February/March O.Henry 2012

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M A G A Z I N E Volume 1, No. 3

“I fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090

227A North Spring Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 www.ohenrymag.com Jim Dodson, Editor jim@ohenrymag.com Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director andie@ohenrymag.com Ashley Wahl, Associate Editor Kathryn Galloway, Associate Art Director CONTRIBUTING EDITORS David C. Bailey, Maria Johnson, Jim Schlosser, Deborah Salomon PHOTOGRAPHERS Sam Froelich, Cassie Butler CONTRIBUTORS Tom Bryant, Suzanne Cabrera, Frank Daniels III, Moselle Deercorn, Lynn Donovan, Terry Kennedy, Sara King, Jo Maeder, Meridith Martens, Lee Rogers, Lou Skrabec, Shari Smith, Stephen E. Smith, Mary Novitsky, Lee Zacharias


David Woronoff, Publisher ADVERTISING SALES Marty Hefner, Sales Manager 336.707.6893, mhefner@ohenrymag.com Hattie Aderholdt 336.601.1188 Laura Morris 336.471.4237 Sam Froelich 336.402.3772 Perry Loflin 910.693.2514 Circulation 336.617.0090 ©Copyright 2012. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC

4 O.Henry

February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Soul and Spirit of North Carolina Explore the

Pier Fishing

Limited Edition Art Print Break out your rods and bait for the pier; bring your beach chair and book for a great and relaxing time! Those are just a few of the highlights when you spend a day on the pier ďŹ shing with friends.

Idle Time

Limited Edition Art Print

This is a familiar scene for beachgoers! Nothing like kicking back and watching the mesmerizing surf as it laps the shoreline. Haven't you pictured yourself in this scene?

Tune in for a special re-airing of North Carolina Beautiful a new documentary by artist William Mangum Check your local listings!

2166 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408 336.379.9200 Friend us on facebook: William Mangum Artist


February/March 2012 9 12 14 15 16 20 22 27 28 31 34 36 64


Pastor Sam and the Possum By Jim Dodson


Greensboro’s Good and Varied Life


Versed in Good Taste


Utopia Unplugged

By David C. Bailey

By Ashley Wahl


The Guilford Limner

By Jim Schlosser


War Babies

By Stephen E. Smith


Rub of Genius

By Jim Schlosser


A Girl Can Dream


Strong As Oak

By Shari Smith


Winter On Elm 39 Poem By Terry Kennedy

Love 4 Less 40


A Healthy Bouquet


By Frank Daniels III

The Road Not Taken

Hot and Bothered 46 By Moselle Deercorn

A true life, heart-pounding faux-mance

By Tom Bryant


The Crush By Deborah Salomon Arts Calendar

74 GreenScene

By Sam Froelich

76 THE GREAT FOOT AND MOUTH LOVE CHALLENGE Stinky Bliss By Maria Johnson 78 THE GREAT FOOT AND MOUTH LOVE CHALLENGE My Happy Feet By David C. Bailey 80 O.HENRY ENDING ’Til Death Do Us Part By Jo Maeder

By David C. Bailey

True romance on a budget

By David C. Bailey

Bald is Beautiful 50

By Maria Johnson

The feathered nest of Greensboro’s original love birds

Jan Hensley’s 52 Dark Miracles of Chance

By Lee Zacharias

One man’s love of words leads to a life in portraits

The House That Soul Built 56 By Ashley Wahl

The restoration of the Magnolia House Motel provides a powerful link to Greensboro’s past

Winter’s Perfect Blooms 62 By Lee Rogers

Bring a handful of camellia blooms to your Valentine this year

Cover image from the Greensboro Historical Museum Archives 6 O.Henry

February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A wrinkle is a flaw.

But a ripple is art.


High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem


Pastor Sam and the Possum by Jim DoDsoN


uring the quiet days immediately after the New Year, I finally confronted my backed-up email account and found a gem from Bob Klepfer, the executive director of the Tannebaum-Sternberger Foundation. Bob wondered if I’d ever heard of pastor Sam Sox, one of Greensboro’s legendary churchmen and the longtime pastor of First Lutheran Church. Seems he was so deeply amused by Deb Salomon’s witty “Ballad of the Chinese Buffet” in December’s O.Henry, he felt moved to submit his own light-hearted verse about “Pastor Sam,” relating the tale of how Sam tumbled out of a tree while possum hunting, and injured his back. Although flat on his back for six weeks, Pastor Sam artfully gave his ringing sermons from his rectory bed while hooked up to a public address system. But more on the poem in a Market Street minute. If there really is such a thing, Bob’s ditty was both a lovely coincidence and welcome tonic for the post-holiday blues that invariably cause me to mope around at holiday’s end like a kid who’s lost his new firetruck. Not only did I grow up attending First Lutheran and knew Pastor Sam probably as well as any kid with a streak of the devil in him can know a beloved tribal elder, but was actually planning to write my own tribute to one of the most colorful preachers in Greensboro history. It’s not too much of a stretch to say Pastor Sam is one reason I love ice hockey and have a strong spiritual life today. It was just days before Christmas in 1959 when my dad took a job at Bennett Advertising in High Point and uprooted us from Florence, South Carolina, and moved us home to Greensboro, his hometown. The first thing my parents did was enroll my older brother and me at Braxton Craven Elementary and take us downtown for public library cards. The next day, for the first time, we went to First Lutheran Church on West Market Street for the Christmas Eve pageant and service. My parents had attended First Lutheran in its orginal Ashe Street location before I was born. Two things stay with me from that night. One was of my dad playing Balthazar the wise man in the church’s Christmas pageant. Years later I learned he was the last-minute fill-in for a chap in the men’s Sunday School class who came down with appendicitis. Luckily, wise men had no lines. “I just held the camel’s reins and nodded a great deal,” he explained. Ironically, or maybe not, my old man would go on to become the class’s moderator for the next twenty-five years. The other memory is of the gifted white-haired pulpiteer who gave a spellbinding and highly emotional sermon about the transforming power of love The Art & Soul of Greensboro

that caused him to actually weep in the pulpit. On the way home, I remember my parents saying they’d never seen — or heard — anyone quite like Pastor Sam Sox. A month later, on my seventh birthday, February 2, 1960, my dad appeared at my classroom door and got both my brother and me dismissed from classes. The mystery of this act was revealed when he drove us downtown and we stood beneath the marquee of the Center Theater and watched the growing peaceful protest resulting from the historic effort to integrate the Woolworth’s lunch counter by four brave black freshmen from A&T State. “Boys,” he told us, “you’re watching history take place. This is going to change your world.” He was right, of course, though no one except perhaps an Old Testament sage could have imagined the sea-change that first non-violent act of civil disobedience would unleash on those cold, gray February days. It shouldn’t have surprised me to learn many years later that Sam Sox was right in the middle of those tense and historic doings, a gentle Southern Elijah with his street-smart Gospel of transforming love, supporting the non-violent action as one of the city’s leading churchmen and counseling tolerance to anxious onlookers. From the beginning of his Greensboro ministry in 1940, Sam Sox had been in the forefront of promoting social justice and civil rights in the Gate City. He moved among street people and city fathers with the same easy grace that quickly established Pastor Sam as a familiar and welcome figure in every part of town. “My dad loved all kinds of people and really felt comfortable wherever he was,” remembers his son, Sam Jr. “People were drawn to him because he was funny and warm and preached the same Gospel to my brother David and sister Sylvia and me that he preached to his flock and ordinary people on the street. That God loves us all and He’s completely color-blind. He liked to say the devil is always near us all making trouble.” The same year we arrived back in Greensboro, the Greensboro Generals began playing in the Eastern Hockey League. Within a short time Pastor Sam, a buddy of Generals owner and future mayor Carson Bain, was official team chaplain. “My dad and Sam were best friends and fishing buddies,” says Bobby Bain. “They always brought out a little of the devil in each other at February/March 2012

O.Henry 9


hockey games, especially if the Charlotte Checkers were in town. They would sit behind the opposing goalie’s net and Dad would yell his head off at the goalie. They had a great time doing that.” “My dad did his part in supporting the team,” adds Sam Jr., with a laugh. “He did his share of shouting at opponents, too. I remember once sitting with them when my dad hops up and yells, ‘Kill the bum!” He was wearing his clerical collar and people near us were shocked and amused. Dad was a little embarrassed, but he didn’t take it back. He was a man of deep passions, and he sure loved ice hockey.” It was this kind of Everyman passion that endeared Pastor Sam to ordinary people — especially kids. Not long after my family began attending First Lutheran, I joined a small group of spiritual goslings that Sam Sox picked up from school and drove to junior choir practices and Luther League in his big 1959 Plymouth sedan, a routine that went on for several years and often included a stop at Yum Yum ice cream shop. Long about the fifth grade I was invited to try out for the Generals’ newly formed pee wee hockey team and did so, making the team but never becoming much of a player (I couldn’t, alas, skate backward). Though I rode the bench and rarely got into games until the issue was decided, Pastor Sam never failed to cheer me on as if I were a budding Bobby Orr. One warm summer evening the year I was thirteen, I moseyed off to a Baptist Church on Florida Street with a pretty girl named Kathy who smelled like spring flowers and agreed to accept my mood ring if I agreed to be baptized in a large plastic pool where young people were being dunked and saved. I returned home that evening saved and soaking wet to a startled Lutheran mother, who immediately placed a call to Pastor Sam, who only laughed and assured her that I would be no worse for wear, spiritually speaking, from a second baptism and might even be a little cleaner for Jesus. This failed to cut the mustard with the new assistant pastor at First Lutheran, however, when he summoned me into his study a week or so before confirmation — called an “affirmation of baptism” in the Lutheran church — and expressed his stern doubts about my spiritual readiness. He pointed out that I was a little too quick with jokes and didn’t seem to take matters of faith with the seriousness they deserved. All I could see was years of Tuesday afternoon Bible study going down the drain — and a very disappointed Lutheran mother. Just then, good old Pastor Sam swooped in like a guardian angel in his famous gray Fedora hat, declaring that God clearly had a sense of humor and a soft spot for a kid with a streak of the devil in him. A week later, I received my confirmation Bible with my name printed in gold on it. That Bible still sits on my desk. Sam Sox retired in 1970 from the ministry, the year before I graduated from Grimsley High and went off to college. He was such a natural part of my life, I have no memory of the last time I saw him. The year after that, the Generals folded up their operations when the old Eastern Hockey League fell on hard times. Late one November afternoon in 1989, my dad phoned me in Maine to let me know Sam Sox had passed away at the nursing home where he’d lived since his beloved wife Vi’s death. My wife Alison was pregnant with our first child, and I often attended Bowdoin hockey games with a friend who was a retired Episcopal bishop who bore an uncanny resemblance to Pastor Sam. He even yelled at opposing goalies.

...I agreed to be baptized in a large plastic pool where young people were being dunked and saved.

10 O.Henry

February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Over the next decade, whenever I watched my son Jack play hockey in that chilly old ice arena — marveling at how naturally he skated, even backward — I often thought about the life-affirming gifts of humor, faith and passion that Pastor Sam long ago provided a spiritual gosling. To this day, I’ve never heard a better sermon-giver, or met a more engaging and human man of God. That’s why I was pleased to get this New Year gift from Bob Klepfer, relating yet another tale in the colorful life and time of a Greensboro legend. Sam Jr. confirms it happened as described when his father went possum hunting with a group of men from the church, not long after he arrived. Sam was about thirty-five at the time.

THE BEDSIDE SERMONS OF PASTOR SAM So stealthily the pastor creeps While all his congregation sleeps. He does not hunt the evil one As on he stalks with trusty gun. He marches on with utmost care And searches for the possum lair. So up a tree he sprightly crept Out on a limb he lightly stepped. The limb it broke, his weight the cause, So piously, the pastor falls. He broke his fall with legs well bent. He broke his back by accident. To bed went he with cast so hot He needed rest, but got it not. Said he to us: “How can I sleep When there is none to watch my sheep? My house is here, beside the church, But I can’t walk or even lurch. Confined to bed, I shall win yet. A sermon great my sheep will get. From prone position I will preach. But to my sheep, my voice must reach.” Said Vi to him, “Don’t be a louse There’ll be no church in this old house.” He then declared without objection, “I’ll wire myself for sound projection.” So Sunday came and sermon time. Through speakers large, Sam’s voice did chime: “I’ve given up the possum chase; My topic is the fall from grace.” And thus were heard by goat and lamb, The bedside sermons of Pastor Sam. Copyright 2004 by Robert O. Klepfer, Jr. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at jim@ohenrymag.com

“Homewood”, an Irving Park Treasure

Listed & SOLD by Katie Redhead “Homewood” was built in 1918 by A.W. McAlister, founder of Pilot Life

Insurance Company and a developer of the Irving Park area of Greensboro. It was designed by Philadelphia architect, Charles Barton Keene, who was best known for designing Reynolda House in Winston-Salem. Both of these homes were considered to be in harmony with nature, while providing a comfortable and inviting interior. Reminiscent of the sprawling country homes of that era, Homewood has practicality for everyday life which is interwoven with the luxury of high quality detail work. With over 10,000 square feet, a master suite with ‘his and her’ baths & dressing rooms, connecting bathrooms and bedrooms, 10 fireplaces, hardwood floors with curved inlays, 19 sets of French doors, (up and downstairs), a mahogany library, ornate woodwork and Italian marble, Homewood represents one of the finest examples of Georgian Revival architect in Greensboro and the state of North Carolina.Price upon request.

Information believed to be accurate but in no way guaranteed.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Katie Redhead




1401 Sunset Drive, Greensboro, NC 27408

www.trmrealestate.com | 336-274-1717 February/March 2012

O.Henry 11


Short Stories

Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

Being Civil

Myrlie Evers-Williams, the first woman to chair the NAACP, will be among those honored at a Feb. 4 gala to benefit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum. Her first husband, Medgar Evers, a field secretary for the Mississippi NAACP, was assassinated in his front yard on June 12, 1963, just hours after President John F. Kennedy announced his support of new civil rights legislation. Myrlie Evers pressed for the conviction of her husband’s killer. Her 1999 memoir is titled Watch Me Fly: What I Learned on the Way to Becoming the Woman I Was Meant to Be. The gala, to be held in the Imperial Ballroom of the Koury Convention Center, marks the 52nd anniversary of the sit-ins that started at Woolworth in downtown Greensboro on Feb. 1, 1960. Gala tickets are $100 each and include admission to a 6 p.m. reception and 7 p.m. dinner. Info/Tickets: www.sitinmovement.org. MJ

State of the (Fine) Art

This year, Greensboro Artist William Mangum celebrates his 35th year as a professional painter. And he also knows how to tell a story. Get him to tell you how he picked watercolor as his medium in the first place, or how his granddaughter Jadyn inspired his seventh book, North Carolina Beautiful, which launched Fall 2011 and features over 140 original paintings. Buzz from the book reached UNC-T V and they created North Carolina Beautiful with Artist William Mangum, which premiered in late November. If you missed it, the film will be re-aired several times during UNC-TV’s Festival, so check your local listings Feb. 25 through March 25 to see it. Watch the promo online at www. williammangumfineart.com or www.unctv.org. AW

12 O.Henry

February/March 2012

Would You Like Fries with those Roses?

Lovers on the go should know about the drive-through window at Sedgefield Florist in Greensboro. For years, owner Mickey Atkinson wanted a petal-to-themetal lane, but the layouts at his old locations weren’t right. A window of opportunity opened when he moved to a building on High Point Road in the summer of 2010. Atkinson knocked a hole in an exterior wall and installed glass so motorists could gaze into a cooler full of flowers and pick the ones they wanted. Then he made another window where drivers could place and pick-up orders. You’ll find his familyrun shop at 5002-A High Point Rd. On Valentine’s Day, look for a burly, mustachioed Cupid out front. He’ll be wearing pink pajamas and toting a bow and arrow to woo business. Info: (336) 299-5810. MJ

Battle Stations

The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, fought on March 15, 1781, was a pivotal battle in the American Revolutionary War. Lectures will be held March 14-16 at the visitors’ center of the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park. Reservations are required for the 7 p.m. talks. Battle re-enactments will be in the city’s nearby Country Park at 2 p.m. on March 17 and 18. Also on those days, the national military park will host battlefield tours, a mock soldiers’ camp and weapons demonstrations. The national park’s Colonial Heritage Center — in the former Tannenbaum Historical Park — will offer demonstrations of colonial home and farm life. Info: (336) 288-1776 or www.nps.gov/guco. MJ

The Price is Right (Here)

Just over a year ago, acclaimed southern writer Reynolds Price died at age 77. But the spirit of one of North Carolina’s literary gems continues to sing out — specifically in Greensboro with Triad Stage’s upcoming production of New Music, presented in collaboration with the Greensboro Public Library’s “One City, One Author” program. The New Music trilogy, yet to be produced in its entirety since its original commission at the Cleveland Play House in 1989, will be presented in a special two-part extended run that gives the audience the chance to watch the two parts separately, or together during one of five weekend “marathon” performances. Part 1: August Snow & Night Dance runs Feb. 12 through March 17; Part 2: Better Days runs Feb. 21 through March 18. Info/tickets: (336) 2720160 or www.triadstage.org. AW

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry Run(a)way Success

The clothing might be second hand but the style will be first rate at Rock the Runway, a fashion show to benefit Goodwill Industries of Central North Carolina Inc. The event, to be held 7-10 p.m. on Feb. 3 at the Empire Room in downtown Greensboro, will feature local models strutting clothes, shoes, ties and bags from Goodwill racks. Area fashion, hair and make-up stylists will donate their talent to design the show. Tickets are $35 each or $100 for two VIP passes that get you front-row seats, two “Rock the Runway” T-shirts, valet parking and four drink tickets. Spa tickets, theater tickets and other goodies will be raffled. Tickets: www. goodwillrocktherunway.org. Info: (336) 275-9801. MJ

365 Reasons to Buy This Book Did you know that on February 6, 1906, the state’s first intercollegiate basketball game was played at Guilford College? Or that on February 13, 2006, Greensboro native speed-skater Joey Cheek won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy? Probably not unless someone gave you a copy of N.C. native Jimmy Tomlin’s Instant Replay, 365 Days of North Carolina Sport Trivia for Christmas. Get a copy for your sports fanatic for Valentine’s Day or in time for the madness in March — when in 1974 the Wolfpack snapped UCLA’s streak of seven consecutive NCAA championships with a thrilling 80-77 double-overtime at the Greensboro Coliseum. Book available at most NC bookstores, or www.blaripub.com. DB

Palustris [puh-LUS-tris]: As Fun as it Sounds

Moore County is home to one of the largest stands of virgin longleaf pine forests in the country. Thus, it was no surprise to locals when the name of the area’s four-day arts fete, which debuted spring 2010, was revealed as the Palustris Festival. (Pinus palustris is the Latin name of the longleaf pine. Make sense now?) The third annual Palustris celebration of the visual, literary and performing arts is scheduled to take place March 22-25, 2012 in the Pinehurst, Southern Pines and Aberdeen area of North Carolina. Presenting a variety of events — gallery exhibits, pottery demos, cultural theater productions, an Ava Gadner film festival and various history tours and lectures, including a remembrance of Stonewall Jackson that involves a reading of his actual letters to his wife, Anna — the Palustris Festival offers something for everyone, and many events are free and open to the public. Info/schedule: palustrisfestival.com or (910) 692-ARTS. AW boro

No Frown Brown

Mother was shocked when she learned that her own sister let my cousins put ketchup on collard greens. When I visited Aunt Rachel, I did too, along with a splash of my uncle’s sportpepper-spiked vinegar. And so began my habit of kicking up greens with sweet barbecue sauce. I happened to buy a bottle of Uncle Seth’s Original No Frown Brown Miracle Marinade at Bestway, primarily for its name — and because it was made in Greensboro. It didn’t hurt that the ingredients included Bourbon, lime and orange juice, molasses, garlic and tamarind paste — it almost sounds like a recipe for a cocktail. The label says it’s good on “meats, fish and vegetables.” In my not always humble opinion, sweet sauce should never be used on real, pit-cooked barbecue pork. But soon I found myself dowsing the stuff on meatloaf, fries, burgers, hot dogs and, yes, collard greens. Besides, why would you ever want to say “Pass the ketchup” when you could say, “Pass the No Frown Brown?” Info: Upham Family Enterprises LLC, (336) 288-0377 or nofrownbrown.com DB

Hoopin’ & Whoopin’ It Up

Sure, we love the ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament, whenever it’s in Greensboro, but we luuuuuuuuuvvvvvv the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament, a family- and pocketbook-friendly event that will be at the Greensboro Coliseum for the 13th consecutive year March 1-4. Highlights include School Day Games for Guilford County students, FanFest (open two hours before day and night sessions), Mascott Night (March 2), Air ACC and the T-shirt Blaster — an inflated, remote-controlled hightop basketball shoe that drops prizes on the crowd and a Gatling-style gun that fires T-shirts into the crowd. Single session tickets are $10-$20 for adults, $7 to $15 for students and seniors. Ticket books for all eight sessions are $99. Family 4-Packs include four tickets, four drinks and a family-size popcorn for $44. Tickets are available at www.ticketmaster. com; at Ticketmaster outlets; at the Coliseum advance box office or by calling 800-745-3000. Info: www.theacc.com. MJ February/March 2012

O.Henry 13

Most Requested Recipe

Versed In Good Taste The Ultimate Driving Machine

These local poets can really cook and tell


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14 O.Henry

February/March 2012

by DaViD C. bailey


ichard Krawiec writes in the introduction to the sound of poets cooking, “The old Superman TV series of the 1950s began with the announcer screaming, ‘It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superman!’” He continues: “I felt a bit like that announcer trying to write an introduction to this book. It’s a poetry anthology! It’s a cookbook! No it’s a . . . What? What exactly is this book?” It is, in fact, a delightful picnic of poets sharing their sometimes delicious, at other times visceral, food memories and associations. Included are poems and recipes from many UNCG writing program graduates and professors, including Fred Chappell, Sarah Lindsay, Jim Clark, Kelly Cherry, Kathryn Stripling Byer, Scott Owens and the former director of UNCG’s Center for Creative Writing in the Arts, Mark Smith-Soto. Also included is Valerie Neiman, who teaches creative writing at North Carolina A&T State. The titles of the poems are nearly as enticing as the recipes: Michael Beadle’s Fromage, Coyla Barry’s Risotto, Sally Buckner’s Dumplings, Carol Peters’ Mandoo Soup at Onekahakaha Park, Alice Owens Johnson’s Gumbo, Paul Jones’ Artichokes, Jim Clark’s Sunday Dinner, Florence Nash’s Oyster Mushrooms, Marty Silverthorne’s Soul Food, Cordelia Hanemann’s Pear Compote and Anne Clinard Barnhill’s Tiramisu. Hungry yet? Wait until you dip into the bards’ recipes, each paired with a poem: strawberries in spiced herb chocolate, cauliflower curry, fig tart with cornmeal crust, rustic eggplant tapenade, roast chicken with apricots and grapes, onion pie, Brussels sprouts with bacon and figs, Guinness boiled shrimp, and Aunt Wilma’s coconut cake, perhaps the most requested recipes in the book. To my taste, Smith-Soto’s Queen of Sheba torte beckons. Smith-Soto, whose quiche Lorraine is legendary among family and friends, teaches Spanish at UNCG. He says he got the recipe from The Greystone Bakery Cookbook, which he describes as a sort of Jewish-Buddhist cookbook. Smith-Soto’s wife, Beth Adamour, bought the cookbook for its rugelach recipe, he says. “As it turned out, while the rugelach came out well, it was the Queen of Sheba torte that bowled us over, and I was very happy to be able to spread the word about its excellence by publishing the recipe in Richard’s book,” he says. “We never use frosting. Just a raspberry jam glaze and fresh raspberries.”

So first Smith-Soto’s poem, followed by the torte recipe for dessert:

Present Waiting for you at our favorite table by the window decorated with a rough decal of a giant coffee cup, I stare at the long, gray, rain-washed, car-clotted street, the tip of my tongue fretting against a cracked tooth. You’re half an hour late. You wouldn’t wait. The coffee is so dark and smooth it lingers like a song. There are clouds and telephone poles and two tattooed youngsters smoking outside the window; inside, all is chatter and clatter, French pastries in the toaster oven, giggly laughter. Waiting for you is full of everything except you. And for this gift, at least, I must thank you: This moment so completely mine. Reine de Saba Cake (Queen of Sheba Torte) 4 ounces semisweet chocolate 1/4 cup finely ground unblanched almonds 1/2 cup lightly salted butter 2 eggs 1/4 cup flour 1/4 cup sugar 1/4 teaspoon baking soda Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt semisweet chocolate over hot water and then remove from heat. Grind almonds finely and set aside. Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until soft and uniform. Beat in eggs until mixture is light and fluffy. Stir in melted chocolate and mix well until thick. By hand, fold in flour, soda and ground almonds. Pour into eight-inch round pan that has been oiled and lightly floured. Bake for 25 minutes or until cake begins to pull away from sides of pan. It’s better undercooked than overcooked — some recipes call for the center to remain soft. Let cool before icing. Local bookstores carry the sound of poets cooking or it can be ordered directly from Jacar Press: www. jacarpress.com/books.html Do you have a favorite local cookbook? We’d love to know about it. Email us at ashley@ohenrymag.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The City Muse

Utopia Unplugged Mustache mania, an unfinished poem and a stroll from duds to suds By Ashley Wahl Students suck down coffee on Tate Street. The sidewalk is their runway. They are walking works of art. Girls click down the catwalk wearing patchworks of fabric. Wrapped in blue and yellow whimsy, swaddled in green and purple scarves, ornamented by flannel this and floral-patterned that. Cocooned, they still exude a playful sensuality. At Tate Street Coffee House, a boy pontificates on logical fallacies, keeping silent tally of his ten-dollar words. His mustached friend nods in agreement, wearing pants the color of cranberry marmalade. Across the street at Coffeeology, a boy turns nouns into verbs. Which place serves the better cup of joe?

f Just up from the corner of Tate and Walker, a pay phone offers hope — and a place to dispose of half-smoked cigarettes. And sophomoric self-expressions. This phone knows sorrow. Among stickers, scribbles and other street art, a handwritten poem is glued to the side of the booth, fragments stripped away like stubborn wallpaper. Rain has yet to smear the black ink. Author: unknown. Utopia …within a mile of me, …represented in three. …five arrows mark the spot, …determine if you want me or not. …words from our conscience will be told to you ...in a native tent. He has pitched up between …compliment him on his scarf… …clan remain…on the divided …began. He is us all. …the pier close …to laugh. They …to us all …animals have …For real …gator (or crocodile?), …happy on land, …great support to us all. I fill in the blanks, if only in my mind, and wonder why these words were left behind. (And whether this poet has ever read Wislawa Szymborska’s poem, same title.) In a birdbath a few houses down, five cayenne peppers are arranged in a radial design like red-hot bike spokes. Buddhist shrine? Squirrel repellent? “Hot tub?” my beau guesses. Perhaps five peppers mark the spot. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

At Sisters Jewelry, more mustache mania reigns. Find them on necklaces, magnets and coffee mugs — and all different styles. Handlebar. Dali. Porn star. Feathers seem like fashion musts. And bicycle-spoke bracelets, locally made, are all the rage. Bicycles breeze by the storefront window.

f The Altered States & Visions exhibit at the Weatherspoon Art Museum is as trippy as the name suggests. Think Cartoon Network. Now add hallucinogens. Make-believe creatures mingle with naked people. I spy pixilated fantasies. Forget Prada. The devil wears a handlebar mustache. Sometimes the art makes sense. A sequence of images by Jerome Witkin shows a smiling man in flannel transform into a seething tangle of rage. The title, Mind/Mirror: Suddenly Recalling an Incident and an Insult, gives the piece away. (Not that I’m complaining.) Reuben Kadish’s Untitled calls to mind an angry gremlin. Filet à Souvenirs shifts in and out of dreamland. Reality wins. Blurred and broken, the subject in Francesca Woodman’s melancholy House #3 (Gelatin silver print) makes the artist seem mentally disturbed. Not sure whether The Beachcombers is creepy or comical. Perhaps it varies, dependent on the interpreter’s clown tolerance. Red Groom’s Girl on Beach turns heads — if only in the opposite direction. There’s something unsettling about her oversized features, slanted eyes, manic grin. But her irises look like warm pools of honey. The Trenton Doyle Hancock exhibit opens on February 4. We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good looks like another zany color show.

f Think hygiene is sexy? Spend some time at Suds & Duds, where you can do laundry while altering your state of consciousness. Just don’t drop your skivvies while you’re making passes. Guys ogle the television screens. The jukebox plays indie rock. Friends play pool, air hockey and foosball. The bar in the back has an impressive beer selection — and has to with Bestway’s coveted beer shrine just across the street. Natty Greene and Jim Beam are tonight’s specials. But Pabst Blue Ribbon saves more quarters. Onward and mosey. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer. February/March 2012

O.Henry 15

Artist At Work

The Guilford Limner Greensboro’s most tantalizing art mystery continues to be a search for a name By Jim Schlosser


he artist appeared in 1826 and 1827, painted portraits of early Greensboro’s most prominent families, then vanished into history without leaving a name. He is known today as the Guilford Limner because most of the paintings attributed to him were done in Greensboro and across rural Guilford County. A limner was an itinerant painter, often with no art training, who traveled from town to town. He usually bought an ad in the local newspaper, if there was one, and waited for families to summon him to paint their portraits. The Guilford Limner, however, didn’t take out ads. He didn’t put his name on the finished canvas. In Guilford, he only wrote the names of the subjects who posed and the year the painting was done. As best as art detectives can determine, local families who posed didn’t bother to write down his name either, although a descendant of one family left a tantalizing clue. Until recently, about 33 limner’s paintings of Greensboro area people were known, with the Greensboro Historical Museum owning about half. Limner scholars attribute to the Guilford Limner paintings of families in Mecklenburg County, Union County, South Carolina (Spartanburg) and Clark County, Kentucky. Those who sat for the limner here included well-known families: the

Caldwells, the Gillespies, the Albrights, the Whartons, the Logans, the Gilmores, the Lindsays. Most families belonged to Buffalo Presbyterian Church, with a few who were members of First Presbyterian Church, which had just organized when the limner was in Greensboro. Perhaps the limner was Presbyterian. Four additional paintings — of the Presbyterian Gibson family of rural Guilford (related to the man who founded Gibsonville) turned up in the spring of 2011 on public television’s Antiques Roadshow. They were brought to the show for appraisal by Gibson descendants who had moved from Guilford to Biloxi, Mississippi. The paintings had been passed down through generations of Gibsons. Ken Farmer, an art expert on the show, identified the paintings as those of the Guilford Limner. “This is an artist whose work has been studied a lot,” Farmer said. He estimated the worth of the four paintings at $60,000, saying that was a conservative figure. The Gibson paintings are now on loan indefinitely to the Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts (MESDA) in Old Salem in Winston-Salem. “It is a bit of a puzzle,” says MESDA staff member Sally Gant, who has been doing gumshoe work trying to identify the limner. “It is a big puzzle ... I’m going to keep working on it, and I hope discover the artist.” Gant, who works in the catacombs of the museum’s research center, isn’t the first to search for the limner’s identity. A Greensboro newspaper story in December 1962 absolutely identified the painter as Jacob Marling of Raleigh. Marling was perhaps North Carolina’s best known artist in the 1820s.

Paintings courtesy of the Greensboro Historical Museum Archives

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

But Gant says Marling’s style bears no resemblance to the limner’s works, and she has found no evidence he ever visited Guilford County. Another who dismissed Marling as the limner was Karen Cobb Carroll. In 1983-84, while she was archivist at the Greensboro Historical Museum, the museum exhibited its collection of limner’s work and additional paintings borrowed from families and others. For the exhibit, Cobb wrote a booklet, “Windows to the Past,” illustrated with limner paintings. “The Guilford Limner remains an enigma,” Carroll concluded. In taking up the hunt, Sally Gant has studied a claim by Sotheby’s, the famous art auction firm in New York, that identifies the Guilford Limner as a person named Depue. That name appeared on a painting done in 1820 of Mr. and Mrs. James Ragland of Clark County, Kentucky. Sotheby’s auctioned the painting in 2005. Estimated to sell for $15,000 to $20,000, it went for $24,000. Several other Clark County paintings, obviously done by the same artist, are unsigned, as are all other known paintings attributed to the Guilford Limner. Gant says the Kentucky paintings were brought to MESDA and compared with the limner’s works from Greensboro and elsewhere. “The consensus of opinion following the examination was that these (Kentucky) portraits do appear to be by the same hand,” Gant says. The way faces are depicted and furnishings in rooms are similar to those in the Kentucky paintings. One difference was the Kentucky subjects face each other, while in the Greensboro and Guilford paintings they stare straight ahead. Gant, though, isn’t absolutely sure the limner was Dupue. And if he was, who was Dupue, a name usually spelled Dupuy? “We have looked and looked for the name to show up in any records,” she says. “So far nothing.” She is intrigued, however, by words written in 1925 by the granddaughter of Elizabeth Dick Lindsay. Elizabeth Lindsay was the subject of a Guilford Limner painting nearly 100 years earlier. “The picture was painted by a traveling French artist about 1828,” the granddaughter, Josephine F. Wilson, wrote on a note taped to the back of the painting. That would seem to point to Dupue. The granddaughter was wrong about the year painted. The painting clearly says 1827, not 1828. Even though the Sotheby’s catalog of 2005 identified Dupue as the limner, the more recent Antiques Roadshow did not. Dupue was not mentioned,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

with art expert Farmer saying of the person who did the paintings, “They’re still trying to figure out his name.” Gant says of Dupue, “I’d like to find one clue that he was ever in North Carolina.” She goes to a long row of card files in the research center. It contains 80,000 names of long -ago craftsmen and artists from Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky and Tennessee. When Gant heard the name Dupue, she hurried to the card file to check the Ds. She found only one Dupue or Dupuy in North Carolina. He was a silversmith in Raleigh, not a portrait painter. She found no Dupues or Dupuys in Kentucky, either. She discovered Dupuys, all silversmiths, in South Carolina, New Orleans and Philadelphia. She also learned that Dupuy was a common name in Virginia, but no one by that name was a craftsman or artist. She may try to research French painters of that period to see if Dupue from France spent time in America. In 1826 and 1827, when the limner was working in Greensboro and rural Guilford, the Greensboro Patriot newspaper had just begun publication. Gant has searched those early Patriots looking for ads placed by a visiting artist wanting to do portraits. Nothing. The limner must have relied on word-ofmouth advertising among a circle of Presbyterians. Gant also has perused the Patriot for names of people for whom mail was waiting at the post office. Because no mail delivery system existed then, names of people with unclaimed mail were published in the Patriot. Gant hoped a letter to Depue might show up. Nothing. Continuing the search for clues to the painter’s identity, she is checking family papers and other period documents related to subjects in the paintings. She wonders if a registration book might exist among descendants of the Albright family of the 1820s. The town’s only hotel at the time was owned by an Albright. George and Martha Albright were subjects of a limner painting. A registration book might contain the name Dupuy or Dupue or another guest who may have identified himself as a painter. Besides the Lindsay descendant’s reference to the “traveling French artist,” the only mention in family papers Gant has found so far about the paintings was written in 1852 by a widow who had posed years before. She said she was passing on “the likeness” of her and her husband to the next generation in the family “But unfortunately,” Gant says, “she didn’t say ‘my likeness painted by

February/March 2012

O.Henry 17

Artist At Work

Gibson paintings courtesy of The Museum of Early Southern Decorative Arts. For more information on these paintings, contact Sally Gant, Director of Education and Special Programs, at 336-721-7361.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mr. So and So,’ which would have been so nice.” Karen Carroll, in her booklet about the limner’s paintings, wrote that the works weren’t signed because “perhaps he didn’t see his efforts as being worthy of his hallmark.” Limners were considered primitive artists. Most were self taught. However, art experts don’t find the Guilford Limner’s work primitive. Ken Farmer on the Antiques Roadshow said of the Gibson family paintings, “They’re fantastic from an aesthetic point of view. They’re beautiful.” “He used watercolors and painted with very good quality paint and paper,” Sally Gant says. “The pictures survive with all the brilliance they may have had in the beginning. He was quite skilled. I would not call these primitive paintings one bit.” She adds: “The Guilford Limner’s painting techniques and compositional formulas (serve) almost as well as a written signature. What makes these paintings stand out, in addition to their brilliant colors and charm, is the fact that so many survive- and that they tell us such a rich story through the lives of their subjects and their material world. “They truly bring to life the early community of Greensboro and its founding families.” Without the paintings, we would have no idea how many of these early Greensboro and Guilford residents of prominence looked and dressed. “Lots of the women have combs in their hair,” Gant notes. “Lots of ladies have knitting, books, fans and handkerchiefs being held. Most men have a book or a handkerchief. They wear yellow striped vests which must have been popular at the time.” She is devoting large chunks of research time to the limner and hopes to write a comprehensive article on the subject. The limner paintings, meanwhile, are “something that Guilford can take pride in. We think these paintings are important to the South. We are thrilled to have them in our collection and to delve deeper into who we understand to be an important artist.” She leaves the research center and goes upstairs to the maze of early American rooms that have been recreated in the museum, a converted Kroger store, though one would never guess from the way the building has been altered. She stops in “The Piedmont Room,” decorated with furniture area craftsman made long ago. The room was removed and reconstructed from the John McLean house, built in 1766, that stood near McLeansville in eastern Guilford County. The room includes the four paintings of the Gibsons of rural eastern Guilford on loan to the museum. Appropriately, she says, “The Gibson paintings are hanging on walls taken from a house near where the paintings were done.” She says it’s important that the Guilford Limner be publicized. More of what she calls “hidden treasure” may be in attics and tucked away in family papers. She and others had no idea the Gibson family paintings existed until they turned up on the Antiques Roadshow. “I have no doubt that more limner portraits will continue to surface,” she says. “Perhaps one of these will provide the clue to that illusive name, but, more importantly, they will continue to add to the story.” OH

“They truly bring to life the early community of Greensboro and its founding families.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

O.Henry 19

The Omnivorous Reader

War Babies

For yet another generation of kids growing up in era of war, a useful look backward By StePhen e. Smith


ay back in 1875, a cranky Mark Twain was poking fun at our obviously wrongheaded notions of what a children’s book ought to be. In his “The Story of the Bad Little Boy,” wicked Jim, the narrative’s callous antihero, wasn’t at all like the bad little boys in Sunday school books who got what they deserved. Jim “grew up and married, and raised a large family, and brained them all with an axe one night, and got wealthy by all manner of cheating and rascality; and now he is the infernalist wickedest scoundrel in his native village, and is universally respected, and belongs to the Legislature.” Despite the passage of more than a century, we persist in our belief that children’s books should be little more than moral tracts, overtly didactic stories, and rhymed couplets that teach the alphabet. After all, we wouldn’t want our children to become anything other than what we want them to be. So there I am in the kiddie lit section of the bookstore competing with other desperate adults, all of us running our index fingers along the spines of the brightly colored books that might discharge part of our Christmas giftgiving obligations. We mean well, even if we favor kaleidoscopic dust jackets and simplistic text. What the heck am I going to buy my 8-year-old second cousin? I can’t possibly read all these children’s books, and I don’t want to spend the remainder of my natural life plundering among the stacks. And there are so many books, all of them radiating good intentions. Then, miracle of miracles, I discover what might be the perfect answer to my gift-giving conundrum: Franklin and Winston: A Christmas That Changed the World by Douglas Wood and illustrated by Barry Moser. (Despite the use of the word “Christmas” in the subtitle, this book transcends the holiday — and anyway, Christmas 2012 officially began on December 26, 2011.) The best thing about books written for the preadolescent market is that you can read them cover to cover in about ten minutes. And that’s just what I do. I gobble up the straightforward text with the passion of a man on a mission (which I am) and what I like most about the book is that it’s not condescending. It supposes that children have a basic understanding of the world in which they live. If the story is set in World War II, well, our kids know nothing but war — collapsing buildings, roadside bombs, their fathers dressed to kill and shipped off to distant countries that might as well be on Mars. So why not teach them that war is perpetual, that it’s been going on for as long as anyone can remember? Perhaps there’s some solace in that. Here’s the gist of things: It’s Christmas 1941, a few weeks after the sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill travels to the United States to persuade President Franklin Roosevelt to throw the full weight of American manpower and industrial capacity into the fight against the Nazis and the Japanese. All of this is illustrated with beautifully executed watercolors of the main characters and the events surrounding their momentous meeting. Happily, there’s little of the gruesome reality of World War II (well, there is a watercolor of a towel-wrapped Churchill climbing in or out a bathtub with a cigar in his mouth). Otherwise, there are lovely images of the HMS Duke of York, Japanese Zeros, a Spitfire, and a Dornier Do 215 disgorging its bombs. If memory serves, 8-year-olds like that stuff.

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And the text is true to life and fact. A few years ago I read Franklin and Winston: An Intimate Portrait of an Epic Friendship by Jon Meacham, and Wood’s exposition would seem to be right on the money, at least from the Allied point of view. If the text is a trifle demanding for an 8-year-old, that’s fine. Why not allow him or her the pleasure of growing into the book? Granted, a knowledgeable adult might need to explain what polio is (thank you, Jonas Salk!) and who Harry Hopkins was, but otherwise the narrative will be explicable to most 8- to 10-year-olds. Wood wisely includes the most memorable quotes from Churchill and Roosevelt. “Let us … so bear ourselves that if the British Empire and its Commonwealths last for a thousand years, men will say, ‘This was their finest hour’” and “This great nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper…. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” quotes that young readers are likely to hear for the rest of their lives. And there are less repeated quotes, such as this charming sentence spoken by a grumpy Churchill at the lighting of the National Christmas Tree: “We may cast aside, for this night at least, the cares and dangers which beset us, and make for the children an evening of happiness in a world of storm….” I also like the message conveyed by the fact that Churchill had done poorly in school and that his father had told him that he’d never amount to anything. That’s good news for kids who are late bloomers, which my second cousin is. I have to point out, however, that the ships bombed at Pearl Harbor were not the “American fleet,” but the “Pacific Fleet.” And there is a nasty subject-verb error in the conclusion: “When the last of their meetings were over…” should read: “When the last of their meetings was over….” The object of the preposition is not the subject of the sentence, thus the verb should be the singular “was.” If the book goes into a second printing, the author might want to make a correction. I wouldn’t want my second cousin uttering ungrammatical sentences. My other concern is rather petty: The book is too big. Measuring a little over 9” x 11”, 8- to 10-year olds might find it a trifle embarrassing to tote around a book whose size suggests that its contents are directed at a much younger audience. I remember how it was when I was a kid, and nobody wanted to be identified as reading below grade level — but I understand that the beautifully executed illustrations deserve the larger format. So I purchase a copy of Franklin and Winston, have it wrapped in Christmasy paper, and I mail it. The child’s mother phones me on the Monday following Christmas and says that my gift was much appreciated and that her son also received a PlayStation 3. OH Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at travisses@hotmail.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

O.Henry 21

Gate City Icons

Rub of Genius A forthcoming history of America’s most iconic cold remedy celebrates the remarkable family behind it

Lunsford Richardson By Jim Schlosser Historical images from the Greensboro Historical Museum Archives


nne Carlson, wife of Greensboro’s Carl Carlson, oldest living grandson of Vick’s VapoRub inventor Lunsford Richardson, called her granddaughter last year with a potent request. “You need to write a book immediately,” she told Ashley Kaufman, a 2000 graduate in English from Davidson College and now a public relations consultant in Charlotte. The story of the family — its business and philanthropic side — must be told, Carlson said. Some family members with stories to tell were getting on in years. Carl Carlson, for instance, turned 97 in January. Anne Carlson had also been impressed by a book about the history of the old Thalhimers Department Store chain, which was based in Anne’s former hometown of Richmond, Virginia. That book had been written by a granddaughter of the founding family. Since then, Kaufman has been researching and interviewing. In about six to eight months, she hopes to finish the book, The Blue Jar: The Legacy of a Family Remedy. Kaufman sighs as her grandmother declares, “It’s going to be a best-seller. She’s going to be on ‘The Today Show.’ She’s a good writer. She has been writing since she was a little girl.” As Anne Carlson and Kaufman talk in the living room of Anne and Carl Carlson’s spacious home bordering the eleventh fairway of the Greensboro Country Club’s Carlson Farm golf course, Carl sits quietly in a wheelchair, attached to oxygen. He had pneumonia last May. He has been forced to give up painting, which he took up in his early 70s. His works decorate both walls of an upstairs hall. He very well may be the only living person who remembers anything about Lunsford Richardson, a Greensboro resident who died at age 65 in August 1919 of pneumonia while on a Vick’s sales trip to San Francisco. Carl Carlson was

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February/March 2012

about three and a half at the time. “Vague,” he says of his recollection of Richardson. “I remember going to their house (on Smith Street). I remember my grandmother much better.” Lunsford and Mary Lynn Richardson’s children, including Carl’s future mother, had a role in the invention in 1894 of VapoRub. When they came down with colds, Richardson, a pharmacist who owned a drug store in the 100 block of South Elm Street, mixed a concoction in a brass mortar and pestle cup. He applied the poultice to the chests of the children. Almost overnight they were much better. Word spread around Greensboro of Richardson’s creation, which he at first called Richardson’s Magic Croup Salve. The salve helped other sick children in Greensboro. Eventually, the product would become — and remains — a worldwide product. Anne Carlson has a mortar and pestle cup that belonged to Lunsford Richardson, perhaps the very one in which the pharmacist mixed the ingredients that became VapoRub. Later, Richardson’s son, the innovative Smith Richardson, took the renamed VapoRub and other cold remedies that his father invented and formed Vick Family Remedies Co. in 1905. The Vick name honored one of Lunsford Richardson’s brothers-in-law, Dr. Joshua Vick of Richardson’s native Johnston County in eastern North Carolina. The company sent traveling salesmen out in cars equipped with ladders. The salesmen stopped every chance to plaster barns and hang from tree limbs advertisements for VapoRub. Anne Carlson remembers seeing one of those barn signs in Virginia as a young girl. She never dreamed that someday she would be part of the family that owned the product. In 1919, the year Lunsford Richardson died, the company changed its name to Vick Chemical Co., with Smith Richardson at the top. The company already had a plant on Milton Street off Spring Garden Street and in the 1930s built another on Cridland Drive, next to Latham Park. In 1985, the company, by then called Richardson-Vick, was acquired by Procter & Gamble. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Often when a big company acquires a smaller one, the latter disappears from prominence. But Procter & Gamble continues to market Vick’s VapoRub as a major product and respects its heritage. As Ashely Kaufman points out, recent Vicks television commercials of the product’s birthplace flash a sketch of Lunsford Richardson and the name Greensboro appears. Except during World War I, when an amber bottle was substituted, VapoRub has been sold in a blue jar, hence the title of Kaufman’s soon-to-be book. The book will be broader than VapoRub. It will tell the stories of family members, including Carl Carlson — son of a Swedish-born chiropractor. Also featured will be Richardson’s daughter, Laurinda, a graduate of Davidson College and Harvard Business School, a glider pilot in World War II, a breeder of prize Guernsey cows, a city tennis champ, among the first joggers in Guilford County, a noted philanthropist and namesake of the Greensboro Country Club’s Carlson Farm club and course. Carl founded the club and golf course on his dairy farm. A silo and barn still stand as reminders beside the 15th tee box. The club merged with the Greensboro Country Club in the early 1970s. Like those Vick traveling salesmen, Kaufman has lots of ground to cover because the Richardson family has many forks in the road. There are Richardsons, Preyers, Carlsons and Chapins. Two of the best known family members were the late former U.S. Rep. Richardson Preyer and his wife, Emily. Lunsford Richardson married the former Mary Lynn Smith. Her family included a line of distinguished members. Her father, Jacob Henry Smith, was long-time pastor of Greensboro’s First Presbyterian Church. His wife, Mary Kelly Watson Smith, kept diaries that provide valuable accounts of life in Greensboro from the Civil War until the early 20th century. Other Smiths were doctors and one served as president of Davidson College and Washington and Lee University. Smith Richardson, the founder’s son, besides being the most dynamic figure in Vick Chemical Co., started the Smith Richardson Foundation and what in time become a national institution, the Center for Creative Leadership, based in Greensboro. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The book will detail the mixed emotions the family felt when Procter & Gamble bought the company. It will emphasize Lunsford Richardson’s commitment to community service and how that legacy has been passed down through six generations of family members. The book may include a cameo appearance by Lady Astor, born as Nancy Witcher Langhorne in Danville, Virginia. She married royalty in England. Smith Richardson married Grace Jones of Danville, a cousin of Lady Astor. Through Grace, family members knew Lady Astor, and through Astor they met the Duke and Duchess of Windsor. The Duke gave up the throne of England to marry an American divorcée, Wallis Simpson. Anne Carlson says the Duke and Duchess didn’t believe in paying for anything. On a trip to America, the two went on a shopping spree. “They charged everything to Uncle Smith,” Anne Carlson says, adding that February/March 2012

O.Henry 23

Gate City Icons

family members thought the behavior of the royal couple highly inappropriate. Ann Kaufman has found loads of material to help her, including a five-page letter that Lunsford Richardson wrote to the North Carolina Pharmaceutical Association outlining his life story. She also has read letters Richardson wrote daily to his wife during that fateful business trip across the country to San Francisco. The letters brought tears as Richardson expressed homesickness and about how much he missed his wife. He had left Greensboro healthy. The sales trip was so unnecessary, Kaufman says. By then the Vick company had made Richardson wealthy. But Smith Richardson was was determined to make it larger and even more profitable. As the family patriarch and benefactor of many causes, including the city’s black community, Lunsford Richardson “didn’t have to be working,” Kaufman says. She has been to UNC-Chapel Hill, where 50,000 documents make up the Vick archives. She has done research at her alma mater, Davidson. Lunsford and Smith Richardson and other family members attended the Presbyterianaffiliated college. She also came across material in the Greensboro Historical Museum, where the auditorium and a park are named for Richardsons. “It has been so valuable to talk with various family members,” she says, adding she had a marathon session with a member known as Lump. He’s Lunsford Richardson III, another grandson. He has lived up North for years, but accord-

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February/March 2012

ing to Anne Carlson, plans to move to Greensboro soon. Kaufman will present details that may surprise the public. For instance, to diversify its product line, Vick Chemical Co. bought Oil of Olay, Vidal Sassoon and Prince Matchabelli perfume. The Richardson family at one time owned Ellis-Stone Department Store in downtown Greensboro. The store was later bought by the Thalhimers chain, and through later transactions became part of the Macy’s chain. When Anne Carlson worked as a dorm counselor at the Woman’s College, now UNCG, Carl Carlson asked her for a date. At the dorm, he presented her with a bottle of Prince Matchabelli. Later, when Anne Carlson declared how thoughtful it was that this everyday, working farmer went to the expense, someone told her not to worry about it. His family owned the perfume company. “That did it!” Anne Carlson exclaims, explaining that loved blossomed immediately. In writing the book, Kaufman hasn’t had to wander outside the family to find a professional to critique her early pages. She turned over the first 30 to another Lunsford Richardson grandson, Norris Preyer, retired professor of history at Charlotte’s Queens College (now Queens University). She summarizes his reaction to the book as “positive.” She’s being modest, Anne Carlson says. “He told me,” she says, “he thought it was wonderful.” OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro




403 Parkmont Drive - New Irving Park

FABULOUS FAMILY HOME!! 4 Bedrooms, 4.5 Baths. Open kitchen/breakfast. Plantation shutters throughout. Bonus room, Hardwoods and carpet. Fenced yard, enclosed patio. 3rd floor expansion possibilities. $529,000

61 Lands End Drive - Lands End

NO RAKE NEEDED @ LANDS END! Chelsea Floor Plan - backs up to woods & cul-de-sac. Main level Master. Sunroom, LR, built-ins, fireplace w/gas logs. 3 Bedrooms. 2.5 Baths – 2 Bedrooms/1 Bath up. HVAC recently updated. $359,000 February/March 2012

O.Henry 25

26 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Girl Can Dream About a love like that

Letter from the Hills

By Shari Smith


’ve gotten it wrong more than I’ve gotten it right. I’ve been bad and chosen bad. One isn’t any worse than the other. Some might give up at this point, say it’s a myth, a fairy tale, stop believing in true love. But I have seen it. I know that it’s so. By the time I would come to know them, they had been married fifty-nine years. They had lived all over the world, made their home in exotic places like Germany, Japan and Montgomery, Alabama. They’d seen things they’d never imagined when he asked her to break her engagement to another and marry him instead. He brought roses from his mother’s garden. I know that story because she told it, one Christmas Eve when they invited the town to gather around their tree. “I have loved him every day of my life since then” she said. Russell and Mary Boggs would live a life of service to God and man and country and each other as Russell served as commander of the chaplains stationed in Europe. They would bring back German maps and sculptures, a Japanese tea service and jade Buddhas to this tiny, rural Carolina town. They marched with Dr. King, had a brick thrown through the window of their front room. Mary would, one day, get on a Montgomery bus and walk past the seats she was welcome to and, instead, choose one in the back. She would not be moved. In their retirement, I would walk to their house to talk to Russell about a story in the New York Times or a documentary on PBS. Mary would make tea and say she loved to listen to us in our discussions, which were more like amen choruses as we never disagreed on anything political, but would fight to the death over which color napkin should be used at town functions. We were unanimously disappointed in the decisions made by our president and our Congress, but would flatly refuse to share a secret recipe, arguing openly over who was the superior cook — which, by the way, is and always has been me. Russell and I raged against a senseless town bylaw and plotted the ultimate demise of a town manager who did not understand or deserve this place, but nearly threw punches at one another over how many apples and oranges should be wired into the greenery around the archway over their door the Christmas we gathered, as a town, to give them their dream of a house with Williamsburg decorations. Mary’s memories were abandoning her by then, but never her manners. She would remember my name but not that she’d seen me earlier in the day. Rather than kick an eighty-two-year-old man in the shins and storm off, I had elected to take a break from the decorating and go inside to see Mary, who laughed when I told her I was mad at Russell and said, “You and Russell are just alike.” She sure remembered that. Mary told me that Russell and I were “do’ers,” that we had ideas and saw them through. She said it had been her good fortune to be along for the ride and watch Russell as he tried, every day, to change the world or, at the very least, make it prettier. Mary said when they left their Lion’s Club meetings Russell would complain all the way home about how so-and-so just had to have his way all the time, and that she would just look out the window and smile. “He doesn’t know that he, too, is that way,” she said. They were always polite to each other, apologizing if the need arose to interrupt the other’s telling of an old story. “Excuse me, Russell . . .” Mary would say. “Mary, may I interrupt here . . .” Russell would ask. In what became almost sixtyseven years together, they remained courteous, always courteous. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Russell loved to tell a story about their return to western North Carolina, about a dinner party given in their honor by the dean of Lenoir-Rhyne College. When asked why they had chosen to come back in their retirement, given the places they had lived and the out-of-state homes of their children, why they had moved to Claremont, Mary, in her Southern belle whisper, answered, “So we could personally vote against Senator Helms.” Margaret Garrison called me on the phone after Russell told that story and said, “Shari, you and I could dog cuss Jesse and not do the damage Mary did by speaking softly and referring to him as the senator.” It was true. They held hands, Russell in his hospital bed, Mary seated beside him, as they watched a black man elected president. Their son, Terry, told me he walked in the room to see them both smiling at the television. They had marched in Montgomery, a young white preacher and his wife, so that others could go to the same school as their children and lived to see their country, right or wrong, make their judgments based not on skin color but on content of character. Russell and Mary Boggs had never stopped dreaming. I did as he asked. I wrote and I spoke the day we put him in the ground. I quoted To Kill A Mockingbird as he requested and I made folks laugh as he insisted. Mary was too ill to attend. Later, when they played the tape for her, when she heard what I said, Mary Boggs wrote me a letter. “Dear Shari, Do you remember that old song that says ‘I’ll never smile, again, until I smile with you?’ That is how I felt after Russell’s departure. But, today, I found myself laughing. Thank you for being you. Fondly, Mary” I see him everywhere. I hope Mary does, too. I hope no one ever tells her he isn’t there for I am certain that he is. He would not leave her. There are not words for how much I miss him, miss them, the two of them together. It never gets easier. I might have love like that to call my own before they make heroic attempts to pray me into the sky. I might not. But, I have not lived my life without seeing it, without knowing it. I have been in the rooms where it lived, where her name was spoken with such reverence you would have thought it was a fragile, china thing. I have learned that sometimes, the right thing to do is to look out a car window and smile, to say “excuse me for interrupting,” to hold hands in triumph and tragedy. Mary wrote a book. She researched the genealogy of her entire family, included stories about their history, and Russell paid to have it printed and bound. I was given a copy though I am no kin to either of them. It sits, now, next to me as I type. Russell cried when he handed it to me. He said, “Oh, I am just so proud of her, how hard she worked and, well, can you imagine how pleased I am to say my wife is an author?” A girl can dream. OH Shari Smith lives on a small farm in Claremont, NC. She is at work on a book called I Am a Town. February/March 2012

O.Henry 27

The Hophead

Strong As Oak By David C. Bailey


ne day last fall, Bill Sherrill, founder of Red Oak Brewery, was in his office, determined to catch up on some paperwork. Try as he might, he just couldn’t seem to make any progress: “I kept smelling something and saying, ‘Golly, that smells wonderful.’” Like a genie that had escaped from its bottle, an aroma lured him out of his office and onto the brew-house floor. What Sherrill smelled was a batch of malted barley — imported from Bavaria and roasted to a deep, dark mahogany shade — cooking away in Red Oak’s massive mash tun. As the barley’s natural enzymes slowly converted starches into fermentable sugars, Sherrill smelled what Bavarians had been smelling and anticipating each winter for centuries — double-bock beer, Red Oak’s very first batch. Though it’s been brewing beer for 21 years and distributes its draft beer to more than 600 bars and restaurants, Red Oak is not known for brewing seasonal beers — yet. Chris Buckley, who signed on as brew master in 2004, is changing that one beer at a time. Black Oak, an old-style double-bock weighing in at an impressive 8.5 percent alcohol per volume, went on tap in January after eight long weeks of lagering at 30 degrees Fahrenheit (lagering is the slow aging of beer at temperatures often well below 60 degrees). The recipe and tradition behind bock and double-bock beers date back to medieval times: “It’s a beer based on centuries’ old traditions,” he says, holding a glass up to the light. “You’d have to go back at least a hundred years to find a

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February/March 2012

double bock this dark in color and with this much roasted malt flavor.” Given Buckley’s background and history, it’s almost as if he were predestined to make Black Oak. The son of an Austrian mother and a Germanbased American elementary-school administrator, Buckley’s earliest beer memory is a photo of him sitting on his mother’s knee during Oktoberfest, sipping Bavarian lager from her tall beer stein. Growing up bilingual and surrounded by a dizzying bevy of beer styles — alluring blond and winsome brown lagers — it was inevitable that he’d fall head over heels in love with beer. He attended the Munich campus of the University of Maryland, which made Playboy’s list of top party schools one year, majoring in geology and minoring in German, with a concentration in Bavarian beer. At least once a week he’d join the Lizards, a group of beer-loving students who would gather at what they called the boot room, named for its 2-liter beer steins shaped like a boot (Stiefel). Passing the boot around, Buckley recalls, “at a certain point, an air bubble gets caught in the toe and if you’re not careful, you get a tidal wave of beer coming at you. If you end up wearing it on your shirt, you buy the next round.” After spending a few years in beer-loving Seattle, where he fell in love with beer-making after his first batch of home brew, Buckley returned to Munich and got really serious about beer. He applied and was accepted into a formal apprenticeship program at one of Germany’s most renowned breweries, Paulaner. Munich quite literally means “home of monks” in German, and the Paulaners — followers of St. Francis of Paula — were forbidden by their strict orders from letting solid food pass through their lips during The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photograph by Cassie Butler

A rich double-bock beer is Red Oak Brewery’s latest creation

Lent. Since the Bible clearly states that man shall not live by bread alone, the Paulaners developed a special, malt-intensive beer to serve as liquid bread. Believing that liquids cleansed not only the body but the soul, the monks decided, the more, the holier. The common folk followed suit, crying “Praise the Lord,” and so bock beer, and even stronger double-bock beer, became a Bavarian winter tradition. Their namesake brewery, Paulaner, still brews Salvator, an iconic Doppelbock that is lagered 200 feet underground in the world’s deepest lager cellar, the very cellar where Buckley apprenticed. For three years, Buckley alternated four weeks in a classroom with an eight-week rotation through each one of the brewery’s departments — milling, mashing, lautering, wort boiling, fermenting, lagering, kegging, bottling and filtering. And then landed a job at the brewery. “It was a union job,” says the certified Bavarian Brewer and Malster, “with six weeks of paid vacation a year, a 78-liter allowance of free beer a month and not much stress.” Still, he says, “I wanted more. I wanted a challenge.” He found that at Native Brewing Co. in Alexandria, Virginia, where the Native Dark bock that he made won a bronze medal at Great American Beer Festival in 1999 — his first year brewing in the States. He then worked for Fordham Brewing

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Co. in Annapolis, Maryland, where he brewed Copperhead Ale, a Düsseldorf-style Altbier and Helles Lager, a Bavarian lager using four German grains and three different hops. Buckley didn’t care much for Annapolis and when he got a call from Sherrill in 2004, he jumped at the chance of coming to Red Oak. Buckley stepped into a very challenging environment. For one thing, Red Oak’s veteran brew master, Christian Boos, had returned to Canada to take care of his elderly father-in-law. Under an interim brew master, Red Oak’s consistency had been a problem. Boos developed Red Oak under the tutelage of Sherrill, who went to high school in Switzerland and had become obsessed with German-style lagers. Sherrill insisted that his beer be made in strict accordance with Germany’s Rheinheitsgebot 1516 Law of Purity, using only four ingredients: malted barley, hops, water and yeast. No rice, corn, adjuncts, additives or preservatives allowed. What Buckley really concentrated on was called Battlefield Black. Under his direction, it became Battlefield Bock. “I added a lot more malt and several different kinds of malt.” He also boosted its alcohol content to 6.5 percent, worthy of its German ancestry. “Since Chris came,” says Sherrill, “it’s a whole lot richer and smoother. He’s really taken our beers to the next

level. Not only are his beers excellent, they’re consistent, and that’s hard to achieve when you’re not filtering or pasteurizing or doctoring the product in any way.” Finally, Buckley turned his attention to his beloved double-bock recipe, which came from a book published in the 1900s that he found at a Munich flea market. “It’s the beer I’ve always wanted to make,” he says. Black Oak is 8.5 percent and from a sample I had in December. It’s underlain with a deep, dark malty backbone balanced by Spalt hops and finished with spicy, aromatic Czech Saaz hops. Like all the other beers, it’s naturally carbonated instead of being pumped up with CO2. Requiring refrigeration until it’s served, it’s also as fresh as beer gets: “Unless you get on an airplane and fly over there, this is as close as you can get to a freshly brewed double-bock in America,” says Buckley. Red Oak and its emerging line of beers (look for Big Oak in the spring and Old Oak in the fall) are built on a simple concept: “You can taste the history of Munich brewing, the old style of brewing,” Buckley says. “Tradition matters.” OH David Bailey’s first “real” beer was in a pub in Oxford, England, while hitchhiking across Europe. He was sixteen. The beer was warm and bitter. “I’ve never looked back,” he says.

February/March 2012

O.Henry 29

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30 O.Henry

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O.Henry 31

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February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A Healthy Bouquet A wry twist on the classic gimlet

By Frank Daniels, III


artenders spend a lot of time whipping up fancy cocktail menus to entice us to try new liqueurs and spend a bit more money. It is generally a treat to taste what they have invented, but most of what they concoct is not replicable at home (these cocktails should come with a warning label: “Professionals only at a supervised bar, do NOT try at home!”). Which is one reason why I tend to stick with classic cocktails and invest my effort in finding artisanal ingredients that add a twist, and fun, to the generally simpler drinks. And if you think about the cocktails you order, or make time and again, they are variations of each other using either dry or sweet vermouth, lime juice or lemon juice. The daiquiri, margarita and gimlet are perfect examples: a spirit (rum, tequila and gin,) lime juice, and a sweetener (sugar, triple sec, and sugar). The basic recipe is so good, tart and sweet, with a nice smooth kick, that it supports experimentation, giving the amateur mixologist the foundation to sparkle. Most recently I was experimenting with the gimlet, a classic cocktail that is generally abused by the use of Rose’s Lime Juice. I love the story of Rose’s, a method developed by Scotsman Lachlan Rose to preserve lime juice that quickly became a commercial hit because of the British Navy requirement for a daily ration of lime juice to ward off the impact of scurvy (the lack of vitamin C in your diet). But the processed lime juice and extra sugar in Rose’s makes for a sorry gimlet, which is best made with fresh squeezed lime juice and a bit of simple syrup. And with the modern market, we can have fresh lime juice all year round to ward off scurvy instead of worrying about keeping preserved limejuice on the bar. As with the daiquiri or the margarita, the gimlet lends itself to substitutes for the sweetener in the cocktail. Recent experimentation resulted in a fun, floral and very feminine version of the gimlet that has become a hit. St. Germain elderflower liqueur turned out to be an excellent addition to the gimlet, amplifying the botanical notes of the crisp gin with its floral bouquet, and making the cocktail a bit sweeter than the original. Adding to the popularity was serving it in a variety of cocktail glasses that we have picked up at the local consignment store. Keeping with the scurvy theme, I like to use Plymouth Gin from the famous English port city. In this cocktail its more subdued botanicals are a bonus. I don’t usually shake gin, but I like the frothy nature of this cocktail when shaken instead of stirred. Enjoy. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gimlet d’Fleur

2 oz Gin (Plymouth) 1 oz Fresh squeezed lime juice ½1/2 oz St. Germain elderflower liqueur Lime twist Chill your fancy cocktail glasses with ice and a bit of St. Germain (I like to use the ice from chilling the glasses in the cocktail shaker; just remember to pour off the water and St. Germain before mixing the drink). In an ice-filled cocktail shaker mix the gin, lime juice and St. Germain. Shake vigorously and strain into the chilled glasses. Garnish with a lime twist. OH Frank Daniels is an editor and writer living in Nashville, Tennessee. fdanielsiii@mac.com

February/March 2012

O.Henry 33

The Sporting Life

The Road Not Taken

Alone on a wintry marsh by the Pamlico, I found the perfect day of duck hunting

By Tom Bryant


here used to be a sign located on the side of the road right after you crossed the Pungo River Bridge. It was probably put up by the powers that be in the county because it looked official. The sign read “Welcome to Hyde County, the Road Less Traveled.” The sign has been gone for years, a victim of the many hurricanes and nor’easters that roar in off the Pamlico. And although it’s no longer there, Hyde County is still very much less traveled. I’ve been waterfowling this area since the early ’80s when a group of us hunted with Bob Hester at his duck club Wild Wings. A lot of things have changed since, but Hyde County remains constant. The county is one of North Carolina’s largest in acreage, but it has only 5,500 residents. With four national wildlife refuges covering over 115,000 acres, Hyde County is a haven for those who want to study nature, watch birds, hunt, fish or pursue a quieter way of life. You can stand in the middle of Engelhard, a small town in the center of the huge expanse, and be 40 miles from the nearest stoplight. When Hester changed his operation to a semiprivate club, we looked elsewhere and discovered Mark Carawan and his duck hunting endeavors. Mark grew up in the county, and his family goes back for generations. He personifies the traditions of the down-easter and is as at home on the Pamlico Sound and the marshes and creeks that are a big part of Hyde County as anyone living in the area. Mark’s father, Elsie Carawan, founded the Carawan Motel; and through the years, the guests that stayed with them became more like family. Mark took over the business when his parents retired. Having grown up with his father and sportsmen from around the world, he has a unique understanding about waterfowl and what it takes to make a great duck hunt. Lisa, Mark’s lovely wife and business partner, helps keep his many endeavors on track. She manages the motel that is located on the causeway crossing Lake Matamuskeet and the cabins and rental properties located across the area. There are six of us in the Whistling Wings Duck Club. The name actu-

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ally comes from the little lodge located right on the edge of the impoundments that we lease. Bryan Pennington found the location through Mark and assumed the leadership role as our group coordinator. The rest of us include John Vernon, an attorney; Jack Spencer, a retired superior court judge; and Tom Bobo, a retired textile manufacturer, all from Burlington. Also included are Art Rogers, another retired textile manufacturer from Albemarle; and me, a retired newspaper guy from Southern Pines. Bryan, who has a textile brokerage company in Burlington, loves to say that he is the only one gainfully employed, and we encouragingly respond, “Keep up those FICA payments.” We’ve known each other for years and have duck hunted together about as long. Each of the members of the club has his own reason for loving Hyde County, but I think I can speak for everyone when I say that the wilderness we still find there is our major draw. Sunrises and sunsets from our duck blinds overlooking the marsh and Pamlico Sound can almost be duplicated by an artist’s brush, but not quite. I’ve seen hundreds since I’ve been coming here, and no two are exactly alike. Most of our trips to the impoundments occur during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, and although these trips produce tons of bonhommie, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

they don’t always put ducks in the freezer. For the uninitiated, duck hunting success depends heavily on the weather, and duck hunters hate bluebird days. Never mind that, though. We learned long ago that game in the bag doesn’t mean the success or failure of the adventure. We are fortunate to have a gourmet cook in John Vernon and a true wine connoisseur in Jack Spencer. When we’re all together, the rest of us kick back, watch them work and enjoy their efforts. There are times, though, when a perfect day in the marsh helps us realize why we are duck hunters. I experienced an outing like that last season. It was a weekend I’ll not soon forget. I was by myself; the other guys just couldn’t put together the time. The weather looked promising with a cold front moving in from the west that would blow a strong wind in the morning out of the northwest. Rain mixed with snow was predicted to last most of the day. When I pulled up to the lodge mid-afternoon, clouds were scudding low on the horizon with a light rain blowing across the marsh. I decided that if I hustled I’d be able to unload, throw on waders and put out a few decoys in our farthest impoundment before dark. Since we always leave our decoys in the blinds so we don’t have to haul them back and forth from the house, I was able to get out a spread in short order and by my watch have about an hour to hunt before sunset, the legal time to stop shooting. I had just gotten back in the blind, hadn’t even loaded my gun, when a pair of gadwalls landed in the decoys. Rain was blowing sideways mixed with sleet and snow. I loaded and stood up, and the ducks flew in the opposite direction. I snapped off two shots, missing both. It was no problem, though, because ducks looking for a secure place away from bad weather poured in the impoundment, and I had a limit before quitting time. The next day was a repeat of the evening before, only emphasizing the importance of bad weather when ducking. Sure I missed the other members that weekend; but sometimes a day afield alone, especially one like I had just experienced, brings me closer to nature and what is really important in a duck hunter’s life. Being alone in the blind with a whiteout of sideways blowing rain, snow and sleet, and ducks everywhere, is about as good as it gets. Our group is a lot older now than when we first started coming to Hyde County. The sign on the north side of the Pungo River on Highway 264 is gone, but the members of the Whistling Wings Duck Club hope the county motto, “A Road Less Traveled,” remains forever. OH

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 35

Out of the Blue

The Crush A Love Story: Act I

By Deborah Salomon


irst love, for girls at least, starts with a crush. Crushes include squeals, giggles, denials and innocent daydreams. In a kinder, gentler era when America feared only Commies and the atom bomb, pre-teen girls had crushes on movie stars. The crush protocol was strict. Your dreamboat could not be the same one as a best friend’s. He had to make enough movies (preferably musicals and romantic comedies) to generate Life magazine covers and blurbs in Photoplay and Modern Screen, the latter purchased by somebody’s older sister and hidden under the bed. While boys were still trading baseball cards, girls cut pictures from these magazines and pasted them in scrapbooks with self-aggrandizing captions: “There’s Tab Hunter escorting Deb to the awards banquet!” My situation made adherence to this protocol difficult. I came from a motley background, lived in a New York City apartment, had no older sister, attended a progressive girls’ school with small classes, an enriched curriculum and zero tolerance for pop culture. We were afforded not only the three Rs but field trips to films (never movies), museums, ballet, children’s theater and the opera. Before TV, for a fifth-grader the pageantry of Aida trumped any Lion King. What inspired our teacher to select Laurence Olivier’s 1948 Academy Award-winning Hamlet I’ll never know. The ghost scene scared the bejeezus out of one classmate, but I was enthralled, smitten, head-over-heels. Sir Laurence was gorgeous, elegant, eloquent, tragic. I listened carefully so as to follow the story. If only I could make him forget Ophelia I would gladly sew buttons on his doublet and hand-wash his tights. Then came Henry V, where I saw my idol’s high cheekbones and rouged mouth in Technicolor. In lieu of button-sewing, I dragged The Complete Works of William Shakespeare home from the library. I wanted to understand his pain, to feel closer. Secretly, I put together a Laurence Olivier scrapbook. I had a crush — a really bad one. Shakespeare reads hard the first couple of pages, but then it gets easier. By Act II, I was comfortable. So comfortable that after Hamlet’s demise I kept reading the easier plays, imagining him as the hero. After Olivier’s Heathcliff, I tackled Wuthering Heights. Then Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca.

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When I learned that Olivier was married to Vivien Leigh, in a fit of jealousy I devoured Gone With the Wind — not exactly on the summer reading list for 11-year-olds. But why not? I didn’t have siblings to play with, and polio kept kids away from the swimming pools. By sixth grade we had moved south. In order not to appear a total weirdo I needed somebody mainstream, but after Olivier, Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas and Robert Mitchum lacked gravitas. Gregory Peck was a double whammy except my cousin claimed him first. Then one hot Saturday afternoon I sat through The Great Caruso twice at the air-conditioned Imperial Theater. Its star — a musically unschooled Italian stallion from Philly with dark, flashing eyes, a curly pompadour and a heavenly voice — knocked me right out of the velvet seat. “Be My Love,” Mario Lanza sang. Gladly. Lanza stirred controversy in the music world. Stuffy old Metropolitan Operagoers considered him flashy, hyper-emotional. His acting was atrocious, his personal excesses even worse, which made for many, many movie-magazine stories. My scrapbook bulged. I bought all his records, mostly familiar arias. Before long, those matinees at the Met endured during fourth grade took on a new romanticism. I circumvented the language barrier by memorizing plots which were about as literate as a comic book. I listened to opera broadcasts pretending that Mario was the tenor and I, the doomed soprano. The lilting strains of Puccini and Verdi brought tears to my eyes. They still do. As you can imagine, I endured a lot of teasing, especially from Paul Newman, Monty Clift and Frank Sinatra crushees. I just wasn’t the Tony Curtis type. Eventually, I wised up, got off my high horse and went the cheerleader/ sorority girl/James Dean route. But I saw every one of Olivier’s films and, eventually, witnessed his talent on stage. Nothing stopped me from despising Vivien Leigh until the day she died, although I take no issue with his third wife, the talented but very plain Joan Plowright. Mario Lanza self-destructed at an early age, to resurface decades later as a joke on The Sopranos. Olivier’s darker side was revealed after his death. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

(Danny Kaye’s lover? Winston Churchill’s secret agent? Be still, my heart.) Sixty years later, I’m still shivering at the Shakespearean cadence and lush arias. I shivered my way to an A in college English courses at Duke. Opera is a frequent category on Jeopardy! I guess my silly schoolgirl crushes panned out. Were I eleven or twelve today, my “it” man would be Daniel Day Lewis. I like the chisel of his face, the brooding eyes. Coincidentally, he will portray Abe Lincoln in an upcoming film. Back to the library. Which suggests crushes can be a good thing unless directed at Justin Bieber or Ryan Gosling. Those pale vampire guys pass if they lead tweens to Bram Stoker, Anne Rice and Lord Byron. Older gals might even Netflix To Kill a Mockingbird solely to drool over Gregory Peck’s counselor McDreamy. Crushes, puppy love — call it what you will. Just don’t deprive your little girls of this rite of passage because that very puppy might, as it did for me, grow into a melancholy but useful Great Dane. OH Deborah Salomon is a highly literate contributing editor of O.Henry magazine.

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 37

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February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry February/March 2012

Winter on Elm Teeming — even the alleyways alive with movement: we strolled from window to window searching with detached desire until we came upon an empty shop — its light extinguished: the rain continued to fall; the window of the car at the meter reflected the shops, and us, and the businessmen — their blacked overcoats & umbrellas hustling in & out of our scene; and from across the street — the stray, who wanted badly to join us, and was sitting, patiently, a dam in the gutter waiting to cross.

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— Terry Kennedy

February/March 2012

O.Henry 39

Love 4 Less Our fearless (and cheap) food guru’s five picks for romance in the Great Recession

By David C. Bailey • Photographs By Cassie Butler


fully realize that for many people, the idea of economizing on a date is just about as unromantic as it gets, sort of like taking your sister along. Me? After decades of successfully wooing the same woman with flowers picked from the right-of-way, half-price Godiva Chocolates and marked-down Mumm’s Champagne, the love of my life’s eyes still light up when I suggest a night on the town. In fact I’m here to tell you that love for less is sort of an art form. Sure, we’ve been known to truly splurge on the anniversary of the day we eloped almost 50 years ago, but since the great recalibration, as a friend calls the economic downturn, we’ve discovered a certain satisfaction in seeing how little we can spend on wining and dining. Yes, I am Scotch Irish, but my soulmate is French Huguenot and loves a good time. Between us we’ve devised a number of itineraries that I’ll share with you. Every one of them is under $60 for two — and most are in the $40 range. It’s our Valentine for you.

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February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Love on the Border Sharing neon-lit serenades, fish-bowl-sized margaritas and sizzling fajitas at El Mariachi Mexican Restaurant, followed by a $1 movie Your LOVE4LESS itinerary: This Anglo-friendly and festively decorated eatery lives up to its name with live music on Fridays. That’s when the monster margaritas, a roving mariachi band and fun-loving Hispanic families make this place a convivial, if somewhat raucous spot to kick off the weekend. My main squeeze and I? We go on Mondays, when entrees are 30 percent off, and when there are few kids and less noise. Sit in the soft light of one of the booths in the back, order a margarita and coo like doves to the soft strains of a solo guitarist and the alluring sizzle of fajitas on a cast-iron griddle. Afterward, stroll arm-in-arm through the soft glow of evening ... to nearby Sedgefield Crossing’s Cinema, where there’s always a chick flick or two featured. What to eat: El Mariachi’s offerings are a cut above the fast food of other Mexican eateries. Activate your endorphins with the spicy, deep-fried chili rellenos appetizer for $2.75. Fresh oysters (“naturals”) on the half shell are available for $6.50 a half dozen. “Ostiones en su Concha” (oysters baked in their shell with shrimp, $7.50) are fun to share and come with pico de gallo, limes and slices of avocado. For an entrée, we split the scallop fajitas, priced at $13.99, and we always leave stuffed. What to drink: What’s more companionable than splitting a bottomless basket of chips, with sassy salsa and an 18-ounce margarita ($8.99)? The tab: $41.73 including 20 percent tip Info: El Mariachi Sedgefield Crossing Shopping Center 4623 High Point Rd., Greensboro (336) 834-2200 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Continental Divine Sipping half-price bubbly and supping on continental canapés at 1618 Wine Lounge, followed by a heavenly Korean confection Your LOVE4LESS itinerary: Go ahead and revoke my membership in Eat Local America, but once in a while I want to make like a sexy European, go somewhere that doesn’t feel even remotely like Greensboro and dine on gourmet fare. And I ask you, is there a better beverage for putting you into a romantic mood than Champagne? A sister to 1618 Seafood Grille, this narrow storefront near Pastabilities on Battleground feels oh-so-cosmopolitan with its angular, spare décor and rows upon rows of dramatically backlit bottles and stemware. Even (and maybe especially) on Mondays, when Champagne is half-price, this place has an energizing and effervescent buzz. It’s definitely a couple’s spot, with comfy, overstuffed chairs and tiny tables. May I suggest afterward you cruise Battleground, as I did in high school, and zip just down the road to Donut World, where sugary cake doughnuts, fried by Korean chefs, are sweets for my sweet. What to eat: From a dozen cheeses and five charcuterie choices, we ordered a plate with five different delectables on it for $15, flanked with lingonberry jam and mustard. On a recent evening we nibbled Vermont double-cream cremont, Billy Blue Cheese, morel-and-leek Monterey Jack, jamon Serrano and Italian beech-wood-smoked speck (basically bacon). Don’t come hungry, though, because the portions are dainty. What to drink: A half bottle of Heidesieck & Co. Monopole Blue Top Brut: “Full and rich, elegant and nutty, like biscotti. A real celebration wine,” says The Wall Street Journal’s reviewer. At $39 a half bottle, this elegant and creamy bubbly is fairly priced. At $19.50 on Mondays, you gotta love it. The tab: $43.84 including a 20 percent tip

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Info: 1618 Wine Lounge 1742-105 Battleground Ave., Greensboro (336) 285-9410

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Nirvana on a Budget Nibbling tandoori barbeque and lamb curry at Saffron with pillowy and toasty portions of nan, followed by a companionable, recreational shopping trek Your LOVE4LESS itinerary: Prominently featured at Saffron Indian Cuisine is a statue of Lord Ganesha, worshipped as the remover of obstacles — and so it’s entirely appropriate that a Groupon coupon removed the principal obstacle — the cost — to our having yet another romantic evening at this favorite Indian restaurant. As a sort of surprise, I had consulted my voluminous Cambridge World History of Food to see if there were any aphrodisiacal ayurvedic dishes that might “create an inclination for venery,” as the British encyclopaedist so tastefully put it. But Cambridge concludes that “the only substance in the realm of food and drink that can be considered to have a potentially aphrodisiacal effect are alcoholic beverages in quantities sufficiently small to reduce inhibitions,” which prompted me to order a split of Frexinet sparkling wine. What we always like about Saffron is the polished, graceful and unobtrusive service, coupled with a décor that is totally refined. Afterward we adjourned to nearby Ed McKay’s, the only place other than Jerusalem Market where we enjoy shopping together. What to eat: Saffron’s chef is from Northern India, known for its sassy tandoori barbecue, bold lamb curries, mild kormas, and pickles, chutneys and seasoned yogurt (raita). Split the meat thali, a plate groaning with my favorite, butter chicken, plus lamb curry and tandoori. Order a side of cucumber raita and some mango chutney, for certain, and some nan and kulcha, a soft onion-studded bread. What to drink: A split of Frexinet for $5. The tab: Get this: $15 for the Groupon coupon + $5 for the bubbly + a $7 tip (20 percent of the bill before the coupon was applied) = $27. Even if you don’t have a coupon, you can split the meat thali, champagne and kulcha and still spend less than $35 after a generous tip. Info: Saffron Indian Cuisine 1500 Mill St., Suite 104, Greensboro (336) 574-3300

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

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Old Faithful Dining by candlelight at Anton’s in the same spot where we billed and cooed as teenage lovebirds. Your LOVE4LESS itinerary: Back when tailfins were long, skirts were short and Anne, my wife-tobe, was still a teenager, I used to woo her with wine, candlelight and beef Leonardo at Cellar Anton’s. To our youthful eyes, Anton’s dimly lit, ratskelleresque downstairs dining room seemed terribly exotic and, well, downright romantic. Ordering beef Leonardo and Chianti, we imagined ourselves quite the gourmet sophisticates. Several times a year we return to Anton’s for old times’ sake — and because you can’t beat Anton’s for value and consistency. Admittedly, in years past the food has paled in comparison to the fare available at some of Greensboro’s newer, more upscale venues. Still, Anton’s has been doing a lot of things right to have survived 51‑ years. Over the past few months, though, Chef Paul Shepherd has added a missing ingredient to the Anton formula, boosting the quality of the food without the slightest diminution in value. He’s retained Anton’s old favorites — heaping bowls of red-sauced spaghetti, cheese-and-meat-laden lasagna and chicken or eggplant Parmesan. But what Shepherd has also brought to the table, so to speak, are true French classics, including escargot á la Bourguignonne, bouillabaisse, carpaccio, duck á l’orange and even foie gras. What’s old is new again — and better than ever before — just like some lovebirds I know. What to eat: Anne remembered Chef Paul’s French onion soup from back when he ran Madison Park, where we enjoyed intimate dinners when economizing meant not ordering after-dinner drinks. I jumped at the chance to order sweetbreads — the name alone conjures up romantic visions — as long as no one mentions “thymus gland.” Finished in a marsala cream sauce with mushrooms, they were superb. We split our old favorite, Beef Leonardo — tenderloin tips marinated in red wine with loads of garlic, and it was as good as ever. Resisting Chef Paul’s French desserts, we had a rich peach bread pudding with Southern Comfort sauce. What to drink: At our waiter’s suggestion, Anne had a glass of Spanish Evodia Old Vines Granacha for $6, a jammy, rich Catalayud red we’d tried on a trip to Spain. I was surprised to find Wolaver’s Atla Gracia Coffee Porter that I’d wanted to try for some time, and the price was only $4. It was a perfect pairing with the beef. The tab: $59 including 20 percent tip Info: Anton’s 1628 Battleground Ave., Greensboro (336) 273-1386

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

No Truffle at All Eating with your fingers and not sharing truffle fries at Mussels- Wine- and-Live-Music Wednesdays at Print Works Bistro Your LOVE4LESS itinerary: Sometimes, especially when it comes to Greensboro’s best hand-cut, double-fried pommes frites, drizzled with truffle oil, sharing is a bad idea. Since Anne loves truffle fries and cheeseburgers — and sandwiches definitely do not lend themselves to sharing — I ordered the mussels special, which comes with plain fries. Knowing one another’s boundaries, especially when it comes to the sharing of portions, promotes harmony, and harmony fosters intimacy, and intimacy is what loving one another is all about. I let her eat every single last one of her truffle-oil fries. After all, she did share her ketchup. Then we sat back, listened to the live music, had dessert and people watched. Believe me, Print Works is a lively scene on Wednesdays. What to eat: For me: Chef Leigh Hesling’s $15-on-Wednesdays mussels, with loads of bread for sopping. For her, Print Works’ two-fisted cheeseburger with cheddar. And once you see the size of the slab of the five-layer chocolate Grand-Marnier mousse-and-ganache cake, all sense of sharing is restored, bringing about perfect harmony. What to drink: A split of California Sofia Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. The tab: $51 including a 20 percent tip Info: Print Works Bistro 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro

(336) 379-0699 OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

O.Henry 45

, nce e m o -ma h n w aux o D , F e f i n r e L outhe u r S g AATmodern in faux-mance d n u o p eart B M D

Hot and Bothered





illustrations By suZanne CaBrera

illustrations By suZanne CaBrera 46 O.Henry

February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


racy was as hang-dog and heart-broke as he’d ever been in his life. His friends tried to get him out on the town, but he wanted no part of it. This went on for near about six months. Finally, his cousin Carla said, “Boy, snap out of it. Why don’t you find yourself a woman on the computer?” Now, Tracy didn’t think of himself as the kind of man would go on-the-line to find someone, but he knowed it worked for a lot of people. Carla had found both of her ex-husbands on something called E-Hormoney. So he agreed to let her help him. Carla said the first thing to do was get a good profile picture. So she put some “product” in Tracy’s hair and mussed it up to look kindly devil-may-care. Then she told him to shave his arms, shine ’em up good with baby oil, do a few bicep curls and put on a tight (and clean) T-shirt. He balked at first, but Carla said man arms was like truck tires — they looked best when they was glossy and a little too big for the body — and that made sense to Tracy. Well, he posted up his picture and his profile, and the datin’ service sent him what they called his matches, which means folks you might want to hook onto, as the young people say. That’s when he seen her picture, and his heart plumb melted. She was a pretty little thing. Curly blonde hair. Pearly white teeth. And a pair of twin sisters ridin’ up high like fog lights on a Dodge Ram 4-by-4. Weren’t none of it natural, not that Tracy knowed or cared. The way she was curled up on the couch, zipped up inside one of them fuzzy pink relaxin’ sacks, holding up a bag of extry hot pretzel nubs — with her eyebrows raised just so and her mouth all pouty-like — well, it spoke to him. Her profile said her name was Faye Ella, and she was from Highbro, right next to where Tracy lived in Greenpoint. She said her “likes” included intimate dinners, walks on the beach, cuddlin’ in front of a fire, watchin’ kickboxin’ on Spanish-language television and Tazerin’ anyone who got in her way at a Black Friday super sale. Tracy liked him a sparky woman. She said her “dislikes” was dishonesty, game playin’, phonies, and people who put ketchup on their eggs, which Tracy agreed with because when you mixed it all together, you got orange eggs, and everyone knows that God intended orange for oranges. And tangerines, a course. And extry hot pretzel nubs. And, all right, carrots. And hunting caps. And, well, road construction cones. And Clemson. And, OK, Auburn. The more Tracy thought about it, the more it seemed the Lord was gettin’ a little too loose with orange these days. But back to Faye Ella. The most important thing she said in her information was that she was looking for a good time possibly leading to a lifetime of drudgery and commitment. Law, that was exactly how Tracy felt. Was they soul mates? They was only one way to find out. He sent her a message. Carla had told him never to “wink” at a woman on-the-line. She said women think that’s cheap, so Tracy wrote Faye Ella from his heart. He said: “Faye Ella, My name is Tracy, but I ain’t no woman. My parents named me Tracy after one of my grandfathers, which, OK, that was their right, but it sure has caused me a butt load of aggravation, not to mention a couple of simple assault charges due to fights I have got into over my name. But them charges has been dismissed mostly. Would you like to meet? I live in Greenpoint. Sincerely, Tracy.” It wasn’t a minute later that she shot back: “Dear Tracy — I knew a boy in high school named Carol, and he was very masculine, so your girly-fied name does not bother me at all. Plus, I can see by your picture that you are all man. There is a cozy little restaurant on the old Greenpoint-Highboro Road, near Macadams Farm. Can you meet me there at 3 on Saturday? Cordially, Faye The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Ella Joogins.” Tracy wrote back. “Yes, I will meet you there. I am lookin’ forward to it, as I am pretty sure that restaurant has a TV, so we can watch the Wufheels game.” “I love the Wufheels,” replied Faye Ella. She ended her note with one of them little smiley faces, which made Tracy grin for the first time in a month of Sundays.


hey ordered up some atomic hot wings and beer, and, by golly, the stories came tumblin’ out. Tracy told how his first wife had ran off with a census taker. Feller just came to the door asked how many people lived in the household, and would they call theyselves black or white, or mixed, or native American, or Hispanic, or non-Hispanic, or Asian, or Specific Islander, or what have you. He didn’t even get to the end of his list before she had her bags packed, and they was riding off in his little hybrid car. He told Faye Ella how he’d taken up for a while with his landlady in one of them May-Remember romances, but it had wore thin, and she finally cut him loose after he chose waitin’ in line for some Jo-bangles chicken biscuits over meetin’ her at noon one day. That hurt him bad, but, dammit, chicken biscuits was two-for-one that day. Faye Ella shook her head like she understood. She had experienced bad relational luck, too. Her husband had met a girl that worked at a coffee shop. Faye Ella said she shoulda knowed somethin’ was up when he started wearin’ clogs and had them little white wires danglin’ from his ears all the time, and then — Lord, how did she miss this one? — he asked her to switch from Maximum House coffee to some $12-a-pound organical coffee growed by a herd of free-roamin’ llamas down to South America. “I was so stupid,” she said. “But the coffee was good.” Tracy nodded tenderly. “Llamas are right smart animals.” Faye Ella went on. “I told myself I would never love again — unless I met the perfect man, and the chance of that seemed pretty slim.” Tracy took her hands across the table. He gazed deep into her eyes, then over her shoulder real quick to check the score of the ballgame. The Wufheels was making a comeback, and so was Tracy. “Faye Ella,” he said real slow. “I don’t say this to many people, but I would never put a chicken biscuit over you.” Well, next thing you knowed, they was back at his place, a room over the top of a garage in Swisher Park, clawin’ at each other like a couple a barn cats. Clothes a-flying ever which way. “Oh, Faye Ella,” Tracy says, pantin’ like he done run a mile. “Your body is like that water park out on the highway — hot and wet and slightly scary in places, but all in all, excitin’ as hell.” “Take me! Take me!” whispered Faye Ella. “To the water park? Right now?” Tracy said. “No, you fool, through the doors of ecstasy and into the inner chamber of delight.” Tracy hesitated. Ecstasy? Delight? Wasn’t they dance clubs in downtown Greenpoint? I shoulda went out with the boys, he thought, then I would know where these places was.

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“To bed, you lunkhead,” Faye Ella said, all husky-like. Lord have mercy. You know the rest. Glistening whatnots. Hard this pressin’ up against soft that. Heavin’ so-n-sos. And finally, more ’splosions than over at the rock quarry.


ell, for the next few weeks, everything was hunky dory, the way it is with new love. Tracy went around whistlin’. He worked out to the HonchoJet plant, assemblin’ them little aeroplanes. Faye Ella had herself a good job at the Cozy Moan Hospital, workin’ as some kind of therapist or other, a career she had chose because she could help people, but she didn’t have to wear one of them little blue hospital suits to do it. Not that it would have mattered ’cause she and Tracy was sheddin’ their clothes regular. Usually, Faye Ella would stop at Tracy’s apartment after work, and they’d carry on there, but if they couldn’t wait a whole day, they’d meet on they lunch hours somewheres in between they workplaces — whether it was under the Kneedeep River bridge in Gamestown, or out to the Trybad Regional Park, or over to Bullfrog College, where some artist feller made a bunch of twirly huts out of sticks. The college folk called ’em art, but everyone else knowed what they really was: love shacks, pure and simple. One time, they met over to City Park, where they was a bunch of reactors playin’ old-timey Army. Ever which way they turned, they was someone in a triangle hat a-blowin’ a flute, or bangin’ a drum, or lightin’ off a pretend cannon. So what did they do? Why, they crawled in one of them little white tents and made they own fireworks, that’s how crazy they was for each other. Didn’t matter to Tracy that he ’bout got filleted like a flounder when he rolled over on a bayonet that one of them reactors left behind. The only time they got caught was when they went over to Smoke Holler Lake in Highbro. A security guard chased them off. Said Highbro University, which was growin’ like topsy, had just bought the lake for they brand new wind-surfin’ team and could Tracy and Faye Ella move along, seeing as how they didn’t have no purply surfboards. ’Tweren’t long before Tracy was tellin’ his family he had found the one. He said Faye Ella was unlike any woman he had ever knowed. Said she liked beer and fishin’ shows, and she was the only female he ever knew could walk through a department store and not let someone spray her with an oh-desomethin’ that gave him a headache. Faye Ella was tellin’ her family the same kinda thing, only from a woman’s view. She said Tracy was sweet, and kind, and he liked “Prancin’ with the

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Stars,” and he put the seat down without being told. All the womenfolk said, “Hang on to him, Faye Ella,” and Faye Ella said she would. Well, one day, after “lunch” with Tracy, Faye Ella ducked into the hospital cafeteria to grab her a bite before she got back to work. She was almost to the checkout with her turkey sandwich when she reached back to grab a dish of ’naner pudding’. At the same time, someone behind her reached for the same ’naner puddin’. They hands touched, and Faye Ella felt a jolt like she had done stuck a fork in a toaster. She looked up into a pair of brown eyes that was blazin’ with the hunger of a wild animal. Like a raccoon that’s been tryin’ to get into your trash for three nights runnin’ ’cause he can smell that chicken neck you throwed out. “Oh, please excuse me,” said a voice that sounded like that man who used to advertise Chryslers with Corinthians leather. “It’s just that I’m in a hurry to get back to my patients.” He was the finest specimen of manhood Faye Ella had ever laid eyes on. He stood near about 6-foot-3. His hair was dark and curly. His skin was the color of peanut brittle. His white coat was embroidered with his name: Dr. Chorizo Grande. Faye Ella blushed. “Oh, my goodness, Dr. Grande! I am so sorry! Here, you take the puddin’. I really wanted the body. I mean, the brownie.” “As you wish,” he said. Faye Ella fumbled with her purse and paid for her food. He was right behind her. “Won’t you join me?” he said. “I would like nothin’ better,” she said.


racy heard a car screechin’ to a halt right outside his apartment. He no sooner got up off the couch than Carla busted through the door. “Tracy! Have you looked at Faye Ella’s Faceplant page lately?” “No, why?” Tracy said. Carla explained that folks had been playin’ tag with pictures of Faye Ella that was took at some doctor shindig, and them pictures was goin’ up on a wall where ever’one could see, and the worst part was, ever’one was likin’ them pictures. Tracy went on-the-line, and there they was: pictures of a blonde woman smooshed up against a dark-haired feller at a bar. They was beamin’ and clinkin’ they little umbrella drinks together. The title under them pictures said, “Having a Grande Old Time.” At first, Tracy disbelieved it was his Faye Ella. He thought it was someone that favored her. But then Carla said, “No, it’s her. See?” and she pointed to one of them pictures that showed the inside of the woman’s right wrist. Clear as day you could see a couple of orange drumettes with the word “forever” underneath. Tracy looked down at his left wrist, where they was a foamy little beer mug with the word “together” underneath. When him and Faye Ella held hands, them wings and beer was “together forever,” a reminder of the first time they had met, as well as they up-to-now atomic hot love for each other. “Now, someone else is dipping his wings in her blue cheese dressin’,” Tracy sniffed, tears a-wellin’ up in his eyes.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Carla slapped him upside the head. “Don’t be such a wussy!” she hollered at him. “That is yore woman, now get out there and fight for her.” “What if she don’t want to be fought for?” said Tracy, rubbing his one good ear. “Ain’t no such thing as a woman don’t want to be fought for,” said Carla. “Boy, you don’t read much romantical history, do you?” The next thing Tracy knowed, they was in Carla’s convert’ble, whizzin’ down Elmo Street. She told Tracy she had been detectin’ and had found out that them pictures was took at a convention a few weeks ago — the one Faye Ella had told Tracy that she would be so busy working at, there was no point in him goin’. Carla had also sniffed out that Mr. Tall, Dark and Smiley was a doctor. Not just any doctor. A surgeon of the lady parts. That really got to Tracy. There was no tellin’ what this feller knew how to do to a woman. What if they really was some inner chamber of delight that he knew about, and Tracy didn’t? What if he had special tools? What if him and Faye Ella laid around, nekkid as jaybirds, laughin’ about what Tracy thought was sexy. Lord, he wished he had never shared his fantasy about bein’ a Moto-Rooter man. “Where are we goin’, Carla?” he said. “To the hospital,” she said. “They been walkin’ out together ever’ night for the past few nights.” “How do you know?” said Tracy. “I staked ’em out,” Carla said. Tracy was not the least bit surprised. Ever since Carla was little, she had been eat up with snoopin’. Tracy thought back to the time, when they was kids, that she ordered X-ray glasses that didn’t work. Carla had swore, in words that none of the other kids knowed, that someone at the comic book company was gonna pay. These days, she was hooked on court TV and po-lice shows and considered herself an expert on all ’vestigative matters. “What are we going to do?” Tracy said Carla’s mouth hanged open. “What do you think? Confront ’em! Tell ’em, ‘How long did y’all think you could play me for a fool?!’ Say, ‘Faye Ella, it’s him or me!’” “What if she says it’s him?” said Tracy. “Well, then, you’re screwed. Though, practically speakin’, prob’ly not.” They parked in a corner of the parkin’ lot and waited. Sure enough, a few minutes later, out they strolled, Faye Ella and the doctor, just a-talkin and a-laughin’. Tracy felt sick on his stomach. “Let’s move,” Carla said, kickin’ her car door open. Her confidence was infective. Tracy kicked open his door, too — right into the side of a Mersaydees-Benz. “Dammit,” he said, lickin’ his thumb and runnin’ it over the dent. “That’s too deep for paintless repair. You got a sticky note?” “What?” Carla whisper-yelled. “I’m gonna leave ‘em a note with my number.” “Get. Over. There. And. Confront. Them. Two!” she said, jabbin’ her thumb toward Faye Ella and the doctor. Her jaw was clenchin’, and her eyes was buggin’. Tracy started walkin’ that way. The closer he got, the madder he got. “Faye Ella!” he yelled. Her and the doctor looked up. She was smilin’. “Oh, hey Tracy!” she said. “Don’t you hey-Tracy me,” he shouted. “I know ever’thin. I know about the convention. And ’bout them umbrella drinks. And ’bout you carryin’ on with the good doctor, here.” He pointed at Dr. Grande. “And I know all about that inner chamber of delight, buddy — don’t you think for one minute that I don’t!” The doctor raised his hands up, like he was telling Tracy to simmer down. “I think you misunderstand, my friend,” he said. He stepped toward Tracy. “I don’t misunderstand nuthin’!” Tracy said. “You stand back, now! I’m The Art & Soul of Greensboro

warnin’ you!” “Tracy, please listen!” Faye Ella pleaded. But it was too late. Tracy’s brain had done cut off and his animal instincts had took over. He went at Dr. Grande with a kick to the mid-section. ’Twere bad luck for Dr. Grande that Tracy’s animal instincts had been soakin’ in Spanish-language kick-boxin’ ever’ since he had knowed Faye Ella. But ’twere badder luck for Tracy that Dr. Grande had paid his way through medical school by bein’ one of them Spanish-speakin’ kickboxers. Sawbones caught Tracy by the heel of his steel-toed boot, which left Tracy hoppin’ on one leg, tryin’ to save his balance and his honor. “Keep a-hold of him, Cory,” Faye Ella said. She turned to Tracy. “Now, listen to me Tracy Studington. There ain’t nothin’ going on between me and Cory. I know, he’s is the best lookin’ man you ever saw. I mean, look at him. He’s perfect. Have you ever saw such a body in all your life? And believe me, when I met him, I was ready to jump his bones. But Cory is gay, Tracy. We’re just friends.” “What?” Tracy said, lookin’ kindly yogie-fied, there on one leg. “The reason I been seein’ him so much is, he’s gonna operate on me, Tracy. My tubes is blocked, and I can’t have children. I want to have your babies, Tracy.” “You do?” Tracy said. “Yes,” Faye Ella said, gettin’ all weepy. “Well, hell,” Carla said off to the side. Tracy looked all embarrassed at Dr. Grande. “Look man, I’m really sorry ’bout this. Can I have my leg back now?” “Surely,” said Dr. Grande, droppin’ Tracy’s boot. Faye Ella hugged Tracy’s neck. “Oh, Faye Ella,” he said. “It’s just that I love you so much. I went crazy thinkin’ ’bout you with another man.” “I know,” Faye Ella said. “And I almost was. But it didn’t work out. And now, Tracy, I know for sure that you’re the only one for me. I mean, you was ready to fight for me. I cannot tell you how hot that makes me.” “Told you,” said Carla. Well, naturally, Tracy and Faye Ella went back to his place and was all over each other. Nipples here. Tongues there. Unjulatin’ ever’where. Later on, Tracy called Dr. Grande to ’pologize again and thank him for helpin’ Faye Ella. He said they was gonna get married, and they wanted him to come to the weddin’, and Tracy said if the doctor ever wanted to buy himself a HonchoJet, he’d see what he could do ’bout gettin’ the price knocked down. The doctor said thank you, and he would talk to them later ’cause he was very tired, and it had been a long day. Looked like, on top of ever’thin’ else, someone had doored his brand new Mersaydees in the parking lot. About the author: Moselle “Meemaw” Deercorn has been writing for as long as chickens have been scratching dirt. When she was in fifth grade, she wrote a May Day poem that her teacher read to the whole class. She wrote senior predictions for her high school yearbook, accurately foretelling the fall of homecoming queen and well-known hussy Ramona Rae Bell. Later, she helped to write her church’s cookbook, Someone’s in the Kitchen with Jesus. At age 83, under the tutelage of her driving-instructor-turned-creative-writing-teacher, she began writing torrid romances. She has penned several best-sellers, including, Love, You Really Done It Now, Whispered Promises and Other Such Hooey, and One Heart’s Desire; Here We Go Again. She lives in Climax with a ferret named Frank and her great-niece, O. Henry astrologer and beautician Astrid Stellanova, who has taken a leave to attend cosmology — or is that cosmetology? — school. In honor of Valentine’s Day, we bring you this excerpt from Meemaw’s forthcoming book, a tale of modern day lust and intrigue, Hot-Blooded Hook-Ons. OH February/March 2012

O.Henry 49

By Maria Johnson


ynn Moseley knows where the nest is. She pads through a carpet of pine needles to set up her telescope on the opposite shoreline. She’s a biology professor at Guilford College, but she looks more like an elementary school teacher, which is to say, she’s unusually neat, and nicely dressed and well-coiffed for a professor — no offense to academia. Still, when it comes to birds, she’s not afraid to get dirty. Or wet. She’s standing in water now, setting up her sixty-power telescope. If birds had whiskers, she could see them. She scopes for a few minutes then sounds the alarm with an urgent whisper. “Look! There’s one! Left to right! Right straight ahead! Full adult!” Over the water, dark brown wings stretch from here to there, as wide as a man is tall. Glide, flap. Glide, glide, flap. No hurry. Coming in for a landing in the bare gray fingers of trees around the lake. Wings in. Talons out. Touch down. “Oh, so beautiful,” Moseley says, eye to the scope. She shares her view. Indeed, the bird is magnificent. White head so alert. Yellow hooked beak so serious. This is a don’t-mess-with-me bird. And Benjamin Franklin proposed the turkey as the national bird? Get outta here. Moseley gazes at the bald eagle. The bald eagle gazes at Moseley.

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“If we can see him, he definitely can see us,” she says. The eagle-eye thing? It’s no joke. They see about ten times better than we do. Out of curiosity, Moseley swings her scope back in the direction of U.S. 220, toward the nest in a loblolly pine. “Oh my gosh! You won’t believe it! She’s incubating! She’s on the nest! Damn! Don’t quote me on that. Actually, you can.” It’s cause for celebration. The eagles are home and doing well.

. By the time you read this — if all went well — there will be a dark-headed chick, maybe two, in the nest that looks like a three-foot-tall ice cream cone made of sticks. Mama and Papa Baldy will be busy hunting food. The chicks will be busy eating. Moseley will be busy watching. She’s an eagle chick of sorts, too. An ornithologist by profession and passion, she’s the world expert on the bald eagles at Lake Brandt, the only confirmed pair nesting in Guilford County. She remembers when they first arrived in 1994. Fellow birder Hal Strickland, then in his mid-90s, called from the home of his friends Jim and Anne Howard Millican, who lived on Lake Higgins, right next to Lake Brandt. “Lynn, I think we have a bald eagle nesting here,” Strickland said. Moseley rushed right over and sure enough, there was a bald eagle lugging dead branches into a white oak in the Millicans’ backyard. “I could hardly believe it,” says Moseley. “That was a big deal.” It was a big deal because bald eagles never had been documented as nesting The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Photographs By Lynn Donovan/Top middle photograph by Lou Skrabec

Bald is Beautiful

in Guilford County. At the time, there were only eight pairs nesting in the state, most of them along the coast. It was an even bigger deal when a chick hatched at Lake Higgins because it was Mama Baldy’s first breeding season — they could tell her age from her plumage — and a significant percentage of first-time breeders either don’t lay eggs or lay infertile eggs. Moseley was all over television. On the radio. In the papers. Birders and non-birders flocked to the lake, hoping to spy the parents and the eaglet. The Millicans were very graceful about the traffic generated by the event. “They realized how significant it was,” Moseley said. “They were very welcoming.”


Eagles mate for life, and they return to the same nest every year, adding more sticks as they go. But they’re not the greatest engineers, so when the nest at Lake Higgins collapsed under its own weight after six years, the eagles moved next door to Lake Brandt, where they have stayed ever since, moving only in the case of a fallen tree or a collapsed foundation. The loblolly pine is their third home at Lake Brandt. And Mama Baldy is the second lady of the house. The first female died in 1994, perhaps of a virus that swept through the Southeastern eagles in the late 1990s. Later that year, the male showed up with a new mate. Judging from her plumage, she was about three-and-a-half years old, the same age as the first female when she appeared at Lake Higgins. The opportunity for a pun is too good to pass up, and Moseley takes it. “He went for the young chick,” she says. The male, Moseley estimates, is in his mid-20s now. His mate is about 15. Bald eagles can live to be 25 or 30, but because of the possibility of re-mating, bald eagles could nest at Lake Brandt indefinitely. Or not. With every re-mating — many eagles court at Lake Jordan in the late summer and fall — comes the chance of relocation for one mate. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Either way, Moseley is confident that at least one pair of bald eagles will continue to nest in Guilford County, mainly because the area has demonstrated it has the resources to support them. Another positive sign: An immature baldy was spotted around Greensboro in the Christmas Bird Count done by the Piedmont Bird Club. That means young birds are checking out the area. The immature baldy could be the offspring of the Lake Brandt pair. They have had 24 eaglets since 1999, and one of the kids might be hanging around because of a trait called site tenacity, a tendency to return to the birthplace to breed. But as long as the parents are alive, there’s no moving back into the basement. Eagle parents boot their young from the nest in late summer, when they are old enough to fend for themselves, and they’re not allowed back into the parents’ territory. The Lake Brandt eagles claim a territory that covers Lake Higgins and most of Lake Brandt. Moseley figures that Lake Townsend, another lake in north Greensboro, would be the most likely place for another pair of bald eagles to nest. Another possibility is the High Point area. In 2008, a pair of bald eagles nested at High Point’s City Lake, but the eggs never hatched, and no more activity has been reported there. But bald eagles have been spotted around Oak Hollow Lake. The fact that baldy sightings are no longer rare is proof that wildlife protection laws work, Moseley says. “That’s what has helped the eagles recover.” In 1972, the federal government banned DDT, a pesticide that accumulated in top bird predators, nearly wiping out some populations. They took a while to bounce back. In 1980, no bald eagles nested in North Carolina. By 1984, there was one pair on the coast. The next year, a couple of more pairs were confirmed. The next year, more. Now, more than 100 pairs of bald eagles nest in North Carolina. “The graph looks like this,” Moseley says, her finger drawing an imaginary line uphill. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has downgraded the bald eagle from an endangered species to a threatened species. Don’t expect it to be downgraded from breathtaking any time soon. “I haven’t met anyone who has seen a bald eagle in the wild who hasn’t been thrilled,” Moseley says. “To have that opportunity, which was a hairs breadth from being taken away, should make every American stand up and cheer — and celebrate the works of folks in conservation.”

. Papa Baldy spreads his wings and takes off again. He glides over the lake, over hooded mergansers and a great blue heron, over a belted kingfisher and pied-billed grebes. He soars over U.S. 220, where truck gears grind, motors rev and tires sing on asphalt. He flies above it all, tracing a wide arc in the direction of one of his favorite spots, the stocked trout pond at the Lake Higgins marina. It’s a popular fishing hole for school kids, retirees and, as it turns out, bald eagles. Moseley believes the pond — which is supervised by a ranger — might be why the eagles settled here in the first place. A few minutes later, Moseley stands near the pond, waiting. Papa Baldy swoops in, seemingly from nowhere, and lights in the pines beside the pond. He stays a few minutes then takes off again. It’s getting dark. Moseley folds up her tripod and heads for her car. “Cool,” she says, half to herself, as she walks away. The eagles are home and doing well.

. To report bald eagle activity, go to the Piedmont Bird Club website, www.piedmontbirdclub.org. The best times to see the eagles at the Lake Higgins marina trout pond are in the morning and in the late afternoon. During February, marina gates will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. The marina is at 4235 Hamburg Mill Road. OH February/March 2012

O.Henry 51

Jan Hensley’s Dark Miracles of Chance By Lee Zacharias


the longtime television voice for chiropractor Dr. Russell Cobb, Greensboro book collector Jan Hensley was so convincing people used to come up to him on the street and say, “Doc, I’ve got this pain. Can you help me?” Tall, lanky, crowned with a well-tended mane of white hair and dressed in one of his trademark black shirts, he’s a commanding presence. As an actor he’s played both God and the Devil, General Nathanael Greene and Lord Cornwallis, not to mention The Nutcracker’s Mother Ginger. A generation of young Greensboro ballerinas came out from under his stilts and big skirt. So naturally on that April day in 1988, when he ran down a hall after Eudora Welty and asked if he could take one more picture, the grande dame of Southern literature replied, “Of course.” Welty was in Greensboro for UNCG’s East Coast premier of The Trumpet of the Swan, a musical composition by Samuel Jones featuring lyrics from two of her stories. The night before the musical, Brenda Schleunes was directing Two by Eudora at Greensboro College, and she asked Jan, who ran a photography studio on Grove Street, to bring his camera in case Welty appeared. To Schleunes’ delight, Welty attended the entire performance, and afterward Jan shot pictures of her with the cast. To him it was a photo assignment, nothing more, until Schleunes asked Welty to autograph a book. As Welty left, “something just washed over me,” he says. He realized that he had been in the presence of greatness, had met the queen mother of Southern literature and failed to get a picture of her alone. That’s when he took off down the hall. Months later, after watching an interview with Welty on PBS, he wrote to ask if she would sign two pictures, one with the cast, which he intended to present to Schleunes, and the portrait for himself. In a handwritten letter she responded, “with pleasure.” The signed picture still hangs on his office wall. Before Jan met Eudora Welty, his book collecting was confined to Thomas Wolfe, an interest stemming from his days at Mars Hill Junior College and Wake Forest University, where he majored in theater. There, during a professional summer stock production of Look Homeward, Angel, he was cast as Luke, the character based on Wolfe’s brother Fred. In the Navy after college, having volunteered for office work, Jan found himself with time on his hands, and when his mother sent a newspaper article about Fred Wolfe and the Wolfe House in Asheville, he began reading Thomas Wolfe in the

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base library. He wrote to Fred Wolfe for advice on collecting his brother’s books. Fred had also served in the Navy, and they began corresponding. Jan’s parents were not collectors, though they were readers. He and his brother had grown up on the Hardy Boys, and though he disparages the poor bindings and the impermanence of those books as objects, any series begs collecting. He had the gene, and by the time he met Welty he owned a fair Wolfe collection. But when he watched her sign Schleunes’ book, he realized he’d been concentrating on a dead writer with an expensive signature and thought what a wonderful thing it would be to collect living North Carolina writers. His opportunity came in 1990 at the grand opening of the Center for the Creative Arts in Greensboro’s new Cultural Center. Having taught photography there, he was slated to give a demonstration for a photo class at the event, which was bringing acclaimed North Carolina writers Lee Smith, Robert Morgan and Sam Ragan for an author appearance. He purchased their books, then asked his wife Kay to get them signed, ostensibly because his role in the program made asking for signatures tricky but also, he confides, because he felt intimidated. Still, when he finished his demonstration, he went to the author section, where he took several photographs — his first of authors other than Welty — and came away realizing he’d tapped into a rich vein. From then on he never hesitated to ask for a signature or a picture, though his favorite shots occur when he just calls a name and the writer turns, unaware that he’s about to be photographed. Jan says writers are easy to photograph because they’re not intimidated by the flash. He likes photographing jazz musicians for the same reason: They’re used to the camera, and like writers, they’re accommodating. But it’s his photographs of authors, especially North Carolina authors, that are at the heart of his vision. He began collecting more writers’ books, getting signatures whenever he could, soon averaging 400 a year. Eventually he set up a system, a computer file that lists books and other items that need to be signed. Not until he obtains those signatures does he index the materials into the bibliographies he keeps for each of his authors. His family grew concerned that he was overextended. He was running a photography business, acting, teaching, working with the Thomas Wolfe Society, researching, scouting out books, attending readings. He made them a promise: He would not add any new authors, especially Greensboro’s Fred Chappell. Today Fred Chappell is his largest collection. He’s added numerous new authors. And The Art & Soul of Greensboro

though he still carries his camera to readings, the photography studio is long closed. He didn’t set out to photograph readings, but as he began to attend more and more author events, he observed that no one was taking pictures. At first his photographs were intended simply to make a record for posterity. One early portrait was taken at the request of his daughter, a graphic designer, who was working on a book by North Carolina poet Jacki Shelton Green. Though Jan shot an entire roll of film with his medium-format camera, nothing seemed to click. As they were leaving he asked Jacki to wait and retrieved a 35-mm camera with a longer lens from his car. With the camera no longer in her face, he got some great shots. At about the same time, Robert Anthony, curator of the North Carolina Collection at Chapel Hill’s Wilson Library — whom Jan credits along with Fred Chappell as being the first to understand what he was doing — suggested an exhibit. Jan set out to fill the gaps in his collection and began to think about a style. Already he knew that he preferred black and white for its drama, but when he photographed Reynolds Price one evening at the Regulator Bookshop in Durham with the same 150-mm lens he’d used to photograph Jacki Shelton Green, he discovered the look he wanted — up close, candid, even intimate, what he calls “soul pictures,” photographs that capture the writer’s spirit. He cites Robert Capa, the combat photographer whose work was an influence: “If your pictures aren’t any good, it’s because you’re not close enough.” And another photographer he can’t recall taught him that you don’t have to show the whole: “It’s OK to cut the top of someone’s head off if the eyes are what you’re after.” The 2004 exhibit at Wilson Library, “North Carolina Writers: A Photographer’s Odyssey,” launched a season of shows. The same year Tate Street Coffee showed forty of his photographs of Greensboro writers. A 2005 exhibit at UNCG’s Walter Clinton Jackson Library led to the permanent installation of several of his photographs in the halls outside the library’s administrative offices. For the meeting of the North Carolina Writers Conference at Wake Forest in the summer of 2005, he put together “The Face of Poetry,” featuring photographs of North Carolina poets along with their first books. The following year St. Andrews College presented him with the Sam Ragan Award, named for North Carolina’s first Secretary of Cultural Resources and third Poet Laureate, given to recognize outstanding contributions to the Fine Arts of North Carolina over an extended period. A one-day exhibition of his photographs was held in conjunction with the ceremony, where he was introduced by his good friend, Greensboro poet and songwriter Ann Deagon, who wrote a rap song celebrating Jan’s versatility. It was not, she conceded, the usual sort of introduction, but then Jan is not the usual sort of guy. He could have been a bookie or maybe an actor he might have been mistaken for a chiropractor, a communist defector, or a book collector . . . . By bookie, she hastened to explain, she meant book collector, though he has played a lot of roles and not all of them onstage. He’s worked the night shift at a The Art & Soul of Greensboro



...his favorite shots occur when he just calls a name and the writer turns, unaware that he’s about to be photographed. JACKI SHELTON GREEN



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funeral home (where he still remembers one of the embalmers talking to the bodies), been a rest home administrator, a beekeeper and president of the Community Theatre of Greensboro. A genealogist, he’s published thirty or forty chapbooks, some literary, given as souvenirs at the Wolfe Society meetings or North Carolina Writers conferences — others family members distributed privately. When Greensboro planned its first City-Stage Festival in 1980, Jan was the director of operations. He’s photographed for The Hamburger Square Post and captured shots of celebrities for the United Arts Council. Photographing Douglas Fairbanks Jr. as the actor arrived at the Carolina Theatre, Jan struck up a conversation with a man whose father had once met Douglas Fairbanks Sr. The man wanted to say hi, but couldn’t afford a ticket. Jan handed over his tripod. “You’re my new assistant,” he said. They sat in the front row. Like his “assistant” for that evening, Jan has a knack for being in the right place at the right time. He stumbled into acting when he volunteered his considerable skills with sound systems, lighting and woodworking backstage at Mars Hill College, and he landed the role of Dr. Cobb’s television voice because the man originally cast could not say “Cobb Chiropractic Clinic” without stumbling. But as for more exhibits, Jan shakes his head. “An exhibit is a lot of work,” he says, adding that the motto of the North Caroliniana Society, a group of 200 elected members dedicated to the promotion of increased knowledge and appreciation of North Carolina’s heritage, “substance over style,” is a philosophy that was at work in him even before he was inducted. For him the significance of his photographs is in the expression of the author’s spirit, not in the mat or the framing. Besides books and photographs, his collection, which numbers more than 10,000 volumes and “is weighing down the floors of the house,” includes what he calls ephemerals, signed posters, letters, post cards, newspaper clippings, journals. The first time he met William Styron, whom he came to through an essay Styron had written about Thomas Wolfe, Styron signed three armloads of books for him, and when Jan ran out of books he asked Styron to sign his ticket to the event. He had discovered the value of ephemerals soon after he received the letter from Eudora Welty. No sooner had she consented to sign his photographs than he came across a letter from Welty much like his own that was selling for $200. The ephemerals are probably more valuable than the books, he notes, because they’re the sorts of things that writers don’t keep or pass on to libraries. And at first as he began to add them to his collection, he thought he was accumulating something that could be sold, though he soon realized he had no intention of selling. He’s emphatic about that: Ultimately the collection will go to one of his alma maters. He likes to imagine the future. In a world where e-books now outsell all other formats, the hardback book may soon be history. He

envisions a young student in the special collections at Mars Hill or Wake Forest thirty years from now, marveling as she holds one of his signed volumes. “Imagine,” she says. “They used to do this, print books, and then the authors signed them.” For Jan the signature is the message; it speaks across generations and keeps the artifact alive. Never mind “best wishes” or “good to meet you” or any of salutations fans often request. “I rarely get books signed to myself,” he says. “I don’t know why.” It’s the signature itself that matters. He is especially drawn to poetry and novels by poets. Thomas Wolfe was a poet, he points out, referring me to A Stone, A Leaf, A Door, the 1945 volume in which John Barnes gave the lyrical passages of Wolfe’s prose poetic form. Poetry is the reason he was so drawn to Fred Chappell’s work that he couldn’t keep his promise to his family. In high school, where his photography career began with an extracurricular course that met after school taught by Al Rauch, founder of Carolina Camera Center, his favorite poets were Carl Sandburg and Robert Frost. He frequently refers to Frost as he talks about his life — those junctures in the road, that first photo course in high school, meeting Brenda Schleunes and being invited to photograph her Touring Theatre Ensemble, the pictures of Eudora Welty and Reynolds Price, those turning points that have, in Frost’s words, “made all the difference.” Speaking of the Wolfe essay by Styron, Jan says, “One never knows what a small detour might lead to,” adding that it’s “the minute, often fleeting, circumstances of our lives” that sometimes change our directions. Thomas Wolfe called those “dark miracles of chance.” What is striking about Jan’s dark miracles of chance is how they keep bringing the many roads he has traveled together. Now in his 70s, Jan is writing more and more of the family chapbooks, primarily for his daughters, but he also enjoys checking his memory that way. Asked if he has done any creative writing, he hesitates, then admits he once wrote a poem, which he showed to a poet friend for a critique, adding with a laugh that he decided to stick with collecting. “I have never regretted the time and money I have expended on my literary collections,” he explains. “My life has been made richer, more interesting and exciting as I have packed up my car to go to yet another reading, another appointment to meet someone like William Styron.” In that car will be books, a poster, perhaps some other items to be signed, along with a camera loaded with black and white film — black and white not just because it’s more dramatic but also, he points out, it doesn’t fade over the decades the way color does. As a photographer, as a collector, he is committed to making the ephemeral permanent. It’s what writers do. OH

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

So what is the life of a book collector like? It’s


As a photographer, as a collector, he is committed to making the ephemeral permanent.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

not all just poking around dusty bookstores, though there’s pleasure in that. One of Jan’s favorites is The Captain’s Bookshelf in Asheville. “There is something about the feel, the smell that touches my soul. Being in a great old bookshop is like returning to the womb, like motherhood, family all rolled into one.” There’s research, in libraries and on the Internet, correspondence, and of course the busy calendar of events. Once Jan drove from a meeting of The North Carolina Writers Conference on the Outer Banks all the way to Boone to attend a bookstore signing by Robert Morgan, though when he arrived it turned out he was the only person there. (Not so the following year, after Morgan’s novel Gap Creek was featured on Oprah’s Book Club, when more than 750 people turned out for a Morgan signing.) And then there’s the parking problem. He worries about that, as well he might, considering that so many readings take place on college campuses. As much as he has spent on books, it galls him to have to pay a garage. Twice in William Styron, a privately printed chapbook memoir, he reports coming out of a well-attended event to discover that the gate at the expensive parking deck had been raised, and his words sing with the jubilation of a kid playing Monopoly whose property is all mortgaged and bank account down to its last dollar when a lucky roll of the dice takes him past his opponent’s string of hotels to Free Parking. Occasions where he gets numerous things signed — his all time record is 52 items signed in one day by Styron — prove so euphoric he’s scarcely aware of the often lengthy drive home. The many years of collecting have not dulled the excitement he felt decades ago in the Navy, when he was stationed on the aircraft carrier USS Essex and watched the mail plane bearing his Thomas Wolfe books land on the deck. Nor have the years in the darkroom lessened the thrill of watching the image of one of his writers bloom in the magic glow of the safelight. Of course, at the most well attended events he must sometimes outwit the “screeners,” the people who often supervise celebrity author signings, policing just what and how much the writer will sign. If Jan has numerous items, he often goes through the line as many as three times, running back to his car for more and presenting his stack of books all open to the title page so that the author won’t have to hunt, with a modest, politely worded request coupled with a look of determination designed to identify him as a serious collector and get the screener to back off. But always there is the wide network of friends, the writers themselves, the book dealers, scholars, and fellow collectors. In 1991, when he met Ann Deagon at a Reynolds Price reading, she made a point of introducing him to vast numbers of North Carolina writers. Now, she says, “He knows more writers than I do.”

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The Magnolia House Motel, which sat vacant for decades, now stands, fully restored to her former glory thanks to owner Sam Pass (right). Inset: The Magnolia House, circa 1904.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Story of a House

The House That Soul Built The restoration of the Magnolia House Motel provides a powerful link to Greensboro’s vibrant black history By Ashley Wahl • Photographs By Cassie Butler


am Pass stopped cold in his tracks when he saw it: the Magnolia House Motel, “For sale by owner.” Her windows were boarded up, her once glorious porch sagging. For years she had braved the elements alone. Abandoned and left for dead, a dark and hollow shell of a place that served as home away from home for African-American celebrities, singers and travelers in the segregated South. She had once been stunning. A house with a living soul, Pass remembered of the two-story, 5,000-square-foot Victorian lady on the corner of Plott Street and Gorrell, a vibrant link to Greensboro’s prosperous Southside and the community that grew up around Bennett College. At age thirteen, he’d stood on the Magnolia’s front porch and met Joe Tex, the legendary soul singer whose ballads “Skinny Legs and All” and “Hold What You’ve Got” once topped the national R&B charts. But time respects no one, even grand old ladies like the Magnolia. And yet, spiritually speaking, the old gal sang out — speaking to Pass with a voice that stirred his love of neighborhood pride and hometown history, a legacy he was determined not to let pass. In other words, he was flat-out awestruck and determined to save her. “I knew I wanted to preserve this significant structure,” says Pass, who purchased the Magnolia House in 1996 with his wife, Kimberly. “The place was almost in ruins, and my wife almost refused to come inside. But you could feel the soul was very much alive. It just needed to be loved and brought back. I knew that I wanted to do something very special with it. I wanted to restore it to its former glory.” As you read this, the Magnolia House Motel is days away from completion, nearing the end of a long journey of faith and hard work and vision on the part of Sam Pass and a number of like-minded souls who view the house’s rebirth as a symbol of the community’s restoration of pride at large. Restored and unfurnished but far from empty — its memories revived with the completion of each dazzling room — the Magnolia House awaits a new chapter of life at the center of a rapidly revitalizing neighborhood. The stretch of Gorrell Street to the Magnolia’s front porch has become a showcase of thoughtful urban renewal, but Sam Pass’s vision for the Magnolia may once again make it a wellspring of opportunity and inspiration for Greensboro’s African-American youth — and a well-spent night for any weary traveler. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Built in 1889 by traveling salesman D.D. Debutts, the Magnolia House was an archetypal 19th century home in the Old Asheboro neighborhood, a grand dame that rose on a gentle bosom of land halfway between Bennett College and the booming commercial prosperity of Southside. Delve only a wee bit into Gate City history and discover that this area was arguably Greensboro’s first upscale neighborhood, catering to the prosperous merchant class of the city — Irving Park before there ever was one, so to speak. The house was eventually sold to the Plott family, a white family that owned it until Arthur and Louise Gist bought and converted the home into a “motel” in 1949. In a post-war South where expanded commercial opportunities and the emergence of predominantly black rhythm and blues music produced a growing trade by AfricanAmerican travelers, there were few if any commercial inns or hotels that catered their needs. Not surprisingly, the Magnolia House Motel quickly gained a reputation and loyal clientele that stretched from Richmond to Atlanta, basically known as the only decent place for blacks to spend a comfortable night in this part of North Carolina. As often happens in times of transition and change, music of the soul flourishes, and the Magnolia House Motel became an anchor for a generation of emerging black itinerate stars of the so-called Chitlin’ Circuit. Some performed at local clubs like the famous Carlotta Nightclub in East Greensboro, Aycock Auditorium and later the Greensboro Coliseum itself. Others simply sought rest between gigs in other cities. The check-in list at the Magnolia reads like the traveling royalty of rhythm and blues. Ray Charles, Ruth Brown and Little Willie John all registered there. Ditto Dizzie Gillespie and Louie Armstrong. James Brown, the King of Soul, used to play ball with local kids whenever he stayed at the Magnolia. So did the Temptations — not to mention baseball greats Satchel Paige and Jackie Robinson. Sometime in the ’70s, though, as music tastes shifted and the neighborhood declined, the Magnolia’s foot-trade petered out. By then the Gist children were grown, and the Magnolia House Motel fell into ruin. Or so it seemed. When the Passes signed the deed, the house was a wreck: sullied with trash, broken glass and makeshift crack pipes; littered with human waste. “But you could see the character,” Sam says. “You could feel her heart and soul still beating.”

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

And so began visions of a bed-and-breakfast that would not only serve as a home for Sam and his bride, but as a community-based facility for youth development initiatives, specifically providing apprenticeship opportunities in the hospitality industry. A nonprofit was born: the Magnolia House Foundation. After cleanup, neighbors helped Sam strip the house down to its bones. Funds were raised slowly. The city of Greensboro presented a $130,000 community block grant to the cause, and a hefty loan from the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union allowed Pass to rebuild the house from the ground up. In 2000, the house’s crumbling foundation was repaired. The Passes plunged into major reconstruction mode two years ago. Pete Williams, a gifted local cabinetmaker, has been instrumental in the meticulous restoration — everything from the aged pine-beam floors to the spectacularly restored fireplace mantels. “Pete is the twenty-first century Thomas Day,” says Sam, beaming. “The brother is bad. And I mean bad in the way Michael Jackson coined the term.” Williams’ handiwork abounds. Note the decorative crown molding and interior doors. The details of each restored spindle. The sturdy heart-pine floor, done with recycled lumber from the old American Tobacco warehouse in Reidsville, NC. Tobacco Pine Reclaimed Timber offered Sam the planks at a deal so sweet he won’t say. Donated cypress wood from Beard Hardwoods Inc. provided the structure’s new siding. Williams, whose grandma and sister were both named Magnolia, was drawn to the project from the start. “I think it’s important to preserve our history,” he says, adding that the accessibility to heart pine helped to further legitimize the endeavor. “A house like this would have been built with this type of wood. We’re allowing this place to hold onto its value.” Local cabinetmaker Pete Williams (above) played a crucial role in the restoration of the house — his detailed woodwork displayed throughout. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The original structure of the Magnolia House had fourteen rooms — six on the first floor, eight upstairs. Although Pass kept the layout as true to the Gists’ plan as possible, alterations were made, including the addition of a commercial kitchen with granite firewall. He also made an exception for the master bedroom, combining two original rooms to provide his wife a walk-in closet. “She’s my girl,” he says of his second wife. Original tile surrounds the fireplace in the home’s central ballroom, but few other original features remain. Leaded windows and original mantels, for instance, were scavenged shortly after restoration began. Architectural Salvage of Greensboro donated $5,000 of period-appropriate fixtures to the cause, including replacement mantels, and a chandelier for the dining room. Pocket doors — one set original, one replicated by Williams — open up the first floor, including foyer, ballroom, and living and dining rooms. As sunlight streams in the exquisite bay windows, the malted-milk walls seem to blush. Kimberly selected the colors, including the exterior paint: ivory with moss green trim. “It pops,” Sam says. As does the exterior granite. Find four bedrooms upstairs — three for guests, and a master suite with private bath for the Passes. Also find a guest bath with original Roman tub and a sunny dayroom with two walls of faux-pocket windows.

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February/March 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When Cameron Falkener enters, memories flood back. Falkener’s parents had been friends with the Gists. He’d practically grown up at the Magnolia House. He met Ike and Tina Turner there. “At the time, I thought Ike was Tina’s daddy,” says Falkener, noting how much older Ike had looked. “Ike was OK until he started drinking, then he’d want to take things out on Tina.” He met world heavyweight champion Ezzard Charles there. And James Brown, who always matched, says Falkener, “and I mean from head to toe.” But his fondest memories are of the Gists. “Mrs. Gist had to have been one of the best cooks in the Southeast,” he says. “I remember her country ham, her red-eye gravy, and her candied yams. It was a package deal when you came to the Magnolia House. I’m glad to see the old lady fixed up.” Sam Pass and his bride have big shoes to fill, no doubt. But stewardship comes naturally to them. “We’re going to spoil you here,” says Pass. “We’ll shine your shoes, we’ll feed you breakfast, lunch and dinner, and we’ll chauffeur you anywhere you need to go.” From the second floor, Pass and Williams look out of the dayroom windows. On top of the hill, they sit at the highest perch in the neighborhood. The old magnolia tree in the front yard is in plain view. So is Gorrell Street, named for a man who sold the city of Greensboro forty-two acres of land on which downtown Greensboro was constructed. Ever notice that the Jefferson-Pilot building faces south? “Back in the day, this neighborhood was the Irving Park of Greensboro,” says Pass, who received his degree in history from North Carolina A&T State. “This was where our city started. The historic significance of this house is not just relevant to the African-American community. The restoration of this house is significant to all of Greensboro.” OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Cameron Falkener with Annie Lou Gist.

February/March 2012

O.Henry 61


Winter’s Perfect Blooms

Why not skip the roses and bring camellias this year? By Lee Rogers

y grandmother especially loved camellias for arrangements, and she grew lots of them in the piney woods behind her home in Macon, Georgia. My mother, Edith, recollected that the real camellia aficionados in Macon would cut very short stems up next to the blossoms and float them in a bowl. Granno highly disapproved. “Mother thought that was tacky to a degree!” said Edith. She preferred to cut long stems loaded with blossoms and arrange them more naturally. When I asked if that caused her to be ostracized by Macon society, Edith said simply, “Honey, they couldn’t ostracize MOTHER. She would have blasted them! You know how she was...” Often wrong, but never in doubt, was what we used to say. I’m guessing Granno never heard the story about Marie Duplessis, the famous Parisian courtesan who so enchanted the novelist Alexandre Dumas that he wrote “La Dame aux Camellias” in her honor. “She customarily carried large bouquets of camellias, which she

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

placed prominently on the edge of her box at the opera,” says Camellias the Gardener’s Encyclopedia. “For 25 days of the month they were white blooms, and for five they were red. She died of consumption aged just 23, leaving Dumas and many others heartbroken.” So it’s little wonder that this time of year my thoughts turn to camellias, whose blossoms are such a cheerful sight during the dreary days. A workhorse of Southern gardens, camellias are as diverse in shape and size as any other landscape plant. They are evergreen, do not require spraying or pruning, have no insect problems and are drought tolerant. And best of all, they produce fabulous blossoms in every shape and size imaginable and almost all shades of pink, white and red. With careful selection, you could have camellias blooming in your garden from September to May. What’s not to like? I visited Cam Too Nursery, North America’s largest wholesale camellia grower, a wholesaler unfortunately not open to the public. But the owners, Ray and Cindy Watson, took time out to talk with me about their business even though the sasanquas were in full bloom and the place was bustling. Ray had originally tried growing rhododendron but fell in love with Camellia japonicas after attending a flower show. Before he knew it, he had bought property in northern Guilford County and set up his first three greenhouses. When his hobby became an obsession, he had to make a choice between running his four auto parts stores or his camellia nursery. Thankfully, he chose the latter. At one of the nursery trade shows, he met Cindy, who was then working for Behnkes Nursery in Maryland as a retail manager and buyer. Together with their support staff, the Watsons tend to over 3 million plants and 211 cold frames. The camellias you see for sale in nurseries bear tags with their names written in single quotation marks, usually after the letter C. (which stands for the genus Camellia). The name tells exactly which cultivar (or cultivated variety) that camellia is. Any cultivar must have been grown by asexual propagation, not from seed. If you were to try to plant the seeds from your camellia bush, you might be able to grow another camellia plant, but it probably wouldn’t resemble the parent plant. That is why you must clone the plant if you want the exact same qualities of shape, size, flower color etc. Without going into more botanical detail, I can tell you that the history of plant names in itself is a fascinating study. Many names come from the families of the plant breeders or from the gardens where the original plant was discovered. But sometimes this practice can lead to dispute, which seems to be a favorite pastime of those in charge of botanical nomenclature. They also like to rename plants every few years, but don’t get me started... Each plant name has a story behind it, even a somewhat innocuous name like “Greensboro Red”. I read an article by Bill Rhodes Weaver in the 1966 American Camellia Yearbook that gives two different accounts of its origin. The original plant was brought to Greensboro from the South Carolina home of Mrs. Speight Hunter, according to a Mrs. R.D. Douglas, who was in her 80s at the time of the interview. So that means it must have been around in the 1880s. The fact that it was registered at all is in part due to the efforts of noted local horticulturist and writer, Mr. Walter Campbell. In a 1937 column for the Greensboro News he reported that Lindley Nurseries was shipping the Greensboro Red Camellia as far north as New York City. “If the plant adapts itself as well in New York as in the Greensboro area,” wrote Mr. Campbell, “who knows, in future years the other tree growing in Brooklyn might be a Camellia japonica Greensboro Red.” I love that idea. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The second and more interesting version comes from an article in the 1959 Pied-Cam Review (official publication of the Men’s Piedmont Camellia Club). Yes. “Men’s.” Can’t you just picture them drinking bourbon, smoking cigars and discussing the influence of gibberellic acid on bloom size? It seems grossly unfair for women to be excluded, especially considering the fact that lots of men are color blind and cannot appreciate the difference between coral and shell pink. Cindy Watson confirmed that many men landscapers have difficulty picking out plants for customers who request a particular flower color. “They just don’t see the gradations,” she says. “Some of them just see gray.” Perhaps this is why we see many hideous color combinations in public landscaping. But I was assured by one camellia society historian that the club title was a misnomer and that women participated in all the camellia club functions. And in fact, you can see them with their helmet hairdos and pearls in many of the grainy newsletter photos of flower shows. At any rate, local dentist Dr. Neal Sheffield Sr. gives this account of Greensboro’s official flower in his 1959 story. “It appears that this plant had a romantic origin and was an international goodwill ambassador from our Mother country, England. During the late ’90s, a gentleman from England came to this country to gain knowledge of the weaving industry. He spent some time with the Cone Mills. Upon his return to England he wished to show his appreciation for the hospitality he received here, so he sent the Cone Family three small Camellia japonica plants, which until this time had never been seen in Greensboro.” In due time, one of these plants was distributed to a Mr. Sullivan, who was “liberal with his cuttings and scores of rootings were made by his friends and today there are many fine specimen plants growing in Greensboro.” In fact, longtime Greensboro resident and gardener extraordinaire Mary Hart Orr told me that the “Greensboro Red” Camellia was ubiquitous in her Fisher Park neighborhood. “That was the only one I knew of growing up.” So if you really want to surprise your Valentine, bring her a bouquet of camellias or, better yet, plant her a camellia garden. OH Lee Rogers, a landscape designer in Greensboro, last wrote about pecans and persimmons for O.Henry magazine. Contact her at lee@leerogersdesign.com. February/March 2012

O.Henry 63

February/March 2012 February/Marc

Arts Calendar

February 1 - 29

GUILFORD COLLEGE ART EXHIBIT. Esse Quam Videri: Self Portraits by Bahraini Muslims. An exhibition featuring 24 portraits collaboratively created by Muslims living in Bahrain and artist Todd Drake. Guilford College Art Gallery, Hege Library, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-316-2450.

February 1

DUDLEY HIGH SCHOOL HERITAGE DAY. The history of Dudley comes to life in a display of key documents, photos, news articles and artifacts that look back to an earlier era. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. A CONVERSATION WITH DUDLEY TEACHERS. 7 p.m. “Sharing our Pride and Rich Traditions.” Teachers active from 1940 to 1970 recall the days when James B. Dudley High School had the distinction among black secondary schools as one of the best in the state of North Carolina. Free event; donations accepted. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org.

February 2

CENTRAL LIBRARY BOOK DISCUSSION. 7 - 9 p.m. An eclectic group of book lovers meet the first Thursday of each month to discuss monthly selection. Central Library, 219 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-3617. MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 & 10 p.m. Groundhog Day (1993). Starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. Running Time: 101 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

February 3

ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 5:30 - 7:30 p.m. Word Maps presents four artists whose work investigates relationships between printed texts and our contemporary visual environment. Through a variety of mediums, including collage, weaving, printing and drawing, these artists create a system of symbols, icons and readable and undecipherable written forms that may be read as a map to be decoded through imaginative interpretation. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. Key:



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February/March 2012


FIRST FRIDAY. 6 - 9 p.m. Self-guided tour of Downtown shops, art galleries and studios, museums and alternative art venues. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.downtownfridays.com. MUSICAL PERFORMANCE. 6 p.m. Students from James B. Dudley High School showcase their talents through song, dance and spoken word. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 - 10 p.m. Heart Ache. The exploration of the dark hidden side of love and décor. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: 336-420-4810. GALLERY HOP. 7 - 10 p.m. Featuring the works of wood artist Bayley Wharton and fiber artist Sandy Adair. Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, 601 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem. Info: 336-725-1516. ROCK THE RUNWAY. 7 - 10 p.m. Triad Goodwill’s fashion show features second-hand clothes and first rate spring and summer fashion to benefit Triad Goodwill’s mission of helping local residents with barriers to employment receive job training. Empire Room, 203 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Tickets: goodwillrocktherunway.org. Info: www.TriadGoodwill.org. CASINO ROYALE. 7:30 - 11 p.m. First annual Young Leaders Casino Royale event to benefit United Way of Greater Greensboro. Tickets include drink and playing chips. Kress Terrace, 212 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-3786605 or unitedwaygso.org/yl.

ART EXHIBIT OPENING. Trenton Doyle Hancock: We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good. Internationallyacclaimed Texas-based artist is best known for his ongoing narrative and theatrical installations that thrust the viewer literally and figuratively into his personal, idiosyncratic and, at times, heretical weave of words and images. Exhibit on display through May 6. Located in the Bob & Lissa Shelley McDowell Gallery, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

February 4 - 26

DOCUMENTARY FILM. 1 - 5 p.m. (Saturdays & Sundays) Crucibles of Courage. Hosted by President Barack Obama, film chronicles the lives and works of Marian Anderson, Jesse Owens, Thurgood Marshall, Shirley Chisholm and Muhammad Ali — African Americans who overcame prejudices and difficulties to serve as sources of inspiration to all. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org.

February 5

OPUS CONCERT SERIES: Philharmonia of Greensboro Pillow Pops Concert. 2 p.m. “Fun with Animals and Music.” Featuring selections from Carnival of the Animals, Saint-Saens & Peter and the Wolf, Prokofiev. Bur-Mil Park Clubhouse, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Rd., Greensboro. Free admission. Info: 336-373-2549.

February 6

February 4

INTERNATIONAL CIVIL RIGHTS CENTER & MUSEUM GALA & BANQUET. 5 p.m. Today’s Sit-In: Economic Justice. Civil rights activist and author Myrlie Evers-Williams will be recognized as the 2012 recipient of the Alston-Jones International Civil and Human Rights Award. An Unsung Hero award will be presented to local resident Atty. David Dansby. Reception and dinner follow. Tickets: $100. Joseph S. Koury Convention Center, Imperial Ballroom, 3121 High Point Rd., Greensboro. Info: Pam Glass at 336-274-9199 ext. 235 or www.sitinmovement.org. I-AM-FASHION RUNWAY SHOW. 5 - 10 p.m. Fundraising event to jump-start the DeShield and Jenkins non-profit organization which packages individual outfits from donated clothing to give to youth in need. City Arts, Greensboro Cultural Cetner, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-587-3932 or i-am-fashion.org. THREE G FUN RAISER. 6:30 - 11 p.m. A progressive party that starts with cocktails and appetizers at Green Hill Center for NC Art, dinner at the Greensboro Public Library and dancing/ desserts at the Greensboro Children’s Museum. Music by local favorite, the Soul Central Band with Jaybird. Benefits all three organizations/venues. Tickets: $65. Info: three-g.org. Literature/Speakers



CAROLINA THEATRE FILM. 7:30 p.m. Funny Girl (1968). Romantic musical film starring Barbra Streisand and Omar Sharif. Running Time: 151 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. 336-333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

February 6 - March 12

PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES. 6 - 8 p.m. (Mondays) Classes for those with DSLR camera or those with point & shoot digital camera looking for DSLR quality photos. Learn basics of camera functions, metering, using flash, intro to Photoshop and color correcting images. Cost: $75/member; $90/nonmember. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7475 or www.greensboroart.org.

February 7

CAROLINA THEATRE FILM. 7:30 p.m. The Way We Were (1973). Romantic drama co-starring Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford. Running Time: 118 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/ seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

February 8

CAROLINA THEATRE FILM. 7:30 p.m. Yentl (1983).


The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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February/March 2012

O.Henry 65


February 4 - May 6, 2012 Through practices that span painting, drawing, collage, and the performing arts, internationally acclaimed Texas-based artist Trenton Doyle Hancock invites viewers to enter an invented mythological world populated by characters in conflict. The exhibition features new and select works in which the artist’s epic narrative continues to unfold, interweaving a broad array of personal, cultural, and art historical influences. Hancock’s omnivorous narrative enterprise combines divergent sources as varied as comics, horror movies, visionary art, biblical stories, Surrealism, and Abstract Expressionism into a delirious mélange of form, style and material. Artist Lecture + Opening Reception Friday, February 3, 6-9 pm, for tickets, call or visit our museum WAM Jam 2012 Thursday, February 16, 5:30-6:30 pm Noon @ the 'Spoon Tour Tuesday, March 13, 12 noon Spring Community Day: Art & Reading Rock Saturday, April 21, 1-4 pm Curator’s Tour Saturday, April 21, 3:30 pm Lecture: Zip...POW! Comics’ Complicated Relationship with Modern Art Tuesday, April 24, 5:30 pm

Trenton Doyle Hancock: WE DONE ALL WE COULD AND NONE OF IT’S GOOD is curated by David Louis Norr, Chief Curator, the Museum of Contemporary Art Cleveland, and organized by USF Contemporary Art Museum, Institute for Research in Art, Tampa. Project assistance provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council. The exhibition at the Weatherspoon is organized by Xandra Eden, Curator of Exhibitions. Thanks to the Weatherspoon Art Museum Association Membership Committee for sponsoring the opening reception.

Free Parking. Free Admission. Free Thinking. The University of North Carolina at Greensboro • Greensboro, NC 27402 336.334.5770 • http://weatherspoon.uncg.edu Trenton Doyle Hancock, Torpedo Boy and Heiren Hazo, 2010. Courtesy of Gloria and Bruce Martindale, Dallas, TX.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012 Arts Calendar

Romantic musical drama film starring Barbra Streisand. Running Time: 132 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

February 8 - 12

characters, witty dialogue, snappy repartee, and all the laughs and poignant heartbreaks that occur when striving to fulfill a dream. Comedy centers around a group of young aspiring actresses living in a boarding house in NY City during the Great Depression. Weekdays at 7:30 p.m.; Friday & Saturday at 8 p.m.; Sunday at 2 p.m. Taylor Theatre, 406 Tate St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets: 336-334-5789.

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February 11

RINGLING BROS. AND BARNUM & BAILEY PRESENTS DRAGONS. Honoring The Year of the Dragon, circus performers from the farthest reaches of the earth showcase their astounding acts of bravery and astonishing athleticism. Tickets start at $16. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: 800-745-3000. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com or www.Ringling.com

February 9

SynerG ON TAP. 5:30 - 8 p.m. Free, informal social networking event to help connect young professionals within the Greensboro community. Events are held at various restaurants; Dutch treat. Info: 336-379-0821 or synerg.org. SUSTAINABILITY FILM: The Revenge of the Electric Car (2006). 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Film follows the current electric car renaissance through the eyes of four industry pioneers. Directed by Chris Paine. 90 minutes. Free. Info exchange begins at 6 p.m. Museum atrium, Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 & 10 p.m. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004). Romantic science film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories. Running time: 108 minutes. Rated R. Tickets: $6/ adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. 336-3332605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

February 10

DUDLEY PERFORMING ARTS SHOWCASE. 7 - 9:30 p.m. Vocalists and instrumentalists take the audience on a musical journey. Featuring gospel, rhythm and blues, jazz tunes and classical intonations. Cost: $15. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE. 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Presenting Philidor Percussion Group, comprised of NC musicians John R. Beck, Rob Falvo, Wiley Sykes and Peter Zlotnick. Tickets: $18/adults; $15/seniors; $5/students. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Box Office: 336-333-2605.

February 10 - 19

COMMUNITY THEATRE OF GREENSBORO. Driving Miss Daisy. Play covers the 25-year relationship between a wealthy, strong-willed Southern matron and her equally indomitable black chauffeur, Hoke. 8 p.m. (Feb. 10-11; 16-18); 2 p.m. (Feb. 12 & 19). Tickets: $10 - $30. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets: 336-3337470 or www.ctgso.org. UNCG TAYLOR THEATRE. Stage Door. Twenty-seven Key: Art Music/Concerts Dance/Theater Film The Art & Soul of Greensboro

SEA CONFERENCE. 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. The Southern Entrepreneurship in the Arts (SEA) Conference offers guidance for students and emerging and mid-career creative professionals in visual, performing and literary arts. Keynote speakers include contemporary African American artist Beverly McIver and best-selling author and O.Henry editor Jim Dodson. Elliott University Center, UNCG. Info: Bryan Toney at 336-256-8647. CUPCAKE SATURDAY. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Gourmet cupcakes for $1 each. Crawford’s Creations, 230 N. Spring St., Greensboro. Info: 336-688-5094 or www. crawfordscreations.com. STENCILING IN THE HISTORICAL PARK. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. Try your hand at painting a keepsake box with stencils. All ages welcome. Cost: $1/box. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: 336-885-1859. PERSPECTIVES. 3 p.m. “Why We Stepped Up.” A panel of Dudley students who participated in the sit-in protests recall the tumultuous days of the F.W. Woolworth store’s segregated “whites only” lunch counter in downtown Greensboro. Free event; donations accepted. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. BELLY AND THE BEATS. 7:30 - 10 p.m. An exciting display of folkloric to modern day belly dance, bollywood, hip-hop, lyrical, ballet and more alongside a fabulous musical selection from all over the world. Presented by Daliana’s Troupe Bellysima. Tickets: $17.50 (plus $2.50 Theatre Restoration Fee). Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-508-5896 or www. carolinatheatre.com.

February 12

GETTING PUBLISHED. 2 - 4 p.m. Part of the Triad Sisters in Crime Writers Program. Featuring authors Chris Roerden, Joyce and Jim Lavene. Free admission. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St. Info: SkillBuild@aol.com or www.murderwewrite.com. OPUS CONCERT SERIES: Greensboro Big Band. 6 p.m. “Valentine’s Sweet Sounds.” Dinner and dancing. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Mike Day conducts. Bur-Mil Park Clubhouse, 5834 Bur-Mil Club Rd., Greensboro. Cost: $20$25. Info/RSVP: 336-373-3803.

February 12 - March 17

TRIAD STAGE MAINSTAGE. New Music Part I: August Snow & Night Dance. A Family Trilogy by Reynolds Price, directed by Preston Lane. Taw Avery gives her husband, Neal, an ultimatum — he must put his past behind or she will leave him forever. With less than a day to decide, they

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro




Sports February/March 2012

O.Henry 67

February/March 2012 Arts Calendar each make a journey of self-discovery to find the meaning of commitment and sacrifice. Their story continues at the end of WWII. Tickets vary. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets/Showtimes: 336-272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

February 13

CENTER CITY AM BRIEFING. 8 - 9 a.m. A bimonthly breakfast forum bringing together various downtown stakeholders to network, share info, support downtown businesses and provide programs related to downtown’s development. Guilford Merchants Association, 225 Commerce Place, Greensboro. Info: 336-378-6350.

February 14

HOME-SCHOOL CULTURAL ART DAY. 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. Three 45-minute art class units (Visual Arts, Drama & Dance/Music) for three age groups (5-7, 8-10 & 11-13). Theme: Italy. Price: $20/child. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensboroart.org. NOON @ THE SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute tour of new exhibit, Richard Mosse, Falk Visiting Artist. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336- 334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. GREENSBORO SYMPHONY POPS CONCERT. 8 - 10 p.m. Featuring John Pagano, lead vocalist in the legendary Burt Bacharach’s band, with songs by Sinatra, Cole Porter and more. Tickets: $22-$38/ adults; $10/students. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Rd., Greensboro. Tickets/ Info: 336-335-5456 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org.

February 15

ARTIST TALK. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Featuring Word Maps artist Heather Gordon, a Durham artist who is recognized statewide and on a national level. Free and open to the public. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. GREENDRINKS GREENSBORO. 5:30 - 7 p.m. A social networking event that celebrates green living and sustainability. Meetings held every third Wednesday of Key:





the month in alternating locations. Natty Greene’s Pub, 345 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: www.greendrinks.org/ nc/greensboro. COMPLEXIONS CONTEMPORARY BALLET. 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. An institution that embodies its historical moment, a sanctuary where those passionate about dance can celebrate its past while simultaneously building its future. NC A&T State University, Harrison Auditorium, 1601 E. Market St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-3347571 or www.ncat.edu.

February 16

A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM. 6:30 - 9 p.m. Annual Winter Gala Fundraiser including entertainment, music and a few surprises. Learn about local history and meet a few characters from our past. Cost: $25. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Reservations/Info: 336-885-1859.

February 18

February 21 - March 18

TRIAD STAGE MAINSTAGE. New Music Part II: Better Days. A Family Trilogy by Reynolds Price, directed by Preston Lane. Thirty years after the events in Night Dance. Tickets vary. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets/Showtimes: 336-272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

February 22 - 25

CAROLINA FILM & VIDEO FESTIVAL. Independent film festival open to everyone. Program includes animated, narrative, documentary and experimental films ranging from 2 minutes to 2 hours in length, created by student and independent filmmakers from around the globe. Tickets: $6/general admission; $5/ student admission. Elliot University Center Auditorium, UNCG. Info: 336-334-4197 or www.cfvfestival.org.

February 23

COUNTRY MUSIC CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Blood, Sweat & Beers Tour 2012. Nashville Artist Eric Church with special guests Brantley Gilbert and Sonia Leigh. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: 800-745-3000. Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com or www.EricChurch.com.

February 19

SWING-ERA PERFORMANCE. 3 - 5:30 p.m. In the Mood is a 1940’s musical revue that celebrates life in the Swing-Era. Tickets: $32-$36. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-2605 or www. carolinatheatre.com. GREENSBORO SYMPHONY YOUTH ORCHESTRA. 4 p.m. Free and open to the public. Greensboro College, Odell Auditorium, 815 W. Market St., Greensboro. Info: 336-335-5456 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org.

February 20

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Open mic session celebrating rhythm and rhyme. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St. Info: 336- 373-2471.

February 20 - April 13

GUILFORD COLLEGE ART EXHIBIT. I Have No Right to Remain Silent: The Human Rights Legacy of Rabbi Marshall T. Meyer. A commemoration of the social activism and human rights work of Rabbi Marshall Meyer, and an exploration of the making of an activist. Founders Hall Commons, Guilford College, Greensboro. Info: 336-316-2450. Literature/Speakers



GREENSBORO SYMPHONY MASTERWORKS CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. Program: Bach’s Orchestral Suite in B minor for flute and strings, Handel’s Watermusic and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for violin, featuring Dmitry Sitkovetsky. Tickets: $22-$38/adults; $5/students. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets/Info: 336-335-5456 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org. MONTI STORYSLAM. 8 - 10 p.m. Open mic for anyone with a story to tell. Eight volunteers from the audience take stage to share five-minute narratives on the show’s theme. Stories are scored by a panel of judges. Tickets: $12/general admission; $10/members. Triad Stage UpStage Cabaret, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-272-0160 or www.themonti.org.

February 24

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY CHAMBER. 7:30 p.m. Featuring Dmitry Sitkovetsky, violin. Program: Prokofiev’s Quintet op. 39 and Dvorak’s Serenade for winds in D minor op. 44. Tickets: $30/adults; $5/


Your financial goals. Our global resources. John M. Aderholdt Vice President–Investments 300 Northline Avenue, Suite 100 Greensboro, NC 27408-7600 336-834-6952 800-821-0355 john.aderholdt@ubs.com ubs.com/fa/johnaderholdt UBS Financial Services Inc. is a subsidiary of UBS AG. ©2011 UBS Financial Services Inc. All rights reserved. Member SIPC. 31.11_Ad_4.25x2.5_AD1214_AdeJ_AMCredo

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12/14/11 11:09 AM

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

students. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets/Info: 336-335-5456 x 224 or www. greensborosymphony.org. SKETCH COMEDY. 8 p.m. “Something to Say” features fully new material. Prepare to laugh. The Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-2699 or www. idiotboxers.com.

February 25

BLACK HERITAGE STAMPS RELEASED. 11:30 a.m. Carl A. Walton, Communications Coordinator, U.S. Postal Service-Greensboro district introduces new stamps released as part of the Black Heritage series. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www. sitinmovement.org. GUILFORD HORTICULTURAL SYMPOSIUM. 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Featuring authors C.Colston Burrell, Brent Heath, Catriona Tudor and Dr. Nicky Hughes of High Point University. Topics include “Finishing Touches”, “Thinking Outside the Boxwood”, “Bulbs for Southern Gardeners” and “Red Pigment Patterns in Leaves.” Tickets: $45 (includes lunch). Emerald Center, 2000 E. Wendover Ave., Greensboro. Info/RSVP: 336-643-5555. ART EXHIBIT OPENING. 1 - 5 p.m. Telling Tales: Narratives from the 1930s. Exhibit on display through May 13. Key:



The Art & Soul of Greensboro



February/March 2012 Arts Calendar

Located in the Gregory D. Ivy Gallery & The Weatherspoon Guild Gallery. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. PERSPECTIVES. 3 p.m. “Early Black Entrepreneurs in Greensboro.” Local entrepreneurs discuss the constraints and opportunities they faced during an era that defined race and place in virtually every facet of life. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. GREENSBORO SYMPHONY CHAMBER. 8 p.m. Program: Bach’s Orchestral Suite in B minor for flute and strings, Handel’s Watermusic and Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons for violin, featuring Dmitry Sitkovetsky. Tickets: $22-$38/ adults; $5/students. Dana Auditorium, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336335-5456 x 224 or www.greensborosymphony.org.

February 25 - March 10

TRIAD JEWISH FILM FESTIVAL. The Greensboro Jewish Federation presents six films that enlighten, educate and entertain, including The Concert, Nicky’s Family, Eli and Ben, Knowledge is the Beginning, Salsa Tel Aviv and La Rafle. Regal Grande Stadium 16, Friendly Center, Greensboro. Tickets/Info: www.mytjff.com.

February 26

CENTRAL CAROLINA CAKE CLUB MEETING. 3 - 5 p.m. A growing group of area dessert lovers who meet monthly to share ideas, teach through demonstrations and share talents through community projects. Greensboro Women’s Club, 223 N. Edgeworth St., Greensboro. Info: 336-688-5094. Literature/Speakers



February 27

KICKOFF TO KINDERGARTEN: Parent day. 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. & 5 - 7 p.m. Representatives from Guilford County Schools and other community pre-K resources will be available to answer questions and give you all the information you need to register and prepare your child for pre-school or Kindergarten. Free event. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: 336-885-1859. SALUTE TO HEROES. 6:15 - 9 p.m. Join the American Red Cross in celebrating local military heroes, public service heroes, citizen heroes and humanitarians. Featuring keynote speaker Paul Lessard, President of High Point Community Foundation. UNCG Jazz Ensemble will provide entertainment. Tickets: $8/adults; $5/seniors, students, children, military. WWII Veterans are free. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

February 29

ARTIST TALK. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Featuring Vicki Essig, whose intimate, ephemeral works are the size of a small book page. Free and open to the public. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-3337460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

March 1

TRIAD BEST OF BROADWAY SERIES. Cats. 7:30 p.m. What began as a musical about cats after Andrew Lloyd Webber picked up a book of poems in an airport bookshop has become one of the longest running shows in Broadway’s history. Tickets: $45, $50, $55. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum. Tickets/Info: 888-418-2929 or www.TriadBestofBroadway.com.


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February/March 2012 Arts Calendar March 2

FIRST FRIDAY. 6 - 9 p.m. Self-guided tour of Downtown shops, art galleries and studios, museums and alternative art venues. Downtown Greensboro. Info: www.downtownfridays.com. ART EXHIBIT OPENING RECEPTION. 6 - 10 p.m. Reincarnated. A collection of artwork and home décor focused on rebirth, rebuilding, and repetition. The Studio & Gallery, 109 N. Cedar St. #3, Greensboro. Info: 336-420-4810.

House. The story of UNCG Professor and Associate Dean Bob Hansen and the unique challenges and rewards of saving a dilapidated 18th-century farmhouse in Bethania, NC. Free admission. Hansen and the filmmakers, Deni and Will McIntryre, will be present for a post-screening discussion of the film. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5360. AMERICAN DANCE THEATER. 8 - 10 pm. Ailey II. Universally renowned for merging the spirit and energy of the country’s best young dance talent with the passion and creative vision of today’s most outstanding emerging choreographers. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

March 3

OPUS CONCERT SERIES: Greensboro Concert Band. 7:30 p.m. Evan Feldman conducts. Free admission. Dana Auditorium, Guilford College, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-2549.

March 7

DANCE PROJECT PERFORMANCE. 7 p.m. The Van Dyke Dance Group performs a short concert of dances designed for the gallery space. Green Hill Center for NC Art, Cultural Arts Center, Downtown Greensboro. Free Admission. Info: www.ncdancefestival.org. GALLERY HOP. 7 - 10 p.m. New Member’s Exhibit: Various works by the 2012 new members. Piedmont Craftsmen Gallery, 601 N. Trade St., Winston-Salem. Info: 336-725-1516. DOCUMENTARY FILM. 8 - 9:30 p.m. Saving the Hansen Key:



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February/March 2012


ARTIST TALK. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Featuring Merrill Shatzman, who utilizes imagery from Islamic, Japanese and Chinese calligraphy as a point of departure and reinterprets letterforms utilizing wood cut and digital processes. Free and open to the public. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. EXPERIENCE HENDRIX. 8 p.m. A tribute to one of the greatest guitarists in musical history. Tickets: $39, $55, $75. War Memorial Auditorium, Greensboro Coliseum Complex. Tickets/Info: www.greensborocoliseum.com.

March 8

SynerG ON TAP. 5:30 - 8 p.m. Free, informal social networking event to help connect young professionals within the Literature/Speakers



Greensboro community. Events are held at various restaurants; Dutch treat. Info: 336-379-0821 or synerg.org. MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. The Neverending Story (1984). German-American epic fantasy film based on the novel by Michael Ende. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

March 9

PEKING ACROBATS. 8 - 10 p.m. Experience the excitement and festive pageantry of a Chinese Carnival through the magnificent artistry of these gravity-defying acrobats and accompanying live musicians. Tickets: $25-$30. High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Tickets/Info: 336-887-3001 or www.highpointtheatre.com.

March 10

CUPCAKE SATURDAY. 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. Gourmet cupcakes for $1 each. Crawford’s Creations, 230 N. Spring St., Greensboro. Info: 336-688-5094 or www.crawfordscreations.com. OPUS CONCERT SERIES: Choral Society of Greensboro. 7:30 p.m. Jon Brotherton conducts. Featuring Fostiana, Randall Thompson & Old American Songs, Copland. Free admission. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-2549.

March 11

HOW TO MARKET YOUR BOOK USING TODAY’S TECHNOLOGY. 2 - 4 p.m. Part of the Triad Sisters in Crime Writers Program. Optional: bring your laptop. Free admission. High Point Public Library, 901 N. Main St. Info: SkillBuild@aol.com or www.murderwewrite.com.

March 13



The Art & Soul of Greensboro

p.m. Three 45-minute art class units (Visual Arts, Drama & Dance/Music) for three age groups (5-7, 8-10 & 11-13). Theme: Ireland. Price: $20/child. Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: www.greensboroart.org. NOON @ THE SPOON. 12 p.m. A 20-minute tour of new exhibit, Trenton Doyle Hancock, We Done All We Could and None of It’s Good. Free. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu. CAROLINA THEATRE FILM. 7:30 p.m. The Graduate (1967). Comedy-drama starring Dustin Hoffman, Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross. Running time: 106 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-3332605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

March 13 - 18

UNCG TAYLOR THEATRE. Stuart Little. An adaptation of the classic children’s story of a courageous and spunky little mouse. 9:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. (Tues. - Fri); 2 - 4 p.m. (Sat. & Sun.). Taylor Theatre, 406 Tate St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-334-4601 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

March 14

LITERARY OPEN MIC. 6 - 8 p.m. The Writers Group of the Triad, in partnership with Melanie Arrowood Wilcox, presents literary open mic night during Green Hill’s Word Map exhibit. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org.

March 15

GALLERY TOUR. 12:30 - 1:30 p.m. Green Hill Center curator Edie Carpenter gives a personal tour of the current exhibit, Word Maps. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. MIXED TAPE SERIES. 7:30 p.m. The Dark Crystal (1982). British-American fantasy film directed by Jim Henson and Frank Oz. Running time: 93 minutes. Tickets: $6/adults; $4/seniors, students, military. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336-333-2605 or www.carolinatheatre.com.

March 15 - 31

TRIAD STAGE UPSTAGE CABARET. Tick, Tick… BOOM! The true tale of a man at a crossroads from the creator of Rent. Tickets vary. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets/Showtimes: 336-272-0160 or www.triadstage.org.

March 16 - April 1

COMMUNITY THEATRE OF GREENSBORO. Avenue Q. A cast of 11 puppets and three human characters interacting in Sesame-Street-meets-South-Park style. 8 p.m. (March 16-17; 22-24; 29-31); 2 p.m. (March 18, 25 & April 1). Tickets: $10 - $30. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/Tickets: 336333-7470 or www. ctgso.org.

March 17 - 18

February/March 2012 Arts Calendar

21ST ANNIVERSARY OF THE BATTLE OF GUILFORD COURTHOUSE. 8:30 a.m. - 5 p.m. Interpretive programs demonstrating military life, colonial life-ways, 18th century dancing, musical performances, firearms demonstrations and guided walks of the battlefield, plus a re-enactment at 2 p.m. in Country Park. Guilford Courthouse National Military Park, 2332 New Garden Rd., Greensboro. Info: 336-288-1776 or www.nps.gov/guco.

March 19

MONDAY NIGHT POETRY. 7 p.m. Open mic session celebrating rhythm and rhyme. Free and open to the public. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St. Info: 336-373-2471.

March 19 - May 4

GUILFORD COLLEGE ART EXHIBIT. Onward: The Creative Legacy of David Newton. A memorial exhibition featuring paintings, drawings, prints and sculptures by David Newton. Guilford College Art Gallery, Hege Library, 5800 W. Friendly Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-316-2450.

March 21

ARTIST TALK. 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Featuring Paul Rousso, whose large multi-media wall works initially read as painterly abstractions yet are made of hundreds of collaged pages from different corpuses. Free and open to the public. Green Hill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: 336333-7460 or www.greenhillcenter.org. GREENDRINKS GREENSBORO. 5:30 - 7 p.m. A social networking event that celebrates green living and sustainability. Meetings held every third Wednesday of the month in alternating locations. Info: www.greendrinks.org/nc/greensboro.

March 22

SUSTAINABILITY SHORT FILM COMPETITION. 6:30 - 8:30 p.m. Films must be 10 minutes or less and address the theme of environmental sustainability. Filmmakers must be present for screening and discussion. Awards provided by the UNCG Sustainability Committee. Contact Sarah Dorsey at sbdorsey@uncg.edu for complete rules. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: 336-334-5770 or weatherspoon.uncg.edu.

March 23

MUSIC FOR A GREAT SPACE. 7:30 - 9:30 p.m. Presenting the Greensboro Youth Chorus. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Ann Doyle. Tickets: $18/adults; $15/ seniors; $5/students. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Box Office: 336-333-2605.

March 24

JOHN MAYALL & THE BLUESBREAKERS. 8 - 10 p.m. In the shadow of WWII, a skinny 13-year-old English lad listened to his father’s extensive jazz collection. Now, in his late seventies, John remains true to the timeless music that first inspired him. Tickets: $25-$40. High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Tickets/Info: 336-887-3001 or www.highpointtheatre.com. GREENSBORO BALLET SPRING GALA. 8 p.m. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: 336337-3500 or greensboroballet.org.

March 25

ARTS & CRAFTS AT THE CURB MARKET. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Scores of vendors with beautiful and useful crafts. Greensboro Farmer Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-2957. HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS. 2 - 7 p.m. The world’s most famous and entertaining basketball team. Tickets: $15. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-7401 or www.greensborocoliseum.com. CENTRAL CAROLINA CAKE CLUB MEETING. 3 - 5 p.m. A growing group of area dessert lovers who meet monthly to share ideas, teach through demonstrations and share talents through community projects. Greensboro Women’s Club, 223 N. Edgeworth St., Greensboro. Info: 336-688-5094.

March 27

THE BRYAN SERIES. 7:30 - 9 p.m. Presenting Ken Burns, documentary filmmaker who has captured the imaginations of television viewers with films that include The Civil War and Baseball, won seven Emmy Awards and has twice been nominated for Academy Awards. War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-316-2852 or www.guilford.edu/bryanseries.

March 27 - April 1

BROWN BUILDING THEATER. Man and Superman. Written in 1903 by George Bernard Shaw, the plot centers on John Tanner, a confirmed bachelor despite the pursuits of Ann Whitefield and her persistent efforts to make him marry. Weekdays at 7:30 - 11 p.m.; Friday & Saturdas at 8 11:30 p.m.; Sunday at 2 - 5:30 p.m. Brown Building Theater, 402 Tate St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-334-4601 or performingarts.uncg.edu.

March 29

RESTORATION RUNWAY: Fashion show and silent auction. 6 - 9 p.m. Timeless: Celebrating the Beauty of Every Woman, No Matter Age or Era. Proceeds benefit Restoration Place Ministries. Tickets: $50. Greensboro Country Club, 5121 Hedrick Drive. Info: 336-542-2060 or www.restorationplaceministries.org.

March 29 - 30

OPERA. 7:30 p.m. Don Giovanni by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, directed by David Holley. Presented by the UNCG School of Music, Theatre and Dance. Tickets: $23/adults; $18/students & seniors; $15/UNCG alumni and groups of 10+; $10/UNCG students. Aycock Auditorium, 408 Tate St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: 336-334-4849 or boxoffice.uncg.edu.

March 30 - 31

GREENSBORO SYMPHONY GUILD SUPER SALE. Preview party will be held Fri., 6 - 8:30 p.m. Admission: $10. Super sale will be held Sat., 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Free admission. Location: TBA. Info: www.gsoguild.org.

March 31

OPUS CONCERT SERIES: Piedmont Youth Jazz Orchestra. 7:30 p.m. Chris Hankins conducts. Historical Museum Auditorium, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Free admission. Info: 336-373-2549.

Weekly Happenings Tuesdays LIVE MUSIC AT LUCKY 32 SOUTHERN KITCHEN. 6:30 - 9:30 p.m. Skillet Fried Chicken & Songs From a Southern Kitchen. Featuring Chef Jay’s skillet fried chicken, select beverage specials and live music by Laurelyn Dossett and friends. Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen, 1421 Westover Terrace. Info: 336-370-0707.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

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

Arts Calendar Wednesdays

FITNESS BY THE FICTION. 6 - 7 p.m. Free weekly fitness class. Activities range from Tai Chi to Line Dancing. Located in the reading area on the first floor. Greensboro Central Library, 219 N. Church St. Info: 336-373-4103. WEDNESDAY NIGHT BLUES JAM. 8 - 11 p.m. Local Blues musicians perform at the Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: 336-373-1123. MUSSLES, WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Mussles for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic music by AM rodeo. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: 336-379-0699.

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.); 8 p.m. (Sat.). Actors create scenes onthe-spot and build upon the ideas of others. Performances based on suggestions given by the audience; each show is one-of-a-kind. Saturday 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. Tickets: $10/$7(students). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/RSVP: 336-274-BOXX. NIGHTMARES AROUND ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute historical candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Open Year-Round. Cost: $15/ adults; $13/children 8-12. Children 7 and under are free. Group rates and online discounts available. Info: www.carolinahistoryandhaunts.com/information.



WEEKLY WINE TASTING. 5-7 p.m. New flights featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.


FINE WINE FRIDAYS. All wines by the glass are $5. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505.

Fridays & Saturdays


WEEKEND WINE & MUSIC. 7 - 10 p.m. Live music at WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505. Key: Art Music/Concerts Fun History Sports

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CHILDREN’S STORY HOUR. 11 a.m. Dynamic leaders in our community conduct story hour. Make-and-take arts activities follow. All books are written for children, especially ages 5-12. International Civil Rights Center & Museum, 134 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: 336-274-9199 or www.sitinmovement.org. WEEKLY WINE TASTINGS. 4 - 6 p.m. New flights featured each week. WineStyles, 3326 W. Friendly Ave., Suite 141, Greensboro. Info: 336-299-4505. To add an event, e-mail us at ohcal@ohenrymag. com by March 1 for the April/May issue.




The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012

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Piedmont Swing Dance Society at The International Civil Rights Center & Museum Friday, January 6th, 2011 Jeanne Dulin, Takia Smith and Michelle Farrell

Photographs by Sam Froelich

Katie Brown and Eric Tatsapaugh

Justin Maldonado, Caroline McCormick

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February/March 2012

Sherrice Alston and Bill Taylor

Anita Isley

Maxine Nelson and Alicia Kaplan

Karen Tatsapaugh, Alan Morris, Adam Speen and Abigail Browning

Elaine & Rodney Harrigan and Katie Brown

Naomi & Patrick Ballen

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Piedmont Winterfest Disco Night at Festival Park Outdoor Ice Skating Rink January 7th, 2011 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Tiffany Allen and Darleans Allen

Emily Vasquez and Jade Farrow

Nicholas Woolery and Rachel Woolery

Madison Hutton, Hunter Sutton, Christian Sutton and Morgan Sutton Shane Mason and Brianna Ingram Sophia Medina and Hollywood Marshburn

Rachel James and Wes Sayre

The Woolery’s

Reid Weeks and Brooke Ellington

Jen French, Heidi Rosasco and Kacey Teer

Olivia Mason, Laura Pulitzer, Hannah Montan, Sydney Braud and Rebecca Ambler

Relax, Enjoy, Unwind.

With a deep variety of wines and a large selection of microbrews, 1618 wine lounge is the perfect place to spend a relaxing evening with friends. We’re located in the Irving Park Plaza at 1724 Battleground Ave., Suite 105 ph. 336.285.9410

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

February/March 2012 OhenryAds.indd 2

O.Henry 75

1/11/12 9:15:15 AM

The Great Foot and Mouth Love Challenge

Stinky Bliss



he question I get most often is, “Where do your ideas come from?” The answer is everywhere. From day-to-day experiences. From things I read. From the loons I work with. Such was the case when David “Bacon Boy” Bailey and Jim “Have I Told You My Hootchy Kootchy Story?” Dodson — both connoisseurs of food, drink and all manner of sensory cheap thrills — were talking about a new shop that proclaims itself with a large, um, cigar on Battleground Avenue. The conversation ended with something like: “Let’s send Maria over there and have her smoke a cigar. Har-har-har.” The presumption, which I deduced from the har-har-har part, was that I, being of the female persuasion, would turn green and maybe even toss my cookies upon completion of such a manly pursuit. Wouldn’t that be fun? Oh, yes, but not nearly as much fun as getting Bailey — the bearded, Jeepdriving, beer-drinking Bailey — to have a baby. Unfortunately, I couldn’t figure out how to arrange that, so I suggested a pedicure, which, granted, is more enjoyable than childbirth but still high on the har-har-har quotient, especially if you know Bailey. A pact was struck. I would puff a stogie, and Bailey would get his tootsies painted, all in honor of Valentine’s Day. It would be an exercise in understanding the opposite sex, a glimpse into how the other half lives, and, most important, a chance to get pictures that we could use to taunt each other for years. And that’s how I found myself walking into Havana Phil’s, where I was greeted by none other than Philip “Havana Phil” Segal III, who explained that he does not sell Cuban cigars because that would be illegal, but the U.S. trade embargo does not prohibit foreigners from bringing Cuban cigars into this country and giving them, as gifts, to people like Havana Phil. Okey dokey, federales? Back to Havana Phil. He’s a friendly, boisterous guy with a raspy, booming voice. If he didn’t smoke three cigars a day — which he does — you’d pass out from shock because he’s the kind of guy who almost requires a cigar. I mean, he’s Havana Phil. But, thank God for small favors, Havana Phil doesn’t walk around chewing a stub, dusting the place with ash. His store is pristine. Cleaner than my house, which, come to think of it, isn’t saying much, but I still was kind of shocked, considering Havana Phil’s is a cigar shop.

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Sure, the air was tinged with the smell of cigars, but it wasn’t smoky at all, and the glass cabinets holding the humidors, lighters, cutters, ashtrays and other cigar doohickeys were sparkling. Shocker No. 1: Cigar stores are not (necessarily) dirty. Havana Phil spent a few minutes telling me his story. He used to be in the chemical business. His family owned a company here in Greensboro. Then they sold it. Then the new owners sold it again. Then Havana Phil was out of a job. Then he worked in real estate investment. Then 2008 happened. Then Havana Phil said — and here I paraphrase — to heck with this noise, I’m following my stinky bliss. And boom, a large, um, cigar appeared on Battleground Avenue. It was last April when Havana Phil opened his store, complete with a custom-made, walk-in humidor, which stays at 70 percent relative humidity and 70 degrees or cooler, the idea being that you don’t want the tobacco drying out, but you don’t want it growing penicillin either. Havana Phil has stocked this room with thousands — literally thousands — of smokes, most of them in fancy boxes with the lids flipped open. I mean, it’s wallto-wall, floor-to-ceiling cigars in there. Havana Phil explained how they are made — with filler in the middle, then a binder, then a wrapper. All parts are made of tobacco leaves, often of different varieties, which add to the complexity of a good cigar. And here’s Shocker No. 2: Cuban cigars are not (necessarily) the best because they’re made from only Cuban tobaccos, which limits the range of flavors, says Havana Phil who, as we have documented, smokes only Cuban gifts. Most of the cigars in his shop come from Nicaragua, Honduras and the Dominican Republic. Then Havana Phil explained about size. It seems that cigars are measured in length and diameter, with the latter known as ring size. (Note to men: While we’re talking about Valentine’s Day, understand that your woman does not care nearly as much about your ring size as she does about hers.) So, if your cigar is eight-by-fifty, that means it’s eight inches long and has a ring size of fifty — which means fifty times one-sixty-fourth of an inch, or nearly one inch around. If you’re not sure of your cigar size, you can go online and find a template that will let you gauge the length, diameter and shape of your cigar. I am not kidding. Havana Phil asked if I’d ever smoked a cigar, and I said, well, I’d puffed one here and there, at parties, and my brother had gone through a Tiparillo phase as a teenager, and I probably tried one of those. Havana Phil asked if I wanted The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Sometimes a good cigar is, um, just a great smoke

to try one of the sweet cigars that are popular with women. Bailey had told me to stay away from sweet cigars, so I said, heck no, bring on the real ’baccy, which I almost immediately regretted, seeing as how nothing in Havana Phil’s shop had a plastic filter like a Tiparillo. For my smoking pleasure, Havana Phil chose a five-by-fifty Carlos Toraño Master, which he classified as a nice, rather mild cigar. Then, he invited me into the Robusto Room, which I admit, I’d been wondering about because it’s advertised on the large, um, cigar out front. It sounds so exotic and mysterious, especially if you roll the “r’s.” RrrrrroBOOSTO RrrrrrOOM. Who was in the RrrroBOOSTO RrrrrOOM? George Burns? Michael Jordan? Fidel Castro? The Most Interesting Man in the World from the Dos Equis commercials? “I don’t always smoke see-gars, but when I do, I smoke in the RrrrroBOOSTOO RrrrOOM.” I could not wait. Well, as with most things in my life, the RrrrroBOOSTO RrrrOOM was not exactly what I had envisioned, but it was still pretty good. Two HDTVs. Leather furniture. Cappuccinoespresso machine. Yogurtcovered pretzels. You know, man stuff. On one wall, there were cherry lockers with names of the duespaying members of the RrrrroBOOSTOsto RrrrrOOM. Congressman Howard Coble has a cigar locker. So do Sly Stallone and Charlie Sheen, which told me that a) Havana Phil has a sense of humor, and b) if that crazy mo-fo Sheen walked in, I was outta there. Havana Phil explained the basics of cigar smoking. The main thing is, don’t inhale. Really. You puff the cigar and breathe the smoke through your nose. Also, don’t let your cigar go out. If you do, re-light immediately or not at all. Another thing: Don’t flick your ash. That makes a cigar burn hotter and taste harsher. Gently touch the ash to an ashtray and roll the cigar. Take your time. “You basically treat a cigar like a woman,” Havana Phil said. “You hold it softly, and you let it burn slowly, and when you’re done, you don’t crush it. You let it lie there and rest.” OK, kudos to Havana Phil, but honestly, I wasn’t too happy to hear him say that, mainly because it messed up the metaphor I had going. Either way, I think we’ve put the lie to that quote often attributed to Freud: “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

Well, Havana Phil offered me a light, and we smoked. He said I seemed a little nervous, which was true because the photographer, who also was smoking a fat one, was right there, and if I accidentally inhaled and coughed my guts out, it would be digitally preserved and Bailey would never let me forget it. Finally, I relaxed. Maybe it was because Sinatra was playing on the sound system. Or the fact that Havana Phil is easy to talk to. We talked about his favorite cigars. About mutual acquaintances. About cameras, like the one trained on me. After a while, he said, “Nice ash.” “Excuse me?” I said. I mean, Havana Phil is a nice guy, but we hadn’t known each other that long. And he said, “The ash on your cigar. It’s getting long. Nice ash.” Oh, that. Well. Thanks, Phil. Back atcha, baby. It was strange. My logical mind knew that I was taking in more nicotine than I had during all of my 20s, but I was feeling mellow. Bailey had warned me about the cigar trance. Havana Phil said I was in the middle third of the cigar, which some people call the sweet spot. And it was true. The initial harshness was gone. Sinatra was singing, “New York, New York.” The exhaust fans in the Robusto Room were working well. Life was good. I felt the urge to — I don’t know — talk high finance or something. My cell phone chirped with a text. It was my son, who had stayed after school for a make-up test. He was ready to be picked up. Just a minute, baby, mommy’s in the sweet spot. Finally, I snapped out of it, thanked Havana Phil, walked out with my stub, nodded at the cigar store Indian in front of the store, and got in my car. Did anyone else hear that soft buzzing? No matter. I was satisfied. I had not turned green. I had not urped my lunch. And even though I reeked of a Carlos Toraño, I, like Bill Clinton, could say that I had not inhaled. So, there I was in my car, trying to figure out what to do with my stub because my ashtrays are full of change, when plop, the ash dropped. On my pants. My new black pants. Reverie gone. Do you know how fine cigar ash is? Really fine. I can hear Bailey and Dodson laughing now. Yeah, I love you guys, too. In fact, this Valentine’s Day, I’ll be sending you a love note on the back of a dry cleaner’s receipt. Har-har-har, my ash. OH

“You basically treat a cigar like a woman,” Havana Phil said. “You hold it softly, and you let it burn slowly, and when you’re done, you don’t crush it. You let it lie there and rest.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 77

The Great Foot and Mouth Love Challenge

My Happy Feet By David C. Bailey


hen I dared Maria Johnson to smoke a stogie, she counter-dared me to get a pedicure, which sounded OK at the time. But the more I thought about actually getting a pedicure, the less I liked the idea. You see, I don’t like to be touched by other people — except for my wife (and potentially a few other females — Keira Knightley comes to mind). It’s my mom’s fault. She would look at me sideways, swivel around with her embroidered handkerchief in one hand, grab me with the other, and after wetting the corner of her hankie with, ewwww, spit, clean the ice cream or bicycle grease or just dirt off my face as I squirmed and flailed beneath her farm girl’s iron grip. Or blame my dad’s family, who never touched one another except for the occasional tit-free, triangular hug that my South Carolina wife, who comes from a full-frontal hugging family, finds so cold. Blame a childhood punctuated by a series of surgeries, during which time I had instruments inserted where I didn’t want them and needles poked into my arms when I was lucky and elsewhere when I wasn’t. At any rate, when someone grips my shoulder consolingly or gives me a great big bear hug, I’m always subconsciously on the lookout for hidden hypodermics. So of course I dreaded having my feet touched by a complete stranger! There, I’m glad we’ve gotten that out of the way. By the way, my instructions were to make this a humorous column, whereas my stock in trade is writing about food and beer and business. Maria and editor Jim Dodson thought it would be simply hilarious because of my so-called manly image — a guy who drives a Jeep, uses a shotgun to knock poor defenseless doves out of the sky, fishes, hikes, smokes cigars and turns the air blue whenever he smashes his finger with a hammer. Whatever. It seems to me it’s silly enough for any man to want to immerse his feet in what looks like one of those Parisian bidets. And feet are, in my humble opinion, funny in their own right. They’re oddly shaped, like the roots of a vegetable from Middle Earth. What’s more, they sometimes smell funky, and as age overtakes some of us, they develop new geography — misshapen toenails, calluses, warts, bunions and corns. Toes are a scream, with some of them going to market and some of them going to town and some of them having roast beef and some going, “Wee, wee, wee” all the way home. Big toes, again IMHO, are especially humorous — bulbous, and often twisted as if they had a mind of their own, as one of mine is from being broken while fishing for smallmouth bass in a rocky river. So who wouldn’t feel a tad self-conscious about his feet?

78 O.Henry

February/March 2012

But the day arrived when at last I had to actually go and sit down and take my shoes and socks off and submit my tootsies to the scrutiny and ministrations of a total stranger. And why should any manly man do this? I wondered. Women, of course, with their toe-revealing and impractical footwear, need pretty feet, but for a respectable sock-and shoe-wearing man like myself, having your feet burnished is a little like having your belly button polished. Who’s going to notice? “You’re going to love it,” Maria reassured me, with preternatural sensitivity recognizing my reluctance. After all, she’d sent at least a dozen emails asking whether I’d made an appointment at her favorite salon of toe touchers, Friendly Nails. (I ask you, does ‘Friendly Nails’ sound like an oxymoron or what? What’s next, Cozy Claws?) “You sit in a massage chair,” she said, “and put your feet in a whirlpool of warm water and you grab a magazine and relax. It’s one of the most relaxing and enjoyable things I can think of.” I had doubts about the range of Maria’s imagination, but even more I worried about my bolting from the quivering chair, leaving wet footprints across the parking lot to my Jeep, which I’d have to drive home barefoot in the cold. “They bring you a glass of wine,” she said. “Really?” I said. “And fill it up if you empty it,” she said. “And I’ll go with you.” And she did, thank goodness, and introduced me to Sue, whose name, it turned out was actually Thao Le (pronounced Tao Lee). Thao was nicknamed Sue because her hair stuck straight up in the air when she was an infant — I didn’t get it, either. Thao’s English, by the way, is first-rate, but her best form of communication is her winning smile and her self-effacing laugh. She came to America when she was 6 and is 20 now. Maria commented that she was beautiful. I had already noticed that. I tried not to stare. “Men come all the time,” Thao told us (I bet they do). “They come with their wives and they get pedicures together,” she said as she filled the whirlpool, dropped a couple of fizzy tablets into it and switched on an underwater light that she said killed germs. A glass of wine appeared, and I took a big swallow so as to get up the courage to take off my shoes and socks. The moment of truth had come. Maria and Thao both said that I had nice feet. “I bet you say that to all the feet,’’ I joked, and then asked her if she sees many ugly feet. “Sometimes, yes, but that’s why they come here,” she said diplomatically. By that time my tootsies were tingling in the warm whirlpool, the deeply cushioned vibrator chair was rumbling to life, and my wine was half gone. “I can see the attraction of this,” I told Maria as she headed out to do some shopping. “Sit back and enjoy it,” she said. And although I’m a trained observer and usually have a notebook in one hand and a pen in the other, I decided to take her advice. I fiddled with the controls of the chair — kneadThe Art & Soul of Greensboro


Love the soak, hold the paint

ing, compression, percussion. “Hold onto your wine glass if you hit percussion,” Thao warned. I found a moderate setting and sat back and found that Thao’s small and gentle handiwork was amazingly soothing — a little clipping here, some rubbing there, some sanding with a huge emery board and lotions, emollients and scrubs that smelled alternately of pineapple and lavender. I asked Thao whether she’d heard about a YouTube video I’d seen of goldfish gently nibbling dead skin from people’s feet. “Yes, I saw that,” she said, breaking out her radiant smile once again. “I think it’s illegal.” (Thank goodness.) By that point, she was covering my feet with sea salt as a scrub. It felt so good, I quit analyzing what she was doing and just let the pleasant sensations wash over me. As I drained

...it felt great, a lot like the feeling you get after standing around a fire with your friends, drinking PBRs and shooting a potato gun. the last drop of my wine, experiences began to blend together. I recall a wonderful massage with hot black stones, followed by a mud bath and hot towels and more lotion, all on my feet. I was definitely beginning to think that given the choice between smoking a cigar and getting a pedicure, I’d opt for the latter. I could see what Maria had been talking about. If you’d told me an hour earlier what a sense of well-being and inner peace I’d derive from having my feet spiffed up, I’d have told you that you were nuts. But it felt great, a lot like the feeling you get after standing around a fire with your friends, drinking PBRs and shooting a potato gun. “Maria said to paint your toenails,” Thao said, grinning impishly and bringing me back to the real world. I was less than enthusiastic about the idea, but did look at various images that were available. “I [heart] beer,” came to mind, but I’d need six toes per foot for it. I don’t think Thao understood me when I asked whether she could paint them camouflage. In the end, I decided to go paintless since the flipflop season was months away. As Thao removed the last hot towels and dried my feet off, her expression revealed pride and accomplishment. It was obvious that she not only liked what she was doing, she was proud of it — and rightly so. Then that wonderful smile of hers flashed across her face, and she summed it all up: “They’re happy feet now.” OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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February/March 2012

O.Henry 79

O.Henry Ending

’Til Death Do Us Part Kyle was just what I needed. Unfortunately, I was already married By JO MaeDeR


was in my first year of caring for “Mama Jo” in my Triad home when an older man asked me to a party. I said yes, secretly hoping to meet someone closer to my age. I knew no one other than my family when I moved here to be a full-time caregiver. What I had to show for the $100 I spent on an aide for a night out was a garage door rammed courtesy of my date. Soon a shiny truck with ladders attached came roaring down my driveway. Out jumped two lean, handsome men in cowboy boots, CIA-type sunglasses and official-looking shirts covered with patches. The tall one with dark hair had a thin microphone growing out of an earpiece. He introduced himself as Kyle. “Are you two the Men in Black of garage doors?” I asked. He broke into the cutest dimpled smile. “Why, thank you, ma’am. I’ll take that as a compliment, though we prefer the term ‘overhead doors.’” I repeated “overhead doors” like a foreigner learning a new language. When it somehow just innocently slipped out that I was divorced and so was Kyle, I kicked myself for being make-up free and in sweatpants. They returned to install the new door, and I was looking better. It somehow just innocently slipped out that Kyle hadn’t dated in four years. “Nooo,” I said. “You?” “I’m done. Taking care of my kids and this business is enough.” “I’m taking care of my mother full-time. I don’t date either.” I could tell his partner was pretending not to listen. The garage door repair was finished all too soon. Kyle’s parting words were, “Let me know if anything’s not riiight.” I wasted no time calling him to say what a great job he did. Our first date was to the Barn Dinner Theatre. Our second was Indie Night at The Green Bean coffeehouse. Afterward, we cruised around in his truck that I almost needed mountain-climbing gear to get inside. As we eased up the ramp to merge onto the interstate, he said while holding my hand, “When I was a kid, I’d say to my dad right about now, ‘Kick it, Diddy!’” And that’s just what he did while blasting “Whole Lotta Love.” Now when were we going to “Kick it, Diddy”? We still hadn’t kissed. A week later, we were on my sofa watching the Carolina Panthers in their first Super Bowl appearance. “Dadgummit!” Kyle cried again as his team fumbled an easy pass. For the past twenty years, as a New Yorker, I’d been a Giants or Jets fan, but I wanted the Panthers to win. I have a soft spot for underdogs. I also had an unexpected growing affection for North Carolina. And for Kyle. If the Panthers could make it to the Super Bowl, I could have a love life while living with my mother. “I can’t wait to watch the Daytona 500 with you,” I said playfully, as he

80 O.Henry

February/March 2012

motioned for me to nestle up against him. “Yer not sayin’ it riiight,” he chided. “It’s Daytone-er.” “What else is this Yankee mispronouncing?” “Everythang.” Finally, our lips met. We completely missed Janet Jackson’s “wardrobe malfunction.” I pulled away and slid into my shoes. We weren’t going further anyway because, twenty feet away, my mother was in her bedroom watching The Sound of Music again. “I need to see how Mama Jo is doing.” I quietly eased into her room and saw her tiny body on top of the antique mahogany bed. She was wearing sky-blue pants that matched her eyes and a flannel shirt in pastel hues. She looked at me quizzically. “Is it yesterday or tomorrow?” I tried to figure out what she was asking. “It’s Sunday. Super Bowl Sunday. Sure you don’t want to watch the game with us?” “I don’t want to intrude.” “You’re not intruding.” I ran my fingers through a gray curl sticking up funny. “Kyle really likes you.” “He really likes you.” Her expression said: I wish I had someone, too. I felt terrible hurting her in any way. She reached for my hand. “Please don’t leave me.” I was thrown again. “What?” “I don’t want to be alone.” “But you’re with me, Mama Jo.” I bent down and gave her a hug. “We’re a team. Nothing’s going to change.” She held me as though her life depended on it — which it did — and I wondered why I bothered to date. I was already married. Unlike my last one, this really was “until death do us part.” Sadly, that day was closer than I wanted to admit. Kyle would have to come in a distant second. For now. OH Jo Maeder is the author of “When I Married My Mother” from which this piece is excerpted. She can be reached at www.JoMaeder.com Illustration By Meridith Martens The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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