June O.Henry 2024

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June 2024

With his grandfather’s tools, Jake Wosinski makes his mark on McGee Street 60 Wild

DEPARTMENTS 13 Chaos Theory By Cassie Bustamante 17 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 20 Sazerac 25 Tea Leaf Astrologer By Zora Stellanova 26 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 28 The Omnivorous Reader By Anne Blythe 30 Art of the State By Liza Roberts 34 Home Grown By Cynthia Adams 37 Bontanicus By Ross Howell Jr. 41 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 43 Wandering Billy By Billy Ingram 90 Events Calendar 101 GreenScene 104 O.Henry Ending By Harry Roach FEATURES 47 Poetry Poetry by Josephus Thompson III 48 Wooden It Be Nice? By Billy Ingram
vessels take on the waters again 54 Thinking Outside
Jewelry Box By
With With Gary Lowell at the helm, weathered
and Wonderful By
No. 2 prepares to test
best 64 Peace and Purpose By Ross Howell Jr. A spirited little girl’s art offers solace — and hope 75 June Almanac By Ashley Walshe Cover PhotograPh and PhotograPh this Page by M ark Wagoner
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Volume 14, No. 6

“I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” www.ohenrymag.com


David Woronoff david@thepilot.com

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Cassie Bustamante, Editor cassie@ohenrymag.com

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Miranda Glyder, Graphic Designer


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Harry Blair, Anne Blythe, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Jasmine Comer, Ross Howell Jr., Billy Ingram, Jim Moriarty, Gerry O’Neill, Lee Pace, Harry Roach, Liza Roberts, Stephen E. Smith, Zora Stellanova, Ashley Walshe, Amberly Glitz Weber


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© Copyright 2024. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is

10 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro MAGAZINE
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Curb Alert

Freedom, fear and fahrvergnügen

Thefirst car I ever bought myself — with funds matched by my parents — was a brand-new 1997 little black Jetta, purchased right after I finished my freshman year at Wake Forest. One of my close friends, Krista, had a similar car she called LBJ; so I dubbed mine LBJ Jr.

“Junior” was my ticket to freedom. Far from my Massachusetts home, that car and I made many scenic drives to Pilot Mountain, an area that reminded me of the rolling New England countryside. Cruising, windows open and mix CD blasting, was all the escape I needed when undergrad life felt overwhelming.

Over 20 years later, with kids who are just shy of my age then, it’s time to pass my current car, a 13-year-old cherry-red Ford Flex, aka station wagon on steroids, onto my son, Sawyer, and get myself a new ride. Neither of my eligible children has a license yet, but both Sawyer and his younger sister, Emmy, are permitted.

Fondly recalling my travels with Junior, I book an appointment at the Flow VW dealership. My only rule? No bold colors. I’ve had enough of people telling me they spotted me in my bright-red bus. Let that be Sawyer’s problem soon, God willing.

Behind the wheel of a dark gray 2021 Touareg, I’m smitten. It seems — at least compared to the 2011 clunker I’ve been schlepping around in — to have all the bells and whistles. Seat warmers and steering wheel warmer? It might be June, but my cold winter hands will thank me in December. But practical Chris, along for this car-shopping ride, wants to visit another dealership before going home to confer.

“What’s there to discuss?” I ask in our kitchen that evening. “I liked the first one. Sold!”

“This is a big decision,” he replies, hoping I’ll put a little more thought into my choice. Where he likes to take time to assess all angles, I go with my gut.

“The moment I sat in it, I knew. It’s got everything — even a sun roof!” I exclaim. “Plus, loads of people drive gray cars — no one will know it’s me!”

Later that week, we sign on the many dotted lines and make it official. In the parking lot, keys in hand, my heart races, giddy with excitement. Chris zips off, homebound, while I take time to adjust mirrors and seats.

I start the ignition, open the sun roof and cruise home, wind whipping strands of silver hair every which way. I pull into the driveway behind Chris’ car and open the door to the anxious faces of my three children and Chris all asking, “How was it?”


Fourteen hours after completing our purchase, Chris offers to take 16-year-old Emmy on a driving lesson. My recommendation? Grimsley parking lot, perfect for pulling into and backing out of spaces, a skill she needs to practice.

“Do you wand to play car Tetris, or do you think it’s safe parking in the street?” I ask, apprehensive about passing drivers accidentally scraping it.

“It’ll be OK for a little while,” Chris assures me, knowing I am headed to the office shortly.

Brand-new car now nestled into the side of the street, I turn my attention back to my open laptop, waving as Emmy and Chris exit.

A moment later, I hear it. A light thud. Not a crash, but strange and alarming. My gaze follows the sound to outside, where Chris’ small white SUV is angled directly into the left rear of my VW.

“Are you even kidding right now!” I shout to no one. Breathe. Maybe they’ve just hit the bumper.

Chris marches from the passenger to the driver side. Even from my vantage point, I can see Chris’ clenched jaw, fighting back a stream of frustration. Red-faced, Emmy bolts inside in a blur. Her bedroom door slams, followed by the click of her lock.

Meanwhile, Chris reverses his car, and my own drops about a foot back down to the ground. Nope, definitely not just a little love tap.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 13
chaos theory

I feel the rage bubbling up and there’s no shoving it back down as Chris walks in the front door. “What were you thinking?!” I scream. “She’s not ready to back out of our driveway! And my car, my new car, was right there!!!!”

Chris does not rise to meet my level of emotions and calmly says, “She did great backing up. She put it into drive and then saw a car coming behind her and panicked.” Like a deer in headlights, she froze, foot off the brake, and rolled right into my car.

Exasperated, I leave him to deal with the insurance filing for not one, but two cars — his is in even worse shape than mine — and turn my focus to the real damage control.

I stand outside Emmy’s door. “Can I come in?”

“No!” she says between sobs.

“I’m not mad, Emmy. I just want to talk.”

A click. I’ve been granted entrance.

“I told Dad I wasn’t ready,” she hiccups. “I didn’t want to pull out of the driveway!”

“I know,” I reply, rubbing her back. “Look, you’re OK. The car will be OK. And on the bright side, you — and my car — have had your first fender bender. It has to happen at some point and why leave home to do it!”

She’s calming down. “I’m just really sorry.”

“This is not your fault, Emmy. They’re called accidents for a reason,” I say calmly. Then, with fire behind my voice, “It’s 100 percent Dad’s fault!”

That coaxes a laugh out of her. And I know in time, we’ll all be laughing about it.

A year later, we all see the humor in it. A core family memory for sure. We’re still slowly chipping away at having two more licensed drivers in our household, but, one day, we’ll get there. And those newdriver nerves? They’ll be replaced by the exhilarating thrill that comes with facing the open road, outstretched before you, beckoning you to enjoy the ride. OH

Cassie Bustamante is editor of O.Henry magazine.

The Artof Living


Working as a 4th generation landscape designer, Steven Dunn was always inspired by nature—which in turn inspires his art. “I paint to record the beauty of the natural world as I experience it,” he says. “Whenever I take a walk, I’m seeing trees and light as a composition.” Today, as part of the Arbor Acres community, Steven teaches painting to other residents in a fully equipped art studio. “I help them express their uniqueness. We’re all one spirit with something personal to say.” For Steven and all of our residents, here is a place that celebrates the joy and mysteries of art—as a vocation, passion, or simply a fuller way of seeing the world.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 15
chaos theory
life in all its shining brilliance at Arbor Acres.
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the United Methodist Church. 1240 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104 arboracres.org • (336)
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When Losing is Winning

Seeing the world through missing glasses

“Oh I have been to Ludlow Fair. And left my necktie God knows – A.E. Houseman

other day, I lost my latest pair of expensive eyeglasses. Sadly, I seem to lose my spectacles on a regular basis. My wife, Wendy, jokes that she keeps a running account with Warby Parker.

Just for fun, I made a rough count of eyeglasses I’ve lost over the past 23 years of our marriage. I gave up the count after six, which happens to be this year’s total alone. At least one of those pricey pairs of specs was never found. It vanished into the magical Land of Lost Things without a trace. Of the remaining missing five, Wendy found two pairs in the pockets of old work shirts and a third in a sports coat I haven’t worn since Christmas. The fourth pair turned up in a rose bush where I was doing some early spring pruning. The fifth and final missing pair — my hip, whiskey-hued tortoiseshell sunglasses — finally revealed themselves in my golf bag, where I left them two weeks ago.

Dame Wendy’s theory to explain my penchant for losing my glasses is that I have so much on my mind — i.e. deadlines, books to read, garden stuff, my aging golf swing, the general state of the world, etc. In short, there’s little room remaining to remember where I leave things that I don’t particularly deem essential.

My explanation for this perpetual problem comes from my being nearsighted and only needing glasses to see objects in the distance, including, but not limited to, golf balls, birds at the feeder in the yard, street numbers, the fine print on billboards, UFOs and interesting cloud formations. When I’m reading, writing or examining something up close, I typically remove them and — apparently — forget where I put them down. Out of sight, out of mind.

All of this invariably has me pondering lost things in this world, including people.

We Americans are obsessed with winning and losing. The worlds of politics and sports are the most obvious examples. One presidential candidate calls people “losers” and insists that America will cease to exist if he isn’t re-elected Commander in Chief next November; while the other declares that democracy is doomed if his opponent somehow wins. Meanwhile, billions of dollars from wealthy team supporters flood our college sports, where winning is the only name of the game.

Up on Wall Street, meanwhile, where predicting winners and losers is the holy writ of American commerce, we watch the record Dow rise as if we’re running with the bulls, staying one step ahead with the nettlesome awareness that what goes up inevitably comes down. As the gap between the haves and havenots ever widens, we associate wealth with winning and poverty as a stubborn inconvenient truth. Jesus, after all, said the poor will always be with us. He also asked what profit it is for a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?

Sometimes being lost or losing is the best thing that can happen to you.

Last year, I lost 40 pounds and have never felt physically better. I’ve even managed to give up (mostly) my gifted baker wife’s unearthly delicious cookies, pies and cakes, though I draw the line at giving up her lemon-ginger scones and a daily large chai tea latte.

More than once I have been lost on America’s country back roads in some of the most beautiful cities in the world, only to discover wonderful people, places and things I would never would have encountered otherwise. One of the sad truths of our GPS-equipped smart phones is that we can never truly be lost anywhere in the world these days unless the juice runs out.

Losing one’s fear of those who don’t share our opinions, tastes, gender, lifestyle, religion, race or brand of politics can be a courageous and very healthy thing, quite possibly the first step toward

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 17 simple life ILLUSTRATION BY GERRY O'NEILL N

regaining the kind of social civility that could heal this divided country and bring us all a step closer together as Americans.

Many years ago, due to my work and strengthening faith, I even lost my fear of dying by choosing to believe that each day is actually a reason to feel grateful for being alive — even on socalled “bad” days when nothing seems to go right.

Losing a loved one to disease or tragedy, on the other hand, exists in a category all its own, though the passage of time and memories can often be an unexpected path to healing and awakening. I lost both of my parents more than two decades ago, yet today I seem to hear their wonderful voices and wise words clearer than ever.

My mom was the one who stressed the importance of losing one’s fear and judgment of others in a multi-hued world where everyone is different, a value system I saw her live every day of her life. It’s something I aspire to but admittedly still struggle with at times. Forever a work in progress, I suppose.

My dad was a fine baseball player in his youth and, later in life, became a terrific golfer. Following in his wake, I was something of a hotheaded kid who hated to lose at either of those games. It was he, however, who pointed out that my boyhood sports hero, the great amateur golfer Bobby Jones, said he never learned anything from winning a golf tournament.

In truth, it took me many years — and no shortage of lost games and golf matches — to appreciate my old man’s belief that being a good loser is, in fact, the road to someday being a gracious winner. When I was about 10 years old, he placed a framed copy of Rudyard Kipling’s poem “If” on my bedroom wall. I can still recite my favorite passages by memory.

And I don’t even need glasses to see the timeless vision of these words.

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings

And never breathe a word about your loss;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings — nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much;

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,

And — which is more — you’ll be a Man, my son! OH

Jim Dodson is the founding editor of O.Henry.

18 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro simple life


"A spirited forum of Gate City food, drink, history, art, events, rumors and eccentrics worthy of our famous namesake"

Unsolicited Advice Growing Goodwill

According to Simon & Garfunkel, June will change her tune. And according to the Gregorian calendar, she’ll change her season from spring to summer. Typical Gemini. So take your fae-thful friends and family to the arboretum and celebrate at the Greensboro Summer Solstice Festival from 2–10 p.m., Saturday, June 22. We’ve got some tips to help you make the most of this magic moment. Fairy thee well!

Make like a mermaid and scale up on the water intake or you’ll be one parched pixie. Don’t worry — porta-potties abound. As do adult beverages — you know, for hydration.

Speaking of sweat, three words: waterproof body paint.

Survey four of the Triad’s youngest residents and one of them will tell you they face food insecurity. Share the Harvest board president Linda Anderson, a retired educator, does her best to improve that grim statistic. Sometimes, she says, it’s as simple as grabbing a hoe or driving a truck.

“There are times during the growing season when our gardens are overflowing with vegetables and we don’t know what to do with the excess. This is when Share the Harvest can help both the gardener and the individuals in need,” says Anderson.

Anderson says donations have grown since 2012 from a few community and church gardens donating food to local nonprofits into an expanding program benefitting organizations, collecting and distributing food to the needy via various programs offering meals and food pantries. For its 10 core volunteers, the need has motivated them to collect, coordinate and distribute donations from groceries, restaurants, gardens, farmers markets and even N.C. State A&T University's farm.

From May through October, the growing season, they collect, aggregate, then store fresh products at a central collection site for distribution.

“In the beginning, the first year, we had 1,200 pounds of veggies. Last year it was 15,241 pounds received.” See sharetheharvestguilfordcounty.org for more information.

Show a little elf control? Not here. Let your inner fairy fly for the day — glitter, wings and all!

The evening culminates in an outstanding fire show, where the lawn at Lindley Park turns into gnome man’s land. Set your derriere on your fairy chair on the early side for a stellar view.

20 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Window to the Past Sage Gardener

We hope you’re sitting down, because according to The New York Times, “2024 is going to be a really exciting year in cabbage.”

Celebrity chefs are stir-frying it, banking it into beds of hot coals and, in Asheville’s Good Hot Fish restaurant, adding it to pancakes served with sorghum hot sauce.

My momma used to braise it in bacon grease, a technique I’ve since discovered seals in the mustard compound that cabbage shares with horseradish, onions and mustard greens — the very compound that, according to the Times, “can make your house smell like a 19th century tenement” but has become “the darling of the culinary crowd.”

Mom, you always did know what was hot and what was not — and that everything tastes better with bacon.

Mark Twain observed that “cabbage is nothing but cauliflower with a college degree.” Cauliflower and Brussels sprouts — in the same family as kale, broccoli and bok choy — have both recently had their moment in the superfood spotlight. Now, it’s cabbage that’s taking center stage on white tablecloths in New York and L.A.’s elite boîtes, going for $18–20 as an appetizer paired with the likes of anchovy breadcrumbs and brown-butter hollandaise. Try serving one of those instead of corned beef and cabbage next St Paddy’s Day.

Brassica oleracea, aka wild cabbage, though not mentioned in the Bible and apparently unknown to early Jewish cuisine, is “a plant that has accompanied mankind throughout the ages,” according to The Oxford Companion to Food. Prized by the Egyptians and Romans, it was sacred to the Greeks, purport-

edly springing full-grown from no less than Zeus’ own sweat — perhaps because of how it smells?

I’ve grown it only once or twice. I’ve never had well-drained, sandy loam, which it prefers. And being an organic gardener, by the time my cabbage begins to head, aphids, flea beetles, cabbage loopers, diamond-back moths and cabbage maggots get a lot more of it than I do. Besides, cabbage is incredibly cheap, organic or not, even when purchased in a farmers market. (I find N.C. mountain cabbage particularly tasty and it makes terrific sauerkraut. North Carolina, by the way, grows something like 12,000 acres of cabbage a year.)

So remember, you heard it here first (unless you read The New York Times story): “Among the food-forward, cabbage fever is rising.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 21
Ready oar not, summer is arriving later this month. Lake Brandt has been welcoming water lovers since 1925. PHOTOGRAPH © GREENSBORO HISTORY MUSEUM COLLECTION

Dear Editor,

OK, I look a little grumpy, I admit. How would you feel after eating dirt in the dark for 17 years?

If you find my surreal red eyes deeply disturbing, I say, “Good!” It’s not like anybody asked me how I wanted my DNA arranged. You think your kids are so cute. They don’t even have exoskeletons! No wonder you’re running them to the ER every other day.

A cicada’s life isn’t much when you think about it. In 30 days’ time above ground, the most dramatic thing that can happen is having a cat or dog eat enough of us to spew up a blob of legs and wings on somebody’s living room carpet. Or having kids trap us in Mason jars to amplify the sound. Like that’s really a science experiment. Stick to the fireflies and leave us alone!

This spring, all you heard was “Total Eclipse! Won’t be another until 2044!” Everybody bought special eyeglasses and threw a party.

Well, this summer, not only are we 17-year cicadas emerging, but our 13-year cousins are, too. Guess the last time that happened. 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was president. You know, author of the Declaration of Independence. How about throwing a cicada celebration, we, the people?

And who’s this Harry Blair joker, anyway? When in our conversation did I grant him permission to reproduce my likeness? Please spare me the public figure argument. I’m a bug!

You’ll be receiving a letter from my attorney.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro sazerac

Just One Thing

During a residency at Charlotte’s Village at Commonwealth, muralist and fine artist Liz Haywood decided it was time to try “something totally different, something to inspire me to branch out of my comfort zone.” Her focus up until then had been on the “many different faces” of diversity, she says. And that something different? Space exploration. The twist? A series she’s calling “Alien Worlds”: “By using a palette of warm pinks, purples and sunset hues, I bring an updated feel to a subject often seen through a masculine lens.” No surprise. Haywood is constantly doing her own dive into the unknown through film and literature. “I’ve basically read every science fiction novel available,” she notes with a laugh. Her canvas offers her a way to imagine the world beyond and bring it back

to this planet through a feminist lens. Just as space is full of unanswered questions, Long Walk Home, seen here, is also open to interpretation, she says. “She’s walking into the distance. You don’t know — is she walking back to her ship? Or is she leaving and going somewhere else?” Haywood encourages her viewers to use their own imaginations. This painting is part of her second iteration of “Alien Worlds,” on display at GreenHill Center for NC Art’s “LEAP: Artists Imagine Outer Space” exhibition. “Space is the next frontier,” she muses. “I hope we venture out with open hearts and curious minds.” And does she hope to explore space one day? “I need to be around people ,” she says. “If my dog and my boyfriend and other people could go, then yes!” Info: lizhaywood.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 23
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(May 21 – June 20)

They say the longest trek a soul can take is the one between the head and heart. While this is doubly true for you, Gemini, suffice it to say that the Venus Cazimi on June 4 is going to expedite your journey. While you’re used to staying camped out in the frenzied chambers of your own mind, get ready for a month that’s all about feeling. Despite past experiences, being vulnerable with others is not, in fact, your kryptonite. Bon voyage!

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

Easy does it.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Two words: airplane mode.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Take your vitamins.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Don’t pick the scab.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

There’s treasure to be found.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Listen for what’s behind the words.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Give yourself some grace.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Breathe into your belly.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

It’s going to be dicey.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Hit the pause button.

Taurus (April 20 – May 20)

Just walk away. OH

Zora Stellanova has been divining with tea leaves since Game of Thrones’ Starbucks cup mishap of 2019. While she’s not exactly a medium, she’s far from average. She lives in the N.C. foothills with her Sphynx cat, Lyla.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 25 tea leaf astrologer
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Just Doo It

The long way around a colonoscopy

One of the pleasures of writing for O.Henry is hearing from readers who say, “That’s such a classy publication.”

Well, nothing lasts forever.

To be fair, the magazine remains a classy book. But this space, this month, might soil that reputation a tad.

So if you’re one of those people who likes to pretend you never doo, and even if you do doo, it doesn’t stink, please skip this column. But if you’re like the rest of us, and you’d try anything to avoid a colonoscopy, read on.

I’ll start with gratitude: I’m one of the lucky ones, intestinally speaking.

I have no family history of colon cancer, and therefore it was an option for my physician’s assistant to prescribe a noninvasive screening kit called Cologuard.

I had used earlier versions, and lemme just say that poo technology has come a long way since those first at-home tests, which were basically a few sheets of gift-wrapping tissue and some popsicle sticks.

Other advances — in cellular communication, point-to-point shipping and pharmaceutical-based musical theater — have made the process a true reflection of our times.

Recently, for example, I saw a television commercial that featured an animated box bearing the stylized letters “CG,” a sort of modern-day Kool-Aid Man, skipping through scenes where random adults, who all seem to know each other, converge in a park and sing the Cologuard song joyfully.

The chorus: “I did it my way.”

Somehow, I don’t think this is what Frank Sinatra had in mind. But back to my tale.

My PA tells me she will have a test sent to my home.

About a week later, I get a text announcing that my kit is being shipped. Save the date!

Another text informs me when it’s delivered to my doorstep. For once, I’m not worried about porch pirates.

The next text reminds me to do what needs to be done.

Yet another text leans on me even harder. It says my provider is awaiting my test. I envision my bright and busy PA wondering — maybe over lunch— “Where is Maria’s poop sample?”

I am not moved.

The CG people know it. A brochure titled “Let’s Get Going” arrives in the mail, complete with diagrams and step-by-step instructions.

I flip through the brochure, which, I must say, editorially and graphically, is very well done.

I even open the Cologuard box, which rests on my bathroom counter, and unpack the contents.

First, I encounter a heavy-duty plastic bracket that I mistake for packing material. It’s so sturdy — and seemingly multipurpose, with a large hole in the middle — that I make a mental note to save it and hang it on the pegboard above my husband’s workbench. Never mind the stamped instruction to “Place Under Seat.”

Next layer: a sheaf of paper with 30-plus pages of instructions and inserts with the latest updates.

I start reading and get so nervous I have to go immediately. The test will have to wait for another day.

In the meantime, coincidentally, I see my OB-GYN for an annual exam.

She asks if I’ve done a Cologuard test recently.

“Funny you should ask,” I say. “It’s in progress.”

“In progress?” she probes.

“On my bathroom counter.”

“Oh yes, that’s where I put mine,” she says. “For about a year.”

My kinda doctor.

“The instructions stopped me,” I confess. “So much to read.”

She waves her hand.

“Just follow the diagrams. Like putting together a piece of furniture.”

“There are a lot of pieces in the kit,” I continue. “And when you’re done, you have to drop off the box at UPS.”

“And you know that they know what’s in there,” she said, barely suppressing a smile.

“And you know there have been mishaps!” I add.

So now, we’re laughing, my doc and I, about the potentially

26 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro life's funny

leaky life of Cologuard returns. And suddenly, there and then, I resolve to do it. The test, I mean. At home.

A couple of days — and a couple of cups of coffee — later, the time seems right. I go straight to the diagrams, referring to them as I quickly assemble a small plastic chamberpot over the toilet bowl.

I feel increasing pressure about hitting the target. I read on and hit another stressor: The volume of my contribution can be no greater than the liquid preservative that I’m supposed to pour over it.

Great. A mathematical word problem. Dancing in place, I pick up the bottle of preservative, which says it contains 290 milliliters.

This really helps.

The instructions also warn against drinking from the bottle, which tells me that some poor souls have done this, hoping, I suppose, to shortcut the preservation process.

Obviously, Cologuard has heeded the advice of lawyers rather than, say, Charles Darwin, in writing these instructions.

I have dallied long enough. I dive in, hitting the brakes at an estimated 290 milliliters of relief, and add the liquid preservative.

At this point, I wonder why the kit doesn’t include a test for stomach cancer, because I nearly hurl at what I’m shipping to some poor unfortunate soul at Exact Sciences Laboratories on Badger Road in Madison, Wisconsin.

I apologize silently and seal the container tightly.

Not one hour later, I receive another text: “Urgent reminder: Complete and ship your Cologuard kit ASAP.

Was there a camera in the box, too?

I hustle to the UPS store, chuck the box onto the scale, snatch a shipping receipt with eyes averted, and drive off in search of my tribe who, I’ve been led to believe, have done it their way, and are joyfully singing in a park somewhere. OH

Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. Email her at ohenrymaria@gmail.com.

Hello Summer!


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 27
life's funny info@boxwoodantiquemarket.com
Going on Now

Letters from Death Row

Finding purpose behind bars

Much has been written about how the art of letter writing has been in decline for years — except in prisons. Behind the barbed fences, putting pen to paper remains a vital connection to the world outside the prison walls. It was one such letter that launched Rap and Redemption on Death Row: Seeking Justice and Finding Purpose Behind Bars, a book by Alim Braxton and Mark Katz.

Braxton, born Michael Jerome Jackson on June 1, 1974, has been in prison since he was 19 years old, incarcerated more than a quarter-century of that time on North Carolina’s death row. His co-author, Katz, is a music professor at UNC-Chapel Hill who started the Carolina Hip Hop Institute in the summer of 2019.

Braxton, who chose the Muslim name Alim in prison, read a newspaper story about the program and wrote a letter to Katz in August 2019 asking for help. Rap music had been a big part of Braxton’s life, even before prison. He had been writing and recording lyrics over the phone but was not pleased with the sound quality.

Let’s get this out of the way: Braxton killed three people and robbed two others. He accepts responsibility and apologizes for killing Emmanuel Ogauyo, Donald Bryant and Dwayne Caldwell, as he does for robbing Susan Indula and Lindanette Walker.

“I know my situation may seem despairing and perhaps unlike anyone you’ve worked with before, but despite the circumstances I still have faith and I still have a dream, and I believe that with the right sound and someone who knows what to do with my vocals I can accomplish something BIG!” Braxton wrote to Katz, who held on to the letter for a month.

“I wasn’t sure I wanted to offer my help,” Katz writes in the preface to the book. “I didn’t know him, and after all, this request was coming from a convicted murderer.” He decided to respond anyway.

“I was intrigued by his passion. I also saw an earnestness is his neatly handwritten letter that amplified the sincerity of his words,” Katz writes.

That led to a relationship and the exchange of many letters to build a team of people who worked with Braxton to record his first album — the first-ever recorded from death row — and to this book.

“It wasn’t long into our correspondence that I came to believe that Alim’s letters were worth preserving and making public, and that is what spurred me to suggest the possibility of a book,” Katz writes. “Earlier in my career, I had spent many hours in archives reading correspondence by famous musicians. I would count myself lucky anytime I found a single paragraph of interest out of a batch of letters. That is not the case with Alim’s letters.”

Braxton’s blunt but colorful accounts of how he got to prison and his life inside it are contemplative and eye-opening. He gives readers a glimpse of the inmate hierarchy, the violence, the loss of dignity, privacy and rights, the code of survival and his path to redemption, love, a wife and even hope for the future despite his circumstances.

His rap, which is interspersed with the narrative, is personal and wide-ranging. His lyrics offer views of the George Floyd pro -

28 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro omnivorous reader

tests, COVID, pop culture and much more. In telling his story, Braxton wants to make sure that the stories of others — those on death row who maintain their innocence and have cases he believes involve wrongful convictions — are lifted up with his rap.

Braxton grew up in a rough-and-tumble Raleigh neighborhood about 2 miles from Central Prison. There are times he dreams of nearby places he visited as a boy or the rolling Dix Park across the busy boulevard from the prison cell “the size of a bathroom” he now lives in.

“I have fond memories of my childhood growing up in Raleigh, but as I wrote in my song, ‘Unremarkable,’ it’s also where I learned ‘to thug it properly.’ Stealing, fighting and drinking were rites of passage in my neighborhood,” Braxton writes. “My descent into crime didn’t happen overnight. I got my feet wet shoplifting around the age of 11. By the time I was 16 I had gone to prison for two months for stealing a car. I soaked up more criminal knowledge while inside, and after my release, the front gate became a revolving door, with three dozen arrests and three additional stints in prison.”

In vivid detail, Braxton goes on to describe his first time with a gun, his move from a pistol to a sawed-off shotgun, the first time he killed a person, and the almost out-of-body experience he had during those times. It was as if he was playing a role in a movie or a TV show, he wrote. He says the adage “the decisions you make today determine your tomorrow” rolls around in his

head, especially when he thinks about the 1993 robbery spree where he claimed the lives of two people.

“Why didn’t I just leave at some point during that February night in 1993?” Braxton writes. “The truth is that I was afraid that I would look weak. I know now that it’s not weak to walk away from something you don’t want to be involved in. . . . Not walking away was a pivotal decision that changed the course of my life forever.”

Not walking away from a conflict in prison is what landed him on death row. He had been spared the death penalty and given two life sentences plus 110 years for the 1993 robberyturned-kidnapping-turned-murder. Then he stabbed a fellow inmate to death.

Although North Carolina has had a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since 2006 while lawsuits make their way through the courts, the possibility of executions starting again looms.

“The true reality of life on Death Row is that every day is a life of fear, regret and humiliation . . . ,” Braxton wrote in a newspaper letter to the editor published in the book. “I live every day with the fear of standing before my God and accounting for my deeds.” OH

Anne Blythe has been a reporter in North Carolina for more than three


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 29 omnivorous reader

Wild Clay, Ancient Art

Takuro and Hitomi Shibata shape pots — and their community

Eighteen years ago, when ceramic artists Takuro and Hitomi Shibata moved to Seagrove from the ancient pottery village of Shigaraki, Japan, they had with them nothing but a couple of suitcases, a rescued stray cat and plans for a short adventure.

Today they are pillars of the community.

Hitomi is a respected and prolific Seagrove ceramic artist, and Takuro, a fellow potter and the procurer and refiner of most of the area’s local clay, is a community fulcrum. They live with their two American-born sons on Busbee Road in a striking modernist house designed by a protégé of famed architect Frank Harmon, built in part with their own hands. Their wood-fired kilns are a stone’s throw from its front door, and the tiny farmhouse where they first lived on the property now serves as a gallery for their work. Their former garage is now their studio.

30 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
art of the state

The art they make here and sell under the Studio Touya name is distinctly their own. Hitomi’s sculptural pieces have the rounded, organic shapes of abstract feminine nudes. Takuro’s are distinct for their architectural geometry, acute angles and jutting planes. It’s impossible to see the couple’s pieces side by side and not admire the harmony of their yin and yang.

A reverence for local clay is at the heart of the couple’s individual art and their mutual business. They put that shared love and knowledge into Wild Clay: Creating Ceramics and Glazes from Natural and Found Resources, a book they co-wrote and published with Herbert Press in 2022. Its publication took their local story to an international audience, changing their business and their work in the process.

“We have been very busy doing more exhibitions and workshops outside of North Carolina, nationally and internationally,” Hitomi says. “Especially after releasing our book, we were invited to ceramic conferences, meetings and workshops to talk about our clay stories from Shigaraki to North Carolina.” When so much time on the road meant less time for making pots, the couple decided to refine their work. “We tried to improve the quality of our art,”

Hitomi says. “Also, using beautiful wild clays and natural materials, which we have been doing for many years, became even more important for our artistic practices.”

Finding Home

The couple credits the Seagrove community and its native clay for nurturing the art they originally learned in Shigaraki. The first time they saw this place, they had a feeling it would be important to them. “We were surprised,” Hitomi recalls. “There were so many pottery studios. We realized Seagrove was the biggest pottery community in the United States.”

They’d come down from a Virginia artist’s residence on a Greyhound bus at the invitation of Nancy Gottovi (now executive director of nearby arts hub Starworks) and her husband, Seagrove potter David Stumpfle, who had visited Shigaraki a few years earlier.

The Shibatas loved what they saw, but their visas were up.

Two years later, Gottovi called again. She was working with Central Park NC, an organization dedicated to preserving the natural and cultural assets of central North Carolina, and offered Takuro, who has an engineering and chemistry degree, an opportunity to establish a clay factory to serve Seagrove’s potters.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 31
art of the state

The Shibatas jumped at the chance. People in Seagrove, they believed, truly understood the value of pottery. In other places, Hitomi says, “people love art, but they don’t think that pottery is the same thing as art. But here, people are so crazy about pottery. They love the tradition, they have so much appreciation . . . it’s part of the history of the state.”

The Pottery Ecosystem

Today, Starworks Ceramics is an integral part of the Seagrove pottery ecosystem, and it’s growing. “We went through a tough time during the pandemic,” Takuro says, “but now we have more people working, and it’s a great team. Our clay is getting more popular, and potters and artists support not only our clays, but the story of a clay factory.”

The process is laborious: Takuro takes raw clay dug from the earth and turns it into a viable material. The equipment he and his assistants use to refine it is massive and low-tech, the stuff of a fairytale giant’s bakery. Some of it is from the 1940s. There’s a shredder, a mixer, a separator and a vibrating screen; there are things called filter presses and pug mills. All of it fills a cavernous warehouse room. Massive buckets of what looks like sticky dirt go in one end; several days of man and machine power later, neat clay cubes come out the other. These cubes

32 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro art of the state
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are sold in increasing numbers to potters in Seagrove and around the world.

“Using wild clays for pottery in the studio is a growing trend in American ceramic art education and in small pottery businesses,” Takuro says. “It’s good for people to think about sustainability and the environment. However, these methods have been used and improved for thousands of years all over the world. Nothing is new.”

He hopes his clay and the couple’s book inspires more potters around the country to learn about the clay histories in their own regions: “Our clay story is very personal, and our clay experience doesn’t cover all wild clays, but we heard from readers that many places in the world have interesting histories, communities and people who work in clay. We believe clay is universal.”

At the same time, Takuro knows that what makes and sells at Starworks can’t be found just anywhere. “North Carolina clay is special,” he says. “It’s high in silica, it can be fired at high temperatures and it is from this place.” OH

This is an excerpt from Art of the State: Celebrating the Art of North Carolina , published by UNC Press.

June 8

Pridefest 12 - 5pm

The second annual Pridefest celebrating LGBTQ+ individuals and allies sponsored by Sandhills Pride. Featuring an assortment of entertainment, pop-up-shops, artists, and food trucks. Improve your mental and physical health and wellness with information and testing. Activities throughout the day.

Tickets: $10

June 28

Vintage Game Night 5:30-7:30

Take a step back in time and roll the dice on a fun new event at the historic Boyd House and Gardens. Grab a prohibition-era cocktail before you try your hand at vintage games like croquet and cards! Each ticket includes one complimentary drink ticket. Additional tickets available for purchase. Outdoor seating and games are available, weather permitting. 1920s attire is always welcome!

Tickets start at $15

June 18

James Boyd Book Club 2pm

The James Boyd Book Club reads and discusses the work of North Carolina authors - past and present. A professional assassin and a librarian unravel a literary mystery in this Month’s Selection, The Enigma Affair by Charlie Lovett Free Admission

Registration suggested

Register Now For Camp!

Explorer of the World Camps. August 5-9 and 12-16. Based on the best selling books by Keri Smith, the campers will receive a copy of the workbook entitled “HOW TO BE AN EXPLORER OF THE WORLD”. The program activities will explore how the outdoor world around us can influence the creation of Art, Music, and Writing. Two one-week summer camp opportunities are offered MondayFriday, 9 am - 12pm and 12pm - 3pm. For rising 4th - 8th grader.

Catch up on all of our Summer events:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 33 art of the state
555 E. Connecticut Ave. Southern Pines • www.weymouthcenter.org
doing time at the red light

On a recent trip with friends, I casually mentioned my father’s unfortunate incarceration, an expression adopted from the character Anthony Bouvier, portrayed by Meshach Taylor, on the hit sitcom Designing Women. Fans of the show may recall that from 1986–1993 Taylor played a gentle quipster, unfairly convicted of robbery.

I preferred Bouvier’s jokey euphemism; it landed gentler than saying, “My father went to the big house.” Or, “Dad did time.”

Prison talk is freighted, folks. Predictably, eyebrows raised.

“It’s not like he killed anyone,” I hastily added. What I didn’t add was he was merely one case among others in my family line.

A former mentor shared these encouraging words, “Normal families seldom produce writers.”

Take this magazine’s namesake and this city’s native son, William Sydney Porter — pen name O. Henry — who went on the lam to Honduras before serving time. He served three years in an Ohio prison; my father served only three months. I found myself bringing that up, as if it explains anything. Dad, however, could have easily walked out of an O. Henry plot — with a love for storytelling and an obsession for Pepsi-Colas and Mounds candy bars.

Dad, himself, and other relatives were never shy about sharing our family’s hapless narrative.

During a visit in Atlanta with my great uncle, Miles McClellan, he shared an alarming story. Our ancestral widowed Scots-Irish grandmother killed a tax collector during the Great Famine. “I’ve spent time at the Library of Congress,” Miles confided, “trying to learn more about her.”

Uncle Miles told an incredible tale: She whacked the tax collector with a fireplace poker when he attempted to collect their cow in lieu of taxes. She was spared a death sentence, but she and her children were exiled.

He died before finding proof, but the tale had taken unshakeable root in my imagination.

There was more. Uncle Miles himself experienced incarceration as an adventurous young man who loved newfangled motor cars. He sought his fortune in Atlanta, starting one of the city’s early car dealerships. My grandmother insisted her favorite brother was framed by older, jealous rivals. Then, the narrative grew tricky: He fled after faking his own death by driving his Model T into a creek, then lived in Baltimore under an assumed name. But he returned to face the charges, just as O. Henry did, however false. My grandmother fainted outright when her brother walked up her driveway, very much alive.

After serving time, Uncle Miles went on to found another successful business — this time selling municipal water towers — and (honestly) earned wealth. He piloted his own plane, lived in an Emerywood mansion, and remained witty and compassionate, while walking the straight and narrow.

But when my father was sentenced to a federal penitentiary in Birmingham, Alabama, tales of redemption didn’t soothe us, despite his funny and considerate probation officer, Randy Harrell, who became a family friend. The fact that Dad was appointed a pre-trial probation officer seemed a clear indication of pending doom. When Dad was led away in handcuffs, I was a new college student. Three younger siblings were still at home. Dad was jailed at Maxwell Air Force Base with Watergate offender Charles Colson. My liberal father’s response? “This is cruel and unusual punishment,” he wrote to the warden and to anyone he could think to complain to.

Dad and Charles apparently became buddies, although Dad was wary of Colson’s “jailhouse religion.” I kept a letter sent by Colson to me on Pentagon stationary urging me to keep up my studies. The logo, incidentally, is crossed out.

Dad returned to a business and family life in ruins. And the family curse continued. A young sibling would wind up spending months jailed for fishing without a license — so help me God. (He had a prior DUI). The old saw about he who represents himself in court has a fool for a client proved true in his case and mine; read on.

When appealing a driving conviction before Judge Elreta Alexander before her retirement, I tested that theory. Standing

34 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
home grown

well apart from the hangdog guilty group and edging closer to the allegedly innocent, I pleaded “guilty with exonerating cir cumstances.” The judge snapped: “Stand there with the rest of the guilty!”

Admonished, I slipped a folder of images of “No Right on Red” signage at a downtown stoplight behind my back, now terrified of actually presenting my evidence. Would this clever judge realize my wide-angle lens might have distorted the sign’s distance from the stoplight? I had sworn to give honest testimony; but were the pictures just a tad misleading?

After systematically finding each “innocent” plaintiff guilty, Judge Alexander beckoned me to approach the bench. “You. The one who doesn’t know if she’s guilty or innocent. What is it that you brought?” she asked, demanding the illconcealed folder.

As she studied my pictures, I lightly joked that the worst that could happen was she would find me guilty. Fixing me with an assessing look, she warned that, no, things could get worse.

“Read your ticket,” the judge said grim ly. She could, in fact, jail me for illegally turning right on red. And levy fines.

Jail?! I grew redder than a fully ripe McIntosh apple.

Perhaps because the ticketing officer failed to appear, Judge Alexander relented, ruling prayer for judgment continued, a PJC.

I paid the court costs and sprinted out — a near miss as a jailbird.

Long afterward, I refused to turn right on a red light, no matter how many horns honked or fingers flipped me off.

Felonious grandmother, uncle, father and brother, know this: I vow to break the chain of unfortunate incarcerations.

That annoying driver who rubbernecks before proceeding right at the stoplight? It’s probably law-abiding little ole me. Just wave hello and please don’t honk; there’s some serious ancestral baggage riding with me and a curse I’m doing my best to shake. OH

Cynthia Adam is a contributing editor to O.Henry magazine.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 35
home grown
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The Natural World


Fisher Park, a seed grows, a finch sings

Driving east on U.S. Route

421 near Liberty, I heard the North Carolina public radio announcement that my neighbor, Rob Brown, had just won the WFDD photo of the week.

I was on a sad trip. I was going to see Becky, my mother-in-law, who was in hospice care at her home in Lillington.

My wife, Mary Leigh, was already with her mom. Over the summer, we’d made many trips together — first to the facility where Becky received regularly-scheduled infusions; later, to a rehabilitation facility in Cary after she had broken a hip; and, more recently, to her bedside.

We were near the end.

Still, I smiled when I heard the radio announcement about Rob.

He lives across the street from us in Fisher Park with his wife, Lane. He’s a professional photographer. I’ve interviewed him for the pages of this magazine — a story in his own words about how the COVID pandemic had brought him back to doing the thing he’s loved since he was a kid: taking photos.

I knew quite a bit about Rob’s prize-winning picture. It started with a sunflower seed a bird had sown in front of our house. I’d noticed the lone volunteer in the spring, sprouting about six inches from the edge of a flower bed.

If I had just taken the time to move the sprout from the edge farther into the bed, maybe I could’ve forestalled its demise.

But I didn’t. All I did was keep it well mulched.

The sunflower grew like Jack’s beanstalk.

On July 1, Mary Leigh took a snapshot of me with the volunteer. The sunflower stood higher than the gutters of the house, some 12 feet tall, with at least a dozen flower heads sprouting midway on the stalk all the way to the very top. Its broad-leafed foliage was profuse.

Neighbors emailed, thanking me for growing such a beautiful specimen. Passersby voiced their admiration. I protested that I had little, or nothing, to do with its success — that it was truly a self-made sunflower.

I thought about staking it because of its size and weight — but didn’t.

At least I thought to ask Rob to photograph the extraordinary plant when its bright yellow flowers opened.

Which he did, one hot morning while Mary Leigh and I were visiting Becky.

When we returned near dusk, twigs and leaves scattered on the street foretold what we would find. A thunderstorm had taken the sunflower down.

The leaves hadn’t yet wilted, so I hoisted up the stalk and tried to brace it with stakes. But to no avail. The roots were broken, so the stalk teetered and spun with the slightest breeze.

As the light faded, neighbors murmured encouragement and went

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 37 bontanicus
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inside. Warm light spilled from their windows into the dusk.

Near dark, I gave up, too.

We’re all under a death sentence, when you think about it. But it doesn’t pay to think about it too much.

When I was growing up in the mountains of Virginia, I often sought refuge in the natural world. There was conflict in my household, but outside, I found solace. Quietude. Beauty. Hope. And a myriad of interesting things.

The spring wildflowers I discovered in the woodlands were treasures. In school, I was careful to learn their names and characteristics. Likewise for bugs and spiders, and all number of slimy or slithering creatures.

It seemed to me that among the wildflowers and critters, death was a natural part of life. The large and constant pattern of their lives was indifferent to sorrow and death.

Early the next morning after the thunderstorm, I clipped a few of the wilted sunflowers. I arranged a place for them to dry out, planning to give seeds to the neighbors at Christmas and to plant some myself come spring — in the middle of a flower bed, so the roots could better anchor the stalks this time.

Then Rob’s photo arrived in my email inbox.


A goldfinch perched on a bower of gold singing to a blue sky. Indifferent to the coming storm. Captured by my neigh bor’s skill, as a favor to me.

Just days later, Mary Leigh’s mom left us. It was grim to watch her go, of course — to see how determined her body was to cling to the spirit that was leaving it.

But I’m sure Becky’s spirit found quietude and beauty. And her memory is our hope.

This spring, finches have returned and sunflowers will bloom — indifferent to des tiny, indifferent even to their own beauty. And that is the natural world.

Ross Howell Jr. is a contributor to magazine. Currently, he’s reading Margaret Renkl’s new book,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro bontanicus
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If you live

Easy Listening

But the whip-poor-will is harder to spot

adjacent to wet woods well away from the city, I am betting that you have been treated to a loud, repetitive call at dusk — probably for some weeks now. The raucous, distinct vocalizations most likely originate from a medium-sized, extremely well camouflaged bird. Not surprisingly, the endless three-syllable chants of “whip poor will” are made by the Eastern whip-poor-will. But make no mistake: This bird is as hard to find as it is easy to hear. Its mottled gray, brown and white plumage makes it virtually invisible either perched on a low branch or, as it does more often, sitting on the forest floor.

Should you scare up one of these birds or catch a glimpse at dawn or dusk, you will see that little about their plumage really stands out. Whip-poor-wills have a distinct white throat patch as well as pale coloring on the corners of the tail but otherwise are quite dull. The outer tail patches on males are white but buffcolored on the females — otherwise they are identical. One other important difference is that only the males do the calling.

In early spring, whip-poor-wills make their way north from winter locations ranging from Central America to perhaps as far north as the Gulf Coast. Their overland route, which they cover at night, brings them up through the Southeastern states

quite early in the season but, by the time they arrive, larger insects have already taken flight. This is critical given the fact that they dine solely on bugs. Their huge mouths scoop up a variety of invertebrates, including moths, beetles, grasshoppers, fireflies, and even wasps and bees. They are known to feed all night long if there is a full moon. Whip-poor-wills are versatile hunters, searching for prey items in leaf litter or, at times, rotting wood.

Because they spend most of their time flying in the forest, whip-poor-wills require open terrain like the open pine woodlands of the Sandhills region. Nests are simple scrapes on the ground made by females who typically lay two marbled eggs that are amazingly camouflaged in the leaf littler. Although it is the female who incubates, the male may perform a convincing distraction display at the nest site to lure would-be predators away. It is curious to note that nesting may be delayed so that hatching coincides with the full moon when the parents can spend more of the night hunting insects for their growing family. Young whip-poor-wills will move from the nest after hatching, perhaps to avoid predation.

Unfortunately in the East, many whip-poor-will populations have been in decline due to habitat loss. Woodlands continue to be replaced by both agriculture and, even more so, housing developments. Human activity has significantly reduced potential territories here in central North Carolina. But where they hang on, their summertime chorus rings loud and clear. OH

Susan Campbell would love to hear from you. Feel free to send questions or wildlife observations to susan@ncaves.com.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 41
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Remembering Gangrene-sboro Days and Nights

Or how to get your foot into show business

“They [The Beatles] had no idea who we were. I walked over to John Lennon and said, ‘John, a lot of people mistake me for you.’ He laughed. I had the Zulu haircut. There’s a great photo of them playing with my hair.” — Marty Allen

The first superstar I ever met was Andy Williams, who bounced me on his knee at The Plantation Supper Club on High Point Road, or so my parents reminded me ad infinitum. I was 2 years old at the time. Ten years passed before I met another celebrity . . . and I’ll wear the scar from that encounter until my dying day.

Early one Saturday morning in 1968, I found myself pedaling barefoot up Northwood to Greensboro’s newest Winn-Dixie at (what is now) 1616 Battleground, a large retail center fronted by Main & Taylor and Huntington Learning Center. The reason? On hand to greet the fine folks entering the home of “The Beef People” that day, Winn-Dixie had booked Las Vegas comedy headliners Allen & Rossi. No idea why. Maybe they were playing the Plantation.

Even though Allen & Rossi’s blunt-force attempts at laughter largely left me cold, I still wanted to roll my grapes over two real Tinsel Town TV stars. Comedian Marty Allen and singer Steve Rossi blended their two disparate acts in 1957, not-so-coincidentally a year after the incredibly lucrative Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis nightclub act busted up. As a result, Allen & Rossi became the most successful of a multitude of Martin & Lewis imitators that chased that improbable dream of sold-out club dates and marquee dominance. Like Deano, Steve Rossi was a handsome, statuesque Italian crooner (“Al Di La”) plagued with a befuddled-

looking, bushy-headed nincompoop, Marty Allen, complete with his own lame catch phrase: “Hello Dere!”

A mainstay of The Ed Sullivan Show, Allen & Rossi were on the broadcast the night The Beatles made their American debut. Infiltrating some 700 talk and variety shows in the ’60s, they were perhaps best known for the summer of ’66 big screen flop The Last of the Secret Agents?, a lethargic James Bond spoof where Nancy Sinatra languished as the film’s femme foil. That movie was directed by a true legend — a guy I had the pleasure to collaborate with years later — Norman Abbott (The Munsters, Sanford and Son).

In one of mankind’s greatest leaps in technology — that is, until the impending moon landing — when Winn-Dixie customers at this location stepped on a rubber mat at the entrance, those heavy, metal-framed doors whooshed open automatically. Land o’Goshin, I don’t believe anyone ’round here had ever witnessed such a mechanical marvel. At least, I hadn’t. When those doors swung open with no effort for the little old lady in front of me, she stopped, looked skyward, then whispered, “Thank you, Jesus.” (I may be wrong, Big Bear at Lawndale could have boasted the first

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 43
wandering billy

Where Your Smile Finds Its Roots

“I love giving patients a reason to

wandering billy

automatic doors, but bear with me.)

As I approached the famous comedy team, who were meandering by WD’s meat display, Allen spun around unexpectedly, crushing the big toe on my left foot under the heel of his impeccably shined black, patent-leather shoes, the kind I’d only seen gangsters wear in movies. As I cried out in pain, Allen sneered, looked over at his partner, muttering under his breath, “Can you believe people walk around barefoot in a grocery store? What kind of hick town is this?!?”

In all fairness, it really wasn’t that unusual for kids to wander around everywhere shoeless back then, before “No Shirt, No Shoes, No Service” signs began popping up. I probably wasn’t wearing a shirt either.

Pedaling painfully home, I showed the injured toe to my dad, who declared it fine. A week later socks began sticking to that scabbed-over appendage, but my parents, who, as was the style of the day, took an arm’s length approach to raising children, assured me everything would be OK. When red vines began creeping up my leg, I once again asked if this was still in the vein of what they considered normal. Dad, who had served in the Army (quite literally, he was a Mess Sergeant), recognized immediately that a serious infection was underway. We secured an emergency appointment with a podiatrist, who told us in no uncertain terms, “Obviously the foot will have to go, but we might be able to save the leg.” I told the doc, “Oh, heck no! That’s not gonna happen.”

That podiatrist proffered what admittedly was a long-shot solution: There may be a chance to save my foot by soaking it in scalding water and Epsom salts pretty much every waking hour. Doc operated on my big toe, carving away the worst of it, as well as half of the toenail in the process, then wrapped that melange in so much gauze I had to cut an opening out of the tip of my left Topsider to accommodate the bulk.

Returning to Mendenhall Junior High (Home of the Mustangs!) on Monday, teachers were sympathetic to my plight,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

until I limped into Coach Loflin’s gym class. Perpetually clad in a gray polyester polo shirt with the requisite whistle around his neck, Loflin was a pretty decent guy, sterling I suspect, but had this annoying habit of bestowing demeaning nicknames on classmates who weren’t athletically inclined; his chosen epithet for me was “Stick” (I was skinny, sue me). That wasn’t so bad. He referred to another kid as “Chigger.”

Spying my crutched hobble upon entering his inner sanctorum, Loflin bellowed, “Everybody gather around!” then whistled. “Stick is trying to get out of gym class with some dumb stunt or another.” So sure I was faking, Coach instructed everyone — even the girls dressed out in their faded blue bloomers — in the gymnasium to assemble around me as he knelt down and began unbraiding that bulbous bandage.

As yellow hues that Pantone still hasn’t replicated slowly emerged, Loflin glared up at me and said, “You’re good, Stick, but I’m onto you!” He continued unraveling until coming close to the bloody red center of my tootsie pop — then he began re-raveling.

Mere months after rubbing elbows and toes with the rubes at Winn-Dixie, Allen & Rossi split up suddenly. Exiled to a kitchen stool mornings and evenings before and after school, I dunked my digits in that scorching Epsom salt brew for a month or so before getting the podiatrist’s all-clear.

One would have to employ the Hubble Telescope to detect what is today a minute defect on the toe of what many forensic pathologists consider to be a flawless physique. That minor imperfection nonetheless serves as a daily reminder to steer clear of two-bit gagsters wearing mobbed up footwear. OH

Of the six books published by Billy Ingram thus far, two are (mostly) about Greensboro history — Hamburger² and Eye on GSO — both breezy summer reads. The author can frequently be found weekends enjoying the lobster bisque at The Pied Pier.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 45 wandering billy
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This came before Hip Hop

This plants street crops

Won’t stop for red octagons

This thing sings songs

Prolongs life after death

Moves in stealth

Improves the quality of your life

Flows through pipes to irrigate land and turn grass green

This thing steams the wrinkles out of my daily

Therefore you’ve got to pay me

For this is Poetry

And. I never realized the power of my voice in this world

The power of this ink merged with this paper

And each day I laugh at my countless attempts to make sense of this gift

And each day it lifts me higher

Lights my soul on fire

And I wire these words like a telegraph to anyone that will listen

And some that won’t, so please don’t test me

Because this is dangerous

It’s like skin to me, it’s like kin to me

This thing befriends me when all else seems lost

I’ve paid my way by showing a way to the lost

And it came before Hip Hop

This plants street crops

Won’t stop for red octagons

This thing sings songs

Prolongs life after death

Moves in stealth

Improves the quality of your life

Flows through pipes to irrigate land and turn grass green

This thing steams the wrinkles out of my daily

Therefore you’ve got to pay me

For this is Poetry

Greensboro's first poet laureate, Josephus Thompson III, has created both a song and a book out of this poem. The book, Poetry Is Life, can be found here: josephusiii.com/product-category/books; the song can be found here: youtube/91K-WmDcMpQ.

June 2024

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 47

Wooden It Be Nice?

With Gary Lowell at the helm, weathered vessels take on the waters again

There’s a cautionary, oft-shared adage among well-healed seafarers that I’ve heard more than once: “You don’t own a boat; the boat owns you.” That commonly refers to those unwieldy, 130-foot floating hotels with which few of us will ever be financially burdened. But it may also be true, albeit in a much different sense, when it comes to smaller, vintage, wooden watercrafts, where ownership manifests itself as more of an emotional, familial connection.

There’s an unmistakable allure to those magnificent Americanmade maritime machines of the 20th century — the bold contours and fanciful interior chrome accents of a 1958 Century Arabian; the elegant simplicity associated with a 1949 Chris-Craft Racing Runabout; the playful luxury that defines a 1941 Gar Wood Flagship Streamliner; the distinctive shark-like fin of the 1955 Chris-Craft Cobra, a genuine aquatic hot rod, powered by a 331 Hemi Chrysler Marine Engine; or consider the aerodynamic sleekness of a Glastron GT-150, which James Bond piloted (on land, sea and air!) across the Louisiana bayou in Live and Let Die.

It’s been 30 years since Gary Lowell dropped anchor on a career restoring — in many cases, resuscitating — these highly sought after collectors items, having discovered his love of vintage boats at an early age. “When I was about 10 years old, my dad bought his first wooden boat and I just got into them then,” Lowell says of that initial spark. “My first job right out of high school was in television. I was the director of The Good Morning Show at WFMY and a puppeteer for The Old Rebel Show.” On weekends, Lowell would make a run for the coast to haul back some old wrecked vessel in an effort to make it seaworthy once again.

Emblematic of one’s personal style and appreciation for the finer things in life, any boat from a bygone era is sure to attract attention and spark lively conversations. And ones crafted from wood almost universally are regarded as the most impressive in any harbor, partly because each plank is meticulously handcrafted and laid. These veritable works of art are imbued with a

singular personality not merely reflected in their appearance but also in the idiomatic sensations its skipper feels when breaking through choppy waters, rocking to rest in a slip or quietly cruising placid waterways.

Those salvaged boats he dragged home to restore? Inevitably, “Somebody would say to me, ‘That’s nice. Let me buy it from you.’” That pattern continued until Lowell realized he’d unknowingly stumbled upon his true calling. “I started working in my backyard and then I got a little shop — and then a bigger one.”

Lowell expanded his operation from 1,800 square feet to his present day cavernous 18,000-square-foot studio on Blue Bell Road, where dozens of boats are dry docked or hanging from the rafters in various stages of completion. While he has clients here in the Gate City, “the regional lakes like Lake Norman, Lake Gaston, Kerr Lake and Smith Mountain are where a lot of my customers come from.”

The golden age of compact wooden boats is considered to be 1948 through about 1959, which tracks with the rise of automobile ownership in America. “Some of those boats actually took on the look of cars,” Lowell notes of the time when molded fiberglass chassis offered a viable alternative to wood, allowing for more extravagant body types. “Especially in the ʼ50s with the tail fins, cars loaded with chrome and big ornate steering wheels.” Indeed, from 1956 into the early-1960s, independent manufacturers began using more sculptural fiberglass to create outboard motorboats that mimicked the streamlined modernity of automobiles.

For vacationers seeking motorized symmetry, a tail-finned 1959 Chevrolet Impala land yacht could be paired with a virtually indistinguishable (from the rear) Reinell Jet Flight runabout. A ’57 DeSoto (“Tell ‘em Groucho sent you!”) might have been cruising that year over one of the nation’s brand new interstate highways in tandem with its Hurters Flying Fish doppelgänger. The iconic red-and-white 1957 Corvette convertible sporting a powerful, 265 cubic-inch V8 under the hood could easily tow be-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 49

hind it a matching two-toned, Fiber-Glassic Lone Star Meteor speedboat — the ultimate in aftermarket automotive accessories. But those oncefashionable hybrids are of little interest to Lowell, who focuses his efforts exclusively on refurbishing mahogany- and oak-framed watercraft.

Every classic boat comes with a backstory, having weathered the elements for a half-century or more. Gesturing to a gas-powered Sea Skiff designed to ferry a dozen or so revelers, Lowell explains, “A teacher over in Wake County bought this because he used to spend a lot of time on the lakes up in upstate New York.” After stripping away the paint on both sides, “We found carved into it the name ‘Canoe Island Lodge.’ We looked it up and [that resort] is still in operation. So I contacted them and sent them a picture of it, and they sent me a photo from a 1958 brochure that showed people on their lake in this very boat.” The boat’s owner told Lowell his grandfather used to vacation

50 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

at Canoe Island Lodge. “By coincidence, he’d bought a boat that his grandfather had actually ridden in.”

Naturally, what every client wants to know up front is: how much is it going to cost and how long is it going to take? It’s a great deal more complicated estimating how much time and effort will go into reconstructing a craft that spends most of its life in the water, which lends itself to harboring unseen damage that doesn’t come to light until peeling back the lower layers. That’s why, as an investment, the return is not going to be a financial one. “It will cost more to restore a boat than the resale value,” Lowell says. “You have a boat that you might be able to sell for $25,000 but we’re going to have to put $75,000 into it. But if it’s your grandfather’s boat and you want to fix it up for your grandkids, which some of these projects are, then it’s worth it.” Sentimental value? Priceless.

While an automotive “barn find” is unusual, it does occasionally still happen;

the maritime equivalent might more likely be uncovering a watercraft that’s been sleeping with the fishes. “I had one project we called the ‘Fish Boat,’” Lowell recalls. “It belonged to an older couple, one of whom had a grandfather who kept a boat on Lake Norman.” To their dismay, the couple discovered the boathouse had structurally collapsed, causing the boat inside to become fully submerged for an extended period. “When we hauled it up, it was full of fish, hundreds of them. It stunk for months so we kept it outside here, ripped it apart, hosed it down and restored it. It’s just a gorgeous boat that’s now on the show circuit going around the country.”

While he’s taken in fixer-uppers from as far away as the West Coast and New England, most of Lowell’s clientele reside in the mid-Atlantic area. “This is the typical boat that we do today. This one is in for a touchup,” he says, pointing to a compact Chris-Craft runabout. In the past, he’d already worked maritime magic on this very boat. “We ripped everything off, flipped the boat over, replaced the broken framing, then installed an all new bottom on it.”

Utilizing tools and techniques boatbuilders have employed for hundreds of years, there’s very little that can’t be accomplished under this studio’s towering roof. “The engines, if it’s minor, like the external workings and regular tuning up and all of that, we do in-house,” Lowell says. Many of those old boat motors were originally installed in tractors, tanks, and landing craft during World War II. “So there’s a lot of that left over, but the actual mechanical parts are sometimes hard to find.” As for the seat coverings, some higher-end boats are appointed in marine leather, others covered in a marine vinyl with a faux leather texture. These can be repaired using remnants on site. “In a lot of older boats, you’ll find the upholstery is in good shape. If it needs all new foam and cushions we have vendors that specialize in that.” Lowell turns to a local artist for the calligraphic flourishes that spell out the often clever nicknames inscribed across these crafts.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 51

“There’s a guy in town I use, Mike Gregson, who does all the gold leaf on the county’s fire trucks.” Lowell insists one of his hardest tasks was coming up with names for his personal vessels. “Most powerboat names are tacky or even crude,” he says referring to double entendres often based on the term “wood.” “The best are ones that are named after someone’s grandmother, such as Lena, Maren, Mozel or Amelia Jean.”

Mahogany and oak are the main boat-building materials so, with Greensboro’s proximity to the furniture capital of the world, there are ample avenues for acquiring hardwoods. Currently, Lowell is restoring several mid- to late-1950s, 18-foot and 23-foot Chris-Craft Continentals, an almost iconic mid-sized model adorned in dark mahogany siding with white pin striping up top. “Just a fluke that we’ve got all of these Continentals in at the same time,” he quips. He’s also putting the finishing touches on a 1954, 18-foot Riviera, which connoisseurs regard as the “quintessential 1950s Chris-Craft runabout.”

Some of the more unusual water crafts Lowell and his crew have on deck are a fleet of small electric models from 1934 and 1935. “They reside at a lake up in the North Carolina mountains,” Lowell says. “Most people don’t realize there are electric boats that old.”

While it wasn’t uncommon for manufacturers to install easily attainable automobile steering wheels in their boats, customized chrome ornaments, frames, and dial casings can be difficult to come by at times. “Even with a rare car, they still made thousands of them. Some of these boats, they maybe only made two of some models.” Making such a limited number wouldn’t have been the plan but, “if they made a 16-footer in 1953, but everybody bought the 18- or 20-foot versions, the next model year they’re not going to make the 16 anymore. You end up with a rare 16-footer you can’t find parts for, so you have to recreate them yourself.”

When it comes to bending those long mahogany planks to conform with a boat’s outline, Lowell explains, “They go into a big box that we hook up to a beer keg with a burner under it to boil water and we steam the wood for about an hour or so. When it’s ready, we pull it out and fold it around a mold or sometimes directly on the boat so it takes in not only the curve but the twists as well. That’s

kind of a fun process.”

While he and his precision-oriented crew will take on any type of boat as long as it’s wooden, sailboats are Gary Lowell’s true passion. What’s their “it” factor? “Something about the mast and the rigging that I like better than the mechanical power.” Not to go all Christopher Cross here, but there is a majestic quality to the art of sailing where sun, wind, canvas, punctuated by the ocean’s salty spray, induces an unparalleled level of serenity that, for thousands of years, sailors and adventurers have continued to chase.

“It wasn’t until years later that I came to find out that I’m part of a famous Lowell boat-building tradition that dates back to 1793.” Distant relative Simeon Lowell is credited for producing the earliest shallow-draft American Dory fish-

52 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ing vessels, for which his shop became famous. Positioned alongside the lower Merrimack River shore in Massachusetts, Lowell’s Boat Shop, the nation’s oldest, still operating, remains dedicated to the art of “preserving and perpetuating the art and craft of wooden boat building.” Lowells are still building watercraft in Maine and throughout the rest of New England.

Born in Greensboro but raised in Maine, Lowell returns to The Pine Tree State every summer to visit family and to teach restoration, marine painting and varnishing techniques at the prestigious Wooden Boat School in Brookline, which he’s done for 25 years. Closer to home, he’s conducted seminars at the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Plus, one of his crew is a graduate of Cape Fear Community College, where a degree in traditional woodworking skills and precise joinery techniques required for assembling wooden boats is offered, as well as a diploma in composite boat manufacturing and service.

Lowell also invites interns and school groups to drop by the shop. “With one intern, we’re making several oars to be donated

to Greensboro Parks and Recreation to use on row boats they rent.” He’s also a part of TWSBA, Teaching with Small Boats Alliance, an international organization of boat builders educating young people on subjects related to boating, such as geometry.

Wooden boat shows, like their classic car counterparts, are always a big draw, where 40 or 50 antique crafts will be gawked over by thousands of boating enthusiasts converging from around the country. In September, Smith Mountain Lake will host one of these festivals, where you’re bound to encounter an array of Lowell’s cultured pearls-of-the-sea. If you’re thinking of dipping your toe into the water, so to speak, the 34th annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show in South Carolina will be held in October, an event that kicks off with the Goat Island Regatta Auction. Bring your checkbook, but leave room for plenty of zeros.

Perhaps one of these gatherings will ignite your own infatuation for navigating cool waters in a vintage custom-crafted wooden boat, unleashing your inner James (or Jane) Bond. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 53
54 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Thinking Outside the Jewelry Box

With his grandfather’s tools, Jake Wosinski makes his mark on McGee Street

Behind the jewelry case at Jacob Raymond Jewelry on McGee Street sits the artisan and proprietor. His bald head is counterbalanced by a large, full gray beard and atop his long, narrow nose sits a pair of blue-framed glasses behind which dark brown eyes peer outward. The sleeves of his plaid shirt are rolled up to his elbows, revealing tattoos on both forearms. In short, Jake Wosinski, 52, is not someone you’d expect to be selling engagement rings.

And yes, you read that right: His last name isn’t Raymond. The Raymond in his shop’s name comes from his grandfather — his father’s father — who first sparked his interest in jewelry making. In fact, Wosinski still uses many of the tools he inherited from his grandfather. He holds out a pair of dividers engraved with a patent date of June 2, 1885, by Starrett, a company that Wosinski notes is “still in business in Boston, still making these.” The dividers also feature the engraved

initials of those who have used them before. Pointing to a tiny set of curlicue letters, Wosinski says, “And so I scribed my initials on there.”

Among the tools he inherited and uses on a daily basis are these nearly 140-year-old dividers, a large polisher and a steel ring mandrel, which aids in shaping and sizing. While he isn’t sure how far back the mandrel goes, it dates at least to the ’50s because it bears the inscription of a name familiar to Wosinski: George Beaudet.

Beaudet was the jeweler who originally taught Wosinski’s grandfather, Raymond, the craft in Milwaukee, where Wosinski originally hails from. When Raymond moved to California — where Wosinski’s own family headed soon after — he took his skills and tools with him and continued the trade. “I kinda grew up around it,” says Wosinski.

While the first jeweler in the family that Wosinski can recall is his grandfather, he comes from a long line of men

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 55

who’ve worked with their hands. “Most of my family on my dad’s side were tool and dye makers, or mold makers,” he says. He thought he’d follow suit, but decided to attend the University of South Carolina Upstate in Spartanburg, where his family had relocated when he was 16. He began working toward earning a degree in English, but the family once again moved, this time to Greensboro. After working for a year, he planned to switch gears and study structural engineering at N.C. State as soon as he qualified for in-state tuition. “But I never made it back [to college].”

Wosinski’s brother, Brad, worked with a bartender who also happened to be a gemologist. Through him, Wosinski discovered the Gemological Institute of America and, at the age of 20, began a correspondence course. The institute would send him gems to identify with equipment he’d purchased — a microscope, a polariscope and a refractometer. From there, he ventured into a gem-cutting class at Randolph Community College.

The class itself bored him, but in it he first learned about the Sawtooth School for Visual Art in Winston-Salem. He enrolled in a jewelry making course that would change his life. “As soon as I took that class, I was like, yeah, this is what I am doing.” At that moment, the dream of having his own jewelry business one day was born.

Had he always been an artist? In training, no. “Maybe I could have done better if I had taken an art class,” he says, “but at the same time, since I don’t have rules of art or whatever, I am just doing whatever I want, thinking more outside of the box.”

A man on a mission, he sold his motorcycle to buy the tools he needed, set up shop in his parents’ garage and tried to get a job working for a jeweler. Lacking experience, “No one would hire me,” he says. “Finally, I went into a jewelry store and said, ‘I will work for you for free. Just let me learn.’” A shop in WinstonSalem took him up on the offer. After two years, he left in search

56 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

of a paying job. Despite his experience, he still came up empty.

Not willing to give up, Wosinski decided it was time to attend an actual jeweler’s school and left for the now defunct Atlanta Jewelry Institute. Lo and behold, right after graduating, he landed his first paying jewelry job at a Greensboro store where he did repairs.

“But I wanted to make jewelry,” adds Wosinski.

Next stop? A shop in Winston-Salem, where he worked for six-and-ahalf years.

“I made lots of awesome jewelry,” he says, “but it wasn’t my design.” At the same time, Wosinski worked on designing and creating jewelry at home, with plans to create wholesale pieces to sell to stores — both one-of-a-kind pieces as well as manufactured pieces that he could reproduce in mass. When he wasn’t at work, he was building his inventory in preparation of launching that business. In the meantime, he’d also gotten married to his wife, Liz, and had three young kids at home to consider.

“It was just too much,” he says. “I thought, ‘I will never see my family.’” Being the sole provider, he opted instead to look for a job where he could continue to hone his skills and offer design services while waiting for “a later date” to pursue a business of his own.

Armed with a collection of his designs, Wosinski went to an interview at a Chapel Hill jewelry store. “[The owner] actually bought $3,500 worth of jewelry at the interview!” Naturally, he was hired and the family relocated to Mebane to be closer to his job. While there, rings he designed won 10 American Gem Trade Association Spectrum Awards. But because it wasn’t his shop, his name was not on the awards.

After 10 years there, “a later date” had arrived. It was finally time to take a chance on his dream. He’d mentioned to his friend, Nate Hall, owner of Legacy Irons Tattoo Co. on McGee Street, that he was contemplating a move back to Greensboro and wrestling with the idea of finally opening his own place.

“He basically said, ‘Well, the jewelry store two doors down? I think they want out of their lease.’”

The landlord, Jeff Yetter, confirmed and put Wosinski in touch with the shop owners.

“We were at the grocery store on a Saturday night and I get a call,” he says. The jewelry store owners were heading out of town for six weeks and told him that if he wanted to come take a look, he could come now. Or he’d have to wait.

“We bought our groceries, went home, hopped in the car and drove to Greensboro.”

As luck would have it, the owners wanted to sell their jewelry cases and safe, items that would have been costly at startup. Everything was outfitted exactly as he’d need it.

He recruited his former Winston-Salem employer to come take a look at the shop and share her thoughts. Her response? “You need to do this.”

It felt as though it was meant to be, Wosinski muses. After working his last Friday in Chapel Hill, he opened the doors to Jacob Raymond Jewelry for the first time the following day and assumed his business, like that of his previous employers, would go “gangbusters from the beginning.”

And? “It didn’t go as planned,” he admits. “I don’t know anything about running a business.”

After a year of commuting from Mebane, the family moved to Greensboro, renting a home and using the equity from the sale of the previous house to survive. Bank accounts dwindling, Wosinski feared

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that his dream was over, that he was doomed to failure. What are we going to do echoed in his mind.

Liz had left behind her own job with the move and struggled to find employment in Greensboro, but still, she remained supportive.

“That kind of financial difficulty and hardship can make a couple draw apart or fight,” he says. “We just leaned into each other more. And we did a lot of praying.”

Wosinski admits that he holds a certain amount of pride in his natural talent and capabilities. And God was just taking him down a notch, saying to him, “You’re taking credit for things I have done.”

So that financial struggle? “God was just showing me, you may be great at this, but unless somebody comes in the door and buys it, you’re done.” It was, for Wosinski, a lesson in humility.

Slowly, organically, the business picked up steam. Liz now handles the company’s managerial tasks, such as shipping, accounting and banking. “Every year we’ve been here, we’ve grown.” While it’s not the growth he’d envisioned, his circle has widened and he enjoys the sense of community cultivated by downtown Greensboro business owners and regulars. And

he’s able to do what he loves— create one-of-a-kind jewelry pieces. Award-winning one-of-a-kind pieces. Since opening his doors, he’s won two awards under his own name: the 2018 Platinum Innovation Award in the evening wear category and the 2020 Platinum Innovation Award in the bridal wear category.

No surprise there. His favorite pieces to create? Engagement rings. “That’s always like, this is for life,” he muses.

His designs begin, he says, in his design sketchbooks. He’s currently on his fourth. Inside, he loosely draws a plan just to get an idea out of his head and onto paper before it’s forgotten. “But then, every time I go to start making a ring,” he says, “other ideas pop into my head.” It’s very rare that a final product matches its original design. And most often, he notes, his pieces are “one and done” — no other in the world exists.

“As you can see, I’m all over the board,” he says, peering over his glass case filled with all sorts of bejeweled oddities. The artist in him appreciates — and designs — in a variety of aesthetics, from Art Deco to his “contemporary estate style. I love doing what I call my ancient style, which looks like something from the Middle Ages or

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Roman times.” A cuff bracelet looks like something that would have graced Cleopatra’s arm.

Wosinski loves working with sapphires because of their durability and the rainbow of colors they’re available in, but what really sparks him is fire agate. This rare opalescent stone shines in oranges, greens and purples, and is found in the American Southwest as well as northern Mexico. What appeals to him about this stone is exactly what appeals to customers about his jewelry: “Every one is different.”

Sparked by fire agate’s kaleidoscopic luster, Wosinski is determined to create a market for it. According to crystaldigest.com, fire agate is associated with passion and creativity and “is said to help one actualize their highest potential.”

These days, though most clients come to him locally, he serves several customers across the states — even across the globe. He recently completed two custom pieces for a doctor from the U.K. “He’s been following me on Instagram for years, threatening to have me do something for him,” Wosinski quips. Finally, the doctor made good on his promise and visited the United States, bringing with him a 44-carat lab-grown sapphire and a 22-carat lab-grown ruby. He dropped his gems off in November with plans for a March return and pickup.

something to speak — no, sing — to me. After all, this was eternity we were talking about here!

With those gems, Wosinski crafted a pendant that resembles an amulet and a ring. The doctor’s reaction? “He was like ‘aaaah’ and I was like, ‘Is that a good aaaah or a bad aaaah?’” Palms sweating, Wosinski stood by with bated breath. “It was a good 30 seconds before I knew that he liked it!” After all these years, Wosinski admits that nerves strike when presenting custom orders.

Back on U.K. soil, the doctor sent Wosinski a message: “Thank you for making my dreams come true in jewelry form.”

As for his own dreams? He’s still taking it day-by-day. Since 2017, he’s had only one employee other than himself, and that’s his dad, who — much like he once did — works for free. “I pay him with pretzels and peanuts,” he says with a laugh.

He hopes that perhaps his own 23-year-old son will take an interest and join him down the road. No pressure, though: “We all have our path that we need to go,” he notes.

The ultimate goal is to have a team of employees who can work with clients on custom orders but also create pieces of their own design. He dreams of one day employing jewelers he can mentor, and yes, they’ll be allowed to label it with their own names.

But he’s not there yet. “I can still go two days and not have anybody walk in.”

Just then, the shop door chimes, announcing a customer. “Hi there!” Wosinksi greets her. “What can I help you with?”

“I want you to make me a ring,” she answers. She tells him that her daughter, a client, says he’s the go-to guy to for custom work.

Woskinski’s face lights up at the opportunity to make her something, something beyond anything she could ever imagine. OH

In the end, under the pressure of time, I chose a $40 plain, gold band “for now” that was similar in width to the diamond ring that had been handed down from his grandmother and which I happily wore for years. It was made from simple, yellow gold, with a solitaire diamond. (I’m told her first ring was prettier, but she lost it in the ocean.)

For years, I was too busy raising kids to think about replacing my “for now” ring with my “forever” ring. Though I loved honoring tradition, truth be told, the diamond was constantly snagging on things and I was afraid I’d be responsible for losing Chris’ grandmother’s second diamond. Buying a third was not an option at the time, so I took it off.

When we moved to Greensboro in 2019, Liz Wosinski reached out to me via Instagram messenger to introduce herself. She’d been following me there and, as it turned out, lived in my neighborhood. She told me about her jeweler husband, Jake, whom she was very proud of, and I immediately followed him on Instagram, showing Chris his art.

Of course, shortly after that, the pandemic hit. Finally, in February 2022, 19 years after shopping in New Orleans, Chris and I walked into Jake’s McGee Street establishment. My wish? Something unique — anyone else an Enneagram 4 out there? — that would use the gold and diamond from my existing bands to create one wider ring. And this time, an organic style with mixed metals, because sometimes ya feel like silver and sometimes ya feel like gold. Plus, the diamond needed to be inset and snag-free.

Just eight weeks later inside the walls of Jacob Raymond Jewelry, Chris slipped a work of art onto my finger. The diamond, encircled in gold, sparkled along with the silver of the band. It hasn’t once gotten snagged on anything. But the best part? Knowing that my ring, as well as my marriage, is “one and done,” as Jake says.

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Wild and Wonderful

Pinehurst No. 2 prepares to test the best

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Copyright USGA//Fred Vuich

ADecember day in 1935. A man approaches the house at 120 Midland Road in Pinehurst, notices the Scottish-style stonework and arches of Dornoch Cottage, and rings the bell.

Donald Ross opens the door and greets A.W. Tillinghast.

What a meeting of the minds of the early days of golf course architecture.

Ross, 63, the son of a Scottish stonemason, apprentice in his 20s to legendary pro Old Tom Morris at St Andrews, an immigrant to the United States who set up shop in Pinehurst in 1900 and designed notable courses across the eastern United States — from Seminole Golf Club in Florida to Inverness Club in Ohio to Oak Hill Country Club in upstate New York. His tour de force, Pinehurst No. 2, sits just behind his house.

And Tillinghast, 59, the son of a wealthy rubber goods magnate in Philadelphia, who grew up playing cricket and fell under the spell of golf on a visit to St Andrews in 1896 where he established a mentor-mentee relationship with Morris. Tillinghast’s design acumen was on display across the land as well — from San Francisco Golf Club on the West Coast to Winged Foot Golf Club and Baltusrol Golf Club in the shadows of the New York City skyscrapers.

Oh, to have been a fly on the wall, to hear these friends and sometime competitors talk about their shared experiences — their formative years at St Andrews, their design philosophies, the challenges of maintaining businesses and servicing clients when travel was by train and communication by post.

Surely Tillinghast espoused, to some degree, his belief that “a round of golf should present eighteen inspirations, not necessarily eighteen thrills.”

And no doubt Ross would have looked at the 72-hole facility at Pinehurst Country Club and talked about how it had become the epicenter of golf in America. “I wholeheartedly believe in golf,” Ross once said. “A country which gets golfminded need not worry about the honor, the integrity and the honesty of its people.”

Tillinghast’s visit came at the behest of the PGA of America and his role as a consultant with the organization which in 11 months would conduct its flagship competition, the 1936 PGA Championship, on Pinehurst No. 2. They carried their golf clubs past Ross’ masterful rose garden in the backyard, through the wrought-iron gates and onto the third green.

Ross showed his guest the green complexes that he had just converted, with the help of

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The Ninth hole of Pinehurst No. 2
Donald Ross
COURTESY A.W. Tillinghast

green superintendent Frank Maples, from their previous flattish sand/clay structure to undulating Bermuda grass, shaping the sandy soil around them into a cacophony of dips and swales. He noted the roll-offs around the greens, how they penalized shots even slightly mishit and propelled balls into the hollows nearby.

Ross led Tillinghast to the fourth tee and explained how he had just added that hole and the fifth to the routing, taking them from a previous employee-only nine holes, and had arrived at the final (and current) configuration after originally unveiling the course in 1907.

They felt the taut turf under their feet, reveling in how the drainage qualities of the sandy loam made for the ideal golf playing surface. As they went, Ross explained the choices golfers had off the tee — on the par-4 second, for example — showing his friend what a lovely view it was into the green from the left side of the fairway but pointed to the gnarly bunker complex a player had to flirt with to get there. Ross nodded to the native wiregrass that grew in profusion along the fairways and how it reminded him of the whins of his native Scotland.

Did the man known in the business as “Tilly” dip into his bag for a flask and a wee snort as he was wont to do? Did Ross grouse that this new and improved No. 2 was better than any new-fangled effort from Bobby Jones and Alister MacKenzie down in the red clay of north Georgia?

All of this, we’ll never know. What we do know is what Tillinghast said after his visit.

“Without any doubt Ross regards this as his greatest achievement, which is saying a great deal,” Tillinghast offered. “Every touch is Donald’s own, and I doubt if a single contour was fashioned unless he stood hard by with a critical eye. As we stood on hole after hole, the great architect proudly called my attention

to each subtle feature, certain that my appreciation of his artistry must be greater than that taken in by a less practiced eye. Nothing was lost on me, and after our round together, I told him with all honesty that his course was magnificent, without a single weakness, and one which must rank with the truly great courses in the world today.”

And, 89 years later, the show goes on.

Pinehurst No. 2 would continue to be the site of the North & South Open on the PGA Tour through 1951, with Ben Hogan, Sam Snead, Byron Nelson and Ross himself among the winners. It would host the 1936 PGA (won by Denny Shute) and the 1951 Ryder Cup (won by the Americans, 9 1/2to 2 1/2, over the team from Great Britain and Ireland).

But it wasn’t in the mix to host a U.S. Open.

Through the 1970s that union was simply impossible because Pinehurst shut down for the summer (the founding Tufts family and the staff went to Linville or Roaring Gap in North Carolina or traveled north to Maine), and the American national championship was played always in June.

When the resort went to air-conditioning and a year-round operating calendar, the idea was still problematic because of the USGA’s preference for playing courses with firm and fast greens, a challenging task on Southern courses during hot weather months. The U.S. Open was not played in the muggy Southeast until venturing to Atlanta Athletic Club in 1975, though it had already visited hot spots in Houston, St. Louis, Dallas and Fort Worth.

About the time Jerry Pate was winning in Atlanta, officials at Pinehurst Country Club began floating the idea of an Open for No. 2. The Diamondhead Corporation was five years into its ownership of Pinehurst after purchasing it in 1970 from the Tufts family, whose patriarch, James W. Tufts, launched the town and

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2014 U.S. Open Photograph by Joann Dost

resort in 1895 as a refuge from the cold winters of New England. The Diamondhead president, Bill Maurer, conceived the World Open on the PGA Tour and the World Golf Hall of Fame in the early 1970s and wanted all the traffic, attention and accolades he could muster for Pinehurst and its No. 2 course.

It took two more decades to figure out how to bring the National Open there.

First, there was the dodgy financial bona fides of the resort and club, which eventually went bankrupt and was taken over by eight banks for two years beginning in March 1982. Robert Dedman Sr. and his Club Corporation of America bought the facility in 1984 and provided what has turned into four decades of stability, innovation and financial security, with Robert Dedman Jr. taking the baton after his father died in 2002.

Second, there was the issue of the playing surfaces.

Pinehurst and other golf courses in the Mid-Atlantic, or socalled “transition zone,” have forever been vexed over the choice for their putting surfaces between Bermuda grass, the de facto choice for Florida and warm weather climes, and bent grass, which thrives in the North. Pinehurst officials experimented with new strains of both over the 1970s and ’80s, walking that tightrope between offering smooth and playable greens for members and resort guests for 12 months of the year, and yet having the ability to get them lightning-quick while not dying in the summer for an elite competition. Pinehurst old-timers still remembered Hale Irwin and Johnny Miller taking dead aim at flagsticks during PGA Tour competitions on No. 2 in the late summer and their approach shots going splat and stopping mere feet from the hole (Hale Irwin shot 62 and Johnny Miller 63 in mid-1970s birdie-fests).

Donald Ross must have raged in his grave.

By the early 1990s, the USGA and Pinehurst officials agreed that advances in grass technology and green foundation construction would allow them to rebuild the greens and have them stand up to the world’s best players on a 90-degree day in June. The USGA announced in June 1993 that it would conduct the 1999 Open at Pinehurst. The competition was a rousing success from the perspective of ticket sales, corporate support, traffic ebb and flow, housing and, certainly, the golf course itself.

“It’s the most draining course I’ve played in a long time,” said European Ryder Cup team member Lee Westwood.

“People sometimes ask what’s the hardest course I’ve ever played,” said two-time U.S. Open champion Lee Janzen. “Now I know.”

The Open has been contested on No. 2 twice more, and the course has played as a par-70 for each championship. The scores validate that what Ross completed in 1935 stands in fine fettle in the next century.

Payne Stewart was 1-under in winning the Open in 1999, Phil Mickelson was even-par, and Vijay Singh and Tiger Woods were 1-over. Michael Campbell won with an even-par total in 2005, with Woods at 2-over. Martin Kaymer has been low man in the three Opens, shooting 9-under in 2014, but his nearest competitors were a mile back, with Ricky Fowler and Eric Compton tied

for second at 2-over.

The firm greens, the delicate chipping areas, the flow of the holes and the strategic nuances led Tom Weiskopf to venture in a 1995 conversation that Pinehurst No. 2 is a better year-round test than Augusta National Golf Club.

“Augusta National is good one week a year,” Weiskopf said. “I’ve played Augusta two or three weeks before (The Masters) and it’s a piece of cake — a piece of cake. Pinehurst No. 2 is never a piece of cake.”

The 2024 Open at Pinehurst will be the first played on the Champion Bermuda greens installed after the 2014 Open and the second of the Coore & Crenshaw restoration era. Bill Coore, a native of Davidson County who played No. 2 often during his boyhood summers, and Ben Crenshaw, the two-time Masters champion, coordinated an extensive makeover in 2010-11 that included stripping out hundreds of acres of Bermuda rough, recontouring fairways and bunkers to Ross’ design, and rebuilding the perimeters with firm hardpan sand dotted with wiregrass, pine needles and whatever natural vegetation and debris might accumulate.

“In the early days, this golf course was disheveled and brown, and the ball rolled and rolled and rolled,” Coore says. “That’s what gave it its character. There was width here, the ability to work your ball to get the best angles. Over time, that was lost. It was too green and too organized.”

“Bowling alley fairways,” Crenshaw adds. “Straight and narrow, just like a bowling alley.”

Don Padgett II was the Pinehurst president and chief operating officer from 2004-14 and the man who convinced Dedman that hiring Coore & Crenshaw and taking No. 2 back to its “golden age” from 1935 through the 1960s was the correct move. Padgett is a “golf guy,” in industry parlance, coming to the resort with a background as a PGA Tour player in the early 1970s and a longtime club professional. His father, Don Sr., was director of golf at Pinehurst from 1987-2002.

One March afternoon a decade into his retirement, Padgett is sitting in a rocking chair on the porch overlooking the 18th green of No. 2. It’s sunny and 55 degrees. The tee sheet on No. 2 is full.

“I think this is what the Tufts envisioned,” Padgett says. “If you’re from Boston, this is balmy. My dad used to say if you’re in the golf business, stand here because everyone will come to see you.”

The world of golf is coming to Pinehurst in June, and the game’s top players will find the 18 holes that so impressed A.W. Tillinghast in 1935 and will vex them in 2024.

“I think the golf course today probably presents itself as the best it ever has,” Padgett says. “It’s Ross’ concepts with modern maintenance behind it. I think he would look at this golf course and say, ‘Wow, I wish I’d had the ability to grow grass like this.’ These are his concepts with modern turf. It’s not distorted, it’s enhanced. I think he would bless it.” OH

Chapel Hill-based writer Lee Pace has authored four books about golf in Pinehurst, including The Golden Age of Pinehurst — The Rebirth of No. 2. Write him at leepace7@gmail.com and follow him @LeePaceTweet.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 63

Peace and Purpose

A spirited little girl’s art offers solace — and hope

The home that Austin and Shelby Tew built sits outside Stokesdale at the end of a long gravel drive surrounded by 10 acres of hardwoods. It’s unique and its story is bittersweet — even heart-breaking. And I didn’t arrive at the house in the way you’d expect.

I began the journey at the MM Interior Design Group offices on State Street in Greensboro, where I was greeted by Mark Mitchell, business administration manager. Mark walks me into the design area. Marta Mitchell, founder, president and partner of the firm, is looking at fabric samples and stops to greet me.

Marta’s firm recently reached out to the magazine about the Tew house, a project she’s been working on for some three years. She’s a stylish woman with a wonderfully calm voice and an accent I don’t recognize.

When I ask her about it, Marta tells me her family was from the Mato Grosso region of Brazil. She grew up in the outskirts of São Paulo.

“I still have an accent, but I’ve been in Greensboro for about 40 years,” Marta says, smiling. She moved here with her husband, Peter, who’s now the marketing manager of the firm.

“My husband came for graduate school and was later offered a job, so Greensboro became home,” she adds. “Our two sons were born here.” It was the younger of the two, Mark, who met me at the door.

Marta explains that she had been trained as an interior

designer — “we still called it ‘interior decorator’ back when I was in school,” she adds — and started the business in 1989, working alone.

“Now, we work in teams of three designers on every project,” Marta says. Her most senior staff are design directors — there are three of them, including her. They manage the work of lead interior designers, who serve as the main client contacts and bear overall responsibility for individual projects. The lead interior designers work in tandem with assigned interior designers on individual projects day-to-day.

“There are 14 of us now,” Marta says. “There aren’t many interior design firms this size.”

Typically, her firm is hired by a client before construction even begins. Marta guides me over to the design pod where Angela Austin — one of the company’s lead interior designers — has the computer-assisted design model of a client’s waterfront house up on her computer screen.

She shows me the floor plan for an attached guest house.

“Right now, I’m working on some selections for cabinetry,” Angela says. With a keystroke here and mouse click there, she shows me a variety of cabinet styles in place, some stained, some painted, along with variations on ceramic tile and its placement — as well as a floor plan with chairs and sofas.

“All of this was done before the contractor even broke ground,” Marta says.

In addition to using 3D models, renderings and video walk-

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throughs, Marta’s design group takes visualization to the next level — producing virtual reality tours.

Marta guides me to a large conference room.

Awaiting us are Shannon Harvey, the lead interior designer for the Tew house, and Chloe Fields, interior designer for the project. Shannon is an experienced interior designer born in Mississippi, who lived for a time in Germany. Chloe is a recent UNCG graduate with a degree in interior architecture. Marta is the team’s design director.

I sit down in a swivel chair.

“Here, this goes over your head,” Shannon says, handing me the VR headset.

And boom.

There I am, inside the Tew house.

“You can look up and you can look down and you can turn around in your chair to see more,” Marta says. She explains how the VR program brings daylight in, so what I’m seeing is more realistic than the 3D computer models.

I look up at wooden rafters and industrial-sized heating and cooling ducts hanging from the ceiling.

I look straight ahead toward an enormous kitchen island in a long great room. Beyond the island is a bank of windows and doors looking out into woods.

“You can turn around in your chair to see more,” Marta says.

Now I’m looking at the entry wall of the house. There’s a spiral metal staircase leading up to a loft.

“The Tew project was really interesting,” Marta says, as I continue looking around, “because the house was already built when Austin came to us.”

Since he had work experience in construction, Austin personally completed or oversaw the building of the house, from pouring concrete to framing.

“It was empty, just walls,” Marta adds. “Then Shannon started working on it.”

Guests were always the first consideration,

Shannon tells me, not the comfort of the Tews themselves. They also stressed that they were on a limited budget, so Shannon provided images of her furniture recommendations to Shelby, who searched for similar, less expensive pieces, while Austin implemented Shannon’s painting or finishing ideas himself.

“He’s so handy,” Chloe says. “He’s built dressers, beds . . . that concrete countertop you see.”

And there was another essential consideration — their young daughters, Braylen and Cora.

Shannon tells me to swivel clockwise in the chair.

“There,” she says. “The big piece of art on the wall. That’s Cora’s.” It’s a whimsical, colorful painting of hearts set among strokes of pure, bright colors with a single word: LOVE.

As we continue my tour, Marta explains some of the design elements that Shannon introduced — painting sections of the enormous wall with contrasting colors to break up the space and placing big pieces of furniture strategically for the same purpose.

When I’m set to remove the VR headset, Shannon gives me a hand.

“The Tews started building this home when Cora’s cancer was in remission,” she says. “But the cancer came back.”

Now, fast-forward with me from virtual to real — the heart-breaking part of the story — as my car tires crunch along the gravel driveway in Stokesdale.

Austin Tew greets me at the door and invites me in. He’s accompanied by a romping, blue-and-white pit bull rescue named Dolly. She brings me a couple toys to inspect, decides I’m not as interesting as I first seemed and returns to her bed.

I stand there, looking around the great room. It’s big, feeling even larger than the space I saw in the VR headset. If it weren’t furnished, you could drive a semi-truck and trailer inside and park. The concrete floor is polished. The windows are metal-framed. The

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 67

house exterior is clad with white aluminum siding.

Turns out, Austin is the owner of Key Automotive Group in Stokesdale, so it makes sense.

“You see, I’m pretty industrial,” he says, smiling. “So we really had to find a designer who could think outside the box.”

“Marta was the only one who got it,” Austin adds. And got it, Marta’s team did. The house feels like a home.

Shelby emerges from her office at the back of the house. She’s a CPA with her own practice. Since it’s tax season during my visit, she’s in need of a well-deserved break and joins us.

The first room we step into is Braylen’s bedroom. She’s the Tews’ older daughter. The couple herd me through the bedroom quickly, since it looks just as you’d expect from a 10-year-old in a hurry to get to basketball practice on time.

We pass by a Jack-and-Jill bathroom to

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another bedroom.

“This is Cora’s room,” Austin says quietly.

Feeling awkward, I turn my eyes to a corner, where a rainbow is painted on the wall.

“Cora had picked out a rainbow and I promised her she would have one,” Shelby says.

“Marta found a pretty design online,” Shelby continues. “We got in touch with a mural artist named Lacey Crime, who painted this for us.” The artist also painted a lovely frame of flowers around the mirror in Cora’s end of the Jack-and-Jill.

“She never saw the rainbow or the flowers,” Shelby says quietly. She directs my attention to the ceiling of Cora’s bedroom. It’s covered in clouds.

“Marta picked out that wallpaper,” she says.

Austin clears his throat and we continue our tour.

As we walk, they tell me their story.

The Tews were living in Madison, just over the Virginia state line. They had gone out for dinner and Cora had fallen at the restaurant, hurting her leg. The Tews felt a small lump and thought it was from the fall, but the toddler cried through the night.

Shelby decided the next morning to take Cora to see her pediatrician. Later, she called Austin from Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem and said an oncologist was going to run some tests. The results showed Cora had cancer.

Wanting a second opinion, Shelby dove into research and found that one of the leading treatment facilities in the country specializing in pediatric cancer was the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center.

There, on Feb. 14, Valentine’s Day, 2019, Cora was diagnosed with rhabdomyosarcoma, a highly aggressive form of pediatric cancer. She was 2 years old.

Between February and June, the Tews made frequent trips to Cincinnati. In mid-June, the doctors scheduled surgery for Cora.

“So we packed our stuff and hauled it up there,” Austin says. It would be an extended stay.

Surgery was followed by 23 days of radiation and chemotherapy.

Cora’s lab tests looked good. Doctors removed her intravenous

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port. She was clear of cancer.

The family returned to North Carolina and broke ground for construction of a new home on the Stokesdale land they had purchased before Cora’s diagnosis.

Then, on Cora’s second, 3-month checkup back in Cincinnati, scans revealed her cancer had returned.

“We couldn’t believe this was happening,” Austin says.

Shelby tells me that, during the grueling, 12-hour days of treatment at the hospital, she and Austin noticed how much Cora enjoyed coloring or drawing pictures to take her mind off the beeping machines and busy nurses — how working on the art seemed to give her strength. And they found that big sister Braylen — just two years older than Cora — would use painting to let her emotions out.

Despite their situation, the Tews understood they were among the fortunate, because they were self-employed.

“You’d see some kid all alone in the hospital during the day because their parents couldn’t be there,” Austin says. “They had to work to keep their jobs.”

And, as happened with the Tews, families would find insurance companies denying payment for life-saving treatments.

“You see these situations, and it’s devastating,” Austin says. “You want to find a way to help.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 71

They decided they would use their individual skills to create a business — Faith and Healing Arts — that helps other families struggling financially with childhood cancer.

Building on their love for their own children’s art, they’ve found suppliers who reproduce their own and other children’s art in large sizes on high-quality art paper or canvas. Austin builds the frames and mounts the art.

Already, Faith and Healing Arts has retailers selling the work of children from some 25 families. The art can also be purchased on the Faith and Healing Arts website. All proceeds from sales go to participating families.

For two years, Cora received chemotherapy at Brenner’s Children’s Hospital in Winston-Salem, with 3-month scans at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

All the while, she played with her sister as her father poured concrete and framed the walls of her new house.

“But it was like she knew she wasn’t going to be around,” Austin says. “She never really staked a claim.”

Cora passed away in 2021. She was 5 years old.

We pause by a group of photographs on a wall so I can have a look.

“There’s my little mini-me,” Shelby whispers. “My little Cora Grace.”

They take me to the back corner of the house and I have a peek at Shelby’s office looking out on the woods. When she sees the client messages queued up in her inbox, she realizes she’d better get back to work. I thank her for her time and we say goodbye.

In the great room, Austin shows me a grouping of Cora and Braylen’s art. Then we go through a door into the beautiful private suite they’ve built and furnished, where families going

through cancer treatment can stay when needed.

Austin leads me back to the kitchen area, where along the wall there’s a commercial-sized refrigerator, lots of cabinets and a hidden, walk-in pantry. A stove and sink are located in the expansive, concrete-slab kitchen island.

He pats the slab.

“There’s a ton of concrete here,” Austin says. “And a steel bar to hold it up.”

He tells me about the concrete safe room in the house, built strong enough to withstand a tornado, where Braylen and Cora used to play just after the concrete had been poured and the framing was going up.

Austin tells me about the radiant heat system in the concrete floors, proudly showing me the utility room he designed and built — each duct, fan and pipe gleamingly clean, easily accessible for maintenance.

“All the fan motors are in here,” he says. “You turn on a bathroom fan when you’re in the guest suite, you don’t hear a thing.”

It’s a great house, a one-of-a-kind house. It’s a house blessed with peace and purpose.

Recently Austin celebrated his 40th birthday.

“We had our daughter’s basketball team’s kids and parents here, we threw corn hole in the living room, we did it all,” he says, reflecting for a moment.

“You know, an empty house sucks,” Austin says. “What matters now is to live life.” OH

For more information on the Tews’ art program to help the families of children who have cancer, visit www.faithandhealingarts.com. Ross Howell Jr. is a contributing writer.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 73
74 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro WES STANLEY, CPFA™, AIF® Principal DREW SAIA, CFP VP - Wealth Management 7800 MCCLOUD RD, GREENSBORO, NC 27409 (888) 339-5080 | FUNDDIRECTADVISORS.COM PLAN FOR RETIREMENT. Secure the Future. Certified Fiduciaries and Financial Planners here to help you and your employees attain financial freedom at retirement Corporate Retirement Plans | Wealth Management SPECIAL. www.PiedmontLand.org PROTECT WHAT MAKES NORTH CAROLINA CONSERVING CLEAN WATER, NATURAL AREAS, FARMLAND, AND TRAILS IN YOUR BACKYARD.
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June is a luscious muse, generous with her wisdom, lips to the ears of all who seek her.

Want to know how to dance? Move as the dragonfly moves, she whispers, guiding your eyes to shallow waters. Iridescent wings shimmer in hypnotic circles. The pond reflects the magic back.

In the meadow, the muse beckons a gentle wind. Be danced, she sings among the rolling grasses. Let the movement find you.

Night Bloomers

The full strawberry moon rises on Friday, June 21 (one day after summer solstice). What could be dreamier than a near-full moon on a midsummer’s night? Enter the moon garden. Breathe in the earthy-fresh fragrance of evening primrose (Oenothera laciniata). The sugary sweetness of moonflower (Ipomoea alba). The citrus-laced ecstasy of night-blooming jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum).

Artists: Dip your brush in milkwort and rosinweed. Watch sunlight transmute meadow-beauty. Express with the boldness of spider lily.

Poets: Attune to the frequency of bees. Can you taste the earth through your fingertips? Spend the day supping honeysuckle and catmint, then cover your legs in clover pollen.

It’s all for pleasure, the goddess intones. You cannot do it wrong. See for yourself.

Study the language of lark sparrows. Become fluent in butterfly pea and blooming thistle. Chime in with a choir of cicadas.

Dress yourself in Queen Anne’s lace. Map out the route of a swallowtail. Translate the essence of snap beans and squash blossoms.

Let listening be an artform. Or seeing. Or tasting.

How fully can you receive the richness of sound and color? The texture of nectar on your tongue? The depth and sweetness of these early summer days?

It’s simple. Surrender to the wild beauty. Let it move you. This is the mastery of June.

While not technically a night bloomer, the timeless aroma of gardenia (Gardenia jasminoides) is anything but subtle. Awash in the gentle glow of moonlight, the delicate white blossoms of this evergreen shrub are a wonder to behold. Linger among them. Tell them the quiet longings of your heart. If you lean close, you just might hear their secrets, too.

It was June, and the world smelled of roses. The sunshine was like powdered gold over the grassy hillside.

— Maud Hart Lovelace, Betsy-Tacy and Tib, 1941

Puck & Co.

Nature spirits have long been associated with the magic of summer solstice. Fae folk in particular. But what kind of mythical being is that?

The rosy maple moth is as storybook as it gets. With its woolly body, bushy antennae and candylike pink and yellow coloration, this small silk moth is nearly unmistakable. As its name implies, maple trees are the preferred host for this visual wonder, which can be seen fluttering near forest edges throughout the state. Perhaps you’ll catch a glimpse of one this month. Though who’s to say it won’t be Puck, stirring up a bit of mischief? OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 75
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Please verify times, costs, status and location before attending an event. Although conscientious efforts are made to provide accurate and up-to-date information, the world is subject to change and errors can occur!

To submit an event for consideration, email us at ohenrymagcalendar@gmail.com by 5 p.m. the first of the month one month prior to the event.

Weekly Events


BARRE CLASS. 10 a.m. Strengthen, tone and stretch your way into the week. Tickets: $10. Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info: grandoverresort.com.

SIT, SPEAK. 4:30–5:15 p.m. Megan Blake, The Pet Lifestyle Coach, provides great tips and real time practice as you learn to connect more deeply with your four-legged, best friend. Free. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.

KARAOKE & LINE DANCING. 4–7 p.m. Two of your fav activities merge for one evening of fun with DJ Energizer. Free. Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.


PELVIC HEALTH YOGA. 8:30–9:30 a.m. This Vinyasa-style flow class works toward lengthening and strengthening the pelvic floor and surrounding muscles. Free, registration required and donations accepted. Triad Pelvic Health, 5574 Garden Village Way, Greensboro. Info: triadpelvichealth.com/classes.

TRAILHEAD SWEAT SESH. 6–7 p.m. Throughout the month, sweat and flow to a variety of YMCA-led fitness classes, spaced out along various spots of the Downtown Greenway. Free. Info: downtowngreenway.org/event/ spring-into-motion-free-fitness-classes-5.


LIVE MUSIC. 6–9 p.m. Evan Olson and Jessica Mashburn of AM rOdeO play covers and original music. Free. Print Works Bistro. 702 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: printworksbistro.com/gallery/music.

FAMILY NIGHT. 5–7 p.m. Enjoy an artdriven evening with family and friends in the studios. Free. GreenHill Center for NC

June 2024

Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org/events.

MUSIC IN THE PARK. 6–8 p.m. Sip and snack at LeBauer Park while grooving to local and regional artists. Free. Lawn Service, 208 N. Davie St, Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.


JAZZ AT THE O.HENRY. 6–9 p.m. Sip vintage craft cocktails and snack on tapas while the O.Henry Trio performs with a different jazz vocalist each week. Free. O.Henry Hotel Social Lobby, 624 Green Valley Road, Greensboro. Info: ohenryhotel.com/o-henry-jazz.

WALK THIS WAY. 6 p.m. Put on your sneakers for a 2–4 mile social stroll or jog with the Downtown Greenway Run & Walk Club, which is open to all ages and abilities. Free. LoFi Park, 500 N. Eugene St., Greensboro. Info: downtowngreenway.org/events.

EASY RIDERS. 6–8:30 p.m. All levels of cyclists are welcome to ride along on a guided 4-mile cruise around downtown. Free. Lawn Service, 208 N. Davie St, Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.

YOGA IN THE PARK. 6–7 p.m. Unwind your mind and body with a flow led by Embodhi Yoga. Free. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.


KARAOKE & COCKTAILS. 8 p.m. until midnight, Thursdays; 9 p.m. until midnight, Saturdays. Courtney Chandler hosts a night of sipping and singing. Free. 19 & Timber Bar at Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info: grandoverresort.com.


LIVE MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Enjoy drinks in the 1808 Lobby Bar while soaking up live music provided by local artists. Free. Grandover

90 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
06.13 – 06.30.2024
Watercolor Exhibit

Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info: grandoverresort.com.


YOGA. 9:30 a.m. Don’t stay in bed when you could namaste in the spa studio. Tickets: $10. Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info: grandoverresort.com.

WATER AEROBICS. 10:30 a.m. Make a splash while getting a heart-pumping workout at an indoor pool. Tickets: $10. Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info: grandoverresort.com.

BLACKSMITH DEMONSTRATION. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Watch a costumed blacksmith in action as he crafts various iron pieces. Free. Historical Park at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org.

June Events

June 01–30

ARTISTS AT EDGEWOOD. 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Meet the 30 artists-in-residence at Elliott Daingerfield’s restored historic cottage in Blowing Rock. Featured artists change weekly. Free. Main Street and Ginny Stevens Lane, Blowing Rock. Info: artistsatedgewood.org.

HITTING THE HIGH NOTES. High Notes: Echoes of High Point’s Musical Talent, an exhibit developed by Dr. Shannon Lalor’s Public History course students at High Point University, highlights local renowned musicians throughout the decade. Free. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpoint museum.org.

June 01–29

SPACE ART. GreenHill Center for NC. Art’s latest exhibit, LEAP: Artists Imagine Outer Space, will be in orbit until June 29. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org/events.

June 01–08

DNA TO BEER. Through June 1, enjoy a traveling exhibition dedicated to the science and medicinal technologies used to improve foods and beverages — including beer — in partnership with the National Library of Medicine. Free. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org.

June 01–07

SIGHTINGS. Complementing its LEAP exhibit, GreenHill Center for NC Art displays photographs and artworks relating to sightings of extraterrestrial life forms submitted by the

local community. Open through June 7 and culminating with a first-prize winner selected by popular vote. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org/events.

June 1–3. 7:30 p.m. PRIDE CHOIR. Triad Pride men’s and women’s choruses belt it as they tour the Triad with their choral showcase, Home Is Where the Heart Is. Tickets: $10+. Shows in Greensboro, High Point and WinstonSalem. Info: triadprideperformingarts.org.

June 02 & 16

BLUEGRASS & BRUNCH. 11 a.m.–1 p.m. Enjoy live bluegrass and folk music while munching tasty treats from vendors. Free. LeBauer Park, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greensborodowntownparks.org/calendar.

June 05

READING THE WORLD. 7–8 p.m. Discover contemporary authors’ works in translation, such as this month’s selection, Beyond the Door of No Return by David Diop. Free. Online. Info: scuppernongbooks.com/event.

June 07–23

BEAUTIFUL . Times vary. This stage production captures the life story of Carole King and features an array of her music. Tickets: $15+. Hanesbrands Theatre, 209 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem. Info: ltofws.org.

June 07–09

TEN-MINUTE PLAYS. Times vary. Enjoy performances of 10-minute plays written by North Carolina playwrights. The Intergenerational Center for Arts & Wellness, 114 W. 30th St., Winston-Salem. Info: wswriters.org/10--minute-play.

June 07 & 28

ARTS SPLASH CONCERTS. 6–8 p.m. The High Point Arts Council presents a summer concert series featuring an array of local musical talent.; On June 7, catch the NC Revelers Orchestra, honoring the 80th anniversary of D-Day, at Wrenn Miller Park in Jamestown; and on June 28, The Get Go performs a jazz-fusion show at Oak Hollow Festival Park. Free. Info: highpointarts.org/arts.

June 07

GOLF FOR HISTORY. 7:30 a.m. Honor the legacy of Dr. George Simkins and the Greensboro Six by participating in the International Civil Rights Center & Museum’s annual fundraising golf tournament. Registration: $150. Forest Oaks Country Club, 4600 Forest Oaks Drive, Greensboro. Info: sitinmovement.org/golf-tournament-2024.

FIRST FRIDAY. 6–9 p.m. Head downtown for a night of live music and happenings stretching all the way from LeBauer Park and the Greensboro Cultural Center to the South End. Free. Downtown Greensboro. Info: downtowngreensboro.org/first-friday.

GREENHILL. 6–9 p.m. As part of First Friday, enjoy live music, plus a cash bar and open studios in ArtQuest. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org/events.

YOU-F-O ART PARTY. 3–9 p.m. Dress as your favorite space character for free drink at a community art party celebrating the final orbit of Sightings, featuring interactive activities, outer space-inspired grub and live entertainment. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: greenhillnc.org/events.

SWEET DREAM. 8 p.m. You’re in for a night of psychedelic power pop fusion as this trio takes the stage with openers Elora Dash and Ashley Virginia. Tickets: $10+. In the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

ROYAL BINGO. 7 p.m. Brenda the Drag Queen hosts an evening of Green Queen Bingo for ages 15 and up. Tickets: $25. Piedmont Hall, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

SHREK. 8:30 p.m. Bring your chairs, blankets and picnic food to catch your favorite funny ogre under the stars. Popcorn and water will be provided. Free. Historical Park at High

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 91
june calendar
Bluegrass & Brunch 06.02 & 06.16.2024

Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org.

June 08 & 09

MUSIC OF HARRY POTTER. 7 p.m. & 3 p.m. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban plays on the big screen while the Greensboro Symphony provides a live soundtrack. Tickets: $35+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

June 08

WILL MCBRIDE GROUP. 7:30 p.m. This band brings a unique blend of rock, funk, blues and jazz to the stage. Tickets: $17+. In the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

DUNLEATH PORCHFEST. 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Porches in the Dunleath Historic District turn into performance venues featuring an array of local musicians for the afternoon. Free. Info: dunleath.org/events.

June 09

ÁLEX LORA. 6:30 p.m. The Mexican musician and composer hits the stage with Alberto Pedraza and Kinto Sol. Tickets: $60+. Piedmont

& 06.09.2024

92 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro june calendar
Music of Harry Potter 06.08
T he Ar ts C.P. LOGAN DEEP GREENS AND BLUES • 24” X 36” • ORIGINAL OIL CLASSES • COMMISSIONS • PRIVATE LESSONS • PARTIES www. CPLogan.com It really is the happiest place! If you’re the slightest bit curious, give this a try. It will be the best decision you make. I highly recommend Fred Astaire Dance Studio in Greensboro! Classes are fun, a great workout, and a wonderful way to boost self-esteem. GIFT PACKAGES AVAILABLE Dance Life’s better with fredastaire.com/greensboro 1500 Mill Street, Suite 105,Greensboro, NC 27408 • 336.379.9808 No Partner Required

Hall, 2409 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

June 11

THE BIRDCAGE. 7 p.m. This “Carolina Classic Movie,” a remake of the French film La Cage aux Folles, stars Nathan Lane and Robin Williams at their comedic finest. Tickets: $8. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

LUIS MIGUEL. 7 p.m. This Grammywinning Mexican performer has been thrilling fans since 1990 with his exceptional live performances and top selling albums. Tickets: $61+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

H2O HISTORY. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. All ages are welcome to cool off by joining in waterbucket relays and learning how water made a splash in the lives of early American settlers. Free. Historical Park at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org.

June 12

PESO PLUMA. 8 p.m. The Grammywinning Mexican artist that sold out shows throughout 2023 returns to the Gate City. Tickets: $37.50+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events

June 13 & 27

BEACH MUSIC. 6 p.m. First National Bank Field will be hoppin’ with fun for the family and live music from Eric & The Chiltones on June 13 and The Tams on June 27. Tickets: $15. First National Bank Field, 408 Bellemeade St., Greensboro. Info: ticketreturn.com/TRMobile/#/tickets/ team?SponsorID=17336.

June 13–30

WATERCOLOR EXHIBIT. Opening July 13, Face to Face, A Look at the World, features the work of local artist Alexis Lavine. The Artery Gallery, 1711 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: alexislavineartist.com/ exhibitions-and-events.html.

June 13

THIS IS IT. 7 p.m. Filmed between March and June 2009, this documentary offers a glimpse behind-the-scenes as Michael Jackson prepared for his summer tour, a tour he never saw through due to his untimely death. Free. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

June 14–16

JUNETHEENTH. Consult the Juneteenth

GSO Fest Facebook page for an array of daily activities, including a Black food truck fest, an artisan vendor market, an interfaith celebration, live performances and more activities honoring Black culture. Locations vary. Info: facebook.com/JuneteenthGSOFest.

COSMIC SUMMIT. The premier conference for unconventional ancient history enthusiasts is set to explore the potential existence of an advanced civilization lost to history that could explain the construction of enigmatic structures such as the pyramids and megalithic stone monuments. Sheraton Four Seasons Hotel, 3121 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Tickets: $485+; virtual pass, $35+. Info: cosmicsummit.com.

June 14

ALI SIDDIQ. 7 p.m. The comedian and public speaker takes the stage for a night of humor and good vibes. Tickets: $26+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

HOLLER CHOIR. 8 p.m. Enjoy an evening of old-time Appalachian music with Holler Choir, Spencer Thomas and Rose Hotel. Tickets: $20. Flat Iron, 221 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: flatirongso.com/events.

June 15

CHIQUIS. 8 p.m. The daughter of renowned Mexican singer Jenni Rivera, Chiquis is carrying on her mother’s legacy with a dynamic career that boasts two Latin Grammy Awards. Tickets: $29.50+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

SHORT STORY SUMMER. 2–3:30 p.m. If you’re looking to improve your writing skills, the Library Learning Circle connects you with resources and other writers. Free. McGirt-Horton Branch Library, 2501 Phillips Ave., Greensboro. Info: greensboro-nc.gov/ government/city-news/city-calendar.

POTTERY HISTORY. 11 a.m.–4 p.m. All ages are welcome to drop in to create with clay and learn all about how Native Americans and early High Pointers used it. Free. Historical Park at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: highpointmuseum.org

June 16

STEVE MILLER BAND. 7 p.m. “Fly Like an Eagle” and take your seat to see the legendary band perform iconic hits such as “The Joker.” Tickets: $75.75+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

R.E.M. TRIBUTE 7 p.m. Dead Letter Office covers the music of the band known for iconic hits such as “Losing My Religion,” “Man on the Moon” and “Everybody Hurts.” Tickets: $25+. In the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

June 19

THE BEACH BOYS. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $51+. It’s a night of “Fun, Fun, Fun” as the Rock ‘N’ Roll Hall-of-Fame band originally from California hits the stage, performing tunes such as “Surfin’ U.S.A.,” “Kokomo.” Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

June 20

OPEN MIC. 6–7:30 p.m. Writers of all genres are invited to read from their original works for five minutes at “a very cool monthly open mic” held on the third Thursday of each month. Free. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: scuppernongbooks.com/event.

JOSH GATES. 7:30 p.m. Dive into a night of adventure and exploration with the host and executive producer of Discovery Channel’s Expedition Unknown. Tickets: $35.50. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

94 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro june calendar
H2O History 06.11.2024

FRANK TURNER & THE SLEEPING SOULS. 6:30 p.m. Enjoy a night of live music that blends folk and English punk. Tickets: $34. Piedmont Hall, 2409 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

June 21&22

MIKE MELLO. 8 p.m. He’s toured with Tracy Morgan, he’s opened for Dave Chappelle, and now he’s hitting a stage near you for a night of comedy gold. Tickets: $7.50+. The Idiot Box, 503 N. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: idiotboxers.com.

June 21

FEID. 8 p.m. Salomón Villada Hoyos, better known by his stage names FEID and Ferxxo, is a Colombian singer and songwriter who has worked with artists such as Bad Bunny and Maluma. Tickets: $44.99+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

faculty artists, young artists, and featured soloists locally, with exception to one special performance in Boone. Dana Auditorium, 710 Levi Coffin Drive, Greensboro. Info: easternmusicfestival.org/festival.

June 22

PEDAL INTO THE PAST. 10 a.m.–noon. In honor of Juneteenth, Bicycle in Greensboro joins the history museum to guide a family-friendly 3-mile bike tour along the Downtown Greenway, highlighting Gate City Green Book sites. Free. Greensboro History Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: greensborohistory.org/events.

SOLSTICE FESTIVAL. 2–10 p.m. Welcome the magic of summer while you enjoy live performances, meet local fairies, peruse mystical vendors, munch on vendor eats and end with an evening fire show. Tickets: $10; ages 12 and under get in free. Lindley Park, 3300 Starmount Drive, Greensboro. Info: greensborosummersolstice.org.


The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 95 june calendar
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$12, members and students under 21 (with student ID). Greensboro Shrine Club, 5010 High Point Road, Greensboro. Info: piedmontswingdance.org.

OPERATIZERS. 3–4:30 p.m. The Piedmont Opera serves up the flavor and power of opera in bite-sized pieces. Reynolds Place Theatre, 251 N. Spruce St., Winston-Salem. Info: piedmontopera.org/calendar.

JHENÉ AIKO. 7 p.m. The Grammy-nominated artist known for her new-wave contemporary R&B performs a night of smooth music. Tickets: $77.50+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info: greensborocoliseum.com/events.

LIFTED VOICES: CIVIC SEASON. noon–3 p.m. Experience a living history lesson as interpreters share stories from the NC Democracy: Eleven Elections exhibition. Free. Greensboro History Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: greensborohistory.org/events.

June 27–30

THE MUSIC MAN. Times vary. Community Theatre of Greensboro

presents the iconic musical comedy that’s been entertaining audiences since 1957. Virginia Sommerville Sutton Theatre at Well-Spring, 4100 Well Spring Drive, Greensboro. Info: well-spring.org/theatre.

June 27

WWII SOUTHERN HISTORY. 6–7 p.m. UNCG Professor of History Charles C. Bolton, talks about his new book, Home Front Battles, exploring World War II mobilization in the Deep South. Free. Greensboro History Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: greensborohistory.org/events.

DAVID SPADE. 8 p.m. The renowned actor and comedian takes his beloved character, Joe Dirt, wheelin’ through the Triad on his Country Bus Tour. Tickets: $41+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

June 28–30

LION KING JR. Times vary. The Community Theatre of Greensboro invites you on a roaring, musical, African adventure as Simba reaches his destiny; special Make-A-Wish show on June 29. Tickets: $15; Make-A-Wish

TShow, free but reservations required. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: carolinatheatre.com/events.

June 29

SONIC SYMPHONY. 8 p.m. This unique concert experience takes you through three decades of music from SEGA’s iconic mascot, Sonic the Hedgehog. Tickets: $45+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: tangercenter.com/events.

DRAG QUEEN STORYTIME. 11 a.m.–noon. Enjoy an hour of “fun for everyone,” filled with stories, queens and crafts. Free. Scuppernong Books, 304 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: scuppernongbooks.com/event.

STREET NIGHT MARKET. 5–9 p.m. Buy local, buy used and support Black-owned businesses at the new Gate City Street Night Market on the last Saturday of each month. Along the Downtown Greenway at Elm Street & Bragg Street, Greensboro. Info: greensboro-nc.gov/government/city-news/ city-calendar. OH

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Triad Heart Ball

Legacy Stables and Events

Friday, April 26, 2024

Photographs by Yasmin Leonard Photography

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 101
Caitlin Augerson, David Myers Anna & James Cohn, Gia Ebel, Riley Daggett, Cynthia & David Daggett Elizabeth Crews, Maureen Cavalcanti, Kyla Costa James Cohn, Steve Forbes, John Koontz, Griffis Shuler, David Daggett Jenna Beane, Tammy Nagem, Stacy Doss, Christine Jolly, Dr. Kevin Steinl, Dr. James Hoekstra, Christopher Fuller, Julia Hyett, Philip Brookshire Stephanie & Adam Bowden Rob & Robin Braiman Dr. Charles & Dr. Renee Tegeler Stacy, Will & Taylor Doss Dr. Bruce & Liz Walley Iris Boyd, Ashley Wade Christopher & Clara Fuller Casie Pegg & Curt Motsinger Joy Spillman, Julia Hyett, Andrea Brookshire, Heather Tucker, Misty Johnson Dr. Chere & Nokomis Gregory Tessa Walking Elk, Angella Willprecht, Sarah Gouch


GMA’s Annual Dinner featuring Penn Jillette

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Photographs by bcookmedia

102 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Susan Lanse, Erick Fisher Doug Fogartie, Vince Howard, Holly Harmon, Penn Jillette, Martha & Chester Brown Brittany Salinas Gonzalez, Anthony Berry, Christina Norris, Petra Monson, Charmiya Elliott, Josh Morgan, Atticus Simpson Ginni & Al Lineberry Kristin & Eddie Gafford Carmen & Sue Falcone Brad & Casey Ader William Clinard Susan Passmore, Roger Sullivan, Deanna Jones, Gina Carter John & Sandy Thomas Lindy Fuller, Karen Williams Scottie & Alison Springer


Children’s Home Society of North Carolina: A Place to Call Home

Elm & Bain

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Photographs by Shauna Ireland

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 103
Titianna Goings Elizabeth Rankin, Brian Maness Bob Long, Brian Maness Aesha Ealey, Kristen Brown Smalley Caitlin Stay, Audrey Biesk Carfora Caitlin Stay Marikay Abuzuaiter, Greensboro Assistant Police Chief Stephanie Mardis Titianna Goings, Susan McDonald Brian & Vicky Maness Gloria Bethel, Dr. Sebrina Cooke-Davis, Gail Haynie, Geraldine Warren, Dr. Teana Bowling, Barbara Israel Cynthia Pierce, Missy Farrell, McKenzie Ziegler, Annie Lee Coffey, Samantha Hollack, Audrey Biesk Carfora, Callie Kaszycki

The Gift of the Fan Belt

What goes around . . .

Note from the editor: This was second place in our 2023 O.Henry Essay Contest.

In the summer of 1969, I was driving a 1965 Chevrolet Corvair. Yes, a Corvair, not a Corvette. Manufactured from 1960–1969, the Corvair was America’s first and only automobile with an air-cooled, rear-mount engine. That engine was the heart of the vehicle, and near the center of this story.

we could coast down the incline and onto the ferry, then, after the crossing, get help pushing the car up the ramp onto the Illinois shore. Where we’d probably have to sleep in the car. Not a bright prospect.

After a long day trip to a state park in southeastern Missouri, my wife and I were in the Corvair, engine off, waiting in line for a ferry to carry us across the Mississippi River to southern Illinois. We chatted and laughed, recounting the highlights of the day. From the ferry landing, fields of corn flowed north and south to the horizon, filling thousands of acres of bottom land between the river and the levee. I could say that the scene reminded me of that ominous Stephen King story, but he didn’t write it until 1977. With the late afternoon sun behind us, we could see the ferry crossing toward us from the east bank, slow as a tortoise on vacation. It was carrying its maximum, just nine cars. On our side, the Corvair was seventh in line and, because the ferry did not operate after dark, ours would be the final crossing of the day.

As the ferry maneuvered toward the slip, drivers ahead of us started their cars. I turned the key in the ignition, the engine immediately fired up. Bang! What was that? Red lights on the control panel lit up like a Christmas display. I got out and opened the hatch over the engine. The Corvair had thrown its fan belt. Late on a Sunday afternoon. Miles from nowhere. We were stuck.

The fan is essential to an air-cooled engine, and its belt also runs the generator and the power steering. I was thinking maybe

“Can I help you, buddy?” It was the guy in the truck behind us. Who happened to be a Chevy mechanic. Who also owned a Corvair. And had a Corvair fan belt in the back of his truck. What were the odds? Our miracle mechanic installed the new belt so quickly that we were ready to roll just when it was our turn to board. My wife and I were two very thankful people.

Years later, I was on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, driving a different vehicle with an air-cooled rear-mount engine: a Volkswagen bus, the vehicle of choice for happy hippies, van campers and large families on a budget. By then, I had learned how to install a fan belt, change the plugs, adjust the timing, and other rudiments of amateur automobile maintenance. A quarter mile ahead, a red VW bug sat sadly on the shoulder of the road, its open engine hatch gaping at three perplexed women. Their bug had thrown its fan belt. I got out my tools and spare belt and in 15 minutes had those very thankful people back on the road. And I, too, was grateful for the opportunity to return the gift of a fan belt bestowed by that miraculous Samaritan so long ago. OH

Harry Roach and his wife, Liz, live in downtown Greensboro, where they spend a lot of their time dancing.

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