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2015 Concert Series

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Sunday Evening in the Park 336-373-2549 • www.musep.info • music@greensboro-nc.gov For cancellation information, call 336-373-2373.

JUNE 7

6 pm

JUNE 14

6 pm

JUNE 21

6:30 pm

JUNE 28 JULY 4

6 pm

Wally West Little Big Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Greensboro Big Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Philharmonia of Greensboro Zinc Kings

7:15 pm

Warren, Bodle & Allen

7:30 pm

July 4th Pops Concert Greensboro Concert Band

Swing, Big Band Jazz Classical, Pops Bluegrass Folk Classical, Pops

The Radials with Lisa Dames

Contemporary Country

7:15 pm

Carolina Coalmine

Country, Southern Rock

JULY 19

6:30 pm

Eastern Music Festival Young Artist Orchestras

JULY 26

6 pm

EMFfringe - The Meldavians

6 pm

Rob Massengale Band

JULY 12

AUGUST 2 AUGUST 9 AUGUST 16 AUGUST 23

6 pm

Jazz

Classical, Pops

Blandwood Mansion W. Washington St. & Edgewood St. The Shops at Friendly Center between Whole Foods and the Movie Theatre Hester Park 3609 Betula St. Lake Higgins 4235 Hamburg Mill Rd. White Oak Amphitheater 1921 West Lee St. National Military Park Hwy. 220 N., Old Battleground Rd. Guilford College Founder’s Lawn

This concert is made possible by the generous support and sponsorship of VF Corporation. Jazz, Rock Variety, Rock & Roll

7:15 pm

Soul Central with Jay Bird

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul

6:30 pm

Greensboro Concert Band

Classical, Pops

6 pm 7:15 pm 6 pm

Sweet Dreams doby Martha Bassett Band

Playing two 45 minute sets

Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul Funk Americana, Folk Rock

Guilford College Dana Auditorium Lawn Lindley Park Starmount Dr. at W. Market St. & Wendover Ave. Lindley Park Starmount Dr. at W. Market St. & Wendover Ave. Gateway Gardens 2924 E. Lee St. Country Park, Shelter No. 7 Park in the Jaycee Park Parking Lot

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August 2015 Features

57 To Forget Who You Are Poetry by Melena Mörling

58 Money in the Mattress

A lonely detective in a quest of five big ones By Paul Crenshaw

62 Love over Par

A journeyman pro and a heart stomped like a grape By Jim Moriarty

66 Milky Thighs and Shady Snakes

A romance that slithers into your heart By Celia Rivenbark

69 Sprongs

The further adventures of Mary Ellen and her famous kaleburgers By Fred Chappell

74 Ole Fred’s Place

The house of UNCG’s literary lion is a home full of tales and tails By Molly Sentell Haile

83 August Almanac

The year of Goat Cheese, Cicero and a kingdom of figs By Rosetta Fawley

Departments 9 12 15 17 19

Simple Life By Jim Dodson Short Stories Doodad O.Harry By Harry Blair Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson

21 Omnivorous Reader By Brian Lampkin 25 Scuppernong Bookshelf 28 Waiting for One By Lindsay Leonard 29 Super Nova By Junn Park

45 Pappadaddy’s Mindfield By Clyde Edgerton

47 A Novel Year By Wiley Cash

49 Birdwatch

By Susan Campbell

51 Life of Jane

86 97

By Jane Borden

Arts & Entertainment August Calendar Worth the Drive to High Point By Nancy Oakley

31 Summer Reading 2015

1 03 GreenScene 111 Accidental Astrologer

37 The Pleasures of Life

112 O.Henry Ending

By Maria Johnson By Tom Lassiter

By Astrid Stellanova By Grant Britt

41 Gate City Journal By Grant Britt

Cover photograph by Tim Sayer

4 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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M A G A Z I N E Volume 5, No. 8 “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

Matthew D. Olin, MD

has been certified & master course trained for the BioMet Oxford Partial Knee Replacement since its introduction to the US in 2004. To schedule an appointment with Matthew D. Olin, MD to determine if this surgery is for you. Call: 336.545.5030

Dr. Olin specializes in anterior hip replacement surgery, partial & total knee replacement surgery, in addition to revision hip & knee replacement surgery.

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, Sam Froelich Contributors Jane Borden, Grant Britt, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Fred Chappell, Paul Crenshaw Clyde Edgerton, Rosetta Fawley, Pat Fitzgerald, Molly Sentel Haile, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Tom Lassiter, Lindsay Leonard, Jim Moriarty, Melena Mörling, Meridith Martens, Nancy Oakley, Ogi Overman, Junn Park, Celia Rivenbark, Tim Sayer, Astrid Stellanova

O.H Scan to watch an interactive video of a partial knee replacement.

David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales Director 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 hattie@ohenrymag.com Lisa Allen, 336.210.6921 lisa@ohenrymag.com Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 amy@ohenrymag.com Circulation Darlene Stark, Circulation Director 910.693.2488

For more information about Dr. Olin and surgery visit www.GreensboroOrthopaedics.com

Advertising Graphic Design Dana Martin, 336.617.0090 dana@ohenrymag.com 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

6 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Simple Life

Peonies, 1959

By Jim Dodson

Because I grew up in the

Illustration by kira schoenfelder.

rural South before the coming of mass air-conditioning, I learned early from a wise and unexpected source the many benefits of staying as still as possible on a broiling August afternoon.

“Be still now, child. Too hot for that nonsense,” Miss Jesse May Richardson gently scolded as I squirmed uncomfortably on the plastic-sheathed front seat of her elderly Dodge while riding home from Vacation Bible School or the weekly trip she made to the Piggly Wiggly supermarket for my mother. “Sit still long enough,” she added, “ain’t no tellin’ what you’ll see and hear.” I asked what sort of things she meant. She smiled, a Southern sphinx, never taking her eyes from the street. “Could be what the birds are saying to each other way up yonder or what the trees are really thinkin’. I can’t tell you what. Be still and find out for yourself.” Miss Jesse May was full of such peculiar sayings, also fully in charge of me that summer of 1959. While my mother recuperated from her second miscarriage in five years, resting through the long hot afternoons beneath a slowly turning ceiling fan, and my older brother was off at church camp having the time of his life, I was left to roam the shaded yard of our old house on Poplar Street or ride my bike to the stop sign at the end of our block, forbidden to go any farther. Fortunately I had books to read, a wooden box full of them, and a King Edward cigar box full of painted soldiers to play with beneath the porch. An early reader, I’d finished half a dozen chapter books that year, beginning with The Boxcar Children and moving on to Winnie-the-Pooh and Wind in the Willows and starting on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan series. That summer, whenever I wasn’t conducting wars in the cool earth below the porch, I was working my way through the Golden Book Encyclopedia (Book One — Aardvark to Army) and the Illustrated Books of Greek and Roman Myths and more Tarzan books. Some afternoons after Bible School and before lunch, old Miss Gilchrist’s gray cat Homer hopped the rail and sprawled out on our porch while I sat reading on a creaky rusted glider. More than once I found Homer snoozing in the cool earth and dim world beneath the porch, where I dug forts for my hand-painted knights and Greek soldiers, conducting my own siege of Troy using a large plastic model of Roy The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Rogers’ horse Trigger with a booby hatch cut into his belly, a makeshift wooden horse. My mother said Homer was a perfect name for a yard cat in the Trojan War. The screen door above me whined, and slapped. “You need to come in now for lunch. Make sure you wipe off them filthy feet. Don’t be trackin’ nothing in my clean house.” I missed Wilmington so much I could spit. That was where my daddy worked for two years at the Star News after losing his weekly newspaper to a scoundrel in a linen suit down in Gulfport. Across the street from our house in Wilmington was Greenfield Lake with its haunted dark water and lazy paddleboats and cypress trees draped with veils of Spanish moss. I missed the drawbridge to Wrightsville Beach and Newells, where you could slide your bare, sand-burned feet on the cool tile floor; the Little Lagoon just off the causeway, where I learned to swim the first summer evenings we lived there; the wide porch of the Hanover Seaside Club, where the adults always gathered for evening cocktails while we kids eyeballed sand sharks hanging on the Lumina Pier and the awkward smirking teenagers at the roller rink. Wilmington was summer heaven, a place I could have lived forever. It was supposed to be the first stop on the long road home to Greensboro, where my father’s people still lived and farmed outside the city. But somehow we’d mysteriously left and wound up in the sleepiest, slowest town in the world, probably even all of South Carolina. Who explains such things to a 6-year-old? This much is true. I had perfect attendance at the Royal School that year, reading more books than any other kid in my class, earning a small brass lapel pin shaped like an open book with the word “Wisdom” inscribed on it. But save for Homer the cat and Miss Jesse May I had no real companions, no real friends to speak of that long hot summer. Curiously, there was a public swimming pool in the park just two blocks south of our house. But my mother refused to let me go there because she disapproved of the sign that read “No Coloreds Allowed.” When I pointed out to her that I wasn’t colored, she threatened to make me sit on the toilet with a new bar of Ivory soap clenched in my teeth until I learned better. I once foolishly used the word “nigra” after hearing my father’s boss use it in a joke I didn’t really understand when he came to supper one evening, grinning like a cadaver and rattling the ice in his sweating highball glass. That resulted in my first taste of Ivory soap. Lunch was a glass of cool Maola milk and either a fresh tomato sandwich with mayonnaise and sweet pickles or sometimes a bologna sandwich on Wonder Bread as white as a church robe with a couple of Miss Jesse May’s homemade peanut cookies. August 2015

O.Henry 9


Simple Life After that, I was supposed to nap for two hours, though I rarely did. Mostly I lay flat on the nubby chenille bedspread staring at the ceiling fan or out my bedroom window, thinking of Tarzan and seeing dusty herds of elephants with what Miss Jesse May called my “special” eye, oblivious to the drone of cicadas that made the August air sound roasted. Eventually, there was stirring, soft footsteps followed by another whine and slap of the screen door. My mother was going out to the yard to work in her new flower garden. She liked to say you were closer to God’s heart in a garden. She also said South Carolina was too hot for proper peonies in August, but she’d planted them anyway and somehow made them bloom, creamy pale yellow, the sweetest smelling things you ever put to your nose. I think they came from Miss Jesse May’s garden, along with butter beans and yellow squash. When we finally moved to Greensboro that winter, my mother dug up those peonies and took them with her. They grow in profusion where she planted them to this day. My mother hailed from West Virginia, the youngest of eleven children — eight large German blond sisters and three strapping brothers — who grew up on a mountain named for their family. Her daddy was a fiddleplaying coal miner. She’d eventually moved to Cumberland, Maryland, and met my father there in 1941, not long after she’d won the Miss Western Maryland contest. My father was a sharp dresser, a newspaper salesman and aviation writer who was about to enlist in the Army Air Corps. He met my mother when she was selling Big Band records at McCrory’s, engaged to marry a rich guy named Earl who owned a Stutz Bearcat. He asked her out even though he didn’t own a record player. They got married six months later.

Cone Health

After losing two babies, my beauty queen mama was learning to cook real Southern food courtesy of Miss Jesse May Richardson — ham-flavored greens, seasoned field peas, real cornbread and buttermilk fried chicken. Those kitchen sounds as the shadows on the lawn lengthened are the ones I remember best from those faraway August afternoons in a sleepy town where I had no friends but an old cat and my adventure books for companions. Sometimes Miss Jesse May played gospel music from her transistor radio propped in the open kitchen window while she cooked and chatted with my mother. I could never quite hear what they were saying, but they often laughed together. It’s quite possible that sleepy summer in the world’s slowest town saved my mother’s life. It may even be the reason I chose to become a writer and a gardener. I have Miss Jesse May’s recipe for collards committed to memory. A few years ago, the nice lady who bought my mother’s house in Greensboro invited me to come and dig up some of her pale yellow peonies, something I’ve always meant to do. The first time I saw elephants in Africa, moreover, it wasn’t Tarzan and the Ant Men I thought about. It was my mother and her pale yellow peonies, regaining her spirit and beauty, Miss Jesse May’s gospel music and tomato sandwiches in August, books in a box sitting by a rusted glider, and the sweet mystery — never fully deciphered — of what the birds were saying and the trees might really be thinking. OH Jim Dodson just finished reading Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See and is now working his way through Volume II of Rich Atkinson’s remarkable Liberation Trilogy this summer.

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1 10CH_Womens_O'Henry_9x5.25.indd O.Henry August 2015

12:53 PM The Art & Soul7/10/15 of Greensboro


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Short Stories Our picks for what’s happening in Greensboro this month

Tour du Jour

A Win-Wyn

When the Wyndham Championship gets into full swing at Sedgefield Country Club on August 17, smart phone users will want to check out the new interactive map — aka bathroom locator. Black squares identify the most cell-phone-friendly zones such as the shady spot between the 4th and the 5th. And look for the symbol consisting of three black stripes so you can give your tired dogs a rest in the bleachers at the 7th. Speaking of dogs, get grilled ones at the concession stands designated by a knife and fork. But we’re guessing that the most sought-after icon on the map will be the male and female silhouttes identifying the location of restrooms on the 7,117-yard Donald Ross course. That is, unless a certain golfer with the last name of Woods shows up and an interactive Tiger locator is added to the app. Info: www.wyndhamchampionship.com/ interactive-course-map.

Time to Make a Beer Run

“Like Oreos and milk, beer and running just go better together,” insists Trivium Racing, which is organizing Greensboro’s first Growler Gallop on August 30. The 10-K begins at 5 p.m. at Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, with the 5-K following at 5:10 p.m. Those finishing the race get to quaff a couple of cold ones, pick up a finisher’s bottle opener and change into a commemorative T-shirt while chowing down on post-race carbs and listening to live music. May we recommend pints of Guilty Party ESB and Blind Man’s Holiday Greensboro Pale Ale, both named after O.Henry short stories. First place winners get a growler. Info: gibbshundred.com.

12 O.Henry

August 2015

Happy Trails

One City (Greensboro). One Book (A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson). Don’t miss:

• A half-mile guided hike along the Downtown Greenway, Saturday, August 29, from 10–11:30 a.m. • The Appalachian-inspired music of the Nutbush Ramblers later that same Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m., the central library’s rotunda at the One City, One Book kick-off party, with refreshments — gorp, we presume. • The fastest female Appalachian Trail hiker on the planet, Jennifer Pharr Davis, who covered the 2,181-mile Appalachian Trail in forty-six days, maintaining a punishing average of forty-seven miles per day — Sunday, August 30, at 3 p.m. at the Greensboro Historical Museum. Info: (336) 373-3617 or www.greensboro-nc.gov/library or www.greensboro-nc. gov/onecityonebook. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs courtesy of Wyndham Championship, Trivium Racing, WhoDat Festival | Doodad Farm, Railyard Entertainment

The grand master of storytellers, William Sydney Porter, has his own smartphone app — a (mostly) walkable literary tour. Developed by UNCG’s department of electronic resources and information technology, the tour guides O.Henry lovers to, among other spots, his birthplace, the family cemetery, the site of the old O.Henry Hotel and the bronze statue of what some say is O.Henry’s dog, Lovey, and others say is a canine character from one of his short stories. Part of the North Carolina Literary Map project featuring 3,800 authors — and managed by UNCG’s special collections and archives — the app features Google pinpoints, which, when clicked on, provide explanatory text, images and even a short audio clip of O.Henry himself. A “splash page” provides walkers with an intro and orientation. We suggest ending the tour in the O.Henry Hotel social lobby, where you can admire Chip Holton’s portrait of the master and maybe find the wee, little typo in the overhead version of the “Gift of the Magi” while sipping tea, though Mr. Porter would surely have ordered a sazerac. Info: library.uncg. edu/dp/nclitmap.


Bee Nice

If you missed National Pollinators Week during June, it’s not too late to celebrate National Honey Bee Day on August 22. The N.C. Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners are partnering with the Guilford County Beekeepers for a sort of Be-Nice-To-Bees Fest. Why should we celebrate — or even care — about bees? “If you won’t miss apples, pears, squash, berries, watermelons and okra, then you have nothing to worry about,” says Robert Jacobs, past president of Guilford’s beekeepers. Beginning at 9 a.m., the family-oriented event at the Mixed Green Demonstration Garden on 3309 Burlington Road will feature a see-through plexiglass beehive, honey tastings, information on proper pesticide use and a session on how to build a bee hotel. “Honey bees and other pollinators in general are stressed out nowadays,” Jacobs says. “We want to tell people how to support and attract them.” Info: (336) 641-2400 or guilford.ces.ncsu.edu or www.guilfordbeekeepers.org.

On the Fringe

Pushing the musical envelope during August will be the Eastern Music Festival’s fringe series. On Friday, August 7, at 8 p.m. classically-trained singer-songwriter Jeanne Jolly brings her soulful folk-pop beat to the Carolina Theatre with a voice embodying the “early belting power of Linda Rondstadt, combined with the delicate lilt of Alison Krauss.” On Saturday, August 8, at 8 p.m. at West Market Street United Methodist Church, the fringe torch will be picked up by Nellie McKay, described by The New Yorker as “funny and touching, ceaselessly clever and scarily talented.” On Friday, August 14, catch some Appalachian honky tonk at the Carolina Theater from Asheville’s country roots band The Honeycutters at 8 p.m. An all-female, genre-bending, violin, banjo and cello trio, Harpeth Rising, ends the series at the Carolina on Saturday, August 15, at 8 p.m., by fusing folk, newgrass, rock and classical. Info: easternmusicfestival.org/festival/fringe.

Ogi Overman

The dog days of August are typically the slowest musical time of the year while everyone’s at the beach. But since this has turned into the Summer of the Shark along the Carolina coast, might I suggest a stay-cation filled with — what else? — live music?

• August 7, White Oak Amphitheatre: Three decades after their heyday, the silky soul sounds of Maze featuring Frankie Beverly are back, proving that good music never dies.

Cool Town

“Cool town, evening in the city/ Dressing so fine and looking so pretty,” goes the 1966 Lovin’ Spoonfuls’ song — and that’s exactly what you’ll find in Downtown Greensboro this month. August 7 is first Friday with extended hours and music in lots of shops — Mack and Mack, for instance, where you can experience F-Art Ensembles’ weird and edgy improvisations. Catch the toe-tapping, knee-slapping Piedmont Regulators at Greenhill beginning at 6:30 p.m. that night or consult downtowngreensboro.net for an event calendar with scads of other First Friday venues, from reggae at VybzNation on Lewis Street to the soulful beat of Jeanne Jolly at Carolina Theatre’s Crown. The back yard of The Worx, Spice Cantina, Gibb’s Hundred, Elsewhere and The Forge — otherwise known as The Railyard — will have a full head of steam all August, but especially on Thursdays with Rock the Rails (www.RailyardEntertainment.com) featuring bands beginning at 6:30 p.m. (Patrick Rock Band on August 13). Things really roll on the third Thursday when City Market (www.gsocitymarket.com) means hot food, cold beer, plump produce and live tunes (UNCG Jazz Trio). On Saturday, August 22, beginning at 5 p.m., Hopfest will feature food trucks, mural painting, five bands and more than 250 varieties of beer. And remember what the Spoonfuls crooned: “Come-on, come-on, and dance all night,/ Despite the heat it’ll be alright.”

WhoDad Going to Doo Dat at DooDad Farm

Three years ago, O.Henry told readers about how Dean Driver , who after studying with his singer/songwriter hero Cliff Eberhardt in New Hampshire, turned a 140-year-old tobacco barn into DooDad Farm with the help of dozens of friends and volunteers. Since then, a patch of woods seven miles from downtown Greensboro has become a launch pad for edgy music via up-and-coming bands. At noon on Saturday, August 15, the WhoDad Music Festival kicks off with a host of “WhoDats” singing into an open mike. They’ll be followed by the likes of The Chit Nasty Band; Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands; The Midatlantic; The Tan and Sober Gentlemen; and Vaughn Aed! Meanwhile, anyone who wants can “face off” in a non-gender-specific competition sponsored by the Beard and Mustache Club of N.C. Others can choose from a “Meet Your Makers”, a print-your-own-Tshirt booth or the opportunityu to build your own city in Boxtown in Doodad Farm’s forest. Done dat too much to drive dat? You’re always welcome to crash the night in DooDad fields. Info: www.whodatfestival.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ogi Sez

• August 8, Brad and Tammy’s Listening Loft: The coolest house concert venue around is in Reidsville, and the folk/ rock quintet Annabelle’s Curse from Bristol, Virginia, may be on its way from regional to national status. • August 21, 22,

High Point Theatre: Not your typical theater show, this two-nighter is nightclub style, with tables on the stage, featuring the eight-person cabaret troupe, the Vocal Chords.

• August 27, Blind

Tiger: “Back by popular demand” is the most hackneyed cliché in show business. But in the case of Delta Rae it’s justified. Since their last gig at the BT, they played MerleFest and found a whole new rabid fanbase. August 2015

O.Henry 13


14 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Doodad

The Different Drummer

J

oey Barnes doesn’t travel to the beat of a different drummer — he is the drummer, and he travels to his own beat, thank you. Of course, that is made easier since he is also the singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, guitarist, keyboardist, bassist, and on and on. In short, he is an amazing bundle of talent wrapped into one hunky-yet-humble package. So, if he’s all that and a bag o’ chips, why isn’t he famous you may ask? Well, actually he is. For five years he was the drummer for Chris Daughtry’s eponymous band, touring the world several times over, playing on multiplatinum albums, rubbing elbows with the glitterati, living the life of a bona fide rock star. But after awhile, basking in the reflected limelight of Daughtry got to be a bit much and he quit. Just quit. “The business ruined it for me,” he disclosed. “I was completely miserable. I felt like an automaton, doing what I was told to do, saying what I was supposed to say. I reached a point where it just was not worth it anymore.” So Barnes returned to his native Greensboro and resumed the successful solo career he’d left behind at Daughtry’s behest. Actually, “resumed” may not be the proper verb, because he never actually abandoned it. He never stopped writing, recording, singing or playing; he merely put it on the back burner for awhile. When he came off the road, the creative juices began flowing like never before, and in a year and a half he had amassed an astounding thirty-eight tunes he felt worthy of inclusion on a double album, which he titled Introspect: a dance where worlds collide. Even more astounding, he wrote all the songs, played all the instruments, sang all the vocal parts and produced it. “Basically, it’s the story of me, what got me to this point in life,” he says. “I just put it all out there.” Well, not quite all of it. Since then he has recorded an EP titled X Darling, and he and longtime musical collaborator, keyboardist Jonathon Hudson, have penned another seventy tunes they are getting studio ready. Meanwhile, the duo is performing live constantly. And for those wishing to see the Harry Connick, Jr.-Michael Bublé side of his persona, he is on the regular rotation as featured vocalist at Thursday Cocktails and Jazz at the social lobby of the O. Henry Hotel (www.ohenryhotel.com/jazz. htm). And while he will not be back at the O.Henry until September, this month he may be seen locally at Graffiti’s Bistro August 6 and Eclections in Kernersville August 14. “I’m having fun again, doing something I love to do,” he smiled. “That’s all that matters.” OH — Ogi Overman The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 15


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Life’s Funny

Life in a Bermuda Triangle You bet your grass it’s tough

By Maria Johnson

By the time you read this, the little devils will be flourishing.

They’ll be soaking up the heat, drinking very little water and taking regular abuse. And yet, they’ll be as vibrant as they can be. I’m talking, of course, about the bajillion blades of Bermuda grass in my backyard. Yes, I know. The extremely cold temperatures of this past winter killed the Bermuda on lots of golf courses around here, rendering them scraggly brown wastelands. I’m really sad about this, in an economic sort of way. But I’m also really sad, in an embittered homeowner sort of way, that the same fate did not befall my yard. If you’ve ever wondered what the definition of irony is, here you go: Golf courses are working furiously to restore the very same grass I’ve spent money — and a heck of a lot of time — trying to get rid of. I remember the first time I saw a patch of Bermuda grass in our sun-drenched yard. It stood out in the morning dew, it’s feathery texture glinting blue-green in the morning sun. I seem to remember someone saying, “You might want to dig that bastard grass out before it gets much bigger.” In hindsight, I can say that when someone uses the word bastard as an adjective to modify the name of a plant, you probably should grab a shovel and start digging because that plant is likely invasive, the word that horticulturalists use when they want to say bastard. Anyway, we didn’t dig out the patch of Bermuda grass because, hey, how big could it get? By the following summer, it had spread enough for me to ask an old-head landscaper what I should do. “Do you want the truth?” he said. “Of course,” I said. “Move,” he said. Pshaw, I thought. I found another lawn guy and asked if he could get rid of it. Oh, yeah, he said. We’ll have to hit it with extra-strength grass killer a few times, but that’ll knock it out. Which it did. Until the next summer. I collected stories about Bermuda grass. I wrote a story about a Boy Scout troop that sold barbecued chickens as a fundraiser. Every November, they dug a trench in the side yard of their sponsor church, filled the trench with hot coals, and covered the coals with grilling boxes. “Doesn’t that kill the grass?” I asked the scoutmaster. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Nah,” he said. “It’s Bermuda. Come back in the summer, and it’ll be beautiful.” Clearly, Bermuda was a tough customer that went where other grasses feared, like the pale, ratty soil of our backyard, which turned as hard and hot as a pizza stone every summer. Every fall, we’d raise a great stand of fescue. But come a heat wave, Bermuda ruled. I let it go. After all, nature abhors a monolith. Then the Bermuda invaded my flowerbeds. Of course, this meant war. I spent long sweaty days pulling out the Bermuda by hand. I’d spade up the ground, grab a string of grass and tug. It was like pulling scarves out of a magician’s sleeve. The roots and blades kept coming. Just when I thought I had extracted a whole plant, it would snap off at the pearly-fanged roots, which diverged in a million directions and went about a foot deep. I unfurled landscape fabric over the beds to block out the sun. The next summer, Bermuda waved at me from the places where the fabric overlapped. Son of a rhizome. Later, over a glass of wine, I mentioned this battle to a neighbor, an attorney who is always composed. He turned red. “Concrete,” he hissed through clenched teeth. “Concrete?” I said. “It can’t go through concrete,” he said, explaining that he’d walled off his garden with a concrete curb to keep the Bermuda out. The following weekend I dispatched the stronger backs in my family to Lowe’s with instructions to bring back as much Sakrete as possible without dragging their mufflers. Long story shorter, my neighbor was right. Bermuda grass does not go through concrete curbs. It goes over. My neighbor has since moved (see earlier advice) and I have given up my fescue-infested dreams. I bought athletic field-grade Bermuda seed and cast it over the bare spots in the sunny part of the yard. I planted trees and shrubs around the perimeter to contain it. Alas, Bermuda does not like shade. Stupid grass. I still stay after it around the vegetable and flowerbeds, digging it out by hand. Living with Bermuda, I’ve finally accepted, is not such a bad thing. It’s amazingly hardy (at least in my yard), and it looks great in the dog days of summer, which is why golf courses are sodding, plugging and seeding as fast as they can, now that we’re in peak growing season. I probably should tell them: I know a little sod farm with reasonable prices. OH Greensboro writer Maria Johnson is rereading A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson for the library One City, One Book event. she also reading Gilead by Marilynne Robinson. August 2015

O.Henry 19


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August 2015

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The Omnivorous Reader

Wooden Men

In her riveting detailed account of Virginia’s Bassett furniture dynasty, writer Beth Macy proves that some uncertain futures are better than the known past

By Brian Lampkin

Book reviews should not be about

the reviewer’s life. The absence of “I” is always a good sign in any fair-minded review of art. But Beth Macy’s Factory Man had me immersed in my past and thinking, sometimes painfully, about my own father and his factory worker life. Macy’s remarkably researched account of Bassett Furniture, the town of Bassett, Virginia, and family scion John Bassett III is in many ways an examination of an entire American way of life, my father’s included.

Bassett Furniture was once the world’s biggest wood furniture company. From its beginnings in the early 20th century and into the 1990s (the company did $510 million in sales in 1994—the year NAFTA changed everything), Bassett was the predominant brand name in middle-class bedrooms and living rooms. The town of Bassett was the classic company town, owned and controlled for decades by the extended Bassett family; it was an unincorporated town built on Bassett-family-owned land and lacked even a simple town council or police force — law-breaking was handled by the company security. Located just thirty miles over the North Carolina border, the Bassett family’s reach extended to factories in Mt. Airy and nearby Elkin, summer homes in the North Carolina mountains and a presence at the annual Furniture Market in High Point. Macy’s access to the Bassett family — and the family secrets — seems without limits. This book is a feat of research journalism, and you’ll be The Art & Soul of Greensboro

tempted to build yourself a cheat sheet to keep track of the disparate members of the Bassett clan. (Don’t. Macy places a family tree at the back of the book, which I didn’t realize until I got to the end.) Macy surely knows more about the combined Bassett family history than any Bassett ever has or ever will. There’s also a gossip’s delight in the ways in which she reveals how the family undermines lines of succession and tries to sabotage success. And, of course, there are passages about sexual impopriety and allegedly unprosecuted sex crimes of the Bassett men. Factory Man is not simple biographical admiration of another wealthy American family or of John Bassett III. Macy does not hide the historical racism, the misogyny, the shameful bullying or the deceptive business practices. Yet somehow there is a tenor of respect, even of honor, for what this family, and particularly this man, has done for American furniture business in general and for the people of southwest Virginia in particular. John Bassett III eventually opens a furniture plant in Galax, Virginia, after losing various power struggles within the family. In a sense, he is banished from the town that bears his name, and he uses this slight as fuel for his ferocious tenacity. He also goes it alone, which allows him to think and act independently of conventional wisdom. His unorthodox approach enables him to fight off the Chinese takeover of the furniture business, and help the people of Galax keep their jobs. In the end, Bassett restores his pride and America finally wins a manufacturing battle. I had a vote in the Southern Independent Bookseller’s Nonfiction Award, and this book received my first place vote. I admire it, and especially Macy’s work and skill, and the story of a factory living on into the 21st century is strangely compelling reading. But as much as this might be a study of a family that loves furniture, it’s really another American story of a family that loves one thing: money (and I suppose the power and prestige that comes with it). And this is where my father comes in. August 2015

O.Henry 21


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I grew up in the heart of the Rust Belt at the height of its economic decline. Steel, auto and even furniture manufacturers fled south (often to Virginia and North Carolina and typically in search of cheaper labor), and factory jobs became scarce. Workers were left with little leverage and I watched my father give over so much of his life to a family that owned a series of factories. He treated the owners like royalty (unbelievably, their name was “King”), and I watched him both grovel at their feet and rise above them with a genuine care and respect for his fellow workers that the owners could not muster. For years he saved the job of a brain-injured coworker by covering for his deficiencies. He also befriended the sons of the “royal” family (Was this economic survival strategy? Altruistic concern for the floundering? Both?) as they battled various addictions. I watched all of this happen with a growing disbelief in the power and respect granted to owners who deserved, in my view, little of it. Furthermore, I witnessed the misery of the factory life. The machines’ grinding noise, the oily grime, the economic gloom, the palpable boredom. The poet Antler, in Factory, his booklength poem about his own factory experience, wonders, “Is it too late to ask — ‘What good is it if we’re immortal / when we’re bored with eternity . . . .’” In other words, are we sure this kind of factory life is worth saving? Macy documents the temporary survival of a fading way of life, but who really misses unimaginative furniture made with substandard products, company-owned towns, cheap labor and soul-draining factory work? The global furniture industry, as currently constructed, moves around the world in constant search for the cheapest labor in the most unregulated countries. It was once America. I’m sure there are books to be written that long for the lost coal-mining jobs in West Virginia or the lost lumber jobs in Washington State. What’s lost becomes romanticized until we forget its real cost to the environment or to workers’ lives. Beth Macy paints a complicated picture of John Bassett III, and each of us will make our own decisions about him after reading Factory Man. For the people of Galax, Virginia, who had jobs preserved or had stores remain viable because the factory stayed vibrant, he may very well be heroic. What would my own family have done without my father’s sacrifice in the oily dark of his factory job? I’ll let the poet Antler answer that question with another question from Factory: “What was I born for? What was I born for? / Is this a factory I see before me?” OH Brian Lampkin is one of the owners of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.

22 O.Henry

August 2015

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Scuppernong Bookshelf

Snake Charmers In a state that tops the list for venomous snake bites, a little reading on the subject can’t hurt

It warms our hearts when

North Carolina is at the top of those ubiquitous lists of best places, or when we’re “first” or “most” or, sometimes, “least” (like “Least Likely Place to See an ‘I Love John Edwards’ Bumpersticker’). For many years now, our state has been at the top of a list that no one can be really happy about: North Carolina is the “Snake Bite Capital of the United States.” Okay, not just snake bites, but venomous snake bites.

The prime suspect is the stunning copperhead. Secreted among the detritus of the woods or perhaps sunning itself on the very trail you stroll, the copperhead defends itself largely by hiding, but if stealth fails, its next best option is not necessarily escape. It will strike. Seldom fatal, the bite is nevertheless serious, so in this month of snakes hissing in summer lawns, Scuppernong suggests several books to help you sidestep serpents of all shapes and sizes. Poet Rachel Richardson’s 2011 collection Copperhead (Carnegie Mellon, $15.95) includes poems such as “Snakebit” and “Cottonmouth” (another of our state’s venomous swamp dwellers), and it has my current favorite cover art (see above). Richardson also knows that “copperhead” was the name given to a Northern sympathizer with the Southern cause in the Civil War, so snakes abound. But it is the girl who imagines herself “snakebit” who will keep you thrilled: “…her body / tasting the poison, rising / the pinned girl

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

inventing the snake, / inventing the venom.” Anyone looking for (or finding) snakes right here in your own backyard can’t go without a strong field guide. Amphibians & Reptiles of the Carolinas and Virginia (University of North Carolina Press, $26) has detailed and easy-to-read descriptions paired with gorgeous photographs of our native amphibians and reptiles from mountains to coast. An ideal at-home reference for any hobby herpetologist. Remember, most bites come from those who intentionally handle snakes. And no one intentionally handles snakes quite like the religious. Dennis Covington’s remarkable nonfiction book Salvation on Sand Mountain: Snake Handling and Redemption in Southern Appalachia (Da Capo Press, $15.99) drops in on a few Churches of God with Signs Following, and exposes what we expect: madness, cruelty, snakebites, death. What is unexpected is Covington’s awakening to the awe-inspiring physical change religious ecstasy might allow. It’ll give your prejudice pause. A missionary is more or less converted to atheism in Daniel Everett’s Don’t Sleep, There are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle (Vintage, $16). Everett spent years with the Piraha tribe in central Brazil, first as a missionary then as a linguist. The Piraha are a no-nonsense group with no gods, no creation myths, and a language so far removed from every other known language that it is instructive in how language itself is formed. His story is a fascinating one that covers anthropology, linguistics, and an exploration of how primal cultures can survive and flourish without a religious belief system. The reptiles in Horacio Castellano Moya’s Dance with Snakes (Biblioasis, $15.95) are not your ordinary run of the mill type. Each has a name, a distinct personality and they all talk. Our anti-hero Eduardo and his band of scaly friends terrorize the city of San Salvador leaving mayhem and dead August 2015

O.Henry 25


Photography by Evin Torney

Bookshelf

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bodies in their wake as the police attempt to catch up with them. Moya is Salvadoran and the novel is a savage metaphor of life during the days of the death squads. Very funny and often discomfiting, it’s a slithering, hissing, beyondblack-humored satire of violence and a society trying to make sense of chaos, and it culminates in a man-on-snake orgy that really has to be read to be believed. Not all snakes slither through creeks or under porches; many walk on two legs among us, don tailored suits and run our country. In Drift (Broadway Books, $15), Rachel Maddow explores how our populace’s insulation from the horrors of war, and therefore ignorance of its true cost, combined with military contracting and the serpentine politicians whose campaign coffers are filled by war machine industries, have lured us into a perpetual state of war. Overall an impeccably researched, eye opening read. Snakes get blamed for everything! Long before Adam and Eve’s story was ever recorded, The Epic of Gilgamesh (Penguin, $11) featured its own sneaky serpent. After the heroic Gilgamesh — two-thirds man and one-third god — travels to depths unknown, through innumerable gatekeepers and guardians of the afterlife, to obtain a flower of immortality, a single snake eats the sacred sapling and ruins everything! Snakes need better publicists. You know who else needs a better publicist? North Carolina’s No. 1 snake, the aforementioned John Edwards. Sen. John McCain once said of Edwards’s 2004 book Four Trials (Simon & Schuster, $13), “John reveals the strength of his own character and gives the reader a look beyond a political biography into the heart of a good man.” And maybe you thought selecting Sarah Palin showed bad judgment. But let’s end with a better Southern story, or at least better writing. The low as dirt characters in A Feast of Snakes (Scribner, $13.99), by Harry Crews, enjoy a good rattlesnake for breakfast, and the day goes downhill from there. The novel is set during a Rattlesnake Roundup in Mystic, Georgia, and Crews makes a solid case for the snake as superior creature — it’s certainly much less mean and cruel than this brand of Florida/ Georgia human. We end with an impassioned plea for the snake. Let them live! Even the venomous ones are quite beneficial in the big picture. And we find them all quite beautiful in their new bright summer skins. OH This month’s Scuppernong Bookshelf was written by Shannon Jones, Jonas Procton, Brian Lampkin, Rachel York and Steve Mitchell.

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O.Henry 27


Short Story Contest

First Place Winner in Youth Division

Waiting for One

By Lindsay Leonard

S

mall streaks of sunlight shone through slits in the curtains, striping over her face and blanketed body. It was the day. The day that she had been waiting for for sixteen years, four months, three days, seven hours, twelve minutes and six seconds to date. The polyurethane bracelet on her wrist was glowing green, as it had been for the past few hours. The electric green numbers on the bracelet read 00:00:00:05:26:04. The date on the calendar hanging by the door had been circled thickly with a pink marker, and a dress was hanging on the closet handle. The dress was navy blue with a white ribbon tied around the waist, and the buttons on the front were all wooden with small, intricate flower designs. She looked in the mirror, wearing her dress, hair dried and brushed through, perfume applied. This was it, no second chances. A small knock on the door made her jump; her mother entered timidly. “Hi, sweetheart, you look lovely. I’m sure he will be very impressed! Do you want some breakfast? I made an omelette downstairs if you’d like to eat.” She nodded, still preoccupied by her reflection in the mirror. She remembered the story of her mother’s friend, who had been met with the response, “This is all?” which was probably the most disheartening thing a person could hear at 00:00:00:00:00:00. The bracelet vibrated. 00:00:00:05:00:00. She sighed. In exactly five hours, she would become acquainted with her soul mate. It was nerve-racking in the most excitingly mind-numbing of ways. All of her friends were jealous that her watch had such a low countdown. All of their “meetings” would occur when they were in their 20s, but she got to meet her dream boy when she was still in high school. Sometimes, she was grateful for the opportunity to know beforehand, so she wouldn’t be doing anything odd or embarrassing when she met him. And, she would always be sure that it was him and not some failed romantic experiment. But, at the same time, it felt unnatural and expected. One of her friends had already met her soul mate by bumping into him while out shopping about a year ago. He bumped her shoulder, they compared bracelets and he made the ever romantic comment of “I suppose this is it!” She didn’t want something like that, or, even worse, that of her mother’s friend’s “This is all?” She thought it would be more romantic without the bracelets, and that’s why some people tried to keep theirs covered up. But the convenience factor in finding love was indeed convenient. After finishing her omelette, she drove to school. Her clock read

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August 2015

00:00:00:04:15:00. Approximately four hours until meeting her soul mate! The tension in her heart was slowly killing her. She struggled to pay attention throughout the school day. It was hard to wait, she thought, fidgeting with the slightly frayed ribbon on her dress. She had imagined the meeting multiple ways in her head, many of which were unsatisfactory and many of which made her heart feel so full of joy that it might explode. It was a strange feeling, knowing that it was coming and not knowing what to expect. Two hours, thirty-five minutes, ten seconds. What would he be like? During morning break, she and her friends contemplated the appearance of her other half. Would he be tall, short, thin, fat; would he have blond hair or black, and would it be long or short? How old was he? Would he have good fashion sense, or would he wear cargo shorts and a T-shirt every single day like her brother did? Would he want to get married right away or wait until they were older? Was he sweet and personable or was he snappy and tense? She had always imagined him to be tall, blond and of medium build, with brown eyes and a sweet smile, wearing chino shorts and a cotton V-neck in a variety of colors that changed depending on her mood. But she also knew not to expect everything that she imagined because that would normally end up in disillusionment and disappointment. One hour, forty-six minutes, fifty-two seconds. Was she sure that she looked all right? She ran to the girls bathroom to check during class change, adjusted her earrings and smoothed out her hair. With a little less than an hour to go, she and her friends went off-campus for lunch. The whole way there, she stared out the car window, watching people check their own timers, eliciting small smiles when she saw two people joyfully greeting each other, comparing glowing bracelets. She sat at a table apart from her friends to separate herself, outside by the street at their favorite small cafe. Each and every car that passed by had the opportunity to be her soul mate. She tried to glance through every car window to glimpse that elusive glint of green. Waiting was getting to be unbearable. She went inside to get a cold drink and a damp paper towel to help with her nerves. Wetting the towel on her wrists, she opened the door to the bathroom, looked down at her bracelet to check the time, and instantly became cold when she saw the green glow fading from the polyurethane band. At 00:00:00:00:02:16, her clock stopped. OH Greensboro resident Lindsay Leonard just graduated from Grimsley Senior High School and plans to attend N.C. State to study chemical engineering. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Short Story Contest

Second Place Winner in Youth Division

Super Nova By Junn Park

1

Through my telescope, I could see the stars. They’re so far away, yet you can still see how bright they are. Sometimes I wonder if we can ever reach them. We. Humans. I’m gazing at the dark-gray clouds now. Mom always said that the outdoors was the best place to think. I think she’s right. It’s so calming. And I think too much. If someone knew me for anything at school, they would say that I gave good advice. But the advice I gave wasn’t really good. It was just the usual things I thought. I look through my telescope again, just in time to see the fading tail of a shooting star. How beautiful. I began to make a wish, but then I remembered. Wishing didn’t help anything.

2

“A supernova! Happened only 12 million light years away. It was astronomical, if I do say so myself.” The class is cracking up. Mr. Chamran was talking about a supernova which happened over the weekend. They say that when a star explodes its light can shine brighter than an entire galaxy. But only for a brief moment. Then it becomes antigravity matter, or dark energy. And when you think of dark energy, you’re thinking of black holes. Things that exist only to devour the time and space around it. So if stars are continuing to die every day, and more and more of this dark energy is released, then someday, the whole universe will collapse? If so, then why was this world made? Just so that it can screw itself over? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

3

“Earth to Kev?” I blink. “Oh. Sorry, Lana. What was that?” She groans. “Why are you always so out of it?” I give her a sheepish grin. “Dunno. Ask my parents. Blame them.” She groans again. “For, godsakes, I told you, it doesn’t work that way!” I pick at my food. “Well. Someone’s pissed today.” She’s angrily stabbing her pasta. “Is it the monthly — ” I start, but then stop, because her eyes seem about to shoot death rays. “No, it’s not. I’m just angry . . .” She trails off. “Someone?” “Forget it!” She pouts a bit. I bite my lip to keep from laughing. She is so cute. But I can’t. I can’t laugh. Not when she is someone else’s girl. Back and forth we went, for the whole lunch period. It’s fun, when things are normal. It’s fine when it is. But even then, I had this lingering voice in the back of my mind. Constantly whispering. What’s the point?

4

Lana and I sit outside, on the little hill, next to my house. We always do this. Every Friday. It’s routine. There used to be someone else in our weekly meetings. But now it was only us two. “What do you wanna be when you grow up?” “We’ve talked about this before.” I chuckle. “You know me. I don’t change my mind easily.” She nods. “It’s true.” She turns. “Why? Out of all the jobs out there. You’re so hard-pressed on being an astronomer.” I point. Her eyes follow. “A star.” “A star.”

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” “Enchanting, really.” I reach out my hand, as if trying to grab one. But that’s impossible. They were millions of light years away. I wrap my fingers around the tiny star. All I feel is air in my palm. “What if.” “If . . . ?” “These beautiful stars were the reason we all die?” “What, like a massive super nova that kills us all?” “You’re on the right track.” She shakes her head. “Sometimes, I just don’t get you.” I give a hint of a smile. “What can you say. My head’s always in the clouds.”

5

I see his empty desk next to mine every day. And I’m reminded. Human life is so fragile. She’d loved him. Lana had. “Take care of her, all right?” I looked around. “What? Me?” I pointed at myself, incredulously. He laughed. “Who else would I ask that to?” I sighed. “Stop laughing. You’re in no condition to laugh.” “Says who?” “Says the million machines hooked up to you at the moment.” He wrapped his IV line around his index finger. As if to prove that they didn’t really disturb him that much. “Hey. It’s a promise. OK?” He pointed the finger at me. My eyes teared up for a second, but I quickly blinked them back. I couldn’t cry. Not in front of him. Not when he was being so strong. “Stop talking like you’re gonna die, idiot.” He just smiled. But this time, there was a hint of sadness mixed in. I shake my head. I shouldn’t be thinking about him like this. He wouldn’t like it.

My eyes linger on his desk for a second more, then I get pulled into the calm lull of the classroom.

6

She takes one look at my face. That’s all she needs. “You’ve been thinking about him.” I groan. “Is it that obvious?” “Yes,” she says. Then she hugs me. “There’s nothing we could have done.” “I know.” She is trying to console me. But it sounds more like she was trying to convince herself.

7

And I’m in the attic staring at the pictures of us. Me. Him. Her. Wishing for the old days back. It was only because it was me. I think too much. To others, it’s, “Live the moment, seize the moment.” Carpe diem. But for me, that deadline, the expiration of the universe, something that would happen billions of years after my bones had already disintegrated, somehow, made me feel uneasy. I’m thinking too much. As usual. But I guess that’s how I’m wired. Then she’s sitting next to me. “I knew you’d be in here.” I don’t even say anything. I can’t. She hits my arm. “Stop thinking so much for once.” She jumps up and spins around. Dust flies everywhere. I cough. She holds out her hand to me. “Let’s live. For the moment.” Then she adds. “For him.” OH Greensboro resident Junn Park is a rising junior in The Early College at Guilford.”

August 2015

O.Henry 29


North Carolina Museum of History presents

NORTH CAROLINA!

Through September 7, 2015

A major exhibit celebrating the state’s films and television shows.

Special

Events

FILM SERIES

Join us on the second Friday of each month. Speakers introduce each film at 6 p.m. Cost: $5 each

See costumes and props from Bull Durham, Iron Man 3, The Hunger Games, and more!

LONGLEAF FILM FESTIVAL Saturday, May 2, 2015 Be part of the inaugural event! LongleafFilmFestival.com

NC Department of Cultural Resources, ncdcr.gov

For information, visit NCMOH-starring.com. Purchase tickets in the Museum Shop. Join the conversation: #starringnc 5 East Edenton Street Raleigh, NC 27601 919-807-7900 ncmuseumofhistory.org

Museum Hours Mon.–Sat.: 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Sun.: Noon–5 p.m.


Summer Reading 2015

For Love of Books Gate City book clubs have a long history of sharing great books — and deepening friendshsips

By Maria Johnson

Word to word. Sentence to sentence.

photographs by Lynn Donovan

Chapter to chapter.

Book club members take these steps together, absorbing life through the words of others. Then they get together to learn more about the book, themselves, and each other. If they keep coming back, that’s why. The contact. The push. The urge to go where reading solo can’t take them. We called on representatives of three Greensboro book clubs, plus one club that’s heavy on literature, to talk about the experience of being in a group that’s devoted to ideas. We met over a cheese plate at Scuppernong Books in downtown Greensboro. Occasionally, the conversation got, well, cheesy — just as it does in club meetings — but we had our pithy moments. Gail Boulton represented The Reviewers Club, which at 120 years old, calls itself the oldest literary club in North Carolina. The group began even before 1895 as a clutch of neighbors who gathered to read and talk about magazine stories in their homes around Greensboro’s Asheboro Street, now Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. The club morphed into a women’s organization as all-female groups gained steam nationwide. Now, the forty-seven-member group — which has produced its own historical DVD — meets monthly at the Greensboro Country Club. Before lunch, a club member presents a thirty-minute program on a topic that interests her. On the other end of the spectrum, Wright Adams, a city librarian, spoke for The Manga, Anime and Graphic Novel Book Club, which he organized in 2011 as a way to reach out to young adults who are interested in the modern-day comics. Manga (pronounced MON-ga) is a form of Japanese comic book, usually with a mature theme. The quickest way to tell manga books from others? They’re about half the size of a regular comic book, and they read back-to-front. Anime (AN-na-may) is the animated version of those stories. Graphic novels, which

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

come from everywhere, are thick, single-story comic books, as opposed to serials. A dozen of Adams’ book club kids — guys and girls ranging in age from 13 to 22 — meet at the Benjamin Branch Library the second Saturday of every month to discuss a clip or passage from one of these fantasy genres. Nichole Nichols attended the Scuppernong summit on behalf of Literary Links, the official book club of the Sigma Theta Lambda Literary Sorority, which was founded in Greensboro in 2009. An all-female club of mostly AfricanAmerican women, Literary Links meets at Scuppernong every other month. Members range from age 18 to 60-plus. Argosy Book Club, an all-men’s club named for a long-defunct magazine with stories aimed at men, sent resident curmudgeon Sam Frazier to talk on its behalf. The Argonauts, as they call themselves, number a half dozen guys in their 30s, 40s and 50s. They meet at each other’s houses every six weeks or so. The club started in 2009 after the founder-dudes were shunned by their wives’ book club. We kicked off our Scuppernong discussion with a softball question then let the conversation ricochet freely. O.Henry: What was the last thing your group read? Wright: Attack on Titan. It’s manga. The characters are like warriors defending their region or their province. I think the discussion went pretty well. Lately, I think people are more into superheroes. Whenever we discuss Avengers: Age of Ultron, we always get a more lively discussion. O.H.: Gail, what was your last program? Gail: Our last program was our 120th anniversary open meeting. We had D.G. Martin who does Bookwatch on UNC-TV. He talked about how we don’t read anymore. And how families need to get together and read a book. I’m in a book club, too, and I think it’s so fun because you read something outside what you normally would, and you get together and discuss it. I love that. Even if you don’t like the book. O.H: What about your club, Nichole? Nichole: Our last book was Race Records by a Greensboro author, Wendy Hayton. The book was about her family and her great-grandmother who was a black woman and her great-grandfather was white, and how the family dealt with the different race dynamics within their family. August 2015

O.Henry 31


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O.H.: How did that go over? Nichole: It went over well. We like to read multicultural selections. This one gave us a different perspective on a lot of the issues we’ve talked about in the past. O.H.: What’s the most moving experience you’ve ever had in your club? Sam: I don’t know about the club, but some of the books we’ve read have been pretty hard to take. There was one called the The Orphan Master’s Son. It’s fiction, but it’s about North Korea, and it’s so horrible, the things that happen in it, it seems like it’s science fiction. There was one nonfiction we read, In the Kingdom of Ice. These guys were lost on the ice for months and months, and it was excruciating. Talking about it wasn’t so hard, but reading about it was rough. But better to read about it than experience it. Gail: Ours is moving because we’ve had such an aging population, and we’ve had so many really sweet, special women pass away. And we all sit together at funerals. Some of the ladies are really beautiful writers, and they write a memorial and present it to at the club meeting, and that goes into our minutes so there are memorials for these ladies for 120 years, which is really a tear-jerker because you get to love these women. You only see them once a month, but they bring a little bit of life to you. Nichole: We haven’t had anything really sad happen, but we’ve had births and graduations, birthdays that we celebrate. Any time a member has a child, we have a baby shower for her. Sam: Sometimes, we get together and go see a movie based on a book we’ve read. Like The Road, or Life of Pi, or All the King’s Men. That’s kind of fun, too. O.H.: What’s the most unexpected thing that happened in your book club? Wright, you have a room full of teenagers. I know you’ve had unexpected things happen. Wright: A discussion about breasts. Sam: What was the context for that? Wright: I’d stepped out of the room. I don’t know how it got started. O.H.: Was that inspired by a mature manga theme? Wright: Yes, I think so, one of the characters. I don’t how it started, but we stopped it. O.H.: Sam? Anything unexpected? Sam: One of our members, Don Morgan, is an artist, a painter. He’s done a couple of CDs. I’m in a band with him called Piedmont Songbag. He’s also a writer, and he self-publishes these genre books. He has a painter-character mystery novel, and he also has a book called Nurse on Terror Island. He’s married to a nurse, so it’s a horror-romance. It’s a riot. We did that book one time. He read it [outloud]. He has one of those voices that makes everything sound cool. It was not unusual, but it sure was fun. You know, we bring food to these things. I’m pretty lazy, I just go to Donut World, but the guys sometimes come up with a concoction that’s related to the book. Like Don did this pâté that looked like a snake. O.H.: A pâté snake? Sam: Yeah. It looked really snakey. O.H.: And why did he do that? Sam: In the book, they were eating snake. O.H.: How do you encourage shy people to share their thoughts? Is that ever a problem? Wright: It can be. The strategy I employ is to get them talking about something they’re comfortable talking about. It may not be that particular reading, but once you’re on solid ground, then you can get them going. O.H: Every club has someone who really likes to talk. What do you do The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Summer Reading 2015

about that? Nichole: We’ve had that situation before, and it’s kind of hard. But when we had a chance to segue and change the subject, we just had to take it. When she took a breath, we jumped in. Sam: Everybody’s gotta breathe. O.H.: Have you ever found yourself sitting there, discussing something totally unrelated to the book and thinking, “How did we get here?” Wright: Yeah, with relationships. O.H.: You hear a lot of true romance with teenagers? Wright: Yeah, but it’s more like, “How should I go about doing this?’ and “What should I do in certain situations?” You know, “Why don’t girls like this?” O.H.: Gail, Do you have someone who keeps you on topic? A sergeant-at-arms? Gail: There’s a president, with a gavel. O.H.: Nichole? Nichole: We try to be open. We focus on how literature bonds people, so if people go off and relate something in the book to something they’re going through, it’s OK. One of my favorite books that we’ve read is called 32 Candles by Ernessa T. Carter. There is a part talking about the main character, and how she never spoke until she was like a teenage because she came from an abusive home. People who were there had not been through abuse, but they related to being in a situation where you feel like you’re invisible and have lost your voice. We also read fictional books about relationships, and that brings up a lot of incidents about women dealing with romantic relationships. O.Henry: How do you select books, and what do you look for in a book? Nichole: We try to focus on local authors, and since one of the tenets of the sorority is to promote women in the literary arts, we focus on female authors. We like to find things that appeal to a wide range of women. We usually read a lot of fiction, but we read a lot of memoirs and inspirational and self-help books. We have a selection committee, but we take suggestion from members. O.H.: Gail, how do you select your programs? Gail: Each member, when it’s her month to do a program, she can do whatever she wants. She just presents it. Sam: Does that ever turn out bizarre? Gail: No, its fun. Like one person had a fascination with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon or someone would say, “My sister just renovated a house in Provence, and this is the story,” or like someone would walk in, in historical dress and start talking like Jane Austen. O.H.: Wright, how do you guys pick what you read? Wright: At times it can have a tie-in to a movie that’s coming out, say with The Avengers. It’s usually interest driven. If someone is interested in the Planet of the Apes, we’ll read the latest graphic novels. O.H.: Sam, how do you guys do it? Sam: It’s loosey goosey. At the end of the book club, we talk about the next book. The last one was a book I chose. It didn’t go over that well. It’s called The Laughing Monsters by Denis Johnson. He’s a very good writer, He wrote a book called Train Dreams a few years ago that was up for a National Book Award, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever read, so I took a shot. Sure enough, it was very well written, but what it was about didn’t grab anybody. It was one of those books where you don’t really like anybody in the book. But that’s OK. The one before that was a science fiction book called The Sparrow, and I hated it. The next we’re reading is called Finn. It’s a prequel to Huckleberry Finn. O.H.: How can you tell if someone hasn’t read the book? August 2015

O.Henry 33


Summer Reading 2015

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34 O.Henry

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Nichole: We try to pick books so that you don’t necessarily have to have read the book to participate in the discussion. We like for people to read the book, but that’s one thing about book clubs we wanted to stray away from. If you haven’t read it, we hope we’ll be talking about something that’ll encourage you to read it later. O.H.: Sam? Sam: Once, we were reading The Grapes of Wrath, and I waited too long. I couldn’t finish it, so I was going to sit there long enough to talk a little bit about it and leave. That didn’t work out so well for me. Anyway, people just like to hang out, so if they haven’t read the book, they just come hang out. O.H.: What’s the most popular refreshment at your meetings? Sam: A couple of us don’t drink, but probably beer. And as far as food goes, chicken wings. O.H.: Wright, do you all have refreshments? Wright: We have Pocky, which is like a pretzel stick with chocolate on it. It’s authentic Japanese. And chocolate mushrooms. It’s sort of like a cracker that looks like a mushroom with chocolate on top. And Mountain Dew. Nichole: One time we did a salsa bar. We’ve done donuts. There’s this chicken salad that has grapes in it, nuts and different fruit. It’s really good. O.H.: Who makes that? Nichole: My aunt gets it from Lowes Foods. O.H.: So what keeps people coming back to your club? Sam: Donut World. O.H.: Bear claws or apple fritters? Sam: You know, those fritters, I don’t even want to think about them. I like to think we’re all in the club for the same reason. We like to read. We’re very egalitarian as far as the books we choose. We just like hanging out with each other and talking about the books. When life gets in the way, and guys can’t make it, I think they’d rather be there most of the time. O.H.: Wright, what keeps your members coming back? Wright: The Pocky. Gail: Where do you get it? Wright: I go to Super G Mart. They have a lot of good stuff there. Gail: I think people come back to our club because you’re a part of something that has gone on for so long. I grew up with my grandmother in my house, so for me to sit with older women, it’s such a gift because you can learn so much — what to let go, and what’s important. Just to laugh with them is such a gift. Nichole: I think members come back because we have pretty good discussions. We can have discussions through social media and other avenues, but there’s just something about coming together with people and talking with people in real time. You don’t get an opportunity to do that a lot. OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Pleasures of Life Dept.

Slivers of Time

Ken Toda’s extraordinary used camera shop in High Point is a Mecca for the world’s photography buffs — a global resource on the history of cameras and how to use them

Story and Photographs by Tom Lassiter

For photographers, the place is

awe-inspiring, sort of like the Air and Space Museum is for aviation fans. Cameras of every description (except digital) fill a drab steel building in a gritty section of High Point. These devices, each high-tech in its day, chronicle the history of photography.

The shelves and display cases groan with mechanical and optical marvels from bygone eras. Each camera is ready to load with film and, when the shutter is tripped, preserves a sliver of time. But unlike the artifacts in the Smithsonian, these relics are for sale. New York once had similar, and legendary, used camera stores. The last one, Lens and Repro, closed in 2012. This is Huemaxx, known to North Carolina photographers as Ken Toda’s place. All of the most-revered names in camera gear are represented. Contax, Rollei, Leica, Speed Graphic, Hasselblad, Minolta, Nikon and Canon. And Kodak, of course. The cameras number more than a thousand. They include an 1860 wooden view camera, ready for a freshly prepared, light-sensitive wet plate, the same medium that Mathew Brady used. (Then, as now, wet-plate photographers prepared their own plates, glass or metal, just before each photo session.) Toda has refurbished them all.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

They come from flea markets and yard sales, from widows cleaning out closets, from camera buffs reluctantly parting with their clutter. Buying, selling, trading, repairing, Toda is a global resource. He was an eBay pioneer. Now he gauges economic vitality by the addresses of outbound packages. These days, the most expensive collectibles usually go to Hong Kong, Singapore and other Asian destinations. Certain 35-mm cameras from pre-war Germany can command five-figure price tags. But most cameras, even a Hasselblad like the one Neal Armstrong took to the moon, now bring only a fraction of what they cost when new. Toda serves locals by appointment. Hillsborough’s Tim Duffy, the archivist and documenter of blues musicians, is a longtime customer. Because wet-plate images have proven to be stable for at least 150 years, Duffy now photographs his subjects using the same technology employed by Civil War photographers. “Ken’s like having your own personal coach in photography,” Duffy says. “He’s like a great jazz guitarist; music theory is unlimited. He understands the theory of light and film and being there.” The creative possibilities, Duffy says, are “endless when you are a master like Ken.” There’s no room at Ken Toda’s place for digital cameras. He has no use for circuit boards or cameras that require batteries. “I don’t like all these electronic cameras,” Toda says, “because I can’t repair them.” Truth be told, neither can the manufacturers. The electronic shutter in your fancy new 36-megapixel DSLR? It dies a little with each exposure. After 100,000 clicks or so, it’s done. Finis. A mechanical shutter, however, just might be immortal. All it needs is what Toda calls C.L.A. — clean, lubricate, adjust. “You’d be amazed,” he says. “Some cameras come alive just by oiling them. August 2015

O.Henry 37


The Pleasures of Life Dept.

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38 O.Henry

August 2015

Rolleiflex, Hasselblad. Leica, yes. If you have an old Leica M3 from 1956, you can rebuild it. It works 99.9 percent as it was sixty years ago. Leica. Forever.” Pro photographers always refrigerated film to extend its life. Toda still has lots in cold storage. Though the expiration date may be 1996 or 2004, eBay customers don’t care. Toda learned camera repair through a correspondence course. He enrolled after discovering that the repairs that took six weeks to perform in a far-away shop actually required only minutes in the hands of a trained technician. That decision years ago set the stage for his business today. That, and being a collector and lover of cameras. Though a resident of the United States for more than forty years, Toda’s English is still flavored by his native Japanese. Until, that is, he perfectly mimics a downhome Tar Heel accent. Humble cameras also find a home at Huemaxx. Kodak’s Brownie Hawkeye, a black plastic box camera from the 1950s, introduced millions to photography. I was one of them. I carried the family Hawkeye when my daddy took me to a political rally near Raleigh in 1960. The man who went on to win the White House wasn’t there, but a former president was, stumping for JFK from the back of flat-bed truck. I gripped the camera with my 8-year-old hands and peered down into the Hawkeye’s prism viewfinder, keeping his fedora in the frame. Daddy reminded me to gently press, not jab, the shutter button. Click! The subject of the first photo I remember taking was Harry Truman. Ten years later, Ken Toda was about to finish high school. He dreamed of becoming a globetrotting photographer and working for Time, Life, National Geographic. (Didn’t we all?) He was roaming Osaka, Japan, camera and tripod in hand, when an American businessman waved him over. Did he speak English? Yes. Could he make a photograph of this man and his entourage? Yes. Would he mail a print? Yes. Toda took the fellow’s card, which carried two addresses. One, New York, he recognized; the other was a mystery. It took a trip to the library to locate Kernersville, North Carolina. Reginald Styers was a well-known interior decorator. He counted the New York governor’s mansion among his projects, and back home, Toda later learned, his clients and social set included names such as Hanes, Reynolds and Koury. Toda followed up on his commitment and mailed the photo to his new American friend; correspondence ensued. The teenager was hungry to break out of Japan’s rigid society and pursue his dreams. Toda’s family resources would allow him to study in America, but he needed a U.S. sponsor. Styers agreed, becoming the patriarch of what Toda calls “my American family.” He suggested Toda pass up Wake Forest College The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Pleasures of Life Dept. — “It was expensive and the academics were pretty tough” — and “warm up with a community college.” The photography curriculum at Asheboro’s Randolph Technical College already had national prominence. Perfect. Studying photography at what is now Randolph Community College, Toda made connections that last to this day. Greensboro’s Mark Wagoner of Mark Wagoner Productions was a classmate. The two initially bonded, Wagoner says, “because we were the two Canon users in a sea of Nikon freaks.” Both still prefer Canon gear. Toda later earned a bachelor’s degree in applied science from Elon, where he worked as the campus photographer. His degree prepared him for a career as a vocational education teacher, but Toda chose to return to Randolph Tech for advanced training in photo finishing. He then traveled Europe, working for a Japanese maker of photo finishing equipment. Eventually he settled down in his adopted Piedmont. Industrious by nature, Toda worked every angle of photography. He shot furniture in studios, photographed NASCAR events, even modeled some. (In those days, American furniture was exported to Asia; the ads were shot in High Point.) Photography was a growth business, thanks to the furniture industry. High Point — not New York or Chicago or Los Angeles — boasted the most commercial studio space in the nation. With a former instructor Toda opened a photo-processing lab. There he and a staff of skilled technicians thrived until two disasters struck: North

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Carolina’s traditional manufacturing base crumbled, and the digital revolution slowly strangled film photography. Now Toda’s darkrooms rarely are bathed in red light, except for the occasional class where he teaches a new generation about the magic of enlargers, developer, stop bath and fixer. Most camera stores have gone away. Toda soldiers on, focused on the past. “He loves the gear,” Wagoner says. “He loves it for the beauty of the mechanics.” That’s why photographers worldwide seek him out. He’s shipped gear to customers throughout Europe, in Russia and New Zealand. He translated Japanese source material into English for an Australian writing a book on Canon rangefinder cameras. Me? I wound up in the Nikon camp, supplemented by a menagerie of yard sale finds. Most need some C.L.A. before their shutters will fire again. I’ve resolved to take them to Ken Toda’s place. Somebody, somewhere, will love them more than I. But one old camera isn’t going anywhere. My Brownie Hawkeye stays. Forever. OH Ken Toda sees customers by appointment. His telephone number is (336) 885-2000. His email address is huemaxx@yahoo.com. Huemaxx Co. is located at 2313 Geddie Place in High Point. Tom Lassiter, a Greensboro writer and photographer, just read Proof of Heaven, by Winston-Salekm physician Eben Alexander and plans to read In the Kingdom of Ice by Hampton Sides to get his mind off summer heat.

August 2015

O.Henry 39


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Gate City Journal

The Alchemy of Tone For Dale Laslie, tube sound is a science

Story and photographs by Grant Britt

It looks like the Wizard of Oz’s control

room, the ultimate man cave for audiophiles. Old timey sound machines squat menacingly on their perches around the room, looking vaguely familiar, but bristling with retro-fitted knobs and switches that scream of power waiting to be unleashed, ready to consume anyone in their reach.
It’s not hard to imagine djl Vintage Audio owner Dale Laslie in a white lab coat, beseeching the heavens to open up and send him a bolt of lightning to activate his monsters. But his creations are not slabs of reanimated flesh. Created from metal and wire, they lurk on shelves stretching from floor to ceiling, waiting for a human to come along and activate their tubes.

Reanimating tube-driven creatures inspired Laslie to assign his laboratory a special designation. “We lovingly refer to this place as being the institute of tone science,” Laslie says proudly of his shop in the Olde Greensborough Gateway Center at the corner of South Elm and Lee. “It’s The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a legitimate title, because anyone who has spent as much time as I have working with the alchemy of what produces good tone and what doesn’t qualifies for that title. It’s an earned degree.” Laslie, in fact, holds a bachelor’s degree in broadcast engineering from Michigan’s Ferris State University. He says he’s been working with electronics all his life. “It was just a natural attraction. I tinkered and tortured every kind of electronic device I could find when I was growing up.” His grandfather’s towing business allowed Laslie access to a cornucopia of electronics to experiment on. “He was taking junk cars to the junkyard regularly, so when I’d visit him he’d let me pull out all the radios that I could physically get out of the cars and take ’em home, so I had all those for nothing. I experimented with hooking up a radio to twenty different speakers at the same time. That was the beginning of my baptism into electronics.” His fascination with all things electronic led him to study tube theory in college, which, at the time, he admits thinking was a big waste of time. After college he started a business repairing closed circuit video security equipment. Back then, in the ’80s and ’90s, the equipment was quite a bit more expensive, so you performed regular maintenance on it and fixed it when it broke, as opposed to today’s throwaway products that you toss when the warranty runs out. Laslie started his own business in Greensboro in 1990, with clients across the nation sending him work as well as local clients. That lasted until 2005, when the security equipment market started to die. “I had twelve people in my operation at its peak working on my video security equipment, and I just slowly switched over and started building this other business that I could eventually do full-time, going solo about five years ago.” August 2015

O.Henry 41


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August 2015

Laslie’s original focus was on making custom guitar amps using tubular technology. “The organic qualities of the warm tube sound is something that can’t be equaled,” he says. Most of the original tubes have long since gone to meet their makers, and as good as Laslie is, he can’t recreate the tubes that power his creations. Luckily for him and his clients, Russia and China never quit making tubes and now a company in Slovakia has joined in as well, so there’s no shortage of them to drive his vintage gadgets. That’s where the squatting creatures on the shelves come in. The devices look vaguely familiar because many of us grew up with them. For those of this generation, tubes were those lumpy, dome shaped glass things that lit up and hummed in the back of radios once upon a time and also powered P.A.’s. In fact, the base for most of Laslie’s creations started life as a P.A. (public address) systems in churches or schools. “What I can do in terms of building someone whatever they can describe to me would be taking one of these older P.A. housings and molding that like a lump of clay to be whatever they want it to be,” Laslie says. That lumpy clay, set in steel, and coupled with a considerable dose of humor, results in creations for his custom line of Megatone amps, like the one Winston-Salem bassist Ed Bumgardner swears by. “We just filled in the blanks of his wish list,” Laslie says of the custom amp he now calls the 1FK model, after Bumgardner’s request that the device only have “one F’in’ knob” on the front. The knob settings allow the bassist to dial up a tone ranging from Apathy to Apocalypse, with settings for Oomph and Clank and others ranging from Unelevated to Stoned when the mood strikes him. “It came out really cool and he absolutely loves it,” Laslie says. “When I got finished, it became a model I’m offering to the public.” Laslie also offers a refurbishing service to existing amps to clear up your fuzz tone or

make it even fuzzier if you so desire. Although circuit boards may be a tidy way to set up your electronic geegaws innards, it makes for a fragile device ill suited for the rigors of rock’s twang and thumps on and off stage. Laslie offers pointto-point hookups for amp components, mounting components on the tube sockets or terminal strips, then hand-wiring them together instead of having them all lined up. “When I do point-to-point, I can make everything quieter, reduce the noise level, make the circuit more stable,” he says. “The big thing is, they’re super rugged. You don’t have parts that are coming loose.” He also came up with a gadget to help out guitarists who enjoy fiddling with their tone. His brownout pedal tenderizer is not a butcher’s tool to resuscitate aging meat, but a device that simulates the tone you would get from a weak battery on an effects pedal. For the nonstring pluckers out there who might wonder why you’d want to have anything weak about your rock god image, the tone scientist allays your fears: “a fuzz pedal really sounds better with a weak battery,” he says. The tone scientist added a voltage regulator and a sag knob to dial in a softer edge as you turn it down. “This is for people who want to go deep tone mining.” But guitarists are not the only ones to benefit from Laslie’s technology. A chance encounter with a harpist at a house party led to Laslie branching out into offering harp amps. “He played great but I was standing right in front of him so I could hear what he was playing, but none of that was really translated very well into the room.” Laslie did some quick research and implemented some ideas he found into one of the toaster sized P.A. converted amps he had on display. But Laslie is not a harp player, so he tried to get the kid he heard at the party to come and check out his new creation. “Not because I was trying to sell it to him or anything, I just wanted to see if it really worked as well as I hoped. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Gate City Journal Bottom line is, I could never even get him to return my calls,” Laslie says. Meeting local bassist Bobby Kelly at a trade show proved to be the key to his trials. Kelly mentioned that his band, Blues World Order, sported harpist Mike “Weso” Wesolowski, and a few days later the whole band dropped by djl Studios’ Elm Street headquarters with Weso toting an armful of amps and mikes. “We promptly hooked up the prototype I had put together, and right out of the gate it put one of his amps to shame. So that was pretty exciting.” But rarely satisfied with “good enough,” he and Wesolowski went to work: “We spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to refine these ideas, and what ended up being the idea for Megatone amps.” “Weso” is now part of the staff, listed on the masthead as the go-to guy for “All Things Harmonica.” And for those wanting to sound like Weso or their favorite rock god, Laslie offers a unique in-house trial system. “We call it the BASC,” Laslie says of his mind-and-ear numbing rig of fourteen 12-inch speakers and fourteen 10s side-by-side, plus a separate row of 8-inch speakers standing vertically that musicians can plug their amps into. What does BASC stand for? Big ass speaker cabinet, of course. “We were interested in having a way to plug in and actually test and audition and test drive speakers,” he says. “Mike Wesolowski and I built these cabinets; it started off with just one row and slowly grew into four.” In addition to being a haven of tone science, Laslie also offers repairs in a timely fashion. “It’s a repair oasis in the desert that exists in this area,” Laslie says. “I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people show up here, totally exasperated where they had taken it to some other local repair place and it had sat in their shop for six months and then when they picked it

up, it still didn’t work or it had some other problem, so without even asking for anything special, when you drop something off here, usually within two business days I’m getting back to you with a quote.” And that’s just for regular service. “Anybody comes in and they’ve got a show later that afternoon, I’ll do what I can. If I have to order parts or something, that’s the only thing that would hinder it. I’ll drop what I’m doing and work on it on the spot.” He also offers to work on vintage hi-fi gear. “If it’s got a tube in it, I’m willing to look at it,” he says, adding that, “I do have an allergy against solid state amplifiers, but I’ll work on anything that I’m an authorized service center for including Gibson, Fender, Marshall, and Orange.” In the end, Laslie is a man for all seasonings, musically speaking. And the earlier reference to the Emerald City is apt: “This is kind of like a Wizard of Oz operation here. It looks like there’s a lot going on, especially if you look at the website, you might think, oh my gosh, they have a factory, but I’m really just one guy behind the curtain,” the tone scientist says. “I do all the promotion, create the website, do all the photography for it, do all the repairs, design, construction, so it’s really a smoke and mirrors operation.” OH DJL Vintage Audio, 620 South Elm Street, Suite 161 Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-6767 or djlservice.com/AudioIndex.htm Grant Britt admits to being electronically challenged. The Greensboro music writer says he derived most of his electrical education from an insightful encounter involving a muffin, a fork and a plugged-in toaster

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O.Henry 43


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Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

What Really Happens in Las Vegas Fortunately stays there

By Clyde Edgerton

We are fortunate that our

Illustration by harry Blair

family can afford a summer trip out west. That experience this past June was unforgettable in the best of ways. Some of the more frustrating aspects near the end of the trip are told below — from a child’s perspective. I wrote the first draft and then each of my children, in turn, helped me with the edit.

Today we finally get almost to the end of our summer trip out west. We are going to leave from Las Vegas tonight and fly all night. We rented a minivan about eight or nine days ago and have been driving a lot. This afternoon, we drove about six hours from up in Utah where a massacre took place. Dad had to look at these tombstones and a monument for about three hours after he told us a long, boring story about a wagon train and all these people getting massacred, which was sad. On the way to the tombstone place, Mom wanted to turn off on all these back dirt roads to get there, and when Dad realized that the people who got murdered had come along the same way — on this road called the Old Spanish Trail — he got all excited and turned onto the dirt road and we got lost until he used the compass in the rearview mirror, which we had to find for him. After all the tombstones and stuff, while we are riding to Las Vegas in the back of the minivan, we watch a movie while Mom and Dad keep looking at these giant rock mountains. All in all, on the whole trip, we stay in the back of the car for over 2,000 miles and look at over 2,000 rock mountains and thank goodness they let us watch a movie once in a while. I think Mom took over 2,000 billion pictures. We are leaving tonight at 10:55 p.m. We get to Las Vegas — where we will fly from — in the afternoon and we see a lot of big pictures of women without many clothes on. We go to an exhibit called Bodies. Real dead bodies are in these rooms. And we go into a store where a diamond watch is for sale for $220,000; and we see a roller coaster and a Ferris wheel; and water shooting up into the air; and tall, gold buildings. We go into a hotel and then into a room as big as a gym where there are all these glittery gambling machines. This is called a casino. Dad loses thirty dollars very fast, while we walk around because a woman said we were not allowed to stand there and watch him. We are now unpacking our rental car at the big airport because it’s time to go home, and we are putting our extra junk into a giant duffel bag that Dad bought at Goodwill for ten dollars. Mom got some rocks and they are

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

going in the duffel bag. She also found two big colorful towels in a trash can right there at the rental car place and got them out and is putting those into the duffel bag. Gross. We turn in the keys to the rental car people. We get all our bags into a shuttle bus, and are now headed to the airline terminal. It is very hot. It was about 111 degrees one time today. Dad asks Mom for a piece of paper with the flight information. She is sitting on one side of the shuttle bus and we are on the other. She hands it across to him. He looks at it. He gets a funny look on his face. She says, “What?” He swallows. She says, “What?” He says, “We are twenty-four hours early.” It is now the next day. We are staying at the Hampton Inn. We are walking around Las Vegas again. When we park the last time before going back to the airport again tonight to catch our flight, we are in a parking lot underneath a hotel and we walk up some back stairs and into the back of a casino. We are close to a goldfish gambling machine. We will remember where we came in — close to the goldfish machine — so we can find our car later. About two hours later after we walk around a long time and finally eat dinner, we can’t find the goldfish machine. We can’t find our car. Mom and Dad seem frustrated because it is time to go to the airport again. Dad keeps looking at his watch and Mom keeps walking fast. We have to keep following them around looking for our car. This takes a long time. They talk to the police and casino workers about where the goldfish machine might be but nobody knows. We for sure can’t find our car. It is somewhere in Las Vegas. We finally find out that our car is under the hotel next door where there is another casino. Mom and Dad seem frustrated. We find the car and head for the rental car place. We are following signs that say RENTAL CAR RETURN. Then there are no more signs and we seem to be back downtown somewhere and Dad says, “We missed the turn.” He pulls over and starts typing stuff into his phone. We have to do a U-turn. Two of us are fighting. He yells at us to be quiet. We finally find the rental car place and leave the car and start over with the shuttle bus like last night. We fly all night and get home the next morning. It was a good trip. And I am very tired. The best thing of all was the mule ride at the Grand Canyon. OH Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. This summer, the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW says he is re-reading As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner. “Recently finished last page and turned to first page to start again. I don’t remember doing that before.” August 2015

O.Henry 45


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A Novel Year

Time and Memory

And the special anniversary celebration that marks our family’s passage By Wiley Cash

November 18, 1922,

marked not only the end of Marcel Proust’s life at the age of 51, it also marked the end of his twelve-year struggle to transmogrify his life into fiction; this he did in a seven-volume behemoth of a novel titled In Search of Lost Time. While T. S. Eliot’s lovable loser J. Alfred Prufrock measures his life in coffee spoons, Proust’s autobiographical narrator measures his life in pages, and there are literally thousands of them.

Can you imagine attempting to put one year of your life on the page? Can you visualize the scope of a year’s worth of minutiae? Do you possess the vocabulary necessary to portray the wonder, fear and beauty a year brings? Can you sustain a narrative that encompasses the richness of one year of life? Now, multiply that difficulty by 50. To quote Prufrock, who has his own issues when conceptualizing life, “How do I presume?” The better question is, “Where do I begin?” Proust’s narrator begins with a madeleine cookie that he eats as a young child. Upon recalling the taste of this treat, he is able to recast the flow of his life in a series of memories, impressions, stories, faces, fragments and ideas. In other words, it all comes back to him with the remembrance of one thing: fifty years of life conjured by a cookie. My parents have shared fifty years of their lives together as a married couple, and I’m certain that during that time they’ve eaten some memorable cookies, but getting them to shake off the layers of memory and tell stories about their lives is akin to scraping a house’s exterior before you’re able to paint it. There are things they don’t remember; things they haven’t thought of in years; things they don’t believe others would be interested in hearing about. But the older they get, the more my siblings and I want to hear these things. In early June my older sister, younger brother and I celebrated my parents’ fiftieth wedding anniversary with a surprise party in their honor at the Brunswick Inn in Southport, North Carolina. The list of attendees was extensive: my mother’s childhood best friend; my father’s cousins from Cleveland County; a couple named Vickie and Oren who double-dated with my parents in the 1960s; dozens of newer and no less dear friends my parents have made in the seventeen years they’ve lived on the coast. It was an incredible evening of recounting stories, catching up with old friends, and meeting new people I’d heard my parents talk about over the years. As the guests began to leave around dusk, we began the clean-up effort while my parents settled into the room we’d reserved for them. Along with Vickie and Oren, my parents and my wife and daughter and I had the inn to ourselves for the night. Later, with my sister preparing to head back to my parents’ house to keep an eye on their dog and my brother and sister-in-law returning home to Wilmington, we all stood in the inn’s foyer and talked about the party: the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

surprise of it, how nice it was to see everyone, how much it meant that so many people made the trip to the coast. “That was the nicest thing anyone’s ever done for me,” my mother said. An hour or so later — night fully fallen, our daughter asleep, Vickie and Oren in their room, the house otherwise empty — my parents and my wife and I sat on the second-story porch that overlooks the Southport harbor. In the distance, the Oak Island Lighthouse glowed brightly at the far eastern end of Caswell Beach, its light rotating across the water and through the trees in perfect increments. We talked about how the lighthouse’s beam is visible from the bridge that connects the mainland to Oak Island, where my parents live, and I reminded my mother that when they moved to the beach in 1998, she told me that I would always know I was on my way home when I saw the light from the Oak Island Lighthouse. Our conversation shifted from my parents’ relocation to the coast to the many other places they’ve lived during their fifty years together: San Antonio during my father’s basic training; Germany during the Vietnam War; Shelby in an apartment above my grandparents’ home; Fayetteville, where I was born after my father was transferred; Gastonia, where my sister, brother and I were raised until the three of us left for college and all settled together in Asheville. After a lull in the conversation, my mother turned and looked at me and my wife. “You know, July 6 isn’t our real anniversary,” she said. “We got married a few months before that,” my father said. “It was a secret. No one ever knew.” My mother gestured toward the porch door behind her. “Vickie and Oren knew,” she said, smiling. “They were our witnesses.” “Why did you keep it a secret?” my wife asked. “We didn’t want our families to know we’d gotten married before our wedding day. We drove down to Clover, South Carolina. We were afraid he’d be drafted,” my mother said. “And we knew I couldn’t go with him unless we were married.” While the light from the Oak Island Lighthouse rolled across the face of the water in the harbor, the four of us talked about how funny it must’ve felt for my parents to get married twice and the fact that they had marriage licenses from both North and South Carolina. My parents had told this story to my siblings and me years earlier, but I’d forgotten it, and as I watched the lighthouse’s light illuminate the trees and flash across our faces I imagined that on each pass the light removed another layer of time, of memory, of the mystery of both. Fifty years ago, my parents were married twice, and then they gave birth to my sister, my brother, and me, and now I was here with them and my wife, our daughter asleep only feet away, Vickie and Oren — who a half-century ago witnessed things I’ve only heard about — asleep just down the hall, a madeleine cookie dissolving on the tongue as time dissolves around it, a lighthouse spinning in the distance, shining its light over the fifty years it took to get to this moment, this night, this memory. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. His summer reading agenda includes Jami Attenberg’s Saint Mazie and Craig Childs’ Apocalyptic Planet. August 2015

O.Henry 47


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Birdwatch

Broad-Winged Hawk Magnificent hunters in one’s own backyard

By Susan Campbell

Moving means so many things: like

meeting new neighbors. Yes, it may be the family next door or the couple across the street — but there are others in the community: yes, the local wildlife. My recent relocation from a lake in Whispering Pines to a farm in Southern Pines has radically changed what’s outside my windows — and doors. Instead of looking out over open water, here I am adjacent to a small creek and a floodplain. The swampy woods are teeming with birds, all drawn to the abundance of food. Nowadays, insects are the order of the day.

One species in particular has caught my eye and particularly seems to enjoy the diversity of prey in the swampy terrain: the broad-winged hawk. Mind you, I do not see these diminutive but magnificent birds regularly, but, as with so many birds during the breeding season, I hear them advertising their presence. Their call is a high pitched whistle, unlike any other bird in our area. Being heard and not seen may be a strategy for these birds, since they are relatively small in size: close to that of a crow. Often living within the boundaries of other, larger hawks, such as a red-shouldered (the case in my neighborhood), being less visible is a distinct advantage. Not surprisingly, given their size, broad-wingeds often go unnoticed.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

They are birds of the forest and, given their dark coloration, blend in well with their surroundings. But that doesn’t mean they’re drab. These stocky little hawks have reddish heads and handsome barred underparts that match their boldly barred tails. But only the keenest of birders will probably spot them unless they’re migrating, when they congregate in large numbers (even into the thousands) in certain locations. At these raptor “hot spots” the birds can be seen soaring in circles, forming large “kettles,” on updrafts, gaining altitude early in the day. Broad-wingeds, like many other hawks, use upper air currents to make their long journey a bit easier. Unlike most of our local hawk species, these birds move back and forth between the Eastern United State and central to northern South America during the year. Here in the Piedmont, the species can be found in hardwood or mixed pine-hardwood forest. The courtship ritual is breathtaking, involving “sky diving” — circling high in the sky followed by a rapid dive. The pair will nest in the lower limbs of a mature tree, usually close to water or some sort of opening in the canopy. The parent hawks will feed their young everything from mice to frogs, from lizards to large insects. Since broad-winged hawks are easily disturbed, they are rarely seen outside rural areas. So should you be out hiking at Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines or at, say, Haw River State Park in Browns Summit, keep an eye out as well as an ear, you just may spot an elusive broad-winged! OH Susan would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to susan@ncaves.com (or 910-585-0574).

August 2015

O.Henry 49


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Cirque du Quake

Life of Jane

Recent scenes from a whole lotta shakin’ out West

------------------

By Jane Borden

“A series of

earthquakes peaking with a magnitude 5.1 shaker struck the Southland. . . . Residents across Orange [County] reported swinging chandeliers, fireplaces dislodging from walls and lots of rattled nerves, but damage appeared to be relatively minor.” — from the Los Angeles Times

Illustration by Meridith Martens

Below are excerpts from other interviews conducted during this  reporter’s research for an L.A. Times story (by which we mean they’re totally made up). Were you affected by the earthquake? “Yes, the chandelier was swinging — everything was! I remember thinking: Has my mink stole come back to life?! But then I saw the champagne fountain spilling everywhere and realized what was happening. Of course, my family and I have a designated meeting spot behind the house, where we all know to go in case of an emergency. But the spot was about a 10-minute walk from the wing I was in, so I just called them all on the intercom instead.” Were you worried about being alone? “Of course! I knew that I might have to fend for myself for a few days until the authorities could get to me, so the first thing I did was tell the butler and chef to stay the night.” And your family was fine? “Well my husband was in our automobile elevator when it happened and was trapped for about a half an hour while the butler looked for the fuse box. But I wasn’t worried because I’d just bought a case of ionized water that was still in the trunk of the Benz, and also he had the latest Coldplay album.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Were you affected by the earthquake? “I was working out at the time with my personal trainer, Carlo, and I was like, ‘OMG you’re always telling me my butt should be shaking, well guess what, my butt is literally shaking!’ And then we LOL’ed for like an hour. Or I guess it was just a few seconds.” So you weren’t scared? “Oh, yeah, when it didn’t stop, I became terrified. But you know what? The camera crew for my reality show was totally professional: They kept rolling — even though I was screaming and crying.” I’d love to see the footage, if — “Know what else, I think? This probably happened because we’ve been vaccinating our children.” Um, I’m pretty sure that’s not — “Can a quake cause measles to shake loose off of one child and then land on mine?” OK, thank you for your — “Probably not, actually, because my forehead didn’t move the whole time.” -----------------Were you affected by the earthquake? “Yes, some things in my house moved around a bit. Especially the maid — she was running everywhere. I learned several new Spanish words.” The house must’ve really been shaking then. “Something funny is that it caused the hammers in our piano to strike a few notes. At first, I thought it was Chris Martin warming up! Chris Martin of Coldplay? Sometimes he comes over to play John Lennon’s Steinway. John Lennon of the Beatles? We own his Steinway.” Um, okay . . . So did your home sustain any damage? “There was some destruction to the topiary garden: The shaking caused the rabbits to lose their ears. Now they look like fat mice.” Well, that’s a relief — August 2015

O.Henry 51


Life of Jane

Now Available at

“Oh, and the infinity pool cracked, so it’s been pumping nonstop into the ocean. But we aren’t in a drought. Are we in a drought?” ------------------

Love Your Eyes!

Were you alone in the house? “Yes. My husband was in Paris. The quake triggered our alarm system, though, so he got an automated call from the company, and then texted me, ‘Are there intruders at all thirteen entrances?’ LOL! [Pause.] That’s the correct way to use ‘LOL,’ right?” I think so. So what did you do? “I knew I was supposed to avoid glass, but that’s the entire west half of our Mies van der Rohe house! Neither could I go outside because I might have been crushed by one of our many Mark di Suvero sculptures. Eventually I decided to hide under Paul McCartney’s Steinway.” Oh, that’s interesting, I spoke with someone earlier who owns John Lennon’s Steinway. “You must’ve talked to Paolo Van Kurdistan — he’s a horrid name dropper.”

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-----------------Were you affected by the earthquake? “There was an earthquake? Huh. I didn’t really feel it. Then again, I was pretty drunk.” Well, what about the aftershocks, did you feel those? “Oh, sure: I usually get the spins in bed.” So when did you discover there’d been a quake? “When I found our taxidermied zebra on the other side of the house. It had been my idea to put it on rollerskates.” ------------------

• • • • • • • • •

Were you affected by the earthquake? “My annual charity ball was that night — I raise funds to help animal shelters afford fresh, local produce — and when the quake started, I was by the wading pool and just assumed that Rico had turned on the wave function. So I’m already getting mad because the waves weren’t supposed to come on until after dinner. And then the caterer’s waiters all started shouting to each other, which really angered me because they were supposed to be mimes — the theme was Cirque du Buffet — but then I finally figured out it was a quake.” Were you worried? “Of course! We hadn’t even gotten to the musical act yet, and it was Chris Martin!” Chris Martin of Coldplay? “You know him? I mean, sure, tonight’s about the animals, blah blah blah, but also I really wanted to show Paolo Van Kurdistan that he’s not the only one who can get Chris Martin.” No, I meant, were you worried about the earthquake? “Oh. It was a little upsetting to watch our yard rolling, yes. I was afraid that if it didn’t land back the right way, our Pacific views would be obstructed.” So there was no major damage? “Well, it pretty much ruined the party! Chris — Chris Martin? — he still played, but most people had already left. I’m just really sad about it. This was my night. Tonight was supposed to be about me.” Additional note: others of those interviewed, who were at their vacation homes in Tahoe during the event, reported not feeling the earthquake at all. OH

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52 O.Henry

August 2015

Jane Borden just had a baby and is only reading books about keeping it alive. Otherwise, this summer, she would be reading H Is for Hawk by Helen MacDonald, The Empathy Exams by Leslie Jamison and The Flamethrowers by Rachel Kushner. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


 haracter and harm

on the Golf Course in Sedgefield

5314  orchester Road Charming 1940s cottage-style home in premier golf course location in Sedgefield within walking distance to Sedgefield Country Club's clubhouse, fitness center, pool, & more. This home sits nestled along the 10th fairway of Sedgefield Country Club’s Donald Ross golf course, home of the PGA’s Wyndham Championship, with sweeping views of the 8th, 9th and 18th holes. Hardwood floors throughout most of home. Sunroom with gorgeous views of the golf course. Lots of potential - renovate to suit to your taste.

(From left to right:) Denise Bunton, Registered Client Service Associate; Michael Planning, CFP®, Financial Advisor Associate; Donna Miller, Client Service Associate; Paul Vidovich, First Vice President/Investments, Branch Manager; Phillip Joyce, Vice President/Investments; Jackie Wieland, First Vice President/Investments; Greg Gonzales, Senior Vice President/Investments; Rob Mitchell, Senior Vice President/Investments; Cassie Sawyer, Client Service Associate; Joanna Page, CPA, Registered Client Service Associate; Ronda Sizemore, AAMS®, Registered Client Service Associate

Our Team of Professionals Is Here to Serve You Paul A. Vidovich, AAMS®

Branch Manager First Vice President/Investments

Phillip H. Joyce

Vice President/Investments

Gregory E. Gonzales

Senior Vice President/Investments

Rob Mitchell

Senior Vice President/Investments Portfolio Manager – Solutions Program

Jacqueline T. Wieland

First Vice President/Investments

Michael J. Planning, CFP® Financial Advisor Associate

Stacey U. Ofsanko Broker / REALTOR ® 336-404-6342 cell Stacey.Ofsanko@trm.info

(336) 478-3700 (844) 233-8608 629 Green Valley Road, Suite 211 Greensboro, North Carolina 27408 Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated | Member SIPC & NYSE | www.stifel.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 53


We’ll get you moving!

5505 Mecklenburg Road

19 Flagship Cove

Greensboro, NC

4300 Vinsanto Way

Greensboro, NC

Diane Thompson

Donna Russell

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-215-0402 Diane.Thompson@allentate.com

1011 Westridge Road

Summerfield, NC

Greensboro, NC

Bill Guill

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-544-1790 Donna.Russell@allentate.com

Kim Mathis

Greensboro-N Elm 336-549-0410 Bill.Guill@allentate.com

Greensboro-N Elm 336-339-7757 Kim.Mathis@allentate.com

$1,675,000

$1,399,000

$750,000

$749,900

Breathtaking views of Sedgefield Country Club’s 6th hole from living areas and sun room. Each of four bedrooms has private bath! Updated kitchen and master bath. Lower level den with gas log fireplace, bar and wine room, plus full bathroom for pool access. Perfect for entertaining with home theater, saltwater pool and spa/sauna with covered brick patio.

Fabulous views of Lake Jeanette. Marble, maple and tile flooring. Two story den with stone fireplace. Custom leaded glass transom windows. Updated kitchen with two islands, double ovens, Wolfe gas cook-top, and sub-zero refrigerator. Whole house has surround sound. Sunroom, den and master with lake views. Bedrooms include private bath. Media room with fireplace, game room with wet bar.

Custom built home with every detail and update addressed. Elegant dinners for colleagues from gourmet cooks kitchen. Great deck for neighborhood barbecues and coffee on a crisp morning. Movie night in the home theater. Nature trail entrance just steps away. Car lift in garage adds space for a fourth car. Nestled on a private 1.43 acre lot with forested backdrop.

Astonishing property offers entry flanked by formal living spaces, spacious great room, gourmet kitchen and expansive sunroom all overlooking landscaped tranquil gardens with stamped walkways, waterfalls, fountain, koi pond and private seating vignettes. Enjoy cooking on the wood fired grill and entertaining on the patio overlooking the in-ground pool.

MLS# 755306

MLS# 758983

MLS# 732018

MLS# 751023

7601 Blue Sage Court

303 Pearce Drive

Summerfield, NC

808 Golf House Road

Jamestown, NC

Angie Wilkie

Kelley Schaefer

Greensboro-N Elm 336-451-9519 Angie.Wilkie@allentate.com

3805 Obriant Place

Whitsett, NC

Greensboro, NC

Delaina Ellington

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-510-1865 Kelley.Schaefer@allentate.com

Tom Arevian

Greensboro-N Elm 336-263-1767 Delaina.Ellington@allentate.com

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-202-5763 Tom.Arevian@allentate.com

$609,000

$549,600

$539,000

$460,000

Custom, basement home and the end of a cul-de-sac. Kitchen with keeping room, breakfast room, two-story living room with stone fireplace, formal dining room and study. Spacious master on main. Second floor has two full baths, oversized bonus room. Additional living room with fireplace in basement and screen porch that opens to gorgeous backyard. Neighborhood amenities include clubhouse, swimming pool/tennis.

Stately all brick home. Custom kitchen, extensive wood moldings, wrought iron stair case, screened porch and beautiful landscaping. 5 bedrooms, 5 full baths, heated basement and exercise room, plus 3rd floor bonus/media room. Beautiful screened porch looks out at private backyard with stone patio and fire pit. Neighborhood pool, tennis courts and playground. Home warranty.

Impeccable Home situated on the 9th Fairway at the Stoney Creek Golf Community. Great golf course views from screened porch and patio. Owner’s suite on main level with luxurious master bath. Gourmet kitchen with granite and stainless appliances. Central vacuum, some tinted windows, hardwoods down, and tile in laundry. Attic storage, professionally landscaped yard with irrigation.

Wraparound front porch on a 2 story traditional located deep in The Cardinal. Formal living/dining plus spacious kitchen with eat-in area. Two story great room with fireplace overlooking terraced backyard with slate patio. Main level master suite with sitting area, fireplace and yard entrance. Three bedrooms up, sitting area, office and fully furnished third floor bonus room.

MLS# 761571

MLS# 759386

MLS# 751700

5947 Bostonian Drive

5710 Forest Manor Drive

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

Tina Marsh

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-215-8017 Bobbie.Maynard@allentate.com

6203 Tamannary Drive

202 Fosseway Drive

Greensboro, NC

Bobbie Maynard

MLS# 760737

Amy Cook

Roberta Wall

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-510-1851 Tina.Marsh@allentate.com

Greensboro-N Elm 336-544-5854 Amy.Cook@allentate.com

Greensboro-N Elm 336-215-4537 Roberta.Wall@allentate.com

$445,000

$435,000

$394,900

$380,000

Great split floor plan with additional bedroom/bonus upstairs. Open living room with stone fireplace and vaulted tongue and groove ceiling. Kitchen has built in oven and microwave, gas cook top and beautiful vanilla cabinets. Bright master with walkin closet, dual vanities, shower and jetted tub. Deck overlooking nicely landscaped yard and built in fire pit.

Charming home in Northern school district, steps from Bur-Mil Park, pool, golf, greenway and Lake Brandt! Great room includes built-in shelves, window seat, bar, fireplace & French doors to multi-level deck. Updated kitchen featuring granite and tile backsplash, including work station, walk-in pantry, cabinet lighting and stainless appliances. Renovated master with new soaking tub and tile shower.

Hard-to-find all brick home in Northern School district under $400k! Enjoy professionally landscaped backyard with water feature, fully fenced, covered back porch and patio. Spacious kitchen with granite, tile backsplash and hardwood throughout main level. Large main on first level and master bath with granite and tile work. Three large bedroooms and huge bonus up.

Wonderful well maintained home on large, wooded lot. Hardwood flooring throughout the main level, staircase and second floor hallway. Crown molding and plantation shutters. Spacious tiled family room with gas fireplace. Upgraded kitchen with stainless steel appliances. Sunny breakfast area that overlooks the pool with bricked patio. Private fenced in backyard. Expansive third floor storage space that could easily become a finished bonus room. MLS# 758872

MLS# 763753

MLS# 755223

Official Partner of The Carolina Panthers

MLS# 758362


6082 N Church Street

5 Elm Grove Way

Greensboro, NC

6 Macklin Court

Greensboro, NC

Gwen Strange

Greensboro, NC

Mitzie Weatherly

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-510-1887 Gwen.Strange@allentate.com

Ashley Fitzsimmons

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-314-5500 Mitzie.Weatherly@allentate.com

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-510-1813 Ashley.Fitzsimmons@allentate.com

$369,500

$368,900

$360,000

Reduced! 7 acres in Northern school district. Log home with 4 bed/4 bath main house. Upgraded kitchen with granite and stainless appliances, opens to massive great room with stone profile on towering fireplace. 4� Southern pine floors. Suite over garage with bath can be office or man cave. Full unfinished basement has high ceilings. Decks and rocking chair front porch.

Motivated seller! New kitchen with granite, new fixtures, built-in desk. Fresh paint throughout, new blinds, plus more updates. Located on a cul-de-sac in The Elms of Irving Park. All brick home with master on main level. Formal living & dining plus a large den creates easy entertaining flow. Two story foyer, landscaped front yard and wooded backyard.

MLS# 751556

MLS# 716641

3,500+ square feet located on a cul-de-sac with seasonal pond/lake views! 3 level brick and cedar home with new kitchen granite. Roof (2010) and AC (2008/2010). Hardwoods grace the main level, den with built-ins and sunken sitting area, cherry cabinets in kitchen, island with wine storage and planning desk. Multi-level deck overlooks private backyard. Third level has bonus.

At home in the Carolinas including seven offices in the Triad region:

MLS# 751740

Asheboro Burlington Greensboro-Green Valley 8800 Case Ridge Drive

2697 Brooke Meadows Drive

Oak Ridge, NC

622 Beckwith Drive

Browns Summit, NC

Robbin Smith

Greensboro, NC

Linda Taft

Greensboro-Green Valley 336-544-1795 Robbin.Smith@allentate.com

Ramilya Siegel

Greensboro-N Elm 336-558-5959 Linda.Taft@allentate.com

Oak Ridge 336-215-9856 Ramilya.Siegel@allentate.com

$349,900

$299,772

$295,000

Beautifully remodeled home with split bedroom floor plan in Oak Ridge! Open kitchen with new stainless appliances, slow close drawers and granite counters. Great room features built-in shelves and gas log fireplace that leads to screened porch/deck. Private park accessible through back yard. Full bath in upstairs bedroom. New roof/gutters (2015), boxed plantation shutters and water softener.

Open floor plan, light filled home. Beautiful hardwoods. Granite countertops in the kitchen. Huge fenced yard with separate area for a garden and a hammock to relax in. The master and other bedroom on the main level. Master bath has jetted tub and separate shower. Two more bedrooms and large bonus on the second level. Home warranty and HVAC certification.

Fabulous home in Streamside with inviting front porch and owner’s suite on main level. Elegant dining room, sunroom, spacious kitchen and Cathedral ceilings. Crawl space construction with double car garage, fenced backyard, relaxing deck and energy efficient living.

MLS# 760770

MLS# 752225

3402 Cottage Place

2000 Colonial

Greensboro, NC

Greensboro, NC

Wayne Young

Yvonne Stockard

Greensboro-N Elm 336-544-5839 Wayne.Young@allentate.com

Greensboro-Green Valley (336) 509-6139 Yvonne.Stockard@allentate.com

$190,000

$129,000

Spacious 4 bedroom home near parks and trails located in the convenient Battle Forest subdivision, just minutes from parks, shopping, the Greensboro Science Center, and the Greenway. This gorgeous traditional home has all the features you want - hardwood floors, granite kitchen countertops, solid oak cabinets, and much more. Shaded yard and large shop and storage building.

Kirkwood area! Updates galore on this charming home on a corner lot. Move right in! New gas hot water heater, New AC system. Den/Bonus room can be a third bedroom. Enjoy your deck and fenced in backyard, which overlooks the well manicured lawn and storage building. Stay cozy and warm with the wood burning fireplace and replacement windows. Seller is providing a home warranty with the 2-10 HVAC certification!

MLS# 763006

MLS# 728647

MLS# 734659

Greensboro-N. Elm High Point Oak Ridge Winston-Salem


56 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


August 2015 To Forget Who You Are For my Mother

To forget who you are is one way to vanish To go underground is another way To go underground and sleep as ash with the roots Or to sleep as air inside the sound of the sky To appear as a magpie or an eagle Or coltsfoot along the edge of the quarry To assume the shape of shadows that swim in the tall road-side grass below a stand of Elms — Malena MÜrling

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 57


58 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Money in the Mattress A stripper on the run. A worried mother. A lonely detective in quest of five big ones. Someone’s going to wind up horizontal Fiction by Paul Crenshaw

S

inatra sang that New York is the city that never sleeps, but North Carolina naps every afternoon. I had been to The Big Apple earlier that week and was back home in N.C. when I realized we must sleep a lot here because of all the mattress stores. Just down the road in High Point is the furniture capital of the South, but when we aren’t napping here, we recline, and I was reclining in the blue glow of the TV when I realized something about the girl I was looking for. I’d been driving down Battleground, wondering where she might be. Her mother had hired me to find her and so far I’d struck out. I don’t like striking out, but I had come up as dry as an ABC store on Sunday, so I went home to my office/apartment just off Elm, in the part of downtown that hasn’t yet been revitalized. I had just poured a drink when I saw an advertisement for one of the mattress stores, in which a man slept on a mound of cash. I stared at my ice cubes and thought of Battleground and all the mattress stores and suddenly it struck me. I still didn’t know where she was, but I had part of it. The money. The most important part. The mother came in on a Sunday. This was an afternoon in late June and the heat had already settled into summer. She wore a white summer dress and cowboy boots like I had seen college girls wear when I went down Tate or Spring Garden. She wasn’t a college girl. She was pushing 50, though she tried to look 30. One of those women who refuses to acknowledge age. And, I have to say, age had not acknowledged her. “My daughter is missing,” she said. Her voice sounded like ice cubes melting into weak scotch. “So is mine,” I told her, which was true. I was watching the train rumble past. The whole building shook. “I’ll give you five large to find her.” Five large? I thought. I wondered how many cop shows she had watched. Most of my jobs were finding out whether the bank president was sleeping with his secretary, which he usually was, and no one paid five large — or said it. “When did you last see her?” “A week ago. In New York.” Her breath hitched. “I think they’re going to kill her.” Turns out that was the only truthful thing she told me. It’s also how I ended up flying to New York that afternoon. Photograph by Tim Sayer. Model: Abigail Schell The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 59


Money in the Mattress She dabbed at her eyes with a tissue the whole flight. I didn’t know whether that was truthful or not. She hid the money in the mattress. That was what I thought when I stood in her apartment in New York, the city where no one ever sleeps. There was a long slit. Some of the stuffing had come out. The men she robbed — “They’re bad men,” the mother told me — must have torn through it, looking for the money. The mother made sure I saw it. She looked like a hooker with a heart of gold but was really a harridan with a heart that had hardened, although I only found that out later. After we’d rolled around in the sack a few times. By the time I went back out, the city had shut down. A few college kids hung downtown as the bars let out, but I wasn’t looking for college kids. I was smoking again — I always smoke when I’m trying to figure out the particulars of a case, and the cigarette smoke curled up with me in the cab, which made me think of things burning — and something the mother had said. The apartment in New York was a dump. One of those holes in the wall that still rent for a thousand a month, but are barely bigger than a closet. She had just shown me the ripped mattress, and I remember thinking most of the room was ripped as well. “Her rent is due tomorrow,” she said, dabbing at her eyes, and I thought then it was a natural reaction to a mother hearing her child is in trouble — focus on the thing you can control. “I’m putting everything in storage until we find her.” I remember thinking she should just burn everything. But she wouldn’t burn it. Of course she wouldn’t burn it. We spent an eventful night in New York and flew back to Greensboro the next morning. She said her daughter had come here. I asked her how she knew. “Mother’s intuition,” she said. Horse shit, I thought. It was beginning to dawn on me that all was not right with this story, but I had to keep shuffling cards until the joker turned up. The slit-open mattress had been the first shuffle. The second was the advertisement, and the third was this woman who wouldn’t dispose of worthless furniture. My next shuffle was to hit the mattress stores, see who got deliveries from New York. We get a lot of furniture shipments in this area of North Carolina. Adirondack chairs, chaise lounges, couches, divans, settees, davenports, ottomans, all those names that have lost any meaning. There are also a lot of mattress stores. They sell box springs, too. The thing that goes under the mattress. That was part of it, I thought, driving down Battleground toward the big buildings, but I needed to find the daughter, and the only thing I had to go on was the mother. She was 50, and tried to look 30. The daughter was 30. I figured she’d try to look 20. I went to the bars near UNCG and Greensboro College, where sometimes sorority girls stop in and order Sex on the Beach, or Cosmos if they want to seem classy. I’d already done the background on the daughter — I did that on my

60 O.Henry

August 2015

computer in the hotel room while the mother readied herself to seduce me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it wasn’t that hard to do. I spent a lot of time working. The few women I meet always ask what I do. When I tell them I’m a private detective they say “What? Like The Big Sleep? Raymond Chandler stuff?” They take in the cheap suit and shoes, and that pretty much ends it. She’d been working, the daughter, in a strip club. In New York, New York, the city so nice they named it twice, where every strip club is a front for some low grade mob wannabees, and I guess she’d stuck around long enough that they let her into the office where the safe was kept. She must have stolen the money on a Saturday night and fled south, to a city so hot in summer its namesake died of sunstroke, knowing they wouldn’t open again until Monday. But she was smarter than most strippers, even the ones putting themselves through college. She knew she couldn’t just run because they’d find her. She had to disappear. So I was at the college bar searching for a woman who would look 20 but be slightly older. Who would act stupid, but have some brains above the breasts. It didn’t take long. It wasn’t that night, but I had time. I was getting paid by the mother, and she was occasionally stopping by to mess up my sheets, as motivation to keep me on the case. When I saw her, I knew it was her. She sat with a sestina of sorority girls on Spring Garden at Old Town Draught House, but she wasn’t drinking, wasn’t laughing when one said “Here’s to Sex on the Beach” and the girl next to her said “I wish!” With enough money you can disguise yourself as anything. And who would look for a college girl when trying to find a thief who’d stolen a million-five? She had learned the art of hiding in plain sight. I suspect she’d read Poe’s “Purloined Letter,” back when she really was a college student. But I wasn’t ready yet, so even after I found her I staked out the bar to see what nights she came in. I began noticing the long black cars with tinted windows that were also watching her. I wondered if they would ever give up, like she thought they would. I wondered if I’d find a gun to the back of my head one night. I wondered if anyone would care. While I waited, I made a few calls to New York. A good P.I. has people everywhere. I had a few there. I had a few here, too. And I had a few who worked shipping in both places. Good friends are hard to find. Most people, you have to slip some cash. If I played my hand right, I’d have plenty coming. Two weeks later, she was at Old Town again with her sorority sisters. I wondered what they’d think if I told them she was 30. That she stripped in New York in a place where an extra hundred would get a man more than a strip tease. But the way they dressed, I wasn’t sure if they’d care. The girls who go to Allure on Saturday nights look the same. I waited until she stepped out to smoke. I lit her cigarette for her. I said, “They’re coming for you, Denise, and I’m the only one who can stop them.” She didn’t try to deny it. “I guess my mother hired you?” she said. She The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Money in the Mattress didn’t wait for me to nod. “You found me,” she said. “Congratulations.” “I’m not sure you know how serious this is.” She looked away. “I’m not sure you know anything about it.” “I know they’ll kill you and bury you in New Jersey.” She didn’t try to deny that either. It would have been smarter if she had. Smarter if she realized mob guys didn’t give up just because you laid low for a few months before spending the money, even low grade wannabes like these. “How do you know they’ll figure it out?” I laughed then. I couldn’t help it. I realized that she was just smart enough to get herself killed. Her plan had holes big enough to swing a dead giraffe through. It wouldn’t even have worked for a plot on one of the detective shows her mother must have watched to come up with phrases like five large, but it was ingenious in its own way. Poe would have been proud. But the guys chasing her had figured it out, and they would make her disappear soon. Fish food, and the like. “They already have,” I said. When I laid it all out to her, she told me which warehouse. And when. She was shaking when she said it. I called the mother. “I’ve found her,” I said. Then I told her everything else, including how we were going to end this. She protested, but I knew she would. As I knew her protests would keep her from seeing that I wasn’t telling her the whole truth. I made the daughter wash off the make-up. Get rid of the Delta Zeta shirt she wore, the sorority pins. “I hired you to find her,” the mother said. “Not get us all killed.” I had finally seen what the mother’s heart was made of. I won’t say stone, but definitely a type of ore. Not one that rhymes with old, cold, and Leopold. “We both know why you hired me,” I told her. When we went to the warehouse, they thought the shipment had arrived. The mob men were closing in, I had told them, and that part was true. I had dropped a call to them, telling them when and where, that for safe passage for the girl, they’d get the money. I was hiding among the box springs and mattresses. Well behind them, in case there was gunplay. I sent the mother and daughter out. The mob men were huge. They didn’t bother to hide the holsters beneath their suits. I had told Denise what to say — so sorry, you’ll get the money, please don’t kill me, et cetera. I let her cry for a short time. I let the mother worry. That was for lying to me. The rest of it — the thing that was about to happen — was for putting my life in danger. And because I’m tired of this city. Which was why I pulled my pistol and fired a few rounds into the lights, to create as much confusion as possible. The police were already arriving, as were the girls from Denise’s sorority, and I needed to be leaving. It really was a plan Poe would have been proud of. It was the box spring, you see. It was the only thing in the room that wasn’t ripped. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Most people hide their money in the mattress. The mob guys thought that, too. They’d ripped up everything in the room but the box spring. As she knew they would. She was already on a plane to Charlotte by then, where her mother picked her up at the airport. She’d brought just enough money to create a new life, but she couldn’t bring a million-five because if they caught her — or customs did — she’d spend the rest of her life six feet under the Meadowlands of New Jersey. So she’d left it in plain sight. Her mother had put everything in storage instead of dumping it, or leaving it for the super to take care of. Which told me the money had still been there. She’d kept her head low. She thought they’d eventually back off. And when they backed off, she was going to ship it here, to a city with so many mattress and furniture stores, no one would be looking for a lone box spring. One stuffed with a million-five in cash. The mother had hired me for protection in case they found her daughter. She wanted me to keep an eye on her until the danger had passed. With a million-five, she could pay me for a long time. And the occasional visits late at night were to sweeten the pot. She should have known that I, like all PIs, have four ex-wives. Numerous mistresses. A daughter who doesn’t care much for me. That’s part of the profession. Didn’t she ever watch any old shows? We are, those of us who have pebbled glass office windows in an old, unair-conditioned building in the run down part of town, immune to feminine charms. What I told the police on the phone was part true. There was criminal activity in Greensboro. I just lied about the type. I told them there was a sextrafficking ring that ran up the I-95 corridor, and that it was started by mob men from New York and perpetuated by the mother and daughter, who pretended to be college students so they could snatch up sorority girls and sell them to Eastern Europe. They were meeting in an old warehouse downtown, the one with Green’s Burrough still painted on the east wall. I had also sent a message to the sorority sisters that there was free booze at a certain downtown warehouse. They should spread the word. A white lie, I say. There is a sex-trafficking problem in the area, one police need to pay more attention to. And I needed some time to get away. I had the box spring shipped to a different warehouse. By the time the police sort out everything, I’ll be having drinks with little umbrellas in them. A million-five — minus the couple grand I used to grease the palms of shipping agents — goes a long way in these climes. I hear they sleep on sand where I’m going, so I won’t have to see a mattress store ever again. I will miss the mother. The look she gave me as I left the warehouse may haunt me. But sex on the beach will help with that. OH Greensboro resident and Elon prof Paul Crenshaw is reading Eula Biss’ Notes From No Man’s Land, Joan Didion’s The White Album and Steve Almond’s God Bless America. You can read what he writes in Best American Essays, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Glimmer Train, Ecotone, North American Review and Brevity.

August 2015

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62 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Love Over Par Thanks to bewitching Vampadelle Summer, passion was tiptoeing through Dicky Smythe’s heart like Amazons at a grape stomping. Fiction by Jim Moriarty

Photograph: Tim Sayer. Models left to right: Blair Miller, Richelle Modolo, Jim Moriarty, Kelly Miller, Christian Draughn. Photographed at Mid Pines Inn and Golf Club.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

er name was Vampadelle Summer, and she wasn’t to be trusted. No one knew this better than Rewind, who pushed down the lid of the Mercedes trunk as delicately as if he was performing chest compressions on a hummingbird. Respecting the peace and solitude of the deeply disturbed was something Rewind believed in with the same enthusiasm the ancient Greeks applied to naked wrestling. It was simply what one did and no one did what one was supposed to do, when one was supposed to do it, better than Rewind. He was a caddie of the first rank. Besides, 77 wasn’t the end of Western civilization, though this particular 77 felt like Visigoths running amuck in St. Peter’s Square, if par was your status quo ante. “I’m a good iron player. No, I’m a great iron player,” said Rewind’s passenger, Dicky Smythe. The caddie slipped the key into the ignition. The Mercedes purred, a marked contrast to the choppy groans coming from Smythe, his mind trapped in a recurring loop of one horrific shot after another after another. “One of the best,” Rewind offered. “Three greens. Who hits three greens?” Smythe thumb-punched his cell phone, entering numbers into its calculator. “That’s 1-6-point-6-6 percent.” He held the screen up as digital confirmation. Rewind had nothing to add. You can’t fight an Android. “Your head wasn’t where it needed to be,” the caddie finally said as they turned right out of the Congressional Country Club driveway. “What?” “You were distracted.” “Wasn’t I, though?” Dicky said, and sighed. This was not just any sigh. Its timbre was as distinctive as a bassoon and its look as easy to diagnose as gangrene. Rewind had seen it all too often during his career. It came down to one thing and one thing alone: Love was tiptoeing through Dicky August 2015

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Love Over Par Smythe’s internal organs like Amazons at a grape stomping. Rewind’s player had been struck by Cupid’s arrow squarely between his takeaway and his flying right elbow. “Why don’t you get some sleep?” Rewind said. “Good idea,” Dicky replied, lumping his cashmere sweater into a ball and putting it under his adorable ear as he leaned against the passenger window, tinted the color of blood pudding or, more to the point, what Rewind feared was the darkness of Vampadelle Summer’s heart. So depressed was Smythe he passed out like a college freshman face-down in the fourth book of Paradise Lost, depositing a frothy drool on his argyle Pringle. Rewind knew it was none other than Vampadelle Summer who had informed Dicky of his adorability, ear-wise. The author of the blog Trampoline Effect, Summer had planted herself on the golf circuit with the ruthlessness of Pizarro claiming Peru. Early in the week at Congressional, and for reasons known only to herself, she’d taken a particular shine to Dicky Smythe, resulting in a blog entry about him titled “From The Lone Cypress with Love.” It was the story of the courageous career trajectory of the son of a bond trader who grew up in Pebble Beach; learned the game under the tutelage of renowned golf instructor Bones Regis (creator of such phrases as “Just beat the livin’ crap out of it, kid.”), who finally got his playing privileges in the big leagues after three years on the Crazy Horse Cabaret Mini-Tour in North and South Dakota and who now appeared on the cusp of, according to Vampadelle Summer, journeyman stardom. Dicky Smythe, of course, fell deeply and inexorably in love with her, not to mention her shapely calves and size-five cross trainers. Rewind was painfully aware that love was something a golfer should undertake with the same anxiety as a grip change or perhaps the defusing of an unexploded World War II buzz bomb. Either can lead to a calamity on a scale not seen since Vesuvius buried Pompeii. Dicky Smythe had just, as it were, moved his emotional thumb into a weaker position. The rest was now up to fate and the good graces of Vampadelle Summer. Like any experienced caddie, Rewind was allowing for the worst. So exhausted was Smythe, from love or losing or both, he didn’t stir from his uneasy sleep during the five-hour drive to Blues Crossing, North Carolina, until Rewind pulled the car up to the portico entrance of the massive old hotel and the valet, dressed in plus fours, yanked open the door. “Welcome to The Pantheon,” said the valet as he doffed his herringbone cap and watched the sleeping Dicky tumble out onto the pavement. “Are you all right, sir?” he said, looking down. “Fine,” Smythe replied, making a show of stretching the tender L3 and L4 vertebrae of his lower back as he gathered himself off the ground. He looked up at the great hotel ablaze with lights. This was a far cry from the Crazy Horse Cabaret Mini-Tour. The Pantheon itself had evolved over the decades, spreading colonnades, rotundas and cherubic fountains, to become just the sort of hideout where guests could decant port wine in the Bonaparte Room and reminisce about the gold standard as cries of “Fore!” echoed through the pine forest. The Pantheon was not, however, immune to the vicissitudes of market bubbles. Financial Armageddon had forced the hotel to change hands from time to time. One man’s called bank note was another’s blue light special. The most recent rollover involved its purchase

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by Gideon Fitch, the North Carolina baron of rare earth elements. It’s of no use trying to explain rare earth elements here other than to say they are not traded on a traditional bourse but in private deals, much like cocaine, and with a similarly festive profit margin. Gideon Fitch did two things once the creative destruction of capitalism placed The Pantheon in his care. He opened a casino, The Golden Fleece, and he founded a golf tournament, The Pantheon Classic. Dicky Smythe had come there to win it. That, and the affections of the blogger Vampadelle Summer. While the valet emptied the contents of Dicky’s trunk onto a luggage cart, the golfer stood mesmerized. Perhaps, it was the Vegas ambience of the façade, but his pasty color made it seem far more likely Dicky was suffering yet another searing golf flashback. As Rewind slipped the valet a fiver for his troubles, another, larger Mercedes pulled up close behind them, its front bumper nudging Dicky out of his trance. From the driver’s side appeared none other than Jimmy Wildheart, the winner of the Super Pac National Pro-Am at Congressional Country Club. It was Wildheart who had played in the penultimate twosome alongside Dicky Smythe and witnessed each and every one of the unfortunate 77 blows. Although it would be wrong to suggest Wildheart took delight in the struggles of his playing companion, he was not altogether without cheerfulness about it either. Coupled with his sterling 64 and the over-par rounds of the last twosome of Billy Ray Toomey and Tinkie Bjornover, Wildheart had strolled to victory with all the care of a man who’d been informed one of his ex-wives had been fitted with an electronic ankle bracelet and placed under house arrest. “Dicky!” Jimmy Wildheart called out to the other half of his former twosome as if they had been childhood companions who hadn’t seen one another since that embarrassing episode in sixth grade involving Miss Withers and a fruit cup. Dicky Smythe turned his haunted gaze away from The Pantheon. “Jimmy,” he said. “We would have been here sooner but we decided to stop at the Taxidermy Hall of Fame,” Jimmy said, closing the big Mercedes’ door with a rich thud. “They have the most amazing fudge there.” Dicky replied the only way he could. “Oh.” Like a caddie who knows his man doesn’t have enough club to clear the hazard, Rewind had a tingling sense of foreboding. “Great playing back there,” he said to Wildheart, motioning with his thumb over his shoulder. “Thanks,” Jimmy replied, coming around the car and opening the passenger’s door as another plus four-adorned valet worked to fish the Wildheart luggage from the depths of a trunk large enough to hold a VW Beetle like a nesting doll. Out of Jimmy Wildheart’s Mercedes, like Jonah exiting the whale, stepped none other than Vampadelle Summer herself. The distance and speed with which Dicky’s stomach plummeted to the pavement would have sent a lesser organ to Middle Earth. Rewind’s chin dropped to his chest. No sooner do you recover from fortune’s head butt than it goes straight for the kidney, he thought. The woman Dicky Smythe was sure would be the search engine in his pursuit of love was traveling in the company of the very man who had just beaten him by no fewer than 13 strokes. To be blunt, it was a setback. “Hi, Dicky!” Vampadelle said. Though Smythe couldn’t bring himself to The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Love Over Par find any facet of Vampadelle Summer less than enchanting, he was aware she frequently spoke with a level of enthusiasm a decibel or two below a regiment of pillaging Cossacks. If Dicky didn’t necessarily find this enthusiasm endearing, he was at least able to overlook it the way you might overlook the sheer weight of an ingot of gold. It was simply one of its properties. That she was happy to see him was, of course, some consolation. That she should express that delight while disembarking from Jimmy Wildheart’s courtesy car was less encouraging. So much so that, in fact, he was having trouble expressing his true feelings. “Whazthegggerbuntttter, uh?” Like any naturally gifted journalist, Vampadelle Summer had the ability to divine a quote word for word from virtually any utterance, even Dicky’s, and then to repeat it with what she believed to be stone tablet accuracy. “I just got an exclusive!” she said, by way of interpreting Dicky Smythe’s mumbles and simultaneously explaining why she was appearing from where she was. Let’s just say that the notion of “an exclusive” was as comforting in that instant to Smythe as the knowledge that his 77 in the Super Pac National Pro-Am had allowed him to do the limbo under 80. It was true, exclusivity in the romantic sphere had not been among the topics Dicky had yet found the courage to broach, either in public or in private, with Ms. Summer. The last time they’d spoken they’d barely gotten far enough to discover the adorability of his ears, a fact arrived at initially when Vampadelle Summer asked him about a topic she believed to be a matter of keen interest to her readers, namely the activities of pros during rain delays. His competitive nature being what it was, Dicky was determined not to allow Jimmy Wildheart to get his nose out in front on the home stretch to exclusivity, but he feared he might be too late. Like all golfers, there are gloomy days when you look at the swamp and all you see are the alligators, never the snowy egrets. This was just such a day. “Plluzzumwhenaffumpet,” he continued. “Jimmy is soooo interesting!” Vampadelle continued. “Did you know he taught himself how to juggle?” In fact, Dicky knew quite a lot about Jimmy Wildheart. Who didn’t? Wildheart already had one four-toed foot in the Hall of Fame, having shot off the least useful one on his right foot in a quail hunting accident when he was 12. Among the many things Jimmy Wildheart was capable of juggling were his three ex-wives, Wendy, Wendy and Destiny Wildheart. Vampadelle Summer donned the backpack containing her viperous laptop. “The post will go up tonight,” she said to Jimmy as she planted a kiss on his cheek. “Thank you soooooo much.” “I’ll have the valet take the luggage to your room,” Jimmy said. “Off to reception!” Vampadelle announced. It was with a suitably restrained level of admiration that Jimmy Wildheart, Dicky Smythe and Rewind watched Vampadelle Summer scamper up the steps and enter The Pantheon. This is precisely where the two golfers would have happily gone their separate ways, no more anxious to relive the day’s events than a pair of Trappist monks would enjoy trading stock tips. The quiet, however, was shattered by the owner of the resort himself. “Jiiimmmy!” Gideon Fitch boomed. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Fitch was a man of monumental proportions. His head would not have been out of place topping an Easter Island statue. It would have overmatched any human body with the exception of his own. His voice could propel words vast distances and his handshake was less a greeting than a strenuous interrogation technique. The owner of The Pantheon lumbered down the marble staircase on a meaty pair of legs whose knees had long since ceased to reside in the same ZIP code. “Saw you on TV with Jimmy,” Fitch said to Dicky Smythe, referencing the 77 only by way of his pernicious smile. The resort owner extended his hand in greeting, engulfing Dicky’s own like a boa constrictor smothering a spring lamb. The great man’s jowls trembled like lemon Jell-O as he squeezed. “Dicky Smythe,” said Dicky, introducing himself breathlessly, “with two y’s.” As the grip pressure tightened, the golfer grew faint. His left eye began to twitch. Fortunately for Dicky, Fitch practiced catch and release. The industrial magnet turned his attention to Jimmy Wildheart. The winner of the Super Pac National Pro-Am immediately stuffed both hands into the large pocket of his golf bag pretending to dig about for his Rolex. “Let’s get you settled, Jimmy,” Fitch said, giving Wildheart a disappointing slap on the back instead of his customary death grip. The rumor was Gideon Fitch had offered Jimmy Wildheart a $1 million line of credit in his casino to entice him to play in The Pantheon Classic. Of course, such under-the-table appearance monies were frowned upon by the officials of the golf circuit which, nonetheless, chose under all circumstances to look the other way whenever it happened. “You’re in the Mellon Suite. Top floor.” It wasn’t that Fitch was in a hurry to seal his business deal with Jimmy Wildheart. Rather, he was buying low and selling high. Wildheart, among the best the world had to offer at golf, was no less in the absolute top drawer when it came to losing at poker. He doubled down when he should fold. He bit his lip when he bluffed. He tossed chips into the center of the table like a nymph scattering $1,000 rose petals. Gideon Fitch knew the sooner he got Jimmy Wildheart settled at a blackjack table in The Golden Fleece, the quicker his million, plus what he guessed would amount to a tidy percentage of Wildheart’s winnings from the Super Pac National Pro-Am, would be in the plus column. Dicky watched them walk up the steps and disappear through the same revolving door as Vampadelle Summer. Perhaps it was the lingering pain in his hand, or oxygen deprivation, but in that instant Dicky Smythe was struck by an overwhelming sense of predestination, a feeling in the solar plexus as familiar to every tournament golfer as acid reflux. He knew, just knew, to a deadbolt certainty, that not only was he going to win The Pantheon Classic but Vampadelle Summer as well. “I’m a big believer in fate,” he said to Rewind. “I have a good feeling about this. That’s all I’m going to tell you.” Rewind sighed. Resilience can be a bitch. OH Jim Moriarty joined the staff of Golf World magazine in 1979 when it was still based in Southern Pines. He covered the PGA Tour taking photographs and writing for Golf Digest and Golf World for 35 years. He has written two golf-themed novels, Open Season and Voodoo Links, and lives in Southern Pines with his wife, Audrey. August 2015

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Milky Thighs and Shady Snakes A romance that slithers into your heart

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Fiction by Celia Rivenbark

ornsby Pelletier hoped like hell that nobody would ever figure out that he slept with the giant reticulated python, Freddy, every night after he set the alarms at the serpentarium. Settle down. No funny business. Hornsby Pelletier was from an upstanding family of the Lower Cape Fear. OK, Burgaw, but not the kind of people that would do questionable things with big snakes after dark. That was the problem with everybody these days. Smutty minds. He heard it every day when he swept up the gum wrappers and tourist detritus that littered the sidewalk and lobby. The middle school boys were the worst offenders. They knocked on the Plexiglas cages that housed Hornsby Pelletier’s closest friends even though the sign clearly said not to do that. Then, they breathed heavy on the glass. Their breath was always sugar-scented from too much Kilwins fudge and they’d make a great sugary fog on the glass just so they could write four-letter words your mama would find flat shameful. Hilarious. Finally, inevitably, the tragically underpaid North Carolina public school teacher who had the misfortune to escort them for the day would take notice and make them wipe away the obscene message with their shirtsleeves all the while thinking “Mo-rons.” It was all Hornsby Pelletier could do to keep from swatting these rule-breakers “accidentally on purpose” with his push broom as he silently walked in his serpentarium-issued coveralls behind another class field trip. So why did he secretly sleep with the giant python? That was simple. The boas and iguanas and crocs and vipers were friends to him. Not in some stupid movie way like Night at the Museum. No dioramas were going to come to life with Teddy Roosevelt making out with Sacajawea. This was real life, not fantasy. It was really very simple. Just a man and his companions amiably passing a night together. One of them had a Kindle. It wasn’t so bad. The only thing that made him a trifle sad was that he could never have a beer with his “friends” because they didn’t technically have hands. Just once, he’d like to amble over to the Barbary Coast with a couple of the angrier-looking cottonmouths draped over his shoulders and ask the loudest asshole at the bar: “What chu lookin’ at?” Man, oh, man, that would be something. It had occurred to Hornsby Pelletier that he liked reptiles a damn sight more than people. Well, most people. The mysterious blonde who came to the serpentarium every single Tuesday afternoon and simply stared at the python for exactly fifty-five minutes before leaving . . . she would definitely be worth getting to know. He loved to watch her watch that giant snake. She never even seemed to notice any of the other reptiles. When the notoriously gregarious emerald tree boa, Saffo, sidled over, she appeared not to even notice. Amazing. No one could resist Saffo’s famous charms. He was Mr. Personality and this woman couldn’t have cared less. This just made her even more mysterious in Hornsby Pelletier’s eyes, and, therefore, more desirable than a downtown parking space with ninety

minutes left on the meter. One day, the mystery blonde stayed a full sixty minutes before sighing her usual deep sigh, flipping her thick hair to one shoulder and, in a move so fluid it didn’t even seem humanly possible, securing it with a rubber band. Such grace! It made Hornsby Pelletier’s jaw drop. His heart fell along with it. No one like that would look twice at him. Although, they did share a mutual fascination for the python. Maybe if he approached and told her he slept with it every night, she would find him interesting. Maybe she would run away screaming. Yep. Most likely it would be Door No. 2 for Hornsby Pelletier. Everything about the mysterious blonde was captivating. She was the only person, besides himself, who understood the python. Oh, sure, everybody had loved the python when there was a big story in the paper about how it got sick after Ricky Meeks’ transistor radio somehow fell into the cage and the python ate it whole, but the town rallied. Wilmington was like that. Ricky got a new radio and the vet made a house call to make sure things, well, passed through without incident, rather like a caravan of bikers coming through town every May on its way to Myrtle Beach. Every May they vrrrrooooomed down Market Street, causing the windows in the old mansions downtown to shake near-bout loose. Hornsby Pelletier, not normally a praying man, lifted a plea to the Almighty that they would just keep on goin’. And they always did. Right over the Cape Fear Memorial Bridge and past the Battleship North Carolina and, not that they’d know it, the best sweet peaches on earth at Eagle Island Produce. Good riddance. Hornsby Pelletier was so caught up in his peach reverie that he almost didn’t realize it was time to lock up and set the alarms. Or that, and he couldn’t quite believe his eyes, the mysterious blonde was still standing in front of the python’s habitat. They liked to call it a habitat, but he still slipped up and said “cage” sometimes because, hell, he was from Burgaw and there was a very low tolerance for P.C. bullshit among the country folk. Sometimes, the locals even laid it on a little heavy just for laughs when Yankees came to town. One time, his kid sister had captivated a gaggle of New Jersey tourists with a completely fictitious account of how her daddy was also her uncle, cousin and brother. It was fun to mess with them like that. And easy as shootin’ fish in a barrel of moonshine. Hornsby Pelletier double-checked the bird clock on the wall. Two minutes past the sparrow’s ass (closing time) and the mysterious blonde showed no signs of budging. He approached her with something like reverence. More of reverence’s second cousin twice removed. He was shaking a little, which was embarrassing. He was, after all, not a bad-looking sort. Old girlfriends had told him he had “potential.” He was fit, had a stubble that some women found appealing and had eyes “just like Bradley Cooper’s,” according to his most recent girlfriend. The one who was local but tried to talk like a Valley girl and, like, totally left when he said he slept with the python every night. The truth was, if he wasn’t wearing coveralls with HORNSBY PELLETIER on the little stitched-on upper left pocket, he might have been mistaken for one of

Illustration by Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Milky Thighs and Shady Snakes the “movie people” in town. And, for the first time, Hornsby Pelletier wondered if that’s what brought the mysterious blonde to Wilmington. She was exotic, like Isabella Rossellini in Blue Velvet. But, of course, younger and hotter. She was surprisingly vulnerable-looking, like Julia Roberts in Sleeping with the Enemy. She was athletic, like Robert Downey Jr.’s stunt double in Iron Man. Yessiree bob, like his Burgaw grandpappy used to say, she was the total package. “Can I help you, ma’am?” he asked, surprised to hear his voice sound strong as fresh-roasted beans from Port City Java. “No,” she said, somewhat sadly. “I am afraid that no one can help me.” “What is it you need, ma’am, er, miss, er . . .” Hornsby Pelletier had a perfectly awful talent for getting that one wrong. “Oh, it’s Miss,” she said, extending a perfectly manicured hand. Well, actually just the nail part was manicured but you get the idea. “I’m an unmarried woman who is living here temporarily, and I have always dreamed of sleeping with a python.” Hornsby Pelletier’s face must’ve looked odd right about then because she hastened to say: “No, not like THAT! Just sleep with him, feel his oddly dry skin rub against my milky thighs.” “You had me at oddly dry,” said Hornsby Pelletier. Damn. This was going way better than he could’ve imagined. “Well, it just so happens that I can help you with that! I not only work here but I’m the night watchman, too. To tell the truth, I like to sleep with Freddy myself. My thighs aren’t particularly milky, but he does make a really fine neck pillow if you arrange him just right.” “Wow. This is amazing. All this time I thought you were just a surprisingly handsome broom-pusher with no real ambitions beyond chasing those mouthbreathing middle-schoolers out of here but now, I discover that you and I share this kinky fantasy!” “Oh, no, ma’am,” Hornsby Pelletier said, instantly regretting it. “It’s Miss, I told you.” She was suddenly chilly. Her stare was cold-blooded and reminded him of the way Trixie, the black mamba, sometimes looked at him if he didn’t give her an extra frozen white mouse now and again. “I mean to say, it’s not kinky. I look at Freddy as my friend. If you have something else in mind, well, you may need to go to Leland.” “What? Cross the bridge? What do I look like, a biker?” “No, all I meant was that you seem nice. And there’s the whole hair-tie thing you do . . . but I’m into human, er, consortium, not reptile hanky-panky. And I’d like to hope that you are the same.” “OK,” she said, squinting at his name tag, “Hornsby Pelletier, I think we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot. I mean, usually I start with my left foot and then my right and then my left foot again and then my right foot again and then . . .” Crap on a cracker, this woman was a nut job, Hornsby thought. Time to get her out of here. It had been too much to hope that his true love was a beautiful, mysterious fellow python enthusiast with exceedingly nimble fingers and movie-star hair. Yes, he’d just have to settle for an ordinary woman. A sturdy girl from Burgaw, or maybe even Wallace, who would just have to understand that, when darkness fell, he would prefer to rest his weary head on a coiled-up python that could, in truth, turn on him and kill him in a matter of seconds if he took a notion. And then it hit Hornsby Pelletier. It hit him like something that hits things a lot. Like a hammer hits a nail. Or a car hits the one in front of it when the Wrightsville Beach drawbridge finally opens. No, no. Hornsby Pelletier needed a sturdy local woman, someone sweeter than a box of Britt’s doughnuts. The normal glazed kind, not the stupid maplebacon-Sriracha-kimchi ones they sold the tourists. He needed a woman who understood that he had a sense of adventure. It was precisely because the python could so easily kill him that he wanted to spend the night with it. He was a danger junkie! Which was kind of cool.

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Sadly, while Hornsby Pelletier made a move to escort his dream girl out of the museum, she made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. “Hornsby Pelletier,” she purred. “Why don’t we get out of here and get a drink? Talk about our mutual fascination with pythons and Pythagoras!” “Sorry, what?” “Oh, sorry. I’m really into alliteration. Suddenly, seemingly, shamelessly into it!” This broad was tiresome with a capital T. But he was thirsty and there was a BOGO on wine at Elijah’s on Wednesday nights. What the hell? She wasn’t kidding about the alliteration thing. Penelope (“Penny”) Poundsaver was from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and she talked till two-twentytwo. A.M. When decent people are sound asleep with their snakes, thought a thoroughly bored Hornsby Pelletier. Which reminded him. Did he actually lock up earlier? He couldn’t honestly recall. “I have to go,” he said, finally. “Party pooper,” said Penny Poundsaver, pouting prettily. Craptastic. Now HE was even thinking in alliteration. He walked her back to the Hilton, dodging some drunk Marines, some frat boys from UNCW headed up to Jefferson Davis’ statue to put a PBR can in his outstretched verdigris hand (again) and pausing to drop a few coins into six different saxophone players’ cases. Wilmington had buskers now. “Buskers boost business!” chirped Penny Poundsaver. He hot-footed down the Riverwalk back to the serpentarium where, shit, the door was wide open and the biggest cage, er, habitat was empty. A note on the glass told all: PUNKED BY PENNY POUNDSAVER! She had a cohort, which made her the hort, he supposed. While she distracted him with her womanly wiles, the cohort had freed Freddy. “He’s gone, Hornsby,” said a soft voice from behind him. Was his ass talking to him? No, it was Samantha, the ticket-taker he had worked with for nearly three years now. He liked Samantha but she was an enigma wrapped in a riddle to him. OK, not really. They just worked different shifts. But there she stood. She had been hiding in the shadows like a Gaboon viper in leaf litter. He’d never seen Samantha the ticket-taker out of her coveralls and, well, she looked way better without that weird crotch bulge that happens when a girl wears ill-fitting pants. “You’re thinking I look better in normal clothes, aren’t you?” “Yes, and also wondering why you are the only person who has ever called me just by my first name.” “It’s because I love you,” said Samantha. “I’ve always loved you, Hornsby, but short of making like a baboon and showing you my nether parts, I could never get your attention. I knew that bitch was up to something. I followed her cohort and I got Freddy back. You see, I know you sleep with him. I’ve known it for years. Freddy’s over at the Bellamy Mansion right now, wrapped around the carefully restored newel posts.” “Samantha, you’re beautiful,” Hornsby Pelletier said, barely recognizing the awe in his voice. She was beautiful and sexy and she got him AND his love for Freddy, the world’s most dangerous best friend. Also, he knew she was from Burgaw and could keep him in blueberries for life. “You know what I’m thinking?” she asked. “That Freddy could be the best man at our wedding?” “Uh, no, that’s weird. I was thinking that since we’re already up that we should drive down to the beach and watch the sunrise over Johnnie Mercer’s Pier and maybe grab a crabmeat omelet at Causeway Café . . .” “Samantha soon-to-be-Pelletier, I think I love you.” OH Duplin County native Celia Rivenbark is a nationally syndicated humor columnist and best-selling author whose skewed take on pop culture comes slathered in Southernisms. She lives in Wilmington with her husband, daughter and four cats. This summer, she’s reading The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Sprongs The further adventures of Mary Ellen and her famous kaleburgers

Fiction by Fred Chappell • Illustration by Harry Blair

M

ary Ellen Ackerman had invented that novel foodstuff, the kaleburger, more or less by accident. She had not been particularly proud of the product, but her father Eric was an enthusiastic partisan and her mother Laura was complaisant. Then the kaleburger developed into a promising enterprise when Mary Ellen visited Mr. Josh Joshi’s Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium to buy ingredients. The ruminative proprietor (whom she sometimes called Mr. Ponder) had taken a keen interest in the sandwich and had enlisted the support of his fellow law officers, Patrolman Hannah and Sergeant Washington. From these fragmentary beginnings arose the idea of a national chain of kaleburger drive-ins. Events were moving swiftly. Sergeant Washington had given her a book to study. She had not been diligent in reading the volume of selected poems by William Wordsworth that her friend, the police sergeant, had thrust upon her. The raggedy appearance of the paperback had put her off. The cover, with its pastoral scene of a cloaked man peering at some unsophisticated sheep, was soiled and creased and almost detached. The margins of the pages overflowed with indecipherable comments in gaudy inks by various hands. The book smelled peculiar, as if it had been stashed away a long time in a cardboard box with moldy socks and an unwell turtle. Only the pressure of desperate boredom could cause her to pick it up, sit at her vanity table, open the pages at random, then toss it onto the floor beside her bed. There it lay beside some battered Batman graphic novels until the memory of the kindly law officer recurred. Then she would sigh, peek at the print, and try to make sense of what was nonsense. If yet To-morrow, unbelied, may say, “I come to open out, for fresh display, The elastic vanities of yesterday.” She understood that To-morrow was not a person but what her Language Arts teacher called a Figure of Speech. People were not named Tomorrow, or if they were, they would just be called Tommy. Too bad. Her cousin was named Tommy and he was a spoiled brat, mean as a snake. Mary Ellen had watched numerous TV nature shows about snakes and had learned that they were not mean creatures but only sadly misunderstood, sinuous personalities. It should be, Mean as Mr. Bakewell the gym teacher who makes you stay after school just for walking on the basketball court in your street shoes. Why did Mr. Wordweird say “unbelied”? Tomorrow was not a person and could not have a belly in the first place. But maybe he was a real person, after all, a department-store salesman of ladies underwear who put out elastic vanities to display to customers. She sighed, knowing that the lines must mean something of importance to lots of people but not to Mary Ellen Ackerman. Why, then, had Sergeant Washington been so determined that she should possess the book? She smelled bacon frying. She and her mother would eat BLTs for lunch with cheese straws on the side and peaches for dessert. Laura had discovered the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Easiest Way to Cheese Straws in a newspaper and now she offered them almost every day. Mary Ellen’s father liked them too, though they did not look or taste like his preferred provender, the hamburger. It was time to set the dinette table for lunch. When she pitched the poetry book toward her bed the pages fluttered and a small envelope drifted from them onto the floor. She retrieved it and read the inscription, M. E. A. It was addressed to her, Mary Ellen Ackerman. Perhaps it was a message from the large sergeant. Why had he not handed it to her directly? Maybe he wanted to find out if she ever looked into William Worldword. It might be a test of her faithfulness. Upon opening the envelope she found only a clipping from a magazine. It was incomprehensible. It made the poetry seem simple, as easy as pie. Why do people say that? She and her mother had once spent a day collaborating on a sweet potato pie. The effort had entailed many small intermediate tasks and a great deal of cleanup. It should be, as easy as eating pie. Mary Ellen had concluded that job in record time. She closed her eyes and opened them. Rubbed her nose, as she often did when confused. Blinked again. Began to read aloud: “Lay boogie epoozy...” She shook her head, as if to dismiss an annoying insect. Then she went over the words letter by letter. 90 Château Robert Bateau, La Bougie Épuisée, 2007, $75 France. A generous, almost spendthrift, fruit-forward vintage. Finely balanced, completely logical with subdued but racy acidity. Tastes of oolong, burley chewing tobacco, dried cranberries, massive chimney soot, with a strong lining of pencil eraser. Immense finish. Drink now through 2043. She tried to imagine the kind of person who wrote the paragraph. It was not a woman. Ladies do not chew tobacco. Some girls chewed pencil erasers. In fact, Mary Ellen had done so while pondering exam questions and now she vowed to quit the bad habit forever. It might lead to eating massive amounts of chimney soot. What sort of person ate soot? What was oolong? How could anything that tasted like chewing tobacco be generous? What kind of food would have so many different tastes? It sounded totally disgusting. She took the clipping to the kitchenette where her mother stood at the range, laying fried bacon strips on absorbent paper. She was wearing the August 2015

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Kiss-the-ook apron Mary Ellen so thoroughly hated. She was humming a tune that sounded almost familiar and when her daughter proffered the clipping she told her to put it by her plate when she set the table. She would read it while they eat their lunch. Laura had thawed frozen lemonade and Mary Ellen sipped slowly as she watched her mother decipher the clipping. She had expected her mother to be annoyed by such silliness, but she only nodded and said, “This describes how a bottle of wine tastes. It comes from one of those magazines that advise what wines you would like to buy if you could afford them. We are not in shape to spend $70 on a bottle. The critic gives it a 90 rating. That means it is supposed to be very good.” “How can it be good, if it’s got tobacco spit and chimney soot in it?” She smiled. “Well, hon, it doesn’t have those things in it. Some of the tastes and smells of the wine remind the taster of certain sensations. It takes a special person with a lot of training to describe wines. It is a demanding profession.” “How much soot did he have to eat when he was in training?” “I don’t think he ate any actual soot. It just reminded him.” Mary Ellen had gnawed away the body of her sandwich and lined up the crusts on her plate. Now she nibbled at them, choosing those upon which there remained some slight smear of mayonnaise. “I don’t see how, if he never—” “It’s hard to explain.” “If I put tobacco spit and pencil erasers and cranberries and oolong on a sandwich and gave it to people, they would throw up. What’s oolong?” “A kind of tea.” “He drank this wine and got drunk and wrote crazy,” Mary Ellen said. “Maybe Sergeant Washington wants to see if I would believe crazy stuff.” “Well . . . maybe.” “I can write crazy stuff if I feel like it. Maybe I could get a job.” “It may not be quite so easy.” Laura sipped from her teacup, meditated, and added a teaspoon of sugar. “What does the bacon in your sandwich remind you of?” “It reminds me of bacon.” “The package said Applewood Smoked Bacon.” She frowned. “It didn’t taste like an apple.” “Last week I bought Hickory Smoked. Could you tell the difference?” “No.” She couldn’t remember how last week’s bacon tasted. “Maybe you could if you learned how. Hickory is a kind of wood. They burn it to smoke different meats.” Mary Ellen could not picture how this might be done. Maybe there would be a smudgy-faced man wearing a paper Sizzleburger cap standing by a charcoal grill filled with flaming hickory limbs and leaves that sent up clouds of smoke. He would hold each slice over the grill with a pair of pliers. It would take a long time to smoke a whole package. But she had seen the strips raw in the frying pan. They were not smoky black. “Why do they smoke up their meat?” “To add interesting flavors, I think. When you see Mr. Joshi, who don’t you ask him why he wanted you to read this wine listing?” “Sergeant Washington gave it to me in the Wordsword poetry book.” Laura tapped the initials M. E. A. with a Fire Passion-red fingernail. “This is not Washtub’s handwriting.” Her mother was right. All those strange flourishes and fanciful curls that sprouted like ticklish tendrils from the letters would not have been fashioned by the policeman. Mr. Joshi had addressed the envelope. “I will ask,” she said. “I am going to see him this afternoon. He wants to go through my Portfolio with me. I am supposed to present my ideas to him so he can ponder. He says when we have enough ideas we can make an Agenda. Then we can outline a Program and present it at our Kaleburger Corporation Business Conference.” “That sounds important.” “It is an important first step. He said so.” “Where will this Conference be held?”

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“I don’t know.” “Who will be there?” “Me and him and some other people.” “Who are they?” “I don’t know.” “When is Mr. Joshi going to look at your Portfolio?” “I’m supposed to be at his Emporium at 4 o’clock with all my notes and drawings and plenty of good, solid ideas. That’s what he told me.” “Then you have time to take a nap so you can be ready for your presentation. Fresh as a daisy.” “Babies take naps,” Mary Ellen said. “I’m too old.” “It’s true that you are wise and full of years, but sometimes a nap helps to clear our minds. If you don’t want to nap, then you can help me clean up the kitchen.” “I guess I better get my mind good and clear,” said Mary Ellen.

*

She had not meant to sleep. She had seated herself before her desk-space at the vanity table, opened her Portfolio and examined her drawings for the interiors of Kaleburger eateries. Then it occurred to her that Portfolio would make a capital name for her horse when that animal came into her possession, so she began to imagine this jet-black creature with his wild eyes and his unruly temper that only Mary Ellen Ackerman knew how to calm. She closed her eyes, the better to picture him, and unerring instinct informed her that if she lay down on her bed for a moment the image of this spirited horse would acquire finer and more copious detail.

*

There was a polite rapping at the bedroom door. “Honey, are you awake?” “Yes!” Mary Ellen said, not quite truthfully. Her thoughts were stranded between dreaming and waking and her immediate concern was about the dozens of carrots Portfolio had devoured so early in the day. Her mother opened the door, feigning surprise at discovering her daughter abed. “Hon, it’s 3:30. Maybe you’d like to wash up before —“ “Yes.” She struggled to tug on her sneakers. She did not remember removing them. “I’m coming.” “Will Washtub — I mean, Sergeant Washington — be at the Emporium too?” “If he’s not, Patrolman Hannah will be there. They like to hang out with Mr. Ponder. They’ve got big plans together.” “Have you shown them your drawings?” “Some. I have lots of new ones.” “You’d better hurry along, then. Be back here before 6. We might have Salisbury steak for supper.”

*

The Ackermans’ small apartment was none so cool in the high summer season, but she regretted leaving its shelter when she stepped out into the sunshine. The white sun looked as if it were pasted to its bluest sky and the heat seemed to topple upon her and cause a droning in her ears. Then she realized the droning was the sound of a moped. Little Billy Jim Haggins must be puttering up and down the walkways on the west side of the apartment complex where she could not see him. He would pilot his moped round and about the walks and driveways because he was not allowed to go into the bordering streets. He had to stay on private property. Every sunny day he would ride for an hour or so, run out of gas, and push his machine back to its niche in the communal car sheds. He never remembered to check the gauge. She had figured out the source of the droning, but her mind still was not clear. That was the result of nap-time dreams. When she woke in the morning after a night’s peaceful sleep, her dreams would evaporate, leaving no memories. But when she dreamed in daylight, those images and feelings did not entirely depart. They mixed confusingly with her activities. There were now two portfolios, the great, silky, black, heroic horse of her slumber and the portfolio she shifted clumsily to her left hand. She had grown tired of its thumping against her right leg as she trudged along. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Lately this portable Portfolio had gained weight and bulk. Mary Ellen had been so encouraged by the interest taken in her kaleburger by grownup people that she bristled with ideas for projects, improvements, promotional jingles, art designs for the paper napkins, and so forth. Before this time the ideal of the horse possessed her, whether it was to be named Scallion, I. Q., or Lucy, but in these latter days the great Kaleburger Project came to the fore and almost supplanted her equine reveries. She had designed an eatery in the shape of a great K; she had made a drawing for the napkin design of a horse that looked something like a K; she had sketched an apron for the waitresses to wear, with a frilly green hem like kale-leaf. She thought and daydreamed and pondered and plotted. “Kaleburger sweeps the nation.” She could read in her mind’s eye this strange triumphant paean issuing from a map of the United States like the one in Miz Gravenstein’s classroom. Her present notion was of a Kaleburger mascot. Glory Bread had a little blonde girl called Sunshine depicted on the plastic loaf wrapper; Cindey’s hamburger chain sported an alarmingly perky young lady with streaky hair who said silly things in the TV ads; Morton’s Salt carried a drawing of a little girl with an umbrella trailing spilled salt behind her. There was a billboard ad for suntan lotion that displayed a dog pulling down a little girl’s bathing suit so you could see her butt. In Mary Ellen’s opinion, it was the worst advertisement ever conceived. Who would want to see that? She shuddered to recall. Her illustration would depict a little girl with lots of cute freckles, wearing a cowgirl outfit with a cute hat, astride a rearing horse. She held the reins in one hand and a large kaleburger in the other. She had red hair with lots of cute curls and she flashed a winning smile as she said, “It’s good for ya, pardners!” It would be a striking advertisement, Mary Ellen thought, but she would have to change the horse from a spotted pony to a majestic, jet-black stallion named Portfolio. That would give it real excitement.

*

The outward aspect of Mr. Josh Joshi’s Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium had not changed. The small, graveled, dusty parking lot held a couple of unwashed nondescript cars, along with a shiny, clean police cruiser. The weeds along the edges drooped, as if dismayed by their existential predicament. Anonymous birds sang dejectedly. But the interior was different from before. The long counter at the front had been extended by a trestle table and tall stools were ranged down the whole length. On the counter in front of each stool was placed a small plastic bowl and each bowl was flanked by a folded white card bearing a number, 1–12. Behind the counter stood Mr. Joshi who beamed at Mary Ellen in his studious way. On this side stood Sergeant Washington and the strange man she had seen before. “Good afternoon,” said the sergeant. “We have been waiting. I know you have seen our friend, Mr. Warren Hoggard, before, but I don’t think you have been introduced. This is Mary Ellen Ackerman. I used to know her daddy and mama real well.” The man stepped forward and offered his hand. “Wart. Hog. They call me that on account of the sprongs.” She hesitated, then awkwardly shook his hand. She looked into his face and then quickly away. His strange eyes disturbed her. “By sprongs he means those tufts on his head,” said Sergeant Washington. “They are unique and account in part for his rare talents.” “On April 9, 1995, temp. 65 degrees at 3 p.m., my daddy brought home a microwave oven for my mama’s birthday. He gave me an electric toothbrush so I could have a present too. I thought the toothbrush would pick up more power if I put it in the microwave. When I turned the oven on there was a big white explosion noise and when I woke up all these sprongs were sticking out of my head.” She looked at the pointed cones of springy hair clumped irregularly about his scalp. “Ever since that very hour, my sprongs can pick up radio programs and TV stations but only the weather channels.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“Did your daddy yell at you?” Mary Ellen asked. “Might of would, but my sprongs scared him off. Fact is, he went away from our house and never came back. He said I was too dangerous to be around.” “But Warthog is not dangerous,” Sergeant Washington declared. “He is only sadly misunderstood.” “Like the large and boldly-colored king snake?” He nodded. “Something like that. People get wrong ideas sometimes. The microwave oven accident heightened Warthog’s other senses too. Some of them, at least.” “I can hear better than before and smell sharper, but I don’t see as good,” Warthog said. “My eyes wave about, don’t you notice?” “Yessir.” “Kinda spooky-looking. Puts people off. I see you don’t want to look at them.” She tried and failed. “They don’t stay in one place.” “Big drawback,” he said. “Makes me suspicious to folks. Keeps me out of politics.” “That might be a good thing,” the sergeant said. Mr. Joshi spoke softly and slowly. “What time is it, Mr. Hoggard?” “3:51 p.m. Temp. 93 degrees. Humidity 19 percent.” “Yes,” said Sergeant Washington, “the point is well taken. We had better turn to the task at hand. I see that you have brought your portfolio.” “I wish I could put it down,” she said. “Come over and rest it on the floor by the counter. Take out a notebook and open it to a clean page. Take up a pencil with a good eraser. Then climb up on the stool where the number 1 card is placed. Warthog will station himself behind the counter and the tests will begin,” Mr. Joshi said. “Tests?” Mary Ellen’s heart sank to the sole of her left sneaker and cowered there whimpering. She did not like tests. “Well, okay then,” said the sergeant. “Looks like you’re all set to start and will not be needing my presence. I will go out and search for lawbreakers. Dogsaddle Alley will be a rewarding place to start. It is a nest of iniquity.” He saluted, touching one finger to his forehead, and departed. “What will happen to me if I fail the tests?” she asked. “These are not like school tests. I do not like school tests, either,” said Mr. Joshi. Mr. Warren Hoggard placed himself before her, behind the counter and the number 1 card. Mr. Joshi stepped forward with a handful of kale he took from a small plastic bag. He dropped the greenery into the white plastic bowl and stepped back. Warthog straightened himself, standing erect in his red-yellow-blue Hawaiian shirt with the three gold chains dangling over the front. When he bent to smell the contents of the bowl his eyes stopped darting here there and everywhere and focused so tightly before him that he might have been aiming a rifle. He inhaled deeply and did not exhale for a long time. Then he took four swift sniffs of the bowl of raw kale and closed his eyes. “Mary Ellen.” said Mr. Joshi, “please write down in your notebook the words and phrases that Mr. Hoggard shall be pleased to utter. We are in process of composing promotional materials for the furtherance of the kaleburger. The descriptions we set down will guide our customers to a finer appreciation of the product and to a healthy lifestyle. So take care to be accurate in transcription when Warthog speaks.” She poised a pencil with an eraser only slightly nibbled. Warthog’s voice sounded different than before when he said, “Peppermint chocolate chocolate peppermint.” These syllables rang out with rich authority. Was she supposed to write down the repetition? She did so. After a long time he said, “Ryegrass.” Then: “Laundromat.” Then: “Christmas fern.” He opened his eyes. “Something else. Can’t say what. Topeka, Kansas, 84 degrees at 11 p.m.” She had been scrawling as fast as she could, but now she paused. Was she supposed to write down the Topeka weather report? She looked to Mr. Joshi for enlightenment. He was impassive. She improvised a shorthand: Top K 84 11. Mr. Joshi removed the #1 card, took a black fountain pen from the pocket of August 2015

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his pristinely white linen shirt, wrote briefly on the card and laid it aside, screwed the cap on the pen and returned it to his pocket. Warthog had already moved on to #2. Again he closed his eyes, inhaled, and at last bent to the second bowl and snatched from it four quick smells. “Spearmint,” he intoned. Hesitated. Frowned slightly. “Asheboro, North Carolina, 10:30 a.m., April 28, 2004, light breeze from southwest.” He opened his eyes, blinked them closed. “Lawnmower. Dandelion greens. Rainbow. Lemon peel.” Mary Ellen had hopped onto the next stool and wrote as quickly as she could. She wanted to ask Mr. Hogwart to repeat the weather report, but his excited demeanor and exalted expression suggested that she simply scribble. #3. The breathing drill, the moment of meditation. It seemed to Mary Ellen that his sprongs throbbed rhythmically as he concentrated. His voice rose in pitch. “Boneyard. Prince Albert. Salt. Potlikker. Daisy.” And so on, from one bowl to the next, from one stool to the succeeding until he reached #8. She was certain that she didn’t get down half his words and equally certain that she understood few of them and none at all as it might pertain to kale. She had only done her best. At the eighth bowl Mr. Ponder suggested that Mr. Hog should halt and rest himself. Mary Ellen was to take his place as the smeller and he himself would act as amanuensis. “Good deal,” Warthog said. “My nose is getting real tired.” She demurred “I don’t know how.” “May I look at the notes you made?” Mr. Joshi gazed at them, nodding agreement, but he also frowned now and then. He considered for a space of time. “You seem to have apprehended the purpose and intention of the tests. Should you not learn to do them yourself? Kaleburgers will be known to one and all across the nation as having been conceived and developed by Mary Ellen Ackerman. You will be the final arbiter of how the food should taste.” “But I can’t do what Mr. Hog does. I don’t even know what he is doing. What is arbutter?” “Right now Warthog is sitting on this stool refreshing hisself with a cold Co-Cola, that’s what he is doing,” said the retired smeller. He saluted her with the can. “He has certainly earned his soft drink,” Mr. Joshi said, “but now that he drinks it, he is unfit to continue in his capacity as taster. His mouth is changed by the presence of caramel and kola nut and the subtleties of the kale may escape him. So the effort must come round to you. I have every confidence in your triumph. Go round to the other side, if you please, and take your place before sample number eight.” She did as he suggested but then stood before the kale bowl and said in a despairing voice, “But I don’t have any sprongs.” He acknowledged the point with a grave nod before saying, “Yet you are a healthy young person whose sense of smell has not been corrupted by the use of Chanel No. 5 or Evening in Paris or Kiss Me Deadly or other of the commercial pungencies that are rumored to make females attractive. Soap and water and toothpaste are your only toiletries, as far as I can observe. Your olfactory sense should be as fresh as a daisy. Why don’t you make a trial of the herb in the manner of Warthog?” She did not care to talk about her toiletry. Yuck. She placed her face over the bowl and smelled. “Nope. Ain’t the way,” Warthog said. “You got to limber up your smeller. Got to clean your head out.” “Preparatory exercises are important,” Mr. Joshi advised. “First, take a deep breath through your nose. Now exhale. Now breathe in and out quickly through your nose four times. When you lean into the bowl, close your eyes. You had better grasp the edge of the counter to steady your body. When you inhale the kale essence hold it in for several moments, then exhale very gently. Then note the impressions that come into your mind. Allow words to advance and attach to your impressions. Do not force them.”

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*

At first she could smell nothing except the Joyful Sunrise Grocery Emporium where it stood around her, dusty, hollow, gloomy — and more gloomy now that the back of the store had been sealed off with plywood and strung with yellow Do-Not-Cross plastic tape. Some kind of remodeling was underway behind the boarding, but she could not identify the sounds. Everything here looked dustier than ever. Machines must be digging back there. “You should compose your spirit to concentrate.” Mr. Joshi’s voice was quiet and soothing. She waited until she thought she detected an aroma. It seemed to come from a place far from the Emporium, a field of green grass studded with patches of dwarf thistle and a few wildflowers. But the kale did not remind her of grass. “Sunshine,” she said, her tone unwontedly timid. Mr. Joshi nodded and wrote with his fountain pen into a small leather-bound notebook. “Please continue.” “Fresh.” But not like a daisy. Her mother and Mr. Joshi had both said Fresh as a daisy earlier today. But daisies were not always fresh, especially in August. “Fresh like ice cream before you open the carton.” “Say what?” Warthog’s gaze settled on her briefly, then skittered beside her and behind and above and away. The prominent sprong above his forehead bristled at her. Mary Ellen closed her eyes. It came to her that smells were not necessarily linked with one another like a kindergarten class holding hands and straggling along a city sidewalk. It was more like one odor could contain another, like a box enclosing a flower petal. Inside the fresh green smell was a smaller one, brown, slightly bitter and grainy. “Rusty nail in the bottom of a bucket.” Mr. Joshi smiled solemnly and wrote slowly, as if savoring the phrase. Beside the rusty nail lying in red water was another object. It was so small she could not make out its shape, but it was bright yellow and emitted a metallic odor. “Button from Mama’s blue jacket in the back of the closet.” “Brass button?” asked Mr. Joshi. She nodded, though she wasn’t really sure. “Anything else? Please utilize all the time you need.” She inhaled twice again, but nothing came to her. “Let us advance to number 9,” he said. “Please mount the next stool and begin again.” And so it went, for four more different bowls of the different kales that Mr. Joshi sprinkled into them. Grapefruit rind. Cat litter. Red dirt, black dirt, playground dirt. Chalk. Her father’s aerosol shaving cream. Damp wallpaper. Morning. Barbershop where she had watched her father acquire what her mother called a respectable haircut; that was a lot of different smells mixed together. Mr. Joshi wrote it all down, sometimes looking puzzled, but always agreeable and at times quite happy. When she had finished smelling, she hopped down from the last stool and stretched her arms and torso, as if relaxing from a strenuous physical task. He reached under the counter and brought out a clutch of small resealable plastic bags. They were numbered from 1 to 12 and he emptied one bowl of kale into each in turn and then closed them all. He gathered 1-4 and 8-12 together and put them on the counter in front of Mary Ellen. “These are yours to write up,” he said. “I will write the copy for Warthog’s descriptions.” “What do you mean?” “I believe you have in your possession a clipping from a wine journal that describes a particular vintage. When you arrive home, please study how it is composed and then write in a similar style the phrases we have gathered for the eight kales in these baglets. You will please employ Mr. Hoggarty’s words as well as your own. This is the next part of your assignment. When you have completed it, you will receive five dollars apiece for each paragraph of impressions that you compose. How much money do you calculate will be the sum total?” “Forty dollars for me and twenty for you.” “No. I receive no remuneration for my interim labors. They count as part of my investment in our enterprise.” “I don’t know whether I can write like in that magazine. It reads crazy.” “It is permissible to receive help from your parents or from others who may have a developed sense of style. If any of your descriptions are chosen to be preThe Art & Soul of Greensboro


sented in our menus, you will receive an additional ten dollars apiece. You would have to sign a paper giving permission to publish them in our promotional literature, including the menus. You had better ask your parents if that is all right.” Her parents. “What time is it?” Mary Ellen said. “Five forty-seven. Temp. 93. Humidity 19 percent. Mild breezes from southwest.” Warthog scattered glances about. “I have to go to supper.” “Goodbye. Take pleasure from your repast. Please bring your paragraphs when they are complete.” Warthog said, “Temp. 81 tomorrow.”

*

The sun had squatted somewhat westward and exchanged its flaming silver for blazing brass, but it had not, as far as Mary Ellen could tell, abated its heat. Warthog must have tuned to the wrong channel; the air was melting; 93 degrees was an inexcusably low estimate. She struggled along the walkway and the brightness of the bare cement hurt her eyes. The grounds of the apartment complex were eerily silent. The moped must have run out of gas. Beside the walkway was a single daisy that she could not recall seeing when she had passed before. She stopped to regard it carefully, laying her portfolio on the walkway. It was not a prepossessing bloom and it certainly was not fresh. It looked utterly disappointed, as if it had observed all the world about and concluded that all was vanity beneath the intolerable sun. For no reason she could name, Mary Ellen stooped and plucked. The daisy came away, puny root and all, from the thirsty dirt. She decided not to fling it away impatiently. She picked up her portfolio in her right hand, and, holding the flower in her left, plodded homeward, breathing the thick air with open mouth. As soon as she entered the apartment, her mother entreated her help with the potato salad. But Mary Ellen took down a tall tumbler from the cabinet, half filled it with water, and stuck the daisy into it with a motion like jabbing a dagger into a masked nemesis. Then she sat at the dinette table and gulped deep breaths. “Hon, are you all right? You look like you’re burning up. Just sit and I’ll pour a Coke for us.” She nodded. When the drink was set before her, she drank most of it at one go. “You look tired. What have you been up to?” “Smelling.” “What do you mean, smelling?” “Smell-tasting. Kale. Different kinds. We had to take smell tests, me and Warthog.” Her mother’s expression suggested that Mary Ellen should explain, in careful and exquisite detail, the episode that had engaged her. She did the best she could, giving the history of Mr. Hoggarty in untidy swatches, laboring to sort out the names he was known by and trying to describe his sprongs and explain his preternatural powers. Then she said she had been given a homework assignment and that she could earn money by completing it satisfactorily. “What kind of assignment?” She thought. “Language Arts composition. Sort of.” “That is your very hardest subject in school.” “Because you have to figure out what the teacher wants you to say and write that down. She wants me to say fresh as a daisy, like you and Mr. Joshi said. But I found this daisy. It is not fresh. It looks like it lost a soccer game.” “It does look bedraggled. I’ll drop an aspirin into the water.” “Mr. Joshi said that you could help me with the assignment, you and Daddy.” “We’ll be glad to help you in any way we can. Why don’t you sit here and rest while I chop the celery?” “It should be,” Mary Ellen declared, “as fresh as one single snowflake.” “One flake doesn’t last very long.” “So it doesn’t get dirty and beat-up and run down like a daisy.”

*

It had seemed an opportunity for harmless family fun, collaborating on a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

description of the aromatic properties of different kales. Mary Ellen read off the phrases that Warthog had uttered in his sprongy trance and Eric and Laura wrote them down on notepads. Her father grinned and her mother giggled while trading amused glances. But the act of composition stalled. The amalgamation of these words into a comprehensible paragraph proved daunting. Laura arched her eyebrows in intense concentration and tapped her pencil against her forehead. “Honey,” she asked, “are you sure he said rainbow and catcher’s mitt and laundromat and Mississippi River? These don’t make sense.” “To me, they do. More than oolong and chimney soot.” “All right, I’ll try.” She bent to the task again with furrowed brow and an air of steely determination. Eric had already surrendered. He tore the sheet from the notepad, crumpled it into a pellet, and bounced it off the kitchen window. He had plainly enjoyed the Salisbury steak and potato salad and his attentive powers were dormant for the time being. He retreated into the ugly jingle he had sung last week. “O kale, kale, Tuscan Kale, If you like kale then all is well, If you don’t like kale, you’ll go to — ahem.” With this coy interjection he pointed to the floor to indicate the final nether region with an impolite name. Then Laura pushed pencil and paper away. “I just can’t get anything to come. None of it makes sense.” Mary Ellen was disappointed but not surprised. Sometimes her parents were no help at all. She knew she could teach them important things about life, signs and semblances that her elders ought to be aware of, but she couldn’t figure out how to reach them. “We’ll rest our brains,” her father said. “We’ll have some lemonade and complain about the weather and watch the TV show about leopards tearing apart harmless tapirs. Wholesome family entertainment, like the newspaper says. We’ll resume our literary labors later.” “All right,” said Mary Ellen.

*

She made ready for bed in a resigned frame of mind, having too readily counted upon her parents to aid her. The trouble was that they did not take the assignment seriously, even after Mary Ellen had mentioned the monetary reward. She was convinced that they did not really take the whole of the grand kaleburger project seriously, the way Mr. Joshi and his law enforcement friends did. Her parents listened to her ideas and they paid close attention to her relationships with her business partners, but they thought of the enterprise as a passing fancy, almost as a play-pretend game. She lay unmoving, staring into the dark, until sweet drowsiness began to overcome her like a mist over a meadow. Her eyelids drooped — then opened suddenly. The paragraph came into her mind as loud and clear as if she had developed a Warthog sprong receiving a powerful radio signal. Tuscan Kale. Dark but not tarry undertone with notes of Downy Fabric Softener, Heinz Ketchup and library paste. Light in structure but with a lingering finish of raspberry shoe polish. Brisk tang of wet diapers does not mask subtle hints of doorknobs.

*

She smiled. The whole of it had come to her all at once like a birthday present tied with a ribbon. It was exactly like the magazine clipping and Mr. Joshi would be pleased. Yet it was not quite complete. Something was missing and how could she go to sleep without finding it? Then there occurred in her mind a great white flash of inspiration, as of a microwave oven exploding. She said the words aloud: “It’s good for ya, Pardners!” Then, smiling sweetly, she slept. OH This is the sixth in a series of stories about the headstrong Mary Ellen Ackerman by retired UNCG creative-writing professor and former North Carolina Poet Laureate Fred Chappell. August 2015

O.Henry 73


Story of a House

Ole Fred’s Place Affectionate tales of homemaking abound in the Sunset Hills home of Susan and Fred Chappell, UNCG’s beloved literary lion By Molly Haile • Photographs by Amy Freeman

S

usan and Fred Chappell’s house is full of tales. And tails. Ask about the painting above the sofa in the living room of their traditional red brick home in Sunset Hills — the only home they’ve ever owned — and you’ll learn about their friend the painter Betty Watson. You’ll also learn how Fred ended up at UNCG, where he helped establish the M.F.A. in creative writing program back in the 1960s. Fred and Susan had moved from Canton in the North Carolina mountains, where they met at the town swimming pool as teenagers, to Durham so Fred could study literature at Duke. In 1964, the “hot stuff people” at UNCG — writers Randall Jarrell, Peter Taylor and Robert Watson — invited Fred to do a reading on campus. (“I didn’t know it at the time, I just thought they had me for a reading but they were vetting me . . . that was a big interview.”) After the reading Fred saw Betty’s painting hanging at the Watsons’ home.

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In a palette of yellows and pinks stands a faceless woman in bright yellow gloves. Fred says, “I think she called it at that time Yellow Gloves. I’ve always thought of it as the symbol of the garden ’cause it looks to me like a priestess with a sacred plant and so forth. But that’s not what she thought.” “Well, it was a friend of hers, a neighbor of hers,” Susan adds. Fred nods, “Yeah, it was a neighbor.” “And she always wore Playtex Living gloves,” Susan continues. “And when I started working the garden years and years later, I used yellow Playtex gloves, too. They’re not hot and they last a long time. And they’re dexterous.” Susan laughs. “But I like Fred’s interpretation.” The young couple wasn’t exactly accustomed to buying larger pieces of art on a whim, but Fred says they did have “a piece of money from a short story I’d just sold, so we just bought it.” Fred said yes to the hot shots at UNCG, and he and Susan moved into a The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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rental on Scott Avenue with their son Heath, who was a preschooler. Eight years later, on a Saturday night in December, their friend Frank Melton, a history professor at UNCG, called and asked the Chappells to come over right away. Susan remembers Melton telling them, ‘The house next to me has a swimming pool and is going on the market. Why don’t you come and see it?’” “We came out in the middle of the night and bought it in the dark,” says Fred, smiling over their younger days. Susan continues, “And you know there was no electricity or anything, so it was with a flashlight, without due diligence. I mean, we didn’t know what we were doing.” She looks around the living room, “That was this house, and it had a swimming pool back there. Chain link as far as the eye could see.” They bought the house for the pool. “It was a tiny pool . . . square, totally unimaginative, blue plastic.” But Heath was 12 by then and the pool, “served its purpose. He stayed home and all his friends came. And it was kind of nice.” Heath, who is 54, lives in Chicago now, where he is a jazz percussionist. Susan says, “Right now his jazz band is the darling of a very wealthy Unitarian church, and he has a regular gig there. So there’s a lot of rattly bang on Sundays!” In that first year the Chappells moved into their 1930s era house on Kensington Avenue, Susan began to pull up the shag carpet that covered layers of linoleum glued on top of the original hardwood floors because she and Fred didn’t have the money to hire someone. She also pulled down the dated draperies and venetian blinds by herself. “Fred was working,” she recalls. “I wouldn’t let him do that. I mean, you know, I have to keep my racehorse. I want him upstairs working.” But the job was too much for Susan alone. “And then this darling elderly gentleman came with his screwdriver and his sanders. He ran through two sanders getting up all the crap off our floor.” Susan looks to Fred, “Am I accurate? Am I being truthful?” He laughs and tells her, “Yes, you’re being truthful, not particularly accurate. ’Cause he didn’t use two sanders, but he did use two of those roller scrubbers.”

F

red Chappell is a literary racehorse. He published his first novel while finishing a Ph.D. at Duke. (“It’s a piece of luck. I was 25 or 26. Hell, I can’t remember. At the same age I published my first novel, Keats was already dead, so I don’t feel too hot about that.”). In the five decades since his first novel, Chappell has published twenty books of poetry, eight novels, four short story collections and two books of critical essays. Among numerous national and international literary awards, including one from the National Academy of Arts and Letters, Chappell has also received North Carolina’s Order of the Long Leaf Pine Award for public service to the state and served as North Carolina’s Poet Laureate from 1997–2002. And in May, UNCG awarded Chappell the Charles Duncan McIver Award, which recognizes individuals who have rendered distinguished public service to the state or nation.

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But Chappell has eschewed recognition. In an essay about the man who sometimes goes by Ole Fred, fellow author George Garrett writes, “Chappell’s literary reputation is not something he appears to attend to — except to deprecate it. Popularity is not Fred’s aim.” And Fred Chappell has never adhered to literary boundaries. His body of work includes fiction and poetry, some heavily influenced by genres that many “literary” writers avoid, including (but never limited to) science fiction, horror fiction, fantasy, fables and historical fiction. His latest novel, A Shadow All of Light, is a work of speculative fiction slated for publication this fall. “My editor called it high-end literary fantasy, which means no advertising, few sales . . .” If Fred is a creator, then Susan is a curator of the Chappell’s lives. When she asks, “Have you seen Weird Fred?” an appropriate answer doesn’t come to mind. She walks to a wooden table pushed against the window in the dining room. The table holds crystal decanters and antique Czechoslovakian lamps, but front and center are Fred’s most recent books and his McIver Medal. “This is the vanity table,” he says in an aside. Next to the medal sits a thick book. Its cover shows two hands and a face framed by reckless black hair. The figure is drowning in a muddy quagmire or perhaps being pulled under by the creature whose reptilian tail wraps around the edges of the cover. There are no words on the cover, but the spine of the book reads, Masters of the Weird Tale: FRED CHAPPELL. “Fred calls it Weird Fred,” Susan explains. The book is a collector’s dream that includes the largest anthology of Chappell’s short stories. It is limited to 200 signed and numbered copies and costs more than $300. Susan opens it to her favorite illustration, one that accompanies “Linneaus Forgets,” a fantasy story in which the 18th century botanist Linneaus receives a magical plant that houses tiny living replicas of beings, both real and fabled, human and animal, that the

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devoted scientist had studied and imagined. The artist Fritz Janschka, who is a longtime friend of the Chappells, illustrated much of the book, including a pencil drawing of Linneaus’ amazing plant specimen and its miniature inhabitants. Next to Weird Fred sits a copy of Amazing Place: What North Carolina Means to Writers, edited by Greensboro author Marianne Gingher. Fred picks it up and says, “Two or three days ago this got on The New York Times’ best seller list for travel.” He’s laughs. “So all of us in there are now New York Times best selling authors.” Beatrix the Cat has followed Fred and Susan from the living room into the dining room, and her pleasant meow has turned insistent. “She likes to chatter,” Fred explains. Her sister Eugenie, whose name Susan pronounces in a playfully overdone French accent, recently died. “We were bereft,” Susan says, “Just bereft.” But Beatrix, “she thought it was just wonderful to be a single cat.” Fred looks at Beatrix, who is watching him from her spot on the hardwood floor, before adding, “After she got used to it. She was her sister.” Beatrix has many feline ancestors, all rescues, in the Chappell household including Chloe and Marty, who have a dedication of sorts in Companion Volume, Fred’s first collection of feline poetry. In 2004 local book artist Susanne Martin handmade 300 copies of the book, using illustrations Fritz Janschka drew for individual poems. Martin embedded each page with cat hairs the Chappell’s harvested from Chloe and Marty. “Those were the cats before our cats now,” Susan explains, “and we would comb and brush — they were long hairs — and then I would take a little baggie of fur over to Susanne.” Susan points to the soft edges of the pages, “Sometimes you can see little wisps of fur.” Last year Fred brought some of the Companion Volume poems together with more recent ones to form a new poetry collection, Familiars, published by LSU Press. Susanne Martin’s art inspired the cover design, and even though

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there are no cat hairs embedded in LSU’s edition, Chloe’s spirit is. Look for her skulking around in Susan and Fred’s dreams (“What a dolefully peculiar man!”) and, later, unknowingly snubbing her own “dimensionless, odorless, silent” likeness in the mirror. Fred revised many of the Companion Volume poems before including them in the new collection. He once told D.G. Martin in a UNC-TV Bookwatch interview that revision is, “a kind of obsession. I can’t leave anything alone when it’s on the page.” He revised one story off-and-on for fifty years.

T

he Chappells’ kitchen is light and airy with its original cabinets, painted white and accented with cobalt Mexican tile around the farmhouse sink. Susan’s collection of copper pots and her red tin macaroon boxes from Italy brighten the kitchen. Fred checks on the cherries he is roasting for a cherry-and-hazelnut salad, and then tells me, “Susan did the house. And she did the garden. She did everything. I mean really . . . thank goodness.” The kitchen is Susan’s favorite room in the house and it used to be, “the hang out,” Fred says, “but now our friends have gotten so old they’d rather sit down. But for younger friends, this is where the liquor is so . . .” And Fred’s favorite room? “Where there’s a bed for me. I got a bed and I’m happy.” Fred likes to take a little shut-eye in the afternoon because, “you have to keep your sanity somehow.” Beatrix leads the way into the library and takes her place, as though rightful, on an antique leather armchair. Fred has to talk over her complaints. The built-in bookshelves along one wall are chock-full. The books on these shelves are all fiction and all alphabetized. “We’re having to downsize, of course, with our age and so when one comes in at least two have to go out.” The hardest part is choosing which ones. Not the ones that helped Fred learn to write novels early on — Nathanial West, Colette, Dashiell Hammett and Camus. “A bunch of writers flopped around in my brain.” And not the books he is emotionally attached to, especially not the ones by writers he watched make their way. “What am I going to do about all my friends’ books? And students’ books? Well, friends and students are the same.” Kelly Link is one of those student friends. The red spine of her new book,

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Get in Trouble, calls attention to itself on Fred’s shelf. Last February the short story collection was an Editors’ Choice in the New York Times Book Review. Fred shakes his head, “I didn’t teach her anything. She just knew how to write . . . It seemed [to her professor at Hollins College] she wrote really weird and crazy stuff so he thought of me and here she comes.” In front of the books are framed treasures — a black-and-white of a doeeyed boy with long black hair along either side of his delicate face (“That’s Heath back when”), a fake honorary degree in German (“That’s Fritz poking fun at me”) and a hand-painted postcard from a performance of “Linneaus Forgets” at the Jabberbox Puppet Theatre in Carrboro. Small beautifully framed pictures hang alongside the windows in the library, including a faded black-and-white of Fred’s professor and mentor at Duke, Dr. William Blackburn, astride a donkey in Greece and a ridiculous portrait of an early 20th century man in a suit that is all but obscured by a beard streaming down the length of his body and several inches past one of his feet. Chappell’s 1985 novel, I Am One of You Forever, includes a story, “about a guy with a real, long beard. Everybody sent me pictures of long beards, and I thought that was the prize winner.” And at the back of the house is a cozy den, with a big TV and a collection of Beatrix’s toy mice and balls scattered on the carpet. “This is the Braves hangout,” Fred tells me. “Oh, it’s hard,” Sue chimes in. “It is hard,” Fred says. “Always hard.” “Poor Fred. I feel sorry for him, but he’s faithful. I must say.” Along a flight of beautiful, creaky hardwood stairs leading up to three rooms that were attic space in the original house, Susan has hung more artwork and mementos from the Chappells’ life, including a matted and framed 1962 letter from Fred’s first editor, who fessed up to losing Fred’s entire manuscript: “Before I can go further I must ask you to send both copies of the Archives containing parts of your novel. I have misplaced the ones that were sent to me.” Susan has also framed a thank you note from Betty Watson. On the note, Betty has painted a purple watercolor flower. “Can you imagine getting a thank you note like that?” Susan asks. And on the wall at the bottom of the staircase hangs a black-and-gold double-matted frame that holds the one dollar bill and silver grizzly bear half dollar that a friend of Fred’s mother gave to “Freddie” in 1936 on the day he was born. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A

fter Heath moved out in 1985, Sue redecorated his old room with antiques and red-and-cream toile wallpaper. When a grown child moves out, how long should one wait to overhaul a room? Fred and Susan answer simultaneously:

“15 minutes” “20 minutes.” Fred settles it with, “We’ll split the difference. 17 1/2.” Fred and Susan are a double act — her energy, wit, and easy elegance played against his Appalachian twang and half-winking, half-sad deadpans. Theirs is a funny and congenial routine that they sometimes use more seriously. After Fred’s 2009 release of Shadowbox, he and Susan recited his poems together at readings, so listeners could hear two distinct voices in each poem. The counterpoint poems are narrated by pairs (cat and dog, stone and water, he and she) — that, Fred explains in the book, “are designed to produce a final harmony.” Fred and Susan moved into Heath’s old room soon after he moved out, and recently an exterminator found some empty Budweiser cans tucked among the insulation and wood framing in one of the attic crawl spaces. “He’s been gone since ’85, but we found it, what, two weeks ago!” Susan laughs. Fred often handwrites first drafts at his glass-top desk in the Chappells’ bedroom (the base of the desk is Susan’s grandmother’s old Singer sewing table). “You put your body into your work when you write by hand,” he says. The bedroom is “Fred’s office with sleeping alcove,” Susan laughs. “We do sleep in Fred’s office,” “I write in there — in the bedroom — and then put it in the machine,” Fred says. The machine is Fred’s late ’90s Compaq Presario, which is down the hall in a small room with a stationary bike. Susan calls that room “Fred’s second office.” Fred’s third office is a round wooden table on the boathouse deck in the backyard. The boathouse was the maid’s quarters back in the ’30s, but now it houses a refrigerator for Fred’s champagne and its interior walls are covered with whimsical mural paintings — gold stars in a night sky, a crescent moon etched with an old man’s wrinkled face and the fat-cheeked faces of the four winds. Its creator, who was a student in UNCG’s interior architecture department, needed some money, so Susan gave her some gold paint and “ideas of what I wanted and then she went to town.” Susan points out a small creature at the bottom of the far wall, a tiny, winged lizard man who looks as if he just escaped the pages of one of Fred’s

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

tales of the weird. “Her goodbye gift,” she laughs. The garden area has a brick walkway and patio bordered by potted flowers, hostas, rhododendrons, lush ferns and azaleas. Ivy covers the back wall of the garage except for an artful cutout that reveals a wall fountain with the goat-like head of Bacchus. Bacchus has a beautiful green patina as if he’d been hanging on that wall for centuries waiting patiently for Fred to compose his poems and tales at the table across the way. Jim Barnhill, the sculptor who made the Greensboro Four statue on A&T’s campus, made the fountain for the Chappell’s. “He used Michalangelo’s method of aging it,” Sue tells me. “You know Michalangelo dipped his sculptures in the sewers. Jim would drink beer and pee on it.” In the frontyard, woodworker Dave McClelland has set up saw horses for cutting pieces of a latticework fence that will enclose the garden space in back. A Japanese tori may be in the works, too. As for the pool the Chappells first saw in the dark of a cold winter night? The Chappells filled it in a few years after they found a hole in the blue plastic lining. Before that, Susan would refill the pool every day using a garden hose. “Then the next morning it was empty,” she remembers, “so I said OK. No more. And then it became the most wonderful quaking bog.” Leaves collected on the surface and soon cattails grew there. Frogs moved in, and finally one day the cats began to venture onto the little bog island to study the fish below. She smiles, “Things just happen when you don’t do anything.” The same way a man added a little water to a mysterious, wilted plant and it grew “a little world,” Fred writes in “Linneaus Forgets” — “a miniature society in which the mundane and the fanciful comingled in matter-of-fact fashion but at a feverish rate of speed.” The same way Fred lets his characters and stories — from Appalachian farm boys to sea monsters and household cats — proliferate in strange and unexpected ways in his mind and on the page. Or the way his bookshelves keep spilling over with volumes written by friends and students. Or the way Fred and Susan’s kitchen and garden fill up regularly with friends and friends of friends — and more cats. OH Greensboro writer Molly Sentell Haile is reading an out-of-print 1930 German baron’s flight log as research for a piece of fiction. Otherwise she’s recommends Going Away Shoes by Jill McCorkle and Ansel Elkins’ Blue Yodel.

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A L M A N A C

August

By Rosetta Fawley

n

“A small garden, figs, a little cheese, and, along with this, three or four good friends — such was luxury to Epicurus.”

Words to Grow On August is National Goat Cheese Month. And surely 2015 must be a particularly good year for goat cheese because it’s the Year of the Goat in the Chinese calendar. In nature’s clever way, August is also the month that figs are at their best. What could be more delicious than figs with goat cheese? They make a blissfully easy starter for a high summer dinner party. Take two to three figs per person and cut them in half lengthways. Cut a log of goat cheese into half-inch slices, one slice per person. Broil the goat cheese slices until a light golden color. Arrange the figs artfully on a small bed of arugula and place the goat cheese on top. Serve with Champagne. The Almanac has no idea whether Champagne goes with these flavors, but she does find it livens up a party. A good dry sherry works too.

Get Your Goat Cheese Here “Si hortum in bibliotheca habes, deerit nihil,” wrote Cicero to his friend Terentius Varro in 46 BC. This is commonly translated as, “He who has a garden and a library wants for nothing.” How true. The literal translation is “If you have a garden in your library nothing will fail.” Keep reading, keep growing. Cicero wrote that letter during the reign of Gaius Julius Caesar Octavianus (63 BC–AD 14), who is sometimes called Octavian but better known as Augustus. He was the first Roman emperor and the first to be Augustus. The word comes from the Latin title, meaning venerable, and the month was named after our imperial friend in the year 8 BC. It was considered his lucky month. Augustus was the great nephew of Julius Caesar. There are those who believe that Julius Caesar was left-handed, though the evidence is shaky. Either way, August 13 is International Left Handers’ Day. Famous southpaws include Morgan Freeman, Matt Groening, Whoopi Goldberg and Hans Holbein the Younger.

— Friedrich Nietzsche

My Kingdom for a Good Fig “All figs are soft to the touch, and when ripe contain grains in the interior. The juice, when the fruit is ripening, has the taste of milk, and when dead ripe, that of honey. If left on the tree they will grow old; and when in that state, they distil a liquid that flows in tears like gum. Those that are more highly esteemed are kept for drying, and the most approved kinds are put away for keeping in baskets. The figs of the island of Ebusus are the best as well as the largest, and next to them are those of Marrucinum. Where figs are in great abundance, as in Asia, for instance, huge jars are filled with them, and at Ruspina, a city of Africa, we find casks used for a similar purpose: here, in a dry state, they are extensively used instead of bread, and indeed as a general article of provision.” From The Natural History by Pliny the Elder, Book XV, Chapter XXI, translated by Bostock and Riley.

The Fall Garden Beckons Luxuriate in the heat but don’t forget that now is the time to plant your fall vegetable garden. It’s all the “c”’s in the first half of the month: cauliflower, cabbage and Chinese cabbages such as Pak Choi and Jade Pagoda. It’s not too late to plant collards or cucumbers either; just try to get them in by the middle of the month, a little later on the coast. Plant spinach at the same time. From August 15 onward add kale to the leafy greens. Mustard, leaf lettuce and turnips too. Kohlrabi can be planted through the month. All these vegetables are fairly hardy, but do harvest the cauliflower and leaf lettuce before the first deep frost. That’s difficult to imagine now, isn’t it?


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August 2015 Robbin Robin

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Go Set A Watchmen

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August 1

EMF. 8 p.m. The festival says farewell with • Beethoven and, appropriately, Mahler’s “Resurrection” Symphony No. 2. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or easternmusicfestival.org. August 1, 22 & 29

HEAT STROKES. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The blacksmith is stokin’ his forge so it’s smokin’! High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. August 1–23

CAUGHT IN THE ACT. Candid human • moments define Interludes: Discovered Moments.

Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu. August 1–October 4

EYE MACKEY. North Carolina’s own • McDonald “Mackey” Bane explores linear relationships in McDonald Bane: 2 Parts Art 1 Part Science. August 2015

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Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu. DO STOP . . . For Full Stop, Tom Burkhardt’s • full-scale, cardboard installation. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. August 2

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m.; 7:15 p.m. Hear • some rock ’n’ roll from Rob Massengale band, then

jazz, blues and R&B from Soul Central with Jay Bird. Lindley Park, Starmount Drive at West Market Street and Wendover Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3732489 or facebook.com/musepgso. August 3

ROBBIN’ ROBIN. 11 a.m. Your tykes will • learn all about the bandit of Sherwood Forest, as

Hampstead Stage Company presents Robin Hood. Seating is limited. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. Key:

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Labyrinth

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. Before there • was the NSA, there was James Stewart. Watch him

spy on his neighbors and ogle Grace Kelly in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. August 3–8

STAGECRAFT. It’s back! North Carolina • Black Repertory Company’s National Black Theatre

Festival brings a bounty of performances to stages throughout Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 723-2266 or nbtf.org. August 3–9

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro • Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or facebook.com/greensborograsshoppers. August 4

SCOUT’S HONOR. 6:30 p.m. Watch the docu• mentary Hey Boo, about Harper Lee, author of To • • • • • Film

Literature/Speakers

Fun

History

Sports

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


August Arts Calendar

Wyndham Championship

Disney

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17-23

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Kill a Mockingbird and discuss Go Set a Watchman, her just published novel. Greensboro Public Library Central Branch, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or greensborolibrary.org. SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. Big hair, • Spandex, heavy metal . . . Yep, This Is Spinal Tap

(1984). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

MOVIE AND STARS. 8:30 p.m. Bring a • lawn chair for an outdoor screening of Night at

the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Historical Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. Four boys and a corpse are the stuff of the coming-of-age favorite Stand By Me (1986). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. August 6

STRUNG UP. 7:15–11 p.m. Join the Piedmont • Old Time Society for some pickin’ and grinnin’.

Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, 117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-7087 or gibbshundred.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Pat Luce, • author of When East Meets West: A Story of Healing

and Hope. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. There’s a place • OINK! 9:30 a.m. Carolina Kids Club presents for you at West Side Story (1961). Carolina Theatre, • Babe: A Pig in the City (1998). Carolina Theatre, 310 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. Key: The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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8/

August 5

South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

Pop Sensation

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

8/

August 7

POUR MOUTHING. 6 p.m. Sample some • White Street ale at Beer Co., downtown’s only “drink-in” beer store. 121-D McGee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-2204.

TWANGY TWANG. 6:30–7:30 p.m. Keep • celebrating First Friday at a performance by string band, The Piedmont Regulators. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3337460 or greenhillnc.org.

JOLLY-DAY. 8 p.m. Folk-pop tunes by Jeanne • Jolly fill the Crown, courtesy of EMF Fringe.

Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

MAZE-Y DAYS OF SUMMER. 8 p.m. Love is • the key to success for R&B band Maze, featuring

Frankie Beverly. White Oak Amphitheatre, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Info: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• • Fun

August 2015

History

Sports

O.Henry 87


August Arts Calendar GRANDE. 10 p.m. (doors open at 8 p.m.) The • big buzz is about Big Something and its multiple musical styles. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com. August 8

ESSAYEZ VOUS. 9:30 a.m. Author Lee • Zacharias discusses the art of the personal essay.

Greensboro Public Library Central Branch, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Register by 8/7 by emailing beth.sheffield@greensboro-nc.gov.

HYDRATE. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Learn to use a • thumb-waterer, as early colonists did. Historical

Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

August 10

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. The clue is • in the wine cellar! Check out some, er, vintage

Hitchcock at Notorious (1946), starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. August 9 & 16

PUT A RING ON IT. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. Before • heading down the aisle, head to the Triad Bridal show. Greensboro Coliseum Pavilion, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro (8/9); Benton Convention Center, 301 West Fifth Street, Winston-Salem (8/16). Tickets: 33bride.com. August 11

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. Be careful what • you wish for or you might end up with David Bowie,

August 9

who stars with Jennifer Connelly in the bizarre fantasy Labyrinth (1986). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

Lindley Park, Starmount Drive at West Market Street and Wendover Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or or facebook.com/musep.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Gwyn • Hyman Rubio, author of Love and Ordinary

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6:30 p.m. Greensboro • Concert Band delivers classical and pops tunes.

Key:

State Street

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• • Art

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Creatures. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. August 12

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. Alright, alright, • alright! See Matthew McConaughey’s debut on film in Dazed and Confused (1993), Richard Linklater’s 1970s sendup. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet author • Mary Flinn at a launch of her latest work, A Girl

Like That. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. August 13

SUMMER FILM FEST. 7 p.m. You’ll feel chills • up and down your spine at Grease (1978), starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton John. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

State StreetState Street

• • Fun

History

Sports

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August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


August Arts Calendar August 13–16

August 15

WAGGIN’ TRAIN. 9 a.m.–7 p.m. Celebrate • the Dog Days at the Carolina Kennel Club Show.

TIME WARP. 8 a.m. Historian Glenn Chavis • leads a tour of Washington Street. Changing Tides

August 14

TO THE LETTER. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. He that • ne’er learns his ABC, forever will a blockhead be!

Pavilion, Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com.

Cultural Center, 613 Washington Street, High Point. To register: Call : (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

HAPPILY EVER AFTER. 7 p.m. Mickey, • Minnie, Goofy and other characters are bringin’ it

Make a battledore, an 18th-century visual aid for teaching the alphabet. ($1 per person). High Point Museum, 1859 Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

to Disney Live! Three Classic Fairy Tales. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Ted Pelton, • author of Bartleby the Sportscaster. Scuppernong

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 11:30 a.m. Meet • children’s book author Ellen Fischer at a release

Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

party for her latest, If an Elephant Went to School. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

SWEET SOUNDS. 8 p.m. The Honeycutters • of Asheville perform at the Crown, thanks to EMF

STRINGS AND SINGS. 8 p.m. EMF Fringe of• fers up some folk fusion with Harpeth Rising taking

Fringe. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

Key:

• • Art

Music/Concerts

Performing arts

State StreetState Street Art of Cloth Parsley & Sage Fenini Comfy USA Lee Anderson Chalet Amma

the stage of the Crown. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

• • Film

Literature/Speakers

• •

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Fun

History

Sports

August 16

VERSE VS. TALE. 3–5 p.m. Poets and story• tellers, get ready to rumble! Rhymers battle it out

with once-upon-a-timers in a Sunday smackdown, courtesy of Triad Storytelling Exchange and Writers Group of the Triad. Common Grounds, 602 South Elam Avenue, Greensboro. Info: triadwriters.org.

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m.; 7:15 p.m. • Sweet Dreams leads off with blues, jazz and

R&B. Then doby (funk) follows up with some soul. Gateway Gardens, 2924 East Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or facebook.com/ musepgso. August 17

POET’S CORNER. 7–8:30 p.m. Sonnets, • limericks, free verse, doggerels . . . whatever your

preferred form, let’s hear it at open mic night. Poet Karol Neufeld, author of Azrael’s Wings also takes the stage. Greensboro Public Library Central Branch, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or greensborolibrary.org. August 17–23

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro • Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge

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O.Henry 89


August Arts Calendar Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or facebook.com/ greensborograsshoppers. CLUBBIN’. See ’em tee ’em at the Wyndham • Championship, one of the oldest events on the PGA

TOUR. Sedgefield Country Club, 3201 Forsyth Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 379-1570 or wyndhamchampionship.com. August 20

STRUNG UP. 7:15–11 p.m. Join the Piedmont • Old Time Society for some pickin’ and grinnin’.

Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, 117 West Lewis Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-7087 or gibbshundred.com.

HOME WEE HOME. 6 p.m. For a dona• tion of $5, hear minimalist John Williams’ small

talk, “Camp Tiny — Less is Best Living.” Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

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Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

Wine and More!

August 21

August 22

SWEET MEETS. 5 p.m. Artists and artistes • can mix and mingle over confections at “Cupcakes

POT SPOT 3 p.m.–8 p.m. Check out the • hand-crafted pottery and sculpture created in Phil

EL CANTANTE. 7:30 p.m. Mexican pop • sensation Marco Antonio Solis with Camila deliv-

August 23

& Creatives,” a networking event. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

ers some Latin beats and grooves. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

EH? 9:30 p.m. (Doors open at 7:30 p.m.). Of • Montreal brings its psychedelic pop sounds to town. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-1819 or theblindtiger.com.

Haralam’s Art Alliance advanced pottery program and meet the fifteen pot makers and their instructor. Jules Antiques, 530 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 314-0051 or julesantiques.com.

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6 p.m. Hear some • Americana and folk rock from Martha Bassett

Band. Country Park, Nathanael Greene Drive, Shelter No. 7, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2489 or facebook.com/musep.

OXYGENATED. 7:30 p.m. Here they are, all • out of love but not out of breath as their name sug-

August 22–29

gests. Aussie band Air Supply performs soft rock faves from the 1970s. White Oak Amphitheatre, Greensboro Coliseum Complex. 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 7453000 or ticketmaster.com.

Southern style.” Wake Forest Tennis Center, 100 West 32nd Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 758-6409 or winstonsalemopen.com.

August 23–September 30

WHAT THE DEUCE? Go a’courtin’ at the • Winston-Salem Open, home of “tennis served

State Street

Create Memories

• KITTY FRITTER. Tempers flare with Maggie

State StreetState Street C H AT E A U MORRISETTE

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8/1

Music in the Vines with Emma Lee 2 pm to 5:30 pm 8/15 Music in the Vines with Stewart Coley 2 pm to 5:30 pm 8/29 Music in the Vines with Alibi 2 pm to 5:30 pm

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August 2015

Rustic Elegance on the Blue Ridge Parkway in Floyd County, Virginia. Less than two hours from the Triad.

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August Arts Calendar the cat and Big Daddy in the room. Triad Stage presents Tennessee Williams’ Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. The Pyrle, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org. August 25

AUTHORS, AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Hear two • short plays: Cooking With Gas by Jini Zlatnitski

and So the President is Gay by Phillip Gilfus. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. August 26

DE-CAF. 5:30–7:30 p.m. Party on with • refreshments and live music as Jonathan Brilliant dismantles his coffee-themed installation On-Site. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street. Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

HERMAN SERMON. 7 p.m. Tom Hillenbrand • presents a talk, “Melville’s New Adam Run Amuck.” Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

August 27

TRIANGLE TALENT. 8:30 p.m. (doors • open at 7 p.m.). Give a warm homecoming to

Durham’s Delta Rae, who’ve been rocking venues nationwide. Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com. August 28

NOT DISNEY 8 p.m. If you think the cartoon • version of Cinderella is over the top, you need to

see Rossini's La Cenerentola (Cinderella), two hours and thirty minutes of the Italian master’s retelling of the fairy tale on the operatic stage. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: www.GreensboroOpera.org or (336) 580-1008. August 29

LONG LIVE THE KING. 8 p.m. Of pop, that • is. See Who’s Bad, the ultimate Michael Jackson

Tribute Band. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: cdecgreensboro.com.

BOOK BASH. 10–11:30 a.m.; 1–3 p.m. • Celebrate Bill Bryson’s A Walk in the Woods and

Greensboro’s One City, One Book with a stroll in the downtown greenway (starting at the parking lot on Spring Garden Street), followed a kickoff party with music and refreshments. Greensboro Public Library Central Branch, 219 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or greensborolibrary.org. August 29–31

HOPPERS HERE. The Greensboro • Grasshoppers are home again. NewBridge

Bank Park, 408 Bellemeade Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 268-2255 or facebook.com/ greensborograsshoppers. August 30

PITCHERS AT AN EXHIBITION. 1–3 p.m. • What pairs well with art? How about a mimosa — or

beermosa — and a guided docent’s tour? Either is available at Spoonmosa Sundays. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

TRAIL BLAZER. 3 p.m. Meet Jennifer Pharr • Davis, 2012 National Geographic Adventurer of the Year, who holds the fastest female record for hiking the Appalachian Trail. Greensboro Historical

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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports

GroveWinery.com 7360 Brooks Bridge Road Guilford County NC 27249 336.584.4060 Upcoming Events August 8 Red, White & Blues Festival August 9 2nd Sunday NC Food Rodeo August 16 Paddle & Patio Pizza Party

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Tasting Room Open Daily from Noon until 6pm

Sunday Brunch! The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 91


August Arts Calendar Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617 or greensborolibrary.org.

FOOT TO HEAD. 5 p.m. Improve your run• ning time with craft beer. The 5k and 10k Growler

Gallop rewards you with frosties at the finish line. Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, 117 Lewis Street, Greensboro. To register: triviumracing.com/ event/growler-gallop-greensboro.

Tuesdays

Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Family Storytime for all ages meets at 6:30 p.m. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

DOWNTOWN SOUNDS. Noon. Unwind • with some live music during your lunch hour. Tunes

READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones • to storytimes: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months)

STORY CORPS. 11 a.m. Book a slot in your • sked for Children’s Storytime. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS Mondays

PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’. 6–9 p.m. Y’all BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage • • come for Songs from a Southern Kitchen, live music 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.

by Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring; Molly McGinn; Martha Bassett and friends— at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/ greensboro_music.htm.

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

Wednesdays

French Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

State Street

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 8 a.m.–1 p.m. • Get fresh with locally grown produce, cakes, pies and cut fleurs for a perfect table at the Mid Week Market. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501

State Street

at Noon features The Radials (8/5), Music Academy of N.C. (8/12), Sam Frazier (8/19), Tammie Davis (8/26). City Center Park, 200 North Elm Street. Info: (336) 272-1222 or centercitypark.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 — 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.

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Key: Art Music/Concerts Literature/Speakers Fun

Performing arts Film History Sports

State StreetState Street

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August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Thursdays

TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool • 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) 8542000 or greenvalleygrill.com/jazz.htm.

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

is only $2. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5742898 or gcmuseum.com. Fridays & Saturdays

August Arts Calendar

bring your appetite to the N.C. Food Rodeo, with the state’s best food trucks, craft beers and wine on August 9 (noon) and a Paddle and Pizza Party on August 16 (3 p.m.) at Grove Winery, 7360 Brooks Bridge Road, Gibsonville. Info: grovewinery.com.

NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A • HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And grown90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of • ups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to the usual Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information. Saturdays

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

$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.

CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30–9:30 p.m. Tuck • into Chef Felicia’s signature fried chicken and

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. on Saturday, OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros • • plus an 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box,

gravy, select beverage specials, including buttermilk with cornbread crumbled in it. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/ fried_chicken.htm.

Fridays

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

348 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 2742699 or idiotboxers.com.

THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on • exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $4 Fun Fridays. On First Friday (5/1), admission

State Street State Street

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) 2742699 or idiotboxers.com. Sundays

• IN THE GROVE. Round up the family and State Street

Key:

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Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/Speakers Fun History Sports

Food & Dining

Greensboro’s Best Tex-Mex Cuisine! Los Gordos serves only the finest mexican food. Catering for every event.

Lunch and Dinner- Battleground Sunday-Thursday 11:00am- 9:00pm Friday-Saturday 11:00am-10:00pm

2505 Battleground Ave Greensboro NC • (336) 617-4155 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 93


modern furniture made locally

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August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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96 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Past Greensboro participants shown.

© 2015 USTA. Photos © Getty Images.


Take the A-’Trane Last year, guitar prodigy Andreas Varady brought crowds to their feet, blues saxophonist Boney James ran on his feet through the audience, and George Benson wowed all of High Point’s Oak Hollow Festival Park late into the night with his virtuoso strumming and singing. After 2014’s stunning success, how could the John Coltrane International Jazz & Blues Festival possibly top itself? Answer: By extending the program to two days. It will begin early next month on September 5 and continue on the 6th. Pulling out the stops for its fifth year, the festival has scheduled a lineup of A-listers. Who wouldn’t want to hear six-time Grammy-Award winner David Sanborn deliver smooth sounds on his alto sax, as he so often did with Paul Schaffer on Late Night With David Letterman? And what better accompaniment to a steamy afternoon by the lake and one of those pineapple-encased beverages than the sweet compositions emanating from Earl Klugh’s acoustic guitar? Marcus Miller will introduce you to African inflections, Bold Soul Revival will belt out the blues à la Etta James and Janis Joplin, while 2014

Worth the Drive to High Point

Grammy winner Snarky Puppy will quite literally electrify with its brand of pumped-up funk. Your soul will sing along with stylings of Leila Hathaway (Donny’s daughter), and your feet will inadvertently tap to the Latin rhythms of Poncho Sanchez and his band, returning to the festival after three years. And don’t miss the Youth Work Shop Band, essay contest winners and N.C. Coltrane Allstar Band, featuring Triad musicians Neil Clegg and Robert Faub. After all, that’s the point of the festival: Honoring the sensitive High Point native who brought jazz to a new level with his unparalleled skill on the saxophone, aassuring that rising generations emulate him. So hurry, get your tickets in August, and while you’re at it, take a detour to Commerce Avenue and Hamilton Street, tip your hat to the bronze statue of old ’Trane — and hope for yet a bigger and better festival next year. Info: www.coltranejazzfest.com. — 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. •

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Broad Strokes is your local stockist for Chalk Paint® Decorative Paint by Annie Sloan. In addition to Chalk Paint® and supplies, we also offer painting classes and workshops to help you fall in love with this fantastic product, and learn different techniques for using it in your home.

August 2015

O.Henry 97


Area Schools Directory School Name Caldwell Academy

2900 Horse Pen Creek Road Greensboro, NC 27410 (336) 665-1161 www.caldwellacademy.org

Canterbury School

5400 Old Lake Jeanette Road Greensboro, NC 27455 (336) 288-2007 www.canterburygso.org

Greensboro Day School 5401 Lawndale Drive Greensboro, NC 27455 (336) 288-8590 www.greensboroday.org

Greensboro Montessori School 2856 Horse Pen Creek Road Greensboro, NC 27410 (336) 669-0119 www.thegms.org

High Point Friends School 800-A Quaker Lane High Point, NC 27262 (336) 886-5516 www.hpfs.org 

Grades

Focus

A classical Christian school emphasizing the liberal arts, mentoring Preschool relationships, and integrated studies. -12th Offers excellent fine arts and athletics programs. Extended-day and tuition assistance available.

A PreK-8 Episcopal School with strong academics and a focus on educating the whole child - mind, body and spirit. Extended day and financial assistance available. Guilford County’s premier PreK-12 college preparatory school with challenging academics, focus on honor and values, providing unsurpassed resources and outstanding teachers. Our mission is to develop the intellectual, ethical, and interpersonal foundations students need to become constructive contributors to the world.

Enrollment Students: Faculty 860

PreK–8th

380

PreK– 12th

800

Authentic, accredited Montessori school using research-based curriculum, which Toddler includes a hands-on, multi-disciplinary (18 mo.) approach to learning. Students study –8th grade Environmental Education, Spanish, Art and Music year-round.

High Point Friends School instills academic excellence, self-confidence and leadership skills through experiential Preschool learning, extracurricular activities, and –8th service learning opportunities for students in Preschool – 8th grade.

250

170

9:1

8:1

8:1

Noble Academy

3310 Horse Pen Creek Road Greensboro, NC 27410 (336) 282-7044 www.nobleknights.org

Our Lady of Grace School 201 S. Chapman Street Greensboro, NC 27403 (336) 275-1522 www.olgsch.org

The Piedmont School

815 Old Mill Road High Point, NC 27265 (336) 883-0992 www.thepiedmontschool.com

only independent preschool through 12 grade school guided by Quaker faith and Preschool practice, and built upon the long-held –12th standards of rigorous and extraordinary Friends schools. A K-12 independent school that specializes in working with students with an ADHD/LD diagnosis. Strong academics along with athletics, music, art, and drama are offered. Academic excellence with faith and family values. New programs include 3 year old class, STEM for Middle School and differentiated learning (PACE, AU Inclusion). A wonderful K-10 independent school dedicated to providing an outstanding educational environment for students with an ADHD/LD diagnosis. Strong academics enhanced by music, art, drama, and athletics.

K–12

th

3 years old to 8th grade

K–10th

175

250+

70

Requirements vary per grade level but include: application, teacher evaluation forms, developmental assessment or classroom visit, transcripts from current school. Admission on a rolling basis. Begin accepting applications in the fall for admission to the following school year. For complete details, please visit www.greensboroday.org

Tuition $7,500$9,900

$5,350 (PreK) $15,250 (K-8)

$6,385 $21,700

$7,860-15,180

14:1

Admission is based on academic records, placement $1,750-$5,500 testing, and teacher (Preschool); recommendations. A $8,286 (Lower); classroom visitation is also required prior to admittance. $8,733 (Middle)

8:1

Admission on a rolling basis. Begin accepting applications in the fall for admission to the following school year. For complete details, please visit www.ngfs.org

th

284

Open to all qualified students based upon academic records, admissions testing, personal interview, and teacher recommendations.

Under 3 Meet with Admissions years 6:1; Director. Classroom visit Elementary and teacher assessment (for & Middle students age 3 and older.) School 10:1

New Garden Friends School New Garden Friends School is the Triad’s 1128 New Garden Rd 2015 Pleasant Ridge Rd Greensboro, NC 27410 (336) 299-0964 www.ngfs.org

Admission Requirements

8:1

12:1

Students need to have an average to above average IQ score and a diagnosis of ADHD and/or learning difference (we recognize CAPD) and a current psych-ed evaluation. Admission on a rolling basis.

Application form, school transcript, current preschool teacher assessment, immunization form and admissions screening test.

6:1 word Enrollment is on a rolling study, basis. Requirements include language an average to above average arts, math. IQ, and either an ADHD 12:1 all other diagnosis or another subjects. diagnosed learning disorder.

$4,800-$18,800

K - $14,000 Grades 1-12 - $18,400 $19,200 $3,000 $7,860

(see website for special programs)

$16,840 Grades 1-10, $13,925 Kindergarten. NC grants available.

Special Advertising Section 98 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Area Schools Directory School Name

Grades

Focus

St. Pius X Catholic School

Catholic elementary/middle school emphasizing Christian values and academic excellence in a nurturing environment.

2200 N. Elm Street Greensboro, NC 27408 (336) 273-9865 www.spxschool.com

Salem Academy

K–8th

The Southeast’s premier day and boarding college preparatory school for girls, dedicated to fostering the intellectual, spiritual, social, and physical growth of young women and their future roles as global citizens since 1772.

500 E. Salem Avenue Winston-Salem, NC 27101 336-721-2643 www.salemacademy.com

Westchester Country Day School Westchester Country Day is a college preparatory school teaching and 2045 N. Old Greensboro Road guiding students in grades PK-12 High Point, NC 27265 to strive for excellence in moral and (336) 869-2128 ethical conduct, academics, the arts, www.westchestercds.org and athletics.

9th-12th

PK–12th

Enrollment Students: Faculty

450

172

400

15:1

7:1

16:1

Admission Requirements

Tuition

Must participate in a standardized assessment conducted by ABC Educational Services, Inc.

$5,472$7,980

Application, transcript, student Day $21,560; essay, SSAT, three recommendation Boarding $43,960, letters, personal interview. AppliSalem Academy cants given careful consideration without regard to race, creed or eth- Grant programs nic background. More info online available. at www.salemacademy.com

Admissions is on a rolling basis. Please visit www.westchestercds.org for more details or call the admissions office at (336) 8224005 to schedule a tour.

$2,375 $16,320

Special Advertising AdvertisingSection Section Special

At NGFS, our focus on academic excellence is balanced by an engaging mix of arts, activities and athletics. Our Quaker-guided approach nurtures the social and emotional growth of each student. Learning takes place in an environment that embraces diversity, dialog and understanding. Students develop skills in problem solving and communication. They learn to listen and relate to others. And they’re given opportunities to be of service to the community and beyond. From Preschool through 12, NGFS offers an innovative journey that prepares students not just for the school years ahead, but for the rest of their lives. Call today for details and a campus tour. 1128 New Garden Road

Greensboro, NC 27410

TheNGFS.OHenry.Ads.Last Art & Soul of Greensboro A Lifetime.paths.indd

1

(336) 299-0964

www.ngfs.org

Preschool through Grade 12

August 2015

O.Henry 99 9/5/14 12:13 PM


YAK (Young Artists Kollective)

Arts & Culture

October 2015 - January 2016 YAK is an interactive, themed-based educational program where young artists problem solve, use exciting new art materials, look at and learn about NC art and artists and meet fellow artists. Session activities will focus on the intersection of art and science. Time and Day: 4:00-5:15 PM on the first Tuesday of the month for k-2nd graders and the second Tuesday for 3rd-6th graders. Cost: $35/session* (Greenhill members get a 10% discount)

More info & to register online: greenhillnc.org/YAK

*Three sessions/year

Katie and Wrenn creating with new materials

200 N Davie Street | Greensboro 27401 | 336.333.7460

Let's toast Dolley Madison and the scores of women who have made a difference in our city and our nation. Tickets are $30 per person, and include high tea and all applicable sales and service charges. Reserved tables for 8 available. Call Mary Allen at 373-2982 or mail a check to the Greensboro Historical Museum. Reservation deadline is Wednesday, August 12. For more information, call Linda Evans at 373-2610. FREE Admission • Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday from 2 - 5 pm www.GreensboroHistory.org • 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro • 336-373-2043 100 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Arts & Culture

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 101


August 28 and 30, 2015 Aycock Auditorium Tickets: $10-$85 By phone:

336.272.0160 Online:

Arts & Culture

www.GreensboroOpera.org In person:

Triad Stage Box Office 232 S. Elm St., 10-6 M-F

Greensboro Opera presents

Join us for this premier event in Greensboro’s newest Garden

Cinderella

a a G

Good Night Moon

&

Silent Auction

AT GATEWAY GARDENS

- A Benefit for Greensboro Beautiful -

Satu rday , S eptem b er 1 9 , 2 0 1 5 7 - 1 0 pm

Gateway Gard en s

2 924 E . Gate City Blvd .

Catered Food Stations . Wine . Beer . Music . Moon & Star Gazing . Aerial Artists Unveiling of a new sculpture by Jim Gallucci in the Michel Family Children’s Garden Tickets $75 & $50 go on sale August 1 . (336) 373-2199 or GreensboroBeautiful.org Sponsored by First Citizens Bank, with support from AdPress, Chateau Morrisette, Exclamations! Catering, Catering, Lankford Lankford Protective Protective Services, Services O. Henry Magazine, and Southern Event Rental

102 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Pam Cook, Jim Longworth

GreenScene Ricky Proehl Celebrity Golf Classic Pairings Party Benefitting P.O.W.E.R of Play Foundation Saturday, June 4, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jeff Whaley, Morgan Williams

Roderick Hinton, Barry Marrow

Deborah Proehl-Moser, Danny & Sandy Hardin

Richard Petty, Jim Longworth

Victoria Cummings, Josh Turn, Ron Causey, Carrie Torn, Josh & Katie York Vic Harrison, Mark Euell, Charles Dabney

Jerricho & Mercedes Cotchery (Panthers WR)

Gunner Jackson, Anette Osborne, Holly & Josh Moorefield Debbie Seawell, Nancy & Larry Moser, Skipper Seawell

Brad Buxton, Dabney Erwin, Lynn Neese, Eric Patton

Ben Jacobs (Panther LB), A.J. Klein (Panther LB), Derek Anderson (Panthers QB), Deborah Proehl-Moser George Fuller, Ray Brown (Panthers Assistant Offensive Line Coach)

Jonathan & Parrish Peddrick, Bryan & Ashton Clemmons, Thomas Somerville

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 103


MAGAZINE O.Henry magazine is a complimentary publication supported by our advertisers. Please consider patronizing these businesses, services and nonprofit organizations and tell them that you saw their ad in O.Henry magazine.

Index of Advertisers • August 2015 1618 Downtown

48

Koshary

About Face Cosmetics & Day Spa

97

LaRue Restaurant

35

Laura Dotson Designs

46

Allen Tate Realtors

54, 55

Area Modern Home

94

Area Schools Directory

98, 99 90

Lora Howard

85

Los Gordos Mexican Cafe

93

Bass Violin

85

Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen Marion Tile & Flooring

IFC 15

Bookmarks

40

Melt Kitchen & Bar

Broad Strokes

97

Meridith Martens

Burkely Rental Homes

94

Merle Norman

Careful With the China

52

Michelle Porter, Berkshire Hathaway

BC 84

93 104 17

HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty

84

North Carolina Museum of History

30

Old North State Trust

48

Oscar Oglethorpe Eyewear

34

50

Pest Management Systems, Inc.

85

Chartreuse

32

Piedmont Endodontics

26

Chateau Morrisette Winery & Restaurant

90

Pinehurst Resort

106 95

Catherine Feeney, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty

City of Greensboro

2

Cone Health

10

CP Logan

101

7

Polliwogs Children’s Boutique

106

Priba Furniture

20

Printers Alley

16

Crafted, The Art of the Taco

14

Printworks Bistro

Crafted, The Art of Street Food

14

PTI

36

Cunningham & Company

40

Doctors Hearing Care

27

Randy McManus Designs Re Bath of Greensboro

44 24

44

Rennaissance Center for Cosmetic

Dolce Dimora Downtown Greensboro Animal Hospital

110

Surgery & Wellness

Dress Code

94

Ruff Housing

Earlier.org

50

Sally Millikin, Berkshire Hathaway

8

92 95

HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty

85

Extra Ingredient, The

95

Feathered Nest, The

106

First Baptist Church

50, 91, 109

Franklin County, VA

44

Serendipity by Celeste

Friends Homes West

24

Sheree’s Natural Cosmetics

Furniture Medic by Jeff Hughes

48

Shoppes on Patterson

Gate City Butcher & Gourmet Market

93

Smith Marketing, Allen Tate

Glass & Stone, LLC

84

Southern Lights Bistro

91

Godwin Insurance

95

Southern Lights Landscape Lighting

27

Sports Medicine & Joint Replacement

46

Graham Farless, DDS, Family, Cosmetic & Implant Dentisty GreenHill ArtQuest Greensboro Ballet

38

Schiffman’s

1

Scott A. Welch, DDS, PA

43 106 52 91 IBC

Stacey Ofsanko, Tyler Redhead

100

& McAlister Real Estate

53

42

Stifel Investment Services

53

Taylor’s Discount Tire & Automotive

36

Greensboro Beautiful

102

Greensboro College

56

Ten Thousand Villages

32

Greensboro Grasshoppers

82

Theodore Alexander Outlet

17

Greensboro Historical Museum

100

Greensboro Opera

102

Dr. Matthew Olin Green Valley Grill

Tom Chitty, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty

32

6

Tyler Redhead & McAlister Real Estate

22

8

Umstead Hotel

23

Grove Winery & Vineyards

91

View on Elm, The

High Point Bank

18

Village at Brookwood, The

Home Instead

50

Vivid Interiors

House of Eyes

20

Waban Carter, Berkshire Hathaway

Imperial Koi Irving Park Art & Frame

46 101 3

Kay Chesnutt, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty Kim Mathis, Allen Tate Realtors

5 23 110

HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty Ward Black Law

85 11

Weatherspoon Art Gallery

Katie Redhead, Tyler Redhead & McAlister Real Estate

35

Tops & Trends

Greensboro Orthopaedics,

August 2015

16

99

Carriage House Antiques & Home Decor

104 O.Henry

HomeServices, Yost & Little Realty

New Garden Friends School

Carolyn Todd’s Fine Gifts & Clothing

MeridithMartens.Artist • 910.692.9448

8 84

Melissa Greer, Berkshire Hathaway

Blockade Runner

Carolina GroutWorks

www.meridithmartens.com

89

39

Carolina Bank

Reproductions from Original Oil Paintings High Quality Paper or Metal Plates Sizes range 16x20 up to 40x60 • Prices start at $270

89

Linnea’s Boutique & Vera’s Threads

Barber Center for Plastic Surgery

Yost & Little Realty

state of the ART • north carolina

Lillo Bella Boutique

Autumn Creek Vineyards

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices,

MeRiditH MaRtens

110

101

Weezie Glasscock

84

Window Works Studio

43

109

Winston-Salem Open

96

104

Yamamori, Ltd.

88

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene

Jonathan Brilliant

You’ve Got a Friend Auction Greenhill - A Space for N.C. Art Thursday, June 18, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Dabney Sanders, Chris Carlson, Jennifer Poindexter, Lisa Anderson Edie Carpenter, Tahe Zalal, Jack Stratton

John Whisnant, Laura Way

Maggie Marshall, Betsy Craft

Stephanie Adams, Donovan McKnight Cecelia Thompson, Candace Tucker, Jane Shank

Jane McCallum, John Whisnant, Adam Tarleton

Kerith & Krystal Hart, Rod Cooper, Adam Tarleton Lisa Johnson, Art Winstead

Laura Way, Billy Ragsdale, George Ragsdale

Courtney Reynolds, Hillary Meredith, Grecia Iniguez

Bethany Barnes, Laura Maruzzella Jeff Martin, Mary Bilotta

Annette Porter, David Talbot, Bill Porter

Jennifer Ferris, Cheri George

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 105


G E T T H E F E E T I N Y O U R F A M I LY

Irving Park

BACK-TO - SCHOOL READY

dressing childhood.

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

www.polliwogs.com

Custom Monogramming Available on In-Store Items 336.275.1555

1724 Battleground Ave. Suite 104 Greensboro, NC 27408

summer sale in progress

106 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene

Jerrie Ballard, Leslie Allen

Summer Solstice Celebration Greensboro Arboretum Sunday, June 20, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jennifer McNeill

Sharita & Eden Abney

Hannah Schewel, Juliet Magoon

Dhruvi Parrarlteema Vyas, Kulp Vyas, Poonam Solanki, Ruhan Upadhyaya, Anusha Sathi

Andre & Cali Towers, Rayah & Megan Freeman

Erica & Beatrice Mishoe

Kendall Rankin, Grace Hennard Gina Keranen, Dee Johnson, Leisha Washington

Scott Bayliff, Justine Knight

Krystal McLean, Kelly Graven

Lauren Curry, Ruthann Foster, Megan Hahn, Arabelle Foster

Adrienne Williams, Kayla Staggs

Greg & Liz Musgrove, Greg Elmore, Kaitlin Smith

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

August 2015

O.Henry 107


GreenScene

Skyler Hatch, Maia Edwards, Chloe Stanley, Carla Crotts-Massa, Anna Tilley, Mackenna Myers

Greensboro Performing Arts presents The Lion King Jr. Friday, June 26, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Garland Vandergrift, Nancy & Claire Czarnowski Luke Powell, Miranda Hatch, Sophie Donato, Maggie Coscia, Caroline Donata, McKenzie Claire Haile, Julia Drafz Mullins

Kennedy Talton, Mackenzie Mullins, Halee Myers, Gabriel Carlone

William Buck, Eden Edwards, Victoria LeBaron, Jeffery Haile

Tara & Sameera Kenney

Jordan Clodfelter, Lauren Glass Suzanne Vandergrift, Angela Talton

Abigail Czarnowski, Miranda Hatch, Caroline Donato Joyce Norris, Terri Rooks, Singer London-Stanley, Greta Stanley

Sydney Fuller, Liz Dizon

108 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Living is easy in the Summer in these Extraordinary Homes Ascot Point

11 New Bern Square Spacious home with Master Bedroom & 2nd Bedroom on the main level plus Living Room, Dining Room, Kitchen, Den with fireplace, 9 foot ceilings, hardwood floors. Attached 2-car garage. Lots of storage. Charleston garden area. $480,000

Old Irving Park

Chiswick Park

8 Granville Oaks Ct Irving Park Townhome that has it ALL!!! This fabulous 5 Bedroom, 5.5 Bath home has high ceilings, custom moldings, open floor plan with elevator to all floors (and stairs). Master Suite with his & her closets plus sitting area. Large lower level Den, wet bar, Home Theater, screened porch outside enclosed garden/patio/grill. Must see! One of a kind! Price upon request.

Irving Park

Chesnutt - Tisdale Team

1101 Sunset Drive Irving Park brick home that was built with serenity and family comfort in mind. Situated overlooking the golf course, 5 BR, 5 full BAs, 2 half BAs, Master BR on main level, open floor plan and custom built details. Bonus room, covered Porch, screened Porch. 3rd level wired & plumbed to finish if desired. Attached 2-car garage. Price upon request.

Never miss an issue! Subscribe today and have

2 Dunaway Court Wonderful Irving Park brick home on cul-de-sac. 4 Bedrooms, 3.5 Baths. open Kitchen, den - all updated. Hardwoods and crown moldings throughout. Master suite with shower and separate tub. Large rooms, closets. 3rd floor Bonus with half Bath. 2-car garage and workshop. Central vac. Professionally landscaped. Must see! Price upon request.

Xan Tisdale 336-601-2337

Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687

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.

Children’s Ministry @ First Baptist Church Greensboro

Welcome Christina McCord! Christina will be joining the staff at First Baptist Church Greensboro as the new Minister to Children and Families on August 10.

delivered to your home! $45 in-state $55 out-of-state

“Ministering to children and families truly is my passion. I cannot wait to see what God has in store for all of us at First Baptist.” - - Christina McCord

*per magazine

Worship • Missions • Music • Bible Study • fellowship ... and FUN!

Call 910-692-2488

Sundays - 9:15 am Bible Study & 10:30 am Worship Wednesdays - 5 pm Meal & 6:15 pm Activities for Children, Youth & Adults

or mail payment to P.O. Box 58, Southern Pines, NC 28388 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

1000 West Friendly Ave, Greensboro | 274-3286 | www.fbcgso.org August 2015

O.Henry 109


Send your old kitchen on a permanent vacation.

Interiors • Furnishings • Accessories • Vintage

513 S. Elm Street • (336) 265-8628 • vivid-interiors.com

110 O.Henry

August 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

The August Forecast I’m peachy keen this summer

By Astrid Stellanova

August is a month that celebrates something I love, which is,

in a word, peachy. When peaches come in season late May, I eat them till I just about bust, probably sometime around September. I’d eat the pits if they weren’t so hard to digest. Juicy peaches dripping with a dollop of whipped cream — Lord a’mercy, that is a match made in celestial dreams. Favorite fantasy? A good-looking man to peel me a white peach and feed it to me. Slowly. Beau, if you are reading, that’s romantic, Honey.

Leo (July 23–August 22) Child, all your friends want is for you to live up to your ego. You were born under a complicated sign in a complicated month; the first atom bomb detonated on August 6, 1945, and Richard Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. All of which tells the Universe that August is a tough time of the year, with more than a little trouble afoot. You are good at keeping your cool, so you will soldier on through whatever storm strikes. Sprinkle some sugar over whatever sour thing happens; use your fabulous talents to keep quiet and smile mysteriously. You are too cool for school this month, and the world is going to hear you roar! Virgo (August 23–September 22) This is what keeps your friends baffled: You seem to always fall for the stranger with an aura of nothingness. That’s right — you are sharp but emotionally you get buffaloed by the first fool to buy you a drink. Slow that nonsense down. In the bar of life, you are frequently overserved. Don’t let smooth talk make you act as dumb as the box of dirt they are trying to palm off on you as black gold. Libra (September 23–October 22) Sometimes, you just don’t know when to let bygones be bygones. The troubles of the past keep getting resurrected because you just can’t let go. If you bundled up your troubles and threw ’em in the road, Honey, you would go back and try and get ’em! This is a good month to get your chin up and try to let the past be past. If you had any idea what a nice month is ahead, you would not want to revisit times gone by. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) You are so in love with your own sense of mystery that you forget that nobody else actually cares. Open up and let people know you better — you have a lot of acquaintances, but you could really use a friend. Friends make the going easier when things get rough, and we all hit rough water sooner or later. Speaking of water . . . some tall drink of water is going to offer you something your heart desires. Don’t throw rocks at it. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) When you are overworked or overstressed, or plain overly dramatic and get into a snit, you are a “vampire on a paper route” type of tired and angry person. It is true that you have had more on your plate than you ought to have to balance, but when you get past this milestone you are going to find an easier path to walk. Sugar, when you come to the fork in the road, take it, or your friends are going to have to shoot you with a tranquilizer dart right about the middle of the month. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) You have got some comical ideas about your own destiny and place in it. This is a good month to take a hard look at your resume and get real. Take a class in something you need to master. Honey, operating a stapler or a glue gun ain’t office skills, and sorting the recyclables for the trash pickup don’t make you a captain of industry. Challenge yourself and don’t leave your talents unused.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Sometimes, you seem unusually baffled by the simplest things. This month it would take a third hand just for you to scratch your backside. Life doesn’t have to be this complicated. Speak your truth, and let the chips fall where they may. All those people you have been trying to protect need to stand on their own two feet and not lean on you. Besides, Sugar, you ain’t got but three hands any old how. Pisces (February 19–March 20) Take care of the biscuits, Honey, and your life will be gravy. That basically means (if you are trying to decipher this piece of advice, and I imagine you are) you have got to get into the kitchen of life and make some real dough before you are qualified to jump on the gravy train to glory. This will require you to get in and knead it yourself, not to recruit somebody else. And when you get it right, the dough is going to rise sure enough, Sweet Thing. Aries (March 21–April 19) There is nothing lonelier than an Aries when the Ram runs outta money. Honey, you have been the bank for some needy friends and family, but now you have to curtail your generosity and set some money aside for your own oatmeal fund in your old age. I can hear your bitchin’ from here. Yes, your heart was in the right place, but this is Astrid telling you it is time to try austerity. At least for a month, which is the amount of time it takes for your entire attention span to be chewed up. Taurus (April 20–May 20) There is some kind of cuckoo genius inside you that just knows how to predict trends and get in front of a curve. Use this talent, because you finally have a moneymaker of a concept that could make you rich faster than American Pharoah can eat up a dirt track. Kickstarter was made for your kind of smarts; others will soon see the potential in your new contraption. Gemini (May 21–June 20) If the hands fall off your watch, look up. It could be your astral connection is speaking to you from Uranus. Have you ever thought about how many unusual coincidences fill your so-called ordinary life? It’s about time you recognized that you have got some big woo-woo powers. I can see it in the star chart, Sugar. Cancer (June 21–July 22) Summer is not your best time, which makes no sense to you. But some of your most difficult things have happened during the long hot summer. You need a relaxing change of scenery and a little change of perspective. Which means, this year you might have to go a little further than the county line if you really want to feel renewed. Push that boat off the shore and paddle like hell till your frustrations go. 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. This summer, she’ll be reading tea leaves and crystals (“Not the book,” she clarifies. “We’re talking oolong and tigers eye.”) August 2015

O.Henry 111


O.Henry Ending

A Changed Man

By Grant Britt

For most of my adult life, I’ve been polishing

my curmudgeonly persona. I’m too far along now to change my spots — they’ve soaked into my coat so thoroughly there’s not a dry cleaner or a taxidermist in the world that could get them out. But recently, I’m wondering if I might need a tailor. That coat is starting to pinch a bit in the conscience area and might need to be let out a tad.

The nagging need for alterations started about three years ago. Some do-gooder kept shaming me publicly about not giving back to the community till I gave in and agreed to be a judge at Ragsdale High’s seniors’ graduation project speeches. But that curmudgeon coat has deep pockets. Dig around in the largest one and you’ll find a sizable hunk of aversion to the younger generation. Seems like every older generation thinks that the one that followed them had things too easy. Some version of “back in my day we had to walk twelve miles to school through the snow, naked, chased by bloodthirsty wolverines we arm wrestled to death and ate raw for breakfast” has usually been passed down the curmudgeon pipeline for eons from the elders to the callous upcoming youth. With the ad-

112 O.Henry

August 2015

vances in technology that have come along in the past few years, it’s even worse. Us old-timers see the younguns as device-dependent savants who can’t tell time unless the device has a digital display and don’t know what a handwritten letter is or how to create a message in their own handwriting. We still talk on the phone instead of poking at it with our thumbs to send cryptic psuedo-speak to cohorts every few minutes, and think tweeting is that noise that birds make. Lugging around all that baggage, the idea of accepting a judgeship at a high school seemed a gigantic leap of faith that could turn out to be a trainwreck of epic proportions. The whole atmosphere seemed a bit intimidating. Even though outwardly friendly, the teachers have that steely look in their eyes that says, “I deal with louts like you every day, buddy. Start any trouble and we’ll finish it before you can wipe that sneer of your face.” The flop sweat really pops out when you’re handed your rubric, not a cube but a complicated form to judge your victims on everything from deportment, to attire, to length of speech (eight minutes minimum), to familiarity with the subject. The pressure intensifies when you learn you can’t hide in a crowd and judge anonymously. You’re dispatched in teams of three, sent to a classroom and seated only two or three feet from the defendants. The seniors have been working on these projects for months, and this night is the culmination of their labors, simulating what students will face making presentations in business meetings. All the curmudgeonry goes away from the minute you deal with your first student. Our judging won’t affect their final grade, they still take it very seriously. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

At Ragsdale High, a dedicated curmudgeon sees the light


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And a volcano.

O.Henry August 2015  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry August 2015  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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