O.Henry December 2014

Page 1

Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

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December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2014 Departments 13 Simple Life By Jim Dodson

16 Short Stories 19 Doodad By Molly Sentell Haile 21 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 22 Omnivorous Reader By Stephen E. Smith

Features 59 Soul Assist

Poetry by Maura Way

60 12 Days of Christmas

Our take on the Holiday Classic By Maria Johnson & Staff of O.Henry

72 The Christmas Bicycle

As found at Higgins fabled Cycle Shop By Billy Ingram

25 Scuppernong Bookshelf

76 Poole’s Paradise

29 Pleasures of Life By Steve Cushman 31 Artist at Work By Ogi Overman 35 “Felice Navidad”

78 Student Housing

By Brian Lampkin & Kira Larson

New Fiction by Nancy Bartholomew

43 The Good Stuff By Nan Graham 47 Seen & Unseen By Mary Seymour 49 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 51 Chasing Hornets By Wiley Cash 53 Game On By Ogi Overman 57 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 90 Arts & Entertainment December Calendar 115 Worth the Drive 117 GreenScene 125 N.C. Writer’s Notebook By Sandra Redding 127 Accidental Astrologer By Astrid Stellanova 128 O.Henry Ending By Molly Sentell Haile

Remembering Greensboro’s pioneering radio personality By Billy Ingram That’s edible By David Claude Bailey

80 Story of a House

Antique toys, Christmas trees galore and Santas draped in mink By Cynthia Adams

89 December Almanac By Noah Salt

Cover Photograph by Hannah Sharpe Photograph this page by Kevin Banker

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December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Simple Life

Goodbye, for Now By Jim Dodson

When I was young,

Illustration by Kira schoenfelder

the only thing harder than the coming of Christmas was saying goodbye to it.

After weeks of anticipation and suspense, savoring the agonizing build-up to the big morning and everything that went with it — food, carols, festive lights, crowded stores, nights that held the prospect of snow — everything seemed to wind up in the twinkling of an ancient elfin eye, literally overnight. Suddenly, Christmas magic was over: There were no presents left to unwrap, a fine dinner was reduced to tin-foiled leftovers in the fridge, favorite cousins were heading home, leaving behind a kind of post-partum lethargy that carried through the week to New Year’s, a finale that felt anticlimactic compared to the assorted glories of Christmas. As the ball was dropping on New Year’s Eve, it was the rare first night when I was even awake. My parents, of course, were probably to blame for this phenomenon, for I was merely the product of their own unbounded enthusiasm for everything about the Christmas season. Beginning with Thanksgiving my mom became a baking fool and commenced decorating the house at the crack of December dawn. My dad, meanwhile, spent hours untangling and repairing strings of outdoor Christmas lights and lived for our annual trip down to the abandoned family home place deep in the woods near Hillsborough to shoot mistletoe out of the towering oaks that grew there. Our December trek to Ashe County to cut a live Christmas tree was a given, as was his Christmas office party, a lively afternoon affair conducted in the spirit of Dickens’ Fezziwig, a man whose love of commerce was only topped by his personal generosity to the people around him. In its own way, our mom’s annual open house before church service on Christmas Eve — the finale of her cooking and baking season — was equally festive, and something friends and neighbors counted upon every year to seal their own holiday spirit in a nimbus of love. It was the goodbye part that always got to me. The most exciting time of year — something I waited eagerly for eleven months of the year, a small eternity to a 10-year-old — seemed to suddenly arrive and disappear like the Christmas goose on the Cratchit family table. To compound matters, in our neighborhood, several folks actually took down their Christmas trees the day after Christmas and hustled them out to the curb for collection like a disreputable uncle who’d overstayed his welcome. I remember once taking a spin on a new Christmas bike and being startled to discover several of these sadly discarded Christmas trees, stripped bare save for a few straggling pieces of tinsel, discarded symbols of the season awaiting the coming of the trash man. To this day, that sight always saddens me. Looking back, though I didn’t begin to comprehend it at the time, I learned a valuable life lesson from the slow coming and quick going of such happy Christmas seasons, this seductive blending of Christian tradition and Father Christmas — namely, that saying goodbye to people and things you love is, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

indeed, all about the wise use of time and simply one of life’s bittersweet inevitabilities, a fact of life that varies only by degrees of intensity and one’s own perception of what’s really important. In the spirit of Old Fezziwig, human generosity never goes out of season. Leavetaking of one kind or another happens every day in our lives, so commonplace and cordial it’s easy not to notice because such moments are so tightly woven into the fabric of the ordinary. The perfect evening ends. Guests say goodnight. You kiss your spouse goodbye in the morning without a passing concern about the day ahead. We operate on an unseen principle that goodbye is never really goodbye — just a temporary parting. And yet, in ancient times, given the brevity of ordinary life, goodbye really meant something. Roads were perilous and dangers rampant. The word “goodbye” was simply shorthand for “God be with you,” an acknowledgement of life’s fragile impermanence. By the same token, the word “farewell” comes from middle English and meant quite literally “fare thee well” on your onward journey, wherever it leads you and whatever rises up to meet you. Fare thee well on the road of this uncertain life. Daily rituals aside, sometimes the act of saying goodbye does penetrate to the heart muscle and strikes a deeper chord, causing us to pause and think, the throat to constrict, the eyes to burn. It happens unexpectedly when your child goes off to college or your favorite neighbors move. The job changes. Your daughter gets married. Illness comes. The dog must be put down. The effect of these goodbyes can alter your perception of everything. Following the death of his dog, the poet Pablo Neruda had nothing shy of a spiritual awakening. “I, the materialist,” he wrote, “who never believed in any promised heaven in the sky for any human being, I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter. Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom where my dog waits for my arrival waving his fan-like tail in friendship.” Death — believed to be the ultimate leavetaking by some, a mere hidden doorway to the onward adventure by others — makes everyone a believer in something, if only the value of a saying a heartfelt goodbye, for now. Twenty years ago, though it was quite painful at the time, the smartest thing I ever did was leave my own young family behind to come home to be my old man’s caretaker as he was slipping the bonds of this world. With the help of a kindly hospice worker, I sat with him in my boyhood bedroom and tended his daily needs, talking about things both inconsequential and profound, just being with Mr. Fezziwig through the last hours of his life. The night before he died, he politely asked me to help him into bed with my mother just down the hall. I remember how my eyes stung at the sound of them talking quietly beneath the quilt like the old lovers they were. They were saying goodbye. He passed serenely the next night, a goodbye that enriched my life immeasurably. Five years later, I was sitting with my mother at her favorite restaurant on the water near our house in Maine where she suddenly admitted how powerDecember 2014

O.Henry 13

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December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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fully she missed my father — and life in North Carolina. When I apologized for moving her to the nice assisted care residence near our house, she simply smiled, patted my hand and sipped her wine. “Don’t worry, sugar. That’s just life. I’ll see your father soon.” Less than a week later, she suffered a stroke and was hospitalized. When I took my children to see their grandmother, she was lying in bed smiling at them. They kissed her and she seemed — crazy, I know — almost radiantly happy. I came back to sit with her that night and we held hands and talked of the smallest sorts of things — her love of peonies, her growing grandchildren and the pride she felt in all of us. Nothing was left unsaid. She passed away peacefully the next morning. Not too long afterward came another passing. We — well, I — said a painful goodbye to the rugged post-and-beam house I built with my own hands on a forested hilltop, the place where my own children were born and where I grew an ambitious garden in the woods. Handing over the keys to a couple from Massachusetts who had matching Doberman Pinschers was a moment that bruised my heart more than I care to admit. The house was my so-called “dream house,” the place I’d fully planned to spend the rest of my days digging in the garden and watching the seasons pass until some thoughtful person spread my ashes among the giant hosta plants and daylilies of my Redneck Philosopher’s Garden. But dreams have a funny way of changing shape. Instead of forever, one bright sunny May afternoon I bid the place a reluctant “fare thee well” with a lump the size of a tulip bulb in my throat, choosing to take writer Beryl Markham’s good advice on such moments: “I have learned that if you must leave a place that you have lived in and loved and where all your yesteryears are buried deep, leave it any way except a slow way, leave it the fastest way you can. Never turn back and never believe that an hour you remember is a better hour because it is dead. Passed

Simple Life

years seem safe ones, vanquished ones, while the future lives in a cloud, formidable from a distance.” I closed the door and didn’t look back. I’ve never been back. Though that house still shows up in my dreams from time to time. “To live in this world,” echoes the poet Mary Oliver, “you must be able to do three things: to love what is mortal; to hold it against your bones knowing your own life depends on it; and, when the time comes to let it go, to let it go.” Good advice for saying goodbye, I’ve learned, to anything you love from an old dog to a favorite holiday. A decade ago we moved home to North Carolina and brought a beloved holiday ritual that started in that house on a snowy hilltop more than twenty-five years ago. Our annual winter solstice party invites friends and neighbors to come share great homemade soup and my bride’s amazing desserts on the longest night of the year, illuminating the darkness with bawdy skits, Medieval songs, favorite poems, magic tricks — whatever moves the spirit — providing much laughter and Fezziwigian fellowship in a world that is forever passing away, an ancient celebration of our own fragile impermanence. For our ever-widening circle of friends and family, it must be said, the winter solstice has become a valuable part of the Christmas season, the perfect prelude to the day that always came so slowly and passed too quickly. When all the gifts are opened and the house has fallen quiet late on Christmas Day, I confess, I will stir the fire and pour myself a glass of good aged port and drink a little toast to all that’s passed through my life, still feeling a touch of the old sadness at saying goodbye — for now — to people and things I’ve loved, a bittersweet hollowness that is only filled by the hope that things don’t really end, that goodbye is really just another kind of beginning. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com.

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December 2014

O.Henry 15

Short U I Stories U a














Mmm-Mmm Good

Surrogate eater for thousands of the state’s TV couch potatoes, Bob Garner had me hooked with the title of his new book: Foods That Make You Say Mmm-mmm. Admittedly, his Greensboro picks include the usual suspects: Lucky 32’s collards and catfish, Stamey’s barbecue and peach cobbler, Neese’s liver pudding and livermush, Yum Yum’s bright red hot dogs, Biscuitville’s country ham biscuits, and the various re-creations of the sauce once served at the Boar and Castle. Farther afield, Garner identifies some out-of-the-way spots across the state with foods that go largely unheralded: muscadine grape-hull pie in Duplin County; Eastern fish stew at Ken’s Grill in LaGrange; Okracoke fig cake from Ocracoke Seafood Company; seafood rolls at the Saltbox Seafood Joint in Durham; A.B. Vannoy ham in the Caro-Mi Dining Room in Tryon; fried herring at the Cypress Grill in Jamesville; downeast lemon milk pie in Morehead City; mollusks and sweet pickles at the Varnamtown Oyster Roast; and R.O.’s soupy slaw sauce from Gastonia. Mmm-mmm, I know what I want Santa to bring me. Info: blairpub.com. DCB

Finer than Fine

When Durham’s Carolina Academic Press asked former News & Record columnist Wilt Browning to compile a sports history of the state, a friend told him it would “be like herding cats.” But the nine chapters of Nothing Finer: North Carolina’s Sports History and the People Who Made It are more like nine innings of home runs. Several chapters come from former News & Record staffers — Larry Keech on diversity; Bill Hass on the state’s 178 national championships; and Rob Daniels on football. Greensboro resident Lenox Rawlings, a thirty-six-year veteran for the Winston-Salem Journal, writes the chapter on auto racing. “I am not certain there is a more sports-devoted state in the union than North Carolina,” says Browning, who pens the book’s chapter on baseball. Retired Durham Herald-Sun columnist Al Featherston writes about basketball; golf writer Lee Pace covers golf; and Raleigh-based historian Jim Sumner digs into the roots of N.C. sports. And as for Browning’s ability to herd cats? The North Carolina Society of Historians just gave the book the Willie Parker Peace Historic Book Award. Info: www.cap-press.com. DCB

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December 2014

’Cued In

Some folks may think using the word “great” in the title of The Great NC BBQ Map overblown, but as a barbecue-crazed owner of a number of sauce- and grease-stained barbecue guides, I think “great” is entirely merited. Credit a pair of Charlotte foodies: Paul Bright, with serious cartography chops in geographic information systems, and Amanda Fisher, an English major who’s gained street cred in marketing and PR. What’s impressive about the map, though, is its clear and thorough information on 400 N.C. BBQ restaurants, including whether they pit-fire their cue over coals or cook it with gas or electricity; serve Eastern- or Lexington-style cue and sauce; and cook whole hogs or just shoulders. With the addition of the restaurants’ addresses, hours, websites and phone numbers, if you can’t use this map to find a BBQ joint within a dozen miles of where you are, you just might not be in North Carolina. Available at Design Archives Emporium or at www.thegreatbbqmap.com. DCB

Driven to Givin’

If the season finds you in a generous mood, consider giving the gift of reliable transportation. Wheels4Hope, a local nonprofit organization, is in the middle of a campaign to collect twentyfive vehicles by year’s end. The interfaith group, which started in Raleigh and rolled into Greensboro two years ago, sells donated cars at deep discounts to needy working folks who are referred by other nonprofit agencies. W4H also sells some donated cars to the general public at bargain prices. To donate a car, bring the vehicle and the title to the office at 4006 Burlington Road, Greensboro, or call (336) 355-9130 to request a pickup. There’s no limit on the age or mileage of a donated car, and W4H will do the paperwork for you to get a tax deduction. Info: www.wheels4hope.org/ Greensboro. MJ

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“Jenifer Padilla first began a body of work inspired by hawk feathers that she found during a printmaking residency at the Penland School of Crafts,” says Greenhill curator Edie Carpenter about Padilla’s Italian Bird and Hawk Feather, one of 500 works in the gallery’s Winter Show, opening to the public on December 7. “The vibrant contrast of color in her treatment of the bird’s camouflage suggests an imaginative response to the wild creatures that surround us that we rarely interact with.” Padilla is one of forty new artists exhibiting in the Winter Show, along with forty artists who have been featured in the past ten years and forty artists from the gallery’s first thirty years — all commemorating the gallery’s 40th anniversary. “This year’s Winter Show will be particularly exciting as it brings together works by artists with well-established careers with those of a younger generation,” says Carpenter. Sneak preview available December 6 by advance reservation. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org. DCB

Why Don’t They Call Them Candle Coffees?

Dating back to 1415, the Moravian Church has a long and storied heritage. Things got going in Greensboro in 1908, when a congregation was formed on East Lee Street. That congregation later moved to 304 South Elam, where Greenboro’s First Moravian Church is just a bit of a misnomer. Over the years they’ve held fifty-one Candle Teas, with this year’s on Friday, December 5, from 2–9 p.m., and Saturday, December 6, from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. Watch candles being made in the Candle Hut and in the fellowship hall, view a miniature crèche or buy seasonal goods, including chicken pies. In the church’s “tavern,” visitors can enjoy Moravian sugar cake, sweet coffee and music by a crackling fire. Then at 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve the public is invited to a lovefeast featuring a church full of lighted candles, plump lovefeast buns and steaming mugs of coffee. Info: (336) 272-2196 or www.facebook.com/events/161890530684253/. DCB

Unsilent Nights

Joyful noises will echo throughout the holiday, beginning with the Greensboro Ballet’s 35th year of performing The Nutcracker. Fifty-nine students will take the stage as whirling snowflakes, giant mice and dancing dolls at the Carolina Theatre December 6–7 and 12–14, accompanied by the Greensboro Symphony (except on the 14th). Guests can have tea with Clara and the cast preceding the performances on Sunday the 7th and Saturday the 13th (www.greensboroballet.org). Then, on December 7, the Bennett College Choir will mix traditional carols with spirituals and gospel songs, joined by the Handbell Choir in a Christmas Candlelight Concert at Annie Marner Pfeiffer Chapel (www.bennett.edu). On December 12, 13 and 15, Bel Canto will present a holiday program with readings from O.Henry’s story of selfless giving, “The Gift of the Magi” (see website for time and venues: www.belcantocompany.com). In the way of free performances, on December 14 the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra will present its annual Holiday Concert — with 2011 Men’s U.S. Figure Skating Champion Ryan Bradley gracing the ice at the Greensboro Coliseum — along with the Greensboro Youth Chorus and the UNCG Spartones (donation of a non-perishable food item for the Salvation Army suggested: www.greensborocoliseum.com). “Hallelujah” will ring out from 100 Greensboro Oratorio Singers on December 18 at the Carolina Theatre in a free performance of Handel’s Messiah (www.oratoriogso.org). Also December 18, the newly formed N.C. Brass Band will present Christmas Wrapped in Brass at First Baptist Church in High Point and December 19 at Ardmore Baptist Church in Winston-Salem (www.ncbrassband.org). For lots more holiday events, see O.Henry’s Art Calendar, page 91. DCB

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman Between December’s decking of the halls and roasting of the chestnuts, it’s sometimes tough to keep from hearing the same old songs again and again. Here are some venues that we’re certain will be Little-Drummer-Boy-proof. • December 4, Thirsty’s 2: Just because it’s the dead of winter, don’t think for a moment that beach music goes into hibernation. In fact, the perennial summer kicks into high gear at Greensboro’s famous beach and shag club with two of the genre’s top-shelf acts, Band of Oz and Jim Quick & Coastline. • December 5, Blind Tiger: OK, I know she’s a swimsuit model and a reality TV hottie and, to top it off, Hulk Hogan’s daughter, but Brooke Hogan really can sing. Honest. She has cut two albums, one of which topped the indie rock charts. • December 6, High Rock Outfitters: Drummers are rarely frontmen, but then, most drummers aren’t Jeff Sipe. He has toured and recorded with virtually every Southern rock, Americana, indie rock and jam band on the circuit, and, when not on the road or in the studio, plays with his own genre-bending group, the Jeff Sipe Trio. • December 20, Blind Tiger: For the umpteenth year, Greensboro’s resident twisted genius Don Morgan brings his Umpteenth Annual Piedmont Songbag X-mas Show to the ever-popular BT. Featuring former members of the legendary Tornado, you’ll hear such standards as “Santa on a Crying Jag” and “Sammy One Note.” Traditional this ain’t. OO December 2014

O.Henry 17

Give someone the world.

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Love by the Letter

A remarkable courtship, in their own words

By Molly Sentell Haile


nn Trueblood Raper inherited a 92-year-old love story. Browsing through the drawers of her grandmother’s eight-drawer, Philadelphia-style highboy, she came across more than 200 love letters her grandparents, Betty and Paul, had written to each other in 1922. Just ten days after meeting at a Quaker conference, the two decided they wanted to get married and spent the following year in an epistolary courtship between Philadelphia, where Betty worked as executive secretary for the Young Friends Movement, and New York City, where Paul was an aspiring businessman. Raper originally meant to just transcribe the letters for her cousins before passing them on to a Quaker archive, but “Betty and Paul’s love and respect for each other leaped from their letters as I continued typing and following their developing love story over the next several months, often wiping away tears while getting to know my grandparents as young lovers.” In one letter Paul tells Betty, “I can’t help but laugh to myself at the happy storm of excitement that is sweeping around inside me.” And when Betty makes a trip to Richmond, Indiana, for a Quaker conference, she pays a visit to Paul’s childhood home in nearby Fairfield and writes, “I’ve wandered all over the house, loving the nooks and crannies and all its precious things . . . and the woods where you used to play — and the roads you’ve walked along. No home is dearer to me than thine, my dearest one, except it be my own.” Raper turned the letters into a book, A Quaker Courtship: A love story in discovered letters and photos of two Young Friends in 1922. The letters reveal the couple’s deepening relationship as they begin to share not only light stories of dinnertime guests and train rides, but also their mutual concern about the growing tension between the two branches of American Quakerism (their own families on differing sides) and about the unraveling of Betty’s parents’ marriage. On the back of one envelope, Raper came across a last note Betty wrote to Paul in 1966 — six years after he died and forty-three years after the young couple wed on a bright September day at the Swarthmore College Meeting House: “I’ve read all of these letters with tears for you. 12/26/66.” Ann Trueblood Raper will read from and sign A Quaker Courtship at Scuppernong Books at 2 p.m. on Sunday, December 14. Info: www.aquakercourtship.com. OH Molly Sentell Haile, a graduate of UNCG’s creative writing MFA program, teaches creative writing at Hirsch Wellness Network in Greensboro. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2014

O.Henry 19


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20 O.Henry

December 2014

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life’s Funny

On the Trail of Christmas Deep in the woods, three trees and a sweet mystery

By Maria Johnson

We rounded a bend

in the trail, and there it was: a small bare tree loaded with ornaments.

A spontaneous Christmas tree. We stopped and smiled. It was the perfect gift for our family last year. The boys were out of school. The dogs were out of things to chew on. All of us needed to go outside and feel the chilly air in our lungs. We took to the woods, as we often do. We were a mile or so in — it was hard to tell because the trail meandered so — in the middle of nowhere. It was the last place you’d expect to find anything man-made, except for maybe the rusting shell of a car or a lonely chimney that said someone had lived here long before you traipsed by. That’s what made the little tree so beautiful. It was as if someone — or some ones — had exalted the whole woods by putting one tree, gently, on a pedestal. But whom? And when? And how? And why? The questions tickled up smiles and scenarios. Had it been the work of a merry band of hikers? Lovers marking a special spot? An ornament sales person with an overstock at the end of the season? One of the ornaments bore a loop of faint pink ribbon. Perhaps it was a tribute to a loved one with breast cancer. We were flush with the joy of knowing we probably would never know the full story. At times like this, I’ve learned, the fun is in the mystery. We took pictures and tramped on. The clouds of our breath carried more stories about the possible genesis of the tree. It was a great way to spend an afternoon. A few weeks ago, when my older son, John, was home from college, we found ourselves literally in that neck of the woods again. I wanted to see the tree. Trails crisscrossed. This way. No wait, this way. We zigged and zagged until John said, “There it is.” The tree was a shadow of what we remembered. Only a half-dozen onion-shaped ornaments clung to the branches. The shattered hull of a plastic gold ornament lay on the ground. My heart plunged. What had happened to the other ornaments? I knelt and brushed away layers of wet leaves. No sign of the others. More questions. More non-answers. “We should bring some new ornaments,” my husband, Jeff, said. Everyone agreed. He and John walked on with the dogs. I stayed and stared at the tree. Surely, no one would have . . . “They’re 50 cents apiece!” a voice called. Another hiker was coming up the trail. His sturdy build and white goatee said he’d walked a few miles in his time. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I think people take ornaments as they go by,” he said. “Yeah, but there were so many . . .” I said. “Who knows?” he said. He stopped briefly to study the tree. “You know,” he said pointing through the woods, “there’s another tree over there. It’s covered with ornaments. Take this trail back until you get to a trail that parallels the road.” “Hey!” I called to my clan, barely visible through the sticks. “Come back!” We backtracked, sidetracked and fronttracked until we were dizzy. At one point, we were totally lost. We gave up on the trail and walked over the cushiony forest floor toward the nearest road. We intersected another trail and followed it. Again, John spotted the tree. It was the one we’d been looking for. I greeted it like an old friend. “There you are!” It had all of its ornaments — about thirty shiny balls, and ribbed balls, and faceted balls, and balls with starbursts inside indentations. Most were weathered. One ball, faded to white plastic, bore a loop of faintly pink ribbon. A tribute to someone with breast cancer? “Wait,” said John. “Is that another one?” Sure enough, about twenty yards deeper in the woods, was another bejeweled tree. This tree, a bigger beech, had more ornaments, maybe fifty, with an even greater variety: A marionette-type Santa; swirly spikes, a small sled; and a tiny, fuzzy pair of zebra-striped boots fringed with fur. Whoever did this — I now suspected a she — would wear those boots. I didn’t know her, but I liked her. We took pictures again, and Jeff marked the spot with an app on his phone. The dogs were getting impatient. We resumed our walk, our faith restored. There might be some who would tear down such delicate, lovely things, but you’d like to think that anyone who would venture that far into the woods would revere delicate, lovely things and let them be — or help them along. Farther down the trail. I remembered the first tree we’d found that day. The next day, I drove to a dollar store and picked up a few ornaments. One for the tree we first saw last winter. One for the well-dressed mother tree. And one for the scantily clad tree of mistaken identity. What will become of the ornaments? “Who knows?” as my white-bearded friend might say. Maybe someone will swipe them. Maybe someone will be inspired to add to the collection. Or maybe someone will simply stop and be inspired. In the stark light of winter, that would be enough. OH You can reach Maria Johnson at maria@ohenrymag.com. But don’t ask where the magical trees are. She isn’t telling. December 2014

O.Henry 21

The Omnivorous Reader

Timeless Words The enduring power of a well-loved author

By Stephen E. Smith

I remember the moment. I

was leafing through my grandmother’s copy of Mademoiselle on Christmas Eve 1959 when I turned a page and my attention was drawn to a simple line drawing of a woman swan-diving from a tower, her arms spread wide, her back bowed, toes pointed. Below her waited a flaming cauldron. The opening paragraph of the accompanying short story read: “For several weeks, maybe a month or so, there she stood, a plump woman in a sequined one-piece bathing suit, poised on a stylized tower which rose into the very clouds, like Jacob’s dreamy ladder, with here and there around a few birds in tense swift V’s, and below, far, far below, there was a tub, flaming and terrible, into which she was surely going to plunge.” I was 13 years old when I happened upon George Garrett’s “An Evening Performance.” I wasn’t in the habit of reading short stories, but a carnie show similar to the one described in the story had recently visited my hometown and I’d missed the performance, so I gave the story a careful read.

22 O.Henry

December 2014

Before I’d finished the last paragraph, I knew that the author was writing about something more than a high diver. I kept my copy of the story in my bureau drawer and occasionally reread my favorite sections. A year later, I discovered a copy of Best American Short Stories 1960, and there was Garrett’s name on the cover. I slapped down 75 cents for the paperback and compared the story with the Mademoiselle version. Lo and behold, they were different in little ways — a word here, a sentence there; e.g., “regardless” had been changed to “irregardless” to add a touch of folksiness. The story had clearly been tampered with. Why would an author rewrite a story he’d already published? Another year would pass before I’d come upon a book of stories, In the Briar Patch, by Garrett, and there was another version of “An Evening Performance.” I compared the three texts side by side and concluded that Garrett had rewritten the story for each publication. That was nuts! I’d grown up reading what baby boomers read — Dick, Jane and Sally, Boys’ Life, science fiction stories, comic classics, Landmark and American Heritage books. Garrett’s short story was my first taste of a genre that celebrates what my college lit professor called “the ineffable mystery of the human soul.” I was impressed with Garrett, but I continued reading authors that pleased me — P.G. Wodehouse was a particular favorite. And while in college I was required to read most of the American canon. But the more George Garrett I read, the more I was impressed — King of the Mountain, The Finished Man, Cold Ground Was My Bed Last Night, A Wreath for Garibaldi, Which Ones Are the Enemy? Death of the Fox, The Succession, Entered from the Sun and many more. In 1972, I purchased Garrett’s short story collection The Magic Striptease and mailed my copy to him at the University of Virginia — or was it Princeton? — where he was teaching. I wrote that I intended to rent a copy of a movie he The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Reader had written as a gag, Frankenstein Meets the Space Monster, and he returned my autographed copy of Striptease with a long letter about how bourbon had been a catalyst in the writing of the sci-fi classic that had Judith Crist “frothing in the pages of TV Guide.” Garrett claimed he’d written the script in one weekend and only saw the final product at a drive-in in Roanoke, Virginia. “It was the only time that drive-in movie patrons honked their horns and blinked their lights in rage and frustration,” he wrote. Not all of Garrett’s work was memorable. His early books of poetry — The Reverend Ghost, The Sleeping Gypsy, Abraham’s Knife — are decidedly 19th century in tone and content, and his novel Poison Pen is mean-spirited. But I admired his later novels, biographies, criticism and short stories — Whistling in the Dark, Double Vision, My Silk Purse and Yours, The Sorrows of Fat City, and Empty Bed Blues. Going to See the Elephant, a collection of prose pieces, contains the best essay ever written on James Dickey. “Liar, Liar, Pants on Fire: Some Notes on the Life and Art of the Late James Dickey” captures the Dickey I knew with a biting, humorous accuracy. In the conclusion of the essay, Garrett bemoans the razing of Dickey’s house in Columbia, South Carolina: “Now all the words and even the echoes of them are long gone. Lost except for fragments of fading and changing memory. Not a rusty nail, nor a sliver of broken glass. Nothing at all. Except, as it should be, the words of the dead poet in print, on audiotape, on the soundtrack of several films. And these words are as fresh and clear as when he wrote them and spoke them.” In 1985, Doubleday published An Evening Performance: New and Selected Stories, and, as expected, Garrett had rewritten the titled story, pulling together in final form a metaphor for the writing life: “But if the evening performance had been brief, it remained with them, haunting, a long time afterwards. Some of the preachers continued to denounce it as the work of the devil himself. The drunkards and tellers of tall tales embroidered on it and exaggerated it and preserved it until the legend of that high dive was like a beautiful tapestry before which they might act their lives, strangely dwarfed and shamed . . . .” George Garrett died in 2008. I miss him. I’m one of those who remain haunted by his vision. My ancient copies of his works fill an entire bookshelf, and for better or worse, they inspire every word I write. OH Stephen E. Smith’s most recent book of poems is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Marti, Katie, Alec, Kathy, Patty, Jim, Kelli, Charlotte, Jill, Leslie, Karen, Stacey, Wendi, Kristen, Frank, Preston, Elizabeth, Michelle

336.274.1717 trm.info

December 2014

O.Henry 23


only picture perfect

is acceptable.


High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem

Kid Stuff

Scuppernong Bookshelf A holiday buying guide for children’s books

By Brian Lampkin and Kira Larson

The holiday season brings

out the child in most of us. OK, it also brings out the cranky antisocial octogenarian in some of us as well, but let’s focus on the youthful joy and anticipation that drives the season. We’ll let the mean-spirited among us go off to fight the mythical War on Christmas, and we’ll stay home with the possibility of a peaceful moment reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to our children on Christmas Eve.

The classic books of Christmas are well-known and necessary. The aforementioned Clement Moore classic was written as “A Visit From St. Nicholas,” but the title has been transformed into something better. Poems enter the world and then the world makes use of them as it chooses. Moore’s poem is as necessary as snow. There are many excellent versions, but we highlight here the oddity of the Grafton and Scratch Publishers 2012 edition ($16.95) that edits out Santa’s pipe. That’s right, it’s a nonsmoking Santa, made tidy and faultless. Score one for the American Medical Association. This year Penguin Books has come out with a series of Christmas Classics ($16 each). These are elegantly designed, undersized books repackaging five of the essential literary titles: Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, Hoffman’s The Nutcracker, Alcott’s A Merry Christmas, Gogol’s The Night Before Christmas and Trollope’s Christmas at Thompson Hall. Perfect gifts for the young adult or any English majors still holding on to the warmth of their Christmas childhood. Of course there are lesser known titles that may someday become indispensable. Gary Soto, the renowned author and poet, has written many children’s books, but one that is essential to the holiday season is Too Many Tamales ($7.99, Penguin Young Readers Group). Soto writes the story of young Maria, who is helping her mother make tamales, a traditional Christmas Eve meal, for the family visit later in the day. As they both knead the flour for the meal, Maria’s mother takes off her ring and places it on the counter. When her mom leaves the room, Maria decides to try on the ring while mixing dough . . . we can all see where this is going, right? Later on, playing with cousins, she realize it’s gone and they all go down to the kitchen. Looking in horror at the pile of tamales, they decide there’s no choice but to eat them one at a time, searching for the ring. Four stomachaches and a happy ending later, this book, with beautiful illustrations by Ed Martinez, is by far one of our favorites. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Snowflake Bentley, by Jaqueline Briggs Martin with illustrations by Mary Azarian ($7.99, Sandpiper Books), is a nonfictional account of Wilson Bentley, the first person to microscopically photograph snow and ice crystals. With amazing woodcut illustrations that jump from the page, the layout of this book does a good job of combining narrative with other factual information that is easy to follow across the page. You may know Caldecott Honor winner Molly Idle from her book Flora and the Flamingo, but Flora has continued her adventure by meeting a new friend, a penguin! Flora and the Penguin ($16.99, Chronicle) uses the same format of pictures and flaps to tell a wordless story through expressive movement of the characters. As Flora and the penguin dance across the pages and under flaps, stealing looks back and forth between one another, the reader becomes part of the story instead of just an observer. This book is a must-see. The work of Jan Brett is prolific in the world of picture books, and her winter-themed books are a staple for many children around the holiday season. Pulling from cultural traditions and imagery spanning Scandinavia to Africa and often focusing on the retelling of folk or fairytales, Brett’s previous work, including the classic The Mitten, is about to be joined by her newest work. The Animals’ Santa ($17.99, Putnam) is a story of the white owl who, much like our own human Santa Claus, travels silently around delivering gifts to others. Little Snow, a white snowshoe rabbit, is about to have his first Christmas visit from the animals’ Santa and he is very, very excited. I am just as excited to see what beautiful images Brett has to share with us this time. If you’re interested in a less conventional approach to some of the holiday classics, you may want to take a peek at A Pirate’s Night Before Christmas, written by Philip Yates and illustrated by Sebastia Serra ($6.95, Sterling). Following the traditional storyline, pirate Sir Peg, whose sled is led by the seahorses Salty, Scurvy, Sinbad, Mollie, Cutthroat, Cross-Eyes, Roger and Jolly, comes to visit the buccaneers and dole out tidings of briny joy. Complete with a pirate glossary in the back, this makes for a fun storytime book for the whole family. Everyone knows Madeline, the little red-headed girl in the French boarding school, the bravest of them all. Madeline goes on many adventures and is known to help others whenever possible, and nothing is different in Madeline’s Christmas ($15.99, Viking). With everyone at school having fallen sick right at the holidays, it’s up to Madeline to take care of the school and all of her bedridden friends. She is given the help she needs for such a monumental task by a rug-selling magician who comes just in time. Following the same rhyme-based prose of his other works, Ludwig Bemelmans’ excellent series is continued for generations to enjoy together. All of this reading will surely make for a bit of respite from the chaos of overtight parking spaces and undersized online purchases. Let it snow, friends, and let it cover Greensboro in a quiet layer of peace. OH December 2014

O.Henry 25

gs n i t e e Gr from

Fitness by the Fountain

Center City Cinema

Biscuitville Bowl

Nutella in the Park

Panthers Day

Food Trucks

First Friday


Thanks to everyone who came out to enjoy all of the free programming at the Park‌.

See you next season!

Over 20,000 people attended Center City Park events in 2014!

Friends of Center City Park Fall Festival

2014 Friends of Center City Park JOIN TODAY! Support the Park and its programming. Individuals, businesses, foundations and organizations are invited to make membership donations. Receive recognition, advance notices, newsletters, and invitations to special events.

Collector $1,000 Susan and Jim Melvin Dr. Ranjan Sharma and Mr. Stacy Lawson William A. Stern Foundation Horticulturist $500 Martha and John Chandler Katherine and Mike Weaver

336-379-0821 203 S. Church Street, Greensboro, NC 27401

Arborist $250 Clare and Mike Abel Alexa Aycock Dawn Chaney and Sandra O’Connor Betty and Benjie Cone Jr. Jean and Mike Cornwell Sallie and Hank Cunningham Pam and Alan Duncan Julie Olin Debby L. Reynolds, Trace Holdings Bradford H. Sanders honoring Dabney and Walker Sanders Andrew Spainhour Ellen and Sigmund Tannenbaum Dr. Priscilla P. Taylor Susan and Eric Wiseman

Friends of Center City Park is a program of Action Greensboro, a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Financial information about this organization and a copy of its license are available from the State Solicitation Licensing Branch at 888-830-4989. The license is not an endorsement by the State.

Plantsman $100 June and Vance Barron Sallie and Bobby Batchelor Luke Bierman Joanne Bluethenthal Lee and Bill Britt Dr. Helen Brooks Myrna Carlock Molly and Henry Carrison III Clem and Hayes Clement Diversified Trust Company Rentenbach Constructors Betsy and Phillip Craft

www.centercitypark.org friends@centercitypark.org

Kathy and Daniel Craft, Craft Insurance Mary Carol and Pat Danahy Debbie and Bert Fields Garland and Gary Graham Barbara and Rusty Hall Berkeley and George Harris Carolyn and Ed Hines Jr. Deborah and Jim Hooper Sallie and Hoke Huss Avery and Bobby Jones in honor of Melissa and Jerry Harrelson Mindy and Chad Oakley Betty Rowe Dabney and Walker Sanders Michael Schiftan, Devcon Resources Kay Stern Cecelia Thompson Peter Tourtellot Betty Lou and Tom Ward Jr. Judy and Len White W. Fred Williams Charles Womack Gardener $50 Fanny Bain in memory of Carson Bain Sharron and Robin Britt in honor of Eli & Jordan Britt Nancy and Trip “Chip” Brown Louann A. Clarke Stephanie and Andrew Clifford Kara and Stephen Cox Joan and John Dilworth Linda and Tom Edgerton The Honorable and Mrs. Robert H. Edmunds Lora and Jeff Farlow Nancy and Erwin Fuller The Honorable and Mrs. A. Robinson Hassell Sharon and Reed Johnston Diane L. Joyner

Visit www.centercitypark.org for upcoming Winter events!

Margaret and Robert Kantlehner Joanie and Jim Legette Dr. Tony LeTrent-Jones Anne and Byron Loflin Maureen and Doug Murray Susan and Jerry Schwartz Sally and John Sherrill Lynn and Joe Stanley Contributor $35 Carol and Jim Aplington Tamara and Brian Clarida Robin and John Davis Nancy Doll Jesse and William Duke Betsey and David Horth Rosemary and Jay Kenerly Spoma Jovanovic and Lewis Pitts Carol and Jim Long Laura Lorenz Janice “Smack” Mack Jane Martin Molly Mullin Neda R Padilla Cissy and Bill Parham Kitty and George Robison Candace Tucker Laura Way Judy and Bob Wicker Ellie and Will Yearns



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28 O.Henry

December 2014

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Pleasures of Life

New World Explorer Allosaurus Publishers opens new frontiers — just in time for Christmas

By Steve Cushman

Phyllis Goldman

hadn’t planned on becoming a book publisher. In fact, she suffered from dyslexia as a child, something she discovered when she had difficulty reading her schoolbooks.“While it was excruciating at times, it made me work harder,” says the owner of Allosaurus Publishers, a Greensboro press that has released over forty educational books in the last ten years. “I believe if you really want to do something, you’ll find a way to do it.”

Although many of the press’ books are aimed at the educational market, would-be Santas might want to check Allosaurus’ list once — or even twice (www.allosauruspublishers.com). Many of their books and e-books have wide appeal to students of all ages and interest, such as its newly published Rainforests and Deserts Throughout the World or North Carolina’s Past Treasures. Other North Carolina-themed books cover the state’s geology and geography, its legends and ghosts and our culture and customs. Math & Science Word Puzzles would make a nice holiday gift or maybe Civil Rights Treasures, which is sold at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in downtown Greensboro. Ironically, the publisher of all these books remembers vividly being “frightened and anxious” as a young girl when asked to read in front of her elementary class. So one of her motivations for starting Monkeyshines on America — her first highly successful publishing company that had 140 children’s books and periodicals in its catalog — was so she could share with other children the various avenues to learning that had been closed to her as a child. She says of her struggles with dyslexia, “I used to try and hide it, but not anymore.” Goldman spent much of her early life as an artist, something she believes stemmed from her difficulty reading. By her early 20s, she routinely had gallery shows at the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill. “Art gave me the outlet I needed,” she says. Her love of teaching art landed her a regular spot on Greensboro’s legendary children’s TV program, The Old Rebel Show. She appeared in a segment called “Art & Music,” painting alongside a group of school-age kids while children’s music played in the background. In the early-1980s, Goldman created her first business, NC Life Inc. (Learning Institute for Fitness & Education) where she offered courses in everything from The Art & Soul of Greensboro

etiquette to a class that gave students the opportunity to produce, direct and perform on a local cable television show. While she loved her work at NC Life, eventually the upkeep on the older building that housed the school in downtown Greensboro became too much. Goldman tried working in advertising, but she missed working with kids. So she decided to create what became Monkeyshines on America. “I wanted something more creative, something where I could help people,” she says. “There was so much fascinating subject matter out there to explore and I wanted to present it to young people.” Her original idea was to produce a periodical about each county in North Carolina. After doing a handful of North Carolina counties, she decided to take on a more ambitious project that would feature each state. Published five times a school year from her Holden Road home office, each fifty-page issue was filled with stimulating articles, as well as drawings, puzzles and photos. Goldman was delighted to have her eldest daughter Lisa help with editing over the years. Her husband, Bert Goldman, who was a professor and dean of academic advising at UNCG until he retired a few years ago, also pitched in. And she has used interns from UNCG, Greensboro College, Guilford College, Elon, Bennet and N.C. A&T, who found themselves writing, editing, researching and creating periodicals and books. One former intern, Sian Erkskine, who is now a teacher with Greensboro’s adult literary program Reading Connections, reflects, “My time with Phyllis honed my writing and editing skills, and prepared me for my new career. I am eternally grateful to Phyllis for giving me the opportunity to work for Allosaurus and with her.” In 2004, after seventeen years of publishing Monkeyshines, a large educational publisher decided to buy the rights to the periodical, though Goldman was hesitant to sell. “Monkeyshines was my baby, however, they were going to make all this material available to Third World countries in a variety of languages. What could be better than that?” Two months after selling Monkeyshines, Goldman created Allosaurus Publishers. “I wasn’t ready to stop. I felt there was so much more to explore, so I started Allosaurus, with the goal of connecting the past to the present through history, science and reading comprehension.” After all of her hard work and success, Phyllis Goldman has not lost her spark or interest in learning about new worlds, cultures and customs. The ultimate explorer, she is always searching for more knowledge, always hoping she can reach the young readers of tomorrow and teach them about the fascinating world around them. OH Poet Steve Cushman explores the human heart and other vital organs in his recently published book, Hospital Work. December 2014

O.Henry 29


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

november 4–december 31

November 29 – December 20 saturdays with st. nicholas – family activities and a visit with St. Nicholas December 13 salem christmas – A full day of hands-on activities and holiday fun! December 26 – 28, 30, 31 christmas week at old salem – Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday visit old salem or shop online for unique holiday gifts

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

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

Artist at Work

Snow Queen with a Gypsy Fiddle Lavishly talented Faye Petree takes the Triad Stage and breaks new ground in her exploration of American roots music

By Ogi Overman

If she’s not

careful, Faye Petree is in danger of losing her nom de plume, “Fiddlin’ Faye.” No longer the precocious, gangly kid who always showed up at the campfire pickin’ sessions and backyard barbecues — smile on face and fiddle in hand — she is now a statuesque and accomplished 28-yearold musician who is starring this month in Triad Stage’s original musical Snow Queen.

“I’ve always been the baby, everybody’s little sister,” she says. “All the older musicians kind of took me under their wing when I was a kid and watched me grow and develop.” No more: “Now I feel like I’m a complete performer, an independent artist and frontwoman, not just the ‘chick fiddle player.’” Indeed, Fiddlin’ Faye is now Singing-Composing-Arranging-Film-ScoringPublishing-Blogging-Modeling-Pioneering-Entrepreneurial Faye. Faye, who grew up on a farm outside of Winston-Salem, began making that transition in her early 20s when she co-founded two bands, Sourwood Sweet, with guitarist Jeremy Wood, and the Bad Raccoons, with banjoist Andrew Eversole. She recorded an album with both bands. Although she is on the road more often than not, she still reunites with both when she is in the Triad, most recently for a Mack and Mack show with Eversole and sax/clarinet master Neill Clegg. In January she released her first solo CD, Gypsy Fiddle, which included four originals and three obscure bluegrass and old time numbers. It was recorded at Andy Owens’ Lonesome Pine Studios in Deep Gap, just down the road from Doc Watson’s home place. She recruited Aaron Ramsey, mandolinist for Mountain Heart (who also coproduced it), and several other bluegrass heavyweights, and the result was immediately hailed as a tour de force and a classic in the making.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I think Gypsy Fiddle captured me up to that point,” she says. “It was mostly archival material, more a reflection of my roots, of what got me to where I am today.” When someone pointed out that it reflected her down-home, country side, she replied that she felt it also revealed “a glimmer of adventure in the eye of what comes next.” Since then, Faye has been planning and laying the groundwork for just what does comes next. While 2013 was a whirlwind of touring that included a month in Argentina and two separate weeks at the Sundance Film Festival, plus studio work recording three albums, late this spring she took a semi-hiatus from the road to put down some roots in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and, as she calls it, “create blueprints.” She has decided rather than release another CD, she’ll send out a song a month online to what she calls her “Patron Tribe.” “I seem to have hit a creative wellspring and have been writing and co-writing constantly with an amazingly multitalented guy named Tim Cofield,” she explains. “I have more new material than I could get on a CD, and a lot of it is a departure from my bluegrass and Americana roots, more toward the R&B and soul side of the spectrum.” She says they are not studio mastered, but are home studio recordings that have all the components and capture the vibe that she’s going for. “I’ll release them one at a time and include some takeaway videos, some full-length music videos, and some artwork and verbiage.” Fiddlin’ Faye turned entrepreneur says she wants to help pioneer the continuum of grassroots musicians going the alternative-release route. “This is an opportunity for my patrons who have supported me to contribute to and actually participate in my career.” Who exactly is this Patron Tribe? “They are people from all over the world who believe in the thread of love I’m trying to weave through my life and my music,” she says. “They are the people who pick me up at the bus station, and get me to the train on time, and host house concerts for me, and make sure I get a hot meal when I show up in town. I could not possibly do what I do without them.” Many of her tribe, as well as thousands of potential tribe members, are looking forward to her current stay in Greensboro, where she has taken over December 2014

O.Henry 31

Artist at Work

the lead vocal chores from Laurelyn Dossett in the Triad Stage original musical Snow Queen. Dossett scored the play. It was written by Triad Stage artistic director Preston Lane and opened last year to sold-out houses and rave reviews. Last year she, Dossett and guitarist Scott Manring provided the music and recorded the soundtrack album. “Laurelyn will remain as musical director, but she is so busy and in such high demand, she could not commit to basically putting the rest of her life on hold for six weeks,” comments Faye. “Scott will be back and we’ll be joined by multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ben Singer. This was a chance of a lifetime last year, and I can’t thank Laurelyn and Preston enough for not only inviting me back but having the confidence in me to sing more of the lead parts and still do all my fiddle work.” The play opened Friday, November 28 and will run through Sunday, December 21, for twentysix performances in twenty-four days, with three Mondays off. (See triadstage.org for tickets and showtimes.) These days, Faye is triangulating in the environs of Greensboro-High Point, Chattanooga and Atlanta. “Oh, I’m still the gypsy fiddle,” she laughs. “I’ve been all over North and South America and loved every minute of it, but it just makes sense to have a home base — or in my case, three. Chattanooga’s proximity to Nashville is a major plus, most of my session work is in Atlanta, and most of my friends and family are here in the Triad. She says it’s getting almost impossible to make a living off live touring or record sales: “So this is why I’m exploring these new ways of getting my material out there. I want to engage my patrons in a strategic release of my art.” She has formed her own publishing company, Rockgrass International, and is also producing a how-to video on house concerts, both for musicians and potential hosts. Moreover, she has secured endorsement deals with Paul Mitchell hair care products and Mark Edge vintage jewelry, and is working on sponsorships from a handbag company and a music-related enterprise. “I could mention who they are, but I don’t want to jinx it,” she says. She also is reluctant to be too specific about a possible 2015 tour with an Atlanta-based national act because of contractual obligations with their label. “The band wants me, and we’ve been working on this for a year,” she says. “But they’re signed with a major label, and they have to convince them that I’m worth it.” There are many across the land who would argue that Fiddlin’ Faye Petree is well worth it. OH After a failed career as a musician, this month marks Ogi Overman’s 30th year in journalism. He is putting the finishing touches on A Doughnut and a Dream, a book of his column. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 33

Opus 2014-2015

The City Arts Music Center of the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department proudly presents the Opus Concert Series, free of charge! The popular concert series showcases outstanding musical entertainment at exciting venues throughout our community. Join us!





Sunday, November 2, 2014

3 PM

Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Saturday, November 8, 2014

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Saturday, November 15, 2014

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Sunday, December 7, 2014

3 PM

St. Pius X Catholic Church 2200 North Elm Street

Marimba Christmas Andrew Dancy, Conductor

Thursday, December 11, 2014

7 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble Wally West, Conductor

Monday, December 15, 2014

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Greensboro Oratorio Singers Jay O. Lambeth, Conductor

Thursday, December 18, 2014

7 PM

Carolina Theatre 310 South Greene Street

Saturday, February 14, 2015

6 - 8 PM

Bur-Mil Park Clubhouse 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road

Sunday, March 8, 2015

3 PM

Lindley Recreation Center 2907 Springwood Drive

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Saturday, March 14, 2015

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Tarheel Chorus John Peeler, Conductor

Saturday, March 28, 2015

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Philharmonia of Greensboro Peter Perret, Conductor

Saturday, May 2, 2015

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble Wally West, Conductor

Sunday, May 3, 2015

3 PM

Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Friday, May 8, 2015

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Saturday, May 9, 2015

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors

Monday, May 11, 2015

7 PM

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Friday, May 15, 2015

7:30 PM

Holy Trinity Episcopal Church 607 North Greene Street

Philharmonia of Greensboro with Special Guest: Danville Symphony Orchestra

Peter Perret, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles with Special Guest: North Carolina A&T State Percussion Ensemble

Mike Lasley, Conductor Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors

Greensboro Big Band, Sweet Sounds in partnership with Bur-Mil Park; includes dancing, dessert and music

Mike Day, Conductor Philharmonia of Greensboro, Pillow Pops Concert with Special Guest: Dance Project: the School at City Arts

Peter Perret, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor Greensboro Brass Ensemble Kiyoshi Carter, Conductor

For details about the concert programs, please visit our website at www.city-arts.org. • 336-373-2549 • music@greensboro-nc.gov


Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Historical Museum 130 Summit Avenue

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

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Felice Navidad Christmas with Mama will never be the same

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I wasn’t in my right

Illustration by Harry Blair

mind the day I shot Velma Purdy’s state vehicle, but she had it coming. I had posted “No Trespassing” signs on both sides of the driveway. She’s damned lucky I have Parkinson’s and the sight bead had come off my snake shotgun. Had I known my son, Harley Junior, was behind her visit, I would’ve taken better aim. I thought the intruder was one of them damned Megasite lawyers coming to force me off my land.

How was I supposed to know Harley Junior had called Social Services on me? If I’d known he was capable of a trick like that, I’d have killed her sure. I have a touch of the dementia, but I’m not crazy. One day I won’t remember my own name, where I am or how to pull up my underpants. But what scares me is forgetting my own young ’uns. I can give up everything else. But please, don’t let the Lewy Body take my babies. It wasn’t no time before I heard sirens. My grandson Zack pulled into the yard, blue lights on his squad car blazing as he yelled, “Granny, put down that shotgun!” Just like that, I come to myself. I sort of figured the voice on the radio hadn’t been real, but I knew I shouldn’t tell anybody about it, like I knew better than to call Linda and tell her little people were in my kitchen. Even if they turned out to be real, telling about it was only going to put me behind bars in a nursing home. I may be demented, but I’m not crazy. But maybe I already told you that. “Granny,” Zack said, “what’s got into you? This here’s Velma Purdy. She’s a social worker come to see about you. Uncle Harley called her. Said he was worried you weren’t taking your medicine.” That’s when I got a good look at Velma Purdy. She was right cute, no bigger than a minute, with shiny blond hair and big blue eyes. She stared at me from behind my grandson’s broad back, scared but trying not to show it. I figured her to be Zack’s age, and when he turned to introduce her, she stared up at him like Lois Lane setting eyes on Superman.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Zack took the shotgun. “Ms. Purdy needs to ask you a few questions, Granny.” His eyes asked for my cooperation. Strength drained out of me as I slumped into the rocking chair. “Alright.” Velma Purdy thought she held the key to my freedom. But I was fairly certain I held the key to her future. “Zackery,” I said, never taking my eyes off my new enemy. “Miss Purdy wants to talk to me in private. Run along inside and have some oatmeal cookies. This won’t take long.” The social worker flashed my boy a man-eater smile. “That’s a good idea, deputy. We’ll talk after I’m finished with your grandmother. I’d like to ask you some questions, too.” When he was out of earshot, I turned to Ms. Purdy. “Zackery was my very first grandbaby. We’re so close I believe he’d catch the moon if I asked him to.” I leaned a little closer to the social worker and continued in a half-whisper, “He brings all his new girlfriends over to Sunday lunch, and if I don’t like ’em” — I drew my finger across my throat — “they’re history!” “Be that as it may,” she stiffened, “your son Harley doesn’t feel it’s safe for you to be living alone. He has petitioned the court to do a competency evaluation. It’s up to me to complete this evaluation and report back to Judge O’Bryant.” “Does my daughter Linda or my other son Jimmy know what Harley’s up to?” Purdy nodded. “I’m afraid they do, Mrs. Maddox. I’ve spoken to them and they’re all concerned about you living out here by yourself.” The bottom line was all three of my children thought I was incompetent and shouldn’t be alone. I agree I need more help now and will eventually need a keeper, but I’m not ready to give up and enter God’s waiting room. “All right,” I said. “I’ll make you a deal. I want one last Christmas with my kids. I want to make a big family dinner, then open presents and sit around and tell stories just like we always do. After that, they can haul me off to the landfill.” Velma was about to say something but I stopped her. “In return, I won’t say nothing against you if you and Zack end up dating. I’ll even put in a good word for you.” Velma Purdy’s face did a slow burn. “Mrs. Maddox, what you’re suggesting is unethical.” “Girl, don’t go spouting off about the rules. When you’re out to win true love on the battlefield of life, fighting fair don’t enter into it. You’d best take help when it’s offered.” December 2014

O.Henry 35

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December 2014

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Velma Purdy nodded slowly and reached out to take my hand. “All right, it’s a deal. I’ll turn in my report to the court after New Year’s, but I don’t want any help with your grandson. Just let me come by once in a while without trying to kill me.” I reckon I’m as guilty as any of my kids of letting life run away with me. Before Dr. Love gave me the bad news I was always busy doing. Now it was ten days before Christmas and I hadn’t even put up the tree or hauled out one box of decorations. When I finally decided to decorate, I had Easter eggs and St. Patrick’s Day shamrock lights hanging on the Christmas tree and a Fourth of July wreath on the front door. I figured, if this was our last holiday together, why not put it all out there? Inviting Velma Purdy to Christmas dinner with the family was risky, but I had a plan. I can’t tell you now what it was, but I know I had one. But the surprise of the day arrived with my youngest boy, Jimmy, and his third wife, Luisa, who were the last to pull up in the yard. “We’d a-been here sooner, Mama,” he said, opening the back passenger door of his Explorer, “but you know how Marie is.” Marie was his second wife. “She didn’t have the kids ready and then she had to get all smart-mouthed about Luisa’s condition.” His mouth kept moving but I didn’t hear a thing after “Luisa’s condition.” Sure enough, when Jimmy helped Luisa out of the car, his third wife was as big around as she was tall and looked to be expecting a baby the size of my Christmas turkey. “Lord have mercy, James,” I said. “When were y’all going to tell me about this?” Jimmy had the good sense to look embarrassed. “Well, I wanted to wait for the divorce to be final before me and Luisa started a family. I figured you might be unhappy on account of we’re not quite married yet.” Luisa tried to smile and clutched Jimmy’s arm. “Feliz Navidad,” she ventured. Unaware of her brother’s arrival, Linda appeared in the doorway behind me. “Mama, get back inside. You left the door wide open. All the heat’s gonna run out and then where will you be? Well, Jimmy, it’s about time y’all got here,” she said, catching sight of her brother. This brought Harley Junior and the others crowding out onto the porch, all of them talking at once. The grandkids ran past me into the yard, the dogs started barking and in the chaos, I escaped inside to the kitchen. Thank goodness, they finally left me alone to work. I figured it was on account of them being ashamed of having set the court on me. No one wanted to get cornered alone and have to explain why they’d been ready to shuffle me off to the back of beyond. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught sight of one of those damned little folks, the ones who run off with my things at night. Before I could think, I’d picked up a jar of cranThe Art & Soul of Greensboro


berry relish and hurled it at the critter. Velma Purdy, the only one who hadn’t gone to greet the newcomers, heard the glass shatter and came into the kitchen. “Are you okay?” she asked. “Weren’t nothing,” I said, wiping my hands on a towel. “My hands were wet and the jar slipped, that’s all.” Velma looked from me to the wall where a thick splotch of red berries was sliding toward the floor. “Slipped, huh?” She knew I was lying. That would surely go into the little notebook of facts supporting her case against me. “Well,” she said at last, “I may not be much of a cook but I can clean this mess up if you want to go get another jar.” She took the towel out of my hand and set to work. I kept on following the list I’d made of what to do when and how. I wasn’t telling Velma or any of the others how long it had taken to put this meal together or how I’d had to ask my best friend Jonelle to come over and help me with the side dishes the day before. I was trying to stay focused, but I could hear snatches of conversation from the living room where the adults sat. Linda’s voice rose above the others. “No, Jimmy, she’s not fine. You don’t see her every day. Half the time she don’t even get dressed until past noon and you can forget getting her to take a bath.” Harley Junior chimed in. “I called her one day and she didn’t even know who I was. When she figured it out, she told me the same story about Dad three times.” He was right about that. He hadn’t listened the first two times. I was telling him why his daddy hadn’t wanted to ever sell off the farm, how he’d said no matter what, we’d always have food to eat and a roof over our heads on account of his daddy and his daddy before him settling here. I felt a tear on my cheek. When did my children become strangers? Jimmy held out. “She’s not as bad as you make her sound. The boys stayed with her two months back and they didn’t say anything about her being forgetful.” I heard what I took to be agreement from Luisa, and for a moment I was grateful her English wasn’t good enough for her to say anything to contradict Jimmy. “How bad can it be? She’s in the kitchen making Christmas dinner all by herself.” “We’ll see how good she does,” Linda snapped. “That’s why we’re not a-one of us to go in and help her. I want Ms. Purdy to see just how bad it is when don’t nobody watch after her.” When it was time to eat, Velma reappeared with Zack in tow. Without asking, the two of them began carrying bowls full of vegetables and casseroles to the table. Zack took out a platter of ham and went to summon the others, while Velma brought out the 22-pound turkey. “That’s everything,” I said, entering the dining

December 2014

O.Henry 37

38 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

room. “Let’s say the blessing and eat.” Velma stepped around me, proudly displaying the giant bird as Zack leapt up to take the platter from her and place it at the head of the table. As Zack reached to take the bird, he stopped and gazed down, open-mouthed. He tried to recover, but soon a collective gasp and a stifled moan from Luisa rose from the room. “Didn’t I tell you?” Linda said. In the rush to get the ham and turkey from the oven and out onto the table on time, I’d somehow garnished the turkey with the ham’s pineapple slices and cherries. And when I glanced at the ham, I realized I’d put rosemary and sage beneath it and between the slices. It didn’t taste bad. But I couldn’t eat more than a bite or two, enough to know I hadn’t completely ruined Christmas dinner. I’d only ruined my chances at appearing to be sane. As the others ate and talked, I sank deeper into despair. Later, when the adults were drinking coffee and the children left to play outside, Velma Purdy rose to her feet and began speaking. She handed out pieces of paper and pens to everyone. For a moment I wondered if this was it. They were going to vote on what to do with me. “You each have three pieces of paper,” she said. “On each one, write the name of one of the three people you love most in the world.” “Oh, goody, a game!” Linda cried. I’m sure she sounded genuine to Velma, but I knew Linda was just sucking up to keep the social worker on her side. Jimmy spoke softly to Luisa and seemed to be explaining the task to her in Spanish because she nodded, frowning and grunting as she slowly pulled the papers toward her massive belly and began writing. Linda finished first, as usual, with Harley Junior a close second. Their spouses struggled, but eventually everyone finished and sat watching Velma Purdy expectantly. “Now,” she said, grabbing the bread basket off the table and emptying one or two rolls onto the tablecloth. “I’m going to come around the table and I want each


of you to put the piece of paper that has the name of the person you love the most in the basket. Velma circled behind the long table collecting bits of paper. When she’d finished, she looked around the table, making eye contact with each person. “Okay, I want you to imagine that the person whose name you just put in my basket is dead and they’re never coming back.” Collective shock and discomfort was followed by Jimmy’s translation and Luisa’s pained expression and soft “Ayee!” “I’m coming around again,” Velma said. “And I want another name. So, say goodbye, here I come.” As she approached, Jimmy’s eyes brightened and a tear slid down his cheek. When the basket reached Linda, she tightened her lips into a firm line and slowly released her paper. Harley’s wife was openly crying and his face had turned a dull crimson as they each placed their selection into Velma’s basket. Zack’s tears spilled over as Velma walked away with his last bit of paper, and by the end of her third round, the entire room was silent except for the sounds of sniffling and stifled sobs. Velma looked around at the family, her expression sympathetic. “It hurts, doesn’t it, to know you’re going to lose the ones you love the most, to know you’ll never see them again or hold them in your arms. It hurts.” “Why are you doing this to us?” Linda asked softly. “Because I want you to know how it feels to be your Mama,” Velma answered. “Each of you is losing your mother or your mother-in-law or” ─ she glanced at Zack “─ your grandmother. But when you have dementia, you lose everyone you’ve ever loved and every memory you’ve ever had. It’s important to remember that as we talk about what will happen in the next few months or years of her life.” Jimmy had been whispering to Luisa. I guessed he was translating. But this time when Luisa cried out I knew what was behind her pain. She was in labor. A

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December 2014

O.Henry 39


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thin sheen of sweat glinted on her forehead and as the next contraction built, she began to pant rapidly. “¡Babosada! ¡El bebé viene! ¡Y necesito empujar!” I didn’t need a translator to understand that. I’d been around enough farm wives and animals to know. There wasn’t time to get her to one of the bedrooms. Luisa’s baby was coming right then. “Linda, go grab some towels from the linen closet!” I barked. “Jimmy, you and Zack help get Luisa onto the floor and get her pants off.” “Velma, there’s hand sanitizer on the side of the sink in the kitchen. Bring it!” People started moving. Well, everyone except Harley Junior, who’d turned a sick gray color and seemed frozen to his seat. He never had been able to handle bodily functions, but he was about to witness the miracle of birth right there in front of him. Five minutes later, before the EMTs arrived, and with Zack’s help, I delivered a healthy baby girl. Fifteen minutes after that, as the first responders were about to load Luisa and my newest grandchild onto a gurney and take them to the hospital, Jimmy said, “Thank you, Mama. I don’t know what I’d have done if you hadn’t been here. I’ll never forget this Christmas.” I smiled at him. “What you gonna name her, son?” “Well, it’s Christmas and being as how Luisa’s from Mexico, I want to name her Felice Navidad.” Luisa heard this and frowned at Jimmy. “¡No, estúpido, la debemos nombrar por tu madre!” Jimmy tucked his head and nodded. “You’re right, hon.” He looked to me again. “We’re going to name her Faye, after you, Mama. Faye Felice Navidad. And every Christmas we’re gonna tell her how her grandma delivered her right here on the dining room floor.” Jimmy looked over at Harley Junior and Linda, defying them to argue with his next statement. “Every Christmas we’ll sit right here, in this house, around this table and we’ll tell how she was born here and how you, Mama, were born here and your mama before you was born here and how this is where you stayed for all your life, with all of us helping out when you needed us because that’s what family does, they help out because they always remember if it wasn’t for their mamas, they wouldn’t be here. Right, Faye Felice Navidad?” My little granddaughter chose that moment to favor her father with her first smile and wave a tiny fist in his direction. Her thumb lifted in agreement. OH The author of eleven amateur sleuth mystery novels, Nancy Bartholomew is a psychotherapist in private practice who works regularly with patients struggling with Lewy Body and other dementias. She lives in Greensboro with her two dogs, Mighty Mouse and Wendell the Wonder Dog.

40 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Good Stuff

The Truth About Christmas Fruitcake A short but tasty history (or, rather, everything you always wanted to know but were afraid to ask)

By Nan Graham

I was an adult before I realized that fruitcakes do

not grow on the Southern Claxton Tree that produces the wondrous Christmas delight: a rectangular box-shaped produce with seasonal red and white stripes, harvested in Georgia during the month of December. I envisioned the Claxton trees, limbs sagging with the weight of their striped boxes. Row upon row in the hundred-acre orchard of the Yuletide cakes, with scores of seasonal workers plucking frantically round the clock so no grocery or convenience store would go without. Ours was not a fruitcake family — at least not in the culinary sense. Our holiday treats were homemade divinity, penuche and pralines. So I was somewhat reluctant to take on the ubiquitous cake as a topic. I am determined to start at the beginning. The Egyptians were the first to make the eternal cake. Those clever guys! What better to accompany you into the afterlife and through eternity than the everlasting fruitcake? The Greeks, always a bit more artsy, further refined the fruitcake with figs, pomegranates, dates and more nuts and called the revised cake the “Food of the Gods.” (Forget ambrosia, Zeus, it’s the fruitcake!) Fast forward to Founding Mother Martha Washington, who made what was called “The Great Cake.” It is unclear if it were so named because of its size and weight (twelve pounds), or its deliciousness, or its “gracious plenty” quality. It is said to have easily fed 150 people. Her granddaughter Martha Parke Custis copied this recipe from Nana Martha: Forty eggs, worked into four pounds of butter, four pounds of sugar, five pounds of flour, and an equal quantity of fruit. Add mace, nutmeg . . . wine and brandy. Martha writes, “The true fruitcake should contain but little batter in proportion to its fruit.” Baking time: five-and-a-half hours. Not included in the instructions but critical to all fruitcakes is the alcohol soak. Wine, brandy, bourbon, rum, sherry or combinations of these may be used, but the cake should be placed in an airtight tin, soaked with the chosen spirits, covered with a cloth, soaked again with the high-octane liquid and sealed in the tin. It is essential that the fruitcake be “fed” every single week a with teaspoon of the alcoholic liquid. This is important for its longevity and historic everlasting moisture. Just put “feed the fruitcake” down on your calendar, along with your plants penciled in to be watered weekly, or your children who may be bathed on a similar schedule. It is evident that First Lady Martha did not labor over the mammoth cake The Art & Soul of Greensboro

herself and spent little time in Mount Vernon’s kitchen. She certainly would pop in during the marathon baking time to check on it. It was actually the kitchen help who whipped up the monster cake to be served on the Twelfth Night (January 5) of Christmas. The English have long been fans of the fruitcake and are puzzled by the American fruitcake phobia. On Twelfth Night in London, the Drury Lane Theatre has celebrated for the last 220 plus years with punch and “the Baddeley cake,” thanks to the generous bequest of Robert Baddeley. This comic actor and philanthropist designated one hundred pounds (10,000 pounds or $15,000 in today’s money) in his 1794 will to be invested and the dividends spent to purchase cake and punch for an annual Twelfth Night celebration for the theater company. The Baddeley cake began as a plum pudding sort of dish with a bean for the king and a pea for the queen inserted. The finders of the legumes were the designated royalty for the evening festivities. Today the symbolic bean and pea have disappeared but the 21st century theater company still enjoys the evolved frosted fruitcake today. (White frosting: the English idea of gilding the lily. No one can persist in traditions like the Brits!) Another English custom: almost all traditional wedding cakes are fruitcakes covered with that white frosting. This is beyond any vision of our American fruitcake. Kate and William’s royal eight-tiered creation was built from seventeen individual fruitcakes stacked atop a twelve fruitcake base as a pedestal for the royal ubercake. The garlands on the cake were copied from the architectural details in the room, the nine hundred flowers each symbolized some Victorian meaning, and the tour de force were English roses for Great Britain, Scottish thistles, Welsh daffodils and Irish shamrocks, all on the seventh tier. Heather frosting was the crown on the cake. Needless to say, we across the pond have never seen any fruitcake remotely like this one. We do know that the regal wedding cake was regularly “fed” imported French brandy. No comments available on how the dessert tasted, but the brandy-laced wedding cake may have rendered many guests speechless. Back in Alabama, Marie Rudisill, eccentric aunt of author Truman Capote, wrote a book with the memorable title: Fruitcakes. It is a tribute to her famous nephew and fruitcakes through the years, which gave Marie her own slice of fame. Johnny Carson famously claimed there was really only one fruitcake in the entire world, which is re-gifted and circulated around the globe every Yuletide season. Marie, plainspoken and irreverent, was a favorite of both Johnny Carson and later Jay Leno. As a result of Carson’s oft-quoted fruitcake remark, Marie became a regular on The Tonight Show, dispensing advice on the Q&A segment “Ask The Fruitcake Lady.” The hysterical blue words of wisdom the nonagenarian gave to called-in questions quickly became the favorite talk around the water cooler. But the really hilarious clips show Jay and the tart-tongued Fruitcake Lady cooking with Mel Gibson, Cuba Gooding and Tom Cruise and giving them each “what for” can still be viewed on YouTube. Marie’s sister, known as Sook, was the key character in a favorite book of December 2014

O.Henry 43




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The Good Stuff mine by Truman Capote, A Christmas Memory, which opens with Sook (whose real name was Nannie Faulk) raising the kitchen window, sniffing the morning’s crisp November air and pronouncing, “Oh my, it’s fruitcake weather!” The autobiographical story, a mini-masterpiece set in Monroeville, Alabama (yes, the hometown of Harper Lee), tells of the annual fruitcake making adventure of the young boy Truman and his favorite childlike Aunt Sook. Others, even her own family, considered her peculiar behavior more than a bit odd. Little Truman, while his mother was between husbands, lived with the Faulk relatives, and an extraordinary bond grew between the little boy and his aunt. Every fall, when the air was just right, she and Truman, whom she called Buddy, prepared for the fruitcake frenzy. She and her nephew made thirty some odd cakes every November in these dark Depression times. They saved money all year for the ingredients they could not pilfer, barter or steal. With the little feisty dog Queenie, they shook nuts from a neighbor’s pecan grove, filled an ancient baby carriage with the purloined ingredient and high-tailed it through the fence with Queenie trotting behind them. Last of the ingredients to be shopped for was the most essential for any self-respecting fruitcake: liquor. The mysterious Mr. Haha Jones, self-proclaimed Apache Indian, was the local bootlegger and proprietor of a juke joint where scandalous things happened. The usually disagreeable man always refused to let Sook pay for the whiskey, insisting on bartering with an exchange of two of her fruitcakes. Sook’s ingredients include the usual suspects (butter, sugar, eggs and flour) as well as Brazil nuts, blanched almonds, pecan halves, black walnuts, white and dark raisins, candied cherries, citron, candied pineapple, dried figs, grape jelly, grape juice, grated bitter chocolate, generous portions of bourbon, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and cloves. To whom did the thirty magnificent fruitcakes go? People that Sook and Buddy liked and admired. Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Eleanor always got the pick of the lot, the very finest and first of the cakes to be mailed. “People who struck our fancy: The Baptist missionaries from Borneo, the bus driver of the six o’clock bus from Mobile,” writes Capote, and two fruitcakes for the notorious Mr. Haha Jones. Dozens of others went to families enduring even harder times than the Faulks. Sook and Buddy drank the last of Mr. Haha’s leftover liquor and drew the wrath of the family for their unseemly tipsy behavior. Even Queenie got a snout full of Christmas cheer. Christmas Day finds the aunt and nephew exchanging homemade kites as Christmas gifts. The two go outside and fly their creations in the winter breeze. Years later, an adult Buddy remembers those magical years with his nowdeceased eccentric aunt and looks skyward to see if there are two kites drifting across the sky, strings tangled together. “I keep searching the sky. As if I expected to see, rather like hearts, a lost pair of kites hurrying toward heaven,” the Capote story ends. A most poignant and touching Christmas memory indeed. Fruitcakes in my family were of the human species. My great aunt refused to vote in any election, claiming she was not a citizen of the United States because she was born right after Alabama seceded from the Union. My aunts rocking on the front porch in their slips on steamy Alabama summer nights telling stories, each trying to top the other’s hilarious tale. My brainy noncooking grandmother who proudly shared her recipe torn from a magazine (canned pineapple ring sitting on a leaf of iceberg lettuce, some grated cheese with a dollop of Hellman’s mayonnaise on top), then launched into a full discussion of Camus and existentialism. My mother-in-law who washed Jerusalem artichokes in the local laundromat to spare her own washer the angst of the gritty tuber, to name a few. Those half-baked fruitcake relatives I can say with all honesty, I loved. The baked kind . . . not so much. OH Ask O.Henry contributor Nan Graham to tell you about the mythic, meatloafshaped family “French Loaf” she received on her first married Christmas. We’ll give you a hint: It was a fruitcake. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Seen and Unseen

Horse On A String She was a woman in mid life, he was an animal in need of love. Together they’ve achieved something almost mystical

By Mary Seymour

When I was a little girl, every birthday

morning I woke up hoping to find a mysterious string on the floor beside my bed. I imagined picking up the end of the string and following it out my bedroom, down the stairs, through the yard and into the garage, where I’d find a pony waiting for me. A pony, just for me.

For years I sustained that fantasy, drawn from the plot of one of my horse books. It was fiction, of course, but — against all odds — I believed the stringleading-to-pony scenario could happen to me. On 11/11/11 — an auspicious date if ever there was one — I got my pony. Except Mystic is not a pony: He’s a 15-hand, 19-year-old gray gelding with a dark silver mane and tail. I first saw him in 2008 at Fiore Farms in Summerfield. Mystic, I was told, had performed impressively in dressage and jumping, until one day he said, enough. He bucked and reared and didn’t stop until his point was clear. He was dispatched to a distant pasture, branded unridable, unsafe, damaged. I fantasized about leaping on his back and galloping gracefully around the field together. But I was an amateur rider, just another woman rekindling her equine passion in midlife. This complicated, strong-minded, emotionally wounded horse was not for me. Or so I thought. Fate intervened in the form of two natural horsemanship trainers, James and Kate Cooler. They moved to Fiore Farms and enchanted me with their kinship with horses. I stopped plodding in circles on my rented horse and began watching their every move. With their help, I slowly learned to understand a horse’s spirit, speak its language, gain its trust. They paired me with Mystic — really? — so both of us could learn this new way of being horse and human together. The first day I went to the pasture and put a halter on Mystic, meeting his dark, solemn gaze, something shifted in me. When my son was born, I had looked into his milky new eyes and felt an all-encompassing heart-strung love, one that I never expected to feel again. And here I was, experiencing it a second time. My heart felt repositioned. Within two months, with James and Kate mentoring me, I was riding the unridable horse, gently, softly, letting him know I wasn’t going to impose my agenda The Art & Soul of Greensboro

on him. He showed me his fears and insecurities, one by one, and I let him know, you’re safe with me. His heart, three times the size of mine, was less yielding, more cautious, harder to plumb than my instantly smitten one. I worked on winning it through long trail rides, canters around the hayfield, side-by-side time in fresh sweet grass. And carrots. Lots of carrots. Eight months after I first haltered Mystic, I bought him for twenty dollars. I felt panicky, woozy and thrilled. After surviving a not-particularly-happy, sixteenyear marriage, I’d sworn never to re-up for a lifetime commitment. And yet I had just committed to another living being again, in sickness and health, till death parted us. Three years into our partnership, I visit Mystic several times a week at his new home at Flintrock Farm in Reidsville. He and I have progressed to the finisheach-other’s-sentence stage of our relationship. He is crabby sometimes, and bossy when I keep him out beyond the graining hour. Every now and then he does a tiny rear, a petulant echo of his I quit days. I laugh, knowing we can weather these little tempests. We play together without halter or lead line, mirroring each other’s movements, dancing on six legs. When he’s feeling naughty, he tosses his head and races away from me, tail head high, showing a touch of Arabian in his uncertain lineage. Lately he has resurrected a dressage move from his past, side passing — moving sideways, crossing front foot over front and back over back with the grace of a ballet dancer — while I sit in the saddle, nudging him gently with my heel. He moves with increasing ease and confidence, a middleaged athlete not yet at the end of his career. He is capable of rare elegance and breathtaking sensitivity. He dazzles me still. I understand now that I followed an invisible string for five decades, unspooling it with my own hands, somehow believing — through marriage and single parenthood and a challenging midlife start-over — that my dream lay at the end of it, even when I’d forgotten exactly what that dream looked like. Maybe I forgot because the dream was still seeking resolution, waiting for the right vessel to pour itself into. Waiting for a spindly-legged gray colt to be born and for me to absorb the lessons I needed to learn. Waiting to lead me to a mystical horse at the end of a timeless string. OH Mary Seymour is a writer and counselor who practices equine therapy. She is the author of Galloping Mind (gallopingmind.wordpress.com), a blog about her adventures in natural horsemanship. December 2014

O.Henry 47


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Christmas Bird Count It comes but once a year

By Susan Campbell

Photograph by debra Regula

It is the cold,

short days of December that get birdwatchers itching for the biggest event of the year: the Christmas Bird Count. What started out as a competitive shooting event in the late 19th century in nearby Moore County has become an international tradition for thousands of serious bird enthusiasts. Beginning on Christmas Day, 1,900 early bird conservationists ventured into the field in twenty-seven teams to count for the first time — not kill — as many birds as they could find. Frank Chapman, a member of the fledgling Audubon Society, gets the credit for kicking off the first CBCs, as these events are known to most of us. Although a few count days are actually on Christmas, most are scheduled sometime in the week before or after Christmas.

The event does have very specific parameters. Also the standardization involved has made CBCs useful tools for documenting changes in bird populations. The basis for understanding the long-term health and status of birds across North America has been made possible, in large part, by these seasonal counts. A sudden decline in a local population may signal issues with habitat fragmentation or an immediate threat such as environmental contamination. Not only are numbers of species and individuals tallied by each observer, but level of effort is calculated for each party in the field. Since there are participants who will spend only a few hours out counting versus others who dedicate twelve hours or more, the time and distance they cover will be The Art & Soul of Greensboro

very different. Of course, those birders further north will certainly tally fewer birds than those in warmer southern climes where wintering birds are typically more numerous. So not surprisingly, results will vary by location as well as with effort. Interestingly, experience of the counters does not affect the outcome as much as one would think. Since participants are, for the most part, tallying familiar birds, the count tends to be representative regardless of skill. People interested in helping with counts who are less knowledgeable are paired up with teams that have been volunteers for the area in question. It is a day of camaraderie and good exercise in the fresh air. However, those who find it difficult to get out into the field because they don’t have the leisure or have health issues may simply count the birds at their feeders the day of the count. Every bird is equally important on a CBC. Here in Greensboro, the Piedmont Bird Club organizes the annual count. The center of the fifteen-mile diameter of the count is the Lowe’s on Battleground. There will be about a dozen parties participating, half of which will venture out before dawn in search of owls and any other birds that might be calling in the early morning. If it is a good day, the group hopes to tally one hundred species. Some of the hard core participants will be searching hard for lingering warm weather species such as a blue-headed vireo or eastern phoebe. Cold weather feeder specialties include rufous hummingbird and Baltimore oriole. Occasionally birds from out of the area, such as red-breasted merganser or red-necked grebe may be spotted, both of which were found last year. If you would like to volunteer for the local CBC, Saturday, December 20th is the day. Elizabeth Link is the organizer and compiler, so shoot her an email (elzlink@yahoo.com). If you do not have a lot of free time on count day or would rather stay indoors, perhaps you will consider being one of the “feeder watchers” in the circle. Either way, come join in the fun! Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at susan@ncaves.com, by phone (910) 949-3207 or by mail at 144 Pine Ridge Drive, Whispering Pines, N.C. 28327. December 2014

O.Henry 49











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December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Chasing the Hornets

The Misfits

Formed with players other teams didn’t want, the Charlotte Hornets were born. Now, they are back — and we still believe By Wiley Cash

It was the first day of Coach Dick

Harter’s summer basketball camp, and we’d just witnessed one of the Charlotte Hornets’ big men having his uncontested dunk blocked by the rim. You’d think a gymnasium full of pre-teen boys would laugh at seeing something like that — a 6-foot 10-inch center failing in such grand style — but instead we all gasped, held our collective breath, and then grew funeral-quiet. It wasn’t that we were afraid to laugh, we just knew it was the wrong thing to do. The first season in Hornets’ history had just ended with a 20 – 62 record, and the last thing this player needed to hear were the jeers of 200 sweaty, pimply boys.

I’m going to admit something I haven’t admitted since that sixth-grade summer: I had dreams of playing in the NBA. Like most of the kids I grew up with in Gastonia, North Carolina, I was a good — but not great — basketball player. I was tall for my age, could jump high, could run fast, and I had reliable jumper and solid ball-handling skills. I wasn’t exceptional, but in 1989 that seemed good enough. The Charlotte Hornets weren’t exceptional either.

I was 11 years old the first time the Charlotte Hornets came to town, but I remember them clearly; they seemed a ragtag bunch, these men in teal and purple. The 1988 Hornets roster was formed by a supplemental draft, which means that the other teams in the NBA could protect a certain amount of their rosters from being pillaged; whoever wasn’t protected was free game. All that to say this: The Hornets were largely formed by players other teams didn’t want anymore. These may seem like inauspicious beginnings, but we didn’t care. We loved the team for precisely that reason. No one else wanted them, which meant they were ours, and we were proud to claim these misfits. Several of them come to mind: Kelly Tripucka, a seven-year veteran and former All-Star whose good looks and well-coiffed hair made him seem more like a movie extra than a basketball player; Muggsy Bogues, who after his rookie year with the Washington Bullets was best known for being the shortest player in NBA history; and then there’s that 6-foot 10-inch center who will live forever in my memory as the only NBA player I’ve ever witnessed missing an uncontested dunk at a summer basketball camp. To understand what a big deal the Charlotte Hornets’ first season was one has to understand the situation the city of Charlotte found itself in back in 1988. At The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the time, the city was better known for being the home of fallen televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker than it was for being the home of some of the nation’s largest banks. Radio personalities like Fox’s John Boy and Billy were considered royalty years before anyone knew names like Bank of America CEO Ken Lewis or Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson. Aside from the region’s love of basketball — college basketball in particular — it seemed an unlikely place for an NBA franchise to take hold, much less flourish. But it did. It not only flourished, it thrived. By far, the most exciting moment of the first season was a Christmastime buzzer-beater against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Now, twenty-six years later, Michael Jordan is still the most exciting thing about the Hornets in their “second” inaugural season in Charlotte. He became the controlling owner of the Charlotte Bobcats in 2010, and once the New Orleans Hornets relinquished the name at the end of the 2013 season, Jordan listened to the people of Charlotte and brought the Hornets home. Now, as the owner, Jordan has amassed another team of misfits: There’s Lance Stephenson, an ex-Indiana Pacer who’s best known for blowing in LeBron James’s ear during last year’s playoffs; Gerald Henderson, who was briefly the most hated man in North Carolina after breaking Tyler Hansbrough’s nose during one of the Tarheels’ epic battles against the Blue Devils; and Kemba Walker, another under-sized point guard who led the UCONN Huskies to a miraculous NCAA Championship in 2011. But Charlotte’s a different place than it was in 1988. The city’s more experienced, perhaps more jaded. Sure, it witnessed the collapse of the Jim Bakker empire in the 1980s, but the near-collapse of its world-renowned banking industry in 2008 was the much tougher blow. And there’s competition now; the Panthers came to town in 1996 and were the most successful expansion team in NFL history, making the playoffs in their second season and a Super Bowl appearance in 2003. When I think about the Hornets’ return to Charlotte and how the fans and city seem overwhelmed with joy in welcoming them back, I can’t help but think of that 6-foot 10-inch center who missed the dunk on that long ago summer afternoon when I was 12 years old. That day in that hot, dusty gymnasium, we all cheered for him to give that same dunk another shot. He did. And he made it. We’re still cheering. We still want the Hornets to make it, and I believe they will. The first game of the Charlotte Hornets’ 2014—2015 season just ended, and there was a Hornets game in Charlotte for the first time in twenty-six years. Kemba Walker led the team as they overcame a 24-point deficit to beat the Milwaukee Bucks in overtime. What’s ironic is that it was the largest comeback in Charlotte’s franchise history. The largest comeback. They came back. The Hornets are back. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released in January 2014. He lives in Wilmington. December 2014

O.Henry 51

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December 2014


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Game On

The Brothers Bostic

From the gridirons of southside Greensboro to the lights of NFL stardom, Joe and Jeff Bostic never lost sight of the lesson of home and family

By Ogi Overman

Growing up

on Brandt Street in a working-class neighborhood just off Holden Road near the Greensboro Coliseum, the Bostic brothers, Joe and Jeff, didn’t quite seem to fit the mold of the times. While many of their late-’60s/ early-’70s peers were running the streets, smoking pot and giving their parents nightmares, these strapping sons of a policeman and a nurse were staying out of trouble, making decent grades, playing sports, doing the things that stand-up kids do. Their crowd didn’t run the streets so much as run the athletic fields of Jackson Middle and Smith High School.

And run they did. And lift weights and practice hard and study playbooks and listen to their coaches and eat healthy and then run some more. So much so that they wound up running themselves right into the record books of Smith High, Clemson University and the National Football League. Joe, the elder by a year-and-a-half, had the more impressive press clippings of the two, earning all-state honors as an offensive guard for the Eagles as well as being a state championship heavyweight wrestler. He became a two-time AllAmerican lineman at Clemson and was drafted by the St. Louis (now Arizona) Cardinals in the third round, the sixty-fourth overall pick in the 1979 draft. He jokes, “There was a brief moment in time when I was more highly regarded than Joe Montana [who was the eighty-second pick].” While Joe had a very respectable ten-year career on some Cardinals teams whose records were somewhat less than respectable, it was Jeff who wound up

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

with three Super Bowl rings with the Washington Redskins. So much for press clippings, eh? Jeff followed his big brother to Clemson and earned All-ACC honors in 1979. Still, a bit undersized for an NFL center, he was passed over in the 1980 draft. Yet, as is sometimes the case with undrafted free agents, he was invited to the Philadelphia Eagles training camp, making it to the final cut before getting released. He called his parents to give them the sad news, and that’s where the story gets interesting. “My dad said, ‘Look, you’ve got to pass right through D.C. on the way home. Why don’t you stop in and see if they’ll give you a tryout?’ recalls Jeff vividly. “I said, ‘I don’t know, Pop, I’ve been out there seven weeks and I’m really tired.’” After he hung up, though, Jeff says, “I remembered a scout there so I called him, and he said they were having problems with their long snapper and told me to come in for a workout. Then, in the Redskins’ first preseason game, the snap went over the punter’s head. I said, ‘OK, I guess we’re going to find out.’ And 5,000 days later I retired.” Along with the three Super Bowl titles (1982, ’87 and ’91) and one other appearance and one Pro Bowl selection (1983), Jeff’s place in NFL lore was secured as a member of “the Hogs,” who many would argue was the greatest offensive line in history. Recently Jeff got together with fellow Hogs Joe Jacoby, Russ Grimm and Doc Walker and the guy who plowed through the holes they opened, Hall of Fame running back John Riggins, to shoot a commercial for Papa John’s Pizza. It will air throughout the NFL season. Not surprisingly, given their respective teams, Joe admits he enjoyed his college career more than the pros. “There were just so many 5-11 and 6-10 years, more lows than highs,” he laments. “And even one of the highs, a comeback win over the Redskins on October 21, 1984, was bittersweet because Jeff tore up his knee and I couldn’t celebrate. “But I long ago reconciled myself to that. The point is that I got the opporDecember 2014

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December 2014

tunity to do something most people will never get to do. I got the chance.” And unlike a lot of other players, Joe can say, “I never got seriously hurt until my last year. In fact, I went one twenty-fivegame stretch where I never missed a play. So, yes, I feel very, very fortunate.” Jeff, on the other hand, missed parts of three seasons with injuries, had six surgeries and broke five fingers. Then there’s his right knee, which needs replacing, and some upcoming surgery on his left shoulder. Moreover, in 2012 he joined twenty-seven other former players in a concussion lawsuit against the NFL, one of 126 separate lawsuits covering 3,287 former players. While that suit winds its way through the legal system, he is well aware of the grim statistics showing the likelihood of ex-players getting Alzheimer’s, ALS and dementia. “We were the guinea pigs,” he remarks. “I’ve had a baseline assessment, but the results of all the head trauma don’t typically kick in for twenty or more years. People don’t realize the physical abuse the body goes through if you play as long as Joe and I did.” While Jeff will be remembered as part of the Skins dynasty, Joe’s place in the annals of college football history occurred in one game, the 1979 Gator Bowl. Anyone with even a peripheral interest in the sport will — with one hint — remember that game. The hint: Clemson’s opponent was Ohio State, coached by . . . Woody Hayes. Ah yes, that was the game in which Charlie Bauman intercepted a Buckeye pass and was racing down the sidelines toward a touchdown, when Hayes jumped onto the field and tackled the Clemson safety. Oddly, Joe may have been the last person in America to find out what had happened. “I saw the ruckus across the field but didn’t know what was going on,” he recalls. “I ran off the field the moment the game was over because I was playing in the Hula Bowl and had to catch a flight to Honolulu. I called my mom when I got there and she said, ‘Did you hear, they fired Woody Hayes?’ And I said, ‘For what, losing to an ACC school?’” The brothers Bostic are each members of the Clemson and South Carolina halls of fame. Fittingly, they were inducted together into the Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame in 2008. Also, Jeff was selected as one of the top seventy Redskins of all time, while Joe was voted one of the top fifty ACC football players of all time. Yet, while both are justifiably proud of their gridiron accomplishments, their post-football lives have been perhaps even more laudatory. When their mother, Sharon, died in 1987, because of the efforts of Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro to make her final months as fulfilling and comfortable as possible, they formed a celebrity golf tournament in her honor. During its ten-year run at Sedgefield Country Club, the event raised over $500,000 for Hospice, but most The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Game On

of all raised public awareness for both the organization and the cause. “Mom was a nurse and went from being a caregiver to being on the receiving end,” comments Joe. “She fell in love with the Hospice folks and so did we. We wanted more people to know about the wonderful work they do and to make sure that others who couldn’t afford care were able to get it.” After retirement in 1993, Jeff remained in D.C., going into broadcasting as an analyst and sideline reporter for Westwood One. Meanwhile, Joe went into politics, serving from 1992 until 1998 on the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, the last two years as chairman. The pair also formed Bostic Brothers Construction, which enjoyed a meteoric rise that, at one time, saw them become the secondlargest apartment builder in the nation. But around 2002 their fortunes started to fade, and in 2005 the company was forced into bankruptcy. “We got too big too fast and it became impossible to keep it a hands-on operation,” explains Joe. “We made a lot and lost a lot, but we’ve got more money than we came in with, and I’m thankful to be on the plus side.” When their father, Joe Sr., passed away in 1999, Jeff and his family — college sweetheart Lynn and their daughters, Ashley, Amanda and Alicia, now 28, 26 and 20, respectively — relocated to Atlanta, where Jeff is still involved in property management and real estate. But now that he and Lynn are empty-nesters, he is positioning himself for a return to broadcasting. “I’ve been leaning on the Redskins hard, since [radio color man] Sam Huff retired last year,” he notes. “I didn’t get that job, but they know I’m interested.” Meanwhile, Joe settled in his native Greensboro, maintaining an intentionally low profile lately, focusing on family, property management, self-awareness (“I’m trying to understand rather than be understood”) and, of course, Clemson football. He has two daughters — Jennifer, 29, and Kathryn, 28 — by his first marriage, and he and his bride of 21 years, Jami, have a son, Mark, 17. Looking back on it all, his sense of gratitude is palpable. “Dad gave us a work ethic and a plan, even as kids, that if you stay on the path and keep plugging away, you’ll eventually get to see some results. And Mom gave us that sense of compassion, and they gave me the brother you’d want with you in the foxhole. I’d say I’ve been pretty richly blessed.” Indeed, riches and blessings come in many forms, and those Bostic boys from Brandt Street clearly earned their share. OH Ogi Overman is celebrating thirty years as a reporter, columnist and editor for a number of Triad publications. When his parents moved here from Burlington in 1972, they rented a house on Brandt Street from Joe and Sharon Bostic. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 55


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8 6 6 . 8 7 7. 4 14 1

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

Mouse in the House One small home invasion, one big problem

By Jane Borden

This is a story

Illustration by Meridith Martens

about a home invasion, a battle against an unwanted intruder, a mouse. Suffice it to say my mother and I won, but for a couple of hours, the outcome was iffy. I was in Greensboro, visiting, when unwanted guests found their way inside my parents’ home. The entryway was eventually discovered and sealed, but in the meantime, as one does, Mom set traps. This is when I learned a valuable tip. Frilly-fabric dust ruffles are excellent at concealing mouse traps. Genteel, floralpatterned Southernness on the outside; lethal torture chamber within. Since my mother believes dust ruffles are not just for beds, she had several location options.

The next morning, Mom kneeled to check the traps: We got two. She rose, returned with a paper-bag casket, retrieved one trap and kneeled again, this time close enough to the second creature to discover it was still alive. Then she shrieked loudly enough to resurrect its friend. It’s an unsavory business, the extermination of pests, doleful and disgusting. I’m a live-and-let-live sort of gal. If only we could reason with them, come to an agreement, or at least lay out for them the arrangement and the consequences therein. But, of course, there actually is an agreement: walls and roofs. We erect structures they’re unable to enter; they stay out of our homes. Except sometimes our defenses fail, and they pay for our mistake with their lives. We are tyrants. And now, not unlike a Shakespearean plot point, we had a visitor slowly dying in the guest room. Half of Guilford County heard my mother’s terror. She and I took the obvious first course of action. We closed the bedroom door — you know, in case it found a way, with dying strength, to extract itself from the trap and crawl toward the door, out for revenge, like Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction. In that case, we’d be . . . not at all protected considering it could easily have fit through the two-inch door crack. But something about the distance, the obstructed visibility, helped us clear our minds enough to form a plan. The plan: that we didn’t have one.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mom: “I can’t get it.” Me: “I don’t want to either!” Then I began telling myself that we were adults, that my fear was absurd and that you can’t catch diseases if you put a plastic bag over your hand. I’m in my 30s now: I’ve survived many terrifying tasks. I’ve given myself shots. I’ve jumped off a mountain with a paraglider. I saw Oz the Great and Powerful in the theaters. You just hold your breath, will the strength and force yourself through it. Certainly I could transport a small, incapacitated rodent from point A to point B, don’t be silly. It’s just a mouse. I could do it. I couldn’t do it. When I knelt down, I was steel. When I reached toward the trap, I was confident and resolved. When it twitched, I leapt to my feet and ran away. I shuddered — my body literally convulsed. It wasn’t disgust and it wasn’t terror. Whatever it was, it was involuntary. It experienced the tiniest muscular event, and I completely fell apart. What’s wrong with me? Even now, I think to myself that, of course, I could do it: just grab the trap. But in the moment I was completely incapable, undone by a crippled creature the size of my hand, its biggest threat a twitch. That poor mouse. It desperately needed a mercy killing, and its only hope was the duo of bumbling assassins who’d failed the first time. I feel terrible for allowing it to suffer. But I am completely incapable of killing animals. I even capture insects and gently escort them outside, like a friendly bouncer. Mom and I forged a new plan: call a man. The sexes can be different and still be equal. At least if he was also intimidated by the defenseless mouse, he’d have enough male ego not to run away. We were too embarrassed to interrupt Dad at work. But Mom remembered that her friend’s daughter and son-in-law were in town. Five minutes later, Mark arrived, our executioner in a pink button-up and khakis. He brought along a classic mouse-collecting kit: a pair of long metal grill tongs, an oversized oven mitt and a brown paper bag from Harris Teeter. We thanked him profusely. He laughed at us extensively. We pointed him to the door. He entered and closed it behind him. Mom and I retreated downstairs, unable even to be on the same floor. A few minutes later Mark exited triumphantly, carrying the bag at arm’s length: our hero. The following Christmas, when we all gathered for cocktails, he admitted he’d also been a little scared. OH Jane Borden is a Greensboro native living in Los Angeles, and the author of the much acclaimed memoir I Totally Meant to Do That. Follow her at twitter.com/ JaneBorden. December 2014

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December 2014 Soul Assist Here, we make tree balls: clumsy chicken wire spheres wrapped in lights, airborne in branches via fly-fishing line and stubborn orange extension cords. Canopies of wild light hang high above our boxy houses. There must be something very old and insistent inside to compel us to light up the night this way. Hush, hush, the tree balls tell us These oaks will bud again one day. Here is where, come spring, looking an azalea in the face can make you laugh out loud and April’s noisy green burns phosphorescently. So December sees our dogged work to create our own feats of vibrancy. We band together to both solace and convince ourselves of the inevitable: it will all come back again. Yes, the tree balls answer us. Yes, from these same skinny, naked sticks, from these blank and sorrowful skies! — Maura Way

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The Illustrated Twelve Days of

Gate City Christmas

Though its origins are obscure — first published in 1780 as a chant with undertones of secret religious symbolism — the beloved “Twelve Days of Christmas” eventually found its way into popular currency in Victorian England as a crossover anthem celebrating the power of bestowing gifts during the traditional days between Christmas and the Feast of the Epiphany. Needless to say, it’s one of our favorite traditions to sing it, with or without a proper brass ensemble handy, and thus a perfect excuse to offer our own humble interpretation of the classic song using our Greensboro friends and neighbors to illustrate the text. Feel free to join the chorus. It’s our little holiday gift to you! — The Staff of O.Henry By Maria Johnson • Photographs by Hannah Sharpe



in a

Pear Seat

The camera sure loves 4-yearold Isabella Partridge and so do we. Here she perches on a pearshaped seat in a children’s area at Gateway Gardens, 2924 East Lee Street, Greensboro. The children’s garden also has seats that resemble a tomato, an apple and a watermelon. Yum.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro



Turtle Lovers The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Lauren Irk and Audrey Niemeyer, handlers at the Greensboro Science Center, feed lettuce to a few of the center’s giant tortoises, which are large land turtles. Wearing tortoise shell in this photo are Bullet, an African spur-thigh tortoise, and Mack and Jack, both Aldabra tortoises.

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3 Three


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French teachers Marjorie Baker of The Early College at Guilford, along with Jennifer Johnston Kerns and Allison Greiner, both of Grimsley High School, look trés sceptiques behind their paper mustaches at Print Works Bistro at Proximity Hotel, 704 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Oú est la bibliothèque — or at least your homework, chéri?

The Art & Soul of Greensboro




Hunting buddies and animal quackers Bryan Pennington, Tom Bryant, Jim Lasley and Tom Bobo make a joyful noise unto the lands, lake and sky on the dock of a pond.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Five Golden


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A handful of ringers from Downtown Sound, a community handbell ensemble, chime in during practice at West Market Street United Methodist Church. Two of the Downtown Sound ringers will perform with the West Market Street UMC handbell choir at a concert on December 6 at 4 p.m. at the church, 302 West Market Street, Greensboro. Neal Matthews, Lawndale Baptist  Church; Heather Blackwood, Holy Trinity Episcopal Church; Jarrad Williams, Muir’s Chapel United Methodist Church; Jenn Dooley, Fellowship Presbyterian Church; and Susan Butler, Christ Lutheran Church.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro




The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Friday night is board game night at Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema, 2134 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Here, six Geeksborians strategize over World of Warcraft: Alec Patchin, Tori Stiles, James Thomason, Whitney Mantooth, Samantha Thompson and Jorge Ramirez.

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Seven Swansons


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Hey, it was easier than getting seven unruly swans together. Emily, 3, with her mother, Christy; her uncle, Craig; her grandmother, Linda; her aunt, Kaylee holding Emily’s twin, Elizabeth, 3. Swanson number seven is Dick Swanson, who, though unrelated, swims laps regularly at the pool.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Eight Maids a-Milling

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The housekeeping team the Hampton Inn & Suites at 3033 High Point Road near the Coliseum in Greensboro gets near-perfect ratings from the chain’s unannounced inspectors. They also compete in the Fastest Bed Maker Contest sponsored annually by the Guilford County Hotel/Motel Association. Liliana Lemus, Esvided Quiterio, Imelda Reliford, Q Nance, Angela Blackmon, Olga Tacuba, Leticia Hernandez and Sherlyne Peoples.

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Nine members of the The E. Gwynn Dancers of NC A&T SU, practice a piece that combines Bhangda and Bollywood dancing for a show last month. Check out the company’s spring show — a sampler of international styles including East Indian, West African, Caribbean, jazz and modern dance — on campus March 21. Amber McCreary, Zithobile Nxumalo, Ashley Smith, Andrea Pridgen, Mercedes Stewart, Jordan Waller, Alesha Jenkins, Rondejia King and Blanche Tucker.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Members of the Above Board Skate Park team spring into action by popping ollies around the center’s roll-in ramp. Their next competition will be in December at the park, 2616 Greengate Drive, Greensboro. For details see facebook. com/aboveboardskatepark. Back row: Brian Kirch, Justin Hill, Cameron “Steezy” Tatum and Ricky “Tricky” Rollings. Front row: Tyler Jackson, Ben Blaisdell, Omer Ahmad, Jordan Hill, Daron Hill and Paul Wheeler.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro




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The Jamestown Pipes & Drums — shown here at the Wrenn Miller Park amphitheater in Jamestown — compete at Scottish games around the Southeast. They also perform at churches, schools and community events. Catch them at the Jamestown Christmas Parade on December 7 at 3 p.m. Back row: Sean Delvin, Jack Barry and Mark Wayman Middle row: Eric Sparklin, Kelsey Barry, Patrick Wiers and Kyle Auman Front row: Jake Altman, Natalie Takenaka, Charlie Hatley and David Thomas

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Drummers Druming

The High Point University Percussion Ensemble includes students who are music majors, minors and enthusiasts. Most of the ensemble will play in the Fall Band Concert, which is free and open to the public, on December 8 at 7:30 p.m. in the Pauline Theater of the Hayworth Fine Arts Building. Back row: Nathan Barrick, Riccardo De Cataldo, Nathan Daughtrey (adjunct professor of percussion and music composition) Lee Barber and Geoffrey Perrin Middle row: Matthew Carnaghi, Ross Banfield, Seth Burleson, Jerod Oakes and Joe Kilar Front row: Olivia Harrell and Danny Frye (director of instrumental studies) OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Glendi Higgins

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Bike for Christmas At fabled Higgins Cycle Shop, what is old is still new



By Billy Ingram • Photographs by Amy Freeman

s the Holiday Jubilee makes its way down Elm Street, 40,000 parade-goers jockey for position as the Old Rebel and Pecos Pete ride by in an old jalopy, followed by a calico-clad Little Miss Sunbeam tossing miniature loaves of bread into the crowd. Who is that top-hatted, cigar-chomping chap pedaling a High-Wheeler with an enormous 48-inch front tire and no handlebars, just horns? Piloting that preposterous velocipede is none other than Glendi Higgins, who in 1961 became the proprietor of the city’s first and most popular bicycle shop, “I couldn’t understand why Greensboro didn’t have a bike shop,” he says. “I had been in towns much smaller than this and they had one.” Early in the 20th century bicycles served as an essential mode of transportation for adults. Then came the horseless carriage. But bike manufacturers got a second wind during the Depression when mail-order giants Sears, Roebuck & Co. and Montgomery Ward fomented a demand for a scaled-down model for children. An end to World War II’s material shortages unleashed millions of pedal-powered metallic missiles hurtling across suburbia’s freshly paved streets — baseball cards held by clothespins jutting into the rear spokes. As 1.75˝ Tornado tires parted puddles, young people suddenly found themselves free to discover the world around them with an unheard-of independence. Glendi Higgins found himself in the right place at the right time — with a little help from his wife, Jane: “My father started out fixing neighborhood bicycles for kids,” says Mary Higgins Lawling. “My mom got tired of seeing bikes all over the backyard and she said, ‘You need to find a place to put this.’” Higgins rented a small building on Fairground Road in 1959. “Eventually a sales rep contacted him and asked, ‘Would you like to carry the Schwinn bike line?’” Sugar plums? When Glendi Higgins began wheelin’ and dealin’ on Spring Garden in 1961, the Schwinn Mark IV Jaguar danced in little boys’ heads. Its space-age cantilevered frame, hefty stainless steel fenders, adjustable headlamp and twin carriers made it perfect for an early morning paper route. The Debutante became the apple of many a young lady’s eye, with its articulated tank, dual headlights, racks front and back, all enshrined in glistening chrome with baked on rose-colored accents. Hamilton Lakes resident Tom Sikes remembers the day his family was lunching at Yum Yum’s, ice cream cones in hand, when they were drawn across the street by Higgins’ 1962 holiday window display: “I was in the fourth grade and my sister Gale was in the sixth. We had never seen so many bikes in one place. There were four long rows. Christmas was coming up and my parents were trying to get some ideas.” Sure, the pages of the Sears catalog were packed with bikes, “but there was nothing like seeing and test-riding one first-hand,” Sikes recalls. “The excitement of Christmas Eve was unforgettable,” he says. “In the middle of the night I couldn’t resist the temptation to sneak behind the closed doors of the living room to see that Santa had brought a red Spitfire for me and a Carolina blue one for Gale — the bikes we had seen at Higgins Cycle Shop!” Sikes recalls how he and his wife went to Higgins just before their son’s 5th birthday in 1986 to buy him his first bike. “Over the years we have purchased several bikes for both of our sons from Higgins Cycle Shop.” Trading old bikes for new ones at Higgins has become an honored family tradition in Greensboro. Many of us fondly recall our very first bike. Not so for Mary Lawling who steers the family business today. “It might have been a Hollywood with a pink stripe? I don’t really have many memories of bicycles. Somebody would come into the store and say, ‘I’m looking for a really great used bike,’ and my dad had a habit of coming The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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to the house and taking my bike and selling it. He always gave me another one. It would get sold, I’d get another one, it would get sold. Same thing with the Tandem.” Schwinn has been a great partner over the years. In 1966 it rolled out a line of California Chopper-inspired Sting-Ray muscle bikes; that radical reimagining created a sensation. A couple of years later Santa brought Janet Webb on Wilton Drive the girl’s version, “A pink banana bike with a white seat. Santa must have struggled with that one coming down the chimney. Santa even brought a bell to put on the handlebars and some pink and white plastic streamers too.” Her second bike also came from Higgins — “an Orange Schwinn 10-speed I bought with babysitting money.” Bikes could define status. Before mounting his ’68 Ram’s Horn Fastback with 20-inch wheels, chrome fenders, low-rider banana seat and ape-hanger handles, Bobby attaches a Vrroom Hot Rodder Engine on the bar below the 5-speed stick shift. With a turn of the key it emits a bone-rattling 2-stroke incantation heard halfway ’round the block. Pulling back the cocking lever on his Mattell M-16 Marauder with realistic braap-bra-a-a-ap-brap-brap action he ventures out into the neighborhood, firing at will. Eight-year old Betty gingerly places her talkative best friend, Chatty Cathy, into the flower-trimmed wicker basket of her Radiant Coppertone Slik Chik, equipped with tufted Silver Glow saddle and brilliant whitewall tires. Shortcutting over park bridges, Betty glides across frozen grass, sliding to a stop in front of her aunt’s home. She’s eager to formally introduce Chatty to her new cousin, Suzy Homemaker, who’s baking cakes in her Super Oven. In 1972 Higgins’ Spring Garden oasis was assimilated into UNC-BORG or as Glendi put it, “It got too crowded over there.” He relocated to a rapidly expanding Battleground Avenue, opening one of the nation’s first state-of-the-art Schwinn concept stores. Continuing a signature Higgins’ come-hither marketing ploy, a long line of models were lined up outside the showroom. Inside a dizzying array awaited with hundreds of Krates, Manta-Rays, Sting-Rays, Speedsters, Fair Ladys, chrome alloy Tourers, underneath dozens of lightweight 10-speeds and Track Bikes hung from the ceiling. Mary Higgins Lawling says she has noticed an uptick in bike nostalgia lately, “We have a lot of men who come in to talk about the Krates [1968-1972]; the Apple, the Orange, the Lemon Peeler, Pea Picker, Cotton Picker and the Grey Ghost. They’d wanted one of those when they were a little kid or either they didn’t get one, so now they want one. Or they had one, it got sold and now they want to get it back again.” The Higgins team was uniquely positioned to ride the wave of an emerging alt bike culture in the mid-1970s when cycling experienced a major resurgence. The juvenile market took a back seat after older brothers took up the sport; Motocross bruisers, BMX dirt turners, aerodynamic mountain bikes and skinny racing models with reflectorized rattrap pedals sprang out of a teenager’s insatiable need for speed and distance. Interest in biking today surpasses even the 1970s boom. With so many newer, more aggressive retailers dotting the landscape, Higgins Cycle Shop has turned some of its focus on refurbishing bicycles and being the last hometown place to get those hard-to-find keys made. But in some ways everything old is new again. “Right now we’re more into the used bike business,” says Lawling. “Especially younger people in college, they’re into buying used bikes. And some of your high school kids are going for that retro look from the ’70s, the lightweight 10-speeds with drop handlebars like the Schwinn Varsity or the Collegiates. We have some really nice mountain bikes that came out in the mid-’80s.” Glendi Higgins retired long ago, but his gears are still turning; the spry 85-year old continues to drop by the operation daily. That High-Wheeler he commandeered in those long ago Christmas parades stands outside the shop, just don’t ask him to ride the darn thing. He gave that up in his 70s. OH A former Hollywood movie poster designer, Billy Ingram is the creator of TVparty.com and has written for and appeared on series for VH1 and Bravo. His five books on pop culture touch on subjects like classic TV, comics, the Rat Pack, and punk rock. His favorite bike? “I don’t remember my bikes; they were all second hand.”

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mary Higgins Lawlin O.Henry 75

December 2014

A Few Moments in . . .

Poole’s Paradise Remembering Greensboro’s pioneering radio personality


n 1946 Jesse Robert Poole, a Stoneville native with a midnight to 1 a.m. shift on a clear channel signal echoing off Lake Pontchartrain, unwittingly ignited a revolution when he seized upon a federal court order allowing phonograph records to be played over the airwaves. Radio up to that time had been all about live music, with local stations employing their own orchestras and bands. Broadcasting from New Orleans, Bob Poole’s on-air combo, The Salty Five, included Pete Fountain, Al Hirt and other Preservation Hall jazzbos. By blending recordings from across the musical spectrum with crazy sound effects like a street car roaring through the studio, a woman’s scream or repetitious hyena shrieks after a corny joke — and all of Bob’s jokes were straight off the husk — the modern disc jockey emerged from the primordial static. One mid-1940s listener gushed, “Through Poole’s anarchistic humor and juxtapositions of sound and anarchy he created an existential bond between me and the world.” L. W. Milam of Ralph magazine was another early fan, “American radio was far more inspired in those days. Television had come along and everyone was concentrating on it. Network radio was dwindling; local live radio was blossoming. For a few years that meant a freedom on AM radio that allowed people to be loose, chatty and friendly; to be themselves. This was brought to high art by Bob Poole at WWL, Jean Shepherd in New York City and the young Arthur Godfrey in Washington, D.C.” Bob met his wife Gloria a few years earlier. While serving in the Navy, he crashed a posh soirée the urban sophisticate was hosting for the New Orleans Symphony. They were married three months later. She recalls the ebullient postwar era when “Poole’s Paradise” became for 1940s audiences what “Saturday Night Live” was to the 1970s: “Bob was heard all over the United States and Canada. He had a studio audience and so many people wanted to see him.” WWL was located in the elegant Roosevelt Hotel. Frank Sinatra and all the biggest stars performed in the showroom there. Gloria would ride the elevator to the top floor and wait for Bob’s show to be over, “then we would go to a place across the street called the 1-2-3 Bar. Dick Clark was just a little sassy kid then but he took a liking to Bob, so he’d come too and pester us to death. Bob would have to tell him, ‘Go home, Dick.’ But he was a nice little fellow.” Of her first visit to Greensboro, Gloria says, “We came on the train; this was right after the war. We stayed at

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the O.Henry Hotel. There was a railroad car out in front that served as a diner. I thought this was a funny little town. They didn’t sell whiskey, which of course, Bob loved greatly, but the O.Henry had a bellboy named ‘Snag.’ So first thing he’d send that guy out to find wherever they were selling it.” Bob Poole, and a small handful of others, not only ushered in a new era of radio entertainment, they sparked a genuine craze among the nation’s hep cats and bobbysoxers — deejays were no longer staid announcers but the nation’s hit makers and trend setters. The Mutual network took notice, luring “Poole’s Paradise” from The Big Easy to The Big Apple in 1948 for an hour weekday afternoons at 3. The show was an immediate smash, so much so that Mutual awarded Bob with a morning timeslot and a half-hour in primetime. He was voted Disc Jockey’s Favorite Disc Jockey in 1949 and 1950, garnering more than four times as many votes as future “Tonight” show host Steve Allen. For three years running, he captured Billboard magazine’s top DJ award. After four successful seasons on Mutual, Bob Poole found himself at the crossroads — move into television like his contemporaries or embrace the inevitability that all radio would eventually be local. ‘The Duke of Stoneville’ made the decision to return to his roots, Major Edney Ridge’s 1470 AM WBIG. He’d gotten his start there while attending Guilford College back in 1934, hosting a country music show with the Southern Pioneers and providing color commentary for the very first Greater Greensboro Open in 1938. “She said she felt like a young colt but she looked more like an old 45.” — Bob Poole “Poole’s Paradise” debuted on WBIG (We Believe in Greensboro) in the fall of 1952, broadcast from a seethrough, glass studio in the magnificently appointed O.Henry Hotel on the corner of Elm and Bellemeade. Patrons milling around the newsstand or the ornate Art Deco lobby could watch Bob with his engineer and comic foil, Willie (Dailey), serving up a blend of news, weather, sports, novelty tunes like Ginny Simm’s “If I Knew You Were Coming I’d’ve Baked a Cake,” all peppered with a heapin’ helpin’ of Bob’s bad puns. It was small town hokum simmered with big The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs this page from Greensboro Historical Museum Archives

By Billy Ingram

city heat and the public ate it up. Something like 70 percent of Greensboro’s morning radio audience tuned to “Poole’s Paradise” from 6–9:30 a.m. Gloria remembers, “Major Edney Ridge was a colorful character. He had a girlfriend — though he was married — and her name was Maggie. He and Bob would have knock-down, drag-out arguments where the Major would say, ‘You’re fired, get out,’ and Bob would say, ‘Fine’ and walk out, and the next day they’d start all over again. One time the Major said to him, ‘You’re fired, get out, take what you want with you.’ And Bob told him, ‘I’ll take Maggie!’” Bill Maudlin (not the famous cartoonist) was an intern for WBIG at the O.Henry in the ’50s and remembers, “When you came through the big front doors, you took the steps down one level. Management offices were on the right as you entered, studios were next, behind that was the control room where Willie worked the board. Next in line was the large room where Bob would be. When I was there, Dick McAdoo was on afternoons, Bill Neal was the staff announcer; Add Penfield did the evening news and sports at 6 p.m.” An inveterate partier, Bob outfitted his own nightclub on wheels, one he shared with my parents and Alan Wannamaker, WBIG’s station manager. Gloria recalls, “Bill [Ingram of Ingram Motors] got us an old school bus. We painted it turquoise and orange and I decorated it. We had all the seats taken out and banquet chairs and a bar put in. We’d go to football games or drive around to people’s houses, park in their driveway and throw a little cocktail party. At that time you could do all sorts of things you wouldn’t dare do today.” When I was a tyke, my father brought me along to the WBIG studios. As Bob launched into his theme song I began whistling along with him, causing him to burst out laughing. Not uncommon today but this was back when broadcasters took great pride in never losing control while on the air. “She was only an optician’s daughter — but two glasses and she made a spectacle of herself.” — Bob Poole In 1957 WBIG moved to an Edward Loewenstein-designed modernist one-story brick-and-glass structure erected on the outskirts of town. A miniature pool table was mounted on the outer door to the “Poole Roome,” Bob’s private studio. The program was so hot he could pick and choose advertisers. Even though the station’s meager 5,000 watt signal wasn’t heard much outside city limits, a 1962 Twist contest he hosted attracted nearly 3,000 participants. Thousands more turned out for “Bob Poole Day” that same year. Greensboro radio personality Dusty Dunn was whirling stacks of wax in the afternoons at upstart WCOG in 1966. “For Greensboro and Guilford County, WBIG was everyone’s main source of information. The whole thing was Bob Poole,” Dunn recalls. “He was just as important in Greensboro as the mayor or anybody else. I mean he was the man.” Dunn remembers running into Poole at the Carolina Theatre emceeing some sort of promotional event for kids. “He was really phenomenal. He really had a sharp wit about him. I realized then that [the reason] he was so good on the radio and popular for so many years was because he was so funny.” Changing musical styles and FM radio began encroaching on AM’s dominance in the early-1970s, but the popularity of “Poole’s Paradise” continued unabated. In 1970 a 45-rpm single was released of Bob cheerfully whistling his theme song with “White Azaleas” on the flip side. Asked about it, Gloria laughs. “Would you believe I still get asked where to find a copy of ‘White Azaleas?’ After all these years.” “Nobody else had the power he had,” Dusty Dunn says. “The guy who manThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

aged Sears when it was on Lawndale told me Bob Poole was there doing a remote and mentioned they had copies of ‘White Azaleas’ they were going to give away, first-come first-served. That store just erupted, everybody was running for the record display. People were knocking over stuff. It was just pandemonium. It was as if Elvis had walked into the building.” WBIG had an exclusive lock on the GGO tournament, now known as the Wyndham Championship, until the late 1960s when the CBS network signed on with avid golfer Bob Poole providing the play-by-play. Andy Durham of GreensboroSports.com was a listener in the 1970s: “They were the flagship station for Carolina Cougars games with the ‘Mouth of the South’ Bill Curry and Bob Lamey, who now does the Indiana Pacers games on 1070 [AM] out of Indianapolis. WBIG had the first sports call-in show in the area. It started as a Carolina Cougars show with Bones McKinney. After the Cougars fired Bones as coach, he stayed around to do ‘Let’s Talk Sports’ Monday nights at 7 p.m. They carried high school football and other games over the years with announcers like Henry Boggan, Jim Pritchett, Larry Dunlap and Bob Licht.” “He said slip on anything and come on down. So she slipped on the top stair.” — Bob Poole In fall of 1973 Bob Poole suffered a series of heart attacks at age 57, hovering between life and death for eight months with family at his bedside. When he returned to the microphone in the summer of ’74 it was kept secret that, far too often, “Poole’s Paradise” emanated from a room at Cone Hospital. While in high school I occasionally provided Bob with trivia books and jokes to use on his show, which he greatly appreciated. When “The Manhattan Transfer” LP was released in 1975 I brought him a copy, thinking their jazzy vocalese would be a great fit for his program. He loved the album but confessed he could no longer play the tunes he wanted. Management controlled the music. It obviously stung but I had no way of knowing how much a blow that must have been to the guy who could make or break a record on a national scale earlier in his career. When Manhattan Transfer scored a Top 40 hit a few weeks later, he called me on the phone crowing, “They’re gonna let me play that record you gave me now!” The creative visionary whose smoky baritone voice brightened Greensboro’s early hours for a quarter century passed away at age 61 on January 24, 1978, a month after his last broadcast. It’s not an exaggeration to say the city was in shock. It was front page news, the service carried live from First Presbyterian Church. Inscribed on his stone in Forest Lawn Cemetery are the words Bob Poole left listeners with each morning. “Take care of you, for me.” OH To hear excerpts from Bob Poole’s New York shows (the only ones that exist) go to: tvparty.com/bob-poole.html A former Hollywood movie poster designer, Billy Ingram has written for and appeared on series for VH1 and Bravo. His five books on pop culture touch on subjects like classic TV, comics, the Rat Pack, and punk rock and are available at his website TVparty.com, in bookstores and Amazon. December 2014

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Student Housing GTCC Culinary Students show off their imaginations with gingerbread houses good enough to eat — almost

By David Claude Bailey • Photographs by Lynn Donovan


ccording to food historian Tori Avery (toriavey. com/history-kitchen), gingerbread houses, a.k.a. lebkuchenhaeusle, first began popping up in Germany just about the same time the Brothers Grimm chronicled the misadventures of Hansel and Gretel. Who knows which came first, she says, houses made for children to eat or the fairy tale of witches eating children? Over time, elaborately decorated gingerbread houses, sometimes enhanced by gold leaf, became associated with Christmas. Although Victorian Gingerbread-style architecture abounds around Greensboro, kids today are highly unlikely to stumble upon a cottage deep in any of our woods made entirely of irresistible treats. However, if their parents take them to the Joseph S. Koury Hospitality and Careers Center on GTCC’s Jamestown campus, they can see — but not touch or nibble on — fifty-some gingerbread houses like the ones pictured here, all of which were decorated last year by GTCC culinary students taking basic baking. The first houses will begin showing up on Monday December 1 and will be on display between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. until December 8. The candy-studded cottages generally measure 12 inches x 12 inches and are constructed with gingerbread, creamy icing or caramelized sugar. Students use 100 percent edible products to embellish their creations, turning ice-cream cones into Christmas trees, Skittles into roofing shingles and shaved coconut into drifting snow. “It always amazes me how creative some of the students are with how they take normal items and make them into something that looks great,” says GTCC baking instructor Michele Prairie. “A lot of them start a new holiday tradition with their family because of this project,” she says. “I have been making gingerbread house with my own kids since they where about 5 and they are now 19 and 17 and they still enjoy making them each year.” OH Info: (336) 334-4822 or http://www.gtcc.edu/hahahahahhahahwa

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Story of a House

Larry Richardson’s


Christmas House At Seven Oaks, antique toys, trees galore and Santas draped in mink are simply part of one man’s incomparable passion for the holiday By Cynthia Adams • Photographs by Kevin Banker

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or eleven months of the year, Larry Richardson’s 1925 home is of a more subdued beauty. Made of buff-colored, handmade bricks and featuring a porte cochère, cornice, dormers and a spectacular green-tiled roof, it is one of several historic houses clustered along West Market Street. But come December, it is transformed into a gob smacker of a Christmas house. All the way to the third floor rafters — all 5,000 square feet — of this grand dame are decked with boughs of holly, twinkle, sparkle and enough tra-la-la visual delights to blind a Grinch. Richardson is an irrepressible, inveterate collector and antiques dealer who also owns a floral business and nursery. But December, the busiest work month of the year for those in the business of selling flowers, greenery and Christmas decor, doesn’t even faze him nor slow him. If anything, it stokes his Christmas spirit. He pulls out all the stops, working feverishly to empty his trove of Christmas collectibles, and really decks the halls. He opens the front door onto a scene that is eye-popping and luminous. Everywhere the eye lands in the house he named Seven Oaks are things of beauty and shimmery grandeur. Even Richardson himself looks festive, turned out in a “Christmassy, hand-embroidered shirt,” found in a San Francisco boutique store, paired with red jeans and Gucci loafers. Richardson displays eleven custom-made, mink-swathed Santas throughout the house at Christmas. Multiple trees are festooned with antique, hand-blown glass balls, oodles of baubles and yards of garlands. If one tree is good, surely mul-

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tiples are better — some rooms feature several, both tabletop and full-sized. Each tree is different — some are fresh. Some are bottle brush trees. Some are metallic. An antique feather tree is from the late barbecue restaurateur Keith Stamey’s estate, he says. Each sparkles, twinkles and evokes sighs of delight. Antique toys wait beneath trees heavy with heirloom ornaments. The varied collections he has amassed over years from various countries swan across fireplace mantles, hearths, stair rails, doorways and twinkle from table tops and buffets. “It’s kind of magical,” Richardson reflects. “This is not what you’ll see at Myrtle’s Christmas Emporium,” he jokes. “I like to decorate everything! Even the Bactrian camels (rare porcelains he found at auction) I collect are decorated with ornaments.” The hundreds of ornaments, dating from the 19th century to present day, represent travels around the world. One hand-blown ornament was made from the ashes of Mount St. Helens. But lest you think he is a collecting snob, think again. He likes silver stick trees, which are modestly priced. And upstairs on the third floor, Richardson displays a “vintage color wheel with a four-part silver tree that I bought for $5 at a yard sale,” which he adores. Here is his quiet refuge, the place where he will relax — just a little — after Christmas Day’s last guest has departed — to watch the color wheels turn.

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even Oaks has been Richardson’s grand passion and ongoing project for twenty-five years. He moved in, taking two years to paint the interior, and dreamed of the outcome as he worked. “I slept in the dining room for an entire year and started painting.” The next year, he moved upstairs and began laboriously painting the downstairs. Richardson named it Seven Oaks as the rooms grew far more chicly fabulous than shabby, commissioning a window with leafy emblems in the living room to replace one that he discovered beneath plaster. The window was his stamp on a house that was going to become a repository of some of his grandest dreams. What he knows is that the house was originally owned by Hettie O. and Richard L. Hollowell. What Richardson heard was unsettling. “Rumor is the couple was killed in a tragic accident in 1938.” After their deaths, the house became a church manse until the 1980s. Richardson bought it from Richard Boyles, becoming the house’s third owner in 1989. He slowly filled Seven Oaks with gorgeous remembrances of people long past. He attributes some of his best art and furnishings to Patrick Henry, Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Vanderbilts, and Moses and Ceasar Cone. Like many a guest on Antiques Road Show, Richardson has trolled antique stalls and markets the world over for treasures he often kept but sometimes resold. For three years, he flew once a month to the U.K. for his mother’s antique shop in Burlington, accumulating 1.5 million frequent-flier points. He returned with treasures from places like Camden Passage in London. “Now I’m down to 400,000 frequent flier points,” he quips. “Life is about collections to me.” A mania for beautiful things was

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

communicated from his mother, Clarice Richardson, who always loved antiques and transferred that love early on to her son. “I began collecting opalescent glass when I was 12,” Richardson says. “I mowed yards for money, and would buy things at auction with my mowing money.” That took some doing. “I got twenty-five cents per yard.” He would visit his grandfather in Snow Camp and rummage in barns. When he discovered a pie safe, he stripped five layers of paint and put it in his parent’s grocery store for a display. That was, he remembers, a great feeling. An avocation was born. While attending Western Carolina, he spent his junior year at the University of London. He bought a Eurail pass and traveled. Ever practical, he earned his degree in botany and biology, which paid off when he wound up owning floral shops and a nursery. It isn’t a case of his only making the public, downstairs rooms of Seven Oaks grand, although they are. Even his private sanctums, such as his bedroom suite, master closet and bath are elegantly appointed, and, yes, decorated for Christmas. Each floor is a showcase of period pieces. There is Botero art in the breakfast room, as well as tramp art, Majolica, Rookwood pottery and Staffordshire porcelain. A guest room is decorated with 18th century rosewood furniture Richardson bought in Scotland. “Anything in this house took a human hand to make it,” Richardson says about his many, varied collections. Just as impressive as the objects themselves is Richardson’s memory. He knows the provenance of almost every object he has acquired — a staggering feat. He owns, for example, over 200 miniature portraits, one a copy of a piece in the Louvre. Near the main entrance, sits a rare bow-front secretary — purchased from December 2014

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Ceasar Cone’s estate and once belonging to Patrick Henry. “A November 1, 1932 article in The Lynchburg Gazette discusses it,” Richardson offers. Over there, a fine clock he picked up from Moses Cone’s estate. The four antique, handsome black walnut chairs? He nabbed them when they were de-accessioned (a museum term for “sold”) from the Biltmore house in the 1970s. “The house seemed so big to me, as I came from an 1,100-square-foot house on Hillside Drive,” he says. Not only did he want period furnishings for the grand old house, but Richardson also undertook an exacting restoration. “The buff colored brick is handmade and was made in Charleston, West Virginia,” he says. When he decided to add a wall in the yard, he was determined that the brick would match the house: “I found a company in Cheraw, South Carolina, Palmetto Brick Company, who made a similar gray brick, the same brick used to build the Charleston hospital. I needed 25,000 bricks to do my wall. I had to wait until somebody needed half a million bricks before they would produce my order.” He finally built the wall in 1993. Richardson’s restorations eventually reached the rafters. He finished the previously unfinished attic, creating a cozy den and guest quarters with bath. By then, he had filled the partial basement far below, turning it into his holiday repository filled with boxes and boxes of seasonal décor. Christmas was his true obsession. Carefully stowed were delights that would make Mr. Claus smile. Antique cars, bears and dolls, nutcrackers, elves, Santas, angels, baubles and pretties are snuggled down in bubblewrapped cocoons for a long winter’s nap until awakened by Richardson’s inextinguishable Christmas spirit.

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ichardson holiday décor style is a nod to his love of history. But his food is a mix of Southern vernacular style — high and low— and anything goes. He sets a typical Christmas entertaining scene at Seven Oaks, where drop-in guests are frequent. “I buy pimento cheese at Bessemer Curb Market, and serve it with homemade pastry spoons. I buy pie crust and roll it out in shape of spoons, then serve them with the pimento cheese.” He also confesses to a fondness for a dip, his own concoction of cream cheese, onion, catsup and hot sauce, (for heat and color), which he presents with Bugles. “On Christmas Eve, I don’t know who will stop by. I set up egg nog and hors d’oeuvres and can have as few as ten or as many as twenty-five.” Richardson also favors hibiscus tea for the festive red color. And everyone knows that naughty Santa has a sweet tooth. Richardson’s favorite cocktail is called a Candy Cane: “It’s a drink of vanilla rum, Godiva white chocolate and peppermint schnapps.” Of course, there are other sweet indulgences. “I love sugared almonds. I have the dining room table set with edibles. Victorians had their dinners, and then they would sit and eat sweets, fruit and chocolates.” He decorates the dining room, most important for entertaining in the lead up to the 25th, “with live greenery from the store and fruit made of alabaster set around.” Like all of the rooms, the dining room features a riot of color, hallmarked silver pieces, and softly burning beeswax candles. On Christmas Day, Richardson meets his family in Alamance County. “Seven of us have lunch there, and then come back here for Christmas dinner at 5 p.m., at Seven Oaks.” The fireplaces are lit; Seven Oaks positively blushes with color. The shiny The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Christmas tree on the third floor, and all the others, glow. The beeswax candles burn low and drip fetchingly. Quiet falls. The hustle and bustle is finally past. “Everybody wants me,” he says of the Christmas crunch that being a florist inevitably brings, “and then nobody wants me after the Christmas slow down.” Richardson can finally put his slippered feet up, and reimagine how he might do it all just a bit differently next year. What if say, he broke both his arms and legs, God forbid. How would he scale back? He thinks what he might do. “My idea of pared down? Set out a Victorian tree and ornaments in bowls and on the mantle,” he suggests. And then, Richardson, who knows himself so well, begins laughing out loud. OH Last Christmas, O.Henry published Cynthia Adams’ fabulous “A Biscuit-Eater’s Christmas in Hell’s Half Acre.” Cindy is still apologizing to her mom.

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Christmas Décor Tips from Larry Richardson

Begin by decorating the door; it is the first thing you see. Then, address focal points of each room. The mantle is a logical place to start.¥ Don’t neglect the dining room. Richardson’s table has to be convertible, and work for a buffet or seated dinner; so, he elevates the centerpiece, which is usually silver, glass or porcelain. (He collects cut glass bowls and has amassed over 100 for just such purpose.) Then he takes the centerpiece down for a seated dinner. “It’s a simple idea that helps a lot,” he says.¥ Be creative with colors. There are no color constraints when it comes to the holidays; in the real world, every color is acceptable and usable at Christmas.¥ In preparing “fresh work” for holiday decorating, think like a florist when it comes to fresh flowers. Use the same color in bouquets to give a lusher look. ¥ Balance your arrangements. Although Richardson loves color elsewhere, he likes the calm contrast of green and white. “I use a lot of white flowers; they’re elegant and not demanding.” Richardson prefers fragrant lilies, especially Star of Bethlehem, “which will last as much as three weeks. Cut evergreens will last a month. Most of the greens grow in our yards. With magnolia leaves, I take 24-karat gold paint and spray paint them. This gives simple magnolia leaves a pop.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” — Dr. Seuss

By Noah Salt

Santa’s Favorite Hot Chocolate

The Almanac Gardener freely admits to being a serious chocolate freak, especially at the holidays when it comes to making and consuming hot chocolate. Here’s some invaluable time-tested guidelines for making the best hot chocolate Santa’s ever tasted, which we learned about a few years ago during a winter visit to England. Time to upgrade your chocolate. No Swiss Miss permitted. Santa will be pleased. Only use solid chocolate instead of cocoa power. Gourmet dark chocolate is best, high quality semi-sweet or bittersweet preferred, about two ounces for every cup. Whole milk is best but we sometimes even sneak in half a cup of evaporated milk for extra creaminess. Sweeten with natural sugar or honey — but don’t overdo it. Let the strong flavor of natural chocolate rule. Heat the milk and add the crumbled chocolate slowly, whisking until well blended. This prevents burning the chocolate and ruining the taste. Add modest pinches of cinnamon, nutmeg and sea salt, to taste. A more adventurous friend sometimes dusts with chili power. A teaspoon of vanilla extract helps balance out the flavors. This is our secret ingredient. For non-teetotaling Santas, a thimble of Baileys Irish Cream or Amaretto adds the final touch. Add a scoop of marshmallow or — even better — dollop of homemade whipped cream. (Don’t forget the biscuit for the reindeer.)

Month of Lists The final month of the year seems to bring a blizzard of important lists: Christmas lists, Garden lists, Grocery lists, lists of party guests, to-do lists of household chores, bulbs to order for spring, crucial spirits to have on hand, cards that still must be addressed and mailed by whenever, and so forth. And, don’t forget, there’s Santa’s all-important wish list to keep in mind. Truthfully, the older we get, the more we like lists — or at least need them in order to make sure every vital task gets done. We genuinely don’t mind growing old gracefully, just not forgetfully. And December is a month tailor-made for long thoughts of one’s mortality by a warming fire, before the New Year’s Eve’s bubbly is purchased. With the final hours of yet another year suddenly passing, and the longest night of the year on the threshold, we’re tempted to make our own list of long and wooly thoughts on the subject of a dying year and our own mortality. We’ll simply let a heartfelt “Happy Christmas and New Year” suffice with a thought attributed to Leo Tolstoy as his days dwindled: “We shall all meet again — when we have arrived.”

Plants for Holiday Giving Cold winds whistle and the garden lies fallow. But that doesn’t mean everything must stop growing season’s over — at least indoors. For decades the pointsetta has been the holiday gift plant of choice but nowadays there are plenty of other appealing options. Here are a few Alamanac favorites: Paperwhites. Carefree bulb that produces bunches of cheerful, fragrant white blooms in the heart of winter. Amaryllis. Easy to grow from bulb and available at any garden shop in an array of splashy colors. Christmas cactus. One of our favorites, a succulent that produces beautiful blooms at the holidays. Prefers cool sunny places. Christmas fern. A great indoor plant that can easily translate to the outdoors come spring. Orchids. Low maintenance and elegant. Juniper bonsai plant. Requires some attention but provides a striking presence to any indoor setting. Potted herbs. Perfect for a kitchen window. Peace lily. Glorious green foliage with flag-like flowers that bloom constantly. Easy to care for and no-fuss. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2014 A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol

Let it go!





Marching Madness



December 1–7

December 1–21

December 1–February 8, 2015

& the Devil. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

Appalachia. The Pyrle Theatre, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Performance times vary. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

an eye for new talent, including Jim Dine, Sol DeWitt, Larry Rivers and more. Check them out at Ahead of the Curve: Selections from the Virginia Dwan Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

DILL-ICIOUS. Falk visiting artist Lesley Dill HER ROYAL FLAKINESS. Triad Stage resets • • explores the dark side of believing via Lesley Dill: Faith Hans Christian Andersen’s The Snow Queen in

COLOR BIND. Two abstract artists inspired • each other and influenced each other’s work as il-

December 1–31

December 1–14

— all of the above, stars of The Art of Seating: Two Hundred Years of American Design. Reynolda House Museum of Art, 2250 Reynolda Road, WinstonSalem. Info: 888-663-1149 or reynoldahouse.org.

lustrated in Al Held + Robert Magold: B/W to Color. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate Streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

PAPERED OVER. For the 43rd year, Art on Paper • showcases the work of emerging and established art-

ists, thanks to the generosity of Xpedx. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate streets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.


• • Art


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SITTING PRETTY. Take your pick: an over• stuffed armchair, a rocker, an übermodern lounger

December 1–January 1, 2015

GETTING THE LED OUT. Merry and bright • are on display during Tanglewood Festival of Lights,

one of the Southeast’s Top 20 events. Admission for cars is $15. Tanglewood Park, 4061 Clemmons Road, Clemmons. Tickets: (336) 703-6400 or forsyth.cc/ Parks/Tanglewood/fol.

• • Film


• • Fun



TRENDSETTER. Fortunately for the art world, • L.A. and New York gallery owner Virginia Dwan had

December 1–February 15, 2015

BRUSHSTROKES. Watch the evolution of • new painting techniques from the likes of Willem

DeKooning and Ralph Humphreys at Innovations in Painting: Selections from the Collection. Weatherspoon Art Museum, corner of Spring Garden and Tate treets, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon. uncg.edu.

December 1–March 8, 2015

LUCK OF THE DRAW. See how various media • — charcoal, ink, crayon among others — produce

different effects in Line, Touch Trace. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December Arts Calendar December 2–30

BAKLAVA-VA-VOOM! 9 a.m.–4 p.m. This is one • occasion you don’t need to beware of Greeks bearing

CHICKEN’N’PICKIN’ 6:30 – 9:30 p.m. It’s • hard to say what’s better, the music Tuesday night

gifts. Crafts and pastries are for sale from the Ladies Philoptochos Society of the The Dormition of the Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church. 800 Westridge Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 292-8013 or dormition. nc.goarch.org.

at Lucky 32 or the fried chicken. Lick your fingers and listen to Molly McGinn on the 2nd; Laurelyn Dossett on the 9th; Molly again on the 16th; a “Holiday Extravaganza” with Laurelyn Dossett, Molly McGinn and Scott Manring on the 23rd; and Martha Bassett, Sam Frazier and Pat Lawrence on the 30th. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/ fried_chicken.htm.

SHOPPING SPRAY. 10 a.m.–3 p.m. Christmas • shopping doesn’t have to be a hassle if there’s hot cider, cookies, music and a drawing for a gardener’s gift basket. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

December 2

OH, THE IRON-Y! 10 a.m.–4 p.m. The black• smith is slinging his hammer again. High Point

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Come to a book • release party for Liturgical Subjects by religious scholar

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

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

MARCHING MADNESS. Noon. Floats, • Macy’s–style balloons and — yeah, baby! — A&T’s

December 3

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Linda • Beatrice Brown, author of A Mother Knows Her Child:

Author, Author Marietta McCarty 12/


Poetic Meditations from Mary. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

December 3–7

LET IT GO! LET IT GO! LET IT GO! Chill • out at Frozen, courtesy of Disney on Ice. Performance

times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 3­–21

EBENEZER & CO. Lose yourself in Triad • Stage’s production of everyone’s favorite seasonal

morality tale/ghost story/tearjerker, Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. Performance times vary. Hanesbrands Theatre, Milton Rhodes Center for the Arts, 209 North Spruce Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

December 4

JOIE DE VI(E)SA. 5:30 p.m. Whip out the plastic • and buy an art credit that applies to the purchase of an objet d’art of your desire at First Choice. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-7460 or greenhill.org.

December 5

BULB-UOUS. 6 p.m. Be there for the flip of the • switch that illuminates the Community Tree. Yep, it’s the Festival of Lights, featuring live music, crafts and photo ops with Santa. City Center Park, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-4595 or festivaloflightsgso.org.


PASSÉ COMPOSÉ. 6 p.m. A High Point resident creates quilts to explore the history of her hometown at Pieces of the Past: the Art of Gwendolyn Jones Magee. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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

December 5–6

THE OK CHORAL. 7:30 p.m. Listen to sounds • of the season at the Holiday Choral Concert featuring a full orchestra comprised of students, faculty and guests. Hayworth Fine Arts Center, High Point University, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point. To register: (336) 841-9202 or highpoint.edu.

December 5–January 16, 2015

PHONING IT IN. Dial it up a notch by seeing • North Carolina’s largest exhibition of cell phone

photos at Oh Snap Holidays! And if you really dig a digital image, you can purchase it live or online for $5. Center for Visual Artists, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or greensboroart.org.

December 6

RISE AND SHINE. 8 a.m.–10 a.m. Breakfast • with Santa includes eggs, sausage, pastries and fruit,

followed by some cookie decorating and storytelling. Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, 390 South Liberty Street, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 273-9111 or childrensmuseumofws.org. To register: http://conta. cc/1yKDYUR.


• • Art


Performing arts

Blue and Gold Marching Machine! Don’t miss the Greensboro Holiday Parade, presented by the Greensboro Jaycees. Downtown Greensboro. Info: (336) 404-1182 or gsoholidayparade.com.

CONTINUE THE MADNESS. 1:30 p.m.–4:30 • p.m. Keep celebrating with free hot chocolate, a

rendezvous with Mrs. Claus, ornament-making, light ball-making and more at the Christmas Parade Finale (or fun-ale) at the Museum. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or greensborohistory.org.

CHILLY CHOO-CHOO. 2 p.m. Let the kid• dies wear their jammies for an afternoon of stories,

train activities, crafts and a ride on the Polar Express on — what else? — Polar Express Day. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Tickets: gcmuseum.com.

December 6–7

STOCKING STUFFERS. And more await at • Super Flea Market. Times vary. Pavilion, Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee Street, Greensboro. Info: superflea.com.

December 6-7; 12–14

NUTTY. It’s that time again: Greensboro • Ballet brings to life the adventures of Clara,

Drosselmeyer, the Mouse King and Sugarplum fairies in Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, as well as special Tea with Clara events. Performance times vary. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 7

TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. A special Sunday at the Market will feature “Made 4 the Holidays” — crafts, bath-and-body products, ornaments and specialty foods, along with food trucks and music.Greensboro Farmers

• • Film


• • Fun

December 2014



O.Henry 91

December Arts Calendar Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

HOOFIN’ IT. 1 p.m. Put your best feet forward for the 23rd annual Winter Walk for AIDS, benefiting the Triad Health Project. Elliot University Center, UNCG, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-1654 or triadhealthproject.com. To register: winterwalkforaids. kintera.org.

HISTORICAL HOLIDAYS. 1 p.m.–4 p.m. Catch • historical re-enactments, music, hands-on activities, refreshments (and the blacksmith, still hammering away) at the 42nd Annual Open House. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 2 p.m. Meet philoso• pher Marietta McCarty, author of The Philospher’s

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

TAPERS AND TUNES. 7 p.m. Hear traditional • carols, spirituals and gospel songs at the Christmas

Candlelight Concert, courtesy of the Bennett College Choir and Handbell Choir, and an address from President Rosalind Fuse-Hall. Bennett College, 900 East Washington Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5171592 or bennettcollege.edu.

JAZZMATAZZ. 7:30 p.m. Catch some riffs from the Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra at the Crown. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 7–January 11, 2015

THE FORTE OF FORTY. As in, 40 years of • Greenhill. Celebrating its anniversary and Winter

Show, the gallery will assemble the works of 120 North Carolina artists working in all media — painting, sculpture, photography, jewelry and more. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

December 8

THE OLD BAILEY. 7 p.m. That would be George • Bailey (James Stewart), hero of Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1946). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 9

Not-So-Silent Night

White Christmas (1954). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.


SNOW GO. 7 p.m. Will there be any white stuff • in time for the holidays? Find out at Irving Berlin’s

FESTIVE FA LA LAS. 7:30 p.m. The North • Carolina Symphony tunes up for its annual Holiday

Pops concert. Hayworth Fine Arts Center, High Point University, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point. To register: (336) 841-9209 or highpoint.edu/community/ ncsymphony.

December 10

SILENT NIGHT. 5:30 p.m. Contemplation and • tradition blend at the Festival of Lessons and Carols,

a candlelight service of spoken word and music made popular by King’s College Cambridge, England. High Point University, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 841-9209 or highpoint.edu.

CUT TO THE CHASE. 7 p.m. Chevy Chase • plays the bumbling patriarch of the Griswold family in National Lampoon’s Vacation (1989). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Daisy • Hernandez, author of A Cup of Water Under My

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

December 11

Bing Crosby & Fred Astaire Holiday Inn



92 O.Henry

December 2014

music in store as

INN-OVATION. 7 p.m. Open only on holidays? • Only in the movies. Hear Bing croon and watch Fred

dance in Holiday Inn (1942). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com.

AUTHORS. AUTHORS. 7 p.m. Meet Livingston Press authors Greg Cusick, L.C. Fiore and Miriam Herin. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

WHATCHACALLIT. 7:30 p.m. It may be billed • as “A Concert With No Name,” but there’s plenty of


the Piedmont Wind Symphony teams up with 1970s folk/rock band, America. Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, 2825 University Parkway, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 12

GINGER BAKERS. 5 p.m.–7 p.m. Teenagers can • don their toques for “Teen Cooking Class: Cookie Exchange,” a class in baking sweet treats. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 317, or gcmuseum.com.

BLANCHING OUT. 8 p.m. Don all-white • threads for the “Go White for UNCF [United Negro

College Fund] Party,” a scholarship fundraiser featuring live music by Sweet Dreams, heavy hors d’oeuvres and cash bar. Bennett College Global Learning Center, 521 Gorrell Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 517-1592 or bennettcollege.edu.

December 12–13, 15

HAIRY CHRISTMAS. Bel Canto Company and • Greensboro Youth Chorus perform various seasonal pieces interwoven with readings from O. Henry’s Gift of the Magi. Performance times and venues vary. Tickets: (336) 333-2220 or etix.com.

December 12–21

SUITE DREAMS. A time-honored Triad • tradition continues: Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker,

interpreted by director Ethan Stiefel, musical director Christopher James Lees, Boston Ballet principals and UNC-School of the Arts Nutcracker orchestra. Stevens Center, 405 West Fourth Street, WinstonSalem. Tickets: (336) 721-1945 or uncsa.edu. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December Arts Calendar Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7400 or greensborocoliseum.com.

December 13

WICK-IPEDIA. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Light a single • candle — after you learn to dip it with the help of a

costumed interpreter (cost is $1 per candle). Historical Park, High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

SEASONAL STEPS. 8:30 p.m. Come in from • the cold and be hot to foxtrot at the Piedmont Swing

Society’s annual Christmas dance. An hour lesson for beginners starts at 7:30. Vintage Theatre, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508-9998 or piedmontswingdance.org.

BANG! BANG! 9 p.m. Hold on loosely as .38 • Special rocks the house. Cone Denim Entertainment

December 15

CURLY TWO-SHOES. 7 p.m. From The North • Pole to Manhattan — it can only be Elf (2003), starring Will Ferrell. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 16

NOT-SO-SILENT NIGHT. 7:30 p.m. Jump, • jive and jitterbug with joy at Big Bad Voodoo

Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

Daddy’s Wild & Swingin’ Holiday Party. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 14

December 17

page 19). Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

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

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet Ann • Trueblood Raper, author of A Quaker Courtship (See

FOOD OF LOVE. 5 p.m. Bring canned goods • to hear seasonal sounds at the Old Dominion/Fox

8 Holiday Concert with the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Lee

Managing Townhome, Condominium & Single Family Homeowner Associations Throughout the Triad area. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

TRIGGER HAPPY. 7 p.m. Follow Ralphie on his • quest for a Red Rider BB gun from Santa in 1983’s A

December 18

HANDEL BARS. 7 p.m. Halleluiah! • It’s that time again: Greensboro Oratorio

Cookie Decorating with Mrs. Claus



www.slatterinc.com December 2014

O.Henry 93



Irving Park

Dressing Childhood...for the holidays


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94 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Singers offers a free performance of George Frederick Handel’s Messiah. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 253-4878 or oratoriogso.org.

December Arts Calendar

December 18–19

BLOW-OUT 7:30 p.m. Hear some horns in High • Point and Winston-Salem. Now’s the time for the “Chistmas Wrapped in Brass” concert by the recently formed North Carolina Brass Band. Times and venues vary. Tickets: ncbrassband.org.

December 19

COOKING WITH MRS. C. 3:30 p.m. Stir • things up with Mrs. Claus in the Edible Schoolyard for some cookie decorating and fun. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, ext. 317 or gcmuseum.com.

ZuZu's Petals


LAST CHANCE FOR DANCE. Whether • beginner or pro, if you want dance instruction from

10 a.m.–4 p.m. Steeeeeeerrrike! While the iron is hot, that is. Last chance this year to catch the blacksmith doing his thing. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859.

INDIE GO-GO. 9 p.m. The cool kids of • Echosmith bring their indie pop sounds to town.

Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 20



the Dance Project, the School at City Arts — sans registration fee — today’s your last day to sign up. Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2727 or danceproject.org.

December 20, 23

HOUSE SPECIALTY. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Learn how • to make a gingerbread house with a mini-milk carton and graham crackers. A small fee and admission required. Children’s Museum of Winston-Salem, 390


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December 2014

O.Henry 95

Life & Home

Let the Pack-N-Post wrap and ship your Gifts Galore!

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96 O.Henry

December 2014

Antiques • New Furniture • Office Furniture • Finishing available in lacquer colors

1316 Headquarters Dr. Greensboro, NC 336-275-5056 www.philbarkerantiques.com

Come visit Center United Methodist Church 6142 Lake Brandt Rd. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Happy Holidays and Best Wishes for a Great 2015!

Life & Home

Melissa Greer Realtor / Broker, GRI, CRS

Chairman’s Circle Gold Award 2010, 2011, 2012 Chairman’s Circle Platinum Award 2013

336.337.5233 www.melissagreer.com melissa@melissagreer.com ©2014 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity.

Cherish your loved ones

336.207.9005 cell cwsg28@gmail.com

this Holiday Season

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O.Henry 97

December Arts Calendar South Liberty Street, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 2739111 or childrensmuseumofws.org.

December 22

BERLIN DIARY. 1 p.m.; 7 p.m. Bing Crosby and • Danny Kaye are back in a repeat screening of Irving

Berlin’s White Christmas (1954). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 23

ZUZU’S PETALS. 1 p.m.; 7 p.m. It’s still • wonderful — It’s a Wonderful Life, that is. See it in

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

December 31

NEON NEW YEAR’S. Noon. Start the New • Year — or rather, Noon Year — bright with neon colors, glow-in the dark crafts, tunes from DJ Captain Steve and dancing. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5742898 or gcmuseum.com.


•• •

•• •

GUYS OF THE GREAT WHITE WAY. 8 p.m. • The music of Stephen Sondheim, Andrew LloydWebber and Rodgers & Hammerstein fill the bill at Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s “Leading Men of Broadway” concert. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5456 ext. 224 or ticketmaster.com.

COME TO MAMA! 8 p.m. Ring in 2015 with • the funk-metal-R&B sounds of Mother’s Finest. Cone Denim Entertainment Center, 117 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000.


BUZZING. 10 a.m. Your busy little bees engage • in a Busy Bees preschool program focusing on music,

movement, garden exploration and fun in the kitchen, at the Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 5742898 or gcmuseum.com.


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

•• Life & Home Life & Home

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

Guys of the Great White Way



M A R ION Tile & Flooring


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98 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Piedmont’s Premier Chorus

Gift of the Magi “One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas...”

Friday, December 12, 8:00 PM

Main St. United Methodist Church, Kernersville

© William Mangum Fine Art

Saturday, December 13, 8:00 PM Monday, December 15, 7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church, Greensboro

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Arts & Culture

Molly Dingledine, Lotus Earrings

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2014

O.Henry 99

Arts & Culture

(336) 272-0160

tickets on sale now at www.triadstage.org or 336.272.0160

At the pyrle theater in greensboro

At hanesbrands theatre in Winston-Salem

Snow Queen

a christmas Carol

November 28 - December 21, 2014

December 3 - 21, 2014

by Preston Lane with original music by Laurelyn Dossett inspired by THE SNOW QUEEN by Hans Christian Andersen

the Holidays_TS.indd 1 100 Spend O.Henry December 2014

by Charles Dickens adapted by Preston Lane

5:36:33 PM The Art & Soul11/7/2014 of Greensboro

meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.


TWICE UPON A TIME. 11 a.m. Preschool Storytime II convenes for children ages 3­–5. Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.


TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 8 a.m.–1:30 p.m. Get fresh with locally grown produce, cakes, pies and cut fleurs for a pretty table. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

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

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Mussels with house-cut fries for $15, wines from $10–15 a bottle and live music by Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn. On New Year’s Eve celebrate the coming of 2015 with Jessica as deejay along with special dishes from 10 p.m. until 1 a.m. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699 or printworksbistro.com/live_music. htm.

OPEN MIC COMEDY. 8–9:35 p.m. Local pros • and amateurs take the mic at the Idiot Box, 348 South

Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.


THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on • exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at

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

•• •

•• •

December Arts Calendar

Jazz Night

$4 Fun Fridays (starting 12/12). Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.



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

Arts & CultureArts & Culture


Paintings B y

We are proud to sponsor

C.P. Logan

Holiday Gift Show

featuring art by resident artists at MOSAIC Studio Fun, colorful and whimsical best describes the pottery, jewelry, paintings and more offered by resident artists at MOSAIC

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children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities by providing eduction, employment, and enrichment opportunities to live, work and play in their communities. The Opening Reception is

New York City Lights 18x18

original oil

Original oils, commissions, workshops studio classes, online classes, painting parties G I F T C E R T I F I C AT E S www.cplogan.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Thursday, December 4th • 6-9PM Exhibit will run thru January 2015. Free Admission.

2105-A W. Cornwallis Drive • Greensboro


(336) 274-6717 December 2014

O.Henry 101


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102 O.Henry

December 2014

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December 2014

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December Arts Calendar Fridays & Saturdays

North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointlibrary.com.

Downtown Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 905-4060 or carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.

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

NIGHTMARES ON ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A • 90-minute, historical, candlelit ghost walking tour of


TO MARKET, TO MARKET. 7 a.m. until • noon. In addition to fresh greens, yummy pies and

belles fleurs, check out special events on given dates: Made 4 the Holidays (12/7: 11 a.m.–4 p.m.); Apple Pancake Day (12/13); Mid-Week Market Shop (12/24; 12/31: 8 a.m.–1 p.m.). Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: gsofarmersmarket.org.

CHRISTMASITIS CURES. Quell Christmas • excitement by bringing the kiddies to a presentation

from Balloon Lady Donna Pruett (12/6 at 1 p.m.); a seminar, “How to Train Your Dragon,” based on the popular books (12/13 at 2 p.m.); and Mrs. Claus Story time, with the Grande Dame of the North Pole (12/20 at 2 p.m.). Storyroom, High Point Public Library, 901

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December 2014


HALF FOR HALF-PINTS. 1 p.m. And • grown-ups, too. A $4 admission, as opposed to

the usual $8, will allow you entry to exhibits and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com. OH

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

• • Art


Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun



The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Happy Holidays from Our Family to Yours


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State Street

“Beyond the Canvas Party” December 9th 6-8pm with the Arc of Greensboro

Fine Art & one of a kind gifts for all your holiday shopping! Tyler White O’Brien Gallery | 307 State Street, Greensboro | 279-1124 www.tylerwhitegallery.com

106 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Join us for our holiday classic

featuring the Greensboro Symphony The magical Christmas favorite of children and adults alike.

Saturday, December 6th • 3 pm & 7:30 pm Sunday, December 7th • 3 pm* Friday, December 12th • 7:30 pm Saturday, December 13th • 3 pm* Sunday, December 14th • 3 pm**

Tickets (including tax) from $16-48 (Plus $2.50 theatre restoration fee added to price of each ticket), on sale now at The Carolina Theatre box office, www.carolinatheatre.com

*Come early for “Tea with Clara” at 1:45 pm; tickets $21 **Greensboro Symphony is not performing at this show. Ticket prices will be reduced for this performance.

For more information go to www.greensboroballet.org or call 336.333.7480


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Celebrating December in France! Sunday, 2-4pm December 7, 2014 SCUPPERNONG BOOKS Greensboro, NC scuppernongbooks.com

Marietta makes her first trip to Greensboro where she will discuss the topic of “Daring” from The Philosopher’s Table December chapter set in France. Marietta’s talk (in English!) will begin at 2:30. Everyone is welcome. All three books will be available for sale and signing. Bon Appetit!

For Details Call


1st Annual

Jerry Hyman Day

First Friday, January 2, 2015 9am-8pm

We celebrate the life of the co-founder of the Greensboro Children’s Museum $2 admission for everyone! Please bring canned food to donate to the Greensboro Urban Ministry

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114 O.Henry

December 2014

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Worth the Drive to High Point

All Together, Now It started as a simple neighborhood gathering. In 2011, High Point University President Nido Qubein wanted to invite the residents of the International City to campus to enjoy a little holiday cheer. The turnout was modest: About 1,000 local alumni and community supporters came to the first Community Christmas, held on the university’s Kester Promenade on two consecutive evenings. But Roger Clodfelter, HPU’s vice president of communications, noticed an interesting phenomenon. “On the second night we had repeat visitors who had brought their friends and neighbors. We knew we were on to something.” That something turned into a major Triad-wide event that attracted as many as 3,000 visitors in 2012 — and an astounding 10,000 people last year. Just what is it that has them coming? For one, that the manicured landscape and already dramatic architecture of the campus is festooned with twinkling lights and traditional Christmas decorations. Several area choirs and bands, such as the High Point Central High School Singers or vocalists from the Penn Griffin School of the Arts, serenade guests with holiday favorites. There’s hot food, cookies and hot chocolate to warm bellies on chilly nights,

carriage rides and, of course, the North Pole’s most important resident, Santa himself, to take last-minute requests from children, pose for photos and present a small gift to each of his eager fans. For all its festive ambience, Clodfelter feels the appeal of Community Christmas is larger. “It allows people to relax, reassess, slow down and enjoy being with one another,” he says, adding, “we’re not selling anything.” What the event does offer — free of charge — is the Christmas spirit, so evident in the faces of its younger participants. “We have ‘snow’ that falls in a couple of places on campus,” he explains. “To see little children see that, to hear Christmas music in the background, people walking around with hot chocolate . . . it’s a little unworldly.” This year, visitors can expect the same with a few changes. “We moved the dates to Thursday and Friday night [December 18 and 19 at 5:30 p.m.],” says Clodfelter, “to make it more convenient for families.” There will also be a life-size Nativity, elves to greet people, Santa’s woodsman to regale them with stories, and majestic Clydesdale horses hauling the carriages. “We’re excited to open up campus,” Clodfelter says. “It’s a time for community.” OH Info: highpoint.edu/community — Nancy Oakley Info: oldsalem.org/holiday

Worth the Drive to Winston-Salem

The Real Deal Moravian stars . . . sugar cake made from potato flour, drizzled with butter and melted sugar . . . beeswax candles adorned with red crepe paper . . . plump lovefeast buns . . . and, of course, those paper-thin, gingery Moravian cookies. Let’s face it, there’s nothing that says Christmas like Old Salem Museum and Gardens. Yes, it has something to do with the quiet streets lined with centuries-old quaint timber-and-brick buildings adorned with fresh greenery — a far cry from the madding crowds and persistent blare of shopping centers and big-box stores. But it’s more about how those holiday traditions that have withstood the test of time can be yours. “People really want to have traditions,” observes Ragan Folan, Old Salem’s president. “Families appreciate a sense of making memories together.” December in this town, founded in 1766 by the Moravians, is a great time to start making those memories. Take the self-guided tour on any given day and see how the holidays were celebrated in the 18th and 19th centuries. Or you can go whole hog at Salem Christmas on December 13, a daylong event featurThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

ing games, hearth-cooking demonstrations, and carol-singing around a wooden pyramid (the Moravian forerunner to the Christmas tree). If you have children in tow, a Saturday with St. Nicholas, featuring the Heirloom Puppet Theatre’s production of Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree (also offered on weekdays) might fit the bill. Romantics will revel in the guided candlelight tours, where they’ll be treated to food and drink, carols and games by the soft light of tapers. Reflective souls will appreciate Candle Teas, presented by Home Moravian Church, a lovefeast at St. Philips or simply the chance to wander the streets to the strains of a Tannenberg organ — and stop in at the C. Winkler Bakery, where that sugar cake, fresh out of a wood-fired oven, awaits. And for those who can’t let go of the holiday once December 25 has come and gone, no worries: Old Salem opens its doors during that dreary week between Christmas and New Year’s. Old Salem, contends Folan, is a chance to “do something that’s meaningful and authentic.” So come on over to Old Salem this Christmas, and the next, and the next — and get real. OH Info: oldsalem.org/holidays — Nancy Oakley Info: oldsalem.org/holiday December 2014

O.Henry 115

Business & Services


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116 O.Henry

December 2014

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Josh Cranfill, Dan McAlister, Rene Cranfill, Taylor & Robert Swink, Linda Mills

GreenScene Greensboro Historical Museum presents: The Fresh Market Wine Gala Thursday, October 16, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

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December 2014

O.Henry 117

Service learning plays an important role in the NGFS experience, with classes that promote social awareness and responsibility. Through trips and special projects, our students go out and make a difference in the world. Some trips take a single day and complement a certain unit of study. Extended trips – whether across the county or around the globe – deepen the curriculum and have a lasting impact in the life of each student who participates. Ready for an education that goes beyond the campus? Call today for details. 1128 New Garden Road

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Cookies & Cocoa Open House Drop by with your child for a taste of Canterbury Saturday, Jan. 11, 3-5pm, Berry Hall Canterbury School is a PreK-8 Episcopal day school.

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

118 O.Henry

December 2014

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Matt & Julie Milunie, Alan Hines

Piedmont Land Conservancy Land Jam 2014 Historic Carolina Theatre Friday, October 17, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Lois & Charles Brummitt

Sarah George, Taylor Myers

Alison Manka, Ted Endriss

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Krista Kalmerton, Caroline Lea

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Justin Catanoso, Laurelyn Dossett David & Pamela Duff

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December 2014

O.Henry 119

Dover Square Dover Square

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120 O.Henry

December 2014

3326 W Friendly Avenue |Greensboro, NC 27410 Phone: 336.299.4505 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Vivace — Greensboro Symphony Young Professionals Hereos & Villians After-Party The Marshall Free House Saturday, November 8, 2014 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Caroline Oliveira, Daniel Crupi

Danielle & Miguel Laygo

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2014

O.Henry 121

GreenScene Scuppernong Books O.Henry Short Story Contest Awards Thursday, October 30, 2014 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Angela Schlentz, Susan Boswell, Perry Boswell, Janie Sink, Gary Sink, Elaine Snipes

Jim Schlosser, Maria Johnson

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122 O.Henry

December 2014

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Unique Gifts for Everyone on Your List

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All sales of our beautiful fair trade crafts benefit artisans in developing countries!

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206 Sunset Drive Designed by Raleigh Hughes, Villa style home magnificently restored and updated – new kitchen, Master Bath. Study with pecky cypress walls, Sunroom with surround views. Overlooking GCC Golf Course, lives and entertains well inside and out. One-of-a kind, magnificent Old Irving Park home. Price upon request.

“Gifts from the Heart”

623 Woodland Drive Classic Old Irving Park home updated and renovated throughout. Hardwood floors on both levels. Master Bath with separate shower, pedestal tub, large closet. Bedrooms with built-ins. Screened porch overlooks gardens & play area. 2-car garage with workshop. Lots of storage & much more! Price upon request.

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Lake view home has it all! Quality construction and handicap accessible with elevator. Master Suite on main. Open floor plan, hardwoods, high ceilings. 5 BR/5.5 BAs, workout room & sauna. Home theater, game area, BR & BA. Outdoor recreation and entertaining center on water.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

©2014 BHH Affi liates, 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.

December 2014

O.Henry 123

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December 2014



124 O.Henry



Order tickets now: NorthCarolina2015.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

By Sandra Redding

December Literary Events

December 11 (Thursday, 7 p.m.). An Evening with Livingston Press. Scuppernong Books, Greensboro. Readings by three N.C. writers: Durham’s Gregg Cusick, My Father Moves Through Time Like a Dirigible; Raleigh’s L. C. (Charles) Fiore, Green Gospel; and Greensboro’s Miriam Herin, Stones for Bread (see Q&A below). This in-the-know trio, all published by the same University of West Alabama-based press, will be delighted to answer writing and publishing questions. Info: Scuppernongbooks.com. December 31 (Wednesday). Sam Ragan, one of North Carolina’s literary giants, was born in Berea on New Year’s Eve in 1915, but he spent most of his life in Southern Pines. Folks there recall the colorful bow ties he wore, the perpetual twinkle in his eye and his unending devotion to North Carolina’s writing community. During his lifetime, he published six collections of poetry and four of nonfiction. He was also editor and publisher of The Pilot newspaper and helped found Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. In 1982, Gov. Jim Hunt named Ragan Poet Laureate, a position he held until he died in 1996.

Contests & Winners

Poetry is the dark side of the moon. — Charles Wright, Poet Laureate of the United States Who will be North Carolina’s ninth Poet Laureate? In July, shortly after Valerie Macon received the honor, she resigned. Gov. Pat McCrory will announce her replacement this month. Will our new verse ambassador sing “Hallelujah” or “oy vey”? When the Library of Congress recently selected Charles Wright to be 2015’s National Poet Laureate, stunned by the unexpected honor, he said, “I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. Soon as I find out, I’ll do it.” Now 78, Wright, who once studied writing at Davidson College, lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. A gentle genius, his meditative poems praise Southern landscapes and traditions. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

2015 Press 53 Award for Poetry: Kendal Privette of North Wilkesboro is one of ten finalists. Two more N. C. poets — Steve Cushman of Greensboro and Janet Joyner of WinstonSalem — are among the twenty-five semi-finalists. Winner will be announced later this month. The 2015 Press 53 Award for Short Fiction is open for submissions until December 31, 2014. Info: Press53.com Lee Smith’s superb Guests on Earth tops the list of recommended books at The Country Bookshop in Southern Pines. Recently released Familiars by Greensboro’s Fred Chappell is immensely popular, particularly among devotees of cats, not to mention poetry. Catwalk, by Sheila Webster Boneham, of Wilmington, entertains mystery fans with chills, thrills and a dollop of humor. Perhaps Jason Mott’s latest spellbinding novel, The Wonder of All Things, will be adapted for cinema like his previous, The Returned?

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Writing Lessons

Miriam Herin of Greensboro began writing at age 6. For decades, teaching at colleges and universities interfered with her literary goals. In 2007, her first novel, Absolution, won the Novello Literary Award. Clyde Edgerton of Wilmington praised Herin for writing “a big story, compelling and suspenseful, bringing home consequences of war and misguided love.” Her second novel, Stones for Bread, runner-up in The William Faulkner — William Wisdom Creative Writing Contest, will be released in 2015. This book is about poems believed to have been taken from a Nazi camp and the man, disgraced N.C. poet Henry Beam, who published them.


Dreaming of a weekend getaway to the Sandhills? Relax in the heart of Southern Pines’ horse country, just miles from Pinehurst Resort

Herin recently answered a few questions about her life as a novelist: What do you enjoy most about writing? I love creating a world and peopling it with characters who did not exist until I typed them on the page. What do you like least? Most writers dislike the reality that writing is a business which requires us to be salespeople, marketers, publicists and sometimes even publishers to get our work out. What advice do you have for aspiring writers? Surround yourself with people who will love and respect you whether you publish or not. Happy holidays! Do keep me updated on writer happenings. sanredd@earthlink.net OH Greensboro writer Sandra Redding’s novel, Naomi Wise: A Cautionary Tale, is a riveting story about heartbreak and hope in a Quaker Community.

617-680-6351 • Southern Pines, NC www.tanglewoodfarmbandb.com tanglewoodfarmbandb@yahoo.com December 2014

O.Henry 125

Warnersville Warnersville

Our Home, Our Neighborhood, Our Stories Our Home, Our Neighborhood, Our Stories

Green Hist Mus

pre a new

FREE Admission • Tuesday-Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday from 2 - 5 pm www.GreensboroHistory.org • 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro • 336-373-2043

ope Novem 20

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$45 in-state $55 out-of-state *per magazine

Call 910-693-2488 or

delivered to your home! 126 O.Henry

December 2014

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

The Accidental Astrologer

Star Power, Baby It’s a big universe out there. Better get moving

By Astrid Stellanova It’s entertaining to know a Sagittarian. No big shockeroo that a boatload of them are entertainers — Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift. Even the U.S. of A.’s favorite uncle Walt Disney was a Sagittarian. Ditto for Winston Churchill . . . crazy Joe Stalin . . . Steven Spielberg . . . Pope Francis. Get the picture? Honey, it’s a big, big picture for this star sign. But let’s turn our attention to a new screen, Star Children. You, too, can be center stage. Time to put a bow on 2014 and wrap business up. Astrid’s going to hand it to you straight up.

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) Sagittarius, a centaur, is supposed to be half human and half horse. Sounds a lot like my stubborn first boyfriend, Robert Lee Roy Wallace . . . except he was actually half mule. The new moon on the 6th is going to shine a light on something you just won’t believe. Good news arrives — and a supersized surprise! By the 21st, you get another piece of unexpected news and this time it is (ca—ching!) financial. Be generous when you go Christmas shopping, Sweet Thing, ’cause the universe just fattened your wallet! Capricorn (December 22–January 19) From the 16th until early next year, Mercury is in your sign and that means you will have a lot of energy. Use it to get some unfinished business squared away so you start 2015 with a clean slate, hear me? The 21st is going to be another pivotal date in your sign, too, and it will mean you end this year on a very high note. (Well, a LOT of us will end this year on a high note, but that ain’t what I mean, Sugar.) Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Telling an Aquarius to get out of their head and not to overthink things is like me telling Beau not to use Stiff hair gel. Ain’t happening. So let’s concentrate on what you can do. The full moon early this month is in fellow air sign Gemini. Astrid thinks this means your romantic situation is going to be very nicely affected. I’ve got an eye on Uranus, and there is an aspect there with significance to you and your projects — something creative you want to start but haven’t. Start it, Honey. Pisces (February 19–March 20) There’s more than a few things you wish you could undo about 2014. I know. Me, too. Like my new red hair color this month. A big bust. But that is how we roll, and if you are going to be creative and experimental, sometimes you just pick the wrong crayon in the box. In the time some people are still whining about a gnarly knot, Pisces can unravel it. This is a fun month, and you will get all kinds of opportunities for good times. Gamer that you are, you will say goodbye to 2014 with a big old smile on your face. Aries (March 21–April 19) The first third of December is an early pre-holiday present for you. Your active mind gets a chance to exercise, and a favorite, hoped-for project lands in your lap. And, better yet, that bittersweet mystery finally gets resolved this month after years of not knowing about a friend who has always been (secretly) in your corner. Career shifts are very much on your mind this month. Before Christmas, you will get an offer and have to make some great choices — between good, better and best. Choose your words carefully for once. It won’t kill you. And try humility first, last and always. Taurus (April 20–May 20) Don’t be too selfish; last month was downright scary good, and you can’t expect a repeat. Can you? Well, maybe, Baby. Astrid sees it this way: You get almost all of what you want, but you will have to decide what that is. Keep your head. Your career is at the heart of all developments this month. Late in December, when the new moon is in Capricorn, you are so distracted you might forget to pay the mortgage. Don’t. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gemini (May 21–June 20) This month is a karmic blast for you. Somebody that never looked good in plaid shows up and makes you feel a whole lot better about yourself. (Plaid is big this year.) But there is also a good chance some spirits may come calling earlier in the month when Jupiter is in your third house. The full moon on the 6th is in Gemini — meaning a fun, crazy time for you. You will be shaking and baking Baby, right up until Santa falls down the chute. Cancer (June 21–July 22) This is a good time to be a little retrospective, Honey, and watch what happens next. Partnerships, work, family — everything is under the big old cosmic telescope this month. Should you go in business with your lover? Venus transits Capricorn, and will stir up ideas just like that. The full moon on the 6th will bring some answers, and your whole world just opens up. Ain’t kidding you. Leo (July 23–August 22) By the time you read this, you may be under scrutiny by the FBI: the F.B.I. as in Farm Bureau of Indiana. Actually, you will be on your boss’s radar, your sweetie pie’s radar, and your neighbor’s radar, because you will be like catnip to Felix the Cat all month long. You have a lot of natural magnetism, and it expands and gathers all the way from December 16th until the 5th of January. Power? Check. Restraint? Not much. Fly high, Leo, or else get under the radar. Virgo (August 23–September 22) This month is going to soothe your soul like a cosmic Tums. You have had a rough patch, and now you get to slide into home plate with a smile all over your face. On the 10th of December, Venus transits Capricorn in your fifth house, and the upshot is all good. You will have a white-hot holiday, with good times and a New Year’s end that you won’t forget anytime soon. Astrid wants you to know you earned it, Sugar. Libra (September 23–October 22) You have been feeling squirrely, and have your eye on somebody new. Honey, it ain’t gone unnoticed. Get your party shoes on, because fun is in the cards! This is a month when you are going to be unusually motivated; love and work are both jiving, and so are you. Wear bright colors and don’t hide when you get to the dance floor of life; shine on! Wear more sequins, too, is Astrid’s best advice. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) You like for the world to bring pretty gift-wrapped packages to you — ain’t no lie. But you also like giving them. Use some of the skills you perfected being a worrier and turn that energy into being a planner. Look at the new year as just one more gift you’ve been given. It absolutely is never too late to reinvent yourself — or develop a sense of humor. Laugh a little; don’t worry about them laugh lines around the corner of your mouth, because it extends your life line. 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.

December 2014

O.Henry 127

O.Henry Ending

Dutch Doll

By Molly Sentell Haile

For years the little

oracle woman visited my cousins, brothers and me at my grandmother Mimi’s house. Shy and easily frightened, Dutch Doll’s tiny face was as alive as my own skin, yet she never spoke to us.

We couldn’t predict her visits. We just hoped. After we opened Christmas presents — snake lights, add-a-bead necklaces and, always, the decorative bowls my mom and aunts had bought for each other — we kids circled Mimi’s twinkling artificial Christmas tree a couple of times and lifted its skirt just to make sure we hadn’t missed one last gift. Finding nothing, we would sneak into the kitchen to filch powdered wedding cookies. We took them not because we were hungry but because we hungered for more Christmas. Around that time of night, one of our aunts often made a run to the store for butter or bacon for the next morning’s breakfast (or maybe a little wine, which Mimi didn’t allow in the house). That night it was Aunt Denise. We kids played chase in Mimi’s dark yard until someone got scraped up and everybody had to come inside. Then a murmur of excitement traveled through the house. “I heard something upstairs.” “I think she’s come for a visit.” “Is it Dutch Doll?” “Shh . . . ” my Aunt Carla, who was an art teacher, told us as she nodded. “We don’t want to scare her away.” We followed my mom and Aunt Carla upstairs to the yellow bedroom Dutch Doll favored. Aunt Carla stopped and whispered, “Remember. You have to use soft voices. Only yes-and-no questions. And you can’t get too close. You could scare her away.” Aunt Carla opened the door to the yellow room, and at first we couldn’t see anything in the darkness. Someone had turned on the bedside lamp and covered it with a white baby blanket that filled the room with a soft, eerie light. “Littlest ones kneel in front and big ones stand behind.” We jammed into the small space Shannon and I knew so well. It was filled with the smell of cedar and old perfume and with black-and-white portraits of my mom and her sisters, their young faces — both familiar and strange — with smoky eyes like movie stars from the ’50s and cotton candy hair piled up high.

128 O.Henry

December 2014

I had questions for Dutch Doll: Will I be a doctor? Will I go to China one day? Will I ever get a kitten? Are aliens real? But those questions were lost as my eyes adjusted to the faintly lit room and I saw our strange little visitor, no taller than my knees. She wore a white bonnet and long lacy dress that seemed to blend into the bed skirt behind her. Her face shimmered in the dim light and made me think of soft-faced little old ladies who wore too much red lipstick and eye makeup. She greeted us with a kind, slow nod. “Hello, Dutch Doll,” Aunt Carla began, and, we added our own staggered hellos. Dutch Doll nodded again, twice this time. Do you come from far away? Nod. Do they have Christmas where you’re from? Another nod. Do you have your own family? Nod. Will I make all A’s this year? She paused before giving a slow nod. “She’s probably thinking you can if you put your mind to it,” Aunt Carla said, and Dutch Doll nodded twice. Stefanie, who was 10, asked, “Will I get my ears pierced this year?” We looked around for Stefanie’s mom, Aunt Denise, but she still wasn’t back from the store. Dutch Doll shook her head and Stefanie’s smile slid away. My oldest brother, who was also 10, said, “Can we see your shoes?” Dutch Doll shook her head. Can you wave? Again, she shook her head. Why hadn’t I noticed that we never saw her arms? Someone on the front row must have crept too close because Aunt Carla squeezed her lips in tight and said, “Look. She’s worn out from the trip. That’s all.” And that was all. Dutch Doll didn’t come at Easter or in the summer. Or the next Christmas. “You kids may have outgrown her,” the adults told us. A couple of summers later, Shannon and I were steeped in one of our unending theatrical stories, and she sent me to the yellow room in search of one of the off-limits wedding veils we liked to pin on each others’ heads just to see. I stood on a chair to reach for the tall stack of boxes on the high closet shelf. As I reached for them, the one on top, a red and green shirt box, slid into me. It held nothing but white lacy fabric, a baby bonnet and a ladies’ knee-high stocking — just one — in the color people embarrassingly called nude. I set the box down and looked at the blue, black and red stains on the foot of the stocking before sliding my hand into it the way ladies studied pantyhose samples at department stores. And then I saw her. I saw our Dutch Doll’s delicate, shimmering face on the back of my hand. OH Molly Sentell Haile, a graduate of UNCG’s creative writing MFA program, teaches creative writing at Hirsch Wellness Network in Greensboro. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

How one child’s spirit of Christmas eluded her for many years

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