole section of the audience down to deep depression because they cannot record it on their smart phones and live stream it onto the YouTube site,” Lindley insists. “They’re not an audience of people coming to hear what’s going on, they’re recording engineers. They miss a huge section of that whole thing because they’re not listening right.” There’s a lot to listen to. Lindley’s a maxi- instrumentalist specializing in unusual stringed devices from all over the world, as well as a promoter of global music, demonstrated in his ’91 5-CD set A World Out Of Time : Henry Kaiser and David Lindley in Madagascar featuring a bevy of Madagascar musicians. But there’s a twist in Lindley’s soul. Combining exotic instruments with a wry sense of humor provides jaw dropping results as in “Cat Food Sandwiches” and “When A Guy Gets Boobs.” Or catch his YouTube spot-on impersonation of Jimmy Stewart on “National Holiday.” Despite his mastery of a stunning array of instruments and styles, Lindley says he is still — and will always be — a work in progress. “I’ll always be a student,” he insists. “You listen to new stuff and you’re always learning stuff. You never stop. You never make it. What you discover and the form, you pass it on.” OH See David Lindley at a Triad Acoustic State
event Sunday, April 19, 7 p.m. at Revolution Mills Event Center, 
Greensboro. Info: www.triadacousticstage.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2015

O.Henry 17


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O.Harry

Pursuing passions

Another reason to love life at Abbotswood at Irving Park

At Abbotswood at Irving Park, life is different here. It’s not just a place to live. This is where residents discover the community experience and put passions into practice. Engage, challenge yourself, share knowledge, and build a legacy for future generations. This is where your personal journey begins.

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1

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April 2015

O.Henry 19 3/9/15 5:17 PM


20 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life’s Funny

The Perfoo Dog How Allie the Beagle came, charmed and conquered all

By Maria Johnson

This is the story

of Allie, a little beagle of humble beginnings who somehow ended up living in central air conditioning, with her own upholstered chair and occasional plate of custom-grilled salmon.

Allie was born in Oak Ridge on April 3, 2001. She was seven weeks old when the family went to get her. They had a boy who was 8 and a boy who was 4. At first, the family thought they would get a rescue dog, but the 4-year-old’s brand of in-your-face love made grown dogs snap at him, so the mom and dad decided they needed a puppy. One day, the mom saw a classified ad for beagle puppies in the newspaper. The family went to see them. A hunter brought the puppies up from a kennel and laid them in the grass. One bounced over to the 8-year-old boy and would not leave him alone. She had a blanket of black fur over her back. Her ears and mask were reddish black. She had a pink spot on her snout, a white tip on her tail and 2 little white spot on her left hip. If you looked at it just right, the white spot looked like a heart. The mom gave the hunter seventy-five one-dollar bills from a yard sale earlier that day. On the way home, the family named the puppy Allie. When she got to her new yard, Allie sniffed around and curled up by the irises next to the gate. This became her favorite spot. Allie’s puppyhood was fairly normal, for a beagle. She chewed clothes and shoes and books and people. Once she clamped down on the older boy’s pants leg and would not let go, even when he ran across the yard. She dug so many holes the backyard looked like a minefield. When she dug, dirt flew up from between her back legs. When she got tired, she lay down on her side and dug. Once the dad gave her a piece of steak for getting a mole. Allie took this to heart. She delivered a mole to the grandmother, who was not wearing her glasses at the time. The grandmother thought it was a toy and reached out to take it. She screamed when she realized what it was. “Some pee-poo don’t know how to say thank yoo,” Allie said. Allie had a very distinctive voice. Vowels stretched out in the tunnel of her snout. Many of her words ended in the “ew” sound. It took the family a while to hear her voice, but they finally did once when they were on vacation. They missed her so much, they started talking like her, imagining what she would say in certain situations. She made them laugh so hard. Some families might give their dogs goody-goody personalities, but that was not Allie. She could be sweet, but she was also a bit of a pirate and quite self-absorbed. If you admired another dog, she’d say: “Yeah, he nice. If yoo into dogs.” In her mind, she was a “persoo.” She was also “perfoo.” She believed everything she did should be forgiven, especially when it came to food. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Allie ate everything that was in her path and everything that was not in her path. She climbed onto the kitchen table to finish abandoned cereal bowls. She licked juices from the dishwasher door as the mom and dad loaded dinner plates. She rooted the crusts of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from book bags. She raided Easter baskets and desk drawers. Once, she pooed a Reese’s wrapper. “Mmm, chocoloo. Mmm, peanut buttoo,” she said. Allie said she needed energy for her activities. It’s true that she was busy, tracing the paths of rabbits and squirrels in the frantic zigzag of a hound on a scent; playing tug o’ war with old towels and shaking them to death when she won; juking and dodging anyone foolish enough to think they could catch her; burrowing under the fence to yards with other dogs. She played with her neighbors Rugby and Boca and dragged their toys back to her yard. She swooned over Beau, the dreamy Wiemaraner, and ignored his cousin Pugman. “Hello, Pugman,” she greeted him, as if he were Newman on Seinfeld. Her top accomplice was Charlie, a blond schnauzer mix next door. She and Charlie connected their yards with The Chunnel and went back and forth at their leisure. Often, they broke out and explored the world together. “Allllllie! Charrrlie!!” their families cried as they combed the neighborhood. Sometimes, when they found Allie, she had a smear of foul-smelling goo on her ears. “Yuck, Allie,” the family would say. “What’s that?” “Adventchoo,” she’d say, smiling. She patrolled her domain with vigor. Her nemesis was the UPS man. The damned UPS man. Whenever his brown truck rumbled up the street, she had a fit in the baying-barking way of beagles. ROOOOOO, roo-roo-roo-roo-roo! ROOOOOO-roo-roo-roo-roo-roo! One time, as the truck pulled away, the mom opened the front door to get the package. Allie shot out after the truck. The mom shot out after Allie. Near the bottom of the hill, the UPS man lobbed a biscuit out of his truck. Allie stopped to get the biscuit. “Gewd thing for him,” she said with her mouth full. As Allie settled into middle age, the family told stories of her many accomplishments. She was the CEO of AllieCorp Global. She was a wheeler-dealer at Ethical Allie’s Used Cars and More. She was the inventor and purveyor of Dr. Allie’s Elixir of Life. She was the owner and chef at Allie McPiggums, an all-you-can-eat restaurant. “Folks, are you lewkin for sub-standard fewd at a price dat seems reasonabew until you started tinkin’ about it? Well, lewk no more...” Sometimes, the family wondered if they were being fair to Allie by describing her as so crafty. Then they found Rio, a gangly foxhound, and realized they were. Allie barely tolerated Rio. She called him Big Dummoo. She fought with him over food. His food. Allie never knew how small she was. When a wolf-dog mix growled at Rio at the dog park, Allie stepped between them and rooed at the wolf-dog until he backed down. Even the wolf-dog’s owner laughed. April 2015

O.Henry 21


Life’s Funny

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22 O.Henry

April 2015

“That was very nice of you, Allie,” the mom told her later. “Don’t spread it arew,” Allie said. “OK, spread it arew.” Allie wasn’t scared of anything. Except fireworks. On Fourth of July, she army-crawled under the younger boy’s bed until only her pork-chop back legs stuck out. “What are you doing, Allie?” “Lewkin for somethin.” Even when she lied, Allie told the truth. She aged gracefully, with a matronly girth befitting her appetite. She snoozed and snored more. Her eyelashes turned white and her tail drooped with arthritis. But she still went on long walks and drew children like a magnet with her shiny black eyes and her bunny-soft fur. She leaned into ear rubs with a throaty purr. She greeted the grandparents with hysterical glee, which they returned. She cooked out with the dad, her favorite person and favorite activity in the whole wide world. The dad talked to her gently, and called her Pup-Pup, and gave her bits of undercooked salmon on a slab they called Meat Rock. Allie brought the family together in a way that nothing else could have. Sometimes, when things were tense, the family channeled Allie’s voice and broke the silence. If someone was sad, someone else could voice Allie and get a smile. Allie needed the family, but the family needed her more. They wanted to believe that she could survive anything. She fought off lots of scares. An experiment with ant poison (“A bad twip.”) A torn knee ligament. The beginnings of congestive heart failure. You could count on Allie to be tough. And hungry. One day, when she was almost 14, she walked away from food. The mom took her to the vet. Allie’s kidneys were going bad. The mom fought back tears and reminded herself that Allie had bounced back before. No one in her right mind would bet against her. She got worse. One day, after getting medicines and fluids, and more medicines and fluids, Allie looked at the mom and dad with dim eyes. “I don’t want to be here any more,” she said. For once, the mom and dad did not laugh. They cried and cried, and stroked her bunny-soft fur, and signed some papers. As Allie slipped away, the mom told her the truth, as Allie had always told them. “You’re perfoo.” And she was. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. You can reach her at maria@ohenrymag.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


THIS PLACE HAS A CENTURY OF STORIES TO TELL.

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*Rate is per person, per night based on double occupancy. Valid 3.8-6.6.15. Subject to tax and resort service fee.

April 2015

© 2015 Pinehurst, LLC

Since 1895, guests have arrived at Pinehurst seeking relaxation and departed with memories to last a lifetime. They fi nd solace in the soft swaying ferns on the hotel veranda, the sweet pine air on the fairways of our golf courses and the tranquility of our New England-style village. No matter what inspires your visit to Pinehurst, you’ll have plenty to talk about when you leave. Visit Pinehurst.com for all package options.

O.Henry 23


Doctors from the Triad have a personal interest in keeping their neighbors healthy.

Local radiologists care about the health of our community. At Greensboro Imaging, we recommend preventive screenings like virtual colonoscopies to help patients catch issues early and avoid serious health problems in the future. Virtual colonoscopies do not require sedation, so most people can get right back to their normal lives. When it’s time for a colonoscopy or other imaging procedure, request the doctors who work where you live. greensboroimaging.com • 336.433.5000


The Omnivorous Reader

The Good Kind of Trouble

By Brian Lampkin

Kelly Link has an

original mind. The stories in her newest collection, Get in Trouble (Random House, 2015, $25), are all off-center, strange but familiar, perhaps like the inside of a friend’s mind. You recognize much of the territory because you’ve shared many of the experiences, but it’s all slightly akilter and filled with magical thinking that doesn’t quite jive with your own view of reality. But this view is so interesting, so compelling, because it is an entirely fresh and unusual look at something you thought familiar and normal. You get to see the world differently, and we should all be grateful for this new look at the everyday world.

Get in Trouble is Link’s fourth collection of stories, and she has received extraordinary praise from writers like Michael Chabon (who says Link has “the most darkly playful voice in American fiction”) and Neil Gaiman (who calls her “a national treasure”). This national treasure has North Carolina connections — she received an M.F.A. from the UNCG in 1995 — and Get in Trouble’s first story, “The Summer People,” is set in rural North Carolina The Art & Soul of Greensboro

where the economically struggling locals and the more affluent seasonal residents uneasily mingle. (The writing program at UNCG is a continuous source of literary fire. Here are just a few who are burning it up: poet and novelist Robert Morgan (Gap Creek), Pulitzer Prize winning poet Claudia Emerson, the 2014 Yale Series of Younger Poets winner Ansel Elkins, along with other established writers such as Steve Almond, Lynne Barrett, Julianna Baggott, Camille Dungy, Drew Perry, Rowan Jacobson, Tim Sandlin, etc.) Many of Link’s stories are set in spaces — imaginative or physical — that allow for a dreamy kind of overworld. In “The Summer People” Fran is in the midst of a brain-wracking fever so effectively described that it puts the reader in the same uncomfortably delirious suspension. The things that follow — toys capable of fanciful actions, creatures like fairies who inhabit a spellbound house — all seem part of the story’s own fever. Carved into the stairs of this house are the words, “BE BOLD, BE BOLD, BUT NOT TOO BOLD.” The quote, taken from Spenser’s The Faerie Queene, describes Link’s approach to storytelling. The emphasis is on boldness, on taking real chances with the limits of realistic fiction, but somehow tying it all back to a physical and emotional life that resonates with readers. In “I Can See Right Through You,” Link uses the alternate reality of the film world (again, a space easily adaptable to a confusion between what’s real and what’s not) to look at the spellbinding nature of lifelong friendship uncertain about its parameters. The “demon lover” of the story is both a character from a vampire movie franchise and a haunting and haunted ex-lover of his costar Meggie. The fantasy sexual world of the films April 2015

O.Henry 25


Reader

of Excellence 1995-2015

constantly plays out in the “real” world Link has created for her characters — especially so when fans of the films want a sexual piece of the stars but cannot separate fact from fiction and demand real blood. But Meggie and her demon lover also have a shaky hold on reality and past and present are at times indecipherable. Which seems to me one of the great roles of storytelling. Stories commingle our imagined real world with the imaginative fictive world. Link’s stories are in many ways fairy tales in the deep tradition of Grimm’s. She uses stories as a means of exposing to light the dark, often unspeakable, visions and versions of reality our minds constantly process. Link gives us permission to enter worlds we often shrink from. Her boldness frees us to go bravely into spaces we might otherwise run from. “Two Houses” gives us another strange location: “This is how it was aboard the spaceship House of Secrets. You slept and you woke and you slept again. You might sleep for a year, for five years. There were six astronauts. Sometimes others were already awake. Sometimes you spent days, a few weeks alone. Except you were never really alone. Maureen was always there. She was there sleeping and waking. She was inside you, too.” This story is science fiction, I suppose, and there’s a Kubrick film lurking at the edges, but it’s also entirely about ghost stories and the necessity of them in our lives. Because, Link writes, “they were all ghosts now,” floating gravityless in their spaceship, more asleep than awake, and the implication for our own lives is clear. We’re all ghosts, or soon to be ghosts, sometimes sleepwalking through our lives. “Two Houses” makes us look at this ghostly doppelganger and it isn’t always pretty to look at, but maybe it’s necessary to trouble our lives with apparition. Link seems to know that this is “a good kind of trouble,” and woe to us all if we ignore the looming darknesses of our inner lives. Get in Trouble is a command. These stories demand an exploration of the hazy horizon separating the real and unreal. Link wants to trouble our minds with the “unnatural worlds.” In “Two Houses” she writes, “The candles were not real, but the cake was,” which, in one remarkable sentence, explores the role of metaphor, the future of technology and the simultaneous occurrence of separate realities. Read Kelly Link for a dreamlike trip to places you’re half-afraid to travel to, but know you’ll be glad you went. Winner of the World Fantasy Award, the Hugo Award and three Nebula Awards, Kelly Link’s previous books include Stranger Things Happen (2001), Magic for Beginners (2005) and Pretty Monster (2008). OH Brian Lampkin is an owner of Greensboro’s Scuppernong Books.

26 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Scuppernong Bookshelf

April Books Reader, Regenerate Thyself

Life. Death. Rebirth. Redeath. And on it goes through the millennia. It’s April again, and while we’ve got spring on our minds (ah azaleas, ah the sweet bed of warm grass, ah the constant threat of tornadic activity), we’re always partially tuned to the inevitable end that life demands. We’ll enjoy the ecstasy of regeneration — what fool would deny beauty its due? — but the joy is always tempered — no, the joy is actually enhanced by the knowledge of November’s looming gray and brown horizon.

Literature lives for this kind of duality. The holding of two opposed feelings together in mind makes for a good life and a good book. This month we’ll explore a few books that examine regeneration and a few that reexamine deadly events, and one that does it all in one book: “All across the wide world, spring was landing on its fairy feet. Everywhere, trees were budding and coming into leaves, ground thawing and earthworms stirring, dog shit defrosting and releasing the pungent stink that brought back memories of springs past. All the living things seemed to be involved in some secret chatter, readying themselves for the demands of rebirth. This is the gate to the Lord, the righteous shall walk through.” Nothing says spring quite like a drooling horde of slow-moving, flesheating zombies crawling all over creation searching for a tasty human morsel. Denizens of that blurry space between life and death, zombies are the

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

undead; they are the living dead, the dead-living. Zombies themselves are an ontological dilemma. Aleksandar Hemon’s new novel, The Making of Zombie Wars (FSG, 2015, $26), is fortunately not just another attempt at cornering the market on the tired old zombie apocalypse plot line. The protagonist is a lazy, Spinoza-quoting screenwriter with more ideas than gumption who one day stumbles upon his perfect plot, his goose that will lay him the proverbial golden egg: Zombie Wars. Things begin to fall apart for Joshua when he finds himself enmeshed in a bizarre love-quadrangle consisting of a Bosnian student, his mentally-unbalanced landlord and the landlord’s alluring Japanese live-in girlfriend. If it sounds crazy, that’s because it is. Hemon has already made his mark on the literary world with more “serious,” heavy, literary works whose subjects ranged from the tragedy of the wars in Bosnia to the untimely death of his very own child. This book marks a departure into the hilarious that he himself referred to as, with only a bit of sarcasm, “a veritable rollercoaster ride of violence and sex.” Zombies and Spinoza: need I say more? Psychokinesis — “the psychic ability allowing a person to influence a physical system without physical interaction” (you know, the ability to bend spoons with your mind) — is not real. But increasingly, research is proving that our thoughts change the structure and function of our brains, and after centuries of the persisting theory that the brain and body are independent entities, it’s now known how much the mind controls our physical existence and vice versa. In his new book The Brain’s Way of Healing (Viking, 2015. $29.95), psychoanalyst Norman Doidge, an M.D., compiles stories from incredible and inspiring research in the field of neuroplasticity. It’s possible to unlearn chronic pain. Muscle memory can be achieved by visualizing an activity regularly, rather than through physical training. Optical vision can be corrected or improved through meditation and visualization. Memory loss can be prevented through physical exercise. Doidge reveals an optimisApril 2015

O.Henry 29


Bookshelf

226 S. ELM STREET GREENSBORO, NC 336 333 2993 OscarOglethorpe.com

tic and empowering understanding of our capacity to change and heal. (Equally astounding, is Doidge’s previous book The Brain That Changes Itself Penguin, 2007. $17). In Andrew Roe’s debut novel The Miracle Girl, set to be released by Algonquin Books on April 21, 2015, an 8-year-old girl named Anabelle is in a coma-like state after a car accident caused by a drunk driver. A devout friend begins to spread the word that miracles are occurring in the room: healing of illnesses, weeping statues, the pervasive smell of flowers. Soon people begin pouring into the middle-class suburb to have their prayers answered. Roe expertly hides miracles in small, intimate acts of faith by people and the comfort found in them. In Erik Larson’s newest book, Dead Wake (Crown, 2015, $28) we all know the ship is going to sink, but the riveting backstories keep us turning the pages toward certain disaster. On May 7, 1915, a German submarine torpedoed the RMS Lusitania. In just eighteen minutes, the British super-ship slipped beneath the waves of the Celtic Sea within sight of the Irish coast. Among the dead were 128 U.S. citizens — men, women and children. Their tragic deaths in the sinking of the Lusitania helped propel isolationist America into the slaughter now known as World War I. Just a few years before the Lusitania disaster, the Titanic had proved that even “unsinkable” ships sink. It is hard for the modern mind to fathom the naive faith many passengers continued to have in ocean travel, even in the middle of a war zone. Larson painstakingly portrays that shattered faith in retelling the personal stories of Lusitania passengers. May 7, 2015, marks the 100th anniversary of this pivotal World War I event. In Dead Wake, Erik Larson does a yeoman’s job of transforming dry history into a compelling drama. Finally, sometimes a person is busy being born at the same moment she seems to be dying. Miranda July’s first novel (you may be more familiar with her as a filmmaker or visual artist) The First Bad Man (Scribner, 2015, $25), gives us the strange, compelling, self-erasing, and selfdefining character Cheryl Glickman. Cheryl’s inner life is disturbing and fueled by a false vision of reality, but her struggle to find some way to squeeze something like comfort or even joy out of her life is profoundly normal. Miranda July gives us an unforgettable character in a struggle for her life. We are inside Cheryl’s twisted look at self and life and slowly her strangeness becomes very familiar. A life-altering book. OH Scuppernong Staff: Brian Etling, Brian Lampkin, Kira Larson, Steve Mitchell, Dave White, Deb White and Rachel York.

30 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Photos by Divine Images by Lana

BENEFITTING


6,000 Enjoyable Acres 1,000s of Programs for All Ages 600 Parks, Gardens and Facilities 98 Tennis Courts 90 Miles of Trails and Greenways 11 Community Recreation Centers 4 Outdoor Swimming Pools 3 Lakes - Higgins, Brandt & Townsend 3 Golf Courses 1 Boxing Club Endless Benefits

Gillespie Golf Course 306 E. Florida St. Open Daily 8:30 am until sunset www.greensboro-nc.gov/GillespieGC

www.gsoparksandrec.org 32 O.Henry

April 2015

Golf

Happens here. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Notes from the Porch

Port in the Storm A boy, a pony, an unforgettable image of peaceful friendship

By Bill Thompson

The overly pessimistic

weather forecasters predicted that the “tropical depression” would “dump a lot of rain” and produce “potentially dangerous winds.” It was actually just a breezy spring rain storm.

On my way back from a luncheon in Morehead City, I stopped for gas at a convenience store somewhere in Carteret County. The rain was still falling, and on the tiny traffic islands in front of the store, the erratic wind created wobbly oleanders, their lavender flowers complemented by contrasting gray sky. While pumping gas, I noticed across the road a small fenced-in pasture. The fence appeared a weathered gray, the product of many rains and ensuing sunshine. It enclosed an area no larger than fifty square yards. The gray boards and the green grass drew a distinction between the old and the new, a ribbon of gray durability surrounding a green declaration of new growth. The grass was high but losing the growth battle to the weeds that whipped back and forth, up and down, in the wind and steady rain. At first glance I didn’t notice the small shed at the back of the enclosure, but a movement in that direction got my attention. A boy, maybe 12 or 13 years old, had hoisted himself up to sit on the feed box in the back corner of the shed. His companion was a small Shetland pony that had also retreated to the protection of the shed. The boy was dressed in typical warm-weather garb: a pair of shorts and a T-shirt. He also wore a pair of cowboy boots. The incongruous footwear may have been for protection or because, in a young boy’s fantasy world, a

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

cowboy always wears his boots. The pony’s shaggy coat was flattened and wet along the top of his back where the rain had soaked it, and he was standing just under the boy’s outstretched legs. When the boy began to rub his boot-clad feet along the pony’s back, its short, furry ears lay back on its head as it backed up closer to the boy. They both seemed to be enjoying each other’s company, providing a certain amount of mutual comfort as well as protection from the rain. A neatly trimmed line of boxwoods ran between the fence and the highway. From my point of view across the bushes, I could see only the top of the handle of what appeared to be a lawnmower on the inside of the fence. It was a small push mower, abandoned between the shed and the fence, which ran parallel to the highway. I began to make some assumptions based on my own boyhood experiences. Apparently, the boy’s assignment had been to give the pasture a much-needed mowing. Dutifully, he had begun his task but, as evidenced by the newly mowed path, he had made only one round before seeking refuge with his equine partner. It was probably not an unwelcome situation. Not only had the boy gotten a respite from his chore, but he was also able to share the company of a friend. I finished pumping gas and started to get back on the road again. As I turned back onto the highway, I could see clearly the scene in the little shed at the back of the pasture across the road. There was the boy, sitting on a feed box, leaning back into the corner of the building; his arms folded across his chest; chin down and eyes closed. It was a most remarkable, tranquil scene: the image of the boy, his legs straight out in front of him, his feet on the back of the pony, which was standing very still with his shaggy head hanging drowsily. It was a portrait of two friends resting safely in each other’s company as the rain and the wind swirled around them. OH Bill Thompson is a speaker and author who lives in Hallsboro. April 2015

O.Henry 33


s

g t n i i m r p e in old salem

Where Everything is New Again t h r o u g h m ay 2 4

The fun is blossoming this Spring at Old Salem.

The gardens are in bloom. Hands-on seasonal activities abound. Plan your visit today!

easter festival April 4

Egg dyeing and painting, Easter egg hunt, and more! 9:3o a.m. – 4:3o p.m.

shops at old salem open house & heirloom plant sale April 18 Food, shopping, heirloom plants, book signings, and more. 1o a.m. – 5 p.m.

mesda saturday seminar: chic it up, y’all: interior design, southern style May 2 The 2oth-century southern interior as inspired by the past. 1o a.m. – 3 p.m.

spring festival: celebrating freedom May 16

Join us to celebrate the 15oth Anniversary of the announcement of freedom to the African American congregation in Salem. Includes reenactors, a Civil War band, hearth cooking, and more! 9:3o a.m. – 4:3o p.m.

pottery fair on the square May 16

Sale featuring more than 3o area potters! 1o a.m. – 5 p.m. FREE!

For a full list of events, classes & concerts, visit oldsalem.org or call 336-721-735o

old salem museums & gardens, winston-salem, north carolina

celebrating 5o years


Pleasures of Life

For Love of Bad Girls

Kay Rule is Greensboro’s most notable and longest standing character (or lack thereof) impersonator By Carla Harper

“I love being someone else because I can say things

photographs by carolyn deberry

and present myself in ways that I otherwise would not,” says Kay Rule when asked about the historical bad girls she’s impersonated over the last twenty years. Channeled is a better term if you ask her audience members.

Kay sits across from me in a local coffee shop just days before her 70th birthday in a pink and green Lilly shift. Eyes dazzling, her straight shoulder length blonde hair moves naturally as she describes the 45th wedding anniversary trip she’s about to take to Italy, without a tour guide. She looks fabulous. A Berkshire Hathaway agent by day with Yost & Little Realty, Kay Rule is Greensboro’s most notable and longest standing character impersonator. The women she depicts, real and fictional, capture her audiences because as she says, “The most interesting women are usually selfish, sexual, dishonest, greedy. We recognize elements of ourselves that we wouldn’t act on. But, they do because they’ve somehow gotten themselves into a position of power and can get away with it.” Compliments of Kay, some of the world’s most intriguing characters have dropped in on the Triad. It all began in 1989 with Emma Bovary, followed by Queen Victoria and Elizabeth I. Coco Channel appeared in 2000. In recent years, Dorothy Parker and Ava Gardner hit the scene. When pressed on how she picks the characters that take her months of study in preparation for “becoming” them, she laughs, saying, “First of all, they have to be smart with enough meat on the bone to make them worth talking about.” She elaborates. “I look for women who’ve led interesting lives and made an impact with that life . . . good or bad. I have found that women who fly in the face of convention and do what they want to do are most fascinating.” Kay Rule’s inspiration for bringing infamous and interesting women to life began with The Book Mark book club. Founded in 1976 by well-traveled and educated housewives, Book Mark is one of Greensboro’s oldest continuous running ladies book clubs. Rule is a charter member. In the early days, she took her second daughter in an infant carrier to the meetings. She’s served two terms as

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

chair of Book Mark as well as two terms as president of the Historical Book Club of North Carolina. Book Mark members take turns conducting the program. Determined to do something different, Rule says, “I chose one of my favorite books from school — Gustav Flaubert’s Madame Bovary and decided that only Emma Bovary could really tell the story.” She studied French for six years, so the accent came natural. The program was a hit. Invitations ensued. Like many serious young women, Kay saw her performances in elementary and high school plays as merely fun. In college at Wake Forest University, she hid behind the books, telling herself that the productions were too advanced or demanding. Still, without formal training, Kay Rule possesses an authentic magnetism and presence in front of an audience that is inborn, not learned. Through extensive research, she teases out the most interesting aspects of her characters’ lives and weaves them into a story, which she memorizes. “It’s more fun to be the person, showing not telling, which is why I do the accent and never use notes.” Rule delivers. Just ask someone who has been to a program. “It had been previously arranged that someone would play God Save the Queen on the piano to announce Kay’s arrival as Queen Victoria. We all just stood up spontaneously. In came Kay with the jewelry, tiara and big sash. It felt like Queen Victoria had just entered the room,” said Kitty Robison, a regular at Kay’s performances. Kay invites me to her home for an intimate look at some of her costumes. Although she claims costumes are not her thing, she loves to “dress for the occasion.” I follow her up a wide staircase into what I can only call her boudoir. It’s appointed definitive French Country, from the gorgeous miniature oil paintings to an exquisite Matelassé coverlet. I sit on the neatly made guest bed and wait as she disappears into a closet. I can hear the scrape of coat hangers. She emerges wearing a regal sash. “I really love the extra ‘oomph’ this sash makes for Queen Victoria, especially when I pin on a glittery rhinestone pin that catches the eye. It looks quite royal, don’t you think,” she says. She disappears again. This time she’s sporting a wide-brimmed hat with a large plume, just like Coco Chanel would have worn. “It’s always fun to do the wardrobe for Coco Chanel,” she says. “So many options, you know!” I ask her about impersonating Coco Chanel, perhaps the most infamous of April 2015

O.Henry 35


Pleasures of Life

Kay’s real-life portrayals. “Oh, Coco is my favorite. Coco Chanel lived an unbelievably exciting and tragic life. Very spirited and bright, not particularly nice,” she says, growing serious. “She was one of the first from that 1920s era to cut her hair, get a suntan, smoke and sleep around.” Kay tells me how her friendship with Winston Churchill saved her from a prison sentence: “She had an affair with a Nazi officer in the middle of World War II in occupied France,” she says. “There were people who wanted her to be punished for that.” It’s more than the public persona of these female characters that attracts Kay and her audiences. Anyone with the right platform and audacity can gather a following with outlandish dress and lifestyle. Part of what makes Kay Rule’s characters so compelling is her understanding of the women and the historical times in which they lived. Like a great writer, she gives us a glimpse into the human condition and ourselves. Back at the coffee shop, Kay skips through her characters, talking about them like old friends. “Emma Bovary marries the wrong man, then goes off and has a wild fling with Leon, her true love. It destroys her life.” “Madame Pompadour — Mistress to Louis XIII — was the real power behind the throne,” she says. “Ava Gardner loved Frank Sinatra. The movie studio controlled their lives, in part because they couldn’t keep themselves straight.” Still, she says, “When at home in Smithfield there was no movie star about her.” She continues, “The tragedy is many of these strong, accomplished women never got to enjoy true love. Coco Channel said that love is the greatest thing a woman can have, and wished

she’d had it in her own life.” Then she leans in, narrows her eyes in seriousness, and sums up the answer to my question about why go on doing this, after all these years. “My constant goal is to make history and the story of the individual lives interesting enough that others will do their own research. Who would read about Madame Pompadour without being intrigued by her secrets first? Plus, I absolutely love doing it.” Kay’s characters usually came from nothing, possessed a fabulous personality and brains, didn’t care what others thought of them, and were beautiful. Laura Clark, her oldest daughter, says, “Mother has always been unconventional herself, not entirely unlike these amazing women she brings to life.” When pressed for an exclusive tip about who’s coming in 2015, Kay smirks and puts to rest any rumor that she’ll do Jackie O. “Too much of a personal icon,” she says. She’s toying with the idea of Marilyn Monroe speaking from the grave. And there’s her post-Italy adventure thoughts of the Medicis and the Borgias. It might be time for Lucrezia Borgia, infamous daughter of Pope Alexander VI, to set the record straight after 500 years. “And then again, there’s always another British monarch or movie star to think about. They do love Ava,” she says with an impish grin on her face. Contact Kay Rule at kruleone@gmail.com to learn how to bring her in character to your club or gathering. OH Carla Harper is a creative and content writer returned home to Greensboro after years elsewhere. Find her at www.west65inc.com or on LinkedIn.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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38 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Pappadaddy

Perfectly Civilized

Up there in the hills, folks know how to conduct business with a personal touch

By Clyde Edgerton

It’s good to head to the

Illustration by harry Blair

mountains, and the native folks up that way may sometimes seem a little bit uncivilized . . . in the best of ways. People who may seem to be naïve can simply be honest, trusting and clear-headed.

A few years ago, my wife, Kristina, and I were visiting Ashe County, North Carolina, up in the very northwest corner of the state. The beauty and quiet of the New River and the Ashe County landscape near West Jefferson (thirty minutes north of Boone) struck us both. We asked thenstranger Bill Hutchins (we met him at a literary reading) if he knew of any cabin rental possibilities. “I’m about to go to France for a year,” Bill said, “and I have a cabin that will be available for the entire time. You’d be responsible for electricity, phone, and getting the grass cut once in a while. That’s it. I’m not charging rent.” “A year?” “That’s right. Do you want to see it?” I looked at Kristina; she looked at me. “You wouldn’t have to come up over three or four times,” Bill said, “unless you wanted to. I’ve got somebody who cuts the grass. You can pay him when you’re up here and you can call in to the electric company and phone company and change things over from my name to yours. It shouldn’t be expensive at all.” We told him we’d call him in a couple of days. Privately we worried that The Art & Soul of Greensboro

something was amiss. We asked Bill to send some photos by email, saw the place, visited it, loved it — what a deal! — and said yes, we’ll take it. A few months later, we find ourselves in Bill’s little cabin on Willie Walker Road. I’m talking on the phone to a person I won’t name (she could get in trouble, as you will see). She’s from the Blue Ridge Electric Company. I give her my home address, phone number, Social Security number, credit card number — so I can take over the bill. She is very friendly and we have a nice chat about this and that, and I’m about to hang up when she says, “Listen, would you do a little something for me?” “Sure,” I say. “Would you go outside, around to the side of the house, and write down the meter reading up there and give it to me so we don’t have to send up a truck — save us a little money?” “Well . . . sure, by all means.” I walk out, kind of astonished, write down the meter reading, come back inside, and read it to her. She thanks me and that is that. Whenever I’m trying to explain the people-environment of Ashe County, I tell about what I was asked to do by an employee of the electric company. Well, heck. Her name was Polly. Thank you, Polly. I don’t think you’ll get in trouble in Ashe County. I’m confident of that. Or maybe I’m naïve. But I’m thinking Ashe County folks will refuse to allow company policy to trump common sense. At least the Ashe County folks I’ve met. OH Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW. April 2015

O.Henry 39


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2/27/15 5:19 PM The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Evolving Species

Me and Honey Boo Boo Honey, I redneckognize you

By Cindy Adams

If there’s anyone left

who doesn’t know about Honey Boo Boo Child being yanked off the airways, then they have missed essential bits of pop culture — like the Hula Hoop being retooled into an energy efficient wheel, say, or the near demise of Ho-Hos and Ding Dongs. In the scramble to regroup, reality TV has since launched several shows concerning little people, the politically correct term for midgets. But back to full-height rednecks — a topic I know something about.

Here Comes Honey Boo Boo, offshoot of Toddlers and Tiaras, drew 2–3 million television viewers. The show concerned the shenanigans of 7-yearold Boo Boo with parents June and Sugar Bear in McIntyre, Georgia, before their much-publicized and depressing split last year. Siblings Pumpkin, Chubbs and Chickadee round out a clan prone to favor beauty pageants, mud sports and homemade water slides. Boo Boo and company kept things real, as counterpoint to The Real Housewives . . . of Everywhere Else. Journalist Anderson Cooper was so taken with Boo Boo that he reportedly kept a life-size cutout of the tyke in his office. Barbra Walters considered Boo Boo among the world’s “most fascinating people.” I had to wonder, what made her a fascinator, exactly? In Boo Boo’s flatulent household, farts and burps drew gales of laughter. They reserved a special fondness for indoor pets (pigs and chickens) and for celebrating Christmas in July. July in McIntyre is so hot the family contended with flop sweat while inflating scores of rubber lawn ornaments. (This segment taught viewers that “That Elvis helps Santa make toys”) The family has coined the useful verb, redneckognize. AH HA! I redneckognize you, Honey Boo Boo Child. How could I not? I grew up on a farm in Midland, N.C., aka Hell’s Half Acre. The nickname derived in part from the fact that many of our rural citizens reveled in being Saturday night hell raisers. Hell raiser is a racier euphemism for redneck. Hell raisers loved their water sports too, especially skinny dipping (“swimming nekkid”) in the rock quarry. They favored drag racing in muscle cars and bashing in the sides of rural mailboxes. Unedited life in McIntyre resembles the unvarnished life of Midland. There is more The Art & Soul of Greensboro

than a little redneck in me, too. My favorite cookbook? The White Trash Cookbook. And oh, how I love Little Debbie products — Oatmeal Cream Pies, Honey Buns and Zebra Cakes and Mini Powdered Donuts. Little Debbie is second only to Mrs. Smith among celebrities I’d most want to meet. It’s quite possible I, too, would eat Mama June’s “sketti”— pasta dressed with catsup and margarine. For I passionately loved fried bologna sandwiched between two pieces of mayonnaise-heavy white bread. I learned to love lots of redneck things whenever I was babysat by Little Mama and Big Daddy, a Midland couple. Like Honey Boo Boo, I loved squealing pink piglets, and, come to think about it, mud sports. I was known to (furtively) put on my swim suit and jump in the pond to play with the Landrace hogs my Daddy raised. Despite all attempts to clean me up and polish me, there was a redneck within me who dearly loved boiled green peanuts, wiggly Jell-O salads, pigs and ponds. But there was a deep divide between Honey Boo Boo and me: I balked at beauty pageants. When I was age 6w, my parents pulled a regrettable Mama June and Sugar Bear move, entering me in the Little Miss Bethel contest. They bought a velvet dress trimmed with pink satin and drilled me to compete. That is, if drilling means walking a few yards with a book balanced on my head. Neither talent nor performances were required — just lacy ankle socks, patent leather shoes and a fancy dress. At the end of this dizzying book balancing, Mama tightly curled my hair and we decamped for the school. Heart thrumming, I walked a few yards on the polished gymnasium floor. I managed an unfortunate snaggle-toothed smile and fled, slipping in my new shoes. My family waited in the bleachers, white knuckled with tension. I was hardly Honey Boo Boo pageant material. Silence filled the Oldsmobile on the drive home. In the back seat, I sat on my cold hands to warm them. The white crinoline beneath my dress scratched my skinny legs; I could barely wait to tear it off. My Daddy sighed. “Cynthia Anne?” My heart sagged down to my Mary Janes. “Yes Sir?” “Want me to wake you up if there are any little pigs born tonight?” he asked. “Yes, Daddy!” I breathed, perking up at last. I was never winning a pageant, but I was still his redneck, piglet-loving gal, just the same. OH Cynthia Adams confesses that her fantasy is to host a white trash banquet — outdoors, of course — with Little Debbie as guest of honor. April 2015

O.Henry 41


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42 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Seen & Unseen

People of the Mountain In a new documentary soon to air on PBS, This is my Home Now, Greensboro’s close-knit Montagnard community — the largest outisde of southeast Asia — is revealed through the eyes and the voices of four Gate City teenagers

Photographs by Dean Macleod, MariahDunnKramer, Sier Schubach

Mai Butrang

Siera Schubach and Mariah Dunn Kramer By Molly Sentell Haile

Mai Butrang, who is a senior at Page

High School, remembers making her way through the Vietnamese jungle with her family when she was 4 years old, sometimes stopping to sleep, hidden in the rain, before finally reaching a refugee camp in Cambodia. Philip Krongkon, a lanky and handsome 19-yearold with a shy, crooked smile, remembers waiting in a refugee camp in Cambodia for two years before coming to Greensboro. When he was 6, he thought America

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Philip & Minh Krongkon

was made of gold. “You know they say that America is full of gold. I was really thinking . . . the car was gold, the street was gold, everything was gold.” In a documentary film, This is My Home Now, which will soon air on UNC-TV and other PBS stations and museums across the country, Philip and Mai talk about the Montagnard experience as part of the network’s retrospective on the Vietnam War. April 29 marks the fortieth anniversary of the Fall of Saigon.

The film centers around four Greensboro teenagers — Mai and Philip along with H De and H Lysa Nie, who are sisters. The four talk about escapApril 2015

O.Henry 43


Seen & Unseen

Cambodian refugee camp

ing religious and ethnic persecution as young children and also about the challenge of continually navigating between this culture and the culture their families risked everything to preserve. “I call myself an American, but where do I identify — with my tribe or with my people?” asks Mai in a voiceover as the camera shows her laughing with a group of friends at school. Cell phones and car keys sit on desks in front of some of the girls. Mai has a young girl’s full cheeks and dimples, but she is a poised, articulate and deeply reflective young woman who comes across far beyond her 18 years. “Am I wrong for calling myself American? Or is it OK for me to call myself Bunong or Montagnard? Not a lot of people know what a Montagnard person is.” Montagnard, which means “Mountain People,” is the name French colonists in the 1800s used to lump together and describe about thirty different indigenous tribes of people they found living in the Vietnamese highlands. Montagnards had little contact with outsiders, not even those Vietnamese who lived in the lower terrain near the South China Sea. Tensions surfaced between the hilltribes and the mainstream population in the 1950s when the Vietnamese government tried to gain more control over the Central Highlands. Few Americans had heard of the Montagnards until the Vietnam War. The Ho Chi Minh trail, which was the Viet Cong’s supply line into the south, ran through Montagnard settlements, making the area a strategic location for U.S. Special Forces. The American soldiers recruited Montagnards, who trained and fought with the U.S. and had a significant role in the war, especially given their knowledge of the land. The Special Forces admired them for their fierce bravery and uncanny loyalty. As the war drew to a close, some Americans became de facto aid workers for their new allies. After the Fall of Saigon in 1975, the Montagnards were left to face mounting oppression by the Vietnamese government, including laws

44 O.Henry

April 2015

against practicing Christianity, which French Catholic Missionaries had introduced to the area in the 1850s and American Protestant missionaries reinforced beginning in the 1930s. In addition, government housing and development pushed the Montagnards onto increasingly smaller parcels of land, not unlike the fate of indigenous peoples in North America. Over the past three decades, close to 20,000 Montagnards have fled religious and political persecution in Vietnam, and approximately 90 percent of the refugees came to North Carolina through resettlement programs based in Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro. Raleigh Bailey, who is the founding director of the Center for New North Carolinians at UNCG (and helped with much of the history in this article), explains that about half of North Carolina’s Montagnards live in Greensboro, which has the largest population outside Southeast Asia. Special Forces soldiers who fought in the Vietnamese Highlands — many from North Carolina units — worried about the fate of the mountain people The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Seen & Unseen with whom they had bonded, so they worked with United Nations and human rights organizations to bring Montagnard refugees here in several waves from 1986–2002. This is My Home Now includes black-and-white footage of U.S. and Montagnard soldiers training together during the Vietnam War and photographs of post-war refugee camps as well as contemporary scenes such as a family holding hands to pray before eating spring rolls and stew in the living room of their red brick home in Greensboro. Photographs of families in traditional black-and-red woven ceremonial costumes juxtaposed with images of Montagnard teens wearing robin’s egg blue nail polish or a baseball cap turned backwards reflect complex questions about cultural identity and family ties that are at the center of this documentary. Two years ago, creating a thirty-minute PBS documentary wasn’t the plan for Greensboro Historical Museum curator Dean MacLeod and filmmaker Mariah Dunn Kramer, who had just received her M.F.A. from UNCG’s media studies program. In 2013 the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Young Historians, Living Histories Project series awarded the historical museum a grant to explore underserved young people in Asian Pacific American communities and to “deepen their understanding of their own history and their community.” MacLeod, who has taught history in the classroom and worked at the U.S. Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., says the Living Histories Project was, “another opportunity to let the city know we’re the city museum and not just the history of Colonial times museum.” Early in the project, MacLeod didn’t know what the medium would be, but he imagined something online — maybe a website. With the help of other GHM staff members and volunteers, he recruited twelve Greensboro teenagers from the Montagnard community to share their stories, including the four teens who were later featured in This is My Home Now.

Kramer, who once worked for The Martha Stewart Show and currently teaches film at UNCW, heard about the project and volunteered to help. For her M.F.A. thesis at UNCG, she made a documentary about children in hospitals, putting the video camera in their hands and letting them shape the story, so the GHM project intrigued her. She liked, “the idea that it involved youth telling their story . . . so I contacted Dean and it was kind of a happy accident.” Kramer taught the kids how to use the cameras and assisted MacLeod with editing an initial eleven-minute film. MacLeod says Kramer is energetic and fun, someone who, “remembers what it’s like to be a young person . . . can get down on their level and see things through their eyes.” MacLeod and Kramer had the youth interview each other with a series of questions they developed together .(What was the language barrier like for you? Are you still holding onto your culture? What do you still hold onto?) In the short video, the teenagers tell stories of their families surviving on just one bag of rice or on cans of sweetened condensed milk for a week or longer. One high schooler remembers learning how to hold a flashlight during her nighttime escape through the Vietnamese jungle; if she accidentally pointed it up, the entire group might be discovered and sent back to ever-worsening circumstances in their village. The youth also talk about wanting to be like other teenagers in America and, at the same time, why they can never forget their culture and experiences back in Vietnam and Cambodia. Soft-spoken Hdan Budop explains, “There’s only a small amount of people who are just like you.” She pauses and smiles until she can find the right words, “so it’s difficult because no one knows about your story, about your culture.” Last January, Smithsonian Affiliations, a national outreach program of Smithsonian Museums, posted the film onto the Young Historians website. And here in Greensboro, the historical museum screened it twice to a packed auditorium. Two months later, Southwest Airlines flew MacLeod

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April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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and one of the teens, Philip Krongkon, to San Francisco for a screening of the documentary at CAAMFest, the film festival of the Center for Asian American Media (CAAM). At CAAMFest, which is the nation’s largest showcase for new Asian American and Asian films, the documentary caught the attention of CAAM’s program director, Don Young. Young said the film is exactly the story CAAM likes to tell. A few months later he sent a CAAM liaison to Greensboro who offered funding for the Greensboro Historical Museum to make a half-hour documentary for a broader audience, with the possibility of distributing it to public television stations and educational institutions. MacLeod was thrilled and hired Kramer to direct and edit the film. MacLeod and Kramer decided to focus the second film around just four of the teens and their families. Kramer says they “narrowed down so we could dive deeper into their personal lives. We also have the perspective of their parents and some community leaders who added some insight as well.” Although MacLeod, Kramer and Siera Schubach, a media studies intern from UNCG, conducted the interviews and operated the cameras for This is My Home Now, the four teens featured in the film had a vital role in addition to telling their stories. Kramer explains, “The youth did all the translating for us. The youth would translate [the questions] to their parents, their parents would answer, and then the youth would translate it back to us . . .” Mai Butrang translates everyday things at the grocery store or the bank

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O.Henry 47


Seen and Unseen

his bright-eyed baby niece. The baby wears miniature pearl earrings and, for her parents, but, “the questions that the interviewers asked my parents I on top of her head, a little sprout of a ponytail. She crawls across the bed had never really thought of asking and a lot of them I didn’t even know the to Philip and he pauses a beat or two in his song to lean in and tickle her. answer to because we had never really talked about it. We had talked about When Kramer reviewed the footage from that our journey and the jungle, but it was such day, she was taken by Philip’s songs and conan intense and critical time for me . . . I was tacted him to ask if they were original. They so young. I didn’t understand everything that “The questions that the were. Soon after, Kramer brought Philip to an was going on, and we hadn’t talked in depth.” interviewers asked my parents I audio booth to professionally record his music Philip says taking part in the documentary has made him feel a closer connection to his had never really thought of asking,” for the film. This is My Home Now also captures on film parents, too. “Me and my parents have always says Mai Butrang, a Montagnard the day H De Nie, a Grimsley student with been close and culturally family is the numa bright, endearing smile, receives her U.S. ber one thing.” That doesn’t mean they don’t and senior at Page High School, passport in the mail. H De smiles even while have the same conflict all families have. “But she talks. “Here go!” she tells the camera as through this film and watching, it’s made me “and a lot of them I didn’t even she holds her new passport up to it. Her smile appreciate them more. It’s made me respect know the answer to because we breaks into laughter when she hugs her silvermore my parents and where they came from and made me want to care more for them.” had never really talked about it.” haired friend Helen Barnes, who has helped the Nie family transition to life in America. In the film, Philip’s translation of his Later in the documentary, H De says she father’s concerns about his children appears hopes to become an immigration lawyer, “to in subtitles as his father, who fought alongside help people like my family.” Special Forces troops in Vietnam and helped the U.N. set up a refugee camp Near the end of This is My Home Now, Mai Butrang talks about how she in Cambodia, speaks in the Bunong language, “I was worried about how my will take care of her parents when they grow old: “I think it’s very imporchildren would adjust to the American system. But now I see them mature tant. They’ve taken care of us since we were babies and they’ve taken us on and I am glad they are able to choose the dreams they want to pursue.” this wild journey and it’s important to us to just do that same amount of Along with his dream of helping Montagnard people back in deed for them. We can’t give them back what they’ve given to us.” OH Vietnam and Cambodia, Philip also wants to be a professional musician. Inadvertently, he created the musical score for This is My Home Now. One Molly Sentell Haile, who is a regular contributor to O.Henry Magazine, teaches of the camera operators who was filming the Krongkon family at home took creative writing at Hirsch Wellness Network in Greensboro. some video of Philip sitting on a bed playing his guitar for his mother and

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Game On

Iced Out

As another professional ice hockey season winds down, an intriguing question remains: Would hockey ever return to its glory days in Greensboro?

By Ogi Overman

Once upon a time, in the burg of

Greensboro in the land of North Carolina, there came to be a sport known as ice hockey. It so enthralled the masses that a building had to be erected to contain them. So large was this structure that it took the title “coliseum” and seated 7,192 patrons. And on many an evening, most of the seats around this frozen pond known as a hockey rink were filled with rabid, screaming, adoring fans. The team took the name “Generals,” but were treated more like kings. The town took the players into its collective heart, and the players did likewise. In those bygone days, unlike today, players might remain with a team for years at a time, and these brawny men took wives and raised families and forged careers and grew old in this town. Many of them still live here long after their glory days have faded. Even now their names strike a chord that hearkens back to that time when athletes played more for love than money, when the lettering stitched on their jerseys — or on their sweaters, in the case of hockey — meant a reciprocal loyalty between town and player. Ah, those names — Ron Spong, Stu Roberts, Ron Muir, Butch MacKay, Harvey Turnbull, John Murray, Bill Young, Bobby Wright, John Voss. Those who settled down here, and many of those who didn’t — Ron Carter, Pat Kelly,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ron Quenville et al. — kept close ties with the friends they made here. No better friends were there than Jack and Rosalee Brewer, the unofficial First Family of Greensboro Sports. Rosalee, now in sales with the Greensboro Grasshoppers, worked part-time, then full-time with the team’s various incarnations, ran the booster club, was a perennial season ticket holder and is a walking history of Greensboro hockey. Jack, a retired banker, has been involved in virtually every Greensboro sport in some capacity, most recently working the U.S. Figure Skating Championships. So beloved is Rosalee that when the Generals had a reunion in 1987, they presented her with a team sweater with the number 59 emblazoned on it, signifying the year they were formed. “We missed the first game, but didn’t miss another one,” deadpans Rosalee. “We’ve kept in touch with all the old Generals over the years. That was really a special time for us and for Greensboro.” Indeed, the story of the Greensboro Generals reads like a fairy tale, with knights in shining armor slaying the evil visiting teams and even rescuing, and later marrying, local damsels, if not in distress, at least in love. And while most of those couples more or less lived happily ever after, the team, alas, did not. And therein lies the crux of this story. The story of the Greensboro Generals and the Greensboro Coliseum is, in some ways, inseparable. Their inaugural game, November 11, 1959, was the second event held at the publicly financed $4.5 million venue, the first being another ice spectacle, Holiday on Ice, two weeks prior. Coliseum manager Bob Kent realized early on that the arena floor’s interchangeable hardwood and ice surfaces, for basketball and hockey, were to be the keys for its long-term success. The team’s principal owner was Carson Bain, owner of Bain Oil, who put together a group of thirteen investors to purchase a franchise in the Eastern Hockey League. That storybook first year the Generals made the playoffs with a sub-.500 record and led the league in attendance, drawing 102,979 fans for a thirty-two-game home schedule, no small feat in a league that included New York and Philadelphia. There was nothing New England about the prices: Tickets started at $1 and April 2015

O.Henry 51


Game On

topped out at a whopping $3. Hot dogs were a quarter, popcorn 15 cents and soft drinks a dime. Old-timers still refer to those early years as the Golden Era of Greensboro hockey. Meanwhile, the Eastern Hockey League was struggling. In fact, after the 1973 season, it folded. The Generals joined the new Southern Hockey League, but it too ceased operations in 1977, leaving Greensboro without hockey for the next twelve years. Then, in 1988 the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) was formed and, seizing an opportunity, minor-league sports entrepreneur Bill Coffey purchased a franchise the following year. He called them the Monarchs and hired former NHL defenseman and tough guy Jeff Brubaker as their coach. After two years, he sold the team to local businessman Morris Jeffreys, who remained as principal owner until 1995, keeping Brubaker at the helm. “Those six years were like a dream,” reflects Brubaker, now out of hockey and a board member of the nonprofit Global Sentry Group. “We won the ECHL championship our first year, were competitive every year, never had a losing season, and attendance went up every year.” Their first year they averaged audiences of 2,700. Six years later, it had skyrocketed to 6,600. Part of the reason was the natural geographic rivalries with teams like the Charlotte Checkers, Winston-Salem Thunderbirds, Richmond Renegades and Roanoke Express. “Our fifth year we set the league single-game attendance record, 21,900, that will never be broken,” Brubaker remembers fondly. Brubaker attributes the team’s success to some words of advice Coffey gave him early on. “He basically gave me a mandate,” says Brubaker. “He said if you give me an average team that’s boring, you’re not going to be here very long, but if they’re average and exciting, you’ll be here a very long time. He said I don’t care how much you win, I want you to entertain.”

As it turned out, the Monarchs did both. “We played an up-tempo game; I recruited tough guys and let them do their thing, and the fans loved it,” says Brubaker, adding, “Both Coffey and Jeffreys were disciplined spenders. They didn’t spend money if they didn’t have to.” By the same token, however, the former coach believes it was those attributes — or lack of same — that contributed to the downfall of the Monarchs and ultimately the demise of hockey in the Gate City. Here’s why. In 1995, Brubaker was let go after Jeffreys relinquished control of the franchise to a group headed by minority owner Bill Black, owner of Black Cadillac Oldsmobile. Given Greensboro’s track record and loyal fan base, Black reasoned that they deserved a better brand of

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52 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Game On

hockey, so they withdrew from the ECHL, changed the name to the Carolina Monarchs, and joined the American Hockey League as the Triple-A affiliate of the Florida Panthers. Surely, fans would flock to the coliseum to see these prospects who were but one step away from the NFL. Wrong. While most die-hard fans and observers of the sport applauded the move, there was a fly in the ointment — the casual fans did not. The AHL is a developmental league, meaning player development takes precedence over winning. It was stocked with players, many of whom had a legitimate shot at reaching the NHL. Unlike the rough-and-tumble journeymen of years past, they seemed — whether by choice or directions from above — not willing to risk a career-ending injury by dropping the gloves. Or, in the words of Brubaker, “Not only were they boring, but they didn’t fight and they didn’t win. It was a case of fixing something that wasn’t broken.” Moreover, as attendance dwindled, costs skyrocketed, particularly travel costs in a league that included two teams in Canada, which proved to be a lethal combination. Matt Brown, coliseum manager then and now, explains: “It’s amazing the implications a few dollars have. The schedule went from thirty-six to forty-one games and they raised ticket prices by $5. It was more than the market could bear, and suddenly season ticket holders became a thing of the past.” And after two lackluster years, the AHL Monarchs also became a thing of the past. But in a development that seemed to come out of nowhere, the NHL’s Hartford (Connecticut) Whalers, owned by Peter Karmanos, decided to relocate to Raleigh. Nevermind that the state capital didn’t have an arena. So for two years while Raleigh was building an icy home for their team, Greensboro became the interim home of the newly-christened Carolina Hurricanes. Now, for the serious hockey fan, getting to see the NHL stars of the day, names like Wayne Gretzky, Mark Messier, Paul Coffey, Jaromír Jágr, Raymond Borque, etc., in our own backyard was a slice of heaven. But for the other 99 percent of the population, it was an overpriced yawner. The Hurricanes did make the playoffs after the 1998–99 season, but their real claim to fame was a dubious one. Sports Illustrated ran a derogatory story, complete with a full page photo of the nearempty stands at the coliseum, with perhaps two-dozen fans in the shot. All of a sudden, Greensboro had gone from a prized hockey market to a laughingstock. In retrospect, what seemed a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be an NFL city turned Greensboro into a disposable commodity, an arena-for-hire. Faced with the prospect of no hockey at all post-Hurricanes, local attorney Art Donaldson stepped up in an attempt to keep the sport alive in Greensboro by a) bringing back the Generals name, b) hiring Jeff Brubaker as coach and c) rejoining the ECHL. On the surface, it seemed like a good idea, but trying to catch lightning in a bottle proved an impossible task. The team as well as the front office was hastily formed, losing games and money from day one. The finger-pointing soon began and escalated with Brubaker being fired after two years and suing Donaldson for the final year of his contract (he was eventually paid). After six years and one playoff appearance (the 2002–03 season with Rick Adduono at the helm), Donaldson decided to cut his losses — reportedly as high as $2 million — and fold the team. Hockey had died in Greensboro with barely a whimper. This time for good. Or did it? A decade later, no person or group has stepped forward to attempt to revive ice hockey in these parts. The downside indicators are, admittedly, daunting: The market demographics have changed; the ECHL is so far-flung that travel costs would be prohibitive; there are no natural geographic rivalries anymore; the area has not fully recovered from the recession of 2008; and there have been no noticeable hockey withdrawal symptoms from the fans. Still, that does not mean there is not interest from fans or investors. Matt Brown insists he is constantly talking to potential suitors and is convinced there is still a critical mass of support from the public and private sectors. Obviously, he would love to have another permanent winter tenant besides the UNCG basketball team. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Step in the

Right Direction

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O.Henry 53


Game On

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“I had an inquiry on Christmas Eve from a local gentleman whose father was extremely prominent in the community,” says Brown, “asking what it would take to bring a team back here. Since then I’ve met with the Charlotte Checkers, who are unhappy with their current deal with the city and the NBA Hornets, and made them quite aware that we could be an attractive venue for them.” Brown has also met with an owner of a dormant team in Augusta, Georgia, and before that had lengthy discussions with the New York Rangers about locating their Triple-A team here. He was also in serious negotiations with former NHL player Tim Kerr, but instead of bringing a team here, Kerr wound up being named commissioner of the Southern Professional Hockey League. In Brown’s view, the only viable option for Greensboro would be the Southern Professional Hockey League, because a) it is reasonably compact, and b) would play a twenty-eight-game home schedule (eliminating the need for weeknight games that typically don’t draw well). “Although (ECHL commissioner) Brian McKenna would love to get us back in, the fact is that travel costs from Ft. Myers, Florida, to Utica, New York, would kill us,” notes Brown. “The SPHL has Knoxville, Fayetteville, Pensacola, Huntsville (Alabama), Columbus (Georgia), and teams in Mississippi and Louisiana, which are all reasonable bus travel. And we wouldn’t have to be playing Tuesday games, which doesn’t do anybody any good.” Brown further believes that the model put forth by former owners Carson Bain and Morris Jeffreys, as well as the Grasshoppers, of putting together a local consortium is viable today. “I think if you get ten investors to put up $50,000 apiece, you could get it done,” he muses. “That gives an anchor of a half million, which would be sufficient for protection.” Money aside, Jack Brewer looks at it from a slightly different angle. “Oh, you could get the investors,” he reasons, “but it’s going to take a few years to get the fans back. They feel like they’ve been screwed twice. You’ve got to win back their trust.” So, after a ten-year absence, might this fairy tale ultimately have a happy ending after all? Will Prince Charming’s kiss be able to revive the sport from its slumber? Can all the king’s horses and all the king’s men put Greensboro hockey back together again? Only time will tell. Well, that . . . and a half million dollars. OH Growing up in the South, the puckish Ogi Overman never played hockey. But, king of wishful thinking that he is, swears he would have been really, really good at it. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Joe Turner’s Come and Gone takes place in a Pittsburgh boarding house in 1911. This show is an enlightening tale of recently freed men and women and their struggle to integrate into the new age. After being cut off from the world these marked men and women arrive carrying guitars, Bibles, and empty pockets of hope.

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Chasing Hornets

The Power of We

Two old friends and NBA journeymen reunite in Charlotte for a season-ending run

By Wiley Cash

The 2015 NBA All-Star

weekend just wrapped in New York City without a single player from the Charlotte Hornets appearing in any of the main events. The closest the Hornets got to All-Star status was second year center Cody Zeller starting for the USA team in the Rising Stars Challenge. While league royalty LeBron James, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry dunked, shot and skilled their way further into popularity, the Hornets were back home in Charlotte resting their legs and focusing their minds on the remainder of the season. At least I hope that’s what they were doing.

With thirty games remaining on their schedule, the Hornets are 22–30 and sitting in a vulnerable seventh spot in the Eastern Conference standings, just above the Miami Heat, who are also at 22–30. Hopefully, the Hornets’ best play is ahead of them, and hopefully the Heat’s worst play is still to come, but after the trade deadline, that may be wishful thinking. The Heat just traded for veteran guard Goran Dragic, who after seven years of back and forth between the Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets is finally hitting his stride as a pro. He’s one of the most exciting guards in the league, and he’ll add firepower and bravado to the Heat’s roster, especially considering that the team’s nucleus of Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Luol Deng and Mario Chalmers is still intact. The Hornets, on the other hand, aren’t quite as intact: Kemba Walker, the team’s leader in points, assists, minutes and steals, underwent surgery for a tear of the lateral meniscus in his left knee in late January, and the team suddenly found itself without its on-court leader and spark plug who got the season off to an incredible start with a game-winning overtime bucket against the Milwaukee Bucks. On a positive note, the Hornets did something that most Hornets/Bobcats teams of yesteryear probably wouldn’t have done: They held steady, going 4–4 since Walker’s last game on January 23. There’s hope that Walker will return to the court by March 16 for a West Coast swing, but until then the Hornets must find a way to stay afloat. That’s where guard Mo Williams comes into play. A twelve-year, six-team veteran, Mo Williams arrives in Charlotte via trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he averaged 5 assists, 3 rebounds, and 13 points per

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

game this season, including a career-high 52 points against Indiana on January 13. It’s still unknown whether Williams will start at point guard or come off the bench to back up Brian Roberts, but one thing is clear: The Hornets need Williams to play well, and to play well immediately. Although most of the NBA’s veteran journeymen are consummate professionals, I’ve often wondered how difficult it is to join a team at mid-season and give everything you’ve got for a cause that is only recently your own. Perhaps this transition will be a little easier for Mo Williams when he looks to pass the ball down low and sees his best friend, Al Jefferson, waiting with his back to the basket and his hands open wide. Williams and Jefferson have been friends for fifteen years, meeting first when Jefferson was an eighth-grade AAU standout whose coach would regularly take him over to a high school in Jackson, Mississippi, where a star named Mo Williams was electrifying crowds. The two men spent the 2012–13 season together with the Utah Jazz, where they cemented their friendship. After Williams joined the Hornets for his first practice with the team, it was apparent that he and Jefferson are excited to play together again. “Mo is a professional,” said Jefferson. “He is the guy that can help us with the leadership in the locker room and some of the scoring.” Williams sang Jefferson’s praises as well. “He is, in my opinion, the best low-post scorer at his position,” he said. “You have to show him attention and double-team him. If you don’t double-team him, he is going to score. I think I complement his game in terms of being able to knock down that open 3 when they do double him.” Hopefully, these two old friends will gel as well as they’re imagining. While often panned as the weaker of the two conferences, the East will be a dogfight going down the stretch. While the top of the conference, led by the Atlanta Hawks and the Toronto Raptors, is relatively fixed, the bottom half is a free-for-all with the Hornets, Heat, Nets, Celtics, Pistons and Pacers all separated by three games or less. Even at this point in the season, it’s nearly impossible to predict how the playoff picture will shake out, but if the playoffs started today, the Hornets would be facing the surprisingly good Toronto Raptors, who rank fifth in the league in scoring, which means the Hornets would need a couple of big games from Mo Williams. Hopefully he’s up to the challenge. On how he sees himself fitting with the Hornets as they try to hold on to their playoff spot and potentially make a late season push, Williams said, “I’m excited about getting that adrenaline going and playing for something. They have a chance to be really good.” Make that a “we,” Mr. Williams. We have a chance. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. He lives in Wilmington. April 2015

O.Henry 57


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April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Mating Game

Birdwatch

It’s that time again

By Susan Campbell

So it is breeding season — once again. In the

bird world, that means singing, posturing, nest building and all sorts of other pair-bonding activities. Between birds of the same species (what ornithologists refer to as “conspecies”), it can get quite heated. And the aggression is not reserved for males: Females can get quite physical, especially in species such as hawks, where the females tend to be larger than males.

But there are situations that can be very confusing. In fact, I have been contacted for a couple of months already by folks who have a bird in their yard that is relentlessly attacking its reflection either in a car mirror or a house window. I hear about how the bird is either madly flying into windows or viciously picking at its reflection. The results can be messy, ranging from marred car mirrors to broken window panes, not to mention what excited birds often leave behind them. Some people report scratches on their windows when birds fly in feet first. These overzealous individuals are usually members of the thrush or mimic families: American robins, eastern bluebirds or northern mockingbirds. But northern cardinals may exhibit this behavior as well. We had a female cardinal here a number of years back that I nicknamed “Zena” for her unrelenting aggression toward her image in our car mirrors and windows. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

What’s going on? As spring approaches, the changes in the length of daylight hours triggers the release of hormones related to breeding, and aggressive behavior follows. If you know anything about teenagers, this will not come as a surprise. Generally this situation only persists for two to three months (in birds), but sometimes it can go on for a good bit longer in species that have a longer breeding period. Conversly, when daylight wanes and the breeding season draws to a close, the birds’ tendency toward territoriality quickly wanes. What to do? In order to reduce the nuisance behavior of a particular bird, consider eliminating the reflection that’s triggering the aggression. Covering car mirrors is not that difficult. Covering the whole car (if windows or the windshield are involved) is do-able as well. But, when it comes to window(s) of your home, unless you have shutters, that can be a little tricky. You might want to start by eliminating whatever the bird is using as a perch — porch furniture, for instance. If that doesn’t work, you may need to resort to more drastic measures. Removing feeders that originally attracted the bird in the first place or cutting down the berry-producing shrubs might work. Otherwise, just enjoy the antics and wait a few months — until later in July or August when hormone levels will once again shift with the approach of fall. Only then will the seemingly crazed individual fade into the background. As to teenagers, that’s totally out of my field. OH Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at susan@ncaves.com, by phone (910) 949-3207 or by mail at 144 Pine Ridge Drive, Whispering Pines, N.C. 28327. April 2015

O.Henry 59


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Life of Jane

Tractor Dance

How choreographing a silly dance routine for a Greek fundraising event failed to send a revolutionary message — but made me, briefly, a hero

By Jane Borden

Illustration by Meridith Martens

I’ve only participated

in one pageant, and it was by accident. I competed in Derby Days, an annual fundraiser led by a fraternity at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. To raise money for charity, the frat pits all of the campus’ sororities against each other in a weeklong series of games and events, including, from what I remember and can find online, powder-puff football, casino nights, mechanical-bull riding, pie-in-the-face throwing, dodgeball and dessert-making. 

I don’t recall how I became Tri-Delt’s chair of the dance-off, but I was psyched. Choreographing a silly dance for me and my friends to be executed under the influence of alcohol? If this was a “leadership role,” then sign me up for CEO school. Also, I was a freshman. Freshman year is the most enthusiastic year of Greek life. After that, you learn there is more to college than blue cups. I never tired of the Tri-Delts, per se. I just grew impatient with a system in which the boys held the power. Derby Days may have been the first time I noticed.   The Art & Soul of Greensboro

After meeting with the previous danceoff chair, I learned the competition wasn’t what I’d expected. Several sororities choreographed explicitly sexual dances, and 1st, 2nd and 3rd place typically went to the hottest routines. I don’t think the competition was designed this way, but rather that, over the years, it had devolved to this. One sorority, which I’ll call K-Psi, had been champion three out of the past five years. Another popular tactic, I was told, was to perform a super feminine dance, of the tasteful throw-back variety, which the Tri-Delts — always cognizant of reputation whether or not it reflected reality — typically employed. These, sometimes set to classic Motown hits, were no less sexist in effect as they illustrated the other side of the virgin-whore complex, which is a term I wouldn’t learn for a couple more years and merely understood at the time as, I’m doing neither. Ultimately the dance had become a parade before male judges. It was an unspoken, unintentional pageant — wait a minute, I realized, so was this entire week of competitions.  Every adolescent boy in America would surely love to know how one group of bros convinced all of the sororities to fight each other for its frat-court stamp of approval. The answer is more complicated than “it’s for charity.”  So, how to mock the very nature of the event through sound and motion?  Probably, if you ask college freshmen today, “Have you heard of Footloose?” they might guess it’s a newly discovered disease treatable by the latest bigpharma patent, or maybe a rock-climbing term for where not to step. In other April 2015

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words, they may not have heard of the 1984 film starring Kevin Bacon. Also, like the character Willard in Footloose, many millennials have neither heard of the seminal rock band The Police. But that’s not because they’re sheltered in a farm town where dancing is outlawed by a conservative preacher. It’s because they were negative 15 years old when “Ghost in the Machine” came out in 1981.  In the fall of ’95, however, Footloose was still a legend in my mind. Remember when Kevin Bacon is challenged to a chicken fight on tractors? Remember how their friends slowly trot and skip beside the tractors, in spite of how riled up they are, because tractors move at a hilariously slow pace?  Just before the characters depress their respective gas pedals, Kevin’s competitor Chuck Cranston emphatically pushes play on his oversized boom box, and with a synthesizer kick, the classic ’80s ballad “I Need a Hero” by Bonnie Tyler rumbles to life. I have often wondered how Chuck got his hands on this song, in a town without rock’n’roll, but perhaps this Tyler track was allowed because it’s not technically rock, but rather — according to Wikipedia — Wagnerian pop.  The song is an anthem in truest form: banging piano, layer upon layer of crescendoing bass-drum machines and backing choir vocals so ominous they form the singing equivalent of a Greek Chorus. “I Need a Hero” was written specifically for the tractor-chicken scene. It peaks just as the tractors approach one another, in footage which was surely sped up to suggest any degree of velocity, and as Chuck leaps out of his machine in fear . . . of getting the slightest whiplash?  “I Need a Hero” is not only one of my favorite ’80s songs, but also contains the perfect message for my freshman satirical endeavor. Sample lyrics: “Where have all the good men gone and where are all the gods? Where’s the streetwise Hercules to fight the rising odds? Isn’t there a white knight upon a fiery steed? Late at night I toss and I turn and I dream of what I need. I need a hero!” My suggestion: Get some sleep, honey.  And if people didn’t get the choose-me-save-me irony, the person being “saved” in our dance rendition was the hero himself: one of our coaches, a brother assigned by the frat, who was a smaller gentleman. We dressed him as Mighty Mouse. To his credit, he was on board from the start.  Each dance team was assigned two representative/coaches from the fraternity. We dressed the other as Superman. During our representation of the song’s climax, we had Mighty Mouse jump into the arms of Superman and they spun around together in joy and relief.  Honestly, how could anyone take this competition seriously? I mean the point was certainly not to win.  The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life of Jane Yet I desperately wanted to win. At Players night club on Franklin Street, that fall evening, we wore shiny shirts, pumped our fists, and melodramatically thrashed and stamped. It was reminiscent more of childhood talent shows than professional troupes. And during the crescendo, just as the bass drums and Greek chorus are thrumming and “do-do-do”ing to a frenzy, just as Kevin Bacon’s shoelace gets wrapped around one of the tractor’s pedals so he can neither stop it nor leap from it, we executed our own splashy moment: my friend Hannah centered herself at the back of the makeshift stage, ran toward the front and did a flip straight toward the audience, which went wild.  Superman and Mighty Mouse performed their roles with hilarious gravitas, and we ended with a big, breathy, high-school glee-club stage picture, jazz hands and all.   K-Psi executed a dance to Prince’s “23 Positions in a One-Night Stand,” which featured, at the end, a dozen or so girls onstage, each pantomiming a different position. We were toast, I thought, but at least we had fun.  I hoped for third place, to at least rank. But then another sorority was named. Well, who knows, we could score second. But then that went to K-Psi. Wait, what? They didn’t win? Then who would . . . it couldn’t be . . . not this ragtag team of . . . we won! You’ve met teenage girls, so you can imagine the cheering and screaming.  I was too slaphappy to recognize that what pleased me was still the approval of these men who’d watched us compete, that this act, though quasi-revolutionary, still only strengthened the system it purported to buck. That night, I experienced only triumph. We all did. We were also a little drunk.  Which made what happened next a challenge: an encore performance was requested of the winning team. We decided it didn’t matter if we flubbed the choreography or forgot it completely. But we did agree on one edit: Hannah shouldn’t flip. “Nah, I can do it.”  “You could seriously hurt yourself.” “I can do it!” “Please don’t.” “Fine, I won’t.” But during the crescendo, I watched her make tiny fists and thrust her tiny frame into action. She was doing it anyway. Hannah leapt into the air and landed perfectly. The crowd jumped to its feet. She was my hero.  OH Jane Borden a Greensboro native living in Los Angeles, is the author of the much acclaimed memoir I Totally Meant to Do That. Follow her at twitter.com/ JaneBorden. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 63


Mama’s Garden Across the road, the rows of butterbeans, the turnip bed,

strung peavines on tobacco twine, faint green on white.

April 2015

The collards shine. Sevin Dust showers the buds; the Cat’s Paw her shoe-heel stamps a tattoo on the plot she stoops over and shows her hem to the cukes and squash the green grass snake balances without difficulty.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

— Shelby Stephenson

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The Well-Dressed Gardener From outrageous to au naturel, everyone has their own style

By Lee Rogers • Photographs By Mark Wagoner

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Jim Dodson

I

t’s time to head out to the garden, but what to wear? Anything. Nothing. My experience has shown me that there’s a broad spectrum of acceptable attire. In gardening catalogs, we see ladies wearing tidy chinos, attractive floral print blouses, even dresses. The only person I’ve ever known to dress like that in the garden was my grandmother Edith. For leaf raking and other autumnal chores, she might have changed into an informal but nicely tailored skirt and blouse, maybe adding her second best cashmere cardigan buttoned across the shoulders. Even in the sweltering summer heat of Macon, Georgia, she always wore stockings and all the accompanying foundation The Art & Soul of Greensboro

garments. Even so, Granno’s minimal gardening activities only produced a ladylike glow, and she never owned a pair of trousers, let alone sweat clothes. At the other end of the spectrum was my father, Lee, whose gardening outfits were eccentric. Once when he was visiting the local Sears store chatting up the salesmen, he spotted some really ugly plaid polyester Bermuda shorts. He brought home two pairs, one neon blue and the other cantaloupe color. Later, he went back to the Sears and brought home a pair of light blue Sansabelt pants that he promptly cut off at the knees. The resulting shorts were so baggy they reminded us of early Renaissance knee breeches, so we named them Sir Walter Raleigh, and they were the April 2015

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Chip Callaway butt of family jokes for many years. Dad was known to stake tomatoes while wearing Sir Walter, a wife-beater undershirt, a seersucker bathrobe, his favorite Red Wing boots, a goofy hat and his beloved towel neck roll. “Leeper, that is a bizarre getup. You look like a figure of fun,” my mother would say. I guess she was a little taken aback because he was normally a snappy dresser. He did change into normal clothes (still sporting his towel neck roll) for his frequent trips to Lowe’s or the city dump. All this diversity in my family was what made me wonder about other people’s gardening dress code. So I canvassed my friends and associates for more stories. Greensboro’s gardening celebrity Chip Callaway says his favorite garden outfit is a loose-fitting cotton shirt bearing the Great Dixter seal, a gift from Fergus Garrett, head gardener of the world famous Great Dixter estate in East Sussex, England. The shirt has a boat neck collar and three little pockets across the front reinforced with mesh. That way, he doesn’t have to wear a holster for his Felco pruners. Nice! Chip liked the shirt so much, he bought two more. Very practical, says I — and then you never have to wash the one

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touched by the great Fergus Garrett. Callaway associate Merwyn Varnado likes to take a turn in his garden every day after he gets home from work. “That’s how I’ve ruined a lot of Florsheims,” Merwyn tells me. “It’s like going through the car wash the day it’s going to rain. I polish my shoes and they’re all bright and pretty. Then I come home and I end up picking up the shovel and getting them all dirty. Every time I say, ‘Why did I do that?’” A similar story comes from the late, great writer E.B. White whose wife Katharine tended their large garden in Maine. “I used to marvel at how unhesitatingly she would kneel in the dirt and begin grubbing about, garbed in a spotless cotton dress or a handsome tweed skirt and jacket,” White wrote in his introduction to Onward and Upward In The Garden , a book of his wife’s

collected New Yorker essays. “She simply refused to dress down to garden: she moved in elegantly and walked among her flowers as she walked among her friends —nicely dressed, perfectly poised. If when she arrived back indoors the Ferragamos were encased in muck, she kicked them off. If the tweed suit was a mess, she sent it to the cleaner’s.” O.Henry editor Jim Dodson, who once built a five acre faux-English garden on his forested hilltop in Maine, favors an old pair of khaki shorts, long-abandoned golf shirt, a pair of “very ancient boat shoes,” and his lucky gardening hat, his father’s old golf hat from St. Andrews. He counts on getting down and dirty in the garden every time out. “I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much unless I’m filthy,”

Merwyn Varnado

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Dale Mitchell

Jim tells me. “I’ve ruined many a pair of nice khaki pants.” This first annoyed his mother, and now his wife, and that’s why he keeps L.L. Bean on speed dial in his phone. Landscaper and stone mason friend Dale Mitchell wins points for practicality. “I’m always wearing military fatigues because they’re so durable,” Dale tells me. “I’ve often found myself being offered a place in the front of the line at the grocery store.” Until someone asked him when he served in the military, he didn’t realize that the preferential treatment was a function of his wardrobe and not just because he’s a nice guy. He has also learned something important since moving here from his native Canada. Do not wear cotton underwear while gardening in the South. Go with wicking synthetic fabrics. I trust him on this. Here’s another practical idea from my landscaper friend Tim Apple: aprons. His grandmother wore one while gardening, and she put the tomatoes she picked in the pockets. “She wore that apron all the time . . . cooking, garden-

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ing,” Tim says. She also tended more than one “garden.” “She lived right off Cornwallis,” Tim says. “And when we’d have our iced tea break, she would sneak down to the railroad tracks and get rabbit tobacco and roll a cigarette. She told me not to tell my pappy (her husband Eulis) or she’d cut me out of her will. For all I know she cultivated that rabbit tobacco, maybe sprinkled a little seed by the tracks.” Most people down South agree that they like to wear “as little as the law allows,” says floral designer extraordinaire Randy McManus, who agrees with this philosophy. The exception to his minimalism is a very large hat “like a migrant worker’s.” As big as those Mexican hats they wear when playing the guitarrón? I ask. Not that big, he says. More the look of Katharine Hepburn. I love the idea of looking like Hepburn, but I can’t abide a hat for long. After wearing one for about five minutes, I usually discard it. Sometimes a bandana is good, even though it makes me look more like Huck Finn’s pal Injun Joe than Katharine Hepburn. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


I also hate wearing garden gloves — a fixture among women who want to keep their hands and nails clean — because you can’t perform delicate operations with your fingers. Once I had two wonderful thin lambskin pairs, but when last I looked there were only two left hands. Go figure! Mostly I skip gloves and just wipe my hands on my pants. I’ve always wondered why people bother wearing freshly laundered clothes — even if they’re old and beat up — into the garden. My highly efficient solution is to wear something out of the dirty laundry basket. This means more time spent pruning and weeding and less time spent doing laundry. Boring! I’m sure Granno would disapprove of my pre-soiled outfits as much as she did of my cracker sandwiches. But at least I wear clothes. It seems that almost every gardener I know, except me, has tried nude gardening. It’s true that I don’t like to be hot or fettered down with clothes. But the chiggers and ticks would have free reign. Not to mention sunburn. Better to keep a few places where the sun don’t shine. Maybe the late Bill Craft, Greensboro’s Johnny Appleseed, had the right idea, happily gardening in Green Hill Cemetery in his skimpy Speedo swimsuit and sneakers. This seemed a reasonable compromise. As far as I know, his audience never complained. OH Armed with a degree in Greek and Roman archaeology, Greensboro landscape designer Lee Rogers concluded she prefers digging around live plants than dead civilizations. Read more at www.leerogersdesign.com

Randy McManus and Frieda

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Threads of Success Equal parts design muse and guardian angel, veteran New York fashion maven Terry Melville inspires a budding group of UNCG “creatives” with fabric from the past and dreams of tomorrow

By Cynthia Adams Photographs By Torey Searcy and Hannah Sharpe

I

n the 1990s, Terry Melville was a vice president and fashion director at Macy’s in New York City. Today, the students she mentors at UNCG see her as something of a guardian angel. “In a past life,” says Melville, “I was The Devil Wears Prada.” “Now,” she says, “I am like The Angel Wears Prada.” For instance, UNCG students Rania Bolton and Liam Cameron blurt out that they have “never met anyone quite like her.” Cameron adds, “She is the embodiment of what I would like to be one day.” Rachel Wilson, another intern (Melville calls them “her creatives”), sports a leopard top, with red heels for a pop of color, as a nod to her mentor, Melville. “Terry Melville is the leopard-print Queen. I’m wearing the leopard as homage to my muse,” she says. Although she moved to the Triad to be near her partner, Melville is used to moving in the same circles as designers Betsey Johnson, Anna Sui or the aloof and demanding editor of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, the inspiration for film The Devil Wears Prada. To Melville’s interns, she is their very own, but very accessible Wintour. “Not Nuclear Wintour,” comments intern Sullivan “Sully” Hamilton drily. He has spent hours in Melville’s heady orbit. “I don’t necessarily want to be a Nuclear Wintour,” Hamilton says. “I just want to be the person that no one can take down.” Melville, who identifies herself as a survivor who weathered the highs and lows of high fashion, has experienced more highs than lows. She was frequently quoted in The New York Times and L.A. Times as an in-the-know style setter as she worked and partied with A-listers of the fashion world. (Her friend Johnson even designed her wedding gown.) Melville also spent time consulting with major film studios on projects such as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Two years ago, she relocated to North Carolina, where her mother and sister live, and settled in the Triad last year. Soon, the irrepressible Melville sprang back into action — retirement was an unattractive option, no matter how she dressed it. As a style setter at Macy’s, Melville made fashion decisions that influenced generations of young women. Now she is influencing a generation of students at UNCG as an executive-in-residence. She has also established a competition to inspire her students to come up with designs as fashion-forward as New York or L.A. While the Triad may have once been the Silicon Valley of textiles, it is admittedly not

Left to right: Terry at age 4 sewing. Terry’s mother Betty at age 22. Terry with her “creatives.”

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Finalist

Melissa Hutton Inspiration: Nicole Kidman

Finalist

Rachel Wilson

Inspiration: Barbie as Terry Melville

the epicenter of high fashion. For student designers, having access to a fashion insider like Melville, a fashionista with her well-known penchant for leopard print, is nearly as rare as spotting a leopard in the Kalahari. Melville is determined to change that. Instead of sipping Champagne at fashion junkets during Fashion Week in Paris and London, Melville has thrown herself into creating a student competition that might soon catapult some of her students into the fashion spotlight. Named after her mother, it is officially called the Betty Creative Awards by Terry Melville. (Blame another copyrighted Betty Award for the somewhat

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

clumsy name.) The award ceremony took place on March 21 in downtown Greensboro during the 10th annual runway event sponsored by THREADS, a UNCG student design organization. The event, in fact, sprang from a collaboration between Wilson, president of THREADS, and Melville. Wilson recalls first learning from a professor about a treasure trove of vintage fabrics that had been donated to UNCG by Melville. The vintage textiles had been assembled by Melville’s mother, Betty Tomczak, a former professional model and textiles collector. Tomczak was also an accomplished seamstress who inspired Melville’s fascination and career within the

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Finalist

Amy Moret

Finalist

Ayanna Harrison

Inspiration: Twiggy

Inspiration: Naomi Campbell

fashion world. That collection became the raw material that put new energy into the annual runway event. The Betty Creative Awards also allowed Melville to put to use her formidable contacts and experience to mentor and promote young designers one-on-one, where her sphere of influence is immediate and lasting. Competing for over $3,700 in prizes, ten finalists presented their creations to a panel of celebrity judges at the Empire Room last month. “The designs were conceived with a specific celebrity in mind chosen by the student, such as Nicole Kidman, Rihanna or Audrey Tatou,” says Melville. Judges included Johnson, fashion photographer Roxanne Lowit, who recently published a personal photo-

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graphic history of Yves Saint Laurent, and Project Runway celebrity stylist Freddie Leiba. Event sponsors included, among others, Macy’s, The Proximity Hotel, the Weatherspoon Art Gallery, Bernina, PGM, Copic and Spoonflower. A month or so before the competition, I dropped in on some of the twentyfive entrants in the design and construct competition at work in the design lab housed in the department of Consumer Apparel and Retail Studies. Although they were very busy, sketching, cutting and draping their designs on life-size forms, not a few of them admitted that they had never actually made a garment of their own design before the contest.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Finalist

Stephanie Shaneyfelt Inspiration: Amanda Seyfried

The designers were in a frenzy of preparations. Amy Moret, a sophomore studying apparel product design, loves Twiggy. So she chose a paisley print from the Betty Tomczak collection which she turned into a Twiggy-esque dress trimmed in shearling. It was her “first time making a dress from scratch,” admits Moret. She planned to wear the garment herself after the fashion show. Ed White, a Cone Health nurse who is returning to his initial love of designing after twenty years, plans on a career redesigning health care uniforms. But for the Betty Creative Awards, he chose something more complicated than industrial design. White designed a day dress for First Lady Michelle Obama. “My design

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Finalist

Kianna Sisco Inspiration: Zoe Saldana

represents Michelle’s interest in gardening,” he explains. “It’s made in a botanical print, with a little flare, after I saw her on CNN at the White House garden.” Chloe Bacot, another officer of THREADS, has an aunt that once produced a line of bathing suit cover-ups. Bacot has long known she would enter the fashion world. She chose singer Miley Cyrus as her celebrity inspiration, “someone relevant and youthful.” She fashioned an equestrian-inspired outfit with a fly front after selecting a purple ribbed knit fabric from the Tomczak collection of fabrics. Student Nhi Tran says she has admired French actress Audry Tatou since seeing her in the film Amelie. “I envision her wearing a long beige dress with ruffles

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Finalist

Danielle Teah Inspiration: Lupita Nyong’o

Nhi Tran

Inspiration: Audrey Tautou

at a special event, elegant and dramatic,” she says. To achieve drama, Tran handpainted a beige knit fabric to give the neutral Tomczak fabric a different punch. “The painting will emphasize my design,” she says. Some of the students’ fantasy fashions were quite literally out of this world. Kianna Sisco based her design upon Star Trek, the science fiction televison program she watched with her father. As she sewed up a muslim mach-up of the science-fiction inspired dress, Sisco said this was her seventh garment constructed by hand. “Terry is awesome,” said Sisco. “She inspires me to push myself and not

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Finalist

April 2015

look back.” Danielle Teah dreamed of an internship at Guess in Los Angeles while working on draping her design. Her costume was inspired by actress Lupita Nyongo. Teah amplified her “simplicity” — and finds the award-winning star of Twelve Years a Slave “breathtaking.” Teah also found the design competition challenging enough to take away her own breath. Ultimately, “I kind of appreciate the pressure,” Teah concedes. “I like the commitment.” Taylor Rutledge, who will graduate next year, chose androgynous actor

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Finalist

Amanda Hacker

Inspiration: Kate Middleton

Tilda Swinton as “very fashion-forward” and a source of design inspiration after seeing her in a spread dressed like Ziggy Stardust. “I read her as the fashion chameleon of androgyny.” Taylor selected a purple-colored fabric with a feline graphic, which became a three-piece suit. Her roommate modeled the design. She currently has an internship with Adidas Kids, and Taylor’s hope is to eventually have her own creative sportswear brand. Truc Nguyen’s design drew upon Nickelodeon actress Ariana Grande’s style. Grande inspires Nguyen because she has a “cute and innocent look. I’m a big fan

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Finalist

Stephanie Shaneyfelt Inspiration: Taylor Swift

of cute stuff.” Her petite sister modeled her creation, which featured fabric that the designer describes as looking something like “animal crackers.” Her dream, however, is to design shoes. Steve Madden is where she would like to work if the stars align for her future. For the present, however, the practical-minded student is wearing floral Tom’s. OH Writer Cynthia Adams made only one garment — that unraveled as she wore it. It was her first and last foray into fashion design.

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Photograph from Randall Jarrell Papers, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro


Remembering Randall Fifty years after his death, UNCG’s most famous and beloved poet lives on in the memories of his students By Terry Kennedy

“I have found the Lost World and the Lost and Found Columns whose gray illegible advertisements My soul has memorized world after world: LOST — NOTHING. STRAYED FROM NOWHERE. NO REWARD. I hold in my hands, in happiness, Nothing. The nothing for which there’s no reward.” —Randall Jarrell from Thinking of the Lost World

R

andall Jarrell was the author of over twenty-five books of poetry, essays, fiction, translation and children’s literature. The awards he received for his work include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a grant from the National Institute of Arts and Letters, and in 1961, the National Book Award for his poetry collection, The Woman at the Washington Zoo. Jarrell served as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress (now the position of Poet Laureate) from 1956–1958 and as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets from 1956–1966. “If I were a rich man,” Randall Jarrell once said, “I would pay money for the privilege to teach.” For nearly twenty years, from 1947 until his death in 1965, Jarrell taught at what was then a little known Southern college for women in Greensboro, Woman’s College (now UNCG). He delighted at being a teacher, never apologizing for it; calling W.C. his “Sleeping Beauty” — a place where the muses roamed freely and poetry and the arts abounded. “He loved Greensboro,” recalled a young lawyer, L. Richardson Preyer, who later became a distinguished North Carolina Congressman. “It was interesting to find references to our town in his work,” Preyer once wrote. “He had a wonderful poem about Nestus Gurley, a newsboy for the Greensboro Daily News.” And, of course, the famous Vicks factory makes an appearance in “The Lost World:”

Sometimes as I drive by the factory That manufactures, after so long, Vicks VapoRub Ointment, there rises over me A eucalyptus tree. Jarrell’s official title in his early years at Woman’s College was poet-inresidence. And this poet loved his college and it him. “I majored in Randall Jarrell,” remembers novelist Sylvia Wilkinson. “I took twenty-one hours with him. It was the most awesome experience of my life.” In the classroom, Jarrell was known for balancing his close readings of The Art & Soul of Greensboro

poems with the students’ own reactions and responses. “In this respect,” recalled Ineko Kondo, a visiting Fulbright professor from Tokyo, “he was also a creator who instinctively knows how to create something out of his class through the joint contribution of teacher and students.” Jarrell’s enthusiasm put a spell on both him and his students. He would spend whole semesters on Robert Frost or T.S. Eliot. In the spring of 1956, the turn to warmer weather prompted Jarrell to hold class outside, where he read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock” aloud to his students beneath the Japanese cherry trees. The students were so taken by Prufrock that they voted to skip W.H. Auden and William Butler Yeats in order to devote the remainder of the semester to Old Possum. The class subsequently coined themselves his “Eliot Girls.” That spring, the announcement of Jarrell’s appointment as Consultant in Poetry to the Library of Congress prompted his students to throw him a party to wish him luck in his new position. Alma Graham, one of his students at the time, took a picture of the group smiling at his feet. Before leaving for Washington, Jarrell stopped by campus to get a copy of the photograph. “I offered to run and get them while he waited for me,” recalls Jo Gillikin. “But, ever gracious, he said, ‘No, let me drive you to the dorm to get them.’ His Mercedes-Benz was parked near McIver Building at the time and took us much out of the way. But what was walking when compared to a ride in the Mercedes-Benz with him?” Jarrell’s time at The Library of Congress was a busy one. At the end of the first year alone, he submitted a four-page, typewritten report detailing interviews, lectures, public addresses, television appearances, and poetry readings at places ranging from Vanderbilt University to the Houston Council of Teachers of English. But the Jarrells had time to enjoy the city, too. “Washington catered to all our enthusiasms,” wrote Mary Jarrell. “We heard the Budapest and their four Strads live at the Library instead of recorded on our pitted 78s. We had season tickets to the Opera Society in its infancy . . . and Vermeer and Donatello were just downtown at the National.” Washington had only one drawback; no students. “Believe me,” Jarrell wrote to Robert Lowell, “I’ll never go anywhere again without students.” April 2015

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On his return to Greensboro, Jarrell was promoted to full professor and put in charge of the Arts Forum, a position that allowed him to take part in exposing his students to a large number of great artists, dancers, musicians, singers and, of course, writers. This was a charge, no doubt, that Jarrell took great delight in. His travels for the Library had convinced him that American culture was in such serious decline that he devoted his address (later published as “Sad Heart at the Supermarket”) for the 1958 meeting of the National Book Award committee to the topic. In November of 1961, Jarrell was given the Oliver Max Gardner Award, the highest honor awarded by the UNC Board of Governors to recognize faculty who have “made the greatest contributions to the welfare of the human race.” In accepting the award, Jarrell again remarked, “Teaching is something I would pay to do; to make my living by doing it, here at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, with the colleagues I have, the students my colleagues and I have, seems to me a piece of good luck I don’t deserve but am immensely grateful for.” Poet and novelist Heather Ross Miller cherishes the time she spent with Jarrell at Woman’s College: “A great portion of the things his students will remember most about Randall Jarrell will be those things unwritten, unread; those things that once remembered by heart will then be committed to the soul. Perhaps the perfect thing we will share will be the remembrance that for one brief and shining moment, we were students of his.” In late 1964, Jarrell sat for a portrait by Greensboro artist Betty Watson,

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wife of his colleague, the poet and novelist Robert Watson. The painting would eventually join the permanent collection of the National Gallery in Washington, D.C. The sessions took place at the Jarrell’s home in the woods out near Guilford College. “In the picture,” recalls Watson, “he seems a presence in another space, the inner Randall of his most somber poems.” “I’ve sometimes felt uneasy,” Watson goes on to say, “about what seems a presentiment of his tragic death, which came not long after.” Poet Gibbons Ruark, who was a visiting professor at UNCG, was living in a house on South Aycock Street at the time. “I came down from Delaware to teach primarily because Randall was here,” Ruark recalls. “I went to school to hear every word he said, in his poems and prose, and on several occasions I spoke with him at length. One night at a party at Peter Taylor’s house, we sat on the couch and talked the whole evening. He was my teacher in all but name.” In October of 1965, Jarrell, 51, was struck and killed by an automobile while out walking near Chapel Hill. Ruark learned of Jarrell’s death on the late-night news. When he awoke the next morning, the giant oak that dominated the view of campus from his window had fallen, Ruark remembers. “I did indeed take it as a sign.” OH Terry L. Kennedy moved to Greensboro in 1997 to study poetry with Fred Chappell and Stuart Dischell. A former Randall Jarrell Fellow at UNCG, he currently serves as the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A Man Meets A Woman In The Street Under the separated leaves of shade Of the gingko, that old tree That has existed essentially unchanged Longer than any other living tree, I walk behind a woman. Her hair’s coarse gold Is spun from the sunlight that it rides upon. Women were paid to knit from sweet champagne Her second skin: it winds and unwinds, winds Up her long legs, delectable haunches, As she sways, in sunlight, up the gazing aisle. The shade of the tree that is called maidenhair, That is not positively known To exist in a wild state, spots her fair or almost fair Hair twisted in a French twist; tall or almost tall, She walks through the air the rain has washed, a clear thing Moving easily on its high heels, seeming to men Miraculous...Since I can call her, as Swann couldn’t A woman who is my type, I follow with the warmth Of familiarity, of novelty, this new Example of the type, Reminded of how Lorenz’s just-hatched goslings Shook off the last remnants of the egg And, looking at Lorenz, realized that Lorenz Was their mother. Quaking, his little family Followed him everywhere; and when they met a goose, Their mother, they ran to him afraid.

Randall Jarrell teaching on the lawn behind the alumni house, 1960/61. Photograph from Randall Jarrell Papers, Martha Blakeney Hodges Special Collections and University Archives, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Imprinted upon me Is the shape I run to, the sweet strange Breath-taking contours that breathe to me: ‘I am yours, Be mine!’ Following this new Body, somehow familiar, this young shape, somehow old, For a moment I’m younger, the century is younger. The living Strauss, his moustache just getting gray, Is shouting to the players: ‘Louder! Louder! I can still hear Madame Schumann-Heink-’ Or else, white, bald, the old man’s joyfully Telling conductors they must play Elektra Like A Midsummer Night’s Dream — like a fairy music; Proust, dying, is swallowing his iced beer And changing in proof the death of Bergotte According to his own experience; Garbo, A commissar in Paris, is listening attentively To the voice telling how McGillicuddy me McGillivray, And McGillivray said to McGillicuddy-no, McGillicuddy Said to McGillivray-that is, McGillivray...Garbo Says seriously: ‘I vish dey’d never met.’

As I walk behind this woman I remember That before I flew here-waked in the forest At dawn, by the piece called Birds Beginning Day That, each day, birds play to begin the dayI wished as men wish: ‘May this day be different!’ The birds were wishing, as birds wish over and over, With a last firmness, intensity, reality‘May this day be the same!’ Ah, turn to me And look into my eyes, say: ‘I am yours, Be mine!’ My wish will have come true. And yet When your eyes meet my eyes, they’ll bring into The weightlessness of my pure wish the weight Of a human being: someone to help or hurt, Someone to be good to me, to be good to, Someone to cry when I am angry that she doesn’t like Elektra, someone to start on Proust with. A wish, come true, is life. I have my life. When you turn just slide your eyes across my eyes And show in a look flickering across your face As lightly as a leaf’s shade, a bird’s wing, That there is no one in the world quite like me, That if only. . .If only. . . That will be enough. But I’ve pretended long enough: I walk faster And come close, touch with the tip of my finger The nape of her neck, just where the gold Hair stops, and the champagne-colored dress begins. My finger touches her as the gingko’s shadow Touches her. Because, after all, it is my wife In a new dress from Bergdorf’s, walking toward the park. She cries out, we kiss each other, and walk arm in arm Through the sunlight that’s much too good for New York, The sunlight of our own house in the forest. Still, though, the poor things need it. . .We’ve no need To start out on Proust, to ask each other about Strauss. We first helped each other, hurt each other, years ago. After so many changes made and joys repeated, Our first bewildered, transcending recognition Is pure acceptance. We can’t tell our life From our wish. Really I began the day Not with a man’s wish: ‘May this day be different,’ But with the birds’ wish: ‘May this day Be the same day, the day of my life.’

— Randall Jarrell

April 2015

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A Spring

Garden of Verse The House We Never Built

Headlights reveal a skeleton of branches and fence line, an overrun pasture. A thrush’s jukebox of songs. Imagine a station wagon pulling to the perimeter, Dad cutting the engine. Get out with us and sling your elbows across the metal gate. My father is a small-town realtor, and this, how we spend Sundays. Valleys like hammocks in the distance. No one has found this tract yet. Lean close, and you’ll hear dusk sow the new pines, blow the bugle of a flame azalea. The wild azalea croodle in a would-be buyer’s ear: dormer windows, wrap-around porch, heirloom tomatoes. Look, that sheet on the line is light setting sail across the green sea. Soon the monarchs will migrate up from Mexico, Dad rehearses, and even my mother can’t help secreting a yellow farmhouse from his glossy brochure and tucking it inside her wallet behind the Gulf card and school pictures. But for now my sister and I content ourselves scouting for a box turtle, an orb weaver like a pendant across a tree’s collarbone, that fertile place where all longing begins: beneath the field mint growing along the far wall of childhood. We haven’t reached the part when our parents close the door to our brick ranch behind them, disappear into the mosquito truck’s fog, suburbia, bills, and leave us to tend this imagined home.

Spring Of course the peepers — thumb green frogs who climb trees calling for what? Spring. They sing so loud they shake the air, trees loosen, sky folds in bolts of blue blue, blue. Between their delicate fingers, little paws, wrinkled back, they confound the season. Never stymied by that universal pull between tomorrow and night, they sing.

— Ruth Moose

For years still, my sister and I will huddle patiently in the back seat as our mother pumps gas or runs some errand, then unclasp her wallet and slip the paper house from its pocket, pass it between cupped hands like a thin, pulsing secret that could easily fly away.

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— Emily Smith The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Backyard Battleground

Rain In the night, rain on the roof and all I love safe in their sleep.

Garden Victory In the heat of the day I’m brought to my knees by a taunting hobo weed tossing its shaggy head between the caged tomatoes and high-strung pole beans.

Long ago, I had a lover who didn’t like the rain. He lives in Arizona now: dry spells, then torrents rushing through the canyons, flooding cobbled streets,

I yank its scrubby top and its taps dig in clutching the earth with stubborn resolve. We struggle in heated skirmish until at last, with a renting squeak it yields a vanquished root ball.

danger and excitement in wet minutes, steam and aridity after. So, too, with hurricanes — wind-swept torrents, banging and thudding

My backyard is a battlefield of flowers, the blossoms to each other most unkind. They fight for pride of place among the bowers so I can’t cultivate my peace of mind. They clearly spite my nurturing intentions by feeding well while growing more headstrong as I endure their riotous pretensions and ask, Why can’t we all just get along? Perhaps their green is nature imitating our drive to strive relentlessly for gain with artful guile so oft intimidating and leave each other caught out in the rain. By May if I don’t see a truce bouquet I’ll let the rampant kudzu have its way.

— Walt Pilcher

I hold up my routed foe, its roots like an old goat’s beard, and the pole beans rustle a cheer and the sun lays its heavy hand upon my back in praise for a clear garden victory.

as tree limbs fall, garden gnomes crash into cars and windows shatter. But ordinary rain, gentle and insistent, mutes other sounds, inviting sleep,

— Valerie Macon

washes out a day’s cares, nighttime fears, comforts the sheltered.

— Judith Behar

Gone I miss the day lilies. During their brief fling they flaunt their beauty like a strumpet in tangerine skirt calling attention to herself: “Look at me, look at me.” Each slender green bud unfolds at the invocation of the feverish sun. It infuses each blossom with enough heady color to last just one glorious day. Now the roadsides, unadorned, seem faded and bereft. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

— Nancy Gotter Gates April 2015

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Spring Sonata Windowed I watch the jonquils hesitate between green time and the golden act, myself uneasy with the old impact of memories their bright spears incarnate. Desire from recollection buds — how sate the seasonal upsurge to reenact spring’s orgies, how hoard my heart intact? Perennial love springs early, wisdom late. The winter heart bulbs rich beneath the frost, swelled by the rotting stalks of other years, rounding the ancient contour of its power from the eternal cycle of loves lost. Let me not anguish if my spring yet bears the periodic fever of a flower. — Ann Deagon

A Time Returned

Mapping

Oh, Mr. Eliot, you are wrong. April is not the cruelest month. It is a time of lilacs remembered with delight and desire, the redolence of hyacinths that takes us to a place where we know nothing,

Every spring she must have seen them returning, mottled green and marching from deep in the forest up to the stilts her pale pink house stood on,

And yet from winter’s memory all this comes, for who but those in winter can appreciate love without its trappings of lace and pearls? Who but those in winter no longer sigh at sudden frosts?

surfaced in earth. Was she surprised as I am to find the trillium, surfacing too each year? I follow her paths past bushy azalea and privet,

And who but those in winter savor days and know that Aprils do not last? — Cynthia Strauff Schaub

even as she kept planting closer to woods’ edge, out from her husband’s daylilies, rallying sunlight, toward the bamboo thicket where medicine bottles

countless snowdrops, daffodils. And her favorites, the variegated hostas — for each, she scribbled a name and a circle to mark the spot she’d planted it, on typing paper, the flaps of old catalogues, envelopes — script so quickly written that even her daughters hardly can read it. Which map is the last one, the true one? No one can tell. Still I’m walking as I remember her walking, looking to one side, the other, ivy invading, pots half-full with rainwater, then, by the hollow live oak, a single stalk, leaves the size of my hand, and flaring petals darker than old blood, deeper than new. I lower my knees to the leaf mold and see, in sepals, the pointing inner flower she must have seen — she must have knelt here too, with her trowel, leaned in close so the cool petals brushed her lips, letting loose the rare fragrance that lives between her inscrutable circles — constant, wild, unstoppable red. — Anna Lena Phillips

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Lilacs Draping doorways, gracing fences, bordering the roads, a lush tumble of lilacs in bloom. I have been to Taos in the blistering summer when pungent lavender was a haze across neighboring fields, when cottonwoods released their faux snow. And later, in the fall,

Design, or Pythagorus Plans a Garden

when those same trees blushed a shade close to maize. But this blossoming is something I didn’t expect, as if time and nature conspired to create

Eighty, if a day, my neighbor, Miss Eleanor Prittle, long retired Teacher of mathematics, knows the way To plan her garden. Winter cancelled, She springs to start in geometrics — A perfect square, outlined first In mason’s twine, will help define The shape she’s staked, and furrows, Parallel, running deep, will surely make The place to drop in peas, potato eyes, And onion sets precise as numbers. “Your garden reminds me of your class,” I tease, “where you taught decimals, How to divide, the ways to keep Things perfectly aligned So the parts would add to something.”

this town’s backstage transformation. In Wilmington, for little more than a week, azalea bushes bloom with the same decadence before their papery blossoms wilt then fall like confetti. Afraid these lilac clusters are about to reach that same juncture, I awaken at the sun’s first nudge, when the air is still tinged with burnt piñon, a buffer against spring’s last chill. I snap photo after photo after photo, wondering if such abundance lessens value. Or perhaps this blossoming is simply an earthy reminder that nature is generous, and that our own spirits long to comply. — Lavonne J. Adams

Demeter’s Daffodil To dip into your corolla carefully one wintry finger and touch to my throat what I hear begin tuning up downwind, the little frogs chorusing cullowhee cullowhee, Cherokee shivaree down by the rain-swollen Tuckaseegee, what sweeter scent than the attar of you ever after come back to me, Golden Girl! My laughing daughter!

She stops her chores long enough To consider answering that thought: “I’d think you’re old enough to realize That everything resides in numbers, How these simple plantings will multiply To put fresh produce on the table.” Then, slapping her work-gloved hands On blue-jeaned hips, demands, “Take this end of my ball of twine And pull it out across the diagonal. I need to see whether I’ve erred Or laid this plot out fair and square.” The twinkle planted in deep set eyes Can’t deceive, as she huffs, mock indignant, “Do you really believe I taught you dullards How to add for nothing?” — Bob Wickless

— Kathryn Stripling Byer The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Story of a House

Magnificent Obsession At home with the inimitable Abby Jones

By Cynthia Adams • Photographs By Amy Freeman

A

bby Jones is what my horse-trading father would have admiringly called a “real firecracker.” Before Jones made her grand appearance in 1967, her father was a Pittsburgh Pirate, and her mother was a New York City Radio City Music Hall Rockette. Performance is

in her bloodline. A fearless rider from earliest memory, Jones was astride Tic Tock, her pony, jumping by age 4. She was merely a teenager when she became a Vegas star, performing astride a glorious Lipizzaner horse. In her late teens through her late 20s, from 1986 to 1994, she was part of the Royal Lipizzaner Stallion Show at the Excalibur Hotel in the heart of the Vegas strip. The choreographed, athletic movements of the horse and rider captivated audiences. “I met Abby eight years ago,” says High Point entrepreneur and horsewoman Debbie Jones — no relation, by the way. “She carries herself the way horses carry themselves . . . with this beautiful movement, very strong. I think that’s probably from having been on the back of a horse her entire life.” Her career caught fire, and Abby Jones was soon modeling in advertising campaigns, appearing as a Miller High Life girl. “I may still be on a few billboards in the Vegas airport for Caesar’s Palace,” she says. She also learned how to make an excellent living as a trainer, breeder and horse whisperer. Jones is now owner of Overlook Farm and Equestrian Center in Stoneville, an expansive horse farm north of Greensboro. Living large is big part of Jones’ ethos. That, and driving and riding hell-forleather fast. When Jones isn’t in the saddle at her farm, or chasing foxes with the Sedgefield Hunt, her ride of choice is a navy blue Maserati convertible.

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“At age 4, I was winning on a champion quarter horse,” Jones says, producing the prize — a hefty commemorative buckle large enough for Paul Bunyan’s belt. Inside the cupboard Jones has kept other prizes that followed; she has won more than seventy competitive awards and eventually quit counting or displaying them. It’s certainly not because there’s not room for them in her spacious and handsome country-style house, picture-perfect barn, stables, paddocks and outbuildings. Overlook Farm is a spread covering forty fenced acres. There are riding trails and plans for another riding arena. Come springtime, their many fruit trees burst into bloom. The scene is as picturesque as a Ralph Lauren ad. But it was not always thus. Four years ago, when Abby Jones and her husband, Charles Gregory “Greg” Edens, fell in love with the property, nearly everything needed spit, polish or rescuing. Fortunately, there was ample acreage and an essential barn. And the spacious house had a welcoming porch across the front — in all, there was ample space to entertain. And best of all, there was a large cook’s kitchen that Edens instantly appreciated and put to good use. Then, Edens, who was in the re-insurance business, died last fall at age 61. “Greg and Abby adored one another,” says Alyssa Mann, who met the couple through her husband, who then managed Deep Springs, a Stoneville country club. Mann became close to them both. “She comments frequently that he was her best friend. He always had a nice dinner prepared for her when she came in from the barn, along with a hot bath drawn,” recalls Mann. The equestrienne and businessman were a good match with complementary differences, observe friends. They shared an affection for watching old movies together — and Alabama football, says Mann. Edens was an alumnus of the University of Alabama, whose primary passions were music and his wife. “Greg was not a horseman,” says Debbie Jones. Although his wife looked like The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Abby Jones has twice been to the Queen’s Mews in London to shop for Cleveland Bays. Shown here with one of many she is breeding to save the endangered breed, she says, “It’s all about intelligence and sturdiness.” When the Queen saw Abby show a “Cleevie” in Louisville, she told Abby, “You gave your horse a lovely ride,” and the compliment made the Kentucky newspaper.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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a blonde goddess on horseback, she was not exactly a domestic goddess. “Greg really enjoyed cooking for her and pampering her daily,” says Mann. The horseback goddess grew up near the Santa Anita race track in California, where her parents moved in 1964. They raised and stabled 200 horses. Jones has ridden horses since she could walk, according to her mother, Susan Utberg Barnum. Although her mother was never quite as smitten with horses as her daugher, “she loves them (horses) just as much,” Jones says. “My dad was actually the rider.” Her father, William Carroll Jones, rode Grand Prix horses and also competed. But his daughter’s forte was how she innately understood horses and how horses responded to her. An affinity for horses and performance is ancestral, it happens. “Yeah, circus people,” Jones says. “A relative, R. E. Barnum, dates back to circus people,” as in Barnum & Bailey. Her mother, who now lives in Gibsonville, describes watching a 4-year-old Abby racing a pony, no less, and successfully jumping over and clearing a huge obstacle. “She was,” her mother splutters with a lightning crack of laughter, “something else!” “I’m sure that I terrified my mother on many occasion,” admits Jones. “Nothing that comes out of her mouth about horses surprises me now,” adds her friend Debbie Jones. “There is nothing she can’t do. What she does is creative. She’s creative with how she engages with horses, and I love that.” When Tic Tock had a foal, Abby “named it Prance A Lot the Docile Ocelot, after my favorite book.” Jones recalls lots of jumping and mastering the balletic form of dressage even as a tyke. “As dressage is truly just the training of the horse’s mind and body, I suppose I learned in 1968 [at age 1],” she says without exaggeration. She absorbed it. Classical dressage, often called “horse ballet,” is the French term used to describe a discipline that involves teaching a horse a series of highly controlled movements and maneuvers. The balletic movements, notably when the horse is temporarily airborne, are called “airs above the ground.” Andalusian, Lusitano, Lipizzaner and Menorquín horses are most frequently trained to perform airs. As a plucky little girl, she learned she could make her ponies do the impossible. “I taught my ponies to do all of the airs before I knew their names,” says

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Jones. “ I called the capriole ‘Ringo,’ which is a cross between rear, jump, buck and go forward all at the same time.” In her teens, Jones began training with Lipizzaner horses. By age 23, Jones made the front cover of the Las Vegas entertainment magazine while Siegfried and Roy were relegated to the back. She loved to show off just what she could persuade a 1,400-pound raring stallion to do. Jones wasn’t a top-billed Vegas act for nothing. She still shows and jumps, often side-saddle, but her dressage days now evoke a yawn. “Been there, done that,” she says blithely. Her dream was to ride in the Olympics. “Now,” she jokes, “it might have to be the Benny Hill Olympics.” She is, by self-description, “an adrenalin-junkie.” There has been a steep physical price. Jones has survived a broken neck and twice broke her back (each injury sustained in separate horse-related incidents). But she holds the horse blameless in any case. “Horses have always saved me,” she says in a serious moment. She still possesses a bankable presence — and a grip that could break a banker. When this long-legged blonde sheds her riding clothes for a night out, heads snap in her direction. The former model (“I made so much money modeling”) says despite the money and glamour, “horses kept me grounded. It’s best for me to stay dirty and worn out.” But it would seem she doesn’t exactly dislike attention. So when Abby Jones strode into Print Works Bistro one winter night to meet friends, others took notice of the leggy glamazon in leather pants and wellbroken-in boots. Her swagger was not affected; Jones had recently dislocated her hip during a riding mishap. (“I rode another hour and a half like that. In pain,” she said, with undisguised pride.) While Jones stood up occasionally in order to stretch out her aching hip, a nearby bank executive openly ogled her. Jones simply walked over and introduced herself, extending a hand. In no time, the middle-aged banker howled that she had broken his pinkie, and he waved it frantically. Astonishingly The Art & Soul of Greensboro


enough, this did not dampen the banker’s enthusiasm to engage with Jones — who suddenly ruffled his Trump-styled comb-over as if he was a naughty colt she might rope any second. A nearby diner laughed uncontrollably at her antics. Jones grinned widely, savoring an appreciative audience. Despite many physical injuries, she retains an animal grace that is her calling card, explain friends. “Abby walks this Earth with grace and beauty,” says her friend Mann. But she also knows that Jones thinks nothing of digging into hard work and dirtying her hands, tossing hay bales, mucking out stalls, training and handling her much-loved horses. Returning to the table at the bistro, Jones says, her eyes innocent, “I’m stronger than anybody.” Holding up both hands for full review, it is true. These are the calloused, working hands of someone who does not live a coddled life.

P

rior to marrying Greg Edens and buying Overlook, Jones trained and taught from Hunter Hills, a leased thirty-stall farm in Burlington. While there, she estimates training and selling hundreds of horses. “I worked way too hard,” she reflects. “At Hunter Hills, I went through a lot of horses, sometimes, selling fifteen or twenty horses in a single month.” There were standouts within those hundreds of horses she trained. Some she only leased out and bought back. Then, she lost the Burlington lease and started a search in earnest. “I was constantly farm shopping,” Jones says. “It’s hard to find a barn and a house that are both nice.” They discovered the Stoneville property, which had languished in an estate

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

for several years after the owners each died suddenly within a short span of time. At first look, Overlook Farm was ideal — straight out of a Dallas television segment, with an impressive entrance and tree-lined approach to the Southern vernacular style house. The pastures were lined with miles of fencing. There was ample room to expand the farm, with another one hundred acres across the road offered for their use. Deep Springs Country Club and golf course were close by. But upon closer inspection, there were costly problems. The serious refurbishment required two full years of effort. Fortunately, there was an easy horse sale at hand for quick revenue. Jones had a knack for horse trading and could spot both talent and earning potential. Sometimes, she could sell a horse for ten times what she paid, or even more. (On the other hand, she was known to give horses away to good homes or for a good cause.) “Most of the pasture and fencing was there. The first three months, we improved fences,” Jones sighs. She began horse trading, “and added more. I sold a really nice Cleveland, named Savannah, to pay for all the fencing.” But only a beat later she adds, smiling, “I usually have a buy-back contract.” That meant Jones required first-refusal rights after selling one of her horses, especially if the horse was a Cleveland Bay. Cleveland Bays are known as Britain’s oldest working horse, originating in northeast England. The breed is described as “critically rare” with fewer than 200 pure breeds in North America, and only 500 in the world. Queen Elizabeth, a famous equestrienne, has personally furthered the cause of saving Clevelands. Jones once rode a Cleveland before the Queen at an event in Kentucky, earning a nice royal compliment in a personal brush with HRH. “I have a picture,” she adds with small pride. April 2015

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“I’ve twice been over to the Queen’s mews to shop Clevelands. I’m going to Wales to look at horses this spring,” says Jones. Reviving the ailing Overlook Farm took ongoing time and resources. They set about restoring the barn, outbuildings and fencing. “There were lots of broken windows,” she says. “Not vandalism, but horsey-ism.” Inside the house, built in 1991, sheetrock and cosmetic damage was extensive. Workers set out mudding, sanding and retaping the ceilings, taking a year to complete all three stories. They painted everything and made further cosmetic changes; each time, Jones sold a horse if needed. She names each one. “I sold Savannah and put up the new fencing. I then sold Onslow and bought the back forty (acres). I sold Charlie Brown, who bought fencing back there.” She points to the rear of the house where horses gallop in a pasture. “Every good horse I sell, I buy something to remind me of them.” The kitchen became the working center of life, as with most homes. After all, it was where Edens loved to cook for Jones after she spent a day working with the horses. From there, it was possible to keep watch on their horses via a bank of

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April 2015

windows in the breakfast area or to admire the fireplace blazing on another wall. Many of the ceilings soar to over twelve feet — replete with massive moldings, over mantels, and transoms over the doorways. In the spacious and open downstairs, Jones favored deep, jewel-toned wall colors, balancing them with light-colored trim. But there are specific spaces where Jones’ personal style shows most. Her home office opens off the master bedroom and is faux painted a rich, multidimensional mottled brown to emulate leather. It provides a glimpse into Jones’ fondness for antiques and all things English. The study is dominated by a partner’s desk, so-called because people could sit on both sides and work simultaneously. It is a massive, hand-carved antique, a recent acquisition from Belladonna Antiques, her favorite haunt in Eden. The desk has provenance, too, and Jones produces records of the desk being used as a movie prop in several films. She strokes the desk’s gleaming surface and murmurs appreciatively, as if it, too, is a living thing that will respond to her. Throughout the sprawling three-story house, there are recurring emblems of The Art & Soul of Greensboro


hunting and Jones’ antique junkets. She collects prints, especially of birds. An Audubon print of a wild turkey hangs in the den. Pride of place in the living room is occupied by an elaborately carved clock over the mantel. The fireplace is flanked by paneled doors with chamfered notches that disappear when closed, adding an air of Masterpiece Theater mystery. Opposite this are two French antique settees, complete with their original horse-hair stuffing. Another recent purchase from Belladonna is a square baby grand piano with massive carved legs, dating to the late 1800s. Jones points out a memento, a hand-wrought metal side table in the dining room. “Caliente bought me that,” she says, “in probably 1997–98. He was a cool little horse I bought out of the kill pen. Bony and wild . . . I brought him home and taught him how to jump.” There is art and science, and good business acumen in Jones’ horse trading methods. “I paid $1,500 for him. Thirty or forty-five days later I took him to the State Fair and won everything there was to win in the jumper division, and sold him for $17,000 in about forty-five days. He went to California and was a star forever. The owners are still friends of mine,” she says, her eyes still on the table. Jones has plans to launch even more ambitious breeding for Cleveland Bays, now her magnificent obsession. As unflappable as Jones seems, she was levelled by Edens’ death. But horses, as she likes to say, have always saved her. Perhaps now she needed the Clevelands as much as they needed her. And so, Jones has moved far beyond Lipizzaners or “Lippies” as she calls them, concentrating her energies upon the endangered Cleveland Bays. She also raises Irish wolfhounds. Her docile seeming wolfhound weighs 150 pounds (a lower than usual weight, but Jones has been breeding him of late), but he knows precisely how to keep wolves or coyotes at bay, and protect his mistress. Jones constantly purchases and trains horses, and gets frequent calls from others who are interested in acquiring one she has trained or rehabbed. She has built a following for field and show hunters and jumpers. “When I’m in need,” she says, “I put a horse up for sale and see who comes to the door.” When she is not tending to a horse or the farm, Jones meets with friends at the Sedgefield Hunt on Wednesdays. She rides and jumps sidesaddle, which isn’t to look prissy or show off. She explains it is because she has little range of motion in her neck. Several vertebrae were severely damaged during yet another unfortunate incident in the barn. She regained consciousness with an apologetic horse licking her face. “Would you like to see the X-rays?” Jones asks with a dry laugh. Slowly, she is mending her battered body and soul, squarely facing the hard work of grief. Her friends draw close, keeping company with her whenever they can, often riding and shooting rifles with her. She is also a sharpshooter, who teaches concealed carry classes at the farm a few times annually. “I have a picture of my mom shooting an AK-47,” Jones laughs. She and her kin are the type that tamed the wild frontier — rugged individualists who play and work hard. Mann frequently visits Overlook Farm with her young daughter, Victoria. Mann also enjoys horse riding and joined the Sedgefield Hunt, but says her daughter is a natural, joyfully at ease with horses. In that sense, she is much like Jones. On most afternoons, Jones works with Victoria. She gleefully points out just how well Victoria is seated on her pony in a video she shot. But Jones will choose spirit over form. “Most of all,” she says, “I love Victoria’s fearlessness.” “Jones is an old soul that is spiritually connected with nature and the ‘critters’ that God created,” Mann says admiringly. Jones has created an equestrian world apart and a safe haven for her and her many critters; one which fourteen horses, dogs, guinea pigs and Jones, the intrepid, call home. OH O.Henry contributing editor Cynthia Adams had a hard-working, horse-trading grandmother named Hallie Helms. Hallie would have dearly loved Abby. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2015

O.Henry 91


“When I was about 10 years old, I gave my teacher an April Fool’s sandwich which had a dead goldfish in it.” — Alan Alda Lilac Madness

By Noah Salt

In his delightful book A Contemplation Upon Flowers, North Carolina garden whiz Bobby Ward points out that in the language of flowers, white lilacs in bloom symbolize purity of spirit and youthful innocence, while purple lilacs speak of passion and first emotions of love. Anyone who grew up in the American Northeast or Midwest is familiar with the sight and smell of lilacs in late April — the truest herald of spring’s arrival in the North Country — and often misses them fiercely upon arrival. Take heart, Yankee transplants. Most lilacs require over 2,000 hours of temps below 45 degrees Fahrenheit in order to bloom, and fortunately there are several varieties that will do just fine here in North Carolina’s relatively warm zone 7–8 winters. The Almanac Gardener has had excellent luck with a variety called “Betsy Ross” that puts out beautiful white blooms and a wonderful fragrance. Fortunately, Descanso Gardens of Southern California has developed several varieties that may be found through your local nursery or purchased directly from several fine garden catalogs. These are taken from the company website: www.decansogardens.org.

Lavender Lady

A Descanso hybrid, the Lavender Lady (Syringa vulgaris “Lavender Lady”) was bred for the sole purpose of tolerating the heat found in Southern California. The violet- and lavender-colored curled petals of its highly fragrant blooms attract insect pollinators such as butterflies and bees. Reaching heights of 10 to 12 feet with about a 6-foot span, the Lavender Lady will successfully grow and bloom in zone 9.

Angel White

Another Descanso hybrid, the Angel White or White Angel (Syringa vulgaris “White Angel”) produces your typically fragrant lilac blooms in a snow white to creamy white color. Like the Lavender Lady, Angel White is a more heat-tolerant variety than most other lilac species and cultivars, so it will grow in zone 9. It grows up to 12 feet tall with a width of about 10 feet.

Excel

The Excel lilac (Syringa x hyacinthiflora “Excel”) is a hybrid of Syringa vulgaris and Syringa oblata. Known as early flowering lilac, the Excel can develop light lavender blooms seven to ten days before other varieties. It grows and blooms in hardiness zones 3 through 9, reaching 8 to 12 feet tall and 6 to 10 feet wide. Plant the Excel in full or partial sunlight, like other lilacs.

California Rose

Another lilac that does not require a cold winter chill to bloom, the California Rose (Syringa x hyacinthiflora “California Rose”) does not produce the typical purple- to lavendercolored blooms associated with other lilac bushes. Instead, it develops pale pink petals that are not as fragrant as other lilac varieties but still attract butterflies and bees. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Esther Staley

Like the California Rose, Esther Staley (Syringa hyacinthiflora “Esther Staley”) produces fragrant, true pink blooms and can generally stand the heat and mild winters common in zone 9. This sun-loving shrub grows to about 8 feet tall in neutral or alkaline soil that has good drainage. Like other lilacs, the blooms of Esther Staley can be cut and added to floral arrangements.

Blue Skies

Sometimes called Monroe, Blue Skies (Syringa vulgaris “Blue Skies”) produces bluish violet blooms that are highly fragrant with a pleasant lilac scent. Blue Skies do not need the chill period like most lilacs do and will bloom in zone 9. In addition, Blue Skies is moderately tolerant to drought conditions but prefers locations with moist, fertile, well-drained soil. A final tip: lilacs need a neutral soil with a pH close to 7.0. If your garden is like most, the pH is closer to 5.0 than 7.0. You will probably need to add lime. Call your local Extension office and ask them about their soil-test kits.

Let It Rain

Every spring, someone once said, is an astonishment — like the only spring. And if one Thomas Tusser who wrote One Hundred Good Points of Husbandry in 1557 can be believed, “sweet April showers do spring May flowers.” Curiously, here in North Carolina, April typically ranks as one of the moderately rainy of months, averaging 3.5 inches of precipitation, placing it behind July, June, August, March and September. Still, the astonishing factor of April is apparent to anyone who has eyes and a working nose this month, as gardens and neighborhood yards from here to the horizon return to life with a vengeance. A moderately rainy spring has many unseen benefits including an improved water table and natural hydration to plants. Too much and you have flooded basements and mold to cope with. The Old Farmer’s Almanac, incidentally, which correctly predicted the deeper cold of late winter and February snows, forecasts a warmer than normal April and May, with drier weather in the northern parts of the Southeast and wetter ones down south, possibly even a late spring tropical storm. Get your bumbershoots and Wellies out, folks.

April 2015

O.Henry 93


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April 2015

O.Henry 95


April 2015

Stampede

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CHOC FULL. Who will win the golden ticket? Find out at Community Theatre of Greensboro’s production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Starr Theatre, 520 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-7469 or ctgso.org.

•HABITATS FOR HUMANITY. Humans and landscapes inform Craig Hood: Visiting Falk

Artist. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg. edu.

April 1—May 3

April 1—18

•STAMPEDE. See how the West was once at George PICTURE SHOW. Feel the ambiance of vintage Catlin’s American Buffalo. (Also, At Home on the Plains, a • movie theaters in Benita Van Winkle’s exhibition of phosmall exhibit of artifacts from the Cree and Lakota Sioux

tos, Please Remain Standing. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

April 1—19

IN THE CLOUDS. Four artists look up for inspira• tion in Skyward, part of a university initiative, “The Globe and the Cosmos.” Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

96 O.Henry

April 2015

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April 1—4

Flora Sale

Luck Be A Lady

tribes at the Wake Forest Museum of Anthropology: moa.wfu.edu.) Reynolda House Museum of American Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Info: 888663-1194 or reynoldahouse.org.

April 1—June 14

ACES OF APERTURE. Innovative techniques among mid-20th-century photographers are the, er, focus at Observed/Examined/Fabricated: Recent Acquisitions in Photography. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336)

4/

334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

April 2

STRUNG UP. 7:30—10:30 p.m. Join the Piedmont Old Time Society for some pickin’ and grinnin’. Also April 16. Gibbs Hundred Brewing Company, 117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-7087 or gibbshundred.com.

PHYLLO TO GO. 10 a.m.—6 p.m. Baklava, spanakopita, chocolate almond rolls . . . yep, it’s the Ladies Philoptochos Annual Greek pastry sale. The Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road. Info: (336) 601- 6717.

PISTIL-PACKIN’ MAMAS. 10 a.m. The Anniversary Garden Club presents a flower-arranging workshop and lecture from Master Flower Show Judge Elaine Wells about miniature floral design. Greensboro Key:

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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April Arts Calendar

Rhonda Vincent & The Rage

17

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet novelist Jacob Paul, author of A Song of Ilan. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 3

BREW HOO! 6 p.m. It’s called Good Friday for a reason: Greensboro’s only “drink-in” beer store showcases craft brews. Beer Co., 121-D McGee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-2204.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 6 p.m. Meet Scott McCormick, author of the children’s series, Mr. Pants. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

RITE OF SPRING. 8 p.m. Host Slick Rick emcees the groovin’ sounds of Spring Fest, featuring R&B The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Council of Garden Clubs Headquarters, 4301-A Lawndale, Greensboro. Info: (336) 282-4940 or greensborocouncilofgardenclubs.com.

Enviro Shorts

Rebels and Redcoats

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singer Keith Sweat, Hip Hop artists Genuwine and Dru Hill. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 743-3000 or ticketmaster. com.

in Beth Henley’s comedy (really!), Crimes of the Heart. Performance times vary. Triad Stage at the Pyrle, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

•SEAGRAM SINGERS. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Phish tribute band Runaway Gin gives it their

April 7

best, er, shot. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger. com.

April 4

TRAFFIC JAMS. 9 p.m. Southern rock gets a new twist from Stop Light Observations, a Charleston, South Carolina, band. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdegreensboro. com.

April 5—26

MS. ISSIPPI MAYHEM. Three sisters reunite in their native Mississippi to confront a dysfunctional past Key:

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Sri Ananda Sarvasri, author of Extraordinary Healthcare: Low Cost, No Cost Natural Healthcare. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com

TO HAVE AND HAVE NOT. 7:30 p.m. The Guilford College Bryan Series reschedules its lecture from former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who will discuss the importance of expanding the middle class in the current economy. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets from the talk’s February 17 postponement will be honored.

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

April 2015

History

Sports

O.Henry 97


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April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


April 8

BARE BONES. 7 p.m. Friends of UNCG Libraries hosts forensic anthropologist and author Kathy Reichs at its annual dinner. Cone Ballroom, Elliott University Center, UNCG, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet poets Mark Smith-Soto (Time Pieces) and Terry Kennedy. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Ann B. Ross, author of Miss Julia Lays Down the Law: A Novel. Barnes & Noble, Friendly Center, 3102 Northline Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-4200 or store-locator.barnesandnoble.com/store/2795.

April 9

TECHNICAL FOWLS. Noon. Lunch and learn with Ann Walter-Fromson, along with Audubon N.C. and T. Gilbert Pearson Audubon Society at “Bird-Friendly Gardening: Your Yard Matters.” Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

AUTHOR, AUHTOR. 5 p.m. Meet Ladene Hayes, author of The Continuing Saga of Rikki Tikki Tavi. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro.

April Arts Calendar

Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 10

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Eddie Huffman, author of John Prine: In Spite of Himself. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

WORD UP! 6 p.m. How fast can you form words with seven tiles? Root for competing teams at Reading Connections 15th Annual Scrabble Challenge. Empire Room, 203 South Elm Street, Greensboro. To register: readingconnections.org.

BROOKLYN BEATS. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.). Jazz, roots and rock characterize the sound of Brooklyn-based Les Racquet. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

April 9—12

SPLASH! The Gate City plays host to USA Diving’s • new Synchronized Diving National Championships. Competition times vary. Greensboro Aquatic Center, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000.

April 9—19

LUCK BE A LADY. Gamblers and floozies take a chance on love in UNC-School of the Arts production of Guys and Dolls. Performance times vary. Stevens Center, 405 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 721-1945.

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DESPERADOES. 8 p.m. You’ll want to check out— but never leave — the performance by Eagles tribute band On the Border. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdegreensboro. com.

April 10—19

PLAYTIME. The Drama Center participates in the North Carolina New Play Project with The Osanbi Deal, about an African-American family living near a hazardous waste site. Steven D. Hyers Studio, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Tickets: brownpapertickets.com.

April 11

ANTIQUES ROADSHOW. 9 a.m.—1 p.m. Have an expert assess the value of your family heirlooms (with the exception of large furniture or firearms) at Evaluation Extravaganza. Small fees are charged for the service. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2015

O.Henry 99


April Arts Calendar •

FEATS OF CLAY. 10 a.m. Everything goes to pots at the Potters of the Piedmont Pottery Festival. Leonard Recreation Center, 6324 Ballinger Road, Greensboro. Info: pottersofthepiedmont.com.

Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks. com.

Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3637 or ncroom@ highpointnc.gov.

FLORA SALE. 9 a.m.—2 p.m. Flowers, veg• etable starts, herbs, fruit trees, compost . . . Spend your

April 14

greenbacks on green things at the Annual Plant Sale. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

HOT TO FOXTROT. 7:30—9:30 p.m. Learn ballroom dancing for free on every second Saturday of the month. Lewis Recreation Center, 3110 Forest Lawn Drive, Greensboro. Info: Contact E. Leggio at (336) 643-6088.

THE BRIGHTEST BULBS. 2—4 p.m. Celebrate the season at the Spectacular Spring Tulip Bloom, featuring 23,000 flowering bulbs. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

April 11, 25

POUND FOR POUND. 10 a.m. He’s still forging ahead. The Blacksmith, that is. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 8851859 or highpointmuseum.org.

April 12—17

FEMMES FANTASTIQUES. Women’s journals, artwork, photographs, culture cards and a cookbook inform Learning ART Together: Bridging Cultures through Art. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

April 11—12

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MUSICAL MOVEMENTS. The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra trades arias for aerials with acrobatic troupe Cirque de la Symphonie. Performance times vary. Greeensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: ticketmaster.com.

April 13

PIECES OF THE PAST. 6:30 p.m. Genealogist Diane Richard explains how to interpret records of the Freedman’s Bureau, an agency that assisted displaced whites and freed slaves after the Civil War. Morgan Room, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main

April 12

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet author J.D. Rhodes. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street,

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LOVERLY. 7 p.m. By George, you’ll be dancing all night after watching the contest of wills between Eliza Doolittle and Prof. Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (1964). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

TWOFER. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) Musical storytellers Twiddle and electro-jazz funkmeisters Kung Fu bring it to the stage. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

April 15

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet writers Jeremy Hawkins (The Last Days of Video) and Steve Mitchell (The Naming of Ghosts). Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 16

AMERICAN KID. 8 p.m. Country sensation Kenny Chesney draws ’em in for the Big Revival Tour. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

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April Arts Calendar

April 16, 17, 19

PRODIGAL SUN. Life unfolds in reverse in Philip Glass’ opera, Galileo Galilei, about the life of the Italian astronomer persecuted for advancing the heliocentric theory of the universe. Performance times vary. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

April 16—19

NOBODY HOME. The plight of those who have no safe haven is the crux of No Dwelling: Homeless in America, an original play inspired by the homeless in Guilford County. Performance times vary. Paul Robeson Theatre, NC A&T State University, 1601 East Market Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 334-7749 or ncataggies.com.

April 16—22

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or www. milb.com

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April 17

PLUCKY. 7 p.m. Listen to some toe-tappin’ bluegrass from Rhonda Vincent and the Rage. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

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April 18

LIT PICKERS. 8 a.m. So ya wanna be a writer? Then sit in on workshops and lectures at the North Carolina Writers Network 2015 Spring Conference. MHRA Building, UNCG, Greensboro. To register: ncwriters.org.

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• •

TEA HEE. 10 a.m. Sample teas imported from China or infusions from herbs grown in colonial gardens. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum. org.

Visit

REBELS AND REDCOATS. 10 a.m.—4 p.m. Watch a simulated battle by a Revolutionary War reenactment group. Historical Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 4 p.m. Join author Mariane Gingher — and three O.Henry writers including founding editor Jim Dodson — at the release party of 27 Views of Greensboro. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks. com.

• • ••

APRIL FOOLS. 8 p.m. Cedric the Entertainer, Mike Epps, Eddie Griffin, D.L. Hughley, George Lopez and Art

Film Sports

Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers

• • •

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

••

Performing arts Fun History

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O.Henry 101


April Arts Calendar

Charlie Murphy are the Black and Brown Comedy Get Down. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

April 19

(336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 23

ENVIRO SHORTS. 6:30 p.m. See the contenders of the 6th Annual Sustainability Short Film Competition. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

LUNY TUNES. 7:30 p.m. Shut up and dance to the catchy sounds of Walk the Moon. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdegreensboro.com.

April 21

HEY, HEY PAULA! 8 p.m. Have some laughs on standup comic and regular on NPR’s Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me Paula Poundstone. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet Tom Wood, author of Vendetta Stone. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. HEADLINER. 7:30 p.m. The Guilford College Bryan Series hosts CNN news anchor Anderson Cooper. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

CHARTER CHAT. 6 p.m. Robert Rogers, the Lord Viscane, KCB, crosses the pond to discuss the (800) year-old document that liberated us all at: “A Universal Charter? The Legacy of the Magna Carta.” Greensboro Country Club Ballroom, 410 Sunset Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 282-4390.

• •

April 22—26

ENTERTAINING 101. 6—8 p.m. Learn how to make something eggy, something sweet and something boozy (now we’re talkin’!) at Lisa Newsome’s Adult Cooking Class, “How to Host the Ultimate Brunch.” Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 317 or gcmuseum.com.

TURNER CLASSIC. The challenges of freedom are the focus of August Wilson’s Joe Turner’s Come and Gone, a UNCG theatre production. Performance times vary. Brown Building Theatre, 406 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

April 22

April 24

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet historian Eric Oakley who will deliver the lecture “Melville’s Pacific.” Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info:

BIVALVE BASH. 7—11 p.m. Sponsor VF

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102 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Corporation invites you to shuck and jive at the Oyster Roast, with live music from Right to Party, benefitting Family Service of the Piedmont. Irving Park, Greensboro. Tickets: oysterroast.info.

MOLLY CODDLED. 8 p.m. Listen to some jazz stylings from teen queen of 1980s flicks, such as Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club at “An Evening with Molly Ringwald.” All ticket proceeds benefit the Greensboro Urban Ministry. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

April 25

BLUES PLATE SPECIAL. 8 a.m.—11:30 a.m. Nuthin’ says “Southern” like grits and blues. Come gitcha some from the Old Mill of Guilford and Piedmont Blues Preservation Society. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 3 p.m. Meet travel writers David and Deb White, authors of Let’s Take the Kids to London 2. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April Arts Calendar

(336) 508-9998 or piedmontswingdance.org.

April 26

HE’S BACK! 3 p.m. Meet former Lucky 32 Chef Jay Pierce, author of Shrimp. • Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

RAP-ONESE. 7 p.m. Groove to the Hip Hop sound of IMASU! Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdegreensboro.com.

April 27

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poets John Hoppenthaler (Domestic Garden) and Al Maginnes (Music from Small Towns). Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

PRAISE BE! 7:30 p.m. Christian rockers the Devil Wears Prada throw down some with metal-infused tunes. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdegreensboro.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet poet Susan Schmidt, author of Salt Runs in My Blood. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

•JIVE TIME. 7:30 p.m. Take a lesson and then take to the floor to live music or a DJ’s spinning tunes. Greensboro Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info:

• • • •• • • • Art

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O.Henry 103


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Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

April 28—30

HOPPERS HERE. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255

Tuesdays

READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to storytimes: BookWorms (ages 12—24 months) meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

April 30

SNOOD FEST. 2 p.m. Jump and jive to the tunes of Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, the Andrews Sisters and more, as ArtBeat presents “In the Mood: 1940s Big Band Revue.” The Crown, Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

STORY CORPS. 11 a.m. Book a slot in your schedule for Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS

Mondays

GARDEN OF EATIN’. 3­­—4 p.m. The Little Spouts program celebrates spring in the Edible Schoolyard with an exploration of water (4/14), animals (4/21) and flowers (4/28). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 321 or gcmuseum.com.

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

•TALK IS CHEAP. Noon. Apprenez l’art de la conversation française. Pardon our French and join a

conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm

ROOM

REHEARSAL

DINNERS

CORPOR ATE

FUNCTIONS

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 8 a.m.—1 p.m. Get fresh with locally grown produce, cakes, pies and cut fleurs for a pretty table at the Mid Week Market (starts 4/22). Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7—10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10—15 a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn. On Fridays, dining gives way to dancing, from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. with a Pop-Up Dance Party — at Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3790699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music.htm.

ONCE UPON A TIME. 2 p.m. Preschool Storytime I convenes for children ages 3­—5. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

Thursdays

• TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool

BRIDAL

DINING

Wednesdays

Brunch 11:30am-2:30pm & Dinner 5pm-9pm LOCAL

ART

FOR

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

SCULPTURES

POTTERY

PAINTINGS

SHOWERS

Now Open Sundays!

BABY

D A I LY S P E C I A L S • G R E AT PA R K I N G • PAT I O

PRIVATE

Dossett and Scott Manring (4/14); Martha Bassett and friends (4/21); and Molly McGinn and Wurlitzer Prize (4/28) — at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32. com/fried_chicken.htm.

LUNCHEONS

CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’. 6:30 — 9:30 p.m. Y’all come for Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs from a Southern Kitchen. Tuck into Chef Felicia’s signature fried chicken and gravy, select beverage specials and live music by Scott Manring and the Walker Family Band (4/7); Laurelyn

April Arts Calendar

April 2015

O.Henry 105


April Arts Calendar 1000 West Friendly Ave • 274-3286 • www.fbcgso.org

Storytime II convenes for children ages 3­—5. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30—8 p.m. Hear Live, local jazz featuring Neill Clegg and special guests in the O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby Bar. No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or www.greenvalleygrill.com/jazz.htm

First Baptist invites YOU to worship with us!

Maundy Thursday | April 2 at 6:00 pm | Service of Table Good Friday | April 3 at 7:30 pm | Service of Shadows Easter Sunday | April 5 at 10:30 am | Easter Worship

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

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

Fridays

THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $4 Fun Fridays, starting 2/13. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

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 carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.

Saturdays

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m.—noon. The produce is always fresh and the cut fleurs so belles. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

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

Sundays

HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grownups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to the usual $8, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

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

106 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


ur s for o Join u walk Sale e 5 g Sid Sprin ay, April 2 d r u t a S -4 pm 9 am

Everything for the Home!

Over 6,000 square feet filled with antiques, upholstery, accessories and gifts from over 25 designers, dealers and artists.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

You’ve known Libby Hill for delicious seafood for 60 years. Now, with more Healthy options on the menu, its time to Re-discover Libby Hill. Six Locations to serve you: 3920 Cotswold Ave • 1100 Summit Ave 3011 Randleman Rd • 3930 High Point Rd Mayberry Mall, Mt. Airy 1629 Freeway Dr., Reidsville

Greensboro’s oldest independent restaurant. April 2015 O.Henry 107


Green Living Arts Festival @Roots

ep ket r Ma

De

Saturday, April 25 – 11 am - 3 pm

• Green Living Presentations & Demos • Green Groups • Open Mic • Crafters Market • Organic Gardening • Tiny House

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108 O.Henry

April 2015

www.deeprootsmarket.coop The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Greensboro’s Best Tex-Mex Cuisine Lunch and Dinner- Battleground Sunday-Thursday 11:00am- 9:00pm Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

2505 Battleground Ave Greensboro NC (336) 617-4155

Equipping Life & Adventure www.GreatOutdoorProvision.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Thruway Shopping Center 336-727-0906

Friendly Shopping Center 336-851-1331

April 2015

O.Henry 109


BY S Y A L TWO P

Arts & Culture

Y E L N E ETH H

B

APRIL 5 - 26, 2015

MAY 6 - 17, 2015

232 SOUTH ELM STREET DOWNTOWN GREENSBORO, NC W W W. T R I A D S TA G E . O R G

209 N. SPRUCE STREET DOWNTOWN WINSTON-SALEM, NC W W W. T R I A D S TA G E . O R G

A SOUTHERN COMEDY

110 O.Henry

April 2015

A WILD WESTERN

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Paintings By C.P. Logan

Arts & Culture

The Fountain 42x60

original oil

Original oils, commissions, workshops, studio classes, online classes, painting parties

www.cplogan.com

1206 W. Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408

COMMAND PERFORMANCE

gonna I’m re! be he

310 South Greene Street Downtown Greensboro, NC 336.333.2605 CarolinaTheatre.com

PAULA

POUNDSTONE COMMAND PERFORMANCE BENEFIT GALA

April 23, 2015

Sponsored by

You can hear Paula through your laughter as a regular panelist on NPR’s popular rascal of a weekly news quiz show, “Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me”. She tours regularly, performing stand-up comedy across the country, prompting Bob Zany with the Boston Globe to write, “Poundstone can regale an audience for several hours with her distinctive brand of wry, intelligent and witty comedy.” Gala Dinner tickets are $250 per person, and include dinner, open bar and show. Show-only tickets are $35 or $25, depending on seat location. A $2.50 theatre facility fee will be added to each show ticket. This event is a fundraiser for the Carolina Theatre; no sales tax will be added. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

April 2015

O.Henry 111


Arts & Culture

2105 - A W. Cornwallis Drive

Behind Finks Jewelers - Next to The Elks Club

336.274.6717

www.IrvingParkArtandFrame.com

Final Concert of the 2014-2015 Season!

The Piedmont’s Premier Chorus

Saturday, April 18, 8:00 PM Monday, April 20, 7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church, Greensboro

Credit: manring.net

CELEBRATING THE PRESIDENTIAL INAUGURATION OF

D. E. Lorraine Sterritt, PhD

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Winston-Salem, NC | 336-721-2600 salemacademy.com/inauguration | salem.edu/inauguration

112 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


and, perhaps, the busiest event schedule in the state. In addition to readings with national and local authors, the store hosts everything from a French conversation group to Zen meditation. Info: Scuppernongbooks.com Mary Jo Buckl recently became new owner of The Next Chapter Bookstore in historic New Bern. The shop is still packed with gently used and new books autographed by local authors. The scenic view is a must-see for those visiting the coast. Info: thenextchapternc.com By Sandra Redding

April 1. This is the day upon which we are reminded of what we are on the other three-hundred and sixty-four days. — Mark Twain

Literary Events

April 13–16 (Monday–Thursday). Spring Literary Festival, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee. This four-day series features an impressive potpourri of national and state authors (free). Info: litfestival.org April 24–26 (Friday–Sunday). Blue Ridge Bookfest, Blue Ridge Community College, Flat Rock. Featured presenter, Joseph Galloway, one of America’s premier war and foreign correspondents, plus dozens of workshops and signings by N.C. writers. Info: blueridge.edu/blueridgebookfest April 25 (Saturday, 9 a.m.). A day-long series of poetry workshops sponsored by Press 53 and Jacar Press. Historic Brookstown Inn, WinstonSalem. Have lunch with Poet Laureate Shelby Stephenson. Optional Sunday workshop led by Rebecca Foust, 2015 Press 53 Award winner. Registration: www.press53.com/gatheringofpoets.html April 25 (Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.). Annual Haiku Holiday Conference, Bolen Brooks Farm, Chapel Hill. All haiku writers and readers are invited to this free event. Morning presenters: Charlotte Digregorio and Terri Finch; afternoon workshop led by Lenard Moore, chairman of the society. Info: nc-haiku.org/haiku-holiday

I think I would have written more books if I’d had fewer kids . . . but I think the books in general would have had a little less spark in them. — Clyde Edgerton

Book Store Updates

The staff of The Country Bookshop keeps customers happy by locally hand-picking an eclectic selection of books. Historical novelist Anne Barnhill says this cozy shop is one of her favorite places. “The staff is always courteous, knowledgeable and enthusiastic,” she says. “I love promoting my books in Southern Pines.” Info: www.thecountrybookshop.biz In February, Pomegranate Books of Wilmington celebrated the opening of Café Zola, a coffee and tea shop, inside the store. Specializing in books by local authors, Pomegranate hosts readings, children’s events, lectures and book clubs. If you attend Wilmington’s Azalea Festival on April 11, stop by for book browsing and a cup of tea. Info: pombooks.net In January, Scuppernong Books celebrated its first year in Greensboro. Book lovers flock to this popular downtown spot for books, camaraderie, coffee, tea, beer, wine

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Just Out

C. Michael Briggs’ Guilford Under the Stars and Bars ($44.95) is a comprehensive, 300-page record of the Civil War in Guilford County. It is loaded with historical documents and events, photos and illustrations, driving tours, a list of Guilford soldiers who died in the war and an entire chapter on the long rifles made in Guilford before and during the war. And don’t miss the chapter on “Where is the Confederate gold buried?” Available at 3705-B West Market Street, Greensboro, or call (336) 274-4758. “When my daughter disappeared, the town gathered to search the frozen river,” begins one of Ansel Elkins’ poems in her newly published Blue Yodel (Yale University Press, $18 paperback.) “The Reformatory for misbehaving girls/ keeps its young vixens walled in,” begins another. You may remember Elkins’ name from a snarky New Yorker article about how the Greensboro poet spent three weeks writing poetry in a sleek New York hotel. Once you read her poetry, you’re unlikely to remember her for anything else.

A Chinese poet many years ago noticed that to re-create something in words is like being alive twice. — Frances Mayes

Writing Lesson

In 2003, Fred Chappell, then poet laureate, suggested selecting master poets to mentor promising student and adult poets. Marie Gilbert, former president of the North Carolina Poetry Society (NCPS), volunteered to personally fund the project. The generosity of those two Greensboro poets resulted in the creation of the Gilbert-Chappell Distinguished Poetry Series. This project, administered by NCPS, annually appoints three stellar N. C. poets to critique the poetry of and arrange readings for at least two students and one adult poet. Greensboro’s Rosalyn Marhatta, a 2014 adult mentee, says she became much more confident after being mentored by Lynn Veach Sadler. “My task was to complete twelve pages of poetry in four months,” Marhatta says. “An overachiever, I wrote more. My mentor encouraged me to send poems out. If rejected, I was to send them to another publication the next day.” Over sixty-two people attended a reading at Greensboro Public Library. “I was so thrilled to see Kevin Watson and Fred Chappell in the audience,” Marhatta says, “so thrilled I forgot to take a picture with Mr. Chappell.” OH Read a poem. Write a poem. Give a poem to someone you love. And do keep me posted on writerly happenings: sanredd@earthlink.net Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, is a riveting story about heartbreak and hope in a Quaker community. April 2015

O.Henry 113


Downtown Greensboro

Experience the unique flavors of the southern Mediterranean. Koshary offers an interesting menu with selections from Lamb Chops and Filet Mignon to Stuffed Mediterranean Artichokes and Falafel.

viviD is in fuLL sWing!

Koshary Restaurant delights the senses with authentic recipes using fresh ingredients.

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Tues. - Thurs. 11am-6pm and Fri. - Sat. 11am-8pm Sunday & Monday 12pm-4pm

114 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Photographs courtesy of All-A-Flutter & Bailey Blackburn

Wings of Desire “I flit, I float, I fleetly flee, I fly.” The lyrics and accompanying dance from The Sound of Music perfectly capture little girls’ obsession with butterflies — as does the stereotype of the bespectacled scientist in safari hat, chasing the winged insects with a net. And in Greek mythology, Psyche, a mortal who wed the god Eros and was transformed into the goddess of the soul, is often depicted as a butterfly or having butterfly wings. Whether because of its aerial grace, delicate and elaborately decorated wings, or the promise of eternal life, Lepidoptera rhopalocera fascinates us. So why not have a closer look at these flying marvels at All-A-Flutter Farms in High Point? Started in 2001, All-A-Flutter began as a response to the destruction of wildlife habitats from over-industrialization and commercialization. Its M.O. is simple: Raise Monarchs and sell them to businesses or to individuals who want to celebrate special occasions that suggest transition or transformation, such as weddings, funerals or graduations. Education is also crucial to the farm’s mission. Starting mid-month, you

Worth the Drive to High Point

can take a tour that involves learning about the parts of the butterfly and its differentiation from moths. You’ll see the insect’s entire life cycle, from caterpillar to chrysalis to winged beauty up-close. Make a day of it, with a picnic in tow, and take home your own lifecycle kit, complete with milkweed (caterpillar chow), netting and two Monarch eggs. Or, if you’re a gardener and want to plant your own butterfly garden, All-A-Flutter can help. You can enjoy a private release party at home, but the farm’s Annual Migration Release on October 10th is well worth a return visit. The Monarchs will fleetly flee and fly away — to Mexico and other warmer climes. But not to worry: There will be more next spring, bringing with them, as always, a sense of renewal and hope. Info: All-A-Flutter farms opens to groups of twenty or more, by appointment, beginning April 15th. Individuals and smaller groups can see two shows every Saturday, starting April 18th. Info: (336) 454-5651 or all-aflutter.com. OH — Nancy Oakley

M A G A Z I N E Find it at these High Point Locations:

• Harris Teeter, 265 Eastchester Dr. • • Harris Teeter, 1589 Skeet Club Rd. • • J.H. Adams Inn, 1108 N. Main St. • • Shores Fine Dry Cleaning, 804 Westchester Dr. • • Tex & Shirley’s, 4005 Precision Way • • Theodore Alexander Outlet, 416 S. Elm St. • • Vintage Thrift and Antiques, 1100 N. Main St. •

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April 2015

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GreenScene Sedgefield Hunt Ball High Point Country Club ­— Emerywood Clubhouse Saturday, February 7, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Annie Minges, Brittany Luckowicz, Ali Jaworska, Jessica Hall, Alli Walker, Caroline Smith

Amanda Battisti, Alyssa Mann, Abby Jones, Stan Corbin, Natalie Cridlebaugh Anna Cox, Taylor Jones, Hallie Bell

Lincoln Sadler, Laura Lindamood, Barrister Gerald Movelle

Debbie Jones, Sandy Dunbeck

Anna Gilbertson, Collier Wimmer, Mallory Drummond

Warren & Susan Reynolds

Rich Weintraub, Sandy Dunbeck, Judy Gallman, Katie Kitchin Tyler Price, Morgan Boyer

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April 2015

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Area Schools

Challenging the Mind. Nourishing the Spirit. Strong academics are at the core of our educational approach, but we know the best education develops the mind, body, and spirit. Limited spaces available. Call for a tour.

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GreenScene Night of Literary Stars O.Henry Magazine to Benefit Greensboro Ballet O.Henry Hotel Saturday, February 21, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Clyde Edgerton, Jill McCorkle, Frances Mayes, Wiley Cash, Jim Dodson

Dan Stein, Nancy Hoffmann, Ellen Fischer

Rachel Betts, Kathleen Quaintance

Margaret Mullins, Anna Parker

Richard Valitutto, Karen Hundgen, Bill Mitchell, Fred Haas, Laura Novia, Stephen Hundgen, Julene Valitutto, Linda Mitchell Rebecca & Paul Woolf, Kerry & Kevin Andrews

Elizabeth Kelley, Kathy Hughes

Jackie Wieland, Maggie Wisco, Kathryn Roth

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Kim Thore, Natalie & Chip Cromartie, Michelle Davis

Jim & Isabelle Dickinson

Chip & Natalie Cromartie

April 2015

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GreenScene

Ibby Wooten, Lynn Wooten, Andrew Spainhour, Shane Burton, Cecelia Thompson

Corks for Kids Path Presented by Hospice Foundation of Greater Greensboro Friday, March 6, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Brandy Mills, Emma Merritt

Marlin & Courtney Dabney

Trefyn Cater, Lindsey Goodstat, Amanda McKenna, Andrew Kowalewski

Sandy & Lisa Duck

Chuck & Pamela Lane, Robert Sneed, Dawn Messinger, Ruth Williams, Jeff Bruner

Carol Loye, Chris Cowles, Amy Stroud

Carmon Allen, Kathy Haines, Samantha Edwards

Cornelia Shaw, Carol Hunt, Ruth Short

Timothy Britt, Kristen Hoover, Sharon & Tim Britt, Cynthia Johnson

Leslie & Rick Morgan, Pat Soenksen

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April 2015

Elmira Powell, Vanessa Haygood

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Extraordinary Homes Bring Joy & the Best in Living

Carlson Farms

Ascot Point

Barrington Place 5015 Carlson Dairy Road

8 Saint Simons Sq

For centuries the love of an English Manor home placed on a perfect private spot is a timeless treasure. Located on top of 21 acres of grounds and gardens with a views of Lake Higgins. Computerized gas powered generator. A Town and Country Estate. Price upon request.

Charming Ascot Point home with 9 ft ceilings, hdwd flrs & custom moldings. Master on main, fireplaces in den & LR. Kitchen updated tile floor, granite counter tops, back splash, island, breakfast area with bar. Laundry room. Upper level has 2 bedroom, combined bath. Lots of closets and storage.

Irving Park

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WOW! Has been totally updated - painted inside and out! New Kitchen 2014 - cabinets, granite counter tops, tile back splash, new stainless steel appliances. Hardwoods throughout first floor. Master Bedroom on main level with garden tub & shower. Upstairs has 2 large Bedrooms& Bath. 2-car garage. Must see!

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Desirable brick home on New Irving Park. Wonderful family home with hardwood floors, plantation shutters, updated Kitchen, 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths. Bonus Room and Office on 3rd level. Screened Porch, fenced yard and 2-car garage. Great neighborhood too! Must see!

Grand one of a kind luxury home… golf course location… designed for the fullest enjoyment of each season and gracious family living. Four bedrooms, three and a half baths. Price upon request

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Xan.Tisdale@bhhsyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@bhhsyostandlittle.com ©2015 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

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

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122 O.Henry

April 2015

Camp is Monday through Friday, 9am to 1pm. $225 per child, $100 deposit due to reserve space.

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GreenScene Parisian Tea Party & Fashion Show Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs & Belk Thursday, March 12, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Polly Brank, Phyllis Moore, Gloria Moore, Cathy Yarbrough, Linda Taft, Ada Robinson, Joan McLaughlin

Rachel Shackelford, Betty Morrell

Ada Robinson, Gloria Moore, Polly Brank Anne Vontempo, Pat Archer, Jo Robinette

Mimi Morton, Candy Gessner, Nancy Halloran, Martha Allred, Dixie Brady

Elizabeth Wolf, Louise Kemp

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124 O.Henry

April 2015

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GreenScene

Sisters in Song An Evening with the Spelman College Glee Club & Bennett College Choir Monday, March 16, 2015 Amra Marshall, Maria Crawford, Delphina Charles

Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Henry & Yvonne Revels

Sharon Owens, Gayle Swain, Cassandra Joseph, Eloise Alexis

Ava Taylor-Williams, Roslyn Sanders

Angie Swann-Jones, Michelle Linster

Treana Bowling, Jeannette McCall

Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Dr. Rosalind Fuse-Hall, Dr. Beverly Tatum

Howard Gaither, Rhonda White

Michelle Brewington, Vyvien Ford-Brewington, Dr. Beverly Tatum Dr. Gerald & Dr. Althea Truesdale

Odessa Long, Dr. Johnnetta B. Cole, Angie Swann-Jones

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Roslyn Smith, Mayor Nancy Vaughan

Joy Bullock, Paige Matthews

Audrey Franklin, Tonisha Coburn, Melissa Watson

April 2015

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Sweet Southern Exposures

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126 O.Henry

April 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

A Little Wonderment What April fool doesn’t need that?

By Astrid Stellanova

When you’ve got April Fools’, Easter, Earth and Tax Days all on the calendar, it can be a challenge to stay upright, Star Children. But then, Mother Nature gave us springtime, duckies and daisies in April, too, just to compensate with a little wonderment. A shout out to those born under the sign of the Ram — Pharrell Williams, Robert Downey Jr., and Susan Boyle, for starters — proving you can’t go around generalizing about this sign. Huzzah to the most expressive eyebrows in the world, sported by that sexy Aries goat, Jack Nicholson. Oh, that’s right. Jack’s a Taurus, which means it would never work out. But he’s still my celebrity crush. Aries (March 21–April 19) You’re usually a take-no-prisoners kind of person, but this month you find yourself more laid back at last. A good thing, Darling. Why, you ask? Because you were just one John Deere away from thinking you owned the whole farm when you only bought one goat. The fault, dear Ram, lies in Aries’ stars — and big mouth. We are coming up on another Mercury in retrograde next month, which is going to leave everybody, even you, a little whack-a-doodle. So just make the most of your birthday, and if you have to sign anything, or commit to anything, do it sooner than later. You don’t like to avoid decisions, but you should next month. Learn the lyrics to Pharrell’s “Happy” song — because it would make a good anthem for the unsinkable Rams I know and love should you fall off the boat. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Life frustrations are finally going to let up and give you some peace. Recently, there has been a long string of crap-ola and uh-ohs to weather. Given your feisty temperament, you have really been on slow boil and about to bust wide open. Go let loose and have some fun. Get your mind off things. Let off some steam, and reset your attitude. If you don’t, life will be the same damned thing all over again . . . and it doesn’t have to be, Sweetheart. The number 9 is lucky for you right now, and you’ll notice it popping up. Gemini (May 21–June 20) If only the world would do things your way, right? Nooooo, it ain’t necessarily so. Sugar, you can’t call the square dance when you don’t even know the two-step. It’s time you stop trying to direct the universe and realize you’re in this big old astral schoolhouse with everybody else. We are all here to learn. If you feel pain, maybe it’s because your nose is stuck/wedged in somebody else’s business. (Another tip you might actually like: Somebody has a massive crush on you.) Cancer (June 21–July 22) You’ve had a correction in your life that must have been a huge relief; whatever it was, it frees you to move on. Now, you are able to pursue something that has been on your bucket list forever. You can try ice fishing, train a service dog, or learn sign language — or just take a sexy someone out for a five-course supper. Just don’t try to renege on a favor you promised someone close to you, because they are counting on it. Leo (July 23–August 22) It don’t much matter if you are a male or female; you have been pissy and on the outs with most of the womenfolk in your life. Take care of business — own whatever it is that happened, even if you still insist you didn’t do it — and restore order in the house. Would you rather be right, or be happy? Outside the house, things look great. You score Godiva for Hershey prices this month — investments and money matters are going right for lucky ole you. Virgo (August 23–September 22) There’s a fatalistic streak in you that sometimes thinks you don’t deserve good fortune when you find it. Honey, put on some Coltrane or Pharrell and purge that nonsense. Come the middle of the month you get a visit from somebody you forgot about who has always cared for you. They will bring you good news, and even a little good fortune, which you most assuredly do deserve. Someone never forgot a favor you did long ago, and they kindly repay it. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Libra (September 23–October 22) That medium in the road (Grandpa Hornblower never exactly understood the word “median”) may be directing you to some excellent destiny. And the medium may not have a crystal ball, or even look like a Swami, or know hand signals. That’s the beauty of life; help comes from unexpected sources this month. And take time to look up at the stars; there’s more than one astral event this month that will definitely have destiny-changing capacity for your future. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) You had a very serious scare, and a too-close-for-comfort call in the past weeks. It ain’t over just yet, Sugar. Here’s what Astrid would recommend. Pay closer attention. Know where you are putting your feet before you step in a very large pile of hoo-hoo and mess up them (very expensive) designer shoes. You have got to think about feeling good, staying well, and not just about looking good. Meanwhile, a seemingly inconsequential mistake is resolved in your favor. It will turn out to be bigger than you knew. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) When my Daddy had his unfortunate incarceration in Birmingham, he asked to serve his time working in the kitchen because he loved to eat. This is kind of like your predicament this month: You get a lot more of what you will discover you might not necessarily like. Sorta like my Daddy having unlimited access to bad prison food. Here’s the best advice to navigate these waters: Be explicit; express your inner wishes clearly, because the universe could throw you a curve ball just for laughs. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) You lost something lately that really mattered to you. Maybe you don’t even realize it yet. But when you do, I suspect you will be in a tizzy. Astrid advises you to remember what Grandpa taught me. Fear is just False Evidence Appearing Real. It will come back. Meanwhile, read every important paper very closely. Do not sign or commit to do anything without caution and good advice. Stay cool, Sweet Thing. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) There’s a brown Buick in your garage that you would desperately like to transform into a red Ferrari. Just through wishful thinking. Honey, you are just like my Beau. He spends a lot of time wishing and hoping, with his rump in his old rump-sprung recliner. A red Ferrari-size dream is going to require some action on your part. Put a little English on that ball and get in the game, because if you rack ’em up, you will win ’em. Pisces (February 19–March 20) Somebody wronged you, it is true, and you have begun a grudge match. There ain’t no winning, Sweetheart. Even if you win, when it comes to revenge, you lose. Smile sweetly and go about your business. And don’t eat your anger, or you will wind up like Astrid — my sugar has just soared, Honey, since I discovered dark chocolate as the bandage for all wounds. Your luck is going to transform, but it will require you to pay attention and respond. OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. April 2015

O.Henry 127


O.Henry Ending

Dad’s Baseball Glove

Dad always

loved baseball, but he was 85 before he got his first glove.

His family owned Cook-Lewis Foundry on Spring Street. The foundry fabricated metals during World War I, peppered the streets with manhole covers and provided machine parts for the burgeoning cotton industry. The year Dad was born his family moved to a new house in the Glenwood neighborhood. They were one of few families with a car. When Dad was 11, his father died. My grandmother, left with three children and no income, took a job at the hosiery factory. Dad was a paperboy, carrying the Greensboro Daily News in the mornings and The Daily Record after school. He rode his bike, pulling the papers from a leather bag and tossing them in the yards along his route. Whenever they could, the neighborhood boys headed down Lexington Avenue to a grass field and played ball, a welcome distraction from their exacting lives. The family finances worsened as the Depression dragged on, and Dad took a job as a Clover Dairy milkman. I have a photograph of him in white pants, white shirt with the sleeves rolled high up on his arms, a bowtie and service cap with a shiny black bill. His delivery was done by horse and cart. He would load the cart at the dairy, then stop at each house — maybe the same houses where he delivered papers — and jump off with the clanging crates of milk as the horses moved on to the next house to wait. There was no longer any time for playing baseball. During one of our conversations about his childhood, Dad told me that during those pick-up games of ball he played with his friends, he always had to borrow a glove. “I vowed that my children would never suffer the humiliation of doing without,” he said. In the business my dad ultimately worked in — warehousing — blue cotton gloves were worn to unload cardboard boxes and leather gloves were removed before business meetings. Over the years, Dad became quite successful, and we had most everything we wanted. A few weeks before Dad’s 85th birthday, my husband and I were in an antique store. “They have old baseball gloves,” I said. “Some of them are from the time

128 O.Henry

April 2015

my dad was young.” I picked up a glove. The tag read, “Rare Draper-Maynard three finger glove . . . considered the best of their time.” “I want to get him one for his birthday.” I put my fingers in the glove; I wasn’t sure which two fingers went together in the three pouches. I put my middle and ring fingers together; they felt tight and uncomfortable. Durham pointed to the price tag. “A hundred and fifty dollars?” “It is a lot of money,” I said, “but I want Dad to know I remember his story about the glove.” I put it to my nose, took in the fine leather scent of it. It was the perfect gift. At his party, I couldn’t wait for Dad to open my gift. I worried he would cry — he teared up often lately — but part of me also wanted him to be that moved. He opened the box and tissue and stared at the glove. “It’s a glove like you might have had as a young boy,” I said. “1934.” He turned the glove with its simple stitching and sweat-darkened palm over and over, looked up and said, “That’s real nice. Thank you.” Then he wrapped the glove in the tissue, placed it back in the box and moved on to the next present. I turned and glanced at my husband, heavy with disappointment. Shortly before his 88th birthday, Dad broke his hip. It was weeks before the doctors realized the fall had caused a brain bleed. Surgery was unsuccessful, and he died two months after the fall. The day we were to select Dad’s casket, I saw the glove on his dresser with autographed baseballs my sister had given him, his leather catch-all with old keys and coins, books and magazines he was going to read. I picked up the glove to take home, a memento for me now; but later in the day, as we were leaving the funeral home, I took the undertaker aside, handed him the glove and asked him to bury it with my father. I like to think, maybe, when Dad put away his presents the night of his birthday, that he took the glove out of the box and slipped it on. That he tossed one of the balls in the air, felt the satisfying slap of it on the well-worn leather. That he then placed it on his dresser to remind him he had kept his vow. OH Mamie Lewis Potter grew up in Greensboro. She lives in Raleigh now where she is somewhat affectionately known as “The Busy Body Lady.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

By Mamie Lewis Potter


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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