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Peace on earth and goodwill to all.

BHHSYostandLittle.com Š2015 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.Ž Equal Housing Opportunity.


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December DOWNTOWN in

Sunday

Monday

Tuesday

Wednesday 1

Thursday

Friday

2

Saturday

3

4 • Festival of Lights

• Holiday Parade, 12pm

• First Friday • Holiday Review and Sing-A-Long, 7:45pm TRIAD STAGE

6

7

Beautiful Star: An Appalachian Nativity 7:30pm

8

TRIAD STAGE

Performance at 7:30pm

9

TRIAD STAGE

• Extended Holiday Shopping Hours @ Greenhill

14

15

Performance at 2pm Performance at 3pm

20

TRIAD STAGE

Performances at 10:30am & 7:30pm

16

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life, 7:00pm

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: Miracle on 34th Street, 7:00pm

21

Performance at 2pm

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: Holiday Inn, 7:00pm

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: Scrooged, 7:00pm

Performance at 7:30pm

Performance at 7:30pm

22

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: A Christmas Story, 1pm & 7pm

Performance at 2pm

Downtown

Performance at 3pm

Dine

TRIAD STAGE

• Pet pictures 12 & brunch with Santa, Natty Greene’s Pub, 10 - 11am Tea with Clara, 12:45pm Performances at 2pm & 7:30pm TRIAD STAGE

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24

27

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: White Christmas, 1pm & 7pm

28

TRIAD STAGE

Performance at 7:30pm

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19

29

PLAY

DOWN TOWN

Performance at 7:30pm

30

Performances at 2pm & 7:30pm TRIAD STAGE

Performance at 8pm

Performances at 2pm & 8pm Performance at 2pm

25

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Merry tmas s i r h C

Carolina Classic Holiday Movie: It’s a Wonderful Life, 1pm & 7pm TRIAD STAGE

Performances at 2pm & 8pm The Nutcracker, 2pm & 7pm

Performance at 7:30pm TRIAD STAGE

Performance at 8pm

Performances at 8pm

17

Tea with Clara, 1:45pm

TRIAD STAGE

11

• Cookies with Mrs. Claus Greensboro Children’s Museum, 3:30 - 4:30pm

Performance at 2pm TRIAD STAGE

TRIAD STAGE

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, 7:30pm

Performance at 2pm

13

• Hot Chocolate and Holiday Crafts, Greensboro Historical Museum, 2 - 4pm

• Tween Cooking Class: Holiday Bakeshop Greensboro Children’s Museum, 5:30-7pm

Polar Express Day Greensboro Children’s Museum, 2 - 5pm TRIAD STAGE

Performance at 8pm

10

5

Christmas at the Carolina: Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws, 9:30am

31

RUNNING DATES Early Victorian Christmas Blandwood Mansion, Nov 12-Dec 31

Noon Year’s Eve Greensboro Children’s Museum, 10 - 11am

Ice Rink/Winterfest The RailYard, Nov 17 – Jan 31, 2016 Shop Local at the Museum Shop, Greensboro Historical Museum, Tues-Sat, 10:00am-5:00pm | Sun 2:00pm – 5:00pm


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What a Year!

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Happy Holidays !

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Broker / Owner / REALTOR速 336.430.0219 mobile 336.274.1717 office Katie.Redhead@trm.info www.trmhomes.com


You are Invited!

Christmas Open House

Mingle with our residents, tour apartments, enjoy a chair massage, all while enjoying music by pianist Lyn Gentry.

Also joining us: • June & Burton Kennedy, Keller Williams Realty of Greensboro • Ruth Spaulding, Touch of Serenity Massage Therapy

6100 West Friendly Avenue • Greensboro, NC 27410 Phone (336) 292-9952 • www.friendshomes.org

• Beth Wenhart, Carolina Relocation & Transition Specialists • Linda Bradshaw, Pull It Together, Senior Move Management


December 2015

Features 61 Cold

Poetry by Ruth Moose

62 Sacred Light

By Jim Dodson Wherever it comes from, illumination is an act of love

68 Outside the Box

By Cynthia Adams For Dixie Hodge, wrapping holiday gifts is a high art form

72 Dearly Beloved

By Molly Sentell Haile The life and art of Dori Jalazo

78 The House Without a Christmas Tree By Cynthia Adams During the holiday season Blandwood Mansion and Gardens truly shines

91 Almanac

By Rosetta Fawley Saturnalia, cold frames and bird food

Departments

50 N.C. Map

11 Simple Life By Jim Dodson

53 Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

14 Short Stories 17 Doodad By Grant Britt 19 O.Harry By Harry Blair

By Serena Brown By Clyde Edgerton

55

Birdwatch

By Susan Campbell

57 A Novel Year By Wiley Cash

23 Omnivorous Reader By Brian Lampkin

92 Arts & Entertainment December Calendar 117 Worth the Drive to High Point

27 Scuppernong Bookshelf 31 In the Spirit By Tony Cross

1 18 GreenScene 127 Accidental Astrologer

35 The Pleasures of Life 41 Evolving Species

128 O.Henry Ending

21 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson

By Nancy Oakley

By Astrid Stellanova

By John Cruickshank

By Ogi Overman

43 Gate City Journal By Jim Schlosser

Cover photograph and Photograph this page by Lynn Donovan

6 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Vive la France!

Art for Eyes | Eye for Arts Fine Eyewear, Artwork and Jewelry 327 South Elm | Greensboro 336.274.1278 | TheViewOnElm.com Becky Causey, Licensed Optician Find us on Facebook


Are you a candidate for a partial knee replacement? Not every arthritic knee needs a total knee replacement

M A G A Z I N E Volume 5, No. 12 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street, Greensboro, NC 27408 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor • jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Art Director • andie@ohenrymag.com Nancy Oakley, Senior Editor • nancy@ohenrymag.com Lauren Shumaker, Graphic Designer Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer

Matthew D. Olin, MD

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

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

Contributing Editors Cynthia Adams, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson Contributing Photographers Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, John Gessner Contributors Grant Britt, Serena Brown, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Tony Cross, John Cruickshank, Clyde Edgerton, Rosetta Fawley, Molly Sentell Haile, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Ruth Moose, Ogi Overman, Jim Schlosser, Astrid Stellanova David Claude Bailey, Editor at Large

O.H David Woronoff, Publisher Advertising Sales Marty Hefner, Sales Director 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt, 336.601.1188 • hattie@ohenrymag.com Lisa Allen, 336.210.6921 • lisa@ohenrymag.com Amy Grove, 336.456.0827 • amy@ohenrymag.com

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

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

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

8 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Don’t settle for an advisor who is just interested in your money when you can have a relationship with someone who is interested in THE BUSINESS OF YOUR LIFE.

Just as often as not, what we do at High Point Bank is help businesses and individuals figure out their next move in a thoughtful fashion. We provide sophisticated asset management, designing personalized portfolios to accomplish clients’ needs and goals. Ongoing consultation is provided to review progress and adjust your plans based on changes life might throw in the mix. Don’t settle for an advisor who is just interested in your money when you can have a relationship with someone who is interested in the business of your life. To speak to a High Point Bank Trust & Investment Advisor, call us at 336.881.3600.

© 2015 High Point Bank and Trust Company. Member FDIC

HIGHPOINTBANK.COM


Simple Life

Emma’s Bittersweet

By Jim Dodson

Where you come from, someone once said, is half of knowing who you are.

I come from rural Carolinians, farmers and a sprinkling of small town preachers, people of the soil and The Book. One half of my family were Southern Baptists, the other half Methodists. “Everyone starts out a Southern Baptist,” an uncle once pointed out to me, “. . . what those that’s been messed with.” I suppose my older brother and I were messed with. We grew up in a Lutheran church in Greensboro, sons of an itinerate newspaperman who hauled his family on a tour of Dixie before coming home for good to Greensboro. That was December of 1959. One of the first things we did was take a road trip over to Buckhorn Road in Hillsborough to visit my dad’s great elderly maiden aunts, Josie and Ida, spinsters in their upper 80s who still lived in the log house their father built after his return from the Civil War. The house was about a mile from Dodson’s Crossroads. In almost every respect these were ladies from another century. They wore long simple wool dresses and tall laced-up boots and sweaters they had knitted. Their four-room house had only a few bare-bulb ceiling lights because they much preferred to read their Bibles by oil lamps and heat by a woodstove I never saw sitting idle. They weren’t without modern conveniences, however, including an elderly slope-shouldered Frigidaire and a large old-fashioned radio that hummed when you turned it on, always tuned to old-timey gospel music. Water came from a hand pump in the kitchen sink. But each aunt had her own distinctively marked outhouse. Josie’s had a elegantly carved half moon hanging on its door; Ida’s a star. My dad called them the “Moon and Star Girls.” As best I can recall, we took them each a Whitman’s Christmas Sampler and new wool socks that first December visit. They were thrilled to receive these modest gifts. We also took them out to Sunday lunch at the fancy Colonial Inn in Hillsborough. You might have thought we’d taken them to the governor’s mansion. It was that first lunch, or maybe during the many Sunday afternoon visits we had with them over subsequent years, that Josie the Moon Girl — the more talkative one — first told my brother and me that a man named George Washington

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Tate, our dad’s great-grandfather, had not only surveyed many of the central counties of the state following the Civil War but also established several Methodist churches from north of Durham to the western hills. Eventually another story came out as well. This one had an aura of mystery around it. During one of his horseback rides to spread the Gospel out west, according to family lore, he brought back an orphaned Indian infant girl he adopted and named Emma Tate. Quite possibly she was either Cherokee or Catawba, though her name was simply entered into the family Bible and county registry as the fifth child of George Washington Tate, the only daughter of one of the county’s most important figures. Her grave’s headstone in the Chestnut Ridge United Methodist Church burying ground near Hillsborough simply notes her birth and death as March 6, 1858 and June 9, 1928, respectively. Emma grew up to marry Jimmy Dodson of Buckhorn Road, a horse farmer and dandy who played the fiddle at local dances and reportedly did little else if he could get away with it, according to Ida the Star Girl, the no-nonsense sister who always chopped the heads off the chickens and did most of the heavy work around their farm. Aunt Emma, as folks along Buckhorn Road called her, gave Jimmy Dodson four sons and two daughters, the oldest being my grandfather, Walter. He was an unusually quiet fellow and rural polymath who could make anything with his hands, grew up to become a master carpenter and, among other things, worked on crews with his younger brother Jerome raising the first electrical towers around the state, the two of them later helping to wire the Jefferson Standard building in Greensboro, the state’s second “skyscraper.” Over the course of her life, Walter’s mother, Aunt Emma, gained a reputation as a gifted natural healer who gathered her medicines from the fields around the family home place, where my dad spent some of the happiest summers of his life helping Uncle Jimmy with the horses and Aunt Emma in the garden. It took me years to realize why he connected so powerfully with the outdoors and Indian lore. Not long after that first December visit with Josie and Ida, we went in search of the homeplace and found it a mile or more off Buckhorn Road, evidently long abandoned, its front porch sagging, windows broken, surrounded by a grove of magnificent oak trees that bore garlands of mistletoe. My father used his shotgun to shoot the mistletoe out of the trees, recalling stories of his many summers on December 2015

O.Henry 11


Simple Life

that property. We also collected bittersweet for our front door wreath. For several years we returned every December to gather bittersweet and shoot mistletoe. Eventually we learned why the old place was abandoned, our family’s darkest secret. After her children were grown and gone, Aunt Emma committed suicide by hanging herself from a rafter of a room Uncle Jimmy was building on the rear of the house. No one knew why. The room was never finished. Uncle Jimmy lived another fifteen years but rarely in his own house. My dad’s theory about this tragedy was that she simply wearied of trying to live with one foot planted in two worlds, an Indian lady with a white woman’s name and a good time Jimmy for a husband. Dad had no doubt whatsoever about his grandmother’s native origins, for no one probably knew her better. I always wished I could see a photograph of Aunt Emma, but — tellingly — no one in the family seemed to possess one of her, only wonderful memories of her kindness, strength and earthy wisdom deepening the mystery. If she was indeed Native American, perhaps this explains her reluctance to be photographed. Some Indians believed a photographic image robbed their souls of vitality. My dad, in any case, tried to buy the family homeplace for years. But the property had already passed from our clan’s hands to a developer, who eventually built an upscale subdivision on the land. Though he never said as much, I always thought my father’s biggest — maybe only — disappointment in life was failing to get his hands on that old home place. Every December since, whenever I go in search of bittersweet and sprigs of mistletoe for our front door and Christmas tree, I think about Aunt Emma and how, in the nicest sort of way, this remarkable woman is my Ghost of Christmas Past. Not long ago, my wife, Wendy, and I spent an enchanting evening with my dad’s first cousin, Roger Dodson, and his lovely wife, Polly. Roger is the son of my grandfather’s younger brother, Jerome, and, also Emma’s grandson. Like many of the Dodsons, Roger is a man of faith and flying machines. My father and two

of his four brothers became Air Force pilots and flew during the war. Roger, a bit younger, trained as an air cadet in Greensboro, built his own airplane and joined the Air Force during the Korean War. He and Polly later became missionaries in New Guinea and raised their four children, two girls and two boys, in some exciting faraway places, flying everywhere to distribute Bibles. “It was a great experience for our family,” Roger explained. “A real adventure for us all.” Though they were fifteen years apart in age, Roger was one of my dad’s favorite cousins, and I shouldn’t have been surprised he knew so many of the same stories I’d heard about Aunt Emma. Jimmy Dodson, in fact, lived with Uncle Jerome’s family for a time before his passing in 1942. “Jimmy was a real character, all right. Unfortunately, I was too young to know Emma,” Roger explained over a delicious homemade supper. “But it’s my strong belief that the love of hard work and interest in helping people many Dodson men have comes directly from Aunt Emma. There was always that mystery about her death, always the quiet talk about an Indian in the family. But those who knew her sure did love her. What a gift.” Cousin Roger smiled, powerfully reminding me of my late father. He added almost casually, “Polly and I have been cleaning out some drawers and going through family scrapbooks and papers. We recently found a photograph of Emma Tate, the only one I know of. Would you like to see it?” After all these years to finally place a human face to a woman who has been such a large and mysterious part of my life was an incalculable gift, the ultimate Christmas gift. There’s very little mystery left. As Roger agreed, something about her eyes tells you the bittersweet stories must all be true. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com.

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12 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Sh rt St ries Party Like It’s . . .

. . . 1985? December 31 is Throwback Thursday at the Blind Tiger. So wear your sunglasses at night — along with big shoulder pads and skinny neckties to ring in 2016 with first-ever and longestrunning 1980s tribute band, The Breakfast Club. Relive your youth (or make up a past you didn’t have, if you were born too late) to the fast-paced covers of techno pop classics and power ballads of the MTV era. Depending on the playlist, you might be able to pogo to Devo’s “Whip It” (but please, don’t dislocate a knee!), brood like Nic Cage in Valley Girl to the strains of “I Melt With You,” or sing along to “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” before the champagne toast and balloon drop at midnight. Tickets: (336) 272-9888 or theblindtiger.com.

To GSO, With Love

What to do with a traveling art exhibit while it’s in between stops? If you’re Kathy Brusnighan, you give it to your hometown for a night. On December 11 the artist and owner of Gallery 320 downtown presents “Gift to the City,” an evening of art and music. The progeny of the successful traveling exhibit, How Do You Paint Courage? that appeared in three cancer centers in 2012, Courage II: Finding Courage in Art consists of sixty-some inspiring works that will be on view to the accompaniment of Peeler Open Elementary’s violin students, spoken word poetry, and a concert by world music band Songs of Water. Says Brusnighan, “I want people, especially anyone who has been through a health issue, to go away feeling encouraged and thinking, ‘Tomorrow is going to be a better day.’” Info: facebook.com/Gallery320.

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December 2015

Tree-mendous

Shining stars — or other toppers — will be hanging from the highest boughs of twelve trees decorated by local nonprofits competing in WellSpring Retirement Community’s annual Christmas Tree Decorating Contest. Each tree suggests who did the decorating: Last year, the Symphony Guild used ornaments made from tiny scrolls of vintage sheet music; this year, the Council of Garden Clubs is making decorations from plant materials. Come to the main lobby of Well-Spring from December 1–16 to see the handiwork of HorseFriends, Greensboro Opera, Bel Canto, Peacehaven Farm, Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro, among others, and vote for your favorite tree. You might win a Kindle reader in a drawing, and the organization that wins the most votes will be awarded $2,000 to further its cause. Info: (336) 545 5400 or well-spring.org.

Flash Lights

The effect of watching 3D movies on the 40-foot dome of Greensboro Science Center’s OmniSphere Theater is hyperreal: Suddenly you’re transported to the world of sea monsters or black holes, featured in the theater’s daily programming. And how exhilarating to be among points of lights flashing overhead (thanks to Time Warner Cable’s latest and greatest technology, Super Media Globe) — to a soundtrack that includes “Sleigh Ride,” “Jingle Bell Rock,” “Silent Night” and “Carol of the Bells.” Beam yourself up for forty-five minutes of “Laser Holidays,” (shows start at 7, 8 and 9 p.m. on December 17), and give new meaning to the phrase, “merry and bright.” Tickets: (336) 288-3769 or greensboroscience.org.

Paws de Quatre

Dance of the sugar plum furry? March of the toy (poodle) soldiers? In a twist on its annual performance of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, (December 12–13 & 19–20), Greensboro Ballet presents a single 2 p.m. performance of Muttcracker for its December 13 matinée at the Carolina Theatre. It’s the same show as the original: The mysterious Drosselmayer gives Clara a nutcracker, which inspires a dream world inhabited by a Mouse King, waltzing flowers and sugar plums. The only difference is, dogs make cameo appearances throughout the ballet. And what bigger draw than the Labradorable Miss Babe Ruth, transitioning from her role as Batgirl for the Grasshoppers to prima howlerina? But Muttcracker isn’t just for laughs. Bring a donation of dry pet food to help out SPCA of the Triad. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Hob-Mob

When you buy local, 68 percent of the dollars you spend stays in the community. It’s one of many reasons Triad Local First has organized Buy Local Season, which lasts through December 31. To ramp up the benefits of supporting area merchants, the organization is also sponsoring its annual Jingle Mob on December 8. The idea behind it, or any cash mob, is to encourage shoppers to converge on businesses that are participating in the event on a specific day. (Jingle, after all, rhymes with “mingle.”) Just look for the “Jingle Mob” sign outside of participating establishments, such as Antiques at the Carriage House, Loco for Cocoa, Ten Thousand Villages and All Pets Considered, to name a handful. Some of them might extend their hours; offer music and refreshments, or discounts — allowing for a little extra jingle in your pocket. Info: triadlocalfirst.com

Vance Garvin, Ballerina, 2005, pastel, 20 x 16 inches ©Vance Garvin, Photo Credit Joe Wheby

Birth of the Cool

As the themed license plates proclaim, North Carolina is indeed the “creative state.” Just have a gander at Greenhill’s Winter Show (December 6 through January 15, 2016) to see for yourself. More than a hundred artists who either live in or have ties to the Old North State will exhibit 500-some pieces of fine art in all media: painting, sculpture, photography, fiber, wood, and then some. Meet the artists at 7 p.m. on December 5 at Collector’s Choice, a preview party where you can also purchase works — and support Grteenhill’s mission of promoting N.C. visual arts — or enjoy a more leisurely afternoon on opening day, which will include holiday cookies, presentations about the works and artists by Weaver Academy students, plus crafting of holiday decorations at ArtQuest. Tickets for Collector’s Choice: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org/winter-show.

Christmas Hopping

Here’s a stocking stuffer for the beer aficionado in your life: Hops and Nuts peanuts — flavored with craft beer! Using the biggest, freshest, red-skinned goobers from Eastern North Carolina, the Greensboro-based company was born of necessity when proprietor Melissa Walker was boiling some peanuts and grabbed the only thing handy to hydrate them — an IPA. She and her friends and family developed six flavor profiles for the Hops and Nuts’ peanut gang, including the flagship Beer Salt Roasted nuts, Lager N Lime (to pair with lagers and pilsners) and Chocolate Porter for stouts. Pick up a pack at Pig Pounder Brewery, Gibb’s Hundred Brewing Company, Preyer Brewing Company, among others, or go online and join the Hops and Nuts Nut Club. While you’re at it, try some “beerzels” or satisfy your sweet tooth with an order of Blonde, Stormy or Spicey brittles. And oenophiles, wine nuts are available too. With citrus notes, Vineyard White is just the accompaniment to a bottle of bubbly. Happy New Year! Info: hopsandnuts.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ogi Sez Ogi Overman Are you like me in declaring, “I can’t believe it’s Christmas already,” the moment radio stations and department stores start playing carols and the barking dogs’ rendition of “Jingle Bells”? But that’s beside the point. Now that we really are in the midst of the season, let’s mix some holiday fare with old-fashioned rock ’n’ roll, shall we?

• December 6, The Crown at the Carolina Theatre: The fifteenplayer lineup of the Piedmont Triad Jazz Orchestra is a Who’s Who of the finest players of their respective instruments in the area. This marks their second annual Holiday Concert at the cozy venue. • December 8, LJVM Coliseum: OK, I know it’s in Winston, but it’s well worth the trip across the county line to see none other than Ben Folds play with the Piedmont Wind Symphony.

• December 18, Blind Tiger:

Quickly becoming a legend among Americana and roots rock buffs, and already one in the Athens-Macon-Atlanta scene, Ralph Roddenbery is bringing an all-star band to the BT. Among the all-stars are Donna Hopkins and our own Fiddlin’ Faye Petree.

•December 19, Greensboro

Coliseum: When two contemporary Christian/pop icons get together the result is sure to be magic. Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith have been friends forever, and if you only get to one Christmas concert this year, make it this one.

• December 19, O.Henry Hotel: From singing backup on most of the Isaac Hayes–produced hits on the Stax label, to stardom in Europe, Melva Houston is an R&B treasure. When the Select Saturday Series at the O.Henry learned that she was available, they grabbed her in a heartbeat. December 2015

O.Henry 15


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16 O.Henry

December 2015

Songs of the Season

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Sunday Worship | 10:30 am in the Sanctuary SPECIAL SERVICES Sunday, December 6 at 4 pm NC A&T State University Choir in Concert Wednesday, December 16 at 6:30 pm Family Night at Christmas & Children’s Nativity Sunday, December 20 at 10:30 am Service of Lessons and Carols Thursday, December 24 | Christmas Eve at 5 pm Carols, Candlelight, and Communion The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Doodad

Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag

H

e’s been called the antiClaus . . . the Greensboro Grinch . . . the man who wants to cancel Christmas. But Piedmont Songbag founder and leader Don Morgan says it ain’t so. It’s not the spirit of Christmas he’s battling, but the commercialization of the holiday and a Christmas song bombardment that goes on for months. “The same seven songs are repeated like some kind of obsessive earworm,” Morgan says. “That’s what drives me, and I think most people, crazy. We celebrate how horrible the excesses of Christmas are, so that people have an outlet. Those people who are a wee bit cranky.” Morgan’s outlet for the cranky started in the ’80s with his play Christmas with the Elephant Man, based on the David Lynch film. “I wrote a musical trying to teach the true meaning of Christmas through this downtrodden family,” he recalls. The songs survived the play, as did the band members performing them, most from Greensboro’s venerable Tornado: vocalist Becky Raker, guitarist Sam Frazier and drummer Cliff Greeson, with the addition of Tom Shepard on bass and Jack Wilkins on sax. The repertoire expanded. Morgan swears he suffered no childhood Christmas trauma like seeing mommy kissing Santa, or worse. But he seems determined to portray Mr. Claus in a less-than-favorable light — perhaps because he’s the only adult who still believes. With a voice that sounds like a mashup of James Brown and Captain Beefheart, Morgan spots “Santa in July,” behaving badly in the summer heat. In “Santa On A Crying Jag,” he reminds the jolly old elf there’s no time to blubber because the elves are on strike and Rudolph has a cold: “Some good little tyke will wake up missing that bike or trike/Some little lad will think he’s been bad/Let’s tuck away our handkerchiefs and dry our tears.” Morgan ratchets up the holiday crank with another song, “Popping the Inflatables,” in which a gang of neighborhood kids goes around deflating the blow-up figures that have proliferated in front yards in recent years. An artist specializing in faux painting and murals with his own company, Artworks Decorative Painting, Morgan does approve of the floating disco balls folks hang in trees. “I don’t mind those ’cause they kinda look like the visions you see when you hit yourself in the head with a hammer,” Morgan says. “Either that or floating spirits. When we were tribal, we worshipped those things.” All the more reason to continue casting a gimlet-eye on the glitz and glut of the season. For anyone worried that Songbag curmudgeonry will infect their children, Morgan seconds the motion: “This is not for the kiddies; leave the kiddies at home.” And only for a Sunday afternoon (at Blind Tiger, on December 20). “We’ll be done at 6:30,” says Morgan. “Which is gonna be nice, because so many of our fans are now using walkers and it’s hard to negotiate at night. You have a quick dinner and hit the sack.” —Grant Britt The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 17


Meet

Holidays

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Successful

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

For 177 years, Greensboro College has had the opportunity to genuinely know, encourage and prepare our students. In the classroom. In student life. Into their future careers. Ashley Roseboro ’04 is just one example of the successes that began here at GC. Ashley heads his own pubic affairs firm, the Roseboro Group, and is also director of operations for the Bonner Group, Washington, D.C. Ashley oversees the Bonner Group’s finances, human resources and legal responsibilities. He cultivated that expertise at GC. “If it weren’t for Greensboro College I would not have had the opportunity to run organizations such as student government where I learned how to create and manage an organizational budget, interact with the important donors that help fund our education, and many of the other business principals that I use in my career,” he says. “Greensboro College wasn’t only an institution of learning, it was where I sharpened the skills I use today.” Ashley Roseboro...unmistakeably and uniquely Greensboro College.

november 3–december 31

November 28 – December 19 saturdays with st. nicholas – family activities and a visit with St. Nicholas December 12 salem christmas – A full day of hands-on activities and holiday fun! December 26, 27, 29–31, Jan 1–3 christmas week at old salem – Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday visit old salem or shop online for unique holiday gifts Greensboro.edu Uniquely Located, Uniquely Greensboro, For a full list of events, classes, concerts, and hotel packages, visit oldsalem.org or call 336-721-735o Uniquely You!

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O.Harry

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December 2015

O.Henry 19


Holidays

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

november 3–december 31

November 28 – December 19 saturdays with st. nicholas – family activities and a visit with St. Nicholas December 12 salem christmas – A full day of hands-on activities and holiday fun! December 26, 27, 29–31, Jan 1–3 christmas week at old salem – Enjoy the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday visit old salem or shop online for unique holiday gifts

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celebrating 5o years


Life’s Funny

Game of Thrones Who needs a toilet that can flush a bucket of golf balls?

By Maria Johnson

Some things in life, you

don’t think about until you have to. Then, when you do, you discover there’s a whole universe of details you weren’t even aware of.

Like toilets, for instance. When we renovated our master bath recently, my husband suggested that we get a new toilet to complete the makeover. Honestly, the idea hadn’t occurred to me. But the more I thought about it, the more I had to go. Look for a new one, I mean. I don’t know if you’ve been toilet shopping lately, but it’s an enlightening experience. First of all, you have to accept that there’s no good way to test-drive a toilet, which is kind of odd considering how much you use it. Sure, the high-end plumbing stores have models on the showroom floor, but short of sitting there and pretending you’re resting, there’s only so much you can do. So most people take the even more bizarre route of heading to home improvement stores, where the choices are mounted high on a wall, like so much artwork in a porcelain museum. Seeing as how Jeff and I like to support the arts, we took this path, walking slowly past the offerings, stopping to stare and ponder, whispering the thoughtful musings of commode connoisseurs. “I really like how the sides of that tank are angled,” I said. “It’s so oblique. And yet, it implies . . . movement.” “Yes,” Jeff said. “Perfectly balanced by the no-slam seat.” It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon. We learned so much. For example, traditional-height toilets are passé. The latest in powder-room couture is “comfort-height” toilets. These high-rise thrones are three to four inches taller than the old-school models. They used to be called “handicapped” toilets. But that was before Baby Boomers became handicapped in droves because of the generational hazards like playing pickle ball, and picking up Labradoodles, and falling off of bicycles with “comfort” saddles. There’s that word again. Anyway, handicapped toilets morphed into comfort-height toilets, which is easier on Baby Boomer knees, not to mention egos. Elongated bowls are fashionable, too. These receptacles, which are more oval than circular, are supposed to make it easier for men to hit the target while standing up, and — I had to creep on plumbing Web sites to dig this one out — they also give guys more, uh, clearance on the front end while seated. Who knew this was a problem? Also, flushing power is a big deal, yet another reason to suspect that men are the target market here. One company boasts a toilet that can flush a bucket of golf balls, as if this were a common scenario. The worst part is, the man in your life will make this the standard for his comparison-shopping. “What about this one?” you’ll say, pointing to an aerodynamic model.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I don’t know,” he’ll say skeptically. “Will it flush a bucket of balls?” After a thought-provoking afternoon on Aisle 3, we finally went home with a sporty new toilet. Not wanting to be left behind, we picked one that was loaded with technology. It was comfort-height, with an elongated bowl and a dual-flush lever, which one depressed slightly for a dainty flush and a bit more for a tsunami. A few days later, the newcomer was installed, and it was time for a sit-down interview. Thanks to the added height, I almost gave myself a concussion. You know how sometimes you misjudge the height of a step and land hard? Like that. So much for comfort. At 5-foot-6, I’m not a short person, but my feet barely touched the ground. I perched at water’s edge. I slid back a little farther. That was better, but now my legs dangled. I felt like Edith Ann on Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In. What’s more, I envisioned falling in, splashing around in a panic, grabbing the dual-flush lever for a handhold, and, should the tsunami be engaged, never being heard from again. I hadn’t been so horrified in a bathroom situation since I wandered into a portable potty on the beer-soaked seventeenth green of the GGO back in 1986. I rolled off to one side, like a stuntwoman, and fled to the Internet, where I discovered several threads by women airing their comfort-height woes. One lady solved the problem by propping her feet on a step stool like a toddler. Another woman installed a grab bar. At this point, I would like to say that I realize this is a First-World problem, one that we are blessed to have. I would also like to say that I’ll be damned if I’m going to use a toilet that requires me to climb aboard with a step stool and a dismount with a metal bar. I did the only sensible thing. I avoided the new toilet. “Where are you going?” my husband asked one night when I woke up and shuffled down the hallway. “To the bathroom,” I said glumly. This went on for a months. Then, a miracle happened. The new toilet started leaking. A plumber removed it to fix the flange underneath. He would charge the same, no matter what kind of toilet he put back. My husband, who hoped to end my midnight wanderings, suggested that we return to a low-rider. It seemed that, while the elongated bowl had made it easier to stream his content, there were leverage issues on the other end. Believe it or not, ergonomics experts, who really do know squat, have written about this extensively. Like I always say, who needs fiction? The bottom line is, I found a friend to take the tall boy, Jeff and I returned to the old model, and now we’re all sitting pretty. Or something like that. OH Maria Johnson just had to get this out of her system. Now that she’s flush with success, you can send her more ideas at maria@ohenrymag.com. December 2015

O.Henry 21


The Omnivorous Reader

Small Lives Matter Revisiting The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy

By Brian L ampkin

Here at the Omnivorous

Reader, I typically review newly published books, or perhaps newly reissued books like the tenthanniversary edition of John Green’s Looking for Alaska. A responsibility of the book review section in any publication is to expose readers to new writers or at least new books by old writers.

So forgive me if once a year I reach back into the past to highlight a forgotten gem, a neglected masterpiece, or, more likely, a book I love out of all proportion to its fame. Occasionally a book will fade from the public consciousness even if it was once a highly regarded bestseller. Such is the case of Arundhati Roy’s 1997 novel The God of Small Things (Random House, $16). The God of Small Things is the only novel Arundhati Roy has ever published, but what a splash it made. It won the Booker Prize in 1997 and was on many lists of the year’s best novels. But without a follow-up novel, Roy’s fiction has faded from view, partially because it has been supplanted by the extraordinary political work she has done over the last twenty years. There’s something in the American mind that neatly separates political writers from literary writers, as if the two could not coexist in the same person. More insidious is the insistence that “literature” should not be tainted by politics and that a work is necessarily weakened by a strong political structure. There are novels that are clearly consumed by the author’s adamant stance. But for every novel masticated by an Ayn Rand diatribe or gnawed to tears by the overly simple moralizing of John Grisham, there are hundreds of books that matter because they have made an effective and convincing political response to the horrors of the world: 1984, Native Son, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Grapes of Wrath, etc., etc. etc. One of the things I most love about The God of Small Things is the way Roy weaves world-changing events into the very small lives of the 7-year-old twins Estha and Rahel who live in the small Indian town of Ayemenem. The manipulations of the powerful have disastrous effects on those trying to simply survive as best they can in a country seemingly determined to destroy their lives. The overarching systems that control behavior and economic possibility in India reach into the rural towns and humble homes of the characters in Small Things. Roy’s skill in revealing the role of the caste system — and the role of all the other smaller gradations of class and gender control — in the disturbing events that lead to Estha’s lifetime of silence and Rahel’s irrepressible sadness is remarkable. The novel is semi-autobiographical and it’s easy to imagine where Roy gathers her fuel to wage her righteous fight for India’s environment, the independence of Kashmir and the women’s movement. But it is the gross economic inequality that Roy witnesses that most drives her anger. In an article she wrote for The Guardian during the height of the Occupy movement in 2011, Roy makes clear the connection between American and Indian economic disparity: “The Indian government worships U.S. economic policy. As a result of twenty years of the free market economy, today, one hundred of India’s richest people own assets worth one-fourth of the country’s GDP while more than 80 percent of the people live on less than 50 cents a day; 250,000 farmers, driven into a spiral of death, have committed suicide. We call this progress, and now think of ourselves as a superpower. Like you, we are wellqualified: We have nuclear bombs and obscene inequality.” But I think there might be another reason I’m focusing so much on Roy’s critique of the larger impinging social forces that give so much power to her novel. I first read The God of Small Things nearly twenty years ago, and in my memory it remains one of the great books of my young adulthood. My recent rereading of the novel found me less moved, less emotionally engaged, less thrilled. You can’t always read the same novel twice. Twenty years ago I was still actively involved in the lives of two young boys from Fiji — one of them named Esa and the other Yahya (who had a December 2015

O.Henry 23


The Omnivorous Reader stubborn insistence on silence as well) — whose difficult lives were made more difficult by social forces and mental illness. I know that I identified with the book for very personal reasons, and the suffering of the twins Estha and Rahel was visceral. Today, I’m not nearly so emotionally raw about Esa and Yahya’s lives and apparently by extension, not so moved by Estha and Rahel’s fictional lives. I am not the same reader I was twenty years ago, for better or worse. It would be a sad state of affairs if every book’s value were dependent

I can think of no other book that so effectively brings actual scents to life. I can smell the mangoes and pickles, and feel the humid heat of the subtropics. . . upon the novel’s connection to personal events in a reader’s life. Surely we can read Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See meaningfully without having lived through the Holocaust. But sometimes novels reach into our personal lives and resonate deeply with experiences we share with the various characters we encounter. The God of Small Things caught me at just the right time, and I’ll always have that initial reading experience, which is not diminished by my latest experience with reading the novel. Don’t get me wrong: It’s still an amazing book. I can think of no other book that so effectively brings actual scents to life. I can smell the mangoes and pickles, and feel the humid heat of the subtropics described on the pages. And the helplessness the reader feels in the face of stupid, brutal authority enacted upon children and lower caste individuals can be overwhelming. The twins’ aunt, Baby Kochamma, is as complicated and compelling a villain as you’re likely to encounter. By all means read The God of Small Things. It may very well be the book you need right now in your life. Or it might be the book you needed twenty years ago. OH Brian Lampkin is one of the owners of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro.

24 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 25


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26 O.Henry

December 2015

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Scuppernong Bookshelf

A Life in Review December Books

By now you’re tired of the year-

end, “best of” compilations. Critics and writers and fans have all chimed in with their lists of best novels and poems and nonfiction for 2015, and, if you’re like us, you’re a touch suspicious. Did said critic really read (that means the entire book, by the way) the ten books she claims as the unsurpassed bee’s knees? Furthermore, how many other books did she actually read in 2015 in order to faithfully rank the top ten of them and deem them buzzworthy?

As booksellers, we’ve had many conversations with publicists and sales reps who, when pressed, will tell you they read the first thirty pages and last ten of “the greatest crime novel of the 21st century.” We suspect some reviewers have done the same. We know some booksellers personally who talk readily about books they haven’t “fully finished.” Our rule at Scuppernong Books is that it’s fine to share information about books you haven’t read (We do stay insanely informed about books, but who has the time to read them all?), but opinions about unread books are best avoided. So in an openly sincere attempt to avoid lying about books we haven’t read, this month’s Scuppernong Bookshelf asks: What are the books that have changed your life? Or at least changed your understanding of the art form? Yes, instead of a “Year in Review,” we’re asking for a “Life in Review.” It will surely be fun if O.Henry’s readers try to attach the life-changing book to a particular Scuppernong staff member, but we’re not telling who loves which book. Though if you know us, it will be quite obvious in some cases. For instance: “Frank O’Hara’s Collected Poems is one of those books that impacted my life in unquantifiable ways. As an introverted high school freshman, my personal

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

discovery of O’Hara left me with the distinct impression that I had finally found a friend who understood me. O’Hara’s poems are invitations that need no response; they’ll hook you through the arm and take you on a walk you’ll hope will last forever. O’Hara is one of the masters.” “From the carefully orchestrated chamber piece to the sprawling symphony, Herman Melville’s Pierre: or, the Ambiguities is a long, messy novel I come back to again and again. Written immediately after Moby Dick, it concerns the psychosexual adventures, or the creative trials, or the grappling with his history, of Pierre Glendinning. You choose. Pierre is a novel that can be read a hundred ways. Freudian before Freud, postmodern before postmodernism, Pierre is the work of an author writing to the very edge of what he knows and occasionally leaping into the void without regret. There’s incest (maybe)! With a mother and a sister (maybe)! There’s murder! Family secrets! Suicide! All at a gothic fever pitch that Melville doesn’t quite pull off, but that only makes the book more fascinating. His contemporaries didn’t know what to make of it. And neither do our contemporaries.” “It’s an unspoken rule of the spoken word community that we are all fans of Saul Williams. Even when his ideas seem too lofty, or his music out of step with the hip-hop he loves, he has a unique desire to merge the two into something we’ve waited years for him to create. Chorus: A Literary Mixtape is the ultimate realization of that drive, as Saul weaves together one-hundred voices into a singular piece that is sometimes prayer, sometimes rant — and always a page-turner that makes us say, ‘Yes. This is the one we’ve been waiting for.’” “OK, I was 14 when I found it hidden among the Westerns and Agatha Christie books on my father’s bedside bookshelf. The cover of In Praise of Older Women by Stephen Vizinczey had a black-and-white photo of an older woman — all of 35, I’d guess — staring back at me with her dress half off her shoulder. It was not lurid, but adamantly sexual, and the novel itself shared sexual secrets I’m still grateful for all these years later. When I rediscovered the book as an adult I was happy to encounter it as a much-respected literary novel, but at 14 it was the sex December 2015

O.Henry 27


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December 2015

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Bookshelf and the company of women that had me reading it over and over. More than life-changing, it was life-affirming: Sex could be fun, adventurous, joyful, shared — though it would be years before I’d really be sure it could be true.” “Sifting Through the Madness for the Word, the Line, the Way was my first Charles Bukowski, and it tilted my view of poetry from there on. Bukowski is a poet for the back-alley dwellers, the drunkards and gamblers and 9-to-5ers, and this volume exemplifies his grit perhaps better than any other. His staccato lines and narrative voice make you feel like he’s sitting beside you as you read, wine in one hand, cigarette in the other, stained undershirt untucked in an unlit motel room.” “Eleven years have passed since I first read Toni Morrison’s Beloved, and in those eleven years I have come no closer to describing why this novel affected me so profoundly. In Beloved, Morrison seemingly transcends literature to deliver a work that is touching and tender and unspeakably horrifying; her concerns are biblical in scope.” “In Marguerite Duras’ Ten-Thirty on a Summer Night outer and inner events fuse, merge and develop, all while the action is locked to a rooftop and a balcony on a single summer night. When the novel opens, Paestra has killed his wife and her lover. He’s hiding out on the roof. On the balcony below, Maria realizes her marriage is loveless and that her husband has a lover of his own. Duras’ style is spare but perceptive, her focus sharpened to these two and the rage of their emotions. The best novels should shock us, not as a provocative exercise, but in their vision and clarity; they should break through our own preconceptions of the world. Ten-Thirty on a Summer Night taught me that fiction could do things I’d never believed it could do.” “The Lacuna, by Barbara Kingsolver, is a powerful book — sweeping from Diego Rivera’s Mexico to the McCarthy-era witch-hunts. It examines the missing piece, or lacuna, that forms the gaps between art and artist, public perception and reality. Kingsolver’s masterstroke is the narrator, a “lacuna” visible only through his observations about the people and events around him. And yet, the narrator is somehow the most vivid character in the story — no small feat against the likes of Frida Kahlo.” Do these eight books make up the ultimate canon of literature? Perhaps not. But they are books that each of us will carry with us until the end. There are many reasons to read — one of the best reasons remains: to change the life we’re living. These books changed ours. OH This month’s Scuppernong Bookshelf was written by Brian Etling, Shannon Jones, Brian Lampkin, Ashley Lumpkin and Steve Mitchell. To find out who recommended which books, visit Scuppernong Books at 304 South Elm Street. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2015

O.Henry 29


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30 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


In The Spirit

Punch-Perfect Or, how to make your holiday party go with a swing

By Tony Cross

I always feel like there’s a certain

stigma around me when I return home for the holidays. Most of your beautiful families will come together and stay merry as the cocktails and wine flow through the cold winter night. And I’m jealous. You see, I have a deep appreciation of the festive cocktail, but my family does not. Growing up, alcohol was never in the house, and the holidays were no different. When returning home, I know that if I’m drinking, it’s BYOB.

As a child, spending the holidays with family meant sugar. Copious amounts of sugar. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. My mom is a superb cook, and she loved showing off when loved ones came to town. But delicious as they are, I can live without the sugar cookies if it means I can mix up an oldfashioned. I’m very close with my parents and we always have a great time, but I like to unwind with a soothing spirit during the evening. I’ve never succeeded in turning my folks on to an alcoholic beverage that we can all agree on. I tried in my early 20s but to no avail. At that time I was drinking Jager-bombs, so it’s not really surprising. This year, however, I’m going with a new approach: punch. I’m not talking about the syrupy thirty-ingredient concoction with bad fruit that gets scooped out of a Coleman ice cooler with plastic cups. I mean the real thing, a delicious

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amalgamation of spirit, sugar, citrus, water and spice. Before the cocktail was created, punch was the first globally popular mixeddistilled spirits drink. No one knows for sure who created it, but we can thank the British sailors who manned vessels for the East India Company for spreading the news westward. Punch is a must during any season, but with the barrage of holiday parties, you can really shine as a host with this beautiful balance of sweet and sour. It’s a boon for bartenders too — it makes a great low-maintenance drink special when there’s an onslaught of festive drink tickets flying our way. If you choose it for your own party, the added bonus is that you don’t have to play bartender. With some advance preparation, your guests can simply help themselves from the party bowl. Given that people will help themselves — a lot — it’s worth noting that a good punch will go fast, especially when the party’s rolling. Make sure to have transportation or lodging accommodations ready to go. Novice imbibers take warning: Even if you don’t like to drink, you’ll probably be changing your tune after a taste of this. Trust me; I’ve converted the most modest non-spirit drinkers. So be warned. You might wake up the next day not knowing how you got there. Here, I’ll offer a punch that I created during my days at 195 Restaurant called Saturday Night Wrist. It’s so-named in honor of one of my favorite albums, and because I came up with it on a Saturday. Cocktail historian David Wondrich wrote a fantastic book titled Punch: The Delights (and Dangers) of the Flowing Bowl. From Wondrich I learned many recipes and techniques that guided me through the trials and errors of getting that perfect balance. I took an old punch recipe (Major Bird’s Brandy Punch) and put my own spin on it. December 2015

O.Henry 31


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32 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


In The Spirit Saturday Night Wrist

(Note: this recipe needs to be made a night in advance) Yields 14 cups Ingredients Oleo-saccharum (see below) 2 quarts warm water (distilled if possible) 6 oz pressed and strained lemon juice 3 cups brandy 1 cup dark rum 3 oz Aperol ½1/2 pineapple diced into 1” x 1” cubes Nutmeg Bundt pan or large ice molds As far as the brandy goes, I prefer Rémy Martin, but Hennessey will work as well. My favorite rum is Smith & Cross, a pure pot-stilled traditional Jamaican rum. If you don’t see it on the shelves of your local liquor store, ask them to order it. The code is NC 47-587. Ingredients for the oleo-saccharum The peel of 4 lemons 1 cup sugar To start your punch, you will need to make the oleo-saccharum (Latin for “oil-sugar”). This is crucial for most punches. Try not to have any of the pith from the lemons, it will add bitterness to the punch. Now, you can make this two ways: The original way is to muddle the peels into the sugar until your wrists and forearms are on fire, then let it stand for an hour. Or you can use the Morganthaler method: In this case, combine the peels and sugar in a vacuumsealed bag, then extract all of the air out of the bag and let it stand for an hour. Either way will work. If you have the time, I like to let the oleo-saccharum stand overnight before mixing it into the punch. When the oleo-saccharum is ready, mix it into the water until the sugar dissolves. Add the lemon juice and then the brandy, followed by the rum. Then add the Aperol. Similar to Campari, but not as rough around the edges, Aperol is an Italian aperitif with flavors of bitter orange and rhubarb. Once all of these ingredients are married, set your container in the fridge and let it sit overnight. Whatever container you’ll be serving the punch out of will need ice to keep it cold. Don’t ever use wet ice, it will over-dilute the punch. Instead, use a Bundt pan: Fill it with water and freeze it the night before your party. If you have to go smaller on the ice, there are plenty of websites that have ice molds. Again, distilled water works best here. When it’s showtime, grate fresh nutmeg over the punch and make sure that each guest gets a cube or two of pineapple in their glass. Congratulations, you’re a rock star! OH Tony Cross is a bartender who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines, NC. He can also recommend you a vitamin supplement for the morning after at Nature’s Own. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 33


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34 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Pleasures of Life Dept.

Nosh Away, Nosh Away, Nosh Away All Well, jingle our bells, look who’s in the kitchen now

If you’re look-

Photograph by Lynn Donovan

ing to rev up the sips and nibbles at your next holiday party, why not take a page of elfin magic from O.Henry’s own Gastro-Gnomes?

By day, this merry band of pointy-headed journalists puts out magazines. By night, they’re pseudo-chefs, sherry tipplers and recipe rustlers. The slippery six are: Artist Harry “Inky” Blair. Editor at Large David “Stinky” Bailey. Contributing Editor Cynthia “Classy” Adams. Contributing Editor Maria “Sassy” Johnson. Editor Jim “Happy” Dodson. Senior Editor Nancy “Don’t Gimme that Crappy” Oakley. For years, this rogue outfit has dwelt on the fringe of more respectable cooks, like Greensboro’s Mary James Lawrence, who frequently contributes legitimate food stories to this magazine. Sometimes, if she’s not washing her hair, Lawrence shows up at GastroGnome parties, where she invariably sighs a lot. “They’re un-bee-freakin-leevable . . . and I don’t mean that in a good way,” says Lawrence, who’s in France at the moment and unable to set any kind of record straight. “If Rooster’s was still open, and I saw them coming, I’d set a grease fire and lock the doors.” Indeed, the Gastro-Gnomes’ judgment has been called into question on several occasions. Once, at a brainstorming session, they drank appleflavored beer and ate a giant bag of chicken-and-waffle flavored potato chips before agreeing, en masse, that both were disgusting. Still, when it comes to the fare they tote to holiday parties, they keep it respectable. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Some of their delicacies require real skill — and therefore other people — to prepare. For example, Dodson’s “best recipe” is a divine caramel cake made by his wife, Wendy. The same goes for Bailey, a mere courier for the silky, head-banging eggnog that’s whipped up by his wife, Anne. Oakley’s annual effort consists of making nice with her parents over cocktails, then dashing out the door with her mother’s tub of Chex Mix before Mrs. Oakley knows what has happened. And Blair? Sweet Baby Jesus, Blair. Well, he’s good for a plate of leftover Brunswick stew. Correction: Brunswick salsa. Critics have noted that Adams and Johnson make their apps fresh and from scratch, but the amount of effort expended — if counted in calories — would be more than covered by chewing a sprig of parsley. The twosome defends their party foods on aesthetic grounds. “Mine’s red and green,” says Johnson. “Mine’s pink. Ish,” says Adams. Imp-in-Chief Dodson dismisses rumors that he and fellow GastroGnomes plan to start a local cooking magazine, E.Coli. For now, he says, the Gastro-Gnomes’ recipes will appear exclusively in this magazine. On a recent afternoon in the O.Henry workshop, Dodson, who was fishing donut crumbs from the folds of the futon where he sat, gathered the Gastro-Gnomes around him and instructed them to write down their recipes for all to see. “Remember our motto,” he said solemnly. “Steal only from the best.” Then he sprang to his feet, to his team gave a whistle, and away they all flew to write their epistles. — Maria Johnson December 2015

O.Henry 35


The Pleasures of Life Dept. Dame Wendy’s Caramel Cake By Jim Dodson (With Wendy Dodson) It’s both a blessing and a curse to be married to a world class cake maker. A blessing because the smell of my wife Wendy’s amazing cakes fills our house at the holidays and other special occasions; a curse because I’m constitutionally unable to resist eating her cakes — especially her wildly popular Southern caramel cake. Every year it’s the first cake to disappear at our annual Winter Solstice party and the one friends are always asking for her to make for their own special occasions. This version of it is one she modified significantly from a friend’s grandmother’s recipe, substituting Craig Claiborne’s popular white cake recipe. One taste of this baby is guaranteed to make you slap your own mama — or at least Santa if he foolishly demands more than a sliver on Christmas Eve.

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(from Craig Claiborne’s Southern Cooking) 2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour 1 2/3 cups sugar 1 teaspoon salt, if desired 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder 2/3 cup solid vegetable shortening 1 1/4 cups milk 3 eggs 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 2. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch layer cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of wax paper. Lightly butter the paper. Set the pans aside. 3. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, salt and baking powder. 4. Add the shortening and start beating vigorously. While beating, add 3/4 cup milk. Beat two minutes. 5. Add eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup milk, and vanilla. Beat two minutes longer. 6. Pour equal amounts of the batter into the prepared pans. Bake 35–40 minutes. Remove the pans to a rack and let stand five minutes. Unmold the cakes. Remove the wax paper.

Caramel Icing

1 pound of brown sugar 2 sticks of unsalted butter 10 tablespoons heavy cream 1 teaspoon baking powder 1 teaspoon vanilla Combine sugar and butter in a sauce pot and cook until butter is melted and mixed well with the sugar. Let boil for three minutes. Remove from heat and add baking powder and vanilla, stir to combine. The mixture should turn frothy. Beat until whip marks show in icing. Place rack over jellyroll pan with sides. Place first layer on a cake board cut to fit the pan size. Place cake centered on the rack. Pour on first layer and smooth the top. Place

36 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 37


The Pleasures of Life Dept. the second layer on top and pour starting in the middle of cake and then around the top edges. Icing should flow down and cover sides of cake. This process should be done quickly as the icing hardens fast. Scoop up icing from pan and drizzle over areas not covered to finish icing cake. Let set — about twenty minutes.

When your child is born four months early, the weight of the world is lighter than you ever imagined.

Chex Mix (aka Nuts & Bolts) By Nancy Oakley (With Ann Oakley)

Demi Idowu weighed just one pound five ounces when she took her first breath at Cone Health Women’s Hospital.

When the big plastic bucket appears on Mom’s kitchen counter, it’s officially Christmas. The bucket holds the Chex Mix, a doctored-up mélange of cereal, peanuts and pretzels. It’s a wonderfully addictive blend of saltiness and crunchiness that inspires conspicuously loud consumption at any time of day or night.

Surrounded by a team of dedicated neonatal specialists and the constant, loving presence of her parents, Demi received the type of physical and emotional care that has enabled her to become the playful 2-year-old she is today. Meet Demi, her mother Ayoola and some of the people who helped

Mom chanced upon the recipe back in the 1950s at Duke Power’s extension service downtown, which had a test kitchen and a home economist who tried out recipes. The company distributed mimeographed booklets of its creations, usually to women’s groups like the short-lived garden club my mom belonged to at the time. This particular recipe caught her attention and has been a holiday staple ever since. Over the years, Mom’s tweaked it and issued a ban on certain ingredients used in other iterations. Cheez-Its and M&Ms , for example, are strictly verboten. We Oakleys have standards. Preheat oven to 250 degrees 4 cups Cheerios 4 cups Crispix 4 cups Wheat Chex 1 can lightly salted peanuts Slim pretzel sticks, broken into pieces In a microwave melt: 1 stick butter 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt 1/2 teaspoon onion salt 1/2 teaspoon celery salt 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 2 beef bouillion cubes Mix with a whisk 1. Put cereal in a large container. 2. Sprinkle melted butter mixture over it. 3. Stir to mix and coat cereal. 4. Put in oven for 2 hours, stirring several times. 5. Remove from oven, stir in peanuts and broken pretzels. Store in tightly closed container.

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Eggnog By David Bailey (With Anne Bailey)

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38 O.Henry

December 2015

11/10/15 4:29 PM

In another life, I was the aerospace editor at what is now Florida TODAY, Al Neuharth’s prototype for USA TODAY. My name was on the front page almost every day, and I had a weekly column with a photo of me wearing cool aviator sunglasses. Meanwhile, my wife Anne wrote a weekly column for one of those advertising-packed rags that rotted in people’s front yards along with oranges and kumquats. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Pleasures of Life Dept. Invariably, when we went to parties, attended church, or even went grocery shopping, people approached us and said, “Aren’t you Anne Bailey who writes that “Dining In” column?” The vaunted aerospace editor had become “the food writer’s husband.” Over the years, Anne has continued to outshine me with her cooking. This eggnog recipe has become a must-serve at O.Henry’s annual holiday party and at all of our family gatherings. Anne found the recipe tucked into one of her teetotaling mother’s recipe books. With time, the nog has been modified to kick like a mule. (Makes one gallon, which serves about thirty.) 1 dozen pasteurized eggs, separated 2 cups granulated sugar 1-1.5 pints of Kentucky Straight Bourbon, Sour Mash 1 quart heavy cream Fresh ground nutmeg 1. Beat the egg yolks until thick and lemon colored. 2. Add sugar gradually, folding it in while still beating. Slowly stir in Bourbon until well mixed. 3. Cover and chill for one hour while you let the egg whites come to room temperature. 4. After an hour, beat the egg whites as stiff as possible (pasteurized eggs won’t get as stiff as unpasteurized) and pour the chilled mixture into pre-chilled serving bowl or pitcher, then fold in the beaten egg whites. 5. Finally, thoroughly fold in the cream, pulling the sugar up from the bottom. I usually whip the cream a little; not stiff. Grate nutmeg to taste over top and into cups, if requested. Keeping a bottle of spiced rum at hand is not a bad plan for anyone wanting to nog things up a notch. Gorgonzola Canapés With Walnuts By Maria Johnson I confess that once, as a desperate young hostess on deadline, I served chilled corn-flakeand-peanut-butter balls as party food to a group of journalists. Here’s the scariest part: The sticky gobs disappeared quickly, and one person asked me for the recipe (“I’m detecting nutty undertones and a certain . . . je ne sais Kellogg’s.”) Now that I’m older and hang with a more — cough, cough — sophisticated crowd, I’ve upped my game considerably, which is to say that, while I adhere to the stir-and-slap school of hors d’oeuvres, I generally spoon the mixtures onto fancy crackers, a ready source of extra credit. This tried-and-true recipe, which has been in my family for all of two years (I found it at delish. com), satisfies my holiday criteria: It’s quick. It’s easy. It contains red and green. Also, it allows you to throw around the word “canapés,” which sounds really hifalutin, as in, “These old things? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Cathy Wyler, RN

Cone Health Woman’s Hospital

They’re just some CAN-uh-pays that were lying around in my pantry, next to the peanut butter, corn flakes and corn syrup.” 1 1/2 cups crumbled Gorgonzola cheese 1/2 cup chopped walnuts 3/4 cup dried cranberries 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley 30 sturdy round crackers. 1. Mix the first four ingredients. 2. Slap by the spoonful onto the fifth ingredient. If you must go over the top, stick these babies on a baking sheet and toast them for seven minutes at 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Warm Rosemary Marcona Almonds By Cynthia Adams Let’s get one thing straight. I ain’t Betty Effin’ Crocker. I did not inherit the gene that inspires the Southern womenfolk to yoke themselves to the stove and hand-scrape fresh coconut for billowy cakes and fresh ambrosia. I want my food to be like an Ikea coffee table: so easy to assemble, you could get by with a diagram. That’s why I love this recipe. Just pour, chop, toss, heat and salt. Brilliant. Marcona almonds are a sweet variety from Spain with a distinctive taste. Available at upscale grocery stores and discount warehouses like Costco, the nuts are usually dressed lightly in olive oil when you buy them, but you will need to add more oil when you bake them. Pink Himalayan salt is mined in the Punjab region of Pakistan, but you’ll see it in several grocery chains around here. It’s supposed to be healthier because it contains extra minerals and less sodium by volume. I don’t know about that, but it sure as heck’s prettier, casting a rosy glow and exotic texture wherever it lands. If you don’t have any of the pink stuff on hand, just use Kosher or sea salt. 1. Chop 1/8 cup fresh rosemary finely (removing the stems); reserve a few sprigs for garnish. 2. Toss chopped rosemary with Marcona almonds (adding a couple tablespoons of good olive oil) and toss in some ground pepper. 3. Heat the almonds, spread out into a single layer on a baking sheet, watching them as they warm in a 325 degree oven; as the rosemary releases its natural oils and infuses the nuts, it also scents the house with a wonderful smell. 4. Serve garnished with fresh rosemary and a light sprinkling of pink Himalayan or sea salt.

Infants are a passion for Cathy Wyler, and neonatal care is her calling. As part of Cone Health Women’s Hospital team of specialists for more than 16 years, Cathy has witnessed just about everything a neonatal nurse can, including the extreme pre-term birth of Demi Idowu. Born 16 weeks early, Demi received several months of around-the-clock care before going home a fully healthy child. She is now a lively two-year-old and you can learn more about her and the remarkable care she received from Cathy and others at exceptionalcare.com

Brunswick “Salsa” By Harry Blair 1. Make a Brunswick stew in November. 2. Freeze what’s leftover. 3. Take some to an O.Henry party in December. Serve with nacho chips or good old saltine crackers. Stand back. OH

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December 2015 CH_Ayoola_O'Henry_6x10.75, 2.75x10.75.indd 2

O.Henry 11/10/1539 4:29 PM


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40 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Evolving Species

All ‘Diva-ed’ Up

Blues maven Shiela Klinefelter puts together a project to showcase local female talent

By Ogi Overman

Shiela Klinefelter

shrugs her head and laughs when the word “pioneer” is used in the same sentence as her name. True, there were other female bass players who predated her, and other all-girl bands, and plenty of open jams, but one would be hardpressed to find a female musician, circa 1992–93, who led a band and led a jam, both of which are going strong some twenty-three years later.

“I can’t stake the claim of being a pioneer of anything,” she says. Fair enough, but what is beyond dispute is her influence on the Greensboro blues scene and her stature as one of its leading proponents. Hers is one of a handful of names that have become synonymous with the genre in these parts. Another of those names is her husband, Bubba Klinefelter, aka Big Bump, the mountain of a man known far and wide as one of the finest blues guitarists around. In the early ’90s he owned a guitar store on Westover Terrace, Bump’s Blues Shack, which is where Shiela, his girlfriend at the time, also fell in love with the blues. “I’m sitting in a music store surrounded by all these instruments and thought, ‘Hmm, maybe I could learn to play,’” she recalls, not an unreasonable thought, as she had played clarinet growing up and actually majored in music for a semester at Michigan State. “Bubba showed me some things and I would grab customers and ask them to help me. Then we had a guitar teacher in there showing a student a twelve-bar blues pattern, and he needed some rhythm. Bubba handed me a bass and said, ‘Here, play this.’ And that was that.” In barely a year’s time, she’d put together Ladies Auxiliary with three other female players, an ensemble that has gone from being a sort of novelty act to one of the most respected blues acts in the state. “I’ve found that, over the years, I’ve never had an issue with a male musician [over being female],” she notes. “The only issue is, ‘Can you play?’ Never any backlash.” Further immersing herself in the local blues scene, in 1993 she started

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

her first Wednesday blues jam and has been running one virtually nonstop ever since, albeit at a number of venues. It has outlived Stephens Steakhouse and Oyster Bar, Biggs Tavern and the Clubhouse, and for the last year and a half has been hosted by Cooper’s Ale House. She also runs a Sunday night jam at Karonda’s Sports Bar and Grill, where she works days. “I love the jams,” she enthuses. “It’s different every time; you make new friends and see bands get put together. It’s kind of my own social circle.” That circle also includes fellow veteran players and vocalists, several of whom have recently gotten together in the studio for a special project that promises to set Greensboro on its collective ear. Last year she applied for a grant from ArtsGreensboro to record an album featuring exclusively female vocalists from the area doing all original material. She began enlisting recruits and securing studio time — at Earthtones Recording Studio, owned by Benjy Johnson. The result is a fifteen-song collaboration called Gate City Divas, and the roster is, to say the least, stellar: Melva Houston, Kristy Jackson, Robin Easter, Allison King, Virginia Masius, Julie Bean, Lauren Myers and, of course, Shiela. With a national reputation as a tunesmith, Jackson wrote ten of the selections; Allison King and husband, Bill Jordan, wrote two; and Robin Early, Dave Fox and Shiela wrote one each. Plus, she brought in an all-star cast of session players that only further whets the appetite for its release, which is slated for mid-January. “We will have a concert at the Carolina Theatre to coincide with the album release,” says Shiela. “We don’t have the exact date nailed down yet, but we all agreed there’s no place else to debut it. It just seems like the place divas would go, right? Folks who come can dress up or not, but I promise you, we’re all going to get ‘diva-ed’ up.” The project turned out to be so gratifying and fun that the Divas are already planning two more similar albums. “This one, while blues-oriented, contained some ’70s-style R&B, some swinging shuffles, a couple of slow numbers and an a capella gospel tune,” says Shiela. “We had so much fun working out the harmonies, we want to do a gospel CD and then a tribute to all our favorite female artists. “The joke is they changed Lee Street to Gate City Boulevard just to honor us.” OH Ogi Overman will suit up for the release of Gate City Divas. December 2015

O.Henry 41


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42 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Gate City Journal

A Star is Born

How a Greensboro teenager helped launch the career of a beloved North Carolina icon — a young comedian named Andy Griffith

By Jim Schlosser

The audience’s

photographs by lynn donovan

laughter sounded plenty loud to Milton Alderfer as he played back the tape. But the young man sitting next to him, whose countrified wit had generated the laughs, wasn’t satisfied.

He wanted stronger guffawing at certain places on the tape after such lines as, “What I seen was this whole raft of people a-settin’ on these two banks and a-lookin’ at one another across this pretty little green cow pasture! Well, they was.” Who it was, was Andy Griffith. And what it was, was “What It Was, Was Football,” the monologue that started his rise to fame. The year was 1953. Alderfer had recorded Griffith before a live audience in Greensboro doing “What It Was . . .” and a homespun spoof of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, plus about a half a dozen other monologues. Afterward, Griffith returned to Greensboro three or four times to edit the tape at Alderfer’s Fidelicraft Recording Studios, on the second floor above Moore Music Co., located in a grand Neoclassical revival house at 615 West Market Street downtown. Each time he and Griffith met at the studio, Griffith would find something that needed enhancing. At Griffith’s direction, Alderfer kept stopping the tape so laughter could be spliced in. At one point, he lifted hearty laughs from one part of the tape and shifted them to another. “I merely provided technical assistance,” Alderfer recalls sixty-two years later. “Andy would say, ‘Laughter here.’ ‘And laughter here.’ I had the capability with my equipment to splice it in. Andy knew exactly what he wanted. He was very precise, very much so. He was a genius at comedy. It was not something he learned at UNC. It just came natural to the guy.” Griffith had grown up poor in Mount Airy, the son of a foreman in a furniture factory. He had aspirations of becoming a Moravian minister when he enrolled at the University of North Carolina. After graduating with a music

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

degree from Chapel Hill in 1949, he taught music and drama at Goldsboro High School for three years while working up routines with his first wife, Barbara Edwards, also an entertainer, who was from Wilson. The two of them toured the state appearing before civic clubs and other organizations. Alderfer, a Greensboro native, was 19 at the time and still in high school (an illness kept him from starting school until he was 8). He had learned the recording business from working at the student-run radio station at Greensboro Senior High School, aka Grimsley. In about 1952, he approached L.L. Moore, owner of Moore Music, about leasing upstairs space for a studio. Alderfer envisioned regional talent coming there to perform and leaving with a recording they might sell to a record company. Moore accepted the young entrepreneur’s proposal on the condition that the store share a portion of the studio’s revenue. Alderfer admits today, he never had much money to give Moore. Moore also figured the recording studio could be a customer draw for the store. Musicians might stop after a session upstairs to buy sheet music or even a musical instrument. Fidelicraft studio did prove a draw for some, such as Bob Jones, a local radio personality who recorded “Santa Claus Stuck In Your Chimney.” And no wonder. With savings from his job delivering the afternoon Greensboro Record newspaper and money that his father kicked in, Alderfer furnished the studio with radio station-quality equipment: a $1,000 tape recorder with two 10-inch tapes, state-of-the-art microphones and turntables, and a Raytheon console identical to those in Greensboro’s three radio stations at the time, WBIG, WCOG and WGBG. It was the studio’s latest and greatest technology that attracted Griffith, who had met Alderfer in Chapel Hill when the teenager was in town promoting his business. “He said he had been trying to get a good recording of ‘What it Was, Was Football’ and maybe seven or eight other skits he had written,” Alderfer recalls of the budding comic. “He had traveled all over North Carolina but never could get a good recording.” December 2015

O.Henry 43


Gate City Journal

Griffith got what he wanted from Alderfer and took the master tape to Chapel Hill to Orville Campbell, who owned, among other interests, Colonial Records, which made and distributed records in North and South Carolina and Tennessee. Campbell in 1949 had a hit when he wrote and recorded, “All the Way Choo Choo,” about UNC’s All-American football player, Charlie “Choo Choo” Justice. The record producer was about to score again. As Griffith requested, Campbell put “What It Was . . .” on one side of a 45 r.p.m. record and “Romeo and Juliet” on the flip side. The public responded by buying 50,000 copies, huge for a regional record. And likely because of the professional sound quality of the tape from Alderfer’s Raytheon Console, Capitol Records took notice. The label obtained the rights from Campbell and distributed its own record nationwide. It sold 800,000 copies, enough to rank it ninth in national phonograph record sales in 1953. In the skit, Griffith (credited as “Deacon Andy Griffith”) plays a dimwitted country preacher who accidentally winds up at his first-ever football game in a place that bears a striking resemblance to Kenan Memorial Stadium in Chapel Hill. He mistakes the game for a fracas between two sets of guys who earlier “come runnin’ out of one end a gret big out house” at one end of the “cow pasture.” Five or six “convicts” in striped shirts watch the fight. One “convict” had earlier gathered some of the participants around him, pulled out a quarter and “commenced to odd man right there.” He may have drawn inspiration from a similar 1947 singing skit, “The Preacher and the Bear,” by bandleader, singer and comic Phil Harris, who also recorded an homage to his adopted homeland, “That’s What I Like About the South.” A cast photo from the Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of The Drunkard for its 1951–52 season shows a very recognizable Griffith, who performed “The Preacher and the Bear” between acts. Its plotline: A country preacher commits heresy by going hunting one Sunday morning. He runs head

on with a bear, and prays loudly, “Yes Lord, if you can’t help me, For goodness sake don’t help that bear.” The monologue would reappear on one of Griffith’s later records, The Wit and Wisdom of Andy Griffith. However much an influence Harris might have been, Griffith proved a master at mimicking the redundancies in certain types of Southern speech. In “What It Was . . .,” for example, he says, “I dropped my big orange drink. I did.” He peppers the monologue with “I did,” “they did” and “they was” at the end of sentences throughout. Griffith could fracture English hilariously because he had grown up “on the wrong side of the tracks” in Mount Airy hearing dialect. People mangled verb tenses and mispronounced names and words. In “Romeo and Juliet,” Griffith-as-hayseed-narrator explains how Romeo “clumb” up a pea-vine so he could do “that balcony scene” with Juliet. To Juliet’s question, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?” Griffith says Romeo had piped up, “I’m right h-y-a-r.” Griffith could effectively make fun of highbrow literature because he under-

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O.Henry 45


Gate City Journal

stood it. He had studied Shakespeare in high school and college and taught the Bard at Goldsboro High. Alderfer found in his brief time working with Griffith that his real-life persona contrasted with the “aw shucks,” grammar-wrecking guy heard in monologues and seen later on TV. The comedian’s grammar, Alderfer says, was perfect. At Chapel Hill, he had been a cast member of the Carolina Playmakers, (now PlayMakers Repertory Company), which performed serious works in a building designed by Alexander Jackson Davis, the same New York architect who, as it happens, designed historic Blandwood Mansion in Greensboro, two blocks from Alderfer’s recording studio. During summers as a college student, Griffith played English aristocrat and explorer Sir Walter Raleigh in playwright Paul Green’s outdoor drama, The Lost Colony, in Manteo, where in later life, he would make his home on a sixty-eight acre estate. Griffith also sang, although he said he was a lousy at it. (His seeming humility didn’t stop him from later recording several albums of his favorite hymns, one of which garnered a Grammy in 1996.) For the Carolina Playmakers, he performed in three Gilbert and Sullivan operaettas, including the ever-popular “H.M.S. Pinafore.” He also was in Bizet’s opera, Carmen, which would inspire another zany monologue. Again, Griffith could effectively poke fun at opera because he understood it. “Now I know that you all say that opera ain’t nothin’ but hollerin’ . . .” he says in his monologue. “And it ain’t.” He goes on to call Carmen’s suitor, Don Jose, “Don Hosy.” Having honed his performing chops at UNC and elsewhere, it’s no surprise that the “What It Was, Was Football” monologue made Griffith a star. But not without some controversy. Griffith was dismayed that Capitol Records excluded “Romeo and Juliet” from its 78 r.p.m. record, dividing “What It Was . . .” into two parts using both sides. Alderfer points out that a 78 r.p.m. record won’t record as much as a 45, (the format that Orville Campbell used to press the original from Alderfer’s master

tape), but for some reason major record companies back then preferred 78s. Alderfer says Griffith had told him the reason he wanted both monologues on the same record was because he wasn’t sure which one might become a hit. He believes Griffith favored “Romeo and Juliet,” but the actor and comedian couldn’t have been too disappointed after Capitol’s record became a sensation. Later, Capitol did produce a 45 r.p.m. with both monologues, perhaps after intensive lobbying by the actor. “I’m not sure if Andy got rich off ‘What It Was, Was Football,’” Alderfer says. “He was not a negotiator. Capitol Records may have taken advantage of Andy. It was Andy’s first recording. It did give Andy some money he didn’t have otherwise. The big thing is it started his career, and the record actually originated in Greensboro.” But where, exactly? Rumors and speculation have circulated around town for years. Was it recorded at Greensboro Country Club, as Alderfer had thought for some time? At the Jefferson Standard Life Insurance Co.’s employee clubhouse on New Garden Road, as a small item (which gives a nod to Alderfer) in a 1953 edition of the Greensboro Record claims? Or did Griffith perform before members of the Greensboro Lions Club and their wives at Starmount Country Club, according to a Greensboro Daily News column by sportswriter Smith Barrier, also published in a 1953? At 81, Alderfer apologizes for his fogginess about some of these particulars but believes Barrier may have been right. What Alderfer does remember — distinctly — is Griffith performing alone for at least an hour to make a master tape. On it were eight skits, although Griffith had made it clear that he was most interested in “What it Was, Was Football,” and “Romeo and Juliet.” The Plantation Supper Club on High Point Road might also have had a hand in Griffith’s meteoric rise. The hot spot for live entertainment hosted Griffith and his first wife Barbara for a week in early 1953. Alderfer has found a newspaper ad referencing Griffith’s “return” appearance at the club later in the year. A story printed in the Goldsboro News-Argus after Griffith’s death in 2012

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O.Henry 47


Gate City Journal

says a New York talent scout heard Griffith at the Plantation. That led, the story goes, to Griffith receiving an offer to audition for the Broadway play: No Time for Sergeants. Griffith’s subsequent Plantation appearance likely came in late 1953, months after his engagement at the club with his wife Barbara — right about the time Colonial’s record was ringing up big sales regionally. In fact, the success of the record might have prompted the talent scout to be at the Plantation. It seems more likely the recordings themselves landed Griffith the role of Pvt. Will Stockdale in No Time for Seargants, which aired first as a teleplay and was later adapted for Broadway in 1955. Griffith was nominated for a Tony Award for his performance and went on to star in the 1958 movie version, playing alongside a mostly unknown comic, Don Knotts. By this time, Alderfer had closed his recording studio and sold the equipment to a South Carolina radio station. He then joined the Air Force. After his military service, he returned to Greensboro and attended Guilford College for a year and Wake Forest for a year before transferring to the University of Miami. There he earned an undergraduate and Master’s degree in business administration. During summers as a student, Alderfer taught statistics courses at the university. Later he went with General Electric as a management trainee and worked in several cities. After ten years of G.E.’s high-pressure environment, he longed for those relaxed days teaching on a college campus. He returned to Florida to join the Miami Dade College faculty. Now a popular professor emeritus of business at Miami Dade College, Alderfer receives high marks on student evaluations for his teaching and entertaining skills. One described him as “a funny dude,” perhaps the result of some residual pixie dust of Griffith’s comedic talent that rubbed off all those years ago. Alderfer has been kicking himself for more than a half century for not realizing Griffith, virtually unknown at the time, was destined for greatness — and fast. “I had tape recorders and didn’t turn them on to record our chitchat,” he recalls.

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After receiving a call of thanks from Griffith in the 1950s for helping with his success, Alderfer never heard from him again. Before the decade ended, Griffith appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Steve Allen Show, in addition to performing in No Time for Sargeants on Broadway and in the movies. He took on the darker role of Lonesome Rhodes in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd, before creating the role in 1960 that would make him an international entertainment icon: Sherriff Andy Taylor of Mayberry. Alderfer, has followed the entertainer’s career closely. The ups — the wild success of The Andy Griffith Show and later Matlock — and downs — two divorces and the untimely death of Griffith’s son Sam at age 38 from complications of alcoholism. It’s as if the trials he experienced as a boy in Mount Airy never left him once he became rich and famous. Late in life, when an interviewer asked Griffith what if anything he would change about his life, he replied, “Everything.” “Andy really had to struggle for everything he got,” Alderfer believes. “He grew up in poverty. He was brilliant at comedy but in other areas, no, he was not brilliant. He is kind of typical. You get so busy with your career and you have money, and you kind of neglect your kids.” In the personal realm, Alderfer has been more fortunate. His daughter, Christi Ann, who lives here and works in High Point, is the reason for his semiannual visits to Greensboro. On these trips to his hometown, Alderfer likes to drive down memory lane. He slowly passes his parents’ old brick house on a hill overlooking Warren Street in the idyllic College Park neighborhood, near UNCG. He also goes by buildings that housed two schools he attended, Curry on the UNCG campus and Lindley Junior High School on Spring Garden Street, as well as two schools that remain open, Lindley Elementary and Greensboro Senior High. He drives by the site of the Neoclassical revival house that contained his studio. After he dismantled Fidelicraft, the space became the office of L.L.

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Moore. In 1974, fire destroyed the house, fueled by thousands of sheet music pages in the attic. Moore Music replaced the house with a brick structure, where it continues to sell band and other music instruments. Otherwise, Alderfer and his second wife, Karin, divide their year between their home in Key Largo and a condominium in Daytona Beach. In both places, they spend hours at Barnes & Noble reading — nonfiction, he says, — in the stores’ comfy easy chairs. Alderfer has been sorting through old papers from the 1950s, hoping to find a copy of a receipt for the fee he charged Griffith for making that master tape. “It wasn’t a lot of money,” he remembers, “but I was pleased.” More important, he says, so was Andy.

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When The Andy Griffith Show went off the air in 1968, it ranked No. 1 in the Nielsen ratings. Reruns today have a cult following, with some viewers claiming the show’s wit and homespun wisdom profoundly impacted their lives. Many can quote lines verbatim from episodes. A young woman who came from afar for a reporting job at the Greensboro News & Record some years ago said she did so in part to be near the land of Andy in Mount Airy. She had watched every episode of The Andy Griffith Show. The TV program has resulted in Mount Airy transforming itself into the fictional town it supposedly inspired. (Andy Griffith persistently denied that the setting was based on Mount Airy.) Visitors travel the Andy Griffith Parkway (also known as U.S. Highway 52) to reach the small city in the Foothills. They tour the Andy Griffith Museum and attend plays by the Andy Griffith Playhouse. They visit Andy Griffith’s childhood home. They shop at the Mayberry Mall and each September, participate in Mayberry Days, a street festival. They pose for pictures beside a statue of Sheriff Taylor, get haircuts at Floyd’s Barber Shop and eat pork chop sandwiches at Snappy Lunch. There is a Mayberry Courthouse with mock-ups inside Sheriff Taylor’s office and the two jail cells that were home to Otis, the town drunk, and Ernest T. Bass, the town rogue. A 1962 Ford Galaxie squad car, like one of the ones used on the show, ferries visitors around town. If they’re lucky, they’ll meet Betty Lynn, who played Barney Fife’s girlfriend, Thelma Lou. She moved to Mount Airy after she retired from acting. Real or imagined, the allure of the small town, with its quirks and close-knit ties, is potent — just like the comic wit of the man who conjured it. OH Jim Schlosser is a Greensboro icon and longtime O.Henry contributing editor — now taking more time off. Happily for us — and you‚ — he writes on subjects he loves from time to time.

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O.Henry 49


T h e S tat e o f

Our Gardens

A beautiful map of North Carolina’s incomparable flora is a treasure for nature lovers By Serena Brown

50 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


“C

lose your eyes and hold out your hands with the palms down,” said Jane McPhaul, life member of the Garden Club of North Carolina, Inc. (GCNC) and designer of the North Carolina Garden for the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden. McPhaul held cardboard reliefs under my hands and asked me to guess what they depicted. I managed one — a cardinal. Another I thought might be a map of the state of North Carolina, but I couldn’t be sure enough to say so. Those who are visually impaired face these challenges count-

less times every day. My fumbling guesses would have been accurate certainties to one not reliant on sight for recognition. At the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden the blind have the opportunity to enjoy a garden where the other senses are foremost in the design. The garden is located at the Governor Morehead School for the Blind (GMS). As well as enhancing the beauty of the campus, it serves as a much-loved outdoor classroom. Students can stroke lamb’s ear and grasses in the Texture Garden, breathe deeply of the fragrance of antique roses in the Rose Garden, and listen to the rustle of pine and magnolia in the Woodland Garden. They may even feel the wonder of a swallowtail from the Butterfly Garden landing on their skin. Brick walkways with raised edges guide the students around the gardens. At the Keller Memorial Garden, scented with gardenia, there is a bust of Helen Keller and, written in Braille and English, are her words: “When one door of happiness closes, another one opens.” The Martha Franck Fragrance Garden is a co-operative project between the GMS and the GCNC. The organizations have been working together since 1960, when the original Martha Franck Fragrance Garden was located in Durham County, North Carolina. Now they are working toward installing the North Carolina Garden, an octagonal walled garden with granite surround walls. Those walls will have beveled top surfaces of tactile images of select symbols of the state: box turtle, cardinal, channel bass, dogwood, pine, Plott hound, Scotch bonnet shell and squirrel. On alternate wall surfaces will be more tactile designs: the North Carolina seal, toast, flag and map. The GCNC’s state map for nature lovers is also decorated with important flora and fauna. The dogwood is there, and the cardinal, as well as jessamine and oxlip, the brown pelican and pink azalea. The interior of the map, which was first printed in 1937, is decorated with symbols of the places depicted. There are laurels at Boone and rhododendrons at Roaring Gap. The Battleground Oak prevails at Guilford. Peach orchards and a longleaf pine decorate the Sandhills. Weavers work at their looms at Crossnore, and the Washington Oak stands resplendent over Wilmington. Square-masted ships sail the Atlantic Ocean, and an aeronautical acrobat scatters flowers over the Outer Banks from the wings of a little plane. McPhaul made and sketched out the conceptual design for the North Carolina Garden in 2002. Last year she instituted a third printing of the GCNC’s map, with print sales benefiting the fund for the building of the North Carolina Garden. “The map is great for teaching,” says McPhaul, pointing out how much of the state’s history is illustrated in the artwork. “It is ‘A Map of North Carolina for Nature Lovers,’ and you can’t beat that ecologically or environmentally . . . It’s important.” The prints make wonderful presents, too. They are a treasure for anyone who has ever loved any part of the state. Next to the map’s legend is a description. It reads “This chart — an authoritative guide — is offered as a practical aid to those seeking the beauty of North Carolina.” In the sighted finding that beauty on the map, so the students at GMS will be given a practical aid to finding the state’s beauty in their gardens. OH The map is printed on recycled, acid-free 65-pound paper in full color antique matte finish at 24 ½by 14 inches. To order a map contact Jane McPhaul, Inc.: email jhmcphaul@nc.rr.com or telephone (910) 692-7272. Maps are $30; shipping for up to three maps to the same address is $10. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Martha Franck Fragrance Garden.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 51


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Pappadaddy’s Mindfield

Like Father, Like Son Neither is ready for cotillion class

By Clyde Edgerton

About a half-century ago

Illustration by harry Blair

I was an escort at a debutante ball in Durham and at another in New Bern. I knew that the young women I escorted were being introduced into society. I remember that the word “cotillion” was somehow associated with the event.

About a year ago I learned that a nephew (age 13) up in the Triangle was involved in cotillion. He’d be learning good manners at the dinner table, on the dance floor, and in social situations, etc. No problem. About two months ago I learned from my wife that my 10 -year-old son would soon be taking a cotillion class. No problem. About three weeks ago I discover that I am supposed to — in an hour — take my 10-year-old son to his first cotillion class. I learned this from a note my wife left on the kitchen table. I had an hour to prepare him and get us something to eat and then go to cotillion class. No problem. I look at the instruction sheet. He is required to wear khaki pants, shirt and tie, dress shoes, and a navy blue blazer. He and I go through his closet. We find shoes, pants, shirt and tie, but no navy blue blazer — nor any other sport coat that fits him. We go to his older brother’s closet, where we find a navy blue blazer, but it’s too big. I call my wife. She says go to Once Upon A Child (clothing for children) and buy a blazer. No problem — we have forty-five minutes — for shopping and dinner. At Once Upon A Child we find a blazer that is too big and one that’s too small. The one that’s too small looks so funny on him I take a photo with my iPhone. Then we find a sports jacket “of sorts” with shiny navy blue stripes over a navy background. He is trying to button the jacket but the buttons are too big for the button holes. Getting desperate, I pull out my Leatherman pocket tool, open the small knife and open all eight holes to a larger size — yes, eight holes. It’s kind of a long sport coat. It doesn’t look right. “What do you think?” I ask. “I don’t think so,” he says.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“I agree,” I say as I place the jacket back on the rack. “But time is running out and we have to get something to eat. You’re going to have to go without a jacket.” “OK,” he says. He seems unconcerned. I’m worried about him being the only one in class without the required blue blazer. We leave the clothing store and do drive-through at Chick-fil-A. The class is across town and I don’t want to be late. I visualize him walking in late without a coat. Being on time without a coat won’t be quite as bad. As we drive away from Chick-fil-A, he places a French fry on his knee. I tell him it might leave a grease spot. He removes it. Across town, we miss our turn-off. I do a U-turn and make it to the parking lot outside class with five minutes to spare. I take the key from the ignition and look at him as he opens the passenger door. I say, “Son, you’re going to have to tuck in your shirttail.” His feet are on the ground — and his car door is open. He turns and looks at me over his shoulder and says — and he is as sincere as a judge: “What does that mean?” I explain, get out, come around to his side and demonstrate as I tuck in my own shirttail. Inside, I’m wondering why I’m getting funny looks. I mean . . . I realize I’m wearing my very old jeans and my striped shirt with the cigar ash burn hole in front. Humm. I pull the cotillion instruction brochure from my back pocket, open it up. I find something like this: “Fathers bringing students to cotillion class should dress appropriately with coat and tie.” Yikes. Then I figure I’m just what they need. I can almost hear it: “Son, see that man over there. One reason you get training here in cotillion is so you won’t go out in public looking like that.” My son took the whole event in stride. Afterward he told me it wasn’t as bad as he’d thought it would be. We go back again in a few weeks. Or rather, he and his mother go back. I’m guessing they voted me out. OH Clyde Edgerton is the author of ten novels, a memoir and a new work, Papadaddy’s Book for New Fathers. He is the Thomas S. Kenan III Distinguished Professor of Creative Writing at UNCW. December 2015

O.Henry 53


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54 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Birdwatch

The Beautiful Vagrant A bewitching buff-bellied hummingbird causes a stir

By Susan Campbell

photograph by Hop Hopkins

Every now and then — and it

happens more than you would think — an out-of-place bird appears. Sometimes it’s on a beach, sometimes by the side of the road and sometimes even at your bird feeder. These wayward individuals are often very much on the move, so that all you get is a quick glimpse. But in some instances, for whatever reason, the bird decides to stick around for a while. Depending on how far it is from its home range and how exotic its plumage, these outlanders may cause quite a stir among birdwatchers. And for die-hard birders, those enthusiasts who keep track of each and every species they see — sometimes over a lifetime —vagrants are a really big deal.

Recently an odd-looking, large hummingbird was spotted in a neighborhood in Winston-Salem. And what a happy accident that it had stumbled upon a sugarwater feeder that belonged to some biologists. At once, they realized this was a very special bird — and that bird lovers would be interested in knowing about it. Others on the block had also been feeding this bird, but didn’t think of spreading the word to a wider audience. When yours truly investigated this particular individual (I was called in pretty rapidly following its discovery by an N.C. Audubon staff member), it was clear the rare bird was a buff-bellied hummingbird. It’s a species not at all expected in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

our area. One had made a brief appearance closer to the coast some years ago but did not linger. I got a glimpse of that buff-bellied invader, but not close up. This time it was a very different story! I quickly got the green light from Mindy and Bill Conner, whose yard happened to be ground zero, to trap and band this little marvel. At first light, the procedure went like clockwork and before I knew it, I had the wayward hummingbird in my hand, a feisty and healthy adult. In a matter of minutes, he had been processed, photographed and released, free to terrorize the remaining rubythroateds there in the neighborhood. The fact that he had no evident fat and was also molting his flight feathers meant that he would be around for a while. A bird in migratory mode would require not only energy reserves for the journey but also a full complement of wing feathers to get wherever he was bound. Although a number of enthusiastic local birdwatchers had already dropped by to see this handsome fella, dozens more came from all over the state to admire his brilliant blue-green iridescence, red bill and coppery tail. Everyone was thinking the same thing: Why is this buff-bellied in this yard in downtown WinstonSalem and not along the Gulf coast or in eastern Mexico where he belongs? Regrettably, this is a question no one can answer. He might have been caught up in a front that moved eastward back in mid-August, or more likely he overshot his winter destination as he flew north and east from the breeding grounds. Whatever the reason, residents of the neighborhood, as well as bird enthusiasts making the trip to Winston-Salem will continue to watch and be amazed by his antics as long as he sticks around. OH If you are interested in viewing this hummingbird, please contact me and I will be happy to give you status update and location information — if he is still present. Susan would love to receive your wildlife sightings and photos. She can be contacted by email at susan@ncaves.com, or by calling (910) 585-0574. December 2015

O.Henry 55


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56 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A Novel Year

Alone With Giants A productive week at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities was time well-spent

By Wiley Cash

I should’ve been writing,

but instead I was staring at my iPhone, awaiting an incoming FaceTime call from my wife. While I waited, I flipped through Instagram, looking at pictures I’d already looked at dozens of times: our 1-year-old daughter, Early, eating breakfast; Early playing with toys; Early reading a book; Early and my wife, Mallory, at the playground. Across the room, North Carolina novelist Wilma Dykeman caught my eye; she watched me play with my phone. Her discerning gaze made me feel as if she were judging me for not writing. I moved to the sofa across from where I’d been sitting, but when I looked up I found that I was staring into Fred Chappell’s eyes. The eyes of a man who’s written dozens of books were not the eyes I wanted to be staring into while struggling to complete a first draft of a novel I’d already been working on for far too long. I moved again, and I was relieved to see Lee Smith’s smiling face. Lee Smith has never made anyone feel uncomfortable. Thank you, Lee, for not judging me. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

To be honest, I shouldn’t have been sitting in the study, but the room that doubles as the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame is the only place, in Southern Pines, on the second floor of the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities, where writers-in-residence can pick up an Internet signal, which is a good thing when you spend most of your time in your room at your desk. The study is lined with portraits of famous North Carolina writers, and when you’re not feeling guilty for not sitting at the desk in your room, it can be very inspirational to immerse yourself in North Carolina’s immense contribution to American literature. Many of my favorite writers are honored there, including Elizabeth Spencer, Charles Chesnutt and Thomas Wolfe. Thomas Wolfe had a huge effect on American literature. He also made quite an impression on James Boyd, an American novelist who moved to Southern Pines, North Carolina, in 1920 and built the mansion known as the Boyd House on the estate known as Weymouth. At Weymouth, the Boyd family entertained a steady stream of literati, Thomas Wolfe among them. Legend holds that one evening Wolfe arrived in Southern Pines on the late train, and after walking from the station to Weymouth and finding everyone asleep, he located an unlocked window and climbed inside. The next morning, Boyd’s son discovered the giant form of Thomas Wolfe asleep on the floor of the living room in front of the great fireplace. There are four bedrooms for writers-in-residence at Weymouth, two of which are related to Wolfe: the Thomas Wolfe room and the Maxwell E. Perkins room. Perkins, who also edited F. Scott Fitzgerald and Ernest Hemingway, was Wolfe’s editor at Scribner’s. Perkins is best known as the man who helped Wolfe cut thousands upon thousands of words from the novel that would become Look Homeward, Angel. I stayed in the Perkins, room during my week at Weymouth, and I secretly hoped that a few of the thousands of words Max had cut from Tom’s North Carolina novel would find their way into my own. December 2015

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A Novel Year

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I’d attended other writing residencies before my week at Weymouth. In 2011, I spent a month at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, New York, and later that summer I spent three weeks at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire. In the summer of 2014, I rented a cabin outside Asheboro and spent a week working on my third novel, the same novel I was now spending a week working on at Weymouth. Those earlier residencies had been immersive experiences. I woke up thinking about the novel I was writing; I went to sleep thinking about it as well. Things were different at Weymouth: I woke up thinking about Early, and I went to sleep thinking about her too. This isn’t to say that I didn’t get a ton of work done during my week at Weymouth. I’m someone who harbors an incredible amount of guilt when I’m away from home, something my career often requires when I’m on a book tour, at a writing residency, or teaching a workshop at a university. My feeling is that when I’m away from home I have to make my absence positive instead of negative; therefore, I work. At Weymouth, I aimed for 2,000 good words a day. After a week, I went home with 15,000 new words added to my novel. To be honest, I don’t know how I got that much writing accomplished at Weymouth, especially because I spent so many hours in the study, staring at Instagram and FaceTiming with Mallory and Early. Each time I saw Early’s face I made certain to check to see if anything had changed. Her eyes were still blue, her laugh familiar. She still threw scrambled eggs on the floor. Nothing, it seemed, had changed, but that didn’t stop me from willing the days to move faster. I wanted the week to speed by, and each night I threatened to come home to Wilmington in the morning, but my wife, who wanted me to talk less about writing this novel and spend more time actually writing it, encouraged me to stay and take advantage of the time that Weymouth had so graciously given me. I arrived home a week later to find Mallory and Early waiting for me on the front porch. When they saw me, Mallory stood and placed Early feetfirst on the ground, then, holding both of Early’s hands, the two walked toward me. This was new. This was something she hadn’t been doing the week before. Time, it seemed, had moved quickly after all. And Early was moving quickly too. She reached up and took my hand, and holding Mallory’s in the other she began walking back toward the front door, nearly pulling us along. “Slow down, Early,” said Mallory. “Slow down.” I was thinking the same thing. I still am. OH Wiley Cash is a New York Times best-selling author whose second novel, This Dark Road to Mercy, was released last year. He lives in Wilmington. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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December 2015

Cold

My father knew it. Each morning he made anew blowing the coals into flames. His hands braided it over and under by the fire until its warmth came slowly then gave way to the red jewel glow in the stove’s belly. The stove that stood on squat legs with a mouth eager for logs pine, oak, ash, hickory anything to feed the emptiness inside that melded into heat making the room grow larger. Moving us back into a larger circle, taking heat where we needed to go . . . the table, the other room in sweaters, to bed between sheets of ice under a range of quilts that hilled to the moon’s light through the window so cold. — Ruth Moose

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Sacred L ight Wherever it comes from, illumination is an act of love By Jim Dodson

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro Photograph by Lynn Donovan


B

ecause I’m a habitual early riser and probably would have made a decent Medieval monk, morning light always seems special to me. I might even say sacred. First there is the small beeswax candle I light on my writing desk, a common act across the centuries — and every faith tradition — meant to symbolize the presence of the divine. By its light, I simply say a few grateful prayers and invite assistance from any kindly muse that happens to be passing through the neighborhood darkness. On clear mornings before the sun comes up, I often follow our dogs out to the backyard with a cup of joe just to take in a different kind of light show from whichever stars or planets happen to be loitering over our darkened hilltop, aglitter like diamonds on black velvet, a sight that never fails to stir delicious puniness in this cosmic coffee-addicted pilgrim. Finally comes the sunrise, sometimes rainy and subdued by low clouds, but more often than not a pageant of tinted clouds and golden rays painting the eastern horizon with heavenly light. Scant wonder young Henry Thoreau — Transcendental poet and fellow devoted early riser — was moved to say that morning light brings back the heroic ages. Among God’s first acts in creating this world, after all, was to flood it with light — and by my count there’s no less than seventy-five mentions of light in the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. Darkness — a metaphor often used for spiritual lostness — is one of the ten plagues Moses visited upon Pharaoh that ultimately persuaded him to release his Israeli captives. King David said the Lord was his “light and Salvation.” St. Matthew said Jesus was “the light of the world.” Of course, everyone has his or her own definition of sacred light, especially this time of year when days grow short and nights grow long. In pre-Christian times from Rome to Europe, roaring bonfires were built on the longest night of the year to illuminate an annual celebration of the winter solstice that typically included communal prayers and ceremonial dances, sharing of autumn’s final bounty as a means of pressing back the darkness and facing the “dying of the light,” as one ancient Celtic text describes it, “the coming of the bleakest days.”

Photograph by Amy Freeman The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Photograph by Amy Freeman

Photograph by Lynn Donovan

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This year, once again, our grown kids will all wander home from afar for our family’s winter solstice party that attracts old friends and new neighbors and curious newbies who drop in at dusk to read a poem, play a song, share a drink, perform a trick or simply spin a worthy tale for a long winter’s night — all in exchange for seasonal beverages and my wife’s homemade soup and legendary caramel cake. At this point, our annual solstice bash has gone on so long — it started with a group of us from church on a snowy night in Maine at least twenty-five years ago — I’ve lost formal count of its age but not its purpose: to bring the joy of human light and fellowship to the darkest night of the year. Just to be clear, we also hang a lighted Moravian star and string about a zillion white Christmas lights around the old house and grounds to heighten the effect. Our effort at artificial illumination pales when compared to the ambitious lights you’ll find, say, in McAdenville, North Carolina, a wee town of just over 600 souls that calls itself “Christmas Town USA” and lights more than 700 trees and 200 lampposts, a light show extravaganza that annually attracts more than half a million visitors who journey though the winter night to see the lights. Speaking of journeys through the night, Christian churches put on their finest garb of greens and lights, Advent wreaths and illuminated trees, preparing for Christmas Eve services rendered even more magical by the soft light of burning tapers and ancient tidings of shepherds and sojourners who followed the light of a new star to a messiah. This year, December 6 marks the beginning of Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights remembering the dedication of the second temple of Jerusalem in 160 BCE, marking the start of an eight-day period during which the faithful give small gifts to each other. Being a spiritually blended family, we light a menorah, too, happy to have the extra sacred light — yet another reason to give thanks during a season of darkness. As everyone from Plato to Ben Franklin has pointed out, beauty is invariably found in the eye of the beholder — and so, it follows, is one’s own definition of sacred light. To a new mother, the light in her newborn’s eyes as they take in a dazzling new world must seem downright holy to behold. Ditto the lights of home when one has been away far too long. A campfire on a bone-chilling night. Fireflies on a summer lawn. An intimate dinner by candelight. A rainbow after a thunderstorm. Flickering votives in a darkened cathedral. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Amy Freeman

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Photograph by Amy Freeman

Photograph by Lynn Donovan Photograph by Lynn Donovan 66 O.Henry

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The Northern Lights — if you’re ever fortunate enough to see them. Fireworks over the water. Morning sun through a kitchen window. A walk at twilight. Reading a book or a poem or even just a letter that stirs your heart can have this same effect of switching on the soul’s track lights. Quaker doctrine holds that every human being contains the light of God, a spark of the divine just waiting for the right moment to illuminate and shine. “All God needs is a crack in the door,” writes spiritual writer Marianne Williamson. “The door is cracked. Illumination follows.” In his popular anthem for a flawed yet wondrous world forever in search of a savior, poet-songwriter Leonard Cohen seems to agree. “There is a crack in everything,” he reminds us. “That’s how the light gets in.” In this context — and the spirit of the season — we wondered how some of our favorite photographers see sacred light though the lens of their cameras. Every gift of light, says the ancient Persian poet Rumi, is really an act of love. We couldn’t agree more. OH

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Photograph by Amy Freeman

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Outside the Box For Dixie Hodge, wrapping holiday gifts is a high art form

By Cynthia Adams • Photographs by Amy Freeman

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D

ixie Hodge knows secrets of presentation and has a grand sense of occasion. So when it comes to the holidays — or a big event such as a birthday — she elevates a gift to art. She keeps elegant ribbons and papers stowed and ready to be employed into one of her elaborate adornments, but what you will not find is a gift bag. The form of a box lends itself to her artistic creations. “Plus,” Hodge says, “I like the mystery of an unopened box.” She knows a bit about the allure of mystery. Hodge maintains that aura about herself. She is prettily presented at home in College Hill, dressed in a gray turtleneck and black slacks, with a wrist of silver bracelets jingling merrily. She offers tea in china cups with crisply laundered napkins. Petit fours and pastries are served upon a doily. In Hodge’s universe, presentation matters. In order to create the perfect box, she thinks outside the box. A vintage blouse tied up and secured with an antique broach. A bauble wrapped with a page from a classic romance novel. All can transform ordinary packages into extraordinary ones. The end result is so pretty, recipients dread disturbing the wrappings. For the holidays, Hodge pulls out all the stops. She stocks a gift-wrapping area with particulars of her giftwrapping style. Among the things she might use to create a gift are sheets of holiday music, delicate vellum and even parchment paper as an alternative to traditional gift wrap. Your package can be presented as anything — thematic, nostalgic, romantic, but please! Make it inventive, says Hodge. Like any artist, her work is not confined to a season. She prepares year long. For the rest of us, wrapping is an afterthought. The Enchanted Home (enchantedhome.com), a blog written by someone whose online persona is Tina: “Normally I will start by conventionally wrapping a gift with pretty paper, some kind of ribbon and a name tag, insert it under tree and repeat.

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Then as the creative gift-wrapping juices get flowing I stare with newfound creativity under the tree and promptly remove all the gifts, furiously attaching all sorts of ribbons, adornments, pine cones, glittery objects, mini ornaments, candy canes, you name it, to said packages, and voilà, new and enhanced gifts are then replaced under the tree and suddenly it’s really starting to look a lot like Christmas!” Hodge thinks of wrapping as a ceremony of celebration. “That’s why I love it so much,” she explains. “A lot of people might feel they don’t have the time to do it, but it is just essential to my well-being.” She deconstructs how she does it. “Entering into the ceremony is, first of all, thinking about the person and their personality. What colors they like. In the end, I don’t want to just package a gift because I also put a lot of thought into the gift itself. I want it to add to somebody’s joy and happiness. That is just my way of showing my love.” Artful gift-wrapping began in her adolescence. When Hodge was a young girl living in Winston- Salem, a newlywed couple stayed with the family during her mother’s long hospitalization. The young wife, Mary Ann, enjoyed creating pretty packages. “It wasn’t that I learned any techniques, but it was the careful, thoughtful way she wrapped a present that intrigued me so; nothing was casual. The papers she chose were beautiful.” Hodge began thinking of the wrapping as intertwined with the gift itself. “My mother just had a drawer for wrapping paper; but Mary Ann — she was beautiful and she was creating beauty. It stuck in my memory all these years. I don’t remember if I’ve always wrapped like this since then. But for many years I have.”

Do’s

If you’re new to gift-wrapping, keep it simple. “Sometimes, I buy small, eye-catching, prewrapped boxes, which I fill with hopes/dreams/wishes,” Hodge says. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Consider the paper first. Hodge shops for papers year-round. Stay with solid papers in grays, whites, silvers, golds, even pastels, if you want a streamlined look. Polka-dotted and black-and-white striped papers can add special pizazz. She also uses tissue papers for wrapping. “People can use wallpaper, or sheet music, depending on to whom you’re giving the gift to. Think of wrapping as it relates to that person.” Hodge also suggests you try stenciling to individualize papers. If It’s Paper is one of her favorite sources for papers and ribbons. She also uses fabrics, especially velvets, as an alternative to paper. “One of my favorite wrapping papers now is parchment paper,” Hodge says. She finds baking parchment from Dollar Tree — costing a thrifty dollar for 25 feet. “If it isn’t malleable, I wrap the ribbon to hold it . . . I have a great love for parchment and tissue paper; the fragility of it.” Hodge only uses double-sided tape to conceal the tape and give a more polished finish. She occasionally uses embellished decorative tapes with messages for a special effect. (One reads, “All you need is love.”) She also recommends folding the paper to the very edge of the package, rather than to the center. Good scissors are essential. Hodge suggests Gingher, a brand with roots in the Triad. She uses 8-inch shears for wider ribbon and smaller ones for narrow. For embellishment, Hodge almost exclusively uses wired ribbons. She alternates wired bows, with unwired ones, tying one atop another. This technique allows her to build or “stack” bows upon bows, tied delicately with complementary colors and textures, for a lusher, signature look. “I like that wired ribbon can be coaxed into different, more flowing shapes offering counterpoint to the stiffness of unwired,” Hodge explains. Hodge sources wired ribbon at Michaels, Fleet-Plummer, Target, Walmart, and at New Garden Landscaping & Nursery. She also scouts ribbons at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

fabric stores such as Hancock Fabrics and Jo-Ann Fabric and Craft Stores. She keeps a range of ribbons — from polka dots to plain white to very luxe. Hodge pulls out two plastic bins full of confetti-colored ribbons, and keeps another bin for her polka-dot collection. Some of her finds look like ball gown–trim, with dressmaker details. Such elegant ribbon can sell for a pretty penny, so Hodge shops after-Christmas sales and scouts ribbons while on her travels. The end result is a keepsake package. “My family and friends have boxes and boxes of my bows. That’s the thing about recycling them — it makes gift-wrapping easy for you.”

Simple ways to adorn a package: “If you can tie a shoe lace, you can tie a simple bow,” says Hodge. Wrap a single piece of ribbon around a package and place a live flower on top, secured with ribbon. For the holiday season, she likes poinsettia flowers. Or, decorate a package with items from nature, such as a pinecone. Glue a tiny bird’s nest with candies inside or simply glue colorful candies on top of a wrapped box. Hodge buys silver apples, golden pears, tiny wreaths and other inexpensive items for her packages. “For Hanukkah, you can buy ribbon with dreidels and menorahs on it. You then layer a bow like that with solid blue.” She affixes toys to children’s packages — a tiny toy train or a Matchbox car, and sometimes wraps them in comics. For visual punch, Hodge often adds a cheery polka-dot ribbon. If the results please, she sometimes snaps a shot for one of her art cards — so the gift keeps on giving. OH Contributing editor Cynthia Adams is tied up in knots — not bows — come Christmas. December 2015

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Dearly Beloved The life and art of Dori Jalazo

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By Molly Sentell Haile • Photographs by Amy Freeman

reensboro artist Dori Jalazo collects legs. She buys some —mannequin legs, prosthetic legs and discarded dolls’ legs — from eBay and companies that specialize in mannequins for clothing stores. And when she can’t find exactly what she needs for an art piece she’s working on, Jalazo molds a new leg (or maybe a pair of wings, a hand or a heart) out of clay. Then she fires it in her backyard kiln and paints it, often in electric shades of purple, orange, gold and red that swirl together in a playful geometry of light and color. Into the mix go quotations (such as Helen Keller’s “Life is between the trapeze bars” and Raymond Carver’s “And did you get what you wanted from this life even so?”) that are integrated into her mixed-media sculptures. Jalazo’s ceramic tzedakah (charity) boxes — so named for the centuries-old Jewish tradition of putting donations through a hole into the top of a chest or box — along with angels and chalice-like vessels, to name a few, have found their way into personal and public collections around the world, including those of Henry Winkler, Harry Connick Jr. and Elie Wiesel. Eleven years ago she and her husband Paul moved from their home in New Irving Park where they raised their children, Mathew and Nicole, to a tree-covered lot in Hamilton Lakes. The Jalazo home perches on a little hill that is nearly hidden from the road. Entering it is like opening a portal into an artists’ mountain retreat or maybe a Seuss-like, dreamworld where sunlight illuminates bright Gerbera daisy orange, jellybean purple, and Caribbean blue walls. Everything — the mosaic tile mirrors, the sofas, the wooden and fabric chairs, the fireplace, the chandelier, and the hat rack — has been “Doried” into bright, truth-telling and hope-filled works of art. Jalazo laughs, “My family says, ‘Don’t sit too long or she’ll paint you!’” Jalazo, whose liquid blue eyes convey a universe of feeling, grew up in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Her Russian and Polish grandparents came to New York one by one in the early 1900s. “They came from families of ten, and what would happen is the oldest would come over first and they would work and then they would send money for the next one to come, and the next one,” says Jalazo. Jalazo’s childhood had its own hardships that included child abuse and the loss of her right leg when she was 4. Neither her parents nor the doctors told Jalazo that, due to a birth defect, her leg would have to be amputated below the knee. Even so, Jalazo says the biggest trauma of her life wasn’t the shock of waking up from surgery without her leg. Her lifelong struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder had more do with growing up in an unsafe home. She says the PTSD, “wasn’t about my leg, most was about being abused and scared every day of my life as a kid.” As a young child, Jalazo found some safe havens. There was Ruthie, the family housekeeper, who sometimes brought Jalazo and her siblings to stay the weekend at her own house. And at Camp Harlam, the Jewish summer camp Jalazo attended in the Poconos Mountains in northeastern Pennsylvania, Jalazo found a “little chapel that fed me” and the “feeling of

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being in a place where I was loved.” There was also the cute camp handyman who would pick her up in his truck when her prosthetic leg broke (which was often). “They’d stick me in his pickup truck and he would take me into the local garage where they would weld me back together.” On one of those rides, the handyman told Jalazo she had Elizabeth Taylor eyes, “and you know for a 12-year-old girl who’s still working on wanting to feel good about herself, to hear that . . .” Jalazo throws her arms up and gives a giddy “Woo!” Camp Harlam also gave Jalazo a first, albeit mischievous, glimpse into a life where her disability could be transformed into a unique ability. On the big once-a-session camp hike, the counselors allowed the girls to stop at a little store to buy candy. Jalazo says, “We could only buy a certain amount of candy that we could eat while we were there. Well, my bunkmates and I, we would take all the extra candy, put it in my hollow leg, walk all the way back to camp and then hide our candy in our cabin.” Using her leg as a vessel for candy smuggling was a neat trick. Since then, though, the transformative concept of a vessel has found its way into her art and life. Not only does she create beautifully painted and collaged ceramic vessels (think sacred chalice meets joyous whimsy) but Jalazo has begun to see herself as a kind of vessel, as well — “the vessel that God allows the work to come through.” She says she doesn’t believe she has a special gift, “other than being lucky enough to be the one who gets to do this.” And what she does is create pieces of Judaic art that speak to people regardless of their faith. Jalazo’s message of hope and healing in the aftermath of great suffering has reached children, too, through a picture book she wrote and illustrated in 2001. One’s Own Self, which was adapted into a play and performed at the Broach Theater, features a bleary-eyed purple moon in a yellow nightcap along with a star who wears suspenders and kaleidoscopic pants. The main character in One’s Own Self searches for a way to repair “an emptiness within” and learns that others can’t fix it. He discovers that loving himself fills the hole and lets him finally be a friend to others. Jalazo first discovered a way to tell her story of childhood loss and abuse in her high school art class in Allentown, Pennsylvania. She still has a self-portrait collage she made for that class. Jalazo says when it fell and the glass cover broke, “I left it that way on purpose because it is about being broken.” The collage hangs along a hallway filled with photographs of Jalazo’s grandparents, photographs of Jalazo’s children and grandchildren, and a 1972 wedding portrait of Jalazo with her husband, Paul. (“My dress was brighter orange than my living room!”) The couple, who

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had been best friends since the fourth grade, began dating during their freshman year at Penn State. Jalazo says she would go out with one boy, only for the relationship to fall through. Then another boy would come calling and another before Paul finally confessed to her, “I kind of told them we were together.” The two fell in love (or perhaps figured out they were already in love), married and moved to Atlanta to attend Emory Law School together. Laughing, Jalazo recalls using a draft table as her desk during law school. That should have been a clue to her true calling. Before long, she signed up for an illustration class at Georgia State, and then another. “I was doing more art than studying. [Law school] just wasn’t where I was supposed to be,” says Jalazo. The Jalazos moved to Greensboro in 1990 with their first baby, Niki. Paul practiced tax law and Dori worked in graphic design and, when time allowed, painted watercolors and created multi-media works. Little by little over the years, Jalazo has turned their house into a testament to her limitless creativity. These days she works on her art almost continuously (“I work until I sleep”) and doesn’t keep track of the hours she spends on a project. (“I can’t work that way.”) Nor does Jalazo have a designated workspace. She says it comes down to “where the space feeds you.” There’s the studio, a tiled sunroom with salmon walls and shelves filled with Jalazo’s art work in its various stages — memorial stones she paints, often including words from family members to a deceased loved one; delicate glass pieces she calls her “sherbet between courses, between the intense pieces;” and a Seder plate with six ceramic hands and arms reaching up to hold the traditional Seder meal. When pieces of the arms broke off in the kiln, Jalazo glued them back together, and rather than masking the cracks, she drew attention to them by painting them in contrasting colors. On the base of the sculpture, she has written, “We are not perfect, our cracks and our flaws are accepted by God.” Recently, Jalazo has been working in her bedroom. When she gets sore from wearing the prosthetic, she can sit more comfortably on her bed, where she keeps a tray of photos, drawings and quotations for her current project, a collage of her life story on a series of mannequin legs. Jalazo says her art is ultimately about, “repairing ourselves, which will repair the world.” And Jalazo makes her tzedakah boxes, which Jewish families keep at home for collecting money for those in need. The boxes are also reminders of a call to be just and help repair the world. (In Hebrew, tzedakah literally means “justice” or “righteousness,” but is commonly used to signify charity.) In anticipation

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of Elie Wiesel’s visit to Chapel Hill in 2010, Jalazo researched the Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate’s life and created an elaborate tzedakah box for him that includes images and quotations chosen to honor his life — a Jewish star, a Menorah, strings used in prayer shawls, a violin, the protective hand of God (hamsa), and Wiesel’s own words, “Human suffering anywhere concerns men and women everywhere.” And when Henry Winkler, who is best known as “The Fonz” on the television show Happy Days, visited Greensboro in 2003, Jalazo made something special for him. Winkler, who grew up shy and lacking confidence — due in large part to his struggle with dyslexia — spoke about his parents, Jewish immigrants who made it to the United States in 1939, just before the Holocaust. A couple of days after Winkler’s visit, Jalazo sent him a ceramic a ceremonial holder for the candle that is lit on the anniversary of a loved one’s death, “bringing them into the family again,” Jalazo explains. She likes to put a mirror in her creations, which she calls yahrzeit memorial homes, so the candlelight “dances in the room and reminds you they’re part of your family and they are at home with you.” A few days after sending the package, Jalazo found a message from Winkler on her answering machine: “Hi. This is Henry Winkler. Your art was so beautiful, the spirit jumped right out of the box.” Jalazo has saved that recording along with many notes and letters from adults and children who are moved by her heartfelt authentic message, a message born out of struggle and loss and shaped into art that answers the question, “And did you get what you wanted from this life, even so?” from the Raymond Carver poem Jalazo loves, “Late Fragment.” The poem, which is etched on Carver’s grave, has also found its way onto a ceramic angel Dori made when her son Matt left home for college. Copper wire ringlets spring out from the angel’s beaded cornucopia of hair and blue doves stream down her face and neck like tears. The answer scrolls across the center of her body: I did. And what did you want? To call myself beloved, to feel myself beloved on the earth. OH Molly Sentell Haile is a frequent contributor to O.Henry. Her work has also been published in the Oxford American. She is a graduate of UNCG’s creative writing MFA program. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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Story of a House

The House Without a

Christmas Tree During the holiday season Blandwood Mansion and Gardens truly shines By Cynthia Adams • Photographs by John Gessner 78 O.Henry

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“O

ne of the things you do not find inside Blandwood is a Christmas tree,” says Preservation Greensboro board member Anne Bowers. Bowers, a retired designer and chairwoman of the Historic Preservation Commission, has spent many hours of volunteer time at the historical house. So she appreciates how Blandwood strives to keep things historically accurate. As in, acknowledging that Christmas trees did not make it south between 1840 and 1860, when its most famous owner, Governor John Motley Morehead, was in residence. (Morehead’s baby cradle can be seen among the mansion’s collection of original furnishings.) “OK, check me, but I understand that Christmas trees were then only found in England and Germany,” adds Bowers, who ended her term as president at Preservation Greensboro earlier this year. “Probably they would have gone out a few days before Christmas to cut a tree. For decoration, they would have probably put out some greenery — only a few days before Christmas. Judith Kastner, operations director of Preservation Greensboro, points out that the straight-laced Puritan settlers in Massachusetts actually had a law banning the celebration of Christmas.” The law was not repealed until 1856. And in an era before Dickens popularized the English Victorian Christmas, “they didn’t have large stores to go shopping in, so they gathered what was available: colorful leaves, berries, nuts and fruit, bird feathers, pine cones and lots of greenery — running cedar, magnolia leaves, holly and pine boughs,” Kastner says. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Using greenery and the fruits of nature to make the mansion look festive is the job of Ashley Wall, who spearheads the work of a number of volunteers heading up Blandwood’s holiday decorations. Michelle Puzio has been involved with Blandwood for twenty years, and spends hours in the Blandwood Gardens. She also works with a merry crew under Wall’s direction to construct new designs for the holidays. According to Blandwood historians, Greensboro experienced new traditions and changes in the 19th century, as holidays became more elaborate. But trees are not required to create a festive look. Volunteers spend days decking the home’s many mantles with greenery. The elegant marble ones in the front rooms, a music room and elegant parlor receive the most attention. They, along with bay windows, extensive plaster molding, and ingenious pocket doors, windows and even interior pocket shutters (which are still in working order), inform the antebellum style of the Piedmont. When prepared, the rooms look as though they are ready for a Christmas ball. Flute music wafts through them, lending an understated festive ambiance. “Usually staff member John Graham’s daughter, Carrie, is playing,” says Bowers. It’s a serene, if darkly moody place. There are no overhead lights and during the holiday period, only subtly flickering candles — but ones illuminated with LED. The original gas lanterns still keep the entrance bright — a nod to a time when gaslights were de rigueur. Yet, in the same parlor in April 150 years ago, there was no music, only tensely controlled panic — when Governor Zebulon B. Vance had to, well, face the music. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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T

oday the parlor looks almost exactly as it did then. Blandwood is much more than just a pretty place. So many famous boots have marched up those front steps past the original gaslights, and walked right into the history books. These were not folks who politely sashayed inside, removed their kid gloves and signed the guest register — they were people keeping an appointment with destiny. One of the best things about Blandwood Mansion is that it was always a house — but now it is one that belongs to us; the mansion is supported by memberships and donations. You might say that it is Greensboro’s holiday gift to itself: an understated structure in the heart of the city that is open and welcoming to all comers. And you can visit it for a pittance. As the holiday season approaches, Blandwood closes for a few days in November to get gussied up. Naturally, a grand dame that still presides over the city, a National Historic Landmark at that, deserves three days of lavish attention to be readied for the visitors who will descend upon her. During the holidays, attendance figures leap, according to Benjamin Briggs, executive director of Preservation Greensboro, which operates Blandwood. “Traffic more than doubles,” he says. At the age of 225, the Italianate beauty deserves a little extra time to primp. Maintaining one’s beauty requires a little help, of course.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Volunteers are the mansion’s lifeblood, and when called, they dust, polish, weed the sunken rose garden and kitchen gardens, even grab shovels to excavate French drains, and tend it as if the place is their own. Wall and her team pull boxes from storage above the detached kitchen to prepare the 1790s beauty for her big moment. Women figure largely in Blandwood’s past and present. “Women are always saving things,” quips Bowers. Briggs adds that is true, and mentions that “women saved Mt. Vernon as well.” They also saved important houses in other communities, notably Savannah, Georgia and Stratford Hall, the Virginia birthplace of Robert E. Lee on the Potomac River. Though Blandwood’s halls may be draped with boughs of holly, jollied up with historically correct bits and baubles so that it looks like a fine old rambling manse, over the centuries, it has been the setting of all manner of human vagaries. It housed not only governors and leaders, but more recently, a goodly number of poor wee souls who spent time there when Blandwood was an institution for alcoholics, as well. (Not a jollying thought — you were expecting a holiday story, right? But Blandwood has seen its share of history and even some histrionics.) If its walls could talk, they would recount how, on that April day in 1865, Governor Vance turned himself over to Union officials in that stately front parlor. Vance surrendered in Greensboro, as it was temporarily the capital of North Carolina, while the Confederate president and his cabinet fled General Sherman’s troops. Historian Blackwell Robinson said, “Greensboro witnessed not only the demise of the Confederacy but December 2015

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also that of the old civil government of the state” of North Carolina. With Vance’s surrender, Greensboro’s short power turn was over. Blandwood, then 80 years old, would endure as it always had. Its survival is a testament to a city that accommodated history rather than subsuming it, growing around this wonderful mansion rather than bulldozing it. (The land is worth considerably more than the $98 that the site cost in the 1700s.) Thanks to the work of the women who founded the Greensboro Preservation Society, an empty and desolate Blandwood escaped near demolition in 1966. Today, the mansion is owned by the John Motley Morehead Commission.

B

ut Blandwood as we know it today is vastly changed from the original 1790s Federal style farmhouse. The original portion of the house stood on 100 acres, when Greensboro didn’t even formally exist. At the time of Blandwood’s building, the city was not yet incorporated. Envision surrounding lands, described by early historians as forested and thick with huckleberry vines. In another thirty years, Greensboro would have nearly 370 residents and the beginnings of an urban landscape were carved out. Greene, Elm and Davie streets were established, and intersected with Gaston, Market and Sycamore. Also by the 1820s, Blandwood received more additions and alterations. The biggest changes were to come twenty years later. When Blandwood became the home to then Governor Morehead (who served from 1841–45) it was altered radically, thanks to the work architect Alexander Jackson Davis. In 1844, Davis redesigned the house incorporating an Italianate style that broke from the “boxy” mode of American residential architecture. In The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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architectural annals, Blandwood is prominent among the most important examples of Davis’ impressive body of work. The Italianate renovation lent Blandwood an entirely fresh look — one that resonates with us today. Davis added a central tower, stucco walls and what the historians describe as “symmetrical flanking dependencies.” Nothing else looked quite like it when it was completed. As a celebrity architect of the time, Davis cut quite a design swath through North Carolina. His signature is apparent on the North Carolina State Capitol and the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill, among other notable academic sites such as Yale University. Of course, he designed residences elsewhere in the Gothic and Italianate styles, but few survive. So come, all ye all comers, and appreciate period beauty, made all the more dazzling with local (and period) green finery through December 31, and celebrate a house where Greensboro’s history keeps coming back to life every day it’s open. OH Tour hours are 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday and 2–5 p.m. on Sundays. Ticket info: (336) 272-5003 or www.preservationgreensboro.org Contributing Editor Cynthia Adams has had harrowing experiences with Christmas trees, so Blandwood’s policy suits her just fine.

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By Rosetta Fawley Nescis quid vesper vehat. Roman proverb, quoted by Macrobius, Saturnalia, “Thou knowest not what evening may bring.” How true. They were clever chaps, those ancient Romans. They had the Pantheon, under-floor heating and succinct party philosophy. December was the silly season for them too. They celebrated Saturnalia, the forerunner of Christmas. It was the festival of Saturn, the god of seeds and sowing. Beginning on December 17 in the Julian calendar, the festival lasted several days and featured a sacrifice at the Temple of Saturn followed by days — and nights — of feasting, drinking and celebration until December 23. Slaves were honored with a dinner served by their masters, and were permitted to speak freely. Both slave and master were allowed to gamble, either among themselves or with each other if they chose. Gifts were exchanged during the Sigillaria on December 19. However, since class and status were supposed to be suspended, the gifts tended to be modest and universal; often they were sigillaria, wax or pottery figures made especially for the festival.

**

The Romans chose a good time to celebrate the god of seeds. Now is the moment to look over your garden and plan for next year’s harvest. Your kale, cabbage and collards will probably still be producing winter greens. Hooray. Now, between turkey leftovers and Saturnalian hangovers, put your feet up and leaf through a seed catalog or ten. Consider investing in a cold frame to extend your growing season. If the budget is tight, as it tends to be at this time of year, then think about building a frame. It’s really just a box with a sloping glass lid. Look out for old windows at yard sales and flea markets. Apart from practicality, they’re more attractive than modern options. You want something no wider than a couple of feet to be sure that you can reach all the plants inside when you’re gardening. Build a frame from wood that won’t rot — black locust, cedar, cypress, white oak and redwood are all species resistant to decay; again, keep an eye out for scrap at lumberyards. On very cold nights it’s worth throwing a blanket over the cold frame to give an extra layer of warmth. Gardeners tend to be hardy types, but if the temperatures really drop, then you might want to indulge in an extra blanket for yourself too. Should we have a warm snap, open the lid during the day. You don’t want temperatures higher than about 70–75 degrees. Not for the plants, anyway. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gardeners and Romans aren’t the only ones with their minds on seeds this season. If our feathered friends could choose from a catalog over the winter months, they’d probably go for sunflower seeds and white proso millet. If you use commercial bird foods, read the ingredients carefully. Be sure to avoid mixtures that use golden millet, red millet or flax as fillers. Most birds don’t like these and they will avoid them. The resulting leftovers develop fungus and bacteria, spoiling the food the birds would want. You can also put out suet, fruit and peanuts. With all foods, keep an eye on the birds’ consumption and keep your bird table clean to avoid the growth of bacteria. And fatty foods, such as suet or peanut butter, should be removed in the warmth of the sun. The melting fat can clog birds’ plumage, making it difficult for them to fly and to maintain their body temperature. If you’re boiling eggs to devil for the party season, keep the shells and crush them into small pieces. It may sound like a strange thing to feed to birds, but they’re a good source of calcium and protein, which they need during the winter because there are fewer insects for them to feed on. Once the temperatures drop below freezing, remember to put out shallow dishes of water so that birds can drink and clean their feathers. They need fresh water every day. The ancient Romans probably felt the same at this time of year.

**

If you’re one of those who share a birthday celebration with Jesus, you’re in exalted company. Here are a few other greats whose birthday presents were wrapped in tinsel and red and green paper: Isaac Newton (1642–1726/7) Clara Barton (1821–1912) Humphrey Bogart (1899–1957) Cab Calloway (1907–1994) Louise Bourgeois (1911–2010) Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee, Whether the summer clothe the general earth With greenness, or the redbreast sit and sing Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall Heard only in the trances of the blast, Or if the secret ministry of frost Shall hang them up in silent icicles, Quietly shining to the quiet Moon. From Frost at Midnight, by Samuel Taylor Coleridge December 2015

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Bah humbug!

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December 1

LET THERE BE LIGHT! 5:30 p.m. Usher in the season at the lighting of UNCG’s Vacc Bell Tower at Anniversary Plaza's flickering luminaries on campus. College Avenue and Spring Garden Street, Greensboro. Info: uncg.edu. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet Fank Pettinelli, author of Mischling & Other Stories. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. HEY HO, HO, MON! 7 p.m. Tap your feet at Marimba Christmas, a free OPUS concert, with Andrew Dancy conducting. Bring a

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donation of new toys for Fox8 Gifts for Kids. Trinity Church, 5800 West Friendly Avenue, Greensboro. Info: city-arts.org.

December 1–13

PUNC’T! As in Punctuating Space: The Prints and Multiples of Richard Artschwager. Catch the show before it leaves. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

December 1–24

TWINKLE, TWINKLE, Y’ALL. The Christmas story gets a down-home twist in Preston Lane’s original play, Beautiful Star:

Celebrating 100 years

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Appalachian Nativity, the biggest hit in the history of Triad Stage. Performance times vary. The Pyrle, 232 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org. BAH! And you know the rest. See Triad Stage’s production of A Christmas Carol. Performance times vary. Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 North Spruce Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 272-0160 or triadstage.org.

December 1–31

MORAVIAN MADNESS. Self-guided house tours, demonstrations, visits with St. Nick, the Salem Christmas celebration, Candle Teas, sugarcake and ginger spice cookies . . . step

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


December Arts Calendar

Santa!

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back in time for holidays at Old Salem. Closed Mondays, and 12/24 and 12/25. 900 Old Salem Road, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 7217300 or oldsalem.org.

December 1–January 3, 2016

PROFS’ PIECES. See art profs’ creations outside the classroom at UNCG Department of Art Faculty Biennial. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3345770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. EARTHLY DELIGHTS. Now that’s some serious yard art: The Artist’s Garden: American Impressionism and the Garden Movement, 1887– 1920. Reynolda House Museum of American

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

It's a Wonderful Life

14-23

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The Nutcracker

12 &13; 19 &20

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Art. 5800 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem. Info: (886) 663-1149 or reynoldahouse.org.

North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

DAZZLING. 6–11 p.m. Gaze upon the millionplus twinkling LED lights in more than a hundred displays at Tanglewood Festival of Lights. See it by car or horse-drawn carriage; stop for gifts and treats — and the company of the Clauses. Tanglewood Park, Clemmons. Info: forsyth.cc/Parks/Tanglewood/fol/index.html.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 6 p.m. Meet Daniel de Vise, author of Andy & Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

December 2

DIBS! 5:30 p.m. Come to First Choice and buy an art credit of $500, $,1,000 or $2,500 toward your purchase of a piece of art. Greenhill, 200

December 3

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 5 p.m. Meet Charlie Lovett, author of The Further Adventures of Ebenezer Scrooge. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

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December Arts Calendar HALLELUJAH! 7 p.m. Greensboro Oratorio Singers and Conductor Jay O. Lambeth perform Handel’s Messiah, a free OPUS concert. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: city-arts.org.

Washington Drive, High Point. 12/5: First Presbyterian Church, 617 North Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: ncbrassband.org.

December 4–6

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Meet historian Paul Ringel, author of Commercializing Childhood. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

STRING THEORY. The We Are One Performance Arts Ensemble presents August Wilson’s Seven Guitars. Performance times vary. Caldcleugh Multicultural Arts Center, 1700 Orchard, Greensboro. Tickets: city-arts.org.

December 3–6

December 5

FROZE TOES. Leapin’ Lion King! It’s a fairytale mashup with Mickey, Minnie, Goofy, Cinderella, Nemo, Ariel and more at Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic. Performance times vary. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 4 &5

BRASS KISSERS. Contemporary and traditional tunes fill the air at “Christmas Wrapped in Brass,” courtesy of the North Carolina Brass Band. 12/4: First Baptist Church, 701 East

HOT (BAK)LAVA! 9 a.m. Calling all phyllphiles: Get yer sweet treats and handmade crafts at the Ladies Philoptochos Society 18th Annual Craft Show & Greek Pastry Sale. Dormition of Theotokos Greek Orthodox Church, 800 Westridge Road, Greensboro. Info: 336-292-8013 or dormition.nc.goarch.org. CAROL-LINA. 9:30 a.m. See a free movie, Santa Buddies: The Legend of Santa Paws, munch on free popcorn, sip a free drink and sing carols to the accompaniment of an old pipe organ — with Santa and Mrs. Claus. It’s Christmas at the Carolina. Carolina Theatre, 310 South

Greene Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com. PLANTA CLAUS. 10 a.m.–1 p.m. Listen to the sounds of Lee Hatling and nibble on refreshments while you browse for gifts for your gardener friends at Dolores and Wyatt LeFever Gift Shop. Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden, 215 South Main Street, Kernersville. Info: (336) 996-7888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 11 a.m. Meet Sands Hetherington, children’s author of the Night Buddies series. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. SWINGIN’. 2 p.m. Enjoy decorations, traditions and music from the swing era at “Cocoa and Candlelight in Canary: A 1940s Christmas Celebration.” Canary Cottage, Charlotte Hawkins Brown Museum, 6136 Burlington Road, Gibsonville. Info: (336) 449-4846 or chb@ncdcr.gov.

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December Arts Calendar BUYING SPREE. 7 p.m. Kick off the Winter Show at the ever popular fundraiser, Collector’s Choice, where you can meet N.C. artists and buy their art. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

SONG CYCLE. 3 p.m. Seasonal songs and hand-drawn cards highlight Bel Canto Company: Holiday Reflections — Family Matinee. Page High School, 201 Alma Pinnix Drive, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2220 or belcantocompany.com.

December 5 & 6

JINGLE BELL JAZZ. 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Piedmont Jazz Orchestra puts its own spin on classic holiday songs. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

HAMMER DOWN. 10 a.m, and 1 p.m. Sparks fly as You-Know-Who steps up to the forge. Give the Blacksmith an iron fistbump. High Point Historical Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. IN-A-GADDA-DA-SANTA. Noon until 4 p.m. Or, “In the Garden with Santa,” who’ll be taking requests from children. For a nominal fee have your tyke’s photo taken with St. Nick. Gently used Christmas decorations and crafts will also be for sale, to benefit the Horticulture Scholarship Fund. Greensboro Council of Garden Clubs, 4301-A Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 282-4940

December 6

CRAFTY. 10 a.m. Local and regional artists sell pottery, jewelry, fine art and more at Made 4 the Holidays. Early Bird passes are available on a first-come-first-served basis the day of the show. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3732402 or gsofarmersmarket.org. WE’LL GO DOWN IN HIS-TO-RY! 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. At the 43rd Annual Holiday Open House, that is, featuring re-enactments, music, demonstrations, refreshments and more. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org.

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 3 p.m. Meet Ned Cline, author of Onward & Upward: Charles Sanders, a Life of Leadership. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com. JOYFUL NOISES. 5 p.m. Conductors Ann Doyle and Teresa Allred lead Greensboro Youth Chorus for a free OPUS concert. Bring a new toy donation for Fox8 Gifts for Kids. First Presbyterian Church, 617 North Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: city-arts.org.

December 6–January 15, 2016

B-R-R-R-ILLIANT! 2 p.m. The works of more than a hundred N.C. artists shine at Winter Show. Greenhill, 200 North Davie Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or greenhillnc.org.

December 8

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 7 p.m. Poet Danny Glenn reads from his volume, Night Heron. Poetry. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

December 10

TOBY OR NOT TOBY. 7 p.m. As in, Grammy winner TobyMac, who brings his “This is Not a Test” Tour to town, with guest artists Nicole Britt and Colton Dixon. Greensboro Coliseum Special Events Center, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 7453000 or ticketmaster.com.

December 11

SWEET! 5:30 p.m. Sign your 9- 10- or 11-yearold up for Tween Cooking Class: Holiday Bakeshop, where he or she will learn how to make coconut snowman cupcakes, stained glass cookies and decorate a box to transport them home — for you to eat. Gnam! Gnam! Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, extension 317 or gcmuseum.com. THE FOOD OF LOVE. 6 p.m. That would be music, of course, courtesy of the Greensboro Symphony, which will perform at the Fox8/ Old Dominion Concert, with special appearances by the Summit Figure Skating Club of Greensboro and Santa. Bring a donation of nonperishable food for the Salvation Army. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456, ext. 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

December 11–20

THE SHOW MUST GO ON. Never perform with animals or children, the old saying goes. Especially the Herdman kids, who wreak havoc in The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Performance times vary. Community Theatre Greensboro, 520 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: ctgso.org.

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December Arts Calendar December 12

AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 11 a.m. Meet Douglas Gibson, author of the children’s book, Tales of a Fifth-Grade Knight. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 2 p.m. Meet Nancie McDermott, author of Southern Soups & Stews. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 5 p.m. Meet Tony Reevy, author of The Railroad Photography of Jack Delano. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

December 12–13

SHOW OF SHOWS. To celebrate the King of Kings. See the Christmas Spectacular, “Give Christmas Away,” replete with songs, drama, sets, costumes and a living Nativity. Performance times vary. Lawndale Baptist Church, 3505 Lawndale Drive. Tickets: (336) 288-3824 or lawndalebaptist.org.

December 12 & 13; 19 & 20

CRACKED. It’s sugar plum time as the Greensboro Ballet performs Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker. Performance times vary. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 12–20

JAWS. And for those of you who just can’t get enough Tchaikovsky, there’s also UNC School of the Arts’ production of The Nutcracker. Performance times vary. Stevens Center, 405 West Fourth Street, Winston-Salem. Tickets: (336) 721-1945 or uncsa.edu.

December 12–February 28

GET A MOVE ON! Inspired by the work of UNCG’s Department of Kinesiology, Weatherspoon presents In Motion, an exhibition highlighting a variety of movements in painting, drawing, print and sculpture. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

December 13

A JAZZY LITTLE CHRISTMAS. 3 p.m. Hear some seasonal tunes from Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble, led by Wally West, conductor, and bring along a new toy for Fox8 Gifts for Kids. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Avenue, Greensboro. Info: city-arts.org. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 4 p.m. Meet poet Alice Meador, who will read from her volume, Something To Be Said. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 7631919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

December 14 & 23

S’WONDERFUL. Get out your hankies for the seasonal tug on your heartstrings: Frank Capra’s It’s A Wonderful Life (1947). Showtimes vary. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

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December Arts Calendar December 17

EBENEZER TEASER. 7 p.m. Bill Murray plays an egotistical TV exec who’s visited by various ghouls on Christmas Eve in Scrooged. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 17 & 18

CHRISTMAS VILLAGE. Stroll down the Jane and Gene Kester International Promenade for music, hot chocolate and an appearance by Santa at Community Christmas. Times vary. High Point University, 833 Montlieu Avenue, High Point. Info: hpu.edu.

December 18

CLAUS PAUSE. 3:30 p.m. That would be Mrs. Claus, who will be on hand to swap stories, while you make cookies, sip cocoa and make crafts with the North Pole Elves. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. To register: (336) 574-2898, extension 317 or gcmuseum.com.

You'll shoot your eye out!

22

12/

December 19

December 15

YES, NATALIE, THERE IS A SANTA CLAUS. 7 p.m. How does an old fella (Edmund Gwenn) convince a cynical child (Natalie Wood) he really is Kris Kringle? Find out at Miracle on 34th Street (1947). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 16

ROOM AT THE INN. 7 p.m. That would be Holiday Inn (1942), starring Bing Crosby and Fred Astaire. Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 3332605 or carolinatheatre.com.

WAX ON, WAX OFF! 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Learn how to dip candles (at $1 each) with the help of a costumed interpreter. High Point Museum, 1859 East Lexington Avenue, High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or highpointmuseum.org. AUTHOR, AUTHOR. 1 p.m. Meet Mary Flinn, author of A Girl Like That. Barnes & Noble, Friendly Center, 3102 Northline Avenue, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-4200 or stores.barnesandnoble.com/store/2795. GRANT AND RAVE. 8 p.m. Christian crossover artist Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith sing Yuletide faves, with the accompani-

ment of a full orchestra. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com. HOUSTON, WE DON’T HAVE A PROBLEM. 6:30 p.m. Especially if Melva Houston’s behind the mic. Hear her vocal stylings at O.Henry Jazz Series. O.Henry Hotel, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or ohenryhotel.com.

December 21

GLISTENIN’ AND LISTENIN’. 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. It’s a very showbiz Christmas with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera Ellen starring in White Christmas (1954). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 22

YOU’LL PUT YOUR EYE OUT! 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. With a Red Rider B.B. gun, that is. Yup. It’s A Christmas Story (1983). Carolina Theatre, 310 South Greene Street, Greensboro. Tickets: (336)333-2605 or carolinatheatre.com.

December 31

TIME CHANGE. 9 a.m. Midnight just moved up several hours for Noon Year’s Eve, replete with noisemakers, dancing and more. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 5742898 or gcmuseum.com. CONCHORD. 8:30 p.m. That would be The Avett Brothers, of Concord, N.C., who’ll ring in 2016 with their homegrown brand of folk rock, with guest Asleep At the Wheel. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 West Gate City

Treasures | Antiques | Consignments

98 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


2015 Wolfe Holiday Home 527 Woodland Drive

Wolfe Homes invites you to take a tour of our 2015 Holiday House. Proceeds to benefit Greensboro Fellows Ministry. Admission requires a minimum donation of $5 per person.

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December 2015

O.Henry 99


December Arts Calendar Boulevard, Greensboro. Tickets: (800) 745-3000 or ticketmaster.com.

Greensboro. Preregistration: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 370-0707 or lucky32.com/greensboro_music.htm.

THE ENVELOPE, PLEASE. 8 p.m. Hear music from Academy Award—winning movies at “A Night at the Oscars,” part of the Greensboro Symphony’s Tanger Outlets Pops Series. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Road, Greensboro. Tickets: (336) 335-5356, ext. 224 or greensborosymphony.org.

TALK IS CHEAP. Noon. Apprenez l’art de la conversation française. Pardon our French and join French Table, a conversation group. Scuppernong Books, 304 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 763-1919 or scuppernongbooks.com.

Wednesdays

Tuesdays

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

HOT! HOT! HOT! 8 p.m. Dance to the jazz grooves of the John Henry Jazz Band and enjoy some good eats at City Sizzle New Year’s Eve Party, which will also raise funds for City 616’s proposed theater for the community. PB & Java Coffee Shop, 616 South Elm Street, Greensboro. Tickets: purplepass.com/citysizzle.

READ ALL ABOUT IT. Treat your little ones to storytimes: BookWorms (ages 12–24 months) meets at 10 a.m.; Time for Twos meets at 11 a.m. Storyroom; Family Storytime for all ages meets at 6:30 p.m. High Point Public Library, 901 North Main Street, High Point. Info: (336) 883-3666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com.

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

WEEKLY HAPPENINGS

PICKIN’ AND GRINNIN’. 6 until 9 p.m. Y’all come for Songs from a Southern Kitchen featuring Molly McGinn and Wurlitzer Prize (12/1 and 12/8); Laurelyn Dossett, Scott Manring and Alex McKinney (12/15); Laurelyn Dossett and Scott Manring (12/22); and Alan Peterson and Alex McKinney (12/29) — live music at Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover

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) 8833666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com.

Mondays

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,

Irving Park

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December 2015

O.Henry 101


December Arts Calendar Thursdays

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) 8833666 or highpointpubliclibrary.com. ALL THAT JAZZ. 5:30 until 8 p.m. Hear live, local jazz featuring Neill Clegg and special guests in the O. Henry Hotel Social Lobby Bar: Sarah Strable, Turner Battle and guest pianist with Neill Clegg (12/3); Brenda Morie with Neill Clegg and Dave Fox (12/10); Courtney Leigh Shaw with Neill Clegg and Dave Fox (12/17); Neill Clegg, Randy Craven and Sheila Duell (12/24); Dave Fox and Jessica Mashburn (early show, 12/31); Randy Craven, Sheila Duell and guest percussionist (late show, 12/31). No cover. 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: (336) 854-2000 or www.ohenryhotel.com/ jazz.htm. JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Fresh-ground, freshbrewed coffee is served with a side of jazz at Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754 or tatestreetcoffeehouse.com.

102 O.Henry

December 2015

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) 2742699 or idiotboxers.com.

Fridays

THE HALF OF IT. 5 p.m. Enjoy the hands-on exhibits and activities for half the cost of admission at $4 Fun Fridays. On First Friday (12/4), admission is only $2. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 North Church Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or gcmuseum.com.

MPROV 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 idiotboxers.com.

Sundays

Fridays & Saturdays

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

Saturdays

MISSING YOUR GRANDMA? 3 p.m. until it’s gone. Tuck into Chef Felicia’s skillet-fried chicken, fried in lard, of course, and served with giblet gravy. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace, Greensboro. Info: (336) 3700707 or lucky32.com/fried_chicken.htm.

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

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

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

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


this year...

music

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Tickets: $15 General Admission, $5 Students ($5 off any ticket with donation of a canned good)

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Arts &CULTURE The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 103


Nov. 21st — Dec. 24th Monday — Saturday 9 am — 6 pm From paintings to pocketbooks, we’ve decked our halls with gifts

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104 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Opus 2015-2016

CONCERT SERIES

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!

GROUP

CONCERT DATE

TIME

Sunday, November 1, 2015

3 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Friday, November 6, 2015

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Saturday, November 7, 2015

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor

Friday, November 20, 2015

7:30 PM

Trinity Church 5200 West Friendly Avenue

Marimba Christmas Andrew Dancy, Conductor

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

7 PM

Trinity Church 5200 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Oratorio Singers Jay O. Lambeth, Conductor

Thursday, December 3, 2015

7 PM

Carolina Theatre 310 South Greene Street

Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Teresa Allred, Conductors

Sunday, December 6, 2015

5 PM

First Presbyterian Church 617 North Elm Street

Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble Wally West, Conductor

Sunday, December 13, 2015

3 PM

Greensboro Historical Museum Auditorium 130 Summit Avenue

Sunday, February 14, 2016

6 - 8 PM

Sunday, March 6, 2016

3 PM

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Saturday, March 19, 2016

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Philharmonia of Greensboro Peter Perret, Conductor

Saturday, April 30, 2016

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Greensboro Youth Jazz Ensemble Wally West, Conductor

Sunday, May 1, 2016

3 PM

Greensboro Historical Museum Auditorium 130 Summit Avenue

Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Teresa Allred, Conductors

Monday, May 2, 2016

7 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Friday, May 6, 2016

7:30 PM

Page High School Auditorium 201 Alma Pinnix Drive

Saturday, May 7, 2016

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

7 PM

Friday, May 13, 2016

7:30 PM

Philharmonia of Greensboro with Special Guest: Danville Symphony Orchestra

Peter Perret, Conductor Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Greensboro Big Band, Sweet Sounds in partnership with Canterbury School; includes dancing 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 Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor Greensboro Brass Ensemble Kiyoshi Carter, Conductor

For details about the concert programs: www.greensboro-nc.gov/OPUS 336-373-2549 • music@greensboro-nc.gov • www.facebook.com/cityarts1

LOCATION

Canterbury School, Berry Hall 5400 Old Lake Jeanette Road Lindley Recreation Center 2907 Springwood Drive

Trinity Church 5200 West Friendly Avenue Greensboro Historical Museum Auditorium 130 Summit Avenue New, unwrapped toys are being collected for FOX8 Gifts for Kids.


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December 2015

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December 2015

O.Henry 107


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Friday, November 20th, 6-8pm Exhibit runs until Jan. 1st

Jingle Mob “Cute Clothes are Chilly” by Sue Webb Tregay

Tuesday, December 8th 6-8pm

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December 2015

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 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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O.Henry 109


wit

It's B

December 12-13 • December 19-20

December 12-13 at the Carolina Theatre December 19-20

at the Carolina It’s Back! The December 13th performance will beTheatre our popular It's Back! The December 13th performance “Muttcracker” with an appearance from Miss Babe Ruth! will be our popular "Muttcracker" with an appearance from Miss Babe Ruth! Tea with Clara pre-events

Ask about our beloved Ask about beloved December 12 at 12:45pm December 20 our at 1:45pm Tea with Clara pre-events

Ticket sales atDecember 12 at 12:45pm December 20 at 1:45pm

Shop • Dine • Indulge

336-333-2605 Ticket sales at 336-333-2605 www.carolinatheatre.com

www.carolinatheatre.com Event Info:

Event Info: www.greensboroballet.org www.greensboroballet.org

SCUPPERNONG BOOKS S a t u r d a y, D e c e m b e r 1 2 , 2 p m

cookbook author

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tasting

signing

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Real Local.

600 N. Eugene St 110 O.Henry

December 2015

Downtown GSO The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Shop • Dine • Indulge

CBYA Fall Flavors OHENRY :Layout 1 10/14/15 2:31 PM Page 1

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Kahlua Espresso Bourbon Butter Pecan

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Pumpkin

Sweet Potato

So, which is your fall favorite?

We’re baking our fall flavors and they are delicious! Come by today and taste for yourself. And who says you have to choose just one favorite? Hours: Monday: Closed Tuesday & Wednesday: 7:30 am - 9 pm Thursday: 7:30 am - 10 pm Friday: 7:30 am - 11 pm Saturday: 9 am - 11 pm Sunday: 10 am - 9 pm

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2015

O.Henry 111


O.Henry ads 2_December '15 11/4/15 6:00 PM Page 1

SANTA IS ON HIS WAY!

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G R E E N S B O R O

People keep telling us that a visit to LaRue is like a trip out of Greensboro.

We Disagree. LaRue is constant growth, adaptation, and development in pursuit of ceaseless progress.

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Shop • Dine • Indulge

MONDAY-SATURDAY CHEF’S LUNCH 12PM-3PM THURSDAY-SATURDAY DINNER 5PM-10PM LATE NIGHT NOODLE BAR 10:30PM-2AM 313 S. GREENE ST. 336.252.2253 SUNDAY BRUNCH 11AM-4PM

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Lunch Special

Everything a Girl Could Want... for The Holidays!

Jewelry • Clothes • Shoes • Home Accessories

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227 South Elm Street 574.4496 Tues. - Thurs. 11am-6pm Fri. - Sat. 11am-9pm Sunday & Monday 12pm-4pm The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 113


Shop • Dine • Indulge

Sparkle, Shimmer and Shine this Holiday Season

Interiors • Furnishings • Accessories • Vintage 513 S. Elm Street • (336) 265-8628 • vivid-interiors.com

modern furniture made locally

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114 O.Henry

December 2015

Gifts with stories to tell.

Shop handmade & fair trade this holiday!!

352 s. elm st. greensboro

Supporting over 50 NC artists selling handmade and fair trade jewelry, gifts and decor. 935 boston dr. burlington The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Shop • Dine • Indulge


HOLIDAY WINE SALE ALL WINES UP TO

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ERIC AND TAMMY OVERCASH "Setting Sail to the Tropics and Beyond..."

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116 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Worth The Drive to High Point Carols for A Carol Here’s an ironic thought: If A Christmas Carol weren’t in the public domain, its royalties would amass a fortune that Ebenezer Scrooge would envy. But thanks to its public domain status, the novella is the gift that keeps on giving (and we’d like to think Charles Dickens would approve). Consider the myriad adaptations to stage, film and television that Carol has inspired: film versions with Scrooge personified by the likes of Alistair Sim, Albert Finney, George C. Scott, Patrick Stewart and Bill Murray. Donald Duck (as “Scrooge McDuck”) and Mr. Magoo have shown how the tale works just as well in animation — or in puppetry, as The Muppet Christmas Carol attests. There’s even a YouTube version on “Epic Rap Battles in History,” that has Scrooge going up against . . . Donald Trump. A fairly recent iteration of the yuletide ghost story is A Christmas Carol: The Musical. The play premiered in New York’s Paramount Theater in 1994 and remained an annual production on Broadway for nearly ten years (spawning, of course, a televised rendition starring Kelsey Grammer). From December 10–13, High Point Community Theatre tackles the show — the perfect vehicle to help celebrate the company’s fortieth season.

With music by Alan Menken, whose canon includes Disney films Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and The Little Mermaid, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens (Little Shop of Horrors, Seussical), Dickens’ original acquires greater emotional fullness (cynics would say “schmaltz”), but it works. The simple, sweet air, “Christmas Together,” recurs at crucial points in Scrooge’s transformation from malcontent to mensch — with help from apparitions, who, in a departure from the novella, resemble London street people Scrooge has encountered in waking life. At times, the musical is reminiscent of good old-fashioned fare from English music halls or MGM studios — as in the “rat-a-tat-tat” lyric repeated during Mr. Fezziwig’s ball, or the Ghost of Christmas Present’s number, “Abundance and Charity.” The songs scare just enough when Marley’s ghost laments his eternal chains in “Link by Link,” and with the macabre, “Dancing On Your Grave,” which reveals Scrooge’s potentially empty legacy. But again, “Christmas Together” emerges, setting up the story’s bright and satisfying ending, and encouraging us to come together as family, as community and inhabitants of Planet Earth. Info: hpct.net —Nancy Oakley

ART FOR GIVING

ART FOR YOUR LIFE Hayden Dakota Wilson

T H E

S H O P

GREENSBORO CULTURAL CENTER | GREENHILLNC.ORG | 336.333.7460

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2015

O.Henry 117


GreenScene

Allyson Hanover, Andy Heckler

Cocktails & Jazz O.Henry Hotel Thursday, October 15, 2015

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Kenny Shulman, Brian Holbrook, Mary Bilotta, Madelyn Greco, Vicki Dithane

Lisa Jones, Angela Butler

Armita & Ron Galloway

Dave Fox, Sarah Strable, Neill Clegg

Benjamin Matlack, Asia Cook, Candice Savoury, Trevonte Williams Bynum Hunter, Marty Ruffin

Bill Gibbons, Tom Craver

Paula & Madelyn Sharp

Hollis Gabriel, Susan Sassman

Adele McGugan, Ellen Young

Ron Ilinitch, Sri Shankar Anne Brennan & Jeff Todd

Bill Worley, Sheila Duell

118 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Let our family care for yours.

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December 2015

O.Henry 119


Great gift ideas for the Holidays!

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336.691.0051

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120 O.Henry

December 2015

Dolce Dimora

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene

Mark & Rena Watson

Lisa & Sandy Duck

Summit Society Social 2015 Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro Wednesday, October 21, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jane Gibson, Ryan Newkirk

Julie Olin, Flora & Tommy Price

Susan & Bob Cox, Myra Brown, Dr. Bill Herring

Sam & Sue Sciabbarrasi

Paul Russ, Trisha Costello

Jane Gorrell, Lynn Wooten

Bill Roane, Ron Johnson Mary Magrinat, Susan Shumaker

Natalie Carter Hyde, Mickey Carter, Jeff Hyde

‌ One Closet at a Time!

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December 2015

O.Henry 121


Area Schools NGFS.OHenry_Investments Ad.Paths.indd 1

Save the Date

11/6/15 8:01 AM

OPEN HOUSE

January 10, 2016 ~ 3:00 pm Kindergarten Only

April 6, 2016 ~ 9:00 am Cookies & Cocoa Open House Drop by with your child for a taste of Canterbury Sunday, Jan. 24, 3-5pm, Berry Hall Canterbury School is a PreK-8 Episcopal day school.

Kindergarten - 12th Grade

Please Join Us in The Farlow Kennedy Center

WESLEYAN CHRISTIAN ACADEMY

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

122 O.Henry

December 2015

www.wesed.org

1917 N Centennial St. in High Point ~ (336) 884-3333 x263 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


GreenScene

David Andreski, Abby Howe

Daniel Acosta, Dariela Ocampo

Love-A-Landmark Party Dixon-Lefwich-Murphy House & Gant-McAlister House To benefit Preservation Greensboro Thursday, October 29, 2015 Photographs by Lynn Donovan

Jessi Gulledge, Lauten Crow

Bonnie Naas, Tom & Sara Sears Boo Boo, Tommy & Ashley Watkins

Dawn Chaney, John Graham

Martha Maust, Michelle Puzio, Jim Reece, Rebecca Maust, Larry Brown

Linda Bliton, Bridget Delaney Russ Clegg, Angie Smits

Burch Carr, Donna Greenway Sam Simpson, Benjamin Briggs

Mary & Vance Smathers

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December 2015

O.Henry 123


GreenScene

Cathy Lovejoy, Knox Barker, Kathleen Reittinger, Dan Barlow

House of Love The James Family Film Carolina Theatre

Friday, November 6, 2015

Photographs by Lynn Donovan Mary Marr & Freddie Johnson, Travis Leonard, Gabby Giola

Michael Flannery, Lily Cohen, Cathy Flannery

Liz, Alex, Will & Matt James

Mary Bengel, Caroline Shogry

Iba Enoch, Isabelle James, Crystal & Diane Pass

Ann Deaton, Kathy Haines Ogi & Janet Overman

Pamela Bunten, Beth Griggs, Debbie Dickey Charlotte Cameron, Hugh, Parker, Mary Lou & Bob Williams

Parker Williams, John Allred Allison & Rob Leonard, Colin & Magz King

Pat & Russ Ingersoll

Karen & Jim Evans, Hattie & John Aderholdt

124 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


We Wish You A Merry Christmas & A Happy New Year!

1101 Sunset Drive Chesnutt -Tisdale Team

Xan Tisdale 336-601-2337

Kay Chesnutt 336-202-9687

Xan.Tisdale@bhhsyostandlittle.com Kay.Chesnutt@bhhsyostandlittle.com

1101 Sunset Drive — Old Irving Park

Irving Park brick home, overlooking the golf course that is ready for all of your holiday festivities! Price upon request

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

Peace on Earth

Enjoy peace of mind knowing that your best friend is safe and happy while you’re away

DAYCARE

LODGING

GROOMING

336.275.1010

15 Battleground Court, Greensboro

weezieglascock@gmail.com • www.weezieglascock.com

www.ruffhousing.com mail@ruffhousing.com

visit www.weezieglascock.com or www.gigitraveler.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

TRAINING

336.763.3064

December 2015

O.Henry 125


g n i n i D & d Foo ity C e t Ga e h t of

To adver tise, call 336-707-6893 126 O.Henry

December 2015

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

Lift a Toast and Drink the Punch December’s stars

By Astrid Stellanova

Children, I just love the holidays! The

Stellanovas celebrate it all: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus. Ain’t no casserole, matzo ball, jujube, ham, turkey or sweet tater safe when our brood gets together. Grandpa Hornblower likes to say that if its and buts were candies and nuts, every day would be like Christmas. Well, indecision ain’t exactly a gift. But good humor is. Give yourself some, Star Children. Being happy, as the elders said, is a way of becoming wise. See you in 2016, older and wiser! — Ad Astra

Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) You may have been naughty January till November, but Darling, you are not nearly so dumb as to be a major pain in the run-up to your birthday and Christmas. Everybody is relieved that you found at least part of what you have been searching for, and nobody expected it. You have never had much sense of direction, but at least you can find your car at Walmart. That’s something, Honey. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) Looks like somebody drank a big ole cup of Hater-ade. But two wrongs finally made a right for you, so just count your blessings and tell the universe thank you. You are one of the few signs that can look good while tipsy, wearing your birthday suit with a giant bow stuck on your head. Just be sure it ain’t on YouTube. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) About the only time you were outstanding this month was when everybody else went inside for eggnog and cookies. Time to get your game face on and make happy, happier, happiest. Go on. Drink the punch; smile for the camera. Tell Grandma you love the socks. It won’t kill you, Sweet Thing. Pisces (February 19–March 20) Use the good sense the Lord gave you and take you a BC Powder when that co-worker drives you mad. Maybe he chews with his mouth open or doesn’t understand the concept of an inside voice, but he’s somebody’s baby. If you can teach by example, you are going to have a much better year, Honey. Aries (March 21–April 19) There was a time in the not-so-distant past when you were the last to leave the party. Thank heavens you have learned some self-control and have started getting off the train before it stops at Stupid Land. I see you’re growing up, wising up, my Ram. Put a bow on that thought and see if you can’t keep the lamp shade off your wild and crazy little head. Taurus (April 20–May 20) The holidays bring out the best in you. You help everybody enjoy the festivities just a little more than they would without you. That’s a gift to everybody, Love. Just remember, when you walk in the door nobody wants to leave — that may not make it onto your tombstone, but it is what everybody will remember! The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gemini (May 21–June 20) If I could grant you one wish, it would be a do-over. Somebody needs your love and forgiveness. Maybe you can offer it. You have a bigger heart than you admit, you wacky little Twin. Green is your color — goes with your birthstone, and goes with all those greenbacks coming your way. Cancer (June 21–July 22) For the next two astral cycles, you have got some choices to make. Will you stay? Will you go? Will you go back to bed and pull the covers over your head until it’s February? Honey, you have got to trust your gut. If it don’t feel right, it ain’t right. Leo (July 23–August 22) Time was that you could name every one of the seven dwarfs. Now you feel like you have become three of them: Grumpy, Sleepy and Dopey. Smile more. Sleep more when you crawl into those sheets. And don’t say as much as your moving lips want to, Honey. You’ll look Happy, Perky and Smart. Virgo (August 23–September 22) You did some heavy lifting and all you got in thanks was a hernia. No more gut-busting heroics for you. Time out is just about the best cure, and you will be visited by the Good Deed Fairy at least once this month. Kick back and allow, Love Muffin. Libra (September 23–October 22) Somebody fooled you once but they didn’t fool you twice. You were on to their ways, and now you feel all chuffed up. If you must seek revenge, re-gift Grandma’s fruitcake and move on, Baby. Be jolly; you look younger and cuter that way. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) By the time you read this, you will have launched headlong into your annual holiday excess. That’s all right; some people (ahem, you and me) just love glitter porn. Tie a bow on it and call it your season. It is. 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 2015

O.Henry 127


O.Henry Ending

Game Day

By John Cruickshank

By 7 a.m. on December 23rd, Ron Teague will be smoking.

Deer backstrap takes seven hours to cook in the smoker. If you try to throw it in a 350 degree oven like beef, Ron says you’ll get something you could make a belt out of. Venison takes time, and there are only a few ways to do it right. In the next twenty-four hours, Ron will cover most of them, and he’ll start serving by 9:30 a.m. tomorrow. People will start lining up for the Barber’s annual Christmas game meal by 9 a.m. On a typical day at Style & Cut, just off North Elm, you’ve got Ron’s soliloquies, Ron and Larry’s back-and-forth, the rare and kind-hearted snipe from Red. The barbers’ longtime partner Bill retired three years ago. A stuffed elk, a trophy from one of Ron’s big hunts, occupied Bill’s old stall for a bit. Ron sets the shop’s tone with talk as well as trophies. His long face and high eyebrows, and characteristic tilt of his head give him the look of peering over his eyeglasses even when he’s not wearing them. He has made his living as much with the needle as with the shears. “My hair’s getting mighty thin, Ron,” a long-timer, Harvey, once said. “You’ll have to start giving me a discount.” “I’ll give you a discount,” Ron shot back, “but there’s gonna be a finder’s fee.” I once asked Ron what barbers’ school entailed. “Well,” he said, “they stand you behind a chair. And give you some clippers. And you say ‘Next.’ And then you’re doing it. There’s no instruction or nothing. It’s kind of like med school.” He looked sidelong at the man in Larry’s chair. “I always figured, if I flunked out of barbers’ school, I’d just be a doctor,” Larry said. “I applied to med school,” Ron said, “but I was a 12 handicap. That’s what kept me out. Had to be about scratch to get in back then.” The doctor in Larry’s chair finally broke. “All the doctors I know is about scratch, “ Ron persisted. “I got sick once, and he went to take me to the hospital,” he said, pointing his comb at Larry. “I said, ‘No! Don’t take me to the hospital. Take me to the golf course, that’s where the doctors are.’” Last Christmas Eve, Ron counted ten physicians and a veterinarian among the more than two hundred who filed through The Healthy Shape, where Ron started hosting to handle the overflow into his shop. Cashmere sweaters and leather jackets mixed with blue work shirts with nametags sewn into them, old

128 O.Henry

December 2015

flannels and hoodies. The mailman stopped in for a plate; so did a woman who worked at Jersey Mike’s next door. The deer sausage biscuits that Ron and his son-in-law, Sean, had rolled out and fried that morning were gone in an hour. The bird pies that Ron’s friend Dan had made from quail, wild turkey, and pheasant under cornbread crust were another favorite. Nine of them lasted the morning (I bit into a piece of shot on my third bowlful). “Ron, while you’re over there doing nothing, would you sweep some of this hair up off the floor?” one of the old men declared, soon after Ron held forth about barbers’ school. You’re liable to get a lawsuit brought against you if I slip and fall.” “You slip and fall, I got my gun in the back. I’ll put you out of your misery, like a horse.” “I’m in misery listening to you go on.” “Let me put you down, then.” The old man set his teeth. “Go on,” he said. Ron turned away from him. “Wouldn’t be worth the bullet,” he said. “They cost about forty-five cent apiece.” Late in the morning, Ron started telling about the time he was out on a hunt in a tree stand when six deer, does and young bucks, came out of the brush and stood to graze right underneath his tree. Somehow, they didn’t detect him. And just as he took aim, in the perfect stillness, his phone went vibrating. Everybody knew he was on a hunt. It must have been an emergency. “But I looked,” Ron said, “and it was just Eli,” a long-time customer. Eli had been up in New Jersey and just gotten out of surgery. Likely he hadn’t even known where Ron was that morning, or hadn’t remembered. He just wanted to talk. The deer still hadn’t heard anything. Ron could still have had his shot if he ignored the call. “Well, I answered it.” “And the six deer were just laughing at you,” his customer said, shaking his head. “That’s right. And we talked.” Ron was quiet for a second. And then it was as if he came back into the shop. “Aw, but if it had been a big buck, now,” he said, “I’d of let it ring.” OH John Cruickshank will be in line Ron’s wild game roast at 8:59 a.m. on Christmas Eve. Reach him at jcruicks@gmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Illustration by Harry Blair

Merry Christmas. Need a trim? Try a piece of smoked venison


Their old bank didn’t ask about their first. With Carolina Bank, they’re making a plan for their second.

This is Emily. She’ll be here in December. Grandma’s going to give her toys.

Her aunts are buying her clothes.

Her parents are getting her a special gift.

One she’ll keep forever, An education.

This holiday season, open a college savings account with Carolina Bank.

And from all of us at Carolina Bank, happy holidays and best wishes for a new year filled with health and happiness. 336.288.1898 / carolinabank.com Greensboro • High Point • Burlington • Asheboro • Winston-Salem

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O.Henry December 2015  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry December 2015  

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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