May O.Henry 2024

Page 1

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55 Beguiled by the Frailties of Those Who Precede Us Poetry by Stephen E. Smith

56 Running for Time By Maria Johnson Thad McLaurin, Greensboro’s own RunnerDude, sets a new course

60 Party Animals By Jim Moriarty

N.C. Zoo celebrates five decades

70 Crunch Time By Cassie Bustamante How Tanya McCaskill-Dickens went from hairdressing to homeschooling mom to the creator of the Crunch Cheesecake

74 When the Spirit of a House Departs By Cynthia Adams The carriage house of Diane Stallworth

85 May Almanac By Ashley Walshe Cover PhotograPh by M ark Wagoner PhotograPh this Page by a M y FreeM an

6 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
13 Chaos Theory By Cassie Bustamante 17 Simple Life By Jim Dodson 22 Sazerac 29 Tea Leaf Astrologer By Zora Stellanova 31 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 34 Pleasures of Life Dept. By Ronald Winter 37 The Omnivorous Reader By Jim Moriarty 40 Ceators of N.C. By Wiley Cash 45 Home Grown By Cynthia Adams 49 Birdwatch By Susan Campbell 51 Wandering Billy By Billy Ingram 106 Events Calendar 116 GreenScene 120 O.Henry Ending By Christine Garton
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Volume 14, No. 5

“I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 910.693.2467


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10 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro MAGAZINE
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A Souvenir

The best thing we brought back from Mexico didn’t come home in our suitcase

The year I became pregnant with my second child, 2006, I wasn’t quite ready. My husband, Chris, and I knew we wanted two kids, a boy first and a girl second, as I’d always envisioned. But we’d just had our first baby — yes, a boy — in the summer of 2005. We were going to start trying again in the fall of 2006 so our kiddos could be almost exactly two years apart, just like my older brother and me.

Before we added another babe to our brood, just like Conrad Birdie, we had a lot of living to do. In April, we dropped off our infant son, Sawyer, with my parents and snuck in a Great Apple getaway, exploring landmarks, strolling Central Park and savoring the city’s finest cuisine — street-side pizza, slices so humongous and dripping with mozzarella that they had to be folded to be eaten.

Then, in May, came Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, thanks to Chris being a top performer at work. Again, Sawyer stayed with grandparents while Chris and I — with a group of his coworkers, bosses and plus ones — sipped Piña coladas and sangrias, complete with cocktail umbrellas, next to a glimmering turquoise ocean. Chris and I took an excursion into the city to savor authentic local fare, but also took part in resort activities with his work pals.

A group of his coworkers wanted to hit up karaoke night and asked us to join them. When we got there, it was clear that no one in our group was actually willing to sing. Hold my margarita, I said.

Some boys kiss me, some boys hug me, I think they’re OK, I began Madonna’s “Material Girl” nervously. But, after a beat, I was feeling it. What I lacked in singing chops I made up for in dramatic flair, sauntering around the room and gesticulating in a flirty manner. I didn’t win the night’s competition, but I did come in second, losing to a resort-goer who could actually carry a tune. Plus, I won the respect of Chris’ cohorts, who thought I was brave.

And I caught someone’s eye that night — my own husband’s.

A few weeks after landing back on U.S. soil, I discovered we’d brought home an unanticipated souvenir. Feeling a little funny, I purchased a pregnancy test kit, complete with three tests, just in case. I took the first one. No, this can’t be.

I guzzled a bottle of water so that I could try this again. Surely, it was a false positive. I took the second. Then the third. Positive, positive.

That evening, Chris sat at the computer desk in our home office, the beeping of dial-up connection sounding through the room as he prepared to email the latest photos of 9-month-old Sawyer to his parents. I paced the house, reluctant to spill the beans. Building up my nerve, I’d walk into the room, ready to burst, but instead hesitate and mutter something like, “What do you think about trying this new recipe tomorrow?”

Finally, my nervous energy got to him. “Is there something you want to say, Cassie?”

“OK, yes,” I said. The rest of the words tumbled out hurriedly. “I’ve been feeling a little off, so I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. Actually, I took all three tests and, well —”

I fanned them out in my hand, six pink lines glaring back.

“Are you upset?” I asked sheepishly.

“Upset?” Chris burst into laughter. “Why would I be upset? We’re having a baby — again!”

“Well, it’s a little earlier than we planned,” I sputtered. “I just thought maybe you’d be mad because this is not exactly on our timeline.”

His blue eyes twinkled as he got up and pulled me into a hug. “You never have to worry that I’d be mad about you getting pregnant, ever. Unless, of course, it’s not mine,” he deadpanned.

I wiped away tears, “Oh, it’s yours.”

Eleven months later, we left our 21-month-old and 4-month-old babies with my parents and jetted off to Puerto Vallarta again, and again it was on account of Chris’ job performance. As the president of his company spoke, he commended Chris, saying “And now Chris is going for a third!”

“Oh, no, he’s not!” I blurted out loudly. The crowd of colleagues erupted into laughter as I realized my blunder — his superior had meant a third year of top-notch numbers.

We never got that third trip. But, as it turns out, we changed our minds about that third child many years later and welcomed our incredible, “not-an-oops” caboose, Wilder. Still, there is one thing I know for certain: Any future vacation souvenir must come home in our luggage. OH

Bustamante is editor of O.Henry magazine.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 13
chaos theory
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love has its conditions

Wives, does

your husband suffer from RRBS, also known as Recurring Refrigerator Blindness Syndrome?

The symptoms are relatively easy to diagnose. Your husband is making himself the first locally-grown tomato sandwich of the season and opens the refrigerator in search of Duke’s Mayonnaise. He scans the refrigerator shelves for three full minutes, increasingly agitated as he shifts jars of pickles, and containers of mystery meat and cottage cheese hither and yon.

Yes, I suffer from Recurring Refrigerator Blindness Syndrome. But I am not alone. There are untold millions of us out here who suffer instantaneous blindness whenever we open the refrigerator in search of condiments, cold pizza, leftover mac-and-cheese or the last piece of chocolate meringue pie. Moreover, according to the National Association of Endangered Domestic Tranquility, refrigerator blindness isn’t the only condition that strikes the average married American male, placing undue stress on relations with wives, visiting mothers-in-laws and elderly aunts.

Finally, after shifting the contents of the entire refrigerator around and even checking the vegetable and meat bins for the missing mayonnaise, he straightens up and loudly declares one of two things:

“This is ridiculous! I know we have mayonnaise! I saw it in here yesterday!”

Or, alternatively, with a wail of wounded resignation, “Honey, where’s the G#%@* mayonnaise? You said you just bought a brand-new jar this week. Someone must have taken it!”

Commonly, what happens next is the victim’s wife calmly appears, opens the refrigerator, and, within seconds, presents the aggrieved spouse with a fresh new jar of Duke’s Mayonnaise. Turns out, the mayonnaise was partially hidden behind a carton of orange juice last used by said victim, apparently in plain view only to the average female person.

If you live in my house, this happens on an almost daily basis.

Tranquility experts cite a commonly related condition known as DAS or Dishwasher Avoidance Syndrome that afflicts an estimated 87 percent of men married an average of 10 years or more. DAS is defined as a chronic inability to correctly load and unload (much less operate) a German-built dishwasher without proper supervision by someone familiar with the machine’s standard operating procedures, typically a married person of the female persuasion.

Sufferers generally avoid this normal everyday household task by poorly hand-washing dirty dishes and used glassware whenever the domestic partner is out of the house, not only resulting in suspiciously spotted dishware, but unnecessary use of precious water. A related inability to operate the average clothes washing machine and reach into a clogged garbage disposal have also been documented in some cases.

In addition, studies conducted on the average suburban

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

American male reveal at least two other common stress-inducing habits that take place outside of the home.

The first is LGLP or Lost Grocery List Phenomenon, generally affecting mature to elderly husbands who volunteer to go to the store for their wives with a list of a dozen essential items and return hours later with chips, salsa, three or more frozen pizzas, a six-pack of craft beer, the wrong dishwasher liquid, a set of half-price blinking Christmas lights, four Tahitian patio sconces, a tub of rainbow sherbet, Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Guide to Home Auto Repair (sixth edition) and only four of the 12 items on the original list, which was somehow lost in transit to the store. An unsupervised return to the store is sometimes undertaken with a revised shopping list safety pinned to the sufferer’s sweater.

Finally, there is the all-too-common domestic problem of UHIC, better known as Unfinished Home Improvement Complex, an affliction in which various do-it-yourself home projects have been sitting idle, unfinished or simply forgotten since the first Obama administration. This includes, but is not limited to, half-tiled bathroom walls; toilets that don’t properly flush; mountains of pricey hardwood mulch left in the backyard so long they’re sprouting young trees; doors that never quite close; suspicious sounds beneath the house; the broken doorbells; halfinstalled home security systems; and driveway sinkholes.

Curiously, in the interest of saving time and money, the typi-

cal victim of UHIC routinely stalks the aisles of Lowe’s or Home Depot, dreaming up ambitious new home improvement projects that will make home life easier but don’t stand a chance of ever being completed.

Yes, wives, you know these conditions all too well.

Sadly, there’s no known cure for any of these domestic maladies just yet. But there is hope in the form of a newly created self-help grassroots organization called Building Better Husbands, designed to afford hard-working wives like you the opportunity to network and share creative ideas on how to make their homes happier places and spouses more thoughtful and responsive. Look for chapters forming in your neighborhood soon. BYOB (or two).

A final word to my fellow sufferers.

This Mother’s Day, fellas, let’s give the little lady of the house a break by picking up the slack on normal domestic duties, finishing those pesky home projects, even reading the appliance operating instructions and learning to go to the grocery store only once without a list pinned to your golf shirt.

Meantime, it’s probably best to avoid calling your wife “the little lady” or, for that matter, never ever asking me to put my hand in a clogged garbage disposal.

Some old habits die hard, I guess. OH

Jim Dodson is the founding editor of O.Henry

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


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


To Cassie Bustamante in response to her March 2024 feature, “Greensboro: A Cultural Herstory”

My name is Mary Walton, and I am one of Mary Nicholson’s nieces. Thank you so much for recognizing her as one of the eight amazing women you profiled in your article. And what great company she is in.

I thought you would find it interesting that my sister, Lauren, and her daughter, Anna, have both followed in Mary’s footsteps as pilots. She certainly paved the way for them as well as many others.

Mary taught my father — her brother, Frank Nicholson — how to fly, and he became one of the first pilots at Piedmont Airlines and later Chief Pilot. My brother, Tom, is also a pilot and is a captain at Hawaiian Airlines. Lauren’s youngest daughter, Ashley (in college now), is also interested in flying.

Lots of pilots in the family!! Ironically, I am not, even though I am the one named after my aunt.

Anyway, I just wanted to reach out to say thank you on behalf of our whole family!

A remembrance by Phillip Jones spurred by Stephen E. Smith’s March 2024 “Omnivorous Reader” honoring the late Fred Chappell:

Our classroom was in McIver Building, on the ground floor. One class early in the semester, Fred called on a female student and asked her what she thought of the stories assigned for that day. She was quiet, hemmed and hawed a bit, then admitted that she had not, in fact, read the two stories assigned as homework. Fred’s face tightened a bit, then he looked at her and said, “Then take the time now and read the stories.” The class was immediately quiet — nothing like this had ever happened in our collective school experiences.

Fred walked over to the window, opened it, pulled up a chair, and smoked several cigarettes very slowly. Time stood still, only the smoke drifting from his cigarettes showed that we were not frozen in place. No one shifted in their seats or made a sound. After giving her enough time, he looked at her and asked if she had finished the story. She nodded and Fred asked her what she thought. When class ended, every student left that room with a different appreciation of Fred, his class and education in general.

Students generally did their homework after that and contributed to class discussions. One day, perhaps a month later, Fred asked three or four students about the homework with no response, then he looked around. Most students stared down at their desk and at their books, afraid to look directly into his eyes. Disgusted, Fred turned, walked to the door, and threw his books violently into the trashcan, then walked out and away. Silence reigned. Was he standing outside the door waiting for a brave soul to sneak away before the bell ended the class? No one moved, no one left the room, and no one spoke. When the bell finally did ring, we filed out silently and left McIver Building as quickly as possible. Fred had put the fear of God, or the Fear of Fred and his disapproval, into our very souls.

A Gold Star for Jamestown

Wrenn Miller Park in Jamestown offers plenty of opportunity for rest, relaxation and community with its picnic tables and sloped grass lawn, which provides plenty of seating for its amphitheater. But the park also offers a moment of remembrance. At its northern end, a Veterans Memorial features benches, dedicated bricks, trees, an evolving maze garden and a brick wall with the names of Jamestown residents who served in World War II. Thanks to Cedarwood Garden Club member Sharla Gardner, a Gold Star Families By-Way Memorial marker, which honors those who have fallen and offers hope and healing to families, is to be installed on May 25. This bronze marker, featuring a granite base donated by Hanes Lineberry, is the only one in Guilford County. Currently, there are four in the state of North Carolina, with three more being added this year. And across the entire United States? A total of 181. This Memorial Day weekend, head to Wrenn Miller park to salute the Gold Star Families By-Way Memorial and pay homage to those who have laid down their lives in service.

22 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Sage Gardener

In 1971, my wife, Anne, and I got turned on, tuned in and then dropped out of UNC grad school to become full-time hippie farmers in Pfafftown. We raised chickens, ducks and rabbits, grew our own produce and, equipped with Euell Gibbon’s Stalking the Wild Asparagus, foraged the fields and forests for tasty edibles. We made wild strawberry jam, Carolina cherry wine and ate lots of blackberry cobbler. We enthusiastically gathered chickweed, dandelions and violets to spice up our salads. Though I admit, a lot of things we ate just once.

The other day, I came across a copy of the recently published and marvelous Edible Wild Plants of the Carolinas: A Forager’s Companion by botanists Lytton John Musselman and Peter W. Schafran. Suddenly my enthusiasm for eating what comes natural was revived. Lavishly illustrated, it provides very sensible guidelines for what to eat, what not to eat and what’s best left in the field with the mice. Here are some of the choice tidbits I picked up from it.

A vital caveat, however: Please do not eat wild plants before consulting their book or some other reliable guide. There are lookalikes. Some plants have delicious edible fruits but deadly leaves and stems (and vice versa). And there are allergy concerns.

So . . . did you know?

• All wild violets are edible, though, as the authors concede, “The taste of most species is underwhelming.” However, “field pansies are pleasantly flavored and make a good — and unique — snack.” And how about Johnny-jump-ups in your next Hoppin’ John?

• Wild violet plants and flowers can easily be candied, sugared rather than shrinking.

• Lamb’s quarter “is one of the tastiest of wild greens.” Raw or cooked, they hint of umami and were favored by Native Americans. Don’t like ‘em? Spit them out and use as a poultice for minor abrasions.

• The taste of Pokeweed “is unremarkable — not surprising since it has to be boiled into submission to be eaten.” The berries make good ink and a mediocre poison.

• Orange daylilies, both tubers and buds, are edible. “Fresh buds are tasty with an appealing crunch.” The flavor is mild with, again, a hint of umami, which translates to a pleasant savory taste.

• Silver maple seeds, aka whirligigs, are edible raw. And, sautéed in olive oil, they have a peanut flavor.

• Field garlic is four times stronger than store-bought bulbs.

• The pink flowers of the eastern redbud “have a sweet flavor . . . and make an interesting topping for ice cream.”

• Elderberry flower heads, when soaked an hour or two in water, make a tasty beverage. The bees aren’t the only ones buzzing over these blooms. You can also make an alcoholic drink from the flowers.

• Not only are American beech nuts tasty, you can munch on the foliage.

• Chickweed, quite edible, has a bitter and soap-like taste. What’s not to like, say our chickens.

• Green amaranth is “one of the tastiest of greens.” Best when cooked.

• You can eat the tender young shoots of greenbriar, aka blaspheme vine, though the authors caution that the shoots from one plant may taste pleasantly like asparagus while the shoots of the plant right next to it may be too bitter to eat.

• Stinging nettles taste like chard.

• The young, tender rosettes of dock leaves are “pleasantly sour and lemony.” Don’t eat a lot of them, though, they say. And don’t bother with the roots.

• Glassworts at the beach are tasty and are called “haricots de mer” in France. You can buy them bottled in Spain and they’re delicious.

• Mulberry leaves are edible but taste “mediocre.”

• Devil’s walking stick is a “tasty vegetable.”

• Finally — and again — don’t go rushing out there, gobbling down fruits, leaves and stems without properly identifying the plant. O.Henry doesn’t want to lose a single reader.

— David Claude Bailey

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 23 sazerac

Calling All O.Henry Essayists

This year, we’re moving our annual O.Henry Essay Contest to earlier in the year so that you have all summer to meditate on it while you mow your lawn, swim your strokes or swat away the skeeters. The theme this time? “Furry, Feathered and Ferocious.” That’s right, we’re all ears for your animal tails — oops, tales — and we’ll be accepting entries May 1–Sept. 30, 2024. Got a wild hare? Submit a story about it! From beloved pets to snake encounters, we want to get our paws on your story.

Of course, there are some rules:

• Submit no more than 1,000 words in a digital format — Word or Pages document, a PDF, pasted into an email, or tattooed on your body and sent via photographs. Essays over 1,000 will not be considered. After all, as Shakespeare wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit.” (Why were your plays so long, Willy???)

• Email entries to

• Deadline to enter is September 30, 2024.

• Winners will be contacted via email and will be printed in a 2025 issue.

We can’t wait to hear the clickety-clack of keyboards across the Triad as you type your stories — stories that are sure to make us laugh, cry or rush to the animal shelters to bring home even more rescues. What’s one more at this point? — Cassie Bustamante, editor

24 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro sazerac
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Unsolicited Advice

The season of brunches, baby sprinkles and bridal showers is upon us! You know the rule: Never show up empty handed. Instead of the tried-andtrue, aka tired-and-trite, bring your party-thrower one of these alternatives to the classic hostess gifts.

A bottle of wine says “I’m a classy guest,” but a six-pack of unfiltered, craft beer? That says, “I’m chill and easy and will likely stay to help clean up after the party. In fact, you might have trouble

getting rid of me.”

Elegant serverware? That only lets your host know you enjoy being served and it damned well better be fancy. Instead, give ’em a massage. Well, not literally — awkward! A gift card to a spa shows that you want your host to have a turn at being served.

Upscale and hard-to-find seasonings might leave your host feeling salty. Sprinkle ’em with a dash of home delivery meals: DoorDash gift cards, so they don’t have to think about cooking again just yet.

Flowers die. But lego bouquets are forever. Plus, putting together their plastic posy will be a great distraction from cleaning up after the party.

Candles are cozy, but what they really need once the last guest (that idiot who brought the six-pack!) leaves is an air purifier. A scented candle masks the lingering B.O., but an air purifier cleans the air. What is that smell? *Sniffs* . . . aaah, nothing.


• O.Henry LIVE JAZZ! Every Thursday from 6-9 PM and Select Saturdays from 7-10 PM in the Social Lobby. See the schedule at

• Romance Packages at O.Henry & Proximity Book online at or

• LUCKY 32: LUNCH & DINNER 6 DAYS (Closed Mon.) (BRUNCH Sat. & Sun.)

• LIVE Music at PWB! AM rOdeO (Jessica Mashburn & Evan Olson) 6-9 PM

The Art & Soul of Greensboro sazerac

Got plans? Book Bound

If you’re not into books, jump to the next page or maybe another pub, but we can’t wait for the authors we dream about meeting, panels that stun our views of the world and all the people we meet at this year’s Greensboro Bound Literary Festival, May 16–19 in downtown Greensboro. Like previous festivals, this year’s lineup brings to our not-so-humble literary scene over 60 writers from across the country. The opening keynote event with best-selling author James McBride (Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, The Color of Water, Deacon King Kong) will get things going on Thursday, May 16, at UNCG, thanks to the generous contribution of the University Libraries (registration required: event/james-mcbride/).

Other highlights include our favorite NPR Weekend Edition Sunday host Ayesha Rascoe — in person! — with her book

HBCU Made; a special event around an essay collection on video games called Critical Hits, featuring writers Carmen Maria Machado (In the Dream House), Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (Chain Gang All-Stars), J. Robert Lennon (Hard Girls) and Ander Monson (Predator: A Memoir, a Movie, an Obsession). Again, thanks UNCG. Naturally, conversations will swirl around immigration, climate change, mean girls, diaspora and disappearing, apples, and romantic entanglement as poets, essayists and fiction writers argue about the issues of the day. Family friendly? Greensboro Bound also brings back a robust collection of children’s and young adult authors on Saturday, May 18, to coincide with the various adult events at the Greensboro Cultural Center and Greensboro History Museum.

All of this is a prelude to Sunday, May 19, with a special celebration of author Randall Kenan as the closing event of Greensboro Public Library’s “One City One Book” season. Kenan, who died in 2020, was a North Carolina literary legend and the editor of Carolina Table — the library’s choice for the city-wide read in 2023—24. If you’re a serious foodie, you won’t want to miss the panel discussion (AND FOOD!!!) at The Historic Magnolia House with his friends and colleagues Marianne Gingher, Daniel Wallace, Gabriel Calvocoressi and North Carolina Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green. As always, all programming is free. The question is are you?

26 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro sazerac

Just One Thing

Much of renowned American photographer Imogen Cunningham’s 93 years on Earth were spent behind the viewfinder of a camera. Her father, Isaac Burns Cunningham, though not enthusiastic about her going into the arts, supported her education in both academic and creative fields from a young age. When she showed a developing fascination with photography, he built her a dark room in a woodshed on the family’s Seattle property. However, at the time, photography was not a subject one could major in, so she graduated from the University of Washington

with a degree in chemistry. Her thesis? “Modern Processes of Photography.” She is credited as the first woman to photograph a nude man, but it was her 1931 image of dancer Martha Graham that caught the eye of Vanity Fair editor Frank Crowninshield and launched her career in portraiture. In this black-andwhite 1963 shot of fellow photographer

Minor White, we see a stark contrast between the dark background and the light bouncing off of his white hair and shirt. Shadows accentuate the lines on his face. “She likes to photograph anything that can be exposed to light, I remembered her saying,” White said of sitting for this photo. “Only then did I realize that it was her own light — whether she admitted it or even knew it.” Shortly after this photo was taken, White devoted an entire issue of aperture magazine to Cunningham. Strangely enough, both White and Cunningham died within hours of each other. An exhibit entitled Seen & Unseen: Photographs by Imogen Cunningham is currently on display at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 27
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SUN 5 WS 12 @BG 19 @HIC 26 GVL MON 6 13 20 27 TUE 7 @BG 14 @HIC 21 GVL WED 1 WS 8 @BG 15 @HIC 22 GVL THU 2 WS 9 @BG 16 @HIC 23 GVL FRI 3 WS 10 @BG 17 @HIC 24 GVL SAT 4 WS 11 @BG 18 @HIC 25 GVL @ASH 28 29 @ASH 30 @ASH 31 @ASH 11:00AM6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 2:00PM 6:30PM 12:00PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 6:30PM 23 HV 24 25 @JS 26 @JS 27 @JS 30 @JS 28 @JS 29 @JS 6:30PM 12:00PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 2:00PM 28 ASH 29 30 @WS 31 @WS 6 ABD 13 20 @HIC 27 ASH 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 2:00PM
SUN 4 @WS 11 ROM 18 @BG 25 ASH MON 5 12 19 26 TUE 6 ROM 13 @BG 20 ASH 27 @ROM WED 7 ROM 14 @BG 21 ASH 28 @ROM THU 1 @WS 8 ROM 15 @BG 22 ASH FRI 2 @WS 9 ROM 16 @BG 23 ASH SAT 3 @WS 10 ROM 17 @BG 24 ASH 29 30 @ROM 31 @ROM @ROM 6:30PM 12:00PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 2:00PM 6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM6:30PM 2:00PM
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(April 20 – May 20)

While it’s true you tend to be a bit self-absorbed, who can blame you? Ruled by the planet of love, money, romance, art and beauty, your sensual nature is part of what makes you so utterly magnetic. This month, both Venus and Jupiter will amplify your charm factor, creating a “golden ticket” effect in relation to your wildest longings. Here’s the catch: You’ve got to be willing to ditch your plans.

Tea leaf “fortunes” for the rest of you:

Gemini (May 21 – June 20)

Choose a focal point.

Cancer (June 21 – July 22)

One word: hummingbird.

Leo (July 23 – August 22)

Just take the ride.

Virgo (August 23 – September 22)

Step away from your comfort zone.

Libra (September 23 – October 22)

Expect a miracle.

Scorpio (October 23 – November 21)

Try slowing down.

Sagittarius (November 22 – December 21)

Mind your tone.

Capricorn (December 22 – January 19)

Read the care instructions.

Aquarius (January 20 – February 18)

Find your true north.

Pisces (February 19 – March 20)

Dust the fan blades.

Aries (March 21 – April 19)

Let the butterfly come to you.

Zora Stellanova has been divining with tea leaves since 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.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 29 tea leaf astrologer
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Getting Around to the Inner Game

Fifty years later, a classic book somehow seems wiser

ago, at the height of the 1970s tennis boom.

I pull up to the tennis courts late, worried that my friend will be miffed, even though this Saturday morning hitting session is just for fun.

The lag is no biggie, thank goodness.

The place is sparsely populated, and my pal is walking around the court languidly, phone pressed to her ear, engrossed in a conversation about her impending move.

She takes her time, which is fair and fine by me.

It’s a glistening spring day, and I take a few moments to soak it up.

The solid blue dome overhead.

The way my friend’s pastel Nikes leave footprints in the damp green grit of the synthetic clay.

The brush marks on the perfectly combed court.

The lacy overlay of snowflake-size petals blown from nearby Bradford pear trees, stinky but beautiful.

But stinky.

On the back fence, a mockingbird trills through his list of knockoffs.

A few courts down, the resident pro gives gentle reminders to his students.

I unzip my tennis bag, grab a racket and paw around until I feel the glossy cover of a book I’ve been meaning to give my friend, The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey.

The thin, pale paperback with a yellow ball on the cover — I wiped off another distinguishing feature, a coffee ring, before I left home — became a best-seller when it was published exactly 50 years

At the time, I was a teenager who was swept up in the wave, brandishing a steel Wilson T2000 racket, wearing a shiny Adidas track suit and racing around in featherlight Tretorn tennis shoes topped with pom-pom socks.

And yes, that was fly way back then.

I don’t remember how I acquired the book — Did someone give it to me? Did I go to a bookstore and buy it? — but I do remember reading a few chapters.

What malarkey, I thought.

The author went on and on about Self 1 and Self 2.

Self 1 was the self-critical voice, the source of rules and judgments, shoulds and oughts, rights and wrongs, goods and bads.

It was the self that yelled, “You idiot!” when I missed a shot and occasionally hammered the fence with my T2000, though not too hard because a cracked racket head was not terribly cool — or practical for a girl who worked weekends serving hot dogs at a snack shack.

Like most teenagers, I was well acquainted with Self 1, who was chiefly concerned with performance and appearance.

I was not as chummy with Self 2, the home of curiosity, awareness, acceptance and a knack for learning by imitation.

The ability to find joy in play — that is, childlike play marked by getting lost in the process and not giving a whit about scores or what anyone else thinks — lived with Self 2.

As a teen, I had no use for her.

I tossed the book aside, but for some reason I took it with me when I left home, boxing it up, unpacking it, not reading it I and repeating the cycle of neglect several times during the couple of decades when I didn’t touch a racket at all.

A few years ago, well into my second life as a tennis player, I

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 31
life's funny




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MAY 12

Young Musicians Festival 2-4PM

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Ladies Wine Out 5:30-7:30PM

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Come Sunday Jazz Series is sponsored by the NC Arts Council’s “Spark the Arts.”

est in playing flat out, which is great for me. In fighting form, in a real-deal match, she’d flatten me. That’s just the Self 1 truth.

But today, she just wants to hit, grooving her strokes without worrying about scores. In other words, she wants Self 1 to butt out. Same here.

Bounce-hit, bounce-hit.

I blot out everything but the ball. By the time it lands on my side of the court and rises up, I can see the brand name spinning like a cyclone.

Gallwey — now 86 years old and set to release a hardback special edition of his softbound masterpiece next month — would say that by concentrating on the ball and giving Self 1 a job to do, I’m freeing up

32 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro 555 E. Connecticut Ave. Southern Pines, NC A WELCOME PLACE

Self 2 to do what she knows how to do: Put the ball where it needs to go.

The rallies stretch. Five, 10, 20 shots.

We’re slugging the balls with topspin. And knifing it with slice. And hitting drop shots that curl up and die, leaving both the dropper and the drop-ee scrambling and panting with laughter.

“Oh, noooo . . . ” we yelp mid-sprint.

“You did NOT . . . ” we scold and take off. We applaud each other’s wicked shots by clapping free hands to string.

We are playing. Tennis just happens to be the game.

It’s tempting to say I’d like to banish Self 1 from all areas of my life, tennis and otherwise, but ’taint true. Making a little room for Self 1 strikes me as a good thing. The ability to kick yourself in the butt without kicking yourself to the curb is a valuable trait, as is judgment when it’s used, um, judiciously.

Plus, I like winning. Correction: I luvvvv winning. It’s an addictive juice.

But this is also true: My Self 2 comes around more than she used to, and I’m always happy to see her. She watches more, listens more, lingers in the moment longer and tells Self 1 to shush and hold her horses.

Maybe Self 2 is emboldened by age to stage-whisper what experience has shown her: that she is not the game. Or the score. Or how well she hits that drop shot.

She is something else entirely.

On her good days, you’ll see her running around the court, focused and flowing.

On her best days, you’ll see her hanging with other Self 2s.

Today is one of those days.

“My God,” my friend says, smiling and breathless as we break for water. “I’m gonna miss this.”

“Yeah,” I say between gulps. “Me, too.”

We talk a little, pick up a few balls and head back out for another round of moments. OH

Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry magazine. Email her at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 33 life's funny
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The Kindness of Strangers

Found in unlikely places

Note from the editor: This was our 2023 O.Henry Essay Contest winner.

I suppose I should tell you right away that this took place during a war, and wars are more likely to make the evening news for acts of inhumanity rather than human kindness.

It was November 1968 in Quang Tri, South Vietnam, a beautiful place that at the moment in question for many was lethal. The U.S. Marine Corps maintained an airstrip there that served as a staging point and northernmost helicopter base for operations in the Demilitarized Zone or the Laotian border, both of which were major infiltration routes for communist troops from North Vietnam.

I arrived there in May with the Marine helicopter squadron I had joined nearly two years earlier in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Since then, the tide had definitely been turned against the communists after the so-called “strong points” defenses envisioned by the former Secretary of Defense had been replaced by a highly mobile interdiction strategy, which required lots of helicopters flying thousands of missions.

But on Nov. 28, 1968, Thanksgiving Day, the action subsided as a mutually agreed upon, and mutually distrusted, ceasefire took place for 24 hours. I had been trained as a helicopter electronic/electrical technician, but also volunteered to fly as a door gunner. So each month I spent half of my time fixing helicopters and half flying in combat.

But on this day, our job was to simply deliver canisters of turkey, potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, desserts and beer to outposts and landing zones in our area. The aromas of those meals tantalized us all day as we visited landing zone after landing zone, giving the Marine infantry the first hot meal many had seen in weeks, if not months, making it the toughest duty I had seen in the more than 200 missions I had completed thus far. By mid-afternoon we were done, and it was back to Quang Tri, where the Seabees had completed construction of a mess hall for


us. We couldn’t wait to dive in to our own Thanksgiving dinners. After our post-flight duties, a group of us headed for the mess hall where, to our dismay, we found not a noisy jam-packed hall full of Marines scarfing down turkey dinners, but an empty building and, even more distressing, a barren chow line, devoid of anything but crumbs left from what obviously had been a sumptuous feast.

I think we went into a collective shock, which wasn’t helped when we approached the mess sergeant, a senior NCO, asking where the meals were for the flight crews. “Should have gotten here earlier,” was his caustic, wholly uninformed and certainly unsympathetic reply.

We drifted back to the squadron enlisted living area as dejected a group of Marines as could be imagined. It looked as though C-rations was going to be it for us — packaged meals that are unappetizing at best, even when heated, and not belonging in the same universe as a turkey dinner.

As I sat on my cot and pondered the ramifications of what we had just experienced, the door to my hooch burst open and in strode Billy Bazemore, another electrician and a relative newcomer to the squadron, who also had been flying that day and had just discovered that in his absence mail had been delivered, including packages from home. Billy, who had an incredibly ebullient personality, especially considering our current situation, triumphantly reached under his cot, pulling out package after package.

He displayed a large, precooked, canned turkey and more containers with potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce — yes it was the canned variety, but really, where were we going to cook up fresh cranberries in that environment? — and more.

At his invitation a half-dozen of us gathered around Billy’s cot, bringing our own contributions from hoarded C-rations — pound cake, peaches, fruit cocktail, even turkey loaf — and adding them to the growing feast. Then the hooch door opened again and in came another electrician, Tommy Lenz, carrying an armful of Lone Star beer in 12-ounce cans that had been arriving from his mother in

34 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
pleasures of life dept.

small batches to escape detection. He had been secretly saving them for such an occasion. Where Billy was outgoing, Tommy was taciturn, tall and lean — a Texan. But he had a huge smile on his face that day!

And just when we thought we had it all, I discovered that I too had received a package. Upon opening it I found to our great joy a Sara Lee chocolate cake that, thanks to modern chemical preservatives, not only survived the 12,000-mile voyage from upstate New York intact, but arrived reasonably fresh!

Most of us didn’t know the benefactors, who realized that Thanksgiving in a war zone might be difficult and did something about it. But they rescued the day for us and I have never forgotten our appreciation for them.

I wish I could say that this story has a happy ending, but five months later, on April 22, 1969, Tommy and Billy were flying as gunners together near the DMZ when their helicopter was hit by a command-detonated mine as it settled into a landing zone. They both died.

A month later, with more than 300 missions under my belt, I left Vietnam, physically unscathed. But more than five decades later, I still remember that Thanksgiving with far more detail than any other holiday meal during my time in the service.

I have lived a good life, far away from the war, in both time and distance, but I haven’t forgotten the people who created a memorable day for a bunch of Marines they never knew. And every Thanksgiving I stop for a moment, by myself, with no fanfare, and quietly raise a glass to them, and to Billy Bazemore and Tommy Lenz, to say, “Thank you. Semper Fi!” OH

Ronald Winter is an author, He is a decorated Marine Corps Vietnam veteran who spent nearly 20 years as a print journalist, earning numerous awards and a Pulitzer Prize nomination. He is a public speaker, competitive powerlifter and media relations specialist, living in Eden, N.C.

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.

Arbor Acres is a Continuing Care Retirement Community affiliated with the Western NC Conference of the United Methodist Church.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 35
pleasures of life dept.
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Sweet Memories

A year on the journey to adulthood

My freshman year in college was nothing like the one Stephen E. Smith writes about in his memoir The Year We Danced. And yet it was exactly the same.

For any memoir to rise above the level of that dusty old book sitting on the mantel in your grandchildren’s house, it has to reach a level of universality — no easy feat — and The Year We Danced does it without breaking a sweat. Except on the dance floor, that is.

Written with a touch of humor and a bit of heartache by one of North Carolina’s finest poets, Smith’s tale of his freshman year at, then, Elon College in 1965-66 is sweet without being sentimental, poignant without being preachy. While simultaneously being tethered to and free from his family back in Maryland, and with the escalating war in Vietnam a kind of constant buzz in the background, The Year We Danced is nothing less than the launchpad of a life, a survey course in Adult 101 — complete with its own soundtrack. Along the way we’re introduced to an endlessly entertaining cast of characters, drawn by Smith in distinctive, rich detail.

Smith’s father, the boxing coach at the U.S. Naval Academy, had taken control of his son’s college admission process in March and delivered the results in June like an uppercut:

“We were devouring Mrs. Paul’s fish sticks and oven-baked frozen French fries smothered in Hunt’s ketchup, our standard Wednesday evening fare, when he stared at me across the dinner table and stated matter-of-factly, ‘You’re going to North Carolina in the fall.’

“I froze in mid-bite, a flaky chunk of trans-fat-engrossed fish stick balanced on my fork. ‘I am?’

“‘Yeah, you’re going to Elon College,’ he continued. ‘It’s far enough away that you won’t be running home every fifteen minutes.’”

We are introduced to Grandma Drager, who “never forgave her wayward first husband and never passed up a chance to deliver a sermon on the evils of drink,” who travels 350 miles by bus to

hand-deliver to a young man about to venture forth into the world a baffling bit of wisdom in six words, memorable only in their towering insignificance — “Promise me you’ll wear tennis shoes.”

Once at Elon, where Smith’s father delivers both him and the message that he doesn’t expect his son to make it through the first semester, Stephen meets his roommate, Carl, who has arranged his shoes in the closet alphabetically by brand and has a pricy collection of 30 or 40 bottles of men’s cologne in parade formation on top of his dresser. “Unfortunately, Carl was the loquacious sort. He was going to sign up for physics and run for class president in addition to majoring in German. Then he started in on his personal life. I had no choice but to lie there in the dark and listen to him brag about his girlfriend, who was a freshman at a college in Virginia, and how they were going to get married before the year was out, a notion that struck me as utterly demented.”

As it turns out, it becomes clear rather quickly that Carl could have benefited from one, or several, of Grandma Drager’s exhortations on demon rum. “In the time we shared room 218, Carl never once exchanged his sheets for clean ones, and the pile of dirty laundry on his desk had spilled onto the floor beside his bed and included many of the garments he’d so neatly arranged in the closet on the first day of orientation. He’d sold off most of his bottles of cologne for beer money, and, as nearly as I could determine, he’d quit going to class altogether.”

On the plus side, Carl became the subject of an essay written

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 37 omnivorous reader

omnivorous reader

by Smith for the spine-chilling professor of English 111, Tully Reed. Smith picked a subject he knew and wrote the hell out of it. When the “The Making of a Derelict,” with copy as clean as anything that ever ran in The New Yorker, gained nothing better than a C– (the highest grade in the class), Smith screwed up the courage to find Tully in his office and ask the fearsome man why.

“‘It’s not A or B work,’ he said, shaking his head, ‘not for a college freshman.’ He handed me my essay, took a drag on his Lucky Strike and returned to slinging red ink.”

Smith’s dance partner, and surely one of the first honest loves of his life, is Blondie, an upperclassman (they weren’t gender neutral in 1965), who can power drink a PBR and dance until curfew, if not dawn. At their favored club, the Castaways, she takes flight. “As I watched, the simple truth dawned on me: We might be at a club where there was only one acceptable dance step, but if Blondie didn’t want to dance the Shag, she didn’t have to. She was beautiful, unique, and she didn’t give a damn about attracting undue attention. She wasn’t there to prove herself to anyone; she was there to have a good time, and she intended to do just that.”

Also unique, and on the other end of the spectrum from the fearsome Tully, was another English professor, Manly Wade Wellman, a prolific author who would eventually call the Sandhills home, just as Smith would and does. “Wellman was barrel-chested and wideshouldered, his graying hair combed back from his broad forehead. His round, open face was accentuated with heavy eyebrows and a prominent nose below which was cultivated a tweedy, slightly skewed Clark Gable mustache. What was immediately appreciable was the peculiar way in which his eyes reflected light. The very tops of his dark irises flickered, suggesting an inner illumination. . . . If Wellman was insistent, he was also endearing. I was immediately convinced that this guy had a sincere in-

38 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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terest in who I was and what I thought. He wanted to know about my latest writing project as if it were of immense concern to the literary community. ‘What are you working on?’ he asked.”

In a few short months, Smith had met both the carrot and the stick.

In the end, Blondie moves on. As all of our Blondies do. Then Smith gets the news that a boyhood friend has been killed in combat. “The spring of ’66 was early in the war, and although the weekly casualties were the highest since our involvement in Vietnam, I doubted anyone at Elon could name a friend who’d died in that distant war. I kept the news to myself.”

But not the sense of helplessness and futility. “I reviewed the times Barrie and I had spent together, my memory sliding from one image to another in no particular sequence — the hours playing hide-and-seek on dusky evenings in the little town of Easton, Maryland, the summer days I visited with him in

the banks of the Wicomico. But what I remembered most vividly was a summer afternoon in 1957 — we were both eleven — when Barrie and I were singing our favorite top ten rock ‘n’ roll songs and I mentioned that I was fond of a country song, ‘The Tennessee Waltz.’ ‘I can teach you how to play it on the piano,’ he said, and then he sat down at the family’s upright Baldwin and with uncharacteristic purposefulness showed me how to pick out the melody on the white keys. It was a good moment to hold in memory, affirmative and focused, his casual smile, his fingers walking along the ivories.”

Smith’s memoir, to be released this month by Apprentice House Press, is packed full of good moments. If you know someone who is going to be a college freshman — or if you were ever young once yourself — this trip down memory lane is well worth taking. OH

Jim Moriarty is the editor of PineStraw and can be reached at

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 39 omnivorous reader
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40 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Late Drive Home

The music of David Childers

Onechilly evening in early March, I parked in front of WiredCoffeeEspress in Kannapolis, North Carolina. I waited in the car for a few moments, wondering if I had the right place. The coffee shop sat in a strip mall between a discount store and a supermercado, and it seemed like a surprising spot to find one of my favorite living musicians on a Tuesday night. But then I remembered that I was there to see Mount Holly native David Childers, a universally beloved songwriter who is as at home sitting in on an intimate showcase of local musicians in front of a weeknight crowd as he is performing with the Avett Brothers in the Greensboro Coliseum.

Inside I found Childers already seated on the small stage, tuning his acoustic guitar and adjusting the harmonica holder around his neck. He and two other men about his age spent the next hour-and-a-half taking turns playing original songs, each performing five or six numbers. I knew most of the songs Childers played, but I couldn’t help but be struck by their beauty and nuance, how he was able to create rich tension between two lines that revealed a complicated duality that most songwriters aren’t capable of reaching for, much less grasping.

“There are moments of greatness,” he sang during his last song of the evening, “but this ain’t one of those.”

He could’ve fooled me.

By 10 p.m. Childers and I were sitting at a table on the sidewalk in front of the coffee shop as patrons loaded into their cars and trucks to head home for the evening, but not before several of them stopped by our table to say hello. One of them offered Childers condolences on the recent passing of Malcolm Holcombe, a singer/songwriter from western North Carolina whom Childers knew for years and who recently lost a long battle with cancer. Childers had honored his friend that evening by performing one of Holcombe’s songs.

“I’m sorry we lost Malcolm,” the man said.

“Yeah,” Childers responded, “but I think Malcolm’s in a better place.” He smiled a sly smile. “We’ll probably run into him.”

Holcombe and Childers came up together in the North Carolina music scene, two literary singer/songwriters who both seemed haunted by the South, its religious iconography, its mystery, and its hardscrabble economics. Both men released their debut albums in 1999 and spent the years before and after touring incessantly, making regular jaunts across Europe.

“I couldn’t get a gig around here in Charlotte,” Childers said, referring to a time when most bars wanted cover bands, not poets with guitars singing blue collar stories about mill

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Charlotte was changing, North Carolina was changing. The music scene was opening up, and I was getting more of a name, so I had more opportunities. Why fly all over the place if you can stay here and

more,” he said. “I don’t really want to go

And that makes sense if you listen closely to Childers’ more recent music, almost all of which is firmly grounded in the Mount Holly soil that rests along the Catawba River dividing Gaston and Mecklenburg counties. The songs from Run Skeleton (2023), and play

like soundtracks of mill culture, zeroing in on the hope born in the post-war years of the 1950s and the despair felt once the lifeblood of local industries

“It’s there in those songs,” he said. “Those two emotions — hope and despair

42 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

— they give you a conflict, and that’s a good thing to have in a song.”

A young man was standing nearby, and Childers looked up and saw him.

“Hey, man,” Childers said. He shook the young guy’s hand. “I’m glad you came out. I’ve seen you play.”

The guy seemed surprised and genuinely touched, and, before walking toward the parking lot, he invited Childers to an upcoming show. Childers promised to try and make it.

“That boy’s a hell of a songwriter,” Childers said.

We talked for a few more minutes, and then it was time for Childers to step inside the coffee shop to pack up his gear. I asked him how long the drive home to Mount Holly would take.

“It’s about 40 minutes,” he said. He stood from his chair and stretched his back.

I apologized for keeping him so long after the show ended.

“It’s OK,” he said. “It was a good show, and it was nice to chat.”

“I hope it was worth the late drive home on dark roads,” I said.

He smiled. “Hope and despair,” he said. OH

Wiley Cash is the executive director of Literary Arts at the University of North Carolina at Asheville and the founder of This Is Working, an

community for writers.


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Angel on Her Shoulder, Nape and Wrists

Mama picks her pungent poison

My Mama was wild for big, strong fragrances, favoring those that grew stronger as the day grew longer. In terms of chemical warfare, Mama could have taken out a small village with her perfume alone.

For years, I questioned whether Mama had any sense of smell whatsoever. She navigated her Yank tank of a car with Avon perfume samples at the ready inside the trunk that seeped so powerfully into the interior, it would make my eyes water. Mama put the “stinking” into her Lincoln.

Typically, Mama didn’t wear the fragrances she briefly sold. No, she was a fan of more precious perfumes. Nina Ricci’s line was a long-time fave. But she was quick to jump ship in favor of celebrity-hyped scents. Joy became a favorite after reading it was then the costliest perfume on the market. She also favored anything worn by her style idols, Elizabeth Taylor or Joan Collins.

She positively flipped for Opium, a scent so powerful that I dreaded being in her vapor trail.

The last thing you wanted to do was hug Mama early in the morning. You, too, would wear Nina, Opium, Black Diamonds or her perfume du jour for the rest of the day.

Her fragrances tracked alongside a timeline of popular culture.

That changed when she remarried in her 70s after meeting a man who loved fragrances as much as she did. He would buy a huge (refillable) bottle of Angel for Mama and Polo for himself.

Between them, they could never sneak up on a person. You smelled them coming.

By then, Mama had abandoned all other fragrances for Angel. It

still lingers on the clothing I saved after she “went to her reward” — its ironic name not lost upon her family.

All of which suddenly rushed back to me after entering a bathroom as a young woman exited. I had the equivalent of an olfactory flash back, including the gag reflex.

Covering my face with a tissue, I fled and immediately phoned an academic friend who positively excels at one topic in particular: pop culture. He shares the snappy sensibilities of late comedian Leslie Jordan.

When he answered, his speech, always slightly breathless, was crackling with wait-till-you-get-a-load-of-this energy before I could even mention my prime reason for phoning — loathsome colognes.

We immediately fell into our old-friends patter, talking over one another and half-listening, which is oddly comforting. These free-for-alls take peculiar turns that make us cry with laughter.

I delight in dragging his intellectual self to my idiotic level, which is a bit like taking David Niven to a tractor pull.

But, this time, he was way ahead of me.

“Google ‘actors with dentures,’” my friend said with urgency, which admittedly threw me for a nanosecond, given our last chat was about Jimmy Carter, whom he had met on several occasions. For ages, he had hinted he might get me permission for a media visit to the Carter family compound in Plains, Georgia, where he had consulted on a preservation project.

After a pause, he cackled with laughter — just as I feared he had lost it.

I scribbled a note to myself as we nattered on, assuring him he’d just handed me a column idea. At least we were hewing to the general subject area of smells.

Assuring him I would google “dentures,” I steered him back

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to what was uppermost in mind: compiling a list of the worst fragrances of all time. Without hesitation, he ticked off the most odious of men’s colognes: Pub. Hai Karate. Polo. British Sterling. Jungle Gardenia. Straw Hat. And hiccuped with laughter.

Delighted, I mentioned Tom Ford’s unisex fragrance — “F––––g Fabulous” — one which a clerk at Belk’s fragrance counter told me her store would not stock.

“Indecent,” she sniffed. I only knew such a scent as “F––––g Fabulous” fragrance existed because my niece spotted it at Charlotte’s SouthPark Mall.

“It stinks,” she texted, “but I sure want the bottle.”

Meanwhile, my friend zigzagged back to dentures, insisting Clark Gable’s horrid breath caused leading ladies to stuff their nose with cotton. (Explaining why Scarlet was so disgusted by Rhett?) A denture-wearing Tom Cruise and others surprised. (Go ahead. I’ll wait while you do your own search. I’ll be here when you return from that rabbit hole.)

Seeking bias-confirmation, I absently googled “most reviled fragrances” as my friend gabbed about the challenged chops of stars.

Angel popped right up.

“Not very original,” posted a disgusted Reddit respondent, who just might be a chemist. “Angel, the progenitor of every sickly-sweet gourmand, its ramifications still being felt nearly 30 years later. OK, it wasn’t the first to use the caramel/chocolate

ethyl maltol but it WAS the first to use it in those quantities, to that effect.” He ranted: “What makes it worse is that they squandered that bottle, that name and that beautiful blue color on THAT juice.”

Describing Angel as “carnal and sensual,” another Redditor claimed it was worn by model Jerry Hall. But I halted at the heading, “What perfume is good for body odor in monsoon?” Soap! my mind screamed.

For years I refused to wear any fragrance. It took most of early adulthood for my sense of smell to normalize after a childhood spent in mom’s flagrantly fragrant wake. Eventually, make-up maven Bobbi Brown created Beach, a clean, uncomplicated scent, reminiscent of Coppertone and sunlight. Fleeting, too, as a weekend idyll by the sea; it was truth in advertising, that name.

Some things, like Beach, wear well — and, more importantly, fade like your favorite denim shirt. Some things grind. A lot like Cruise’s original teeth, come to think of it.

Meantime, my friend was still cracking on about celebrities and dentures. But my head, frankly, was lost in a fragrant cloud — one that had Mama’s name all over it. OH

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

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The Hidden Hawk

Looking for the elusive broad-winged

All of us are aware of hawks in the landscape — no matter where in North Carolina we may be. We are fortunate to have a diversity of raptors in our state. These birds are formidable hunters that use their talons to grab unsuspecting prey of varying kinds. The most noticeable are larger species such as red-tailed hawks that sit in the open on stout branches or snags, and in the absence of natural perches, can be seen on fence posts or telephone poles. But there are hawks that are more secretive and spend most of their time hidden. One of these is the broad-winged hawk. This species is smaller in size and is more likely to be found in swampy woods. Happily, they are now returning from their wintering grounds in Central and South America.

These birds seem to enjoy the diversity of prey in wetter habitats. Mind you, I do not see these diminutive but magnificent birds regularly but, as with so many species during the breeding season, I hear them advertising their presence. Their call is a high-pitched whistle, unlike any other bird in our area. Being heard and not seen may be a strategy for these birds, given their smaller size: close to that of a crow. Often living within the boundaries of other, larger hawks — such as a redshouldered — being less visible is a distinct advantage.

Not surprisingly, given their size, broad-wingeds often go unnoticed. They are birds of the forest and, given their dark coloration, blend in well with their surroundings. But that doesn’t mean they’re drab. These stocky little hawks have reddish heads and handsome barred underparts that match their boldly barred tails. Only the keenest of birders will likely spot them, unless they’re migrating, when they congregate in large numbers (even into the thousands) in certain locations. At these raptor “hot spots” the birds can be seen soaring in circles, forming large “kettles” on updrafts, gaining altitude early in the day. Broad-wingeds, like many other hawks, use upper air currents to make their long journey a bit easier. Unlike most of our local hawk species, these birds move back and forth between the eastern United States and central to northern South America during the year.

In the Piedmont, the species can be found in hardwood or mixed pine/ hardwood forest. The courtship ritual is breathtaking, involving “skydiving” — circling high in the sky followed by a rapid dive. The pair will nest in the lower limbs of a mature tree, usually close to water or some sort of opening in the canopy. The parent hawks will feed their young everything from mice to frogs, lizards to large insects. Since broad-winged hawks are easily disturbed, they are rarely seen outside of rural areas.

Should you be out hiking at Haw River State Park in Browns Summit or at, say, Weymouth Woods Sandhills Nature Preserve in Southern Pines, keep an eye out — as well as an ear — you just may spot an elusive broad-winged. OH

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

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 49
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A Building for a Song

Ivan Battle’s dream of musical education plays on

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm, everything dances.”

There’s plenty of activity surrounding what’s become known as Midtown, where flashy attractions like Mac’s Speed Shop, RED Cinemas, Scratch and Doggos Dog Park & Pub are the obvious lures. Just behind those establishments, along a shady lane named Beaman Place, there’s a newly minted coffee klatch on the corner followed by two enchanting gift boutiques you really should check out.

Near the top of the crest on Beaman Place, Midtown is anchored by what has been one of this city’s creative bedrocks for more than four decades: The Music Academy of North Carolina. Serene on the outside, this two-story ensemble of studios, rehearsal and performance spaces is harmonically sonorous as you step inside. “Cool place!” is how seasoned musician Zac Richey described his experience, having won a guitar competition there when he was 15 years old. That mirrors others with similarly gratifying stories about fine tuning their skills in pursuit of dreams both large and small under the academy’s expert tutorage.

Armed with a UNCG degree in musicology and a doctorate from the University of Kansas, Ivan Battle — a musician, performer, composer and recording artist — was 25 in 1982 when he kicked off the first term at what was then called Greensboro Music Academy. With just two teachers and fewer than a couple dozen students, the organization operated out of his small home on Pisgah Church Road.

As a teenager growing up in Greensboro in the early-1970s, Battle recognized that our fair city was, to a great extent, a virtual musical desert. He felt budding musicians, no matter their age or experience, would benefit from an academic environ-

ment employing a collaborative approach in addition to one-onone instruction.

With the help of co-founder Rev. Joe Flora, former associate minister at First Presbyterian Church, where Battle played the organ as a youngster, Greensboro Music Academy grew exponentially over the years. Its success led it first into a two-story house on Bessemer, then, in 1988, to its decade-long headquarters on Westover Terrace, where Chipotle is today.

Described by those who knew him as “informal and playful,” Ivan Battle passed away in 1995, but not before witnessing enrollment top some 700 attendees. Still, that was a few short years before the academy moved into its current digs on Beaman Place, where Battle’s vision — that one day his nascent organization would occupy a suitably sized space dedicated entirely to musical education — began inching toward reality.

A quarter-century later, Music Academy of North Carolina remains a vibrant community asset for those with a song in their hearts

“The benefits of music-making are far reaching,” says executive director Kellie Burgess. “It makes us smarter, gives us more confidence, teaches us discipline and gives us an opportunity to express ourselves, to work with others.” In a recent partnership with Lindley Elementary School, MANC instructors discovered

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 51
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that non-English speaking kids learned the language much more quickly by singing words set to melodies.

Referencing our public school music teachers, Burgess insists, “I think they’re doing a great job. They just have a lot on them.” One of MANC’s major outreach efforts is providing sectionals to school choirs, orchestras and bands. For instance, Burgess mentions a recent trip to Ragsdale High to work with violin students. “We will do whatever we can do to build their confidence and help them hone their skills so that they can have a stronger collaborative group.”

Chris Rachal, director of student relations, touts the “top tier, well-educated in music teachers” on deck as one reason this nonprofit’s methodology is so effective. “I teach recording at the Music Academy,” Rachal says, noting he has both older and younger students. “I love both. I enjoy the younger students’ enthusiasm for learning and the older students’ willingness to learn something new.”

“We have the whole broad spectrum,” says Burgess. “Some younger students may not want to be here. You can tell because mom is making them play.” Others, though, are very ambitious and look forward to every visit, committing for semester-long courses.

“We meet students where they are, then just guide them on their own journey,” Burgess says. And the instructors each offer a unique curriculum and style. “We give them a good bit of guidance because sometimes students don’t want to play scales or don’t want to learn this or that, but we know it’s important that they do.”

The centerpiece of the first floor is a large recital hall, where Sunday recitals are often held. “We can also do workshops and group classes in here,” says Burgess. “We actually have a monthly jazz workshop. It’s free and open to the public and this is a perfect space for it.”

(See for schedule.)

Participants in the jazz workshop have an opportunity to perform in a manner similar to a jam session. “It’s basically for students of any age who have an

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interest in jazz,” Burgess points out, “to learn more about the language of jazz, learn more about the history.” Unlike standard jams where the group plays one song after another, with individuals standing to solo, this program tends to be more free flowing. “We have so many young students and adult students that come not knowing anything about jazz. So we want to make sure they’ve got the right tools to navigate the sessions.”

It was relatively quiet when I toured the Beaman Place facility on a recent afternoon, most kids still in school. “We do have adult students and homeschool families that’ll come during the day,” Burgess explains. “Most of our students start trickling in around 2, 2:30, and hang around until about 7 or 8. Our core is private lessons — that’s what we’re probably most known for.”

Ivan Battle’s dream for a stable future of Music Academy of North Carolina became even more solidified just last year. “The Murphy family, Pam Murphy and her husband, Don, enabled us to buy our building in October,” Burgess says. (Pam Murphy is the owner of Greensboro’s flavor-maker, Mother Murphy’s.) “It was a huge donation and we’re very grateful for their commitment to music education and to the Music Academy and the community.” Being spared that monthly rental expense allows additional resources for extended outreach.

This summer, MANC will conduct its annual symphonic summer camp in harmony with Eastern Music Festival, held on the Guilford College campus. “We’ve been doing this one for, gosh, probably close to 20 years,” Burgess tells me. “Students get to visit the orchestra each day, sit and watch a rehearsal, and sometimes actually get up on stage with the musicians.”

Dreams do come true, it could happen to you . . . but it does take practice. OH

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May 2024

Beguiled by the Frailties of Those Who Precede Us

Scrub your face with a vengeance. Brush your teeth till your gums bleed. Comb your hair into a pompadour, braid it into cornrows, buzz cut a flattop with side skirts, spit-paste that cowlick to your forehead. That’s how it begins, this becoming who you aren’t.

A twitch or tic or two you may inherit, but the face in the mirror you recognized only once before you’re beguiled by the frailties of those who precede you — your wayward Aunt Amelia, the lying politician, tongue flickering through his false teeth, the long-legged temptress slyly sipping a latté at the corner coffee shop, your scapegrace  one-eyed Uncle Bill — all of them competing for your attention, all of them wanting you to become who they believed they were going to be.

Between intention and action, take a deep breath and welcome the moment you become who you aren’t. Slap on Uncle Bill’s black eye patch, stuff those willful curls under Aunt Amelia’s cloche, pluck your eyebrows, rouge your cheeks, bleach those teeth whiter than light: then stare deep into the reflection behind the mirror: who you’ve become will trouble you, even if you shut your eyes.

— Stephen E. Smith

Stephen E. Smith is a retired professor and the author of seven books of poetry and prose. His memoir The Year We Danced is being released this month by Apprentice House Press.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Running for Time


McLaurin, Greensboro’s own RunnerDude, sets a new course

Greensboro fitness trainer Thad McLaurin sets his high-tech watch before springing into a “me run,” a jaunt just for himself. Even after 40 years of running, he dislikes the beginning of each trek.

His breath feels ragged. His stride feels choppy. His aches feel achier. Until about mile two, that is, when his body settles into a rhythm, the hitches smooth out, and his mind — giddy on oxygen and adrenaline — is free to fly.

His maroon Sauconys tap the greenway at a brisk clip. Tick-tick-tick-tick.

His footfall sounds like a metronome doling out double time, presto to a musician.

The pace is not as snappy as his personal best, but it’s fast enough for him these days.

He slows a smidgen as he climbs “Herbie’s Hill,” an incline behind a local diner. “It’s almost like the smell of bacon is hardening your arteries as you go by,” he jokes with an impish heh-heh-heh that sneaks out every chance it gets.

Spritely at age 59 — he tops out at 5-foot-6 and 147 pounds — he looks a lot younger than his age, but he has logged a lot of miles, figuratively and literally.

Right now his Achilles tendons, taut behind his heels, are unusually tight and sore.

They flared up last summer, and the discomfort lingers.

“I think the medicine I’m on for my cancer is causing a delayed recovery,” he says.


To many in Greensboro, McLaurin is — by nickname and profession — the RunnerDude.

He has introduced thousands to pedestrian success via the free Saturday runs and annual community-wide events organized by his business, RunnerDude Fitness.

Over the past 15 years, hundreds have signed on as private and corporate clients, some in pursuit of serious race craft, some simply looking to lose weight and get healthier.

To them, he’s the the man with the plan, the designer of routes, the counter of reps, the logger of sets.

He’s good at it. He’s been finding pathways for most of his life.

He was an overweight kid. That was hard enough. Plus he was a Methodist preacher’s kid, meaning his father was assigned to a different North Carolina church every five years or so.

He remembers doing the mile run in P.E. class in eighth grade.

“I ran an 18-minute mile wearing plaid stretchy pants,” he says. “They didn’t make anything but plaid pants for overweight kids. It was like, ‘How can we make you stand out even more?’”

A year later, he cut his time in half. He’d lost 40 pounds by doing Weight Watchers with his mom.

“That kinda showed me that I could be physical,” he says.

He ran sporadically in high school, but when he got to college — N.C. State and later UNC-Chapel Hill — he laced up regularly. He shed more weight, becoming downright skinny.

“It was almost like a new experience with a new body,” he says. “That really built my confidence to push myself.”

A job in educational publishing carried him and his young family to Greensboro in 1998.

He was deep into running by then. He’d done his first marathon, the New York City classic, in 1995. He cried when he crossed the finish line.

“I remember thinking, ‘Everyone is going to think I’m an idiot,’ then I looked around, and everyone was doing the same thing,” he says.

Why the tears?

He shrugs and offers a few explanations: Exhaustion, hormones, a sense of accomplishment.

Then another truth, specific to him, surfaces. He grins and jabs a fist into the air.

“It was probably that little fat kid in there going, ‘Yay!’”


He has just passed the halfway point.

Other runners and walkers speak to him with a twinkle of recognition. He’s been a regular on this trail, the A&Y Greenway, for about 25 years.

“Hey,” people say.

“Hey,” he tosses back.

He veers off on a mental detour when he notices a gravel swath that cuts through the Battle of Guilford Courthouse National Military Park.

In 1781, Gen. Nathanael Greene brought his patriots to these woods, where they clashed with the redcoats under British Gen. Charles Cornwallis, he notes.

The first county courthouse was located near the back of the park.

McLaurin, who earned enough college credits for a minor in history, loves stories of what used to be.

It’s one reason he created a favorite community sporting

56 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

event, Run the ’Boro, in 2016. The free series, spread over every Saturday in May and June, sends runners and walkers on carefully mapped routes through different Greensboro neighborhoods.

The day before each event, McLaurin, a former fifth grade teacher, emails subscribers a newsletter with points of interest.

“It’s kind of a field trip for runners and walkers,” he says,

The event used to bring him business. He has lightened his workload in the past year, but he’s determined to keep Run the ’Boro going for would-be runners who think they’re not athletic enough to join a group.

“A runner is a runner is a runner, no matter what your pace is,” McLaurin insists. “That’s the bedrock of all my programs — that running is for anybody. I want to take the barriers away and make it so anybody can come,” he says.

He swaps nods with a walker on the greenway.

“Good to see you,” the walker says.


A nagging cough set in around Christmas 2022 and wouldn’t leave.

McLaurin video-conferenced with a nurse practitioner, who diagnosed a sinus infection and prescribed an antibiotic. McLaurin finished the pills and felt worse.

Fatigue consumed him. If he climbed the stairs at home, he had to lie down and rest.

A doctor suspected pneumonia and ordered a lung X-ray.

Fuzzy white spots on both lungs earned McLaurin a date with a pulmonologist, who performed a biopsy.

She called a few days later.

“Are you at home?” she asked.

“Yes,” McLaurin said.

“Are you alone?” she asked.

“No,” he said.

She broke the news: stage four lung cancer.

The words kicked him in the gut. He felt his consciousness floating, looking down at himself sitting in his blue leather recliner in the family room.

How was this possible? He was a runner. He taught other people how to be healthy. He never smoked, not even a drag in high school.

Later, an oncologist explained that 2 percent of people who develop lung cancer have no known risk factors — a history of smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, radon, asbestos, airborne toxins, or drinking water tainted by arsenic. Neither did McLaurin have a family legacy of lung cancer, which gives the disease a slight edge.

He was a 2-percenter, sick for no discernible reason.

The outlook was dim. McLaurin read, and tried to forget, the survival statistics.

He wallowed in “Why me?” for a while, then brightened at a bump of relatively good luck.

His cancer had a mutation that made him a candidate for targeted treatment with a drug that could arrest and shrink the cancer. The pills arrived at his home in a biohazard bag last

March. He took one a day.

He got immediate relief. His body felt physically lighter. After a month of treatment, he began running again. He started with a half-mile. Every week, he added another half-mile until he reached five to six miles.

That’s what he’s doing today: five miles, starting in the parking lot at Spencer Love Tennis Center, trotting past the Lewis Center, up the A&Y Greenway to Lake Brandt Road, down to Fire Station 41 and back again.


Running has meant so many things to McLaurin. It started as a way to lose weight, build confidence and calm himself.

He lapped up the self esteem that came with setting time and distance goals, meeting them, upping them again and exceeding them again.

The activity shredded calories and anxiety.

He found another payoff after moving to Greensboro. A guy at church invited him to join a running group.

McLaurin wasn’t interested. His wife, Mitzi, urged him to go.

“She said, ‘Why don’t you go once and be nice, and they’ll probably stop asking you,’” he recalls. “It was hard to put myself out there. I think it came back to being the kid who was overweight and didn’t want to be seen, but the group was very accepting and welcoming. I fit right in.”

The run, a nine-mile out-and-back along the A&Y Greenway, flew by because he was talking to his fellow runners. McLaurin coined a term, “runship,” meaning the friendship that comes from running with others and sharing snippets of life along the way.

He started an online journal, RunnerDude’s Blog, to document the group’s successes.

His web of routes and contacts grew. Those connections were vital after he was laid off from publishing in 2009. He was blogging when it dawned on him: He could turn his passion into his profession.

He started RunnerDude’s Fitness in 2010 and grew the business at a blazing pace.

He organized runs for people of all abilities.

He rented a studio for teaching fitness.

He launched workshops and boot camps.

He birthed Run the ’Boro.

He organized the Canned Cranberry Sauce 10K, a Thanksgiving Day run that has collected tons of food for Greensboro Urban Ministry.

All around Greensboro, he drove his white Toyota pickup truck wrapped with decals advertising his business. Most of the time, he was tending his sweaty flock, toting water-filled coolers to spots along his routes.

The hard-to-miss coolers, labeled with “RunnerDude’s Fitness” in black marker, spawned their own stories.

Of casual walkers taking a bottle and leaving a dollar in the ice.

Of a severely dehydrated man stumbling across the water just in time to save his life. He made a sizable donation to

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RunnerDude later.

Of a man who tried to sell the water to runners who were registered for a RunnerDude event through downtown.

“He tried to sell our water back to us!” McLaurin says. He unleashes a heh-heh-heh and shakes his head in wonder. h


Herbie’s Hill is tugging at him again, this time on the return leg. Most people think Greensboro is flat, he says, but this city is full of hills.

His runners tease him about it — “This route is a Thad bit hilly” — but McLaurin loves the climbs. For most of this life, he has been able to top them by dint of fitness and will.

Cancer has changed things.

At the mercy of limited energy, he runs when he is able.

He takes longer to recover.

He can’t do what he used to do, no matter how much he wants to.

It feels like cancer has compressed the aging process, he says.

It’s tough to accept.

So McLaurin has taken the only available path.

He has let go of shaping every route, every step.

More than ever, the route shapes him.

A good run is one he finishes, one that leaves his body feeling good afterward.

His time?

That depends on how you measure time.

Back at his truck, run completed, he consults his runner’s watch.

His average pace was 10:48 a mile.

Ten years ago, he would have averaged about 7:30 a mile.

In 2007, when he pushed himself to go faster and farther than

ever, he would have knocked it out in 6:30.

So, yes, he has slowed down a lot, according to the clock.

But he uses other gauges to mark time now.

The number of chocolate-chip pancakes he makes with his two grandsons.

The number of times he stops running to read a historical marker.

The number of times he invites his daughter’s cats to curl up in his lap.

Recently, Mitzi, a school teacher, was surprised to see that McLaurin had bought a set of steps so their Chihuahua mix could climb onto the sofa and join the cuddles without McLaurin having to dump the cats.

Every time Mitzi asks him if he wants to go for a walk with her, he says yes.

He makes her baked oatmeal for breakfast.

McLaurin took up baking as a pastime during COVID. Now, he’s way into it, making a loaf of bread every week.

Knead and wait.

Knead and wait.

The process will not be rushed.

He has taken to writing down his recipes by hand because, he says, looking at someone’s handwriting is a very personal way to remember them.


It feels different now.

Standing here in the parking lot, wearing a T-shirt splotched with sweat, sipping water and joking in the breeze, the RunnerDude has arrived in a place he never saw on his route map.

He is finding peace in slowing down.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Tick. OH

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American Alligators from left to right: Liv and Gatorboy
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Southern White Rhinos from left to right: Bonnie, Abby and Nandi. Fringe-Eared Oryx in background African Elephant: C'sar Giraffe: Turbo Red Wolves from left to right: Catawba and Pearl

t began with Sonny Jurgensen, Tort and Retort. None of them moved very fast, but all of them played significant roles in the birth of the North Carolina Zoo 50 years ago.

The zoo, built initially on 1,371 acres in Randolph County near Asheboro, is the largest natural habitat zoo in the world. It entertained over a million visitors last year, including nearly 90,000 students who attended free of charge. The formal celebration will be on Aug. 2, the day the interim facility was officially dedicated in 1974. Among the many promotions staged throughout the year will be the recognition, probably sometime in June or July, of the zoo’s 30 millionth guest, who will be showered with a lifetime membership, a Zoofari (an open-air trip through

the Watani Grasslands) and every manner of zoological swag known to man.

The seed money for the zoo came, in part, from a series of four preseason football games that raised money for the feasibility study to determine the location of the zoo. The first of those games was on Aug. 19, 1967. The Washington Redskins (now Commanders, though that’s likely to change) were led by their quarterback, Jurgensen, a Wilmington native, and linebacker Chris Hanburger, who was born at Fort Bragg (now Liberty) and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The Giants had a Carolina connection of their own: Darrell Dess, a guard/tackle who had attended N.C. State University. The game was played at night, the first such event, at what was

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Southern White Rhinos from left to right: Linda and Jojo
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Zebras from left to right: Miracle and Zuberi Galapagos Tortoise: Retort Von der Decken's Hornbill: Jake
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African Elephants from left to right: C'sar, Batir, Rafiki, Nekhanda and Tonga African Lion: Mekita American Bison: Calf

then called Carter Stadium in Raleigh. Washington won 31-13 in front of 33,525 who paid six bucks apiece to attend.

The location that was eventually settled on for the zoo was known as the Purgatory Mountain site, named, according to legend, for the fires from the moonshine stills visible at night. Randolph County donated the land, the state legislature earmarked $2 million for the project, and hiring began.

The interim zoo, today nothing more than a staging and construction area, became home to the first animals, two endangered Galapagos tortoises named Tort and Retort, who were sent to other zoos long ago for propagation, one of the zoo’s foundational purposes. “The interim zoo was chain link, that’s all it was,” says Diane Villa, the zoo’s director of communications and marketing. “But that’s not what we were going for. What sets our zoo apart from other zoos is the original vision for

what they wanted it to be. They wanted it to be good for the animals.” Its creation marked a turning point from concrete, fenced facilities to the creation of environments as close to the animal’s natural habitat as possible.

Bill Parker was one of the facility’s earliest zookeepers. A graduate of Pfeiffer University (Pfeiffer College at the time), he began in ’74 and retired six years ago this September. “When I started there were probably fewer than double digits of permanent employees, mostly in administration,” he says. “They started acquiring animals in the late summer and early fall of ’74.” And it was definitely learn as you go.

“A lot of us in that era were skilled at working with lots of different kinds of animals in lots of different ways,” says Parker. “You had to be able to do most any job. It was four years before the first exhibit with zebra, ostrich and giraffe opened in the permanent zoo. Lions, chimpanzees, baboons, elephant, rhino and then

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Red River Hog: Patience

the aviary were about two years following. We were bringing huge numbers into the collection.”

At first there were no veterinarians on staff. “We actually used a local veterinary service,” says Parker. “They learned and evolved, too. Somebody that was in a big animal practice in a small rural county like Randolph County hadn’t had experiences anesthetizing a giraffe, for example. We all pieced together the information we had and learned how to do it.”

Like any startup, there were challenges in the early going. “We had to make do with what we had,” says Parker. “I remember when we had a cold winter in the interim zoo days and all the pipes froze. We had no maintenance staff to help with that kind of thing. You have to water the animals; you have to clean up after them. We didn’t have a lot of vehicles. We had one pickup that we hauled water in trash cans around to the different animals out in the hoof stock areas. You’d be doing that all day long.”

Devotion to the animals is part of the zoo’s DNA. Chris Goldston joined the zoo’s staff in the fall of ’83 after he got out of the Army. At first, he worked with the design group building artificial rocks, and then he transferred to horticulture. “A lot of plantings around here, especially some of the large oaks, I planted those back in the early ’80s,” he says.

By the end of the decade he was working in animal care. “I was on the African grasslands, at the time we called it the African Plains,” he says. “We were riding on the back of a truck and we had an antelope, called a nyala, that was breach birth. So we called out the vets and we started doing what we could to help the animal deliver, but it looked like it wasn’t going to survive. So, in the back of the truck, the vet did an emergency C-section and pulled the calf out. The lady I was working with — her name was Nancy Lou Gay Kiessler — who was training me to be a keeper, immediately took the calf out of the vet’s hands, wiped the mucous off its snout, and she put the snout in her mouth and started giving it resuscitation. I thought, ‘Boy, if I’m ever called to do that, I don’t know if I could.’ What it demonstrated to me was the level of care and compassion she had for that group of animals, and that calf survived.”

Part of the zoo’s commitment in helping to restore populations of endangered species involves transporting animals to facilitate breeding recommendations in

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Fringe-Eared Oryx Ocelot: Inca
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Zebra: Spirit Grizzly: Ronan Chimpanzee: Obi

a program implemented by zoos and aquariums called the Species Survival Plan. These days the animals are shipped FedEx, but Goldston has done it driving down I-85. “My first transport was in ’99. We had a recommendation to move our male gorilla to a zoo in Atlanta. Myself and another keeper, I think we were somewhere in South Carolina, we needed to stop to refuel. It was one of those combo stations where it’s a Wendy’s on one side and a fuel stop on the other. So I’m standing in line waiting to get our food and I’m just reeking with gorilla musk. People are sniffing and turning around. ‘Where’s it coming from? Who is it?’ We just sort of cracked up.”

If the early days had its challenges, over five decades the zoo has grown, gazelle-like, by leaps and bounds. Today it manages 2,805 acres and broke ground on an Asia region in August of ’22 that will feature tigers, Komodo dragons and king cobras, to name a few species, when it opens in two years. There are currently 305 permanent state employees with a staff that expands to roughly 700 during the highest traffic

months. The zoo has three full-time vets on staff and a number of vet techs. “They work on everything from Madagascar hissing cockroaches to African elephants and everything in between,” says Villa. The zoo won the 2021 World Association of Zoos and Aquariums sustainability award.

A monitoring and reporting tool called SMART, developed by the North Carolina zoo in collaboration with the Wildlife Conservation Society and several other zoos, is being used in over 80 countries to track animals and combat poaching. “A lot of animals are in trouble. African lions, African elephants, vultures. One of our signature programs here is vulture tracking,” says Villa. “They’re part of the circle of life. African vultures are one of the steepest declining birds in the world. One of our scientists, Dr. Corinne Kendall, is one of the leading vulture experts. If there was one thing that we try to let people know, it’s that just by coming to the zoo, your admission price helps support our conservation efforts. We’re trying to be a leader for our guests.” Man and animal alike. OH

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Elephant: Tonga. Rhinos from left to right: Nandi and Bonnie
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Desert Dome Red Wolf: Warrior Western Lowland Gorilla: Hadari
70 O.Henry

Crunch Time

How Tanya McCaskill-Dickens went from hairdressing to homeschooling mom to the creator of the Crunch Cheesecake

When a fire caused extensive smoke damage to her Florida salon 29 years ago, Tanya McCaskill-Dickens decided it was time for a change. With no frame of reference for North Carolina except for what she’d seen on The Andy Griffith Show, she packed up her bags, kissed her parents goodbye and headed to her new place of employment, Dudley Beauty.

These days, McCaskill-Dickens is owner of Savor the Moment Dessert Bar downtown, known for its trademarked Crunch Cheesecake. Nevermind that she’s also mother and teacher to the five children she and husband James, Greensboro’s deputy city attorney, adopted. How does one go from working in the haircare industry to owning a confectionary shop?

“I seize opportunities,” she says. Owning a dessert cafe wasn’t always the plan, but neither was moving to North Carolina. Or adopting more than one child. “I told my mom I was going to have a newspaper route and I was going to buy her a house and everything,” she recalls of her childhood with a laugh.

Instead of pursuing a career in the newspaper biz, McCaskill-Dickens set her sights on studying prelaw after high school. Sadly and suddenly, her brother was murdered the summer after graduation. “It kind of threw me off a bit,” she says. Changing course, she opted to enroll in cosmetology school.

After completion, she opened her own salon and was soon bringing in an income of six figures at just 23 years old. But that building blaze set her in motion. “I would have never left otherwise,” she says. Accepting an educator position with Dudley Beauty, she walked away from owning her own business.

Just a year into her employment, McCaskill-Dickens says she missed being an entrepreneur and approached the company’s founder and CEO, Joe Dudley. “He increased my salary by $20,000, but it wasn’t the money.” She reiter-

ates, “It wasn’t the money.” That entrepreneurial itch still needed to be scratched. A couple months later, she once again spoke to Dudley, who, seeing her drive, offered her a salon on campus, which held her over for a little while. Dudley, who passed away in February, became her most impactful mentor, an integral part of her entrepreneurial story, she says. “He is essential to it.” In fact, she says with a chuckle, sometimes “I open my mouth and out he comes.”

As a child, Dudley was believed to have limitations and was held back twice in his schooling. And yet, he persevered, eventually earning a degree in business adminis-

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry

tration from N.C. A&T State. He went on to build an empire, creating a business that still thrives today in Dudley Beauty. Even though he was by any measure highly successful, he still faced challenges. McCaskill-Dickens recalls a coworker saying to Dudley, “I don’t want to be disrespectful, but I am just so embarrassed whenever you go speak because you don’t speak very well.” And Dudley’s response? Jokingly, he quipped, “I’d rather say ‘I is rich’ than ‘I am poor.’” She laughs heartily at the memory.

“He was a great communicator,” she says. And he invested in the enrichment and education of employees. Every morning at 6:30 a.m., seven days a week, Dudley hosted voluntary reading and discussions sessions on campus. “We were reading Napoleon Hill’s The Law of Success — all these amazing books —Think and Grow Rich.” McCaskill-Dickens stayed at Dudley Beauty for just under four years, opting to once again own her own salon. At the time, her grandmother asked her, “You’re going to leave the company where you get a steady check?” But that confidence that had been instilled in her as a young entrepreneur — backed now by the mentorship of Dudley — made itself known. “There was something inside of me that said, ‘Yeah, that’s what I am going to do.’”

And that is exactly what she did do for another 12-and-a-half years until “retiring” in 2009, when she and James exponentially grew their family. At an early age, McCaskill-Dickens saw her grandmother foster lots of children and knew that when she married one day, she’d want to adopt a child. “We were going to have one kid,” she says. With James in private practice and her owning not one, but two salons, that was reasonable. “We weren’t trying to slow down like that.”

But the first photo Children’s Home Society sent to them for consideration was two little girls. And McCaskill-Dickens did what she always does — she seized the opportunity.

The couple then decided to add a boy to the family. “They called me and they said, ‘We have the perfect little boy for you . . . but he has a sister.’” So two children became four. And didn’t the singular boy need a brother? Of course. “That’s how that happened,” she says of their five adopted children.

In the role of stay-at-home, homeschooling mom, she put her entrepreneurial spirit to use in other ways. When her son’s interest in robotics piqued and there was not a program to be found, McCaskill-Dickens started one, which went on to win two awards. And, after putting her leadership skills to use serving as president of a High Point homeschooling co-op, she started her own, plus a STEM co-op.

“We had a mission statement for our home school,” she says, noting the three facets of community service, entrepreneurship and faith. Why teach kids entrepreneurship? Confidence, she says, that can translate into anything.

While fostering that entrepreneurial spirit in her kids, something she’s written about extensively in her book, Raising Generational Entrepreneurs: Keys to Building a Legacy, she found herself cooking up a new business plan.

“I feel like God gives me these great ideas to do stuff, like in

the middle of the night, and I don’t know how to turn that off,” she says. “So I just go with it.”

With her mom, who’d always been a baker and had moved here when McCaskill-Dickens’ father passed away, she launched Savor the Moment in late 2012 as a licensed in-home bakery, using her home’s second kitchen for business. “We started like that, kind of laissez-faire,” she recalls, setting up at the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market and taking on enough orders that allowed her to continue homeschooling. But a brick-and-mortar? That wasn’t the plan.

When former salon client Teresa Crawford, who owned a bakery, called to say she was retiring, McCaskill-Dickens wondered what that had to do with her. “Your mom loves to bake and you’ve got a built-in staff with all those kids,” she recalls Crawford saying. Crawford wanted McCaskill-Dickens to buy her out, a purchase that would include everything from the supplies to the location. She went to James for his opinion, expecting to be shut down. Instead, he suggested she give it a go. “Even then, I didn’t fully understand what that meant,” she says. “But what I did know, it was an opportunity.”

In 2017, Savor the Moment opened its doors on Coliseum Boulevard at Crawford’s former location, which featured a great parking lot as well as a party room. Because the kids were homeschooled, McCaskill-Dickens utilized the space to create an environment that was conducive to their education, hosting a chess club, a 4H club around entrepreneurship and homeschool holiday parties. While there, she and a friend, Penn Griffin assistant principal Charnelle Shephard, whose daughter had started a business at 14 making a squishy goo similar to Slime, launched an annual kidpreneur expo they still run today.

At the time, Savor the Moment was a traditional bakery, peddling custom wedding and birthday cakes. But when COVID descended upon the country in 2020 and people were requesting small and individual cakes for virtual weddings, McCaskillDickens quickly realized that her business could not sustain itself.

“OK, we’re going to do something different,” she recalls thinking. That something? A product that would set Savor the Moment apart and could be sold by the slice: its now trademarked Crunch Cheesecake. Make no mistake, this is not New York-style cheesecake. It’s a fluffier, creamier base perfected by her mom, “a mad chemist when it comes to baking.” On top of that, a layer of Sundae Cream, a white sweet cream she’d already been using in strawberry shortcakes. And the pièce de résistance? An element of crunch, inspired by a cake that was popular at the time, Strawberry Crunch Cake.

“And I tell you, it took off!” she says, noting the “support local” push that was a result of the pandemic. She and her staff started with just four pans, which produced eight slices each. “We were up until 2 o’clock in the morning, baking for the next day,” trying to meet the demand of customers. Not to mention the supply shortage the pandemic brought on. “I was spending half of my day running around,” she says, in search of eggs, butter and cream cheese. And yet, McCaskill-Dickens continued to pound the pavement

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every day. “Because I know we have a good product,” she says. “And I am telling you right now, I know this product will be successful.” By the end of that year, the “Home of the Crunch Cheesecakes” relocated to its current downtown Davie Street spot, where there’s more foot traffic.

All of this, mind you, was done while McCaskillDickens was enrolled at N.C. A&T State. With five teens approaching university age, she wanted to instill in them the importance of earning a degree — and that meant finally earning her own in cultural studies. In December 2022, she walked the stage, Summa Cum Laude.

Currently, Savor the Moment puts out 800 Crunch Cheesecake slices a week with an expanded menu of 16 regular flavors, including nostalgic nods such as banana pudding and peach cobbler. McCaskill-Dickens’ personal favorite? White chocolate raspberry.

Plus, she says, inspired by favorite haunt Coldstone Creamery, “Let them build their own!”

Even with such a unique product and a loyal following, the struggle is getting people to simply give it a chance. She’s often met with replies of, “Oh, I don’t like cheesecake.” But in those victorious moments where future customers succumb and take a bite, McCaskill-Dickens says, “I have never not had anyone say, ‘Oh my God, this is different.’’

Different enough, in fact, that aside from having it trademarked, McCaskill-Dickens imagines turning Savor the Moment into a franchise. That dream prompted her to open a second location in High Point, closer to her home. And, as mentors have pointed out to her, if you want to create a franchise, you have to first show that it can successfully be done. So, in creating the High Point location, she’s created the model of what a franchise could look like. Next, she’s got her sights set on Durham.

Will McCaskill-Dickens ever slow down? “I retired in 2009 from a business and never thought I would start another business like this,” she says. “So the goal has been to leave a legacy, something my kids . . . would want to continue.” And even at that point, she admits, she has dreams of going into politics and making strides in the state’s foster care system.

At 54, just a decade away from so-called retirement age in America, she looks back on all of the “yeses” she answered with when opportunity knocked. “You don’t know where it’s going to lead you,” she says, “but sometimes you just gotta take the leap.” OH

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

When the Spirit of a House Departs

The carriage house of Diane Stallworth

Diane Stallworth enjoyed matters of design, especially in her charming Fisher Park carriage house and its “sculpture” garden. Once settled in, she gave herself over to it, contentedly staying put until her last breath.

In a real sense, it encapsulated Stallworth’s external style and interior history. The carriage house was edited and re-edited, ultimately imbricating her past and present. This is in memoriam to Diane, who died January 14 this year.

Over the years, Diane Stallworth quietly hinted that she hoped her home would one day be featured in this magazine. On our last visit in her home, she took me upstairs to show a project still underway.

“Once this is done, it will be ready for you to do an article,” she said, meaning worthy.

It already was, I assured her.

Stallworth never lost interest in the granular details of her charming historic Fisher Park residence, says her longtime friend, designer Terry Lowdermilk, who also became a longstanding

sounding board, aide-de-camp and curator.

The carriage house, a once common sight but now a rarity, dated to 1913. Built on the grounds of the Prairie-style home of cotton broker and developer James Edwin Latham, both structures featured distinctively rock-faced granite, a construction that best explains how the carriage house also survived over a century beyond the era of horse-and-carriages.

Latham (also the namesake of nearby Latham Park) lived there until 1932, when the home was sold to R. W. Baker, a Blue Bell executive, who died in 1956. Baker’s widow resided in the mansion until her death in 1980.

“In 1982, Brown Investment Properties converted into 12 condos the main mansion and its large stone servants’ quarters and garage [the carriage house] in a joint venture,” according to the November 2011 Fisher Park newsletter, which included architects, JMD Contractors and Boone, Higgins, Chestaw, Dennis & Case. According to historic records, the carriage house was originally a barn for horses and carriage, housing servants upstairs. Later

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it became a three-car garage. Featuring three dormers and two chimneys, the roof was originally the same green terra cotta tile as the main house.

By 1982, the mansion, carriage house and condos became officially known as Baker Place. The carriage house was converted into its final iteration, a two-story, single-family home. Garage doors on the first level were replaced with three sets of French doors.

In the same issue, Stallworth recalled, “Now and then, people who remember when Baker Place was a single home [the BakerLatham mansion] drive-up and they tell us how they visited or played in the back yard.”

At the time of the conversion of the Baker-Latham property into condos, Stallworth lived in the Lofts at Greensborough Court. Her apartment there was also in a historic building. It, too, featured ample charms only age can impart — exposed brick walls, vaulted ceilings, a fireplace and architectural details new builds lacked.

One day in 1987, Stallworth walked into Lowdermilk’s downtown studio to seek decor advice.

He remembers the day clearly.

When they met, Stallworth was in her 50s and active. In her youth, she was peripatetic and athletic, becoming a Canadian Junior Ski Champion, thanks to regular skiing trips to Quebec with her family, who lived in Fitchburg, Mass.

After graduating from Briarcliff College, Stallworth had moved to Bermuda, where she pursued work in fashion. (Her family vacationed there in their island home.)

A few years after living in Bermuda, she moved near New Orleans’ French Quarter. There she met her first husband, William N. Crawford Jr., from Greensboro. The couple returned to the Triad where their daughter, Merrimon Crawford, was born. As a nod to her fashion background, Stallworth co-founded The Briar Patch, a children’s clothing store in Greensboro.

After remarriage, she relocated to Charleston, West Virginia, throwing herself into designing her home and gardens, entertaining and traveling. Years later, she returned to Greensboro.

Stallworth was a longtime member of the Fitchburg Art Museum since childhood, attending programs and exhibitions. In Greensboro, she remained active in the Junior League, gardening and, always, fluffing her nest. She and Lowdermilk developed a connection beyond business, becoming fast friends. Lowdermilk admired his friend’s patrician manners. She was highly educated, he describes, traveled and curious.

Stallworth became a fixture in continuing education classes, many of which were hosted at Holy Trinity, her church. Here she met sculptor and UNCG professor emeritus Billy Lee, whose work she later collected for her home and courtyard.

“She was there [in the downtown apartment] a number of years,” recalls Lowdermilk.

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He recounts how she became aware of the historic Latham-Baker property when the carriage house was listed for sale. Lowdermilk remembers she visited the property while he was on a vacation trip to the coast. She called him, entreating him to leave the coast and see it before she made an offer. He urged her to buy if she loved it.

“The only reason she made the change was she tired of renting and she wanted something that would be hers,” he explains.

By the time he returned to Greensboro, she had bought the carriage house. According to property records, the year was 2003.

Truman Capote once told House Beautiful, “I have always been aware of rooms, their atmosphere, the emotions they induce,” after permitting the magazine to photograph his own home.

He went further: Capote preferred either the sterility of a well-cleaned hotel room, or a subjective room. He deplored rooms lacking the owner’s personal stamp, style and humanity — the things that imbue an otherwise attractive room with meaning.

Stallworth’s home was the sort that Capote would likely have loved. When she liked something, she kept it. Her style was unwavering — she hewed to certain colors and a restrained, earthy palate, in both her home and her clothing, preferring neutrals and black.

What was to become a grand passion unfurled — a creative collaboration and friendship between Stallworth and Lowdermilk that continued two decades as she threw herself into making the carriage house uniquely her own.

“She was not the kind of person who you told

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what to do,” the designer stresses. “She knew what she wanted. We saw eye-to-eye on a lot of things. I liked the fact that she wanted to be involved” — even, Lowdermilk adds, in the granular details, from painting to plumbing.

“She wanted to know the hows and whys of everything.”

Neighbor Jayne Ericourt came to know both Stallworth and Lowdermilk years later, interacting with both socially. “She knew everyone here,” says Ericourt.

In 1982, Ericourt and her husband, Daniel, “went to see what they were going to do at Baker Place. There was nothing for sale but the mansion itself.” Brown Investment Properties was just promoting 12 new condos to be built on the mansion’s grounds. The concert pianists discovered they could plan their own design to accommodate two baby grand pianos and a love of all things Spanish.

In 1983, the Ericourts condo was completed. Twenty years later, Stallworth moved into the Baker Place carriage house directly across from the Ericourts and would become its longest occupant.

Ericourt says that before Stallworth took ownership, previous occupants had done renovation work to the carriage house interior.

As she planned her new home, Stallworth began to refresh and recover upholstered pieces from her apartment. “She loved charcoal, white, taupe and beige with a little terra cotta,” says Lowdermilk. Having bought “the best,” he says, little needed replacing.

“When she moved here, she changed the color of

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80 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

the walls, reupholstered the sofa and chairs, and did new bedding.” But much of what she had was repurposed, he points out.

Stallworth chose art and antiques that remained with her for a lifetime, with occasional touches aided by Lowdermilk. Each room, by design, spoke to her life journey.

The much-used kitchen features an unusual and custom-made piece, a kitchen island, fashioned around a panel of clear leaded glass. Using Lowdermilk’s design, Greensboro iron artist Jeffrey Barbour incorporated the glass into a functional piece.

A collection by illustrator and political cartoonist Taylor Jones fills a kitchen wall. The syndicated artist, whose work has appeared in newspapers and magazines worldwide, is a former illustrator for U.S. News & World Report

“She bought the [entire] set,” says Lowdermilk. “He’s renowned for his caricatures.” He points out some famous subjects. “Diane was good friends with Jay and Sharon Rockefeller [former West Virginia Senator John D. ‘Jay’ Rockefeller IV and his wife]. The collection meant a lot to her.”

A few design tweaks were brand new, however, like a signature piece showing Lowdermilk’s sleight of hand. He created a leaded glass window featuring poppies for the downstairs powder room.

“I came up with a design that was kind of organic,” says Lowdermilk, who commissioned the Glass Art Studio to create the window. (The owners have since moved their studio to Virginia Beach.) After it was installed, Stallworth decided it was

one of her favorite things about the new house.

The artists whose work she collected often became friends. Sculptor Billy Lee, who lives a few blocks away, recalls countless happy times “spent in Diane’s kitchen.”

“She loved my work and was always very supportive. She was very curious about all forms of creativity and we had many long conversations about it,” says Lee.

“It must be at least 15 years since she first bought my work. She knew I made the black marble pieces in China and wanted to see them — and bought one.” Stallworth had noticed one of Lee’s pieces installed in the courtyard at UNCG’s Weatherspoon Art Museum.

“She liked the steel piece in Weatherspoon and asked if I had a smaller one for her garden.”

Lee did.

She kept things not only from her old apartment, but integrated family pieces. A bow front chest that once belonged in her parents’ historic home in Fitchburg, Mass., features prominently in the living room. Pointing to a sofa, Lowdermilk muses, “It’s still classic; this many years later. That’s 34 years old.”

From her parents’ house in Bermuda are a pair of antique campaign chests that once furnished a room aboard a ship; “the real thing,” says Lowdermilk. They now serve as bedside tables in the upstairs guest room. In various rooms, she restored and used an array of wicker and rattan family pieces, emblems of quiet wealth.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 81

On the wall of the upstairs study is a picture of Stallworth’s parents’ estate in Massachusetts. Displaying it in a private area versus a main room, she downplayed her family’s wealth.

“It sits on 50 acres. Right outside Boston,” says Lowdermilk.

Suddenly, standing in Stallworth’s private rooms upstairs, the power goes out and her study darkens.

“Diane, are you here?” Lowdermilk calls out, pausing.

Quietly, almost whispering, he discusses framed pieces that Stallworth valued, including favorites by Merrimon Crawford, her photographer daughter.

“She really appreciated Merrimon’s work,” he says.

Stallworth’s main bedroom also contains family pieces from Bermuda. It’s an understated, peaceful room, with plantation shutters consistent with other rooms, also redolent of her Bermuda experiences.

The collaboration between Lowdermilk and Stallworth even extended to her wardrobe. Every year, he helped Stallworth weed out her clothes closet, which is enviably organized and pristine.

“I reminded her, look at the colors in your home.” When she bought an unusual hot pink piece, it remained in her closet unworn. He urged her to let it go. “We tend to wear the colors that we use in our homes.”

Over her lifetime, he continued with projects both inside and out. A hall bath was gutted. They changed or added wallpapers. Somehow, there were always projects, things being finessed.

“I love to say that I live in a three-car garage and a barn!” Stallworth had joked in the neighborhood newsletter. The downstairs windows, historians noted, were

82 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 83

where the horses once stuck their heads out. Lee’s larger sculpture was placed in the courtyard, where she could enjoy it while having coffee, cocktails with friends, or while reading.

Though she didn’t have a huge circle, and she had lost friends due to age, “she liked young people,” mentions Lowdermilk.

What would Ericourt say people should have known about Diane?

“She was a very good friend to her friends, I’m sure,” says Jayne.

“She would have been there for me if I really needed her,” adds Lowdermilk, who was at Stallworth’s so often he came to know many of her neighbors. “She was very particular about who became her friend,” says Ericourt.

“She had her own set of rules,” Lowdermilk agrees.

“Diane would size people up” before deciding if they could be friends or not. “But not in a snooty way,” he adds.

“That’s not stupid,” inserts Ericourt, who then laughs. “You can’t have everybody as your best friend.”

The two neighbors even shared the same cleaning lady. “Carolyn — I found her first,” says Ericourt with a smile. They shared Nathan Herman, a gardener. Later Lowdermilk hired the gardener as well when he moved to a new home in Asheboro in recent years.

“She loved that man like a son,” they both say in unison.

But Ericourt and Stallworth had more in common than sharing services.

“We were never late,” says Ericourt, who recommended Stallworth join the Friday Afternoon Club, a social club. “We were ready ahead of time.”

Punctuality mattered to them, she says.

Yet when it came to her inner life, Stallworth’s past factored heavily into her present.

“One thing you can mention about her, which is certainly true, is that she talked a lot about her education in New England. Going to the tea dances, talking as if she was reliving it. And New Orleans. Every day, going on the Street Car Named Desire. She was tied to it [her New Orleans’ past]. A lot,” says Ericourt.

On an unseasonably warm February day, roughly 40 people attended her service. A few were younger. “Her gym friends,” observes Ericourt.

As a nod to her New Orleans past, a “praise band” played “When the Saints Go Marching In,” leading the grieving down the street from the chapel to Stallworth’s home, where abundant food and drink awaited. It was a proper New Orleans send-off, a party and Stallworth’s expressed wish. (She will be interred in a Fitchburg family plot this spring.)

Friends shimmied down the street to the music as police held back traffic and smiled, watching the procession pass as if it were a Mardi Gras parade and disappear into the carriage house. Her niece, Nadine “Dini” Price of Pittsfield, Vt., greeted guests with Lowdermilk. Stallworth’s daughter, Merrimon Crawford, son-in-law, Glenn Pladsen, and sister, Nadine Martel, attended virtually, given respective health issues, and extended family also watched online.

Stallworth’s home, made lovely with her favorite green-andwhite flowers and welcoming trays of hors d’oeuvres, was ready for its last toast to its owner as the band played on. OH

84 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro



May tucks her treasures gently in our hands.

For the young girl in the sunhat: her first ripe strawberry, bright and plump, just warm from the tender, loving sun. Before lifting the fruit to her lips, she studies its tiny seeds — 200 stars studding crimson infinity — and how its leafy top looks like a tiny fairy cap. When the sweetness hits her tongue, her eyes brighten; her lips pucker; her hands open for more.

Mother of Flowers

The magnolias are blooming, their sweet, citrusy fragrance utterly commanding our attention.

Yes, and more, please.

The “Great Mother” of flowers, Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) blossoms can reach up to 12 inches in diameter. Despite the delicate, ephemeral nature of their creamy white blooms, the tree itself is quite resilient — and ancient. Fossil records suggest that magnolias are among the oldest flowering plants on Earth, blossoming among the dinosaurs 100 million years ago.

In the same field, an elderly man is picking his last flat of berries, recalling the scratch-made shortcakes of his childhood. His eyes glisten as the memories rush in; as the sweetness hits his tongue, as his granddaughter reaches for a sun-kissed strawberry.

For the sisters at the park: early ox-eye daisies.

For the dreamers: dandelion puffballs.

Somewhere, a teenage boy slips a dogwood flower behind the left ear of his first love. By the creek, his brother plucks crawdads from the cool, trickling water.

In a neighbor’s garden, peonies and roses perfume the spring-fresh air. Yellow butterflies worship orange poppies. Bare hands worship worm-rich earth.

And what of your own hands?

Might they cradle magnolia blossoms? An empty bird’s nest? A palmful of seeds?

Might they stay open to give and receive?

May tucks her treasures gently in your hands, giggles as you hold them, then playfully resumes her grand unfolding.

An icon of feminine grace, it’s fitting that our Southern magnolia should shine this month — and just in time for Mother’s Day.

The fair maid who, the first of May

Goes to the fields at break of day

And washes in dew from the hawthorn tree

Will ever after handsome be.

Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme

The Birds and the Bees

Named for the Greek goddess Maia (eldest of the Pleiades and goddess of nursing mothers), May is a month of growth and fertility — a month of flowers, birds and bees.

National Wildflower Week is celebrated May 2 - 7 (always the first week of the month).

Let’s hear it for spider lilies, spiderwort, wild indigo and crested iris.

On May 4 — National Bird Day — take a quiet moment to honor the winged ones who live alongside us. You don’t have to be an expert to appreciate the richness they add to our ecosystem and soundscape. Your presence is all that’s required.

On that note, World Bee Day is acknowledged on May 20. Consider the essential role these hard-working insects play in the health and abundance of our planet. Honor your local pollinators with the choices that you make. Have a garden? Incorporate native flowers and, for the love of bees, put the toxic sprays away. OH

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 85




Greensboro Parks & Recreation | Cugino Forno | Guilford Garden Center | Murphy’s Upholstery

New Garden Landscaping & Nursery | Priba Furniture | Downtown Greenway

Kersey Valley | Boxwood Antique Market | Southern C’s Farm | Twin Deer Antiques

Kau/OldTown Draught House | Seabolt Upholstery | N.C. Zoo | Twin Brothers Antiques

Five Star Painting | Greensboro Beautiful | Downtown Greensboro | Jaree Todd/BHHS

Piedmont Land Conservancy | Kiosco Mexican Grill

You’d be surprised at everything Greensboro Parks and Rec has to o er. Surprise yourself with what you can do when you explore our vast programs and events.
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Enjoy year-round community programming for all ages!

•Special Events

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Check Out Our Year-Round Attractions Scan Code for 20% off tickets wedo birthdays! For more information visit 336-431-1700 1615 Kersey Valley Rd | Archdale, NC 27263 | 336-781-3111 520 North Hamilton Street • High Point, NC 27262 Tuesday-Saturday10am-6pm | Sunday1-6pm | CLOSEDMonday OWNERS JOEY MARLOWE AND JANA VAUGHAN Photographed at the Old Emerywood home of Joey Marlowe & Chad Collins FIND TREASURES FROM DAYS GONE BY. CONSIGN YOUR FINE GOODS AT

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wed-fri | bar 4pm kitchen 5pm • sat | 2pm-10pm sun | 11am- 9pm • Brunch 11-2 336-656-2410 1205 Spring Garden St, Greensboro, NC 27403 11am-11pm • 7 days a week 336-379-1140

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102 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro CLIENT FOCUSED QUALITY DRIVEN Locally Owned Residential and Commercial Painting Company Dedicated Project Manager, Superior Quality, Clean Work Area, On Time and On Budget, Respect Our Clients Property and Time, Complimentary Color Consultations for Our Clients BEFORE AFTER 336-210-5918 • Interior Painting • Exterior Painting • Cabinet Painting • Deck and Fence Staining • Brick Painting Experts • Repair and Carpentry Tanger Family Bicentennial Garden • 1105 Hobbs Rd. Live music and performances Artists from around the world Games Children’s activities Food vendors Pooch parade Beer Garden Explore the world right here in greensboro


May 9 | Chairman of the Board

May 16 | The Embers

May 30 | Jim Quick & The Coastlines

June 13 | Eric & The Chiltones

June 27 | The Tams

First National Bank Field | Downtown Greensboro

Gates Open at 5:30 PM | Concert Begins at 6:00 PM

Scan for Tickets!

104 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro Knight Brown Nature Preserve EXPLORE 221 Waterfield Lane, Stokesdale, NC 27357 $699,900 • 4 BR, 3 ½ BA 3413 Old Onslow GREENSBORO’S HIDDEN GEM $650,000 • 5 BR, 4 BA 4001 Neuse Court $750,000 • 4 BR, 3 ½ BA 3413 Donnington Discover Sedgefield SOLD 336.601.4892 | Realtor/Broker President’s Circle | Chairmans Circle Platinum | Luxury Collection Specialist Jaree Todd,


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our Family’s Authentic Fresh Mexican Grill
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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 by 5 p.m. the first of the month one month prior to the event.

May 2024

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:

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:

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:


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:

YOGA IN THE PARK. Noon. Take a break with a power flow led by Greensboro Power Yoga. Free. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

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: 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:

First Friday 05.03.2024

FAMILY NIGHT. 5–7 p.m. Enjoy an artdriven evening with family and friends in the studios. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

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:

CHECK MATE. 7–9 p.m. The Greensboro Chess Club gathers weekly to play and study “The Royal Game on both a social and competitive level. Free. Lewis Recreation Center, 3110 Forest Lawn Drive, Greensboro. Info: city-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:

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:

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:


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

106 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro

at Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info:


LIVE MUSIC. 7–10 p.m. Enjoy drinks in the 1808 Lobby Bar while soaking up live music provided by local artists. Free. Grandover Resort & Spa, 1000 Club Road, Greensboro. Info:


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:

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:

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:

May Events

May 01–31

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:

SIGHTINGS. In accompaniment with 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 firstprize winner selected by popular vote. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

May 01–03

NEAPOLITAN MOVIE SERIES. Times vary. Get the scoop with three flavors of movies, three nights a week, including iconic films such as Rocky Horror Picture Show. Tickets: $8. In the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 01

NAME THAT BIRD. 5:30–7 p.m. The Piedmont Bird Club guides a leisurely stroll while teaching beginner bird identification. Free, registration required. Morehead Park

Trailhead, 475 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info:


Discover contemporary authors’ works in translation, such as this month’s selection, Kairos by Jenny Erpenbeck . Free. Online. Info:


The Titan Civic Band, comprised of GTCC students and faculty as well as members of the community, performs the music of Tchaikovsky, Holst, Wagner and Verdi. Tickets: $8+. Centennial Station Arts Center, 121 S. Centennial St., High Point. Info:

May 02

CLASS CLOWNS. 7:30 p.m. The Bored Teacher Comedy Tour delivers a night of hilarious sketches performed by teachers with a sense of humor. Tickets: $35+. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 03–05

THE SOUND OF MUSIC. Times vary. The hills of High Point are alive with the sound of this classic musical. Tickets: $22+. High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Info:

May 03 & 04

ERICK HELLWIG. 8 p.m. Selected as “Best of Fest” in multiple comedy festivals, this funny guy takes the mic for a night of standup. Tickets: $15. The Idiot Box, 503 N. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

PASSALONG PLANTS. Friday, 9 a.m.–3 p.m. (9 a.m.– noon by appointment only), Saturday 9 a.m.–1 p.m. The Guilford County Extension Master Gardener Volunteers invite you to shop perennials, native plants, shade lovers, sun dwellers, shrubs, trees and a variety of other plants, plus gently used garden decor. BYO boxes. Free. Guilford County Agricultural Extension Center, 3309 Burlington Road, Greensboro. Info:

May 03

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:

GREENHILL. 6–9 p.m. As part of First Friday, enjoy the traditional bluegrass vibes of the Glenwood Choppers, plus a cash bar and

open studios in ArtQuest. Free. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

GREENSBORO COMEDY FESTIVAL. 8 p.m. A star-studded lineup of comedians, including Sommore, Lavell Crawford, Bill Bellamy, Tony Roberts and Drankin, delivers a night of laughs for everyone. Tickets: $59+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

May 04 & 06

POETIC MUSIC. 8 p.m., Saturday & 7:30 p.m., Sunday. Enjoy a choral concert entitled “Music Should Be So Beautiful,” featuring compositions inspired by the words of poets such as Carl Sandburg, William Shakespeare, Charles Anthony Silvestri, Thomas Hood and Charles Bennett. Tickets: $5+. Virginia Somerville Sutton Theatre, 4100 Well Spring Drive, Greensboro. Info:

May 04

ROLLING ALONG. 9 a.m.–noon. Bike, trike, scoot or roller-skate your way along Wheels on the Greenway, a family-friendly event featuring interactive activities, safe cycling education and bicycle repair demonstrations. Free. Woven Works Park, E. Lindsay Street & N. Murrow Boulevard, Greensboro. Info:

BOOK RELEASE PARTY. 2–5 p.m. Celebrate local author Tim Swink’s latest novel, Where the Flowers Bloomed, with a party and signing featuring live music by Warren Bodle and Allen and MC Ogi Overman. Books will be available for purchase onsite from Scuppernong Books. Free. Oden Brewing Company, 802 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

FORCED FUN. 8 a.m. Channel your inner Jedi and run to support Restoration Place Counseling in the annual Star Wars-themed May the Course Be With You 5K/10K or 1-mile walk. Registration: $22+. Lawndale Baptist Church, 3505 Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: Info/NC/Greensboro/MayTheCourse.

ARTS UNBOUND. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Celebrate arts and culture with a drumming circle, Cambodian dancers, local vendors, art demonstrations and studio tours. Creative Aging Network-NC, 2400 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info:

FAMILY FUN FESTIVAL. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. The Family Room Foster Care Resource Center invites one and all to join in the fun,

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 107
may calendar

Spring Exhibitions

Lee Hall: Immediate Landscapes Through May 5

Pulp & Bind: Paper & Book in Southern Appalachia Through June 2

The Reading Room: From Seuss to Geisel & Back Again Through June 9

may calendar

including face painting, bounce houses, live music, food trucks and princesses. Free. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

DERBY DAY. 3 p.m. Make-A-Wish Central & Western North Carolina invites you to a Kentucky Derby-themed afternoon, complete with live and silent auctions, “betting” at the Sportsbook, tasting stations and a bourbon bar featuring classic mint juleps, plus a hat contest, live stream of the Run for the Roses and unique wish surprises. Tickets: $200. Summerfield Farms, 3203 Pleasant Ridge Road, Summerfield. Info:

GET THE LED OUT. 8 p.m. A celebration of “The Mighty Zep,” this cover band plays all of your favorite hits. Tickets: $39.50+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

BRANDON LAKE. 7 p.m. The American Christian singer-songwriter brings his guitar to the stage for a night of praise and music. Tickets: $25+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

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: government/city-news/city-calendar.

May 05


(Understanding the Needs of Inclusion Takes Everyone) for an afternoon of family fun, including a DJ, fire truck, Kona Ice truck and face painting, plus live performances and lawn games. Free. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

May 07

BLAZING SADDLES. 7 p.m. The Mel Brooks comic saga of cowboys and imbeciles hits the silver screen. Tickets: $8. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 08

INTERNATIONAL FOLK DANCE. 7 p.m. The BYU International Folk Dance Ensemble’s Journey: Reflections shares strength from the past and present through traditional music and dance. Tickets: $12.50+. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

GET CREEPY. 8 p.m. In Flames performs with two special guests — Gatecreeper and Creeping Death. Tickets: $27.50+. Piedmont

Hall, 2409 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

May 09

GREENHILL GALA. 6:30–9:30 p.m. Celebrate the 50th anniversary of GreenHill Center for NC Art at “A Celestial Evening,” featuring cocktails and eats, artists, entertainment, a live auction and a special art sale. Tickets: $250. GreenHill Center for NC Art, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

STEEL PANTHER. 8 p.m. If you take your metal rock with a side of humor, this is the show for you, featuring guest Stitched Up Heart. Tickets: $22.50+. Piedmont Hall, 2409 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

May 10–19

RUTHLESS. Times vary. In this dark musical comedy, 8-year-old Tina Denmark knows she was born to play Pippi Longstocking, and she will do anything — including killing off the leading lady — to win the part in her school production. Tickets: $15. Congregational United Church of Christ, 400 W. Radiance Drive, Greensboro. Info:

FINDING NEMO JR. Times vary. Follow young clownfish Nemo as he gets lost in the great big sea and tries to find his way back to his father in this musical underwater adventure featuring humorous and lovable characters. Tickets: $15+. Starr Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

May 10 & 11

CIRQUE DREAMS & ILLUSIONS. 7:30 p.m. & 2 p.m. This High Point Ballet production invites you into a dream universe of color and dance, where seeing is disbelieving. Tickets: $30+. High Point Theatre, 220 E. Commerce Ave., High Point. Info:

May 10

IMMERSIVE ART. 10 a.m.–9 p.m.

Premiering at the previous night’s gala, Durham artist Robin Vuchnich’s immersive installation SHIFT pays tribute to the state of North Carolina in honor of GreenHill’s 50th anniversary. Free. Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

THE FOREIGN LANDERS. 7:30 p.m. Enjoy an evening of honest and moving storytelling through the folk and bluegrass music of this South Carolina Transatlantic group. Tickets: $15. In the Crown at the Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

108 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Top to bottom: Lee Hall, Puglia: Sun Facade I, mixed media on canvas, 50 x 50 in.; Leigh Suggs, Pacing the Races VI, handcut acrylic on Yupo, 40 x 30 in.
Admission · Closed Mondays

AVATAR. 8 p.m. Not to be confused with the movie, this Swedish metal band hits the Gate City with guests Conquer Divide and Oxymorrons. Tickets: $27.50+. Piedmont Hall, 2409 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

May 11–19

NC BLUES WEEK & FESTIVAL. Explore a variety of blues-themed events all week long culminating in a free festival of live music. Festival location: Center City Park, 200 N. Elm St., Greensboro. For all other event updates and more info:

May 11–12

CEMETERY STROLL. Times vary. Share your grave concerns in a walking tour, “The Plants and the Planted,” lead by Friends of Green Hill Cemetery. Tickets: $5, cash only; no reservations required. Green Hill Cemetery, Wharton Street, Greensboro. Info:

May 11

ELM STREET RUNFEST. 7:45 a.m. Pound the pavement while taking a grand 10-mile tour of Greensboro’s central boulevard and surrounding neighborhoods to benefit TriadBeHeadStrong, a local charity supporting brain and spine tumor patients and providers. A 5K and 1-mile options are also available. Registration: $25+. LeBauer Park, 208 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

SYMPHONY DIRECTOR CANDIDATE. 8 p.m. Accompanied by violinist Andrew Sords, Chelsea Tipton, the last of the candidates,

The Ar ts

110 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
may calendar
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 1500 Mill Street, Suite 105,Greensboro, NC 27408 • 336.379.9808 No Partner Required
The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 111 LEAP: ARTISTS IMAGINE OUTER SPACE COMMEMORATING 50 YEARS OF NC VISUAL ART. THROUGH JUNE 29 Celestial Celebration PART OF GREENHILL'S SPRING SCAN FOR DETAILS OR VISIT GREENHILLNC.ORG YEARS Similar works from Arthur Brouthers’ Personal Universe Series are on display GH quarter OHenry May indd 1 GH quarter May.indd 1 3/21/2024 12:12:49 PM June 8 & 9, 2024 Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts WIZARDING WORLD and all related trademarks, characters, names, and indicia are © & ™ Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Publishing Rights © JKR. experience the magic of the film with a live orchestra TICKETS 336.335.5456 x224 • • T he Ar ts

Living Information For Today


L.I.F.T. is a social support program that helps surviving spouses adjust to the loss of their partner. It gives participants the opportunity to socialize with others who share similar feelings and experiences. This program is both entertaining and educational, with speakers on a wide variety of topics.

For more information on the L.I.F.T. program, please contact Hanes Lineberry Funeral Services at 336-272-5150.

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throws down his baton as contender for Greensboro Symphony director. Tickets: $35+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

CITY ENSEMBLE CONCERT. 7:30 p.m. The Choral Society of Greensboro presents “Song of Wisdom from Old Turtle” and Hayes’ “Requiem.” Free, donations accepted. Gail Brower Huggins Performance Center, 815 W. Market St., Greensboro. Info:

SACHET THIS WAY. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Drop in for a stroll around the historic herb garden and learn from costumed interpreters how to create your own sachet to take home. Free. Historical Park at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info:

May 12

MODULAR SYNTH. 5–7 p.m. Grab a blanket, bring a friend and immerse yourself in a sonic experience by Modular on the Spot Greensboro, featuring synthesizer music. Free. LeBauer Park, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

NATE BARGATZE. 7 p.m. “The Nicest Man in Standup,” who has become a comedic sensation, hits the stage for a night of laughs. Tickets: $39.75+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

LADY TRAMAINE HAWKINS. 7 p.m. The gospel legend joins the Greensboro Symphony for a concert that transcends. Tickets: $35+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

112 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Showroom Hours: Monday - Friday • 9am-5pm 4719 Pleasant Garden Road, Pleasant Garden 336-674-8839 | Bathroom Design & Remodeling • Accessible Home Modifications N.C. Licensed General Contractor • Certified Aging in Place Specialist MARION Tile & Flooring TILE • MARBLE • VINYL • CARPET • HARDWOOD Someone once told me that they couldn’t afford to buy a home. I told them that they couldn’t afford NOT to buy a Home. If you purchase living space, it is very likely that you walk away with EQUITY. Equity has value. (results will vary based on financial circumstances) If you rent living space, when you walk away, you walk away with NOTHING! Renting Buying VS 336.405.2635 Wallette Shealey NC Lic#305407 RealEstate by Wallette Practicing Commercial Real Estate by the Golden Rule Bill Strickland, CCIM Commercial Real Estate Broker/REALTOR 336.369.5974 | @ online Visit ➛
The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 113 • Customized In-Home Dog Training • Puppy Training • Dog Anxiety Training • Dog Aggression Training Dog Training That Works Mike Holian-Trainer 20 Years of Experience AKC-registered CGC Evaluator LLC with NC Free Phone Consultations: 336-234-1446 Grout Works offers all of the services you need to restore your tile to brand-new condition. PERMANENTLY BEAUTIFUL TILE. • Repair of cracked, crumbling or missing grout • Complete shower and bath restorations Eric Hendrix, Owner/Operator 336-580-3906 Get your today FREE! ESTIMATE Gift certificates available WHAT WE DO EVERY DAY MATTERS MORE THAN WHAT WE DO ONCE IN A WHILE Make exercise, diet and sleep some of YOUR BEST FRIENDS, and you will manage to defeat some of your worst enemies. 2116 Enterprise Rd. • Greensboro NC 27408 336-324-1140 •

May 14–19

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. Times vary. The theatrical adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning novel hits the stage. Tickets: $31+. Steven Tanger Center, 300 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

May 14

SING, LIVE, BE! 7 p.m. The Greensboro Youth Chorus performs a jubilant singing finale to its season. Free. Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info:

May 16–19

GREENSBORO BOUND. Times vary. The city’s annual literary festival returns with a fantastic lineup, including James McBride, author of The Heaven & Earth Grocery Store, Daniel Wallace and N.C. Poet Laureate Jaki Shelton Green. Free. Downtown Greensboro. Info:

May 16

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:

May 17

CHILDREN’S MUSEUM GALA. 7–10:30 p.m. Whisk yourself off to Neverland, aka the Miriam Brenner Children’s Museum, for an evening of pixie dust, live performances, culinary delights and spirits, and raffle prizes at the annual fundraising gala. Tickets: $300+/pair. Miriam Brenner Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greenboro. Info:

PHILHARMONIA. 7:30–9:30. As part of the City Ensemble Concerts, Philharmonia performs its final concert of the season. Free, donations accepted. Christ United Methodist Church, 410 Holden Road., Greensboro. Info: government/city-news/city-calendar.

MAGNOLIA BALL. 6:30–11 p.m. Dress in your formal best and enjoy an evening of elegance and whirlwind expeditions inspired by Around the World in 80 Days’ Phileas Fogg. Tickets: $285+. The Millennium Center, 101 W. 5th St., Winston-Salem. Info:

ALBUM RELEASE. 8 p.m. Celebrate the release of Farewell Friend’s latest album live with a night of its folk, rock, blues and Americana vibes. Tickets: $15+. Flat Iron, 221 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info:

May 18–19

HISTORIC HOME TOUR. Celebrate National Preservation Month by strolling through a selection of vintage homes in Sunset Hills. Tickets: $25+. Sunset HIlls neighborhood, Greensboro. Info:

GARDEN TOUR. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. Tour six private Greensboro gardens as well as the healing garden at Wesley Long Hospital. Tickets: $25, available for purchase at A. B. Seed, The Extra Ingredient, Fleet-Plummer, Randy McManus Designs, Guilford Garden Center and Plants & Answers: The Big Greenhouse. Info:

May 18

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:

May 19

BLUEGRASS & BRUNCH. 10 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:

WWE MONDAY NIGHT RAW. 7:30 p.m. Catch some of your favorite wrestling heroes, including 2024 Men’s Royal Rumble Winner Cody Rhodes, aka “The American Nightmare,” live in the ring. Tickets: $22+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

May 21–31

ULTIMATE COMIC CHALLENGE. 8 p.m. Vote for your favorite comedian during round one of this annual competition, May 21–26, followed by the wild card round on May 31. Tickets: $10. The Idiot Box, 503 N. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 21

GATE CITY NEW HORIZONS. 6:30–8 p.m. This local jazz and concert bands performs as part of the City Ensemble Concerts. Free, donations accepted. Van Dyke Performance Space, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: government/city-news/city-calendar.

May 22 & 23

ROMEO & JULIET. 2 p.m. & 7 p.m. Triad International Ballet performs one of the most iconic love stories of all time. Tickets: $25+. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 23

SPILLING THE TEA. 2–4 p.m. The Greensboro Newcomers Club invites you to sip with your pinkies out at its Spring Tea Party. Greensboro Country Club, 410 Sunset Drive, Greensboro. Info:

ABBY BRYANT. 8:30 p.m. Backed by The Echoes, the native North Carolina singersongwriter performs an evening of vintageinspired Americana tunes. Tickets: $15. Flat Iron, 221 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info:

May 25

HISTORICAL GARDEN. 11 a.m.–4 p.m.. Costumed interpreters will show you how early High Pointers used fresh-from-the-garden herbs for a variety of purposes. Free. Historical Park at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: FLOWER WREATHS. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., 10 a.m.–noon for sensory friendly. All ages are welcome to drop in and craft a flower-and-butterfly wreath to adorn your door. Free. Little Red Schoolhouse at High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info:

GOLD STAR CEREMONY. 1 p.m. A Gold Star Families By-Way Memorial marker, which honors those who have fallen as a way of offering hope and healing to families, is to be installed in Wrenn Miller Park. Free. Wrenn Miller Park, 101 Guilford Road, Jamestown. See more info on page 22.

May 29

TUNE IN & TUNE UP. 6–8 p.m. Celebrate National Bike Month while a DJ spins tracks as volunteer bike mechanics spin wheels and gears to tune up your bike. Free. LoFi Park, 500 N. Eugene St., Greensboro. Info:

May 31

BANDA MS. 8 p.m. The Mexican band formed just over 20 years ago serenades the crowd with its rancheras as well as classic Mexican pop and rock hits. Tickets: $49+. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Gate City Blvd., Greensboro. Info:

JAMIE MCLEAN BAND. 8:30 p.m. The band that blends New Orleans soul, middle Americana roots, Delta blues and New York City swagger hits the stage for a night of lively guitar riffs and sultry vocals. Tickets: $15+. Flat Iron, 221 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: OH

114 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
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O.Henry Author Series: Patti Callahan Henry

Grandover Resort & Spa

Wednesday, April 3, 2024

116 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Laura Lomax, Leslie Conway Dabney Erwin, Betsy Clark, Renee Regeis Joan Glazer, Steve Colyer, Gigi Renaud Tanya Penick, Angela Hodges, Janice Wood Laura Vail, Kim Bunce, Melissa Baughman, Betty Arms, CJ Murray Diane Graham, Betty Alvarez Sarah McCoy, Patti Callahan Henry, Laura Beth Vietor Ashley Sharkey, Cathy Bentsen Lynda Wagoner, Barbara Carder Jackie Gehsmann, Diana Whaley Deborah Hunt, Angelica Cardone-Salviana, Gwynn Chappell, Chloee Newman George Lamoureux Ginny Christman, Carole Albright, Gloria Exiga, Lisa Allen, Leslie Fields, Amy Eskridge, Kim Wilson Andie Stuart Rose, Cassie Bustamante, Amy Grove, Lisa Allen Melissa Franklin, Jamie Pritchard, Erin Pearce

Greensboro Opera Gala: A Night Among the Stars

Temple Emanuel

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Photographs by VanderVeen Photographers

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 117
Davetta FloranceBristow, Vonii Bristow
Pearl Melton, Barbara Peters, Sharon Ann Hope David & Sandee Pearce, Lydia & Russell Love Daniel Brinegar, Jesse Marion, James & Julianna Rushe Patrick Duncan, Jeanne Holley Federico Borso, Karen Millican, Heather Borso, Micheline Chalhoub-Deville, Janet Hendley, Pat Vedder, Malitsitso Moteane Paschelle & John Palmer Roman Scott, Mary Miller, Courtney Scott Paula Harrell, James Howell Hannah Hall, Jennifer Baum, Elizabeth Dunn, Beth Stephens, Dong-Yang Deng Joseph & Robeson


118 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro
Venture X Grand Opening Thursday, February 8, 2024
Mike Micciche
Photographs by
Eric Durham, Melissa Mart, Kelly Butler Mike & Amy Mahoney Todd Trifari, Erik Linn, Angie Linn Josh Cockman, Jennifer Quick Sude Semen Tony Lancaster, Heather Ferguson, Kim Lancaster, Melissa Mart, Donna Blizard, Jason Anderson
336-549-8071 There are times when it’s smarter to lease than to sell your home. Call me when you think you’re there! I’ll be pleased to discuss how Burkely Rental Homes can help you. “I refer investors and renters to Michelle. I trust they are in good hands with her“. Katie Redhead
Sterling Kelly - CEO


Chamber of Commerce Annual Celebration

Dawn S. Chaney Foundation sponsored the ATHENA Award Tanger Center

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Photographs by VanderVeen Photographers

The Art & Soul of Greensboro O.Henry 119
Afika Nxumalo Sherri Thomas, Dawn Chaney, Dr. Terri Shelton Tammy Simmons

A Fairytale Ending

I Think That I Shall Never See Myself as Other Than a Tree

Our fourth-grade Christmas pageant offered an opportunity I yearned for — the role of a fairy! While I dreamed of wands and sparkling wings, I knew I would face competition from my pixie-like classmate, Anne. For days I practiced flitting about while singing, “I’m a fairy, so light and airy.” Alas, Anne received the fairy assignment, and our teacher proclaimed that “a big ol’ healthy girl” like me would play . . . a tree. “Well,” Mother said, “maybe you will be draped with tinsel and wear a star on your head.” No. I was to wear my blue velveteen Sunday school jumper, stand in one spot and utter one line.

I first met Anne when the black taxicab picked us and the other 4-year-olds up for delivery to Mrs. Teensy Davis’ in-home nursery school. Memories of that year consist mainly of finger painting and two horrid little boys who terrified me by saying they were going to climb under the hood of Daddy’s car and kill him. For some reason my father did not take this as a serious threat, but Anne consoled me and thus became my friend.

The following year, Anne cut through her backyard to meet me, and together we walked to kindergarten. Anne was a tiny girl with blonde, Alice-in-Wonderland hair she wore in braids. At her temples I saw delicate blue veins, like rivers on a map. Mother said Anne was born “premature,” which I interpreted as “dainty.” Built like a fireplug with a Dutch-boy bob, I longed for braids like Anne’s, so I nagged Mother into allowing my hair to grow. Although the resulting plaits were so thin that rubber bands slipped off the ends, Scotch Tape worked just fine.

I coveted the sleek, black penny loafers Anne wore in first grade. I hated my spud feet, clad in sturdy, lace-up, tan Hush Puppies, and hooked my ankles around the legs of my desk to keep them out of view. I campaigned to convince Mother to buy me loafers. “You’d tear them up in a week,” she said. In retaliation, I rode my bike for an hour, dragging the toes of my Hush

Puppies along the pavement, but the shoes were indestructible.

The after-school YMCA program yielded no outlet for my inner Thumbelina. President Kennedy had determined that America’s youth were soft, so an intense fitness regimen was inflicted upon us:

“Go, You Chicken Fat, Go!” We performed sit-ups and jumping jacks. Bird-like, Anne flew to and fro in the potato relay as I plodded behind on turkey drumstick legs. I could barely hoist myself halfway on the climbing rope, while Anne skittered up and down like a spider.

I mostly gave up any notion of being like Anne. I worked at kicking a ball hard and swinging a softball bat. I beat up the runty boy across the street who called me “Moose” and eventually outgrew my stocky phase.

Years later, reeling from an abrupt end to my marriage, I found myself rearing a son on my own. No time for fairies, daily life was consumed with his care and paying the bills. But I was determined to make sure my boy was rooted securely by his mother’s love.

In his early teens, my son applied for a job at the boys’ summer camp he had loved throughout childhood. One day, I received an unexpected phone call from the camp director wanting to discuss a junior counselor position. “You know, Grey had to describe his hero on the job application,” he said. “His hero is you.”

My perplexed silence prompted him to continue.

“He wrote about the big tree in your backyard where you hung his swing. He said like that tree, you are strong and give him support, but with the swing, you also let him fly.”

After thanking him and hanging up, I pondered this revelation: Was I wrong all along? Perhaps being a tree was not the indignity I’d thought. OH

Christine Garton is a staff writer for UNCG’s Advancement Communications. She holds great pride in the fact that her son earned the rank of Eagle Scout, albeit with her foot planted firmly on his derriere . . .

120 O.Henry The Art & Soul of Greensboro o.henry ending
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