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Exceptional time. As the nation continues to deal with the pervasive impact of COVID-19, all of us at Arbor Acres are inspired by so many heroic caregivers. That includes our dedicated staff on the frontline of this epidemic, protecting the health and safety of everyone who lives and works here.

A

T ARBOR ACRES, our residents bring with them

the experience and wisdom of hundreds of amazing lifetimes. So as they adjust to new protocols required during this exceptional time, they remind us of the power of believing in better days ahead. Meanwhile, birds are singing, tomatoes are ripening, and the summer sky is as blue as ever.

Please be safe.

1240 Arbor Road, Winston-Salem, NC 27104 | 866 - 658 -2724 | 336 -724 -7921 | www.arboracres.org

2 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Thank you for supporting local businesses! Tues.-Fri. 10-6pm Sat. 10-3pm www.StateStJewelers.com

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4 O.Henry

336-644-0028 BuildingDimensionsNC.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Serving Others. Enriching Lives. “ My heart is in this community. That’s why I’m so excited to be part of the TowneBank team. Bankers who are from here... who understand and value the people, businesses, culture, and causes of the Triad.”

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Centrally located, Greensboro is the perfect place to relax and immerse yourself in history and nature. Explore our 90 miles of trails and three City lakes, walk the Downtown Greenway and visit our downtown parks – while practicing social distancing. When normal activities resume, choose from more than 500 restaurants, cheer on the Greensboro Grasshoppers, plan a trip to the Greensboro Science Center, visit the Greensboro History Museum and learn about our rich history.

We can’t wait to share Greensboro with you!

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W W W. G R E E N S B O R O - N C . G O V

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


June 2020 DEPARTMENTS 13 Simple Life

FEATURES

By Jim Dodson

41 We Trade Eggs and Olives

18 Short Stories 19 Doodad By Nancy Oakley

42 Simply Summer

21 Life’s Funny

By Maria Johnson

Poetry by Sam Barbee

By Maria Johnson Seven local chefs serve up easy-toprepare courses for seasonal eating

24 Omnivorous Reader

48 La Dolce Vita

26 Scuppernong Bookshelf 28 The Pleasures of Life Dept.

50 A Visual Feast

By D.G. Martin

By Ashley Wahl

31 Spirits

By Tony Cross

33 The Sporting Life By Tom Bryant

37 Birdwatch

By Susan Campbell

38 Wandering Billy By Billy Eye

79 The Accidental Astrologer

By Nancy Oakley A paean to peaches By Nancy Oakley Area artists serve up a smorgasbord of food-inspired works

60 The Stuff that Dreams are Made Of By Cynthia Adams Fantasy houses near and far

65 Almanac

By Ash Alder

By Astrid Stellanova

80 O.Henry Ending By Cynthia Adams

Cover Art by Bethany Pierce Cherries Macabre, 16 x 20 inches Art this page by R achel Campbell, Untitled, oil on linen, 26 x 36 inches Courtesy of the artists and GreenHill Center for NC Art 8 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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


M A G A Z I N E

Volume 10, No. 6 “I have a fancy that every city has a voice.” 336.617.0090 1848 Banking Street, Greensboro, NC 27408

Trusted advice to help guide your wealth

www.ohenrymag.com PUBLISHER

David Woronoff Jim Dodson, Editor jim@thepilot.com Andie Stuart Rose, Creative Director andie@thepilot.com Nancy Oakley, Senior Editor nancy@ohenrymag.com Lauren M. Coffey, Associate Art Director Alyssa Rocherolle, Graphic Designer CONTRIBUTING EDITORS

Cynthia Adams, David Claude Bailey, Harry Blair, Maria Johnson CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS

Mallory Cash, Lynn Donovan, Amy Freeman, Sam Froelich, John Gessner, Bert VanderVeen, Mark Wagoner CONTRIBUTORS

We understand every situation is unique. That's why we take the time to listen, understand your needs, and build your plan to help achieve your vision of the future.

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Phone: 336-842-7309 www.wellsfargoadvisors.com

Investment and Insurance Products: - NOT FDIC Insured - NO Bank Guarantee - MAY Lose Value Wells Fargo Advisors is a trade name used by Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC, Member SIPC, a registered broker-dealer and non-bank affiliate of Wells Fargo & Company. ©2019 Wells Fargo Clearing Services, LLC. All rights reserved. CAR 1219-01523

10 O.Henry

Ash Alder, Jane Borden, Susan Campbell, Wiley Cash, Tony Cross, Clyde Edgerton, Billy Eye, Ross Howell Jr., Billy Ingram, Susan S. Kelly, Sara King, Brian Lampkin, Meridith Martens, D.G. Martin, Ogi Overman, Stephen E. Smith, Astrid Stellanova Hattie Aderholdt, Advertising Manager 336.601.1188, hattie@ohenrymag.com Amy Grove 336.456.0827 • amy@ohenrymag.com Glenn McVicker 336.804.0131 • glenn@ohenrymag.com Brad Beard, Graphic Designer Emily Jolly, Advertising Assistant ohenrymag@ohenrymag.com

O.H

Steve Anderson, Finance Director 910.693.2497 Darlene Stark, Subscriptions & Circulation Director • 910.693.2488 OWNERS

Jack Andrews, Frank Daniels Jr., Frank Daniels III, Lee Dirks, David Woronoff © Copyright 2020. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited. O.Henry Magazine is published by The Pilot LLC The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 11


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Mark & Kim Littrell REALTOR®, Brokers, Owners Mark 336-210-1780 mlittrell@BlueDenimRE.com Kim 336-210-9294 klittrell@BlueDenimRE.com

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In support of our frontline workers, Blue Denim Real Estate is offering special incentives through the end of 2020. Contact us for details.

12 O.Henry

www.BlueDenimRealEstate.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Simple Life

The Stolen Flower Child Love, loss and living things

By Jim Dodson

On the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, a clear spring morning in my tiny corner of the planet, I was out early planting a fig tree in the side garden — my primary hideout even before a killer virus came to town — when I witnessed an enchanting scene of discovery.

An elegant gray-haired woman and a toddler on wobbly legs came slowly down the street hand in hand. The woman was about my age. I guessed the little dude might be her grandson. They paused at the edge of my garden. The woman pointed to a birdbath and a pair of busy bird feeders hanging over flowering shrub roses. Several finches were at the feeder and two cardinals were taking morning dips in the birdbath. Bees were circulating through blooming sage. Spring was alive and buzzing. The little dude dropped the woman’s hand and wobbled straight into the garden for a closer look at the action. The woman followed close behind, keeping a maternal hand ready to catch him if he fell. The birds didn’t appear the slightest bit perturbed by the pair’s intrusion, and neither was the gardener — for what good is a garden if living creatures don’t pay a visit, be it birds, bees or boys? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Indeed, at one point, the little guy tripped and tumbled over. He didn’t cry, however. He pushed himself back to his feet and giggled, holding out a fistful of my good garden dirt to share with his companion. She made a delighted show of accepting his special Earth Day gift. Together they examined something in the palm of her hand, perhaps a big wiggly earthworm. My garden is full of them. How wise she was to encourage this new citizen of the Earth to get dirty in a garden. Once upon a time, when people lived much closer to the soil, Nature was regarded as an essential teacher of the young, a maternal presence used in the service of myths, legends and fairy tales to convey important lessons about survival in a wild and unforgiving world. Perhaps the handsome older woman knew this. Perhaps, given the enchantment of the moment, she actually was Little Dude’s fairy grandmother. In any case, as I watched this tender scene unfold, leaning on a shovel in my side yard, two thoughts came to mind. One was a line from a poem that I had commited to memory decades ago, “The Stolen Child” by Irish poet William Butler Yeats Come away, O human child! To the waters and the wild With a faery, hand in hand, For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand. O.Henry 13


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Simple Life

wrights v ille

b e ach

The other was a powerful flashback to the enchanted young woman who introduced me to this poem and changed my life, 50 years ago to the day.

* * *

Her name was Kristin. We grew up attending the same church and sang together in the youth choir, but she never really looked my way because she was a year older and several lifetimes wiser, a beautiful cheerleader who became a wise and spirited flower child. During the autumn of my junior year in high school, however, she turned to me after choir practice and wondered if I might give her a ride home. On the way home, she informed me that she’d ditched her college boyfriend and wondered, with a teasing laugh, if we should begin dating. I had a new Chevy Camaro from money I saved up from mowing lawns and teaching guitar. I thought she just liked my car. What she saw in me at that moment is still hard to say. I was such a straight arrow kid, an Eagle Scout who grew up camping and fishing and was more at home in the woods than the city. Once upon a time, I’d even briefly been a member of the local chapter of Young Republicans and shaken Richard Nixon’s hand, though I didn’t dare let this out until our second or third date. “That’s OK,” she said with a laugh, “I think the universe sent me to wake you up and save you from the Republicans.” Perhaps it was our shared passion for the outdoors that created such a powerful bond. She loved to hunt for wildflowers and visit public gardens where she could sit and read poetry or study her lines for a play. She even walked golf courses with me doing the same. Yeats and Walt Whitman were her favorite poets. Because of her, I fancied Yeats and Whitman too. I was 17 on the first Earth Day, April 22, 1970, though I cannot tell you much about the rally we attended in a public park after school that Wednesday. There was a good crowd, lots of posters and energy, a bevy of passionate speakers warning about the dangers of air and water pollution to future generations. Someone had hauled a rusted heap to the rally site, as I recall, and protesters took turns gleefully bashing the gas-guzzler with a sledgehammer — or maybe this was a subsequent protest we attended together. In any case, I was grateful we’d parked my almost-new Camaro well away from the scene. I recently learned from the earthday.org website that the first Earth Day protest “inspired 20 million Americans” — at the time, 10 percent of the total population of the United States — to take to the streets, parks and auditoriums “to demonstrate against the impacts of 150 years of industrial development that had left a growing legacy of serious human health impacts.” The site goes on to note that the first Earth Day led to some significant steps by year’s end: the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of other environmental firsts including the National Environmental Education The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 15


Simple Life

Aura Marzouk Photography

On some level, the message is an allegorical plea not to abandon the beauty and challenges of real world, seduced by an illusionary longing to leave troubles behind. Over the year and a half we were together, Kristin opened my eyes about so many things in this world — poetry, art, music, the power of an open mind and the spiritual connectedness of every living creature. Whenever we debated politics — I was still something of a halfhearted Republican — she joked that she might end up becoming my Maud Gonne, the 23-year-old English heiress and ardent Irish Nationalist Yeats met in 1889 and proposed to — without success — at least three times. She became the poet’s unrequited love and lifelong haunting. In a way, Kristin became mine — or at least my Stolen Flower Child. We agreed to part when she went off to college in the mountains. The separation was my suggestion. I had a cool Camaro and a silly notion that I needed “space” to date around “before I settled down.” The decision was one I soon came to regret. Two years later, we got back together. For three October weekends in a row, I drove six hours across the state to reconnect with my first love. She was soon to graduate with degrees in social work and drama, and was being considered for an understudy role in London. I was trying to decide between becoming an English teacher or a journalist. She helped convince me that writing was my proper path. On Sunday night, October 25, 1973, we parted having made a plan to go to England together someday soon and see what life

Annie Timmons Photography

Maggie Mills Photography

Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the Clean Air Act. Ironically, Richard Nixon signed these pieces of legislation into law. He deserved a handshake for this. “Two years later,” the website adds, “Congress passed the Clean Water Act, followed by the Endangered Species Act — laws that protected millions of men, women and children from disease and death as well as hundreds of species from extinction.” In 1990, 200 million people in 141 countries mobilized to make recycling and alternative energy sources primary objectives of Earth Day activism. “Today,” the site concludes, “Earth Day is widely recognized as the largest secular observance in the world, marked by more than a billion people every year as a day of action to change human behavior.” And create a sustainable planet. For me, the best part of that first local rally was when Kristin read Yeats’ “The Stolen Child,” a poem that appeared in his first poetry collection in 1889. The theme plays off loss of childlike innocence against the unmentioned backdrop of a world being turned upside down by the social upheavals of Britain’s Industrial Revolution. Yeats grew up in beautiful County Sligo where folklore and legends of fairies stealing children were commonplace, a subject that deeply interested the poet for much of his career. In the end, the innocent child is lured away from the familiar comforts of home to a world far removed from the one he knows and loves — stolen away, in the end, to a place that is both wild but also faintly sinister.

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WEDDINGS - CORPORATE EVENTS - SOCIAL GATHERINGS

16 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Simple Life would yield. Kristin went to the steak house where she worked as weekend hostess and I drove six hours back to school. Later that evening, three young teenagers entered the restaurant to rob patrons, held a gun to the head of the hostess and pulled the trigger.

REAL ESTATE IS LOCAL. SO IS LIZA.

* * *

As I watched the wise fairy grandmother and Little Dude resume their walk down the block, hand in dirty hand, I went back to planting my young fig tree, marveling how quickly half a century had passed. I also wondered, on this important day in the life of the planet, what sort of world Little Dude would soon inherit. Ironically, just days before, a gutted Environmental Protection Agency removed the last regulations on air and water pollution in America, part of a systematic dismantling of the sweeping gains in environmental protection that had taken place over half a century, at a time when the vast majority of scientists warn the Earth is facing perilous consequences due to climate inaction. Among other things, the coronavirus pandemic has been traced to human encroachment into formerly wild places where Ebola, SARS and other killer viruses were born. Experts also warn that the world’s population of insects — the basis of our own food chain — is nearly half what it was the year of the first Earth Day. As for me, it took almost two decades to speak of my own personal tragedy. A final golf trip with my father to England and Scotland when he was dying allowed me to finally open up about that dark October. It proved to be my second great awakening. Today, I understand that the world is indeed full of sorrows, but thanks to the gifts my stolen flower child gave me, I understand that the power of love is the real magic of life on this planet, not to mention the importance of keeping an open mind while celebrating the spiritual connectedness of every living creature. I sometimes feel her presence — keeping an eye on my progress, I suspect — especially when I’m in the garden. OH

“Greensboro is the perfect place to live. Located ideally between the mountains and the beach, Greensboro is big city living with a small town feel. With a new Performing Arts Center, an ever expanding food and music scene, along with parks and hiking trails, there is something for everyone.” When it comes to selling your home, no one in the Greensboro area does it better than Liza and the team at TR&M. Local experts, global reach. Call 336.274.1717 or visit trmhomes.com today.

Contact Editor Jim Dodson at jim@thepilot.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 17


Short Stories Picture This

***Given the unusual circumstances currently facing all events and their organizations, anyone planning to attend any program, gathering or competition should check in advance to make certain it will happen as scheduled.

Tiny Trees

Since its gift shop reopened in May, we’d like to think Paul J. Ciener Botanical Garden (215 South Main Street, Kernersville) is going forward with regularly scheduled lectures and programs. As of this writing, its discussion, “Bonsai for Fun,” is still on the books for June 11 at 6 p.m. PJCBG’s garden manager Josh Williams will present the ins and outs of cultivating, caring for and training the petite plants, and will answer any questions you may have. Have a bonny bonsai of your own? Bring it in! To register: (336) 9967888 or cienerbotanicalgarden.org.

18 O.Henry

A show and sale of work by the late Greensboro streetscape artist Maggie Fickett is ongoing, online, at greensboroart. org, the website of Center for Visual Artists. For more info on the show, Maggie Fickett: Living in Plein Air, go to ohenrymag. com/sazerac/ and scroll down to the department called “High Browsing.” While you’re at it, sign up for The Sazerac, an email newsletter that’ll land in your inbox every Friday at 5:30 p.m. and help you kick off the weekend with a smile.

Long Ago and Farro-way

If you’ve been dreaming of the Green Valley Grill’s blue crab-and-spinach dip, flatbreads, and one of our faves, the salmon and farro salad for the last couple of months, dream no more! Wipe the drool from your chin, go online to the restaurant’s website, place a to-go order for lunch or dinner, and pick it up in the parking lot (622 Green Valley Road). It’s a big deal, because unlike many Gate City eateries, GVG is employee-owned and therefore shuttered its doors for the duration of the corona calamity. But starting Mother’s Day with a selection of family-sized meals, it cranked up again, implementing a drive-through system with military precision. And who knows? By the time you read this, the popular hangout may have reinstituted on-site dining. Either way — and especially if you go for the salmon — it’s a fin-fin situation. Info: greenvalleygrill.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Corona Chronicles

Two local museums are collecting tales of the COVID—19 pandemic

B

Market Mania

Though many places came to a screeching halt in the last couple of months, the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market (2914 Sandy Ridge Road, Colfax) has soldiered on. As summer approaches, it’s gathering steam starting June 6, when it hosts “Ask a Master Gardener,” featuring a representative from the Guilford County Cooperative Extension who will be on hand to offer advice about growing stuff. June 13 sees “Touch a Truck,” encouraging kids to explore construction equipment — sanitized, we hope — such as fire trucks, dump trucks, cranes and just about anything with an engine and big wheels. On June 19, a case of the blues has never been so welcome, as the Market presents Blueberry Day. (Do we see a cobbler in your future?) Winding up the month on the June 20, you can again get the, er, dirt from a Master Gardener but the main attraction is the Market’s annual Crawfish Boil. Come early for your 5-pound stash of either live crawdaddies or if you prefer, cooked up with Cajun spices. It’s summer y’all! Let the sunshine in and laissez les bons temps rouler! Info: ncagr.gov.

y now we’re over all of it: deserted city streets; Zoom conferences; online school assignments; makeshift masks; the quest for toilet paper; TikTok dances. But today’s hackneyed themes of the global pandemic will be tomorrow’s objects of curiosity. Centuries or even mere decade from now, subsequent generations will regard this bizarre moment in time with the same fascination that we behold black-and-white photographs and newsreels from days gone by. Like it or not, we’ve been making history, and to quote the essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson: “There is properly no history; only biography.” In that spirit, Greensboro History Museum and High Point Museum are collecting, documenting and sharing the community’s stories from the Covid-19 era. Were you or a loved one afflicted with the virus? Have you been in the trenches among health-care workers, grocery-store clerks, truck drivers or delivery folks? Did you use the time off to paint a masterpiece, keep a diary, write a novel or tackle a home repair project? How did you and your family while away the hours? Working from a home office? Taking walks or bike rides? Cultivating a garden? Making sidewalk chalk drawings or streaming live concerts? Bingeing on a Netflix series or reading that stack of books by your bedside? Whatever your story, feel free to share it by accessing Greensboro History Museum’s new Digital Engagement Nook, the Lion’s DEN (a compendium of archival artifacts, activities, podcasts and more) at greensborohistory.org/lions-den, or visit High Point Museum’s website, highpointmuseum.org and its social media pages for information. As you ponder your submission to one of these corona-inspired time capsules, pour yourself a “quarantini” — or now that lockdown restrictions are lifting, a “libertini” — and be sure to pass along the recipe. — Nancy Oakley

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 19


www.TomChitty.com/WeldenRidge

20 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Life's Funny

A Dirty Little Secret Navigating the plant-emic

By Maria Johnson

It started as a joke. Sort of.

Faced with lots of time together this past spring, my husband and I decided to build a victory garden, a nod to the vegetable gardens that Americans planted to boost self-sufficiency and free up food supply chains during both world wars of the 20th century. Moved by the global impact of coronavirus, we decided we could, we would, grow our own food. Some of it. OK, a couple of salads’ worth. Let’s be real. We don’t have acres and mules, like my grandparents did when they literally ate out of their rural garden during the Great Depression. Later, after they moved to town — town being a relative term — they weathered WWII by turning more than half of their deep backyard into a garden. To extend the harvest, my grandmother canned vegetables, which was a major operation with glass jars, rings, lids, funnels, rubber gloves, forceps and hot water baths. Well times, they’ve a-changed. I’m pretty sure our homeowners’ association would bust us if we went full scarecrow on our yard, and the only thing getting a hot water bath in this house is me. No, we wouldn’t bite off subsistence farming. But we were down for some garnish farming. It would be a fun project, a good thing for a couple of work-athome empty-nesters to do together. With a smidge of skill and a lot of luck, we could declare victory over the tyranny of Zoom and the never-ending search for a camera angle that doesn’t give you five chins, not to mention the pressure of arranging a bookcase background that says “casual genius,” while making sure the camera is far enough away that no one can make out your complete collection of Calvin and Hobbes cartoon books. Ours would be a victory garden all right, victory being a relative term. Full confession: I’ve always wanted a beautiful raised-bed garden.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

They’re peaceful places to me, perfect microcosms of life. To the best of your ability, you arrange them to be bountiful, knowing that events beyond your control — weather, weeds, pests, disease — will take their toll. Some loss is inevitable. On the other hand, if you don’t tend your patch in small ways every day, it’ll go to ruin. Over the years, I’d made several runs at the raised-bed dream by buying a flimsy frame here and there and planting what a friend refers to as spaghetti sauce in the raw: tomatoes, basil, oregano, bell peppers. The results were always kind of puny. Turns out, tomatoes get this thing called blossom end rot, which looks as nasty as it sounds. Plus, squirrels eat tomatoes. Correction: Squirrels like to take ONE BITE out of a tomato, then hand it to you and go, “Want some?” Another lesson learned the hard way: Plants need sun. And water. Other than rain. Whatever. The point is, I’m older and wiser now. More Zen and able to breathe deeply and see deeply. Also, I found a slingshot in one son’s room. Hear that, you !@#$% squirrels? I skimmed the Internet for hearty-looking raised bed frames. Unfortunately, they all came with hearty price tags. That’s when I decided it would be better if we — and by that I mean my husband — built the frames from scratch. I dug out a YouTube video of a carpenter assembling what seemed to be an easy-to-make frame. At least she made it look easy. Same thing, right? Jeff watched the video and said sure, he could do that. Sweet. The next thing you know I’m in a home improvement store buying lumber and screws and garden soil and composted manure and mulch (to keep the weeds out, natch) and, let’s see . . . what else? Oh yeah, seeds. Standing at the seed rack, I heard someone else laying plans for a “victory garden.” It was a communal moment. All around the seed O.Henry 21


Life's Funny

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22 O.Henry

rack people stood, hands on masked chins, staring thoughtfully at the packets, much as they might ponder titles at a local bookstore — and with the same realization: There are so many titles you’ve never experienced. Who knew there were so damn many kinds of self-help books — or green beans? I bought a couple of varieties of the beans — shorter ones, and longer ones, for you gardening aficionados — along with some peas, carrots, beets, radishes, cucumbers and okra. A gardener friend, who raises his tomatoes from seed, kindly donated some German Johnson and Brandywine plants to our cause. The next couple of weekends went like this: Drill-drill-drill. Hammer-hammerhammer. Measure-measure-measure. Mulch-mulch-mulch. Shovel-shovel-shovel. Advil-Advil-Advil. Dig-dig-dig. Sew-sew-sew. Plant-plant-plant. And yes, WATER-WATER-WATER. Geez. I must say, things are looking good. We have four gorgeous cedar frames resting on an apron of hardwood mulch and brimming with dirt the color of chocolate cake. The tomatoes are fuzzy and vigorous. Peppers and basil stand sentry nearby. The seeds are sprouting, each type with its own distinctive leaves. We like to watch them grow and change. We pluck weeds, study sun and shadow, and talk to our tender charges. “Are you happy?” I ask them over coffee in the wet chill of morning. “Do you have what you need?” Someone asked me how much this garden cost. In dollars. I don’t know. I don’t want to know. I have shredded the receipts. This much I do know: Victory takes many forms, and there’s more than one way to feed a soul. OH Maria Johnson is a contributing editor of O.Henry. She can be reached at ohenrymaria@gmail.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 23


The Omnivorous Reader

An Honest Day’s Storytelling

Finding truth in Lee Smith’s fiction and nonfiction By D.G. Martin

Some North Carolina writers say that it is

easier for them to tell the truth in fiction than it is in nonfiction. In nonfiction, the facts can bind up authors so tight that it is hard for them to deliver the truth.

The two most recent books by North Carolina’s beloved novelist Lee Smith give us a chance to compare her “truth-telling” strengths in her fiction versus her nonfiction writing. Her most recent book, Blue Marlin, which came out in April, is fiction, while her memoir, Dimestore: A Writer’s Life, was published in 2016. The main character and narrator of Smith’s Blue Marlin is a young teenage girl dealing with growing up, religion, boys and the troubled mental health and marital problems of her parents. Much of Dimestore, Smith’s only nonfiction book, deals with the same topics in the context of the real life experiences of Smith and her parents. Blue Marlin is short, about 120 pages, each filled with Smith’s warm and sympathetic storytelling gifts and characters who reach out and remind us of people we knew growing up.  In the book, the Lee Smith-like character, Jenny, age 13, discovered her beloved small-town lawyer dad was having an affair. Soon everybody in town knew. Her dad moved out of their home. Her depressed mom sought treatment at a hospital in Asheville. After a time, her parents decided to try to put their marriage back together on a trip to Key West, Florida, with Jenny. Riding to Key West in the back seat of her dad’s new Cadillac, Jenny began a list of good deeds she would do on each day of their trip, “which ought to be enough,” she thought, “to bring even Mama and Daddy back together.” But, will the time in Key West do the job? Their motel, the Blue Marlin, was a positive, not just because of its swimming pool and waterslide. The motel was occupied by a movie crew, including actor Tony Curtis. Jenny and her mom were big movie fans and read the fan magazines together. They “squealed together” over Curtis. Things were off to a good start. Jenny settled into Key West. She walked the streets, visited the sites, made friends with the locals, and did her good deeds every day. But

24 O.Henry

she’s not sure her good deeds are working. “My parents were endlessly cordial to each other now, but so far they had never slept in the same bed. I knew this for a fact. I checked their room every morning.” To find out whether Tony Curtis’ help and Jenny’s good deeds could bring about real marital reconciliation, you will have to read the book, but Smith leaves clues in the afterword. Following a real family trip to Key West to help her real parents’ troubled marriage, Smith writes that the Key West cure worked. “Mama and Daddy would go home refreshed, and stay married for the rest of their lives.” She writes that of all the stories she has ever written, “this one is dearest to me, capturing the essence of my own childhood — the kind of unruly, spoiled only child I was; the sweetness of my troubled parents, and the magic essence of Key West, ever since January 1959, when these events actually occurred.” Smith cautions her readers that not all the events in her book happened, describing it as “autobiographical fiction, with the emphasis on fiction.” She explains, “I can tell the truth better in fiction than nonfiction.” A few years ago when I read Dimestore, I thought her memoir’s real stories were, in some respects, even better than the wonderful ones she had told in her novels and short stories.  Her descriptions of the real characters in her life were, like her fictional characters, compelling. Dimestore opened the door for her many fans to know her as well or better than her good friends do.  It gave clues about how growing up in a small Appalachian coal mining town and spending most of her life working, writing and raising a family here in North Carolina have influenced her writing. We learned that her seemingly idyllic childhood, with devoted parents, surrounded by loving members of an extended family, was also full of challenges. In a chapter titled “Kindly Nervous,” Smith described the “immense anguish” her beloved father felt during his bouts of bipolar mania.  But for Smith there was a bright side to her father’s condition, which he described as “kindly nervous.” When her father could not sleep, he would work all night at the dimestore he owned in downtown Grundy, Virginia. Smith often accompanied him to the store and slept on a pallet under his desk. In the morning, he took her to breakfast. “How I loved those breakfasts! I got to have my scrambled eggs and my own big white china cup of sweet, milky coffee alongside early-morning truckers and the miners who’d just worked the graveyard shift, their eyes rimmed with coal dust like raccoons.” The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Reader Her mother suffered, too, and was frequently hospitalized for depression and anxiety. But, again, Smith emphasizes the bright side. “This is my story, then,” she writes, “but it is not a sob story. Whenever either of my parents was gone, everybody — our relatives, neighbors, and friends — pitched in to help take care of me, bringing food over, driving me to Girl Scouts or school clubs or whatever else came up.” One time, both parents were hospitalized, her mother in Charlottesville. Her mother’s doctor invited the 13-year-old Lee to have lunch with him. “Our luncheon,” she writes, “remains one of the most memorable occasions of my youth.” After a long formal lunch with lots of conversation about Smith’s love of literature, the doctor asked her if, because both parents were ill, she was worried about getting sick herself. Smith replied, “You mean, if I am going to go crazy, too.” When the doctor said, “yes,” Smith thought, “How did he know? Because that was exactly what I thought about, of course, all the time.” The kindhearted doctor assured her that he was a good doctor and she seemed to be “a very nice, normal girl, and I am here to tell you that you can stop worrying about this right now. You will be fine.” She was fine, and explains how such events can be blessings for an author. “This is an enviable life, to live in the terrain of one’s heart,” she writes. “Most writers don’t — can’t — do this. Most of us are always searching, through our work and in our lives: for meaning, for love, for home. Writing is about these things. And as writers, we cannot choose our truest material. But sometimes we are lucky enough to find it.” Is Smith’s “truest material” in her fiction or her memoir? I am not sure I know the answer. But one thing is certain, whenever she puts pencil to paper, the result is going to be moving, and honest. OH D.G. Martin hosts North Carolina Bookwatch Sunday at 3:30 p.m. and Tuesday at 5 p.m. on UNC-TV. The program also airs on the North Carolina Channel Tuesday at 8:00 p.m. and other times. To view prior programs: http:// video.unctv.org/show/nc-bookwatch/episodes. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 25


Scuppernong Bookshelf

Light Reading

Brighten up the days with tales of lighthouses

By Brian Lampkin

Throughout this pandemic and

isolation, the following lines from poet Allen Ginsberg have been echoing in my head: “Well, while I’m here I’ll / do the work — / and what’s the work?/ To ease the pain of living./ Everything else, drunken/ dumbshow.” At best, we’re all trying to ease the pain of living (and dying) as we struggle together through the COVID crisis, some of us very actively: nurses, doctors, of course, but also grocery store employees and all the other newly-realized essential workers in American life. As for the dumbshow, we’re not likely to forget the daily briefings.

For this column I tried to think of a job that epitomizes the work of isolation. What is the loneliest work on the planet? I settled upon a romantic notion: the lighthouse keeper. Now for the harder part: Are there books on lighthouses and lighthouse keepers that aren’t just coffee table showpieces? Enough for an entire column? We’ll see. I can start with an absolute stunner. Jazmina Barrera’s new book, On Lighthouses (Two Lines Press, 2020. $19.95) has overwhelmed my pandemic-induced reading lethargy. Barrera’s work (part memoir, part essay, part story) is a thrill of passionately delivered lighthouse lore. It is also an example of literature as lived life — that reading and books and novels might infuse our daily existence with light and longing and mystery. “The lighthouse,” Barrera writes, “looks and searches, as a human being looks, a human being of stone.” She goes on to concur with 19th-century

26 O.Henry

French historian Jules Michelet: “‘this guardian of the sea, this constant watchman’ is a ‘living and intelligent person.’” This short collection of lighthouses, translated from the Spanish by Christina MacSweeney, might convince you it’s true. Barrera references the literary classic of the beacon field, Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse (Mariner Books, $15.99). If you’ve been waiting for the right time to read this essential work, that time is here. The lighthouse on the Isle of Skye is the focal point for this look at a family in crisis and an early, accurate take on the tensions gender difference demanded. But it’s Woolf’s use of language that drives this novel into the wild sea. Closer to home, UNC Press’ North Carolina Lighthouses: The Stories Behind the Beacons from Cape Fear to Currituck Beach (Revised and Expanded) (second edition), by Cheryl SheltonRoberts and Bruce Roberts (2019, $22), considers the nine beacons watching over 300 miles of coast. From Cape Fear to Currituck Beach, every still-standing lighthouse is lovingly described alongside their architects, builders and keepers. And what of those keepers? Those lonely persons who exert powerful romantic longings over so many who indeed would marry a lighthouse keeper and live by the side of the sea. There’s the straightforward Guardians of the Lights: Stories of U.S. Lighthouse Keepers, by Elinor de Wire (Pineapple Press, 1996. $21.95), which provides stories of the heroism and fortitude of the men and women of the U.S. Lighthouse Service, who kept vital shipping lanes safe from 1716 until early in the 20th century. But it doesn’t capture the existential loneliness that a novel might. For that we turn to Jeanette Winterson’s Lighthousekeeping (Mariner Books, 2006. $16.95). The setting is the ominously named Scottish Cape Wrath lighthouse and includes a character named Babel Dark. But these Dickensian touches don’t undermine the ancient tales of longing and rootlessness as a young woman learns the lighthouse work while mining her own The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Bookshelf personal darknesses. And if you think the gender unlikely, you’ll need to check out Women Who Kept the Lights: An Illustrated History of Female Lighthouse Keepers, by Mary Louise Clifford, (Cypress Communications, $25.95). The book documents hundreds of American women who have kept the lamps burning in lighthouses since Hannah Thomas tended Gurnet Point Light in Plymouth, Massachusetts, while her husband was away fighting in the War for Independence. Another historical fiction, The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter, by Hazel Gaynor (William Morrow, 2018. $16.99), closes our survey of lighthouse books. Gaynor tells two stories set exactly a century apart: 1838 Northumberland, England, and 1938 Newport, Rhode Island. It’s based on the real life of 19thcentury heroine Grace Darling, lighthouse keeper and saver of souls in a ravaging storm, and explores the relentless longing of lighthouse life. Two months into our experiment in social isolation, some of us have learned we could handle the lonely work of the lighthouse keeper and find joy. Most of us probably realize that it’s not the work for us. We must remain in this society and find our ways to be of use, to ease the pain, to be lights in the corona darkness. OH Brian Lampkin is one of the proprietors of Scuppernong Books. Hey faithful O.Henry readers! Scuppernong Books remains open in these isolating times for all orders: scuppernongbooks.com, email (scuppernongbooks@gmail.com) or phone call (336-763-1919). Starting in June we will offer “appointment browsing,” which will allow a limited number of people in the store for 30-minute visits by scheduled appointment. We will still be shipping books out to you and in most cases you’ll get your literary survival kit within a week. Please try to remember all of our small and local businesses during this continued social distancing. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 27


The Pleasures of Life Dept.

Road Show

By Ashley Wahl

The first time I heard my grand-

mother talk about her Uncle Joe running off with the traveling circus, I was 29 years old and in the midst of rewriting my entire future.

I didn’t know where I was going with it. And having stripped myself of nearly every role, title and attachment I’d identified with for most of my adult life, I needed time to reacquaint myself with myself. But if I knew one thing, it was this: The life I was born to live was going to require a heroic change of trajectory. I’d just initiated that. And with my grandma’s casual anecdote — I think it was over a cup of coffee — a league of dormant memories began awakening inside my cells. My Great Grand-Uncle Joe was 14 when he joined the carnival and learned how to charm snakes. This morsel was all I had. And yet this tiny glimpse of family lore was, for me, the missing piece to an ancient puzzle. Throughout my life, I have experienced what I can only describe as episodic bouts of nostalgia for the bizarre and fantastical. As if I’d once belonged to a troupe of prodigious misfits, and in some parallel universe, the circus train was beckoning me to come back. Whatever you call that wild, magic spark behind all great tales of adventure — that ardent longing for a life untethered by doubt, fear or logic — it was alive inside my heart. And in that moment, for the first time in my life, I was ready to kindle it. Let’s skip through time a bit. I’m 33 now and have, over the past

28 O.Henry

few years, tried on dozens of winsome hats. Some have fit, some have not. But my life’s narrative began to crystallize when, two years ago, my fiancé Alan and I “ran off with the circus,” so to speak. Our “circus” isn’t a menagerie of acrobats and clowns. It’s just the two of us, a small camper van, and a cargo trailer full of handmade art. We still keep our rental home in the North Carolina mountains, but if there’s a circuit of art and craft fairs in, say, Florida (winter) or Michigan (summer), we’ll take to the open road. Last year, we spent a total of six months in transit. I wouldn’t call it glamorous living, but the van’s equipped with everything we need: a full-size bed, a roof vent fan, a 5-gallon water dispenser, sunshades for the windows, a single-burner camp stove, a portable fridge, a power inverter with enough watts to run a hair dryer or a rice cooker, and — this among our luxuries — an electric tea kettle. We’re no strangers to coin laundries or truck stop showers, and were our closets breadboxes, mine could hold four, maybe five loaves. Yet there is a freedom in this simple life worth more than gold; and as a wise friend observed during one of our quick trips home, it’s the richness of our experiences that we carry with us. Not a day goes by on the road, for instance, that we aren’t improvising in some deliciously eccentric way, even when it comes to our most basic chores and self-care. And because life on the road demands spontaneity, a fair amount of magic happens. Like meeting kindred souls who have welcomed us, at once, as family. Back in November, we celebrated Thanksgiving in Florida at the table of a Vedic astrologer and his devoted wife who live just miles from the largest Hare Krishna community outside of India. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF ASHLEY WAHL

A postcard from the circus


Pleasures of Life In the 1960s, they told us, bored with drugs and in search of true and everlasting bliss, they hitchhiked from New York to San Francisco to meet their spiritual teacher, Bhaktivedanta Swami, and never looked back. They must have recognized something within us — some wild, magic spark. We certainly saw it in them. This past winter, before the pandemic sent us on the road home to Asheville, we set up our canopy tent for an art show in Sarasota, Florida, where The Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus maintained its winter quarters for over 30 years. While we were there, we bought two tickets to Circus Sarasota and saw a dazzling troupe of circus artists from around the globe perform beneath a red-and-white Big Top that looked like something straight from a vintage postcard. The performers were spectacular. Each one reminded me, in some way, how incredible it is to be human. I thought of my Great Grand-Uncle Joe and how life is constantly gifting us with opportunities to answer our inner callings, however bizarre or fantastical they may be. It’s not always the easy path, especially at first. Yet the more we can trust that magic spark, the clearer it becomes. Life also gifts us unexpected twists. Who knows if or when we’ll take to the open road again, for instance. But here’s the gold: Life demands spontaneity. Imagine if the trapeze swinger never dared to fly. When opportunities arise, we know what to do. That’s the spellbinding beauty of this circus called life, the greatest show on Earth. All of this to say that I never missed the train. The circus was never outside of me, either; it was simply the road home. Thanks for the reminder, Uncle Joe. And if you’re listening beyond the veil — if you’ve got any wild stories from the carnival, I’d sure love to hear them. OH Ashley Wahl is the former senior editor of Salt and its sister publications, PineStraw and O.Henry. She currently lives in Asheville, North Carolina, where she’s dreaming up her next grand adventure. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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O.Henry 29


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Home Alone �

Spirits

Lost in quarantine

By Tony Cross

Welcome back for another

installment of Solitary Confinement. I’ll be your host.

PHOTOGRAPH BY TONY CROSS

As I type, I’m still locked down, but it seems some restrictions will be lifted soon with three or four phases gradually reopening different types of businesses. If all goes exactly as planned, restaurants should be allowed to let guests come in and dine sometime early this month. That’s a big “if.” Since, realistically, we could still be fending for ourselves well into mid-June, I’m going to recommend a few more drinks that you can make at home with your spouse, or by yourself. Please remember that our ABC stores are open, and they carry many local distilleries’ spirits. Although I’m only naming two for the recipes below, also look for the following: Durham Distillery, InStill Distillery, Fair Game Beverage Company, Fainting Goat Spirits, Doc Porter’s Distillery, Crude Bitters, Muddy River Distillery, and many more. They thank you. I thank you. Negroni I’ve probably mentioned before about my first interaction with Campari. It didn’t go well. “That’s freaking gross,” I’m sure I said. Well, what the hell did I know? I was still smoking a pack a day, I flipped my hair (which I still had) up in the front like Tin-Tin, and fast food was dinner five or six nights a week. When I got my act together and started taking better care of my body (the hair was a lost cause), a few things happened: I felt better, and my palate expanded like you wouldn’t believe. I fell in love with certain vegetables that I never enjoyed before and started to fall in love with all things bitter. Bitter foods, bitter beer, bitter women and yes, bitter spirits, especially amari. Author Brad Thomas Parsons says in his book Amaro that “the ingredients of Campari, one of the world’s most famous amari, remain a closely guarded secret, with the only two known ingredients being alcohol and water. Beyond that, the recipe is based on an ‘infusion of herbs, aromatic plants, and fruit in alcohol and water.’” I think you either love Campari or you don’t. I don’t think I’ve ever met anyone that’s in the middle. My favorite cocktail to make with Campari is the Negroni. In my opinion, it’s one of the best cocktails to have before dinner. It really wakes up the palate. This is an extremely easy cocktail to make. You’ll need three ingredients: gin, Campari and sweet vermouth. Four, if you count ice. For the gin, I stand by Sutler’s Spirit Co. out of Winston-Salem. I’ve written about Sutler’s a bunch, so take my word for it, it’s a lovely gin that’s not juniper-forward.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

For the sweet vermouth, I recommend Carpano Antica from Italy (also available at Nature’s Own). Traditionally, the recipe calls for equal parts of all three ingredients, but I like to up the gin a touch, so here we go: Take 1 1/4 ounces of gin, and put it into your rocks glass (yes, we’ll be building this cocktail). Add 3/4 ounce of Campari, and 3/4 ounce of the sweet vermouth. Add ice, and stir until the cocktail is nice, cold, and properly diluted. All that’s left is the garnish. You can take an orange wedge and drop her in, or you can take the peel of an orange and express its oils over the cocktail and discard the peel into the drink. Either way, it’s one helluva way to start the evening. Or afternoon. Or morning (you know who you are, quarantine champs). Westside This is one of the first cocktails I learned how to make when I was trying to make heads or tails of the cocktail business. Also extremely easy to make, it just has a few more ingredients. This drink is a spin on the classic Westside, subbing vodka for gin. The Westside was created at the bar Employees Only, in New York City. My first crush was with these folks — their whole ideology of creating drinks, setting the mood, etc. Anyway, before I start getting too awkward, here’s the drink: The original recipe calls for a Meyer lemon-infused vodka, but this will definitely work with TOPO vodka (out of Chapel Hill). You’ll also need cold sparkling water (Mountain Valley or die), mint, a lemon, rich simple syrup, ice, and a cocktail coupe (or martini glass). Before you start making this drink, place your coupe glass in your freezer, so it’s nice and cold by the time you’re ready to pour. Take 4–5 mint leaves, and break them in half, putting them into a cocktail shaker. Next, add 1/2 ounce of rich simple syrup (two parts sugar, one part water). You’ll take 3/4 ounce of fresh squeezed lemon juice, and finish with 1 1/2 to 2 ounces of vodka. Add ice to your shaker, seal it up, and shake hard for about 10 seconds. Take your coupe glass out of the freezer and place it on the table. Before you strain this cocktail into the glass (or double strain if you want to keep as much mint from entering the glass as possible), you want to add a splash of the sparkling water to your shaker. Bubbles! OK, now strain. You can garnish this drink with a very thin slice of lemon, or nothing at all. These go down pretty quick, so imbibe responsibly. Just kidding, you’re grown up; you’re in own house; the world is set on “virtual.” What have you got to do? Go to town. OH Tony Cross is a bartender (well, ex-bartender) who runs cocktail catering company Reverie Cocktails in Southern Pines. O.Henry 31


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The Sporting Life

The Truth Is Out There And so, I guess, is the wild turkey

By Tom Bryant

Ben Franklin once said the American eagle is “a bird of bad moral character, does not get his living honestly, steals food from a fish hawk and is too lazy to fish for himself.”

He described the American turkey as “a much more respectable bird, a true original native of America, a bird of courage.” Old Ben was pitching the turkey as the nation’s national bird instead of the eagle, a bird with which he must have had an earlier conflict. I don’t know about eagles, since they were in seriously short supply during my years enjoying the great outdoors. But I have had some contact with the wild turkey, at some distance. Not planned by me, all the turkeys’ doing. I grew up hunting the piney woods of eastern North Carolina, and the swamps and river bottoms of the Lowcountry of South Carolina. In my youngster years, when I went hunting, I wasn’t a specialist. If it was in season, it could end up in my hunting vest. I was partial to squirrels, doves, quail and ducks, but turkeys? They were as scarce as, at that time in my school learning, an “A” in algebra. I heard rumors that they were still around but in short supply. My granddaddy had a turkey tail feather mount hanging in his study in the old plantation house in South Carolina. He often would reminisce about the times when low country swamp turkeys were plentiThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

ful enough to fill many a hunter’s Thanksgiving table. “No more today,” he said. “They’ve gone the way of the ivory bill woodpecker.” As I grew older and became a little more sophisticated in my efforts afield, I leaned more and more toward hunting waterfowl, mainly ducks and geese. Any sportsman can tell you that it’s very easy to go overboard on paraphernalia, especially if you’re a true connoisseur of the sport. And I was. I wanted it all: decoys, shotguns, camouflage clothing, waders, boats. It took me years, but if the gear pertained to duck hunting, I wished for it and usually got it. I was truly at home with the noble art of duck hunting, and I realized that to be practical, the sport was all that I had time for, or the necessary funds. At the end of January the season for duck hunting is over. It’s too cold for fishing, and summer camping seems to be an interminably long time away. What was I to do in the fields? Bird-watch? Not for me, even though I hear it is a wonderful way to pass the time. Then I read an article in Sports Afield about turkey hunting, and in the vernacular of salesmen everywhere, I was hooked. I thought, how difficult can it be? I’m familiar with the woods where I can hunt. I have a box call that should work. I think I’ll try out the sport in the morning. My first effort would have made the Marx Brothers proud. I was up and at ’em early, as prescribed in the article. Dressed from head to toe in camouflage, I drove out to the farm and found what looked to me like a great place to ambush an unsuspecting O.Henry 33


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34 O.Henry

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The Sporting Life gobbler. I propped my dove stool next to an ancient pine, did a few yelps on my box call and waited for some action. There was a small pond a few yards away that probably helped the mosquito population, which soon discovered they had some fresh meat. They were doing everything, including, I’m sure, making a plan to haul me away and lodge me in the fork of an old cypress to eat later. It was miserable. I quickly learned lesson number one about turkey hunting: Bring mosquito repellent. The morning passed slowly with me sweating, scratching and slapping at hungry bugs. It seemed that the mosquitoes had sent out an invitation for deer flies to join the fun. Enough food for all. Mama didn’t raise a fool, so before long I figured there was more to this turkey hunting than being eaten up by insects. I gave one more yelp on my call, decided to wait just a few more minutes, then headed out to breakfast, which seemed to be the only redeeming factor left in the entire morning. I stepped out of the pine thicket onto a little sand road that led to the Bronco. The road wasn’t much more than a firebreak, and 40 yards away, in the middle of the small lane, stood a giant gobbler. Naturally, I had my shotgun slung over my shoulder. The big bird was like an apparition. I don’t know which of us was more surprised. In the blink of an eye, he disappeared. I stood there with my mouth open looking at where the gobbler had been, now long gone. I walked to where he had stood, muttering to myself. That really couldn’t have been a turkey, but his tracks confirmed he wasn’t a mirage. It’s been years since I stared down that turkey on that little sand road, and I have been hunting numerous times since. I’ve seen turkeys, heard them gobble, and have followed their tracks to where they dusted. A turkey will roll around in the sand to get rid of mites, and I’ve picked up numerous turkey feathers from those dust baths. But as far as putting a wild turkey on the Thanksgiving table? No luck so far. One morning at my Rotary Club breakfast, I was lamenting my bad luck in the turkey hunting department to several friends. The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Sporting Life I had heard that Rich Warters, an individual with quite a reputation afield (he even owns the National Champion of Field Trialing Bird Dogs), was proficient in the turkey hunting sport, having bagged several in upstate New York. Rich, who is also a loyal Rotarian, listened to my turkey complaints and volunteered to show me a few tricks of the trade. Now, it’s not often that a good old Southern boy will take advice from a Yankee, but my back was against the wall, and heck, I had almost converted Rich to my slow way of talking, although his up-North accent does come back when he’s agitated. We saw turkeys. They came up behind us, in front of us, and one morning sneaked up to us on the side of our blind. But we had no luck. Unfortunately for me, Rich moved to Connecticut a year or so ago, and I’m on my own in the turkey hunting department again. We stay in touch, and he still offers invaluable advice, which I gladly take. Last year I didn’t even hunt, and this year I’ve been out a couple of times. I’ve heard them gobble and have seen a couple at a distance, but probably if you get right down to it, I’m not that anxious to kill one. I still remember the morning Rich and I were coming out of a swamp bottom after seeing a turkey just out of range. The turkey also saw me and was gone in a flash. It was a beautiful early spring sunrise. Dogwoods were in full bloom, and birds were singing and chirping as if they were auditioning for a Walt Disney movie. We stood at our vehicles finishing off leftover coffee and making plans for the next day when a ruby-throated hummingbird flew right between us, hovered for a second, as if he was checking us out, then buzzed away. We were awestruck, neither saying anything, and then laughing at the wonder of it all. When I remember that morning, that beautiful day afield with a good friend, I realize that’s one of the reasons I make excuses to hunt turkeys. OH Tom Bryant, a Southern Pines resident, is a lifelong outdoorsman and PineStraw’s Sporting Life columnist. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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36 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Birdwatch

King of the Forest

Listen for the unmistakable call of the pileated woodpecker

By Susan Campbell

One of the largest and most

distinctive birds of the forest, the pileated woodpecker, is unmistakable. Its dark body, white wing patches and red crest make it seem almost regal, and it wouldn’t be wrong to call it the king or queen of the forest.

As with most of our woodpecker species, they are nonmigratory. In search of food, however, they do roam widely, sometimes in a footprint several square miles in size. Pileateds can be found all across our state, anywhere there are large, old trees. Whether you pronounce their name PIE-lee-ated or PILL-ee-ated may depend on what part of the state you come from. Webster’s says either is correct, with PIE-lee-ated being more common. Pileated, by the way, refers to the bird’s bright-red crest from the Latin pileatus meaning “capped.” However you say it, such a sizable bird is bound to make a loud noise whether foraging or calling. Indeed pileateds do get your attention. You’re most likely, however, to hear the distinctive booming echo that comes when they work on a hollow tree or the thudding that comes as they pound their way through thick bark. Although pileateds do not sing, they make a distinctive piping sound, similar to a flicker, which tends to end in a crescendo. They may also employ a sort of “wuk” call as a way of staying in contact with one another as they move about the forest. Although males are the ones that typically make the most racket, both sexes let intruders know when their territory has been compromised. Pairs are monogamous and raise a set of up to five young in a season. When nesting, pileateds create oblong cavity openings in trees The Art & Soul of Greensboro

that are quite distinctive. Males choose a dead or dying tree in late winter and do most of the excavation. Females will help, especially toward the end of the process. The nest is unlined, consisting simply of a layer of wood chips at the bottom of the cavity. Deep holes that pileateds create are not reused once the young fledge. So these openings into dead or dying trees provide key habitat for not only other species of woodpeckers but also for snakes, lizards and mammals that require holes for some part of their life cycle. Pileateds, of course, tend to thrive when feeding on insects and other invertebrates in dead and dying wood. But they are opportunistic, taking fruits and nuts as well. In the fall, it’s not uncommon to catch a pileated hanging upside down on a dogwood branch, stripping it of berries. Given their large appetites, adults may divide the fledglings for the first several months as they teach the youngsters to forage. It may take six months or more before the young birds are on their own. If your bird feeder is within a pileated pair’s territory, you may be lucky enough to attract one or more to sunflower seed or (more likely) to a suet feeder or mealworms. As long as they have room to perch or have something to cling onto, they may not be shy about becoming a regular visitor, especially during the late winter or early spring as breeding season gets underway and insects are less abundant. These big, beautiful birds are, from what we can tell, doing well here in North Carolina. Sadly their extinct cousins, the ivory-billeds, who were more specialized and inhabited only bottomland forest, suffered a sad fate. They did not fare so well with the arrival of Europeans and the associated clear-cutting of their habitat early in the last century. But that is a different story for another month . . . OH Susan would love to hear from you. Send wildlife observations or photos to susan@ncaves.com. O.Henry 37


Wandering Billy

Bogg Man

Who is Bill Boggs and what was he doing here?

By Billy Eye “Unlike productions in the other arts, all television shows are born to destroy two other shows.” — Les Brown

There’s a hilarious new novel

Eye want to tell you about: The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog (as told to Bill Boggs). It’s a darkly absurdist sendup of the television industry, itself a nonsensical environment, written by someone who knows the ins and outs of the business like no other.

You may remember Bill Boggs as the host of Southern Exposure, a local morning talk show airing at 8 a.m. on WGHP-TV from 1972–74. I recently caught up with the author who, for 13 years after leaving High Point, hosted Midday Live on WNEW in New York City, picking up four Emmy Awards for his efforts. He’s acted in movies like Trading Places, guest-starred on numerous comedy programs such as Spin City and Chappelle’s Show, and

38 O.Henry

produced television shows and specials that include A Night With Lou Reed and The Morton Downey Jr. Show. For several years he pulled double-duty jetting to Las Vegas to interview heavyweights on Showtime’s Boxing Report Update while also sharing kitchen space with celebrities like Richard Simmons, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers on Bill Boggs’ Corner Table for the Food Network. “I tell people, ‘I have more than one interest,’” Boggs says. You may have seen him more recently as the celebrity correspondent for My Generation on PBS. His latest project, The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog, “follows the structure of my career, starting in High Point,” Boggs tells me. “The character of Bud is not exactly me in terms of how I am and how I act, but it’s Bud, no last name. And he has a beloved dog Spike.” While none of the on-air talent at WGHP are represented in the novel, there are other characters who are inspired by people he’s known along the way. For instance, the character of Lombardo is based on WGHP’s former general manager. “Phil Lombardo went from being the first Italian-American to be general manager of a television station in America,” Boggs notes, “to owning seven television stations worth almost a billion dollars and now heads a huge philanthropical foundation. Buffy is inspired by Buffy Queen, my The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Wandering Billy associate producer at channel 8. They’re jumping-off points.” Before arriving in High Point in 1969, “I had an opportunity to do a local show in Philadelphia because Tom Snyder had left to go to California,” Boggs explains. “I was associate producer of the morning TV show where I was on the air once a week. After two years of that I learned a lot about producing.” In 1972, he made a New Year’s resolution that he would go anywhere in America in order to have his own talk show. Within weeks that wish was granted. WGHP had been casting about looking for someone to shake up their morning show flop Farm, Home and Garden. “I auditioned for Phil Lombardo and he hired me,” Boggs recalls. “He was a brilliant manager, he gave me full rein. He really saw that I was highly motivated, that I had left a major market where I was on the air to come to High Point, North Carolina. People in Philadelphia thought I was nuts at the time but I wanted to do a show every day.” Lombardo’s plan was to have Boggs on the air a week and a half after settling in. “I was replacing a show that was an asterisk, no ratings whatsoever. How are people going to know I’m on the air? I suggested we create a two-month teaser campaign — ‘Who Is Bill Boggs and What Is He Doing Here?’” This would allow the Philly native time to get to know the culture of the area and opportunities to pre-tape celebrity interviews. “To his credit, unlike any other bosses I’ve met along the way,” Boggs says, “[Lombardo] listened with the intention of understanding and not immediately responding, ‘Nope, you’re going on the air in a week and a half.’” Instead, Lombardo leaned into the idea, instigating a media blitz ahead of the premier of Southern Exposure, culminating in a primetime one-hour sneak preview before debuting in its regular daily 8 a.m. slot. The show’s cohost was an English bull terrier named Spike the Wonder Dog. “I had all of the freedom in the world in High Point. It was very successful,” Boggs reflects. “A month later I get a call from Lombardo. ‘Come to my office I want to talk about ratings.’ I got a lump in the pit of my stomach. He says, ‘You have done the impossible.’ We had beaten the Today show in the very first [ratings] book.” Southern Exposure continued to top the Today show for the next three seasons, substantially so. Whenever a big-name act appeared at the Greensboro Coliseum, Bill Boggs was there with camera and microphone interviewing superstars, usually right before they took the stage. His gets included The Jackson 5, Sonny & Cher with Chastity on The Art & Soul of Greensboro

their lap, George Burns, David Cassidy, Duke Ellington and Glen Campbell, among others. Even at that early point in his career, he was an insightful interviewer on par with Merv Griffin and Mike Douglas, possessing a knack for asking questions no one else had thought of, resulting in amazingly engaging discussions. “I also created a late night show called The Late Bill Boggs that was as progressive as anything that had ever been on television up to that point,” Boggs tells me. That program profiled the kind of guests not normally seen on local TV, like massage parlor workers and the like. “We had a guy who came on the show — this was 1972 — who went out, smoked a joint, then came back in and talked about what the experience was like. It was like R-rated television that came on at 1 o’clock in the morning. That went on for several months.” Noticing this unlikely success percolating down South, Gotham came calling; Bill Boggs received an offer to host a morning program in New York City. “I went from being in complete control of what I was doing to constantly having to pitch my ideas like a salesman, so I wrote an element of that into the book.” The concept behind The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog? “What if the dog, who had been so popular on the show Southern Exposure, hadn’t gotten killed shortly before going to New York and had come with me to New York and became a huge TV and Internet star in today’s world?” One of television’s funniest writers Alan Zweibel (Saturday Night Live, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show) calls the satirical novel “so smart, witty and inventive that I had to keep reminding myself that I didn’t write it.” Before somewhat reluctantly relocating to the No. 1 TV market in America in 1972, Bill Boggs confesses, “I told myself, ‘Never forget you can come back to something like this.’ High Point, WGHP-TV, was, no pun intended, a creative high point of my life. I loved High Point one hundred percent, I have not one single negative recollection of my time there.” This laugh-packed, decidedly un-PC novel America needs right now, The Adventures of Spike the Wonder Dog (as told to Bill Boggs), is available wherever books are sold and at orderspike.com. Check out BillBoggsTV on Youtube for video highlights from this legendary broadcaster’s storied career. OH Billy Eye is unapologetically O.G. — Original Greensboro. O.Henry 39


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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


June 2020

We Trade Eggs and Olives Salads arrive. We wince. I do not like olives, black or green, and you know it. Sliced hardboiled eggs seem to make you gag. So we trade them. . . . Citronella and burlap both seize my breath. You resuscitate me with lilac and silks. Me the morning person and you wasting midnight oil. You buried within books, me searching for rhetoric. Fault lines in our wiring, timelines synchronized tonight. Common ground tilled, reseeded in one another’s gasp. — Sam Barbee

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 41


Simply Summer Seven local chefs serve up easy-to-prepare courses for seasonal eating

F

By Maria Johnson

eeling the heat of summer? It’s a good time to head for the kitchen and KISS: Keep It Small and Simple. Because gatherings this time of year are likely to be modest and trips to the store less frequent, we asked local chefs to contribute summer recipes with eight or fewer ingredients. We were feeling generous, so we spotted them the salt and pepper. Whether you’re slaking a single appetite or schlepping your family’s chow to a wellspaced picnic, these recipes are easy to assemble and can be scaled up or down. Several of our hometown pros went off-menu to create new dishes for O.Henry readers, so don’t be surprised if these courses taste as good as something you’d get in a restaurant — and remember the chefs’ generosity in these customer-starved times.

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Pasta Perfect Pastabilities

Cindy Essa, noodler-in-chief at Pastabilities, collaborated with Chef Jason Dingman (picture right), a 20-year veteran of the restaurant, to come up with this light and refreshing orzo salad. It’s a knockout with fresh basil and tomatoes, but dried basil and sun-dried tomatoes work just fine. This versatile salad may be served as a meal — add chicken, fish, shrimp or any protein and spoon over your favorite greens — or as a side dish or light lunch.

Mediterranean Orzo Salad

Servings: meal for two or side dish for four. 1 3/4 cups uncooked orzo pasta, prepped according to directions and cooled 3/4 cup finely chopped sun-dried tomatoes (or 1 1/2 cups diced fresh tomatoes or halved cherry tomatoes) 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 1/4 cup finely-diced red onion 1/4 cup toasted pine nuts 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil (or 2 teaspoons dried basil) 1 tablespoon fresh minced garlic 4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste Gently combine all the above ingredients in a medium size bowl and chill for two hours.

Salad Days

The Well Cafe and Juice Bar Jessika Olsen (below, left) of The Well Cafe and Juice Bar in downtown Greensboro incorporated some pantry staples with fresh leafy greens and green beans to create this filling salad. She added a sweet, tart, earthy dressing to create a symphony of summer flavors. She and cafe co-owner Veronika Olsen (below, right), her identical twin sister, give four-thumbs-up to this salad. They recommend serving it with a fresh baguette slathered in the cafe’s roasted red pepper Romesco sauce. 

Fresh Spring Salad

Servings: 2 14 ounces marinated artichoke hearts. Drained and quartered. Mixed spring lettuce (or arugula, Jessika’s favorite) About a cup of green beans, trimmed and blanched 1 can cannellini beans, drained

Dressing:

1/4 cup olive oil 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons whole grain mustard 2 teaspoons maple syrup (or honey) To make the dressing, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, mustard and maple syrup. Layer the lettuce, green beans and artichokes on serving plates. Spoon over the cannellini beans. Drizzle dressing on top of salad and serve.  Instead of blanching the green beans, you could sear them with reserved oil from artichoke hearts, salt, pepper and a squeeze of lemon. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 43


Soup's On! Reto's Kitchen

Caterer Reto Biaggi, who operates Reto’s Kitchen, jumped at the chance to make a simple summer soup. This tomato-based recipe is made in a standard size kitchen blender, which warms the soup so you don’t have to use your stove. A touch of tarragon gives away Reto’s upbringing in France, where the seasonal duo are often paired. A whirred slice of bread thickens and adds creaminess to the soup. Reto says that fresh tarragon is better, but dried will work, too. Likewise, fresh tomatoes at the height of the season are wonderful, but a can of peeled whole tomatoes will suffice.

Tarragon Tomato Soup Servings: 2    

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1 clove garlic 1/2  cup onion, roughly chopped 1 1/2 teaspoon tarragon, preferably fresh 1/2  teaspoon red pepper flakes 1 slice white bread, crusts removed, torn into rough 1/2-inch pieces 1 can peeled whole tomatoes packed in juice (28-ounce) or 3 large fresh tomatoes 1 cup water 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon pepper Combine olive oil, garlic, onion, tarragon, red pepper flakes, bread, tomatoes with their juice, and water in the jar of a highpowered blender. Turn blender onto low speed and slowly increase speed to maximum. Blend 4–6 minutes, until soup is warm and smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Blend.

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Bottom’s Up! GIA

When we asked Nino Giaimo — the proprietor of GIA: Drink. Eat. Listen. — if he could gin up a cocktail for us, he turned to his beverage director Dan Lis (right), who designed a drink for Nino’s father, Sal, co-owner of the GIA Distillery in the town of Madison, north of Greensboro. The drink is based on the distillery’s aged FJW Solera Style American whiskey, which is available in local ABC stores. Dan reports that Sal takes his drinks straight up, so this one is served with no ice, gently stirred. The smoky whiskey balances the blanc vermouth. The gin adds a subtle spice, and the drink is rounded by house-made coffee-and-cocoa bitters. Readers can substitute coffee-and-cocoa bitters made by the Crude brand. Lemon peel lends a touch of brightness.

Sal’s Choice

Servings: 1 1 1/2 ounce FJW Solera Style aged American whiskey 3/4 ounce Dolin blanc vermouth 1/2 ounce Ransom Old Tom gin  2 dashes house-made coffee-and-cocoa bitters  Combine, stir and garnish with a lemon peel.

Burger Bliss Big Burger Spot

Fine dining veteran Jesse Mitchell has been showing his chops ever since he signed on with Greensboro-based Big Burger Spot in 2013. Mitchell, who worked at Green Valley Grill for eight years, is behind the restaurant’s popular slow braised short rib sandwich and the pot roast cheddar melt. BBS owner Guy Bradley challenged Mitchell to create a burger with an entirely different flavor profile for O.Henry readers, and Mitchell delivered this gem.

Le Fromage Burger

Servings: 1 8 ounces fresh ground chuck 3 strips thick-cut applewood smoked bacon, fried 2 ounces Boursin brand garlic-and-herb cheese 2 ounces onion jam 1 ounce mixed greens Salt and pepper Brioche bun Form ground chuck into 5-inch diameter patty. Salt and pepper both sides. Cook over high heat on grill or skillet until desired temperature is achieved. Medium is recommended. For onion jam, julienne one whole red onion and place in sauce pan. Add 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar, 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Bring to boil ten minutes, then reduce heat and simmer for an hour. Butter brioche bun and toast in skillet. Remove toasted bun and spread Boursin cheese on bottom bun. Place grilled burger on top of cheese, then add bacon and mixed greens. Spread onion jam on top bun and complete the burger. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 45


Smoothie Sailing Manny's Universal Cafe

The smoothie menu at Manny’s Universal Cafe, in the heart of downtown Greensboro’s South End, is extensive and creative, ripe with selections such as Mango Mashup, Pomegranate Punch and Goji Power. But owner Manny Polanco and his mother Margarita Delgado, the maker of menu magic, still wanted to create a new drink for the pages of O.Henry. A few pulses later, Kiwi WE Strong was born. “We like it because it has vitamins, protein and antioxidants — perfect to help us stay ready and strong to get through these times of adjustments. We have to stay healthy,” says Manny. If that doesn’t make you want to quaff a kiwi, nothing will.

Kiwi WE Strong

Servings: 1 2 hands-full fresh spinach 2 fresh kale leaves 1 gala or Granny Smith apple, peeled and cored 2 kiwis, peeled 1/2 frozen, peeled banana 2 tablespoons peanut butter, thinned with 1 tablespoon water 1 teaspoon lemon 1/4 teaspoon turmeric 1 cup of ice In a standard kitchen blender add spinach and kale first, then other ingredients. Start blender at medium speed, finish at high speed. You’re done when your smoothie is . . . smooth.

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Keep Pounding! Pound by Legacy Cakes

If you’re looking for a cheap hit of aromatherapy, walk into the bakery called Pound by Legacy Cakes for a whiff of happiness. Visual yays won’t be far behind, as you take in more than a dozen glazed and frosted pound cakes that are baked daily in a riot of colors and flavors: caramel, strawberry, chocolate, pineapple, apple-walnut and the ever-popular banana split. Founded by Pleasant Garden native Margaret Elaine Gladney, the bakery — which opened last year in an inconspicuous space on Spring Garden Street near Holden Road — is a sweet memorial to Elaine’s late mother and master baker Margaret Shoffner Gladney. The family offers this recipe for their vanilla pound cake, a customer favorite that’s “simple, delicious and one of the best comfort foods,” according to Margaret, who runs the bakery with help from sons Brandon and Anthony Tankard.

Glazed Vanilla Bundt Cake 16 tablespoons (two sticks) unsalted butter 2 cups sugar 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon baking powder 4 eggs 3 cups all purpose flour 2 cups milk 2 tablespoons vanilla extract Mix the butter and sugar together then add salt and the baking powder. Add the eggs next, mixing them in one at a time. Add flour and milk alternately. Once this mixture is thoroughly blended, add vanilla extract and beat until batter is smooth. Grease a 10-inch bundt baking pan and pour in batter. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately one hour. You can use a toothpick or small knife to check to see if the cake is done. Once baked, flip the cake onto cooling rack and let cool before glazing.

Glaze Ingredients:

2 tablespoons milk or water 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar (powdered sugar) Add ingredients into a small bowl and hand stir until consistency is creamy or at desired thickness. Pour over cake.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 47


La Dolce Vita A paean to peaches

I

By Nancy Oakley

vividly remember her hat, a wide-brimmed straw topper with a rounded crown, but what struck me most was its color, which matched her outfit: a soft pinkish-orange shade of peach. It seemed apropos to me that Patty Gordon-Mann should be so colorfully clad for the wedding of her niece and my childhood friend Margaret Frassineti, because I always associated the name Gordon-Mann with Sandhills peaches. By now, some of my esteemed colleagues in Southern Pines who are reading this may be rolling their eyes at my enthusiasm for their local staple that, to them, must seem so commonplace. Who doesn’t take for granted anything quite literally grown in one’s own backyard? But for me, and I’d wager for anyone else residing in the Triad and points farther north or west, the arrival of local peach season is as big a deal as Christmas morning to a child. Perhaps because my early childhood was somewhat peachdeprived. The only ones I’d known came out of a Del Monte can, smothered in thick, overly sweet syrup that masked their natural goodness. The stuff of school lunchrooms, they were often served with a scoop of cottage cheese, and sometimes a maraschino cherry as garnish. Hardly anything to write home about. Until the day my friend Margaret’s mother and my godmother Bet Frassineti — aka “Aunt Bet” — introduced freshly picked and fragrant peaches to my family and me, arriving on our doorstep with a large round bushel basket filled with the plump, rosy fruit sheathed in ohso-fine fuzz, some with stems and leaves still attached. My first bite of the tender, juicy yellow flesh inside was nothing short of a revelation. And all the sweeter because Aunt Bet had taken the trouble to drive nearly two hours south and two hours back just to make a peach run for all of her friends. Her supplier was Aumans Orchard, which she had no doubt heard about from her husband, Dano, (short for Giordano and later Anglicized to Jordan), and her mother-in-law, Helen Gordon-Mann. “Miss Helen,” as my mother called her, was an engaging Philadelphia gal who developed a shipboard romance with a naval officer and Italian noble Guido Frassineti, during a transatlantic crossing. The two married and produced two children, Dano and his sister Danila (named for Count Danilo, a main character in Miss Helen’s favorite opera, The Merry Widow). The family made subsequent trips between the States and Italy, specifically the hills overlooking Florence, home to the Frassineti farm. During another crossing, Guido died unexpectedly. Miss Helen ultimately remarried an expat named Eddie Gordon-Mann. Though a British subject, he

48 O.Henry

was, for all intents and purposes, Italian. I once met Miss Helen and Eddie at a gathering Aunt Bet and Dano hosted at their old house on Round Hill Road, where I’d hang out with Margaret and her brothers Bill and Jeff, when we weren’t swatting tennis balls on the soft courts at Carlson Farms. Miss Helen and Eddie seemed very elegant and stylish to my awkward teenage eyes. She was tall and statuesque. He had white hair, a complement to his sartorial panache consisting of white flannels and navy blazer — complete with pocket-square. He was a cheerful soul with a twinkle in his eye, and he talked my ear off for the better part of the afternoon, though I could barely understand a word of his heavily accented English. Dano, I later learned, had little patience for his stepfather. But such are family dynamics, especially blended ones frayed by the family’s separation during the war years. For when conflict raged through Europe, Miss Helen, Eddie and their two younger daughters Gaby and the aforementioned Patty, were interned in a concentration camp. Because they were considered Italian citizens, Dano and Danila, with the farm retainers to care for them, were allowed to remain in the basement of the family villa, which was used to quarter the occupying German army. “My dad never eats chicken,” Margaret Frassineti once told me, explaining that her father had eaten more than his share of fowl, which would often spoil during those uncertain years; he had the unpleasant chore of snapping the birds’ necks. It was a scenario I couldn’t fathom for I only knew the tall, rumpled, laconic charmer with the rapier wit, whom my parents affectionately dubbed “Count Frassineti.” The same fellow grinning and mugging in the home movies of their infamous New Year’s Eve parties seemed a far cry from the boy my friend had described. When, during the liberation of Italy, a division of the Fifth Army encamped at the farm, Dano was the one to communicate with its officers. One of them expressed admiration for the boy’s fluency in English, prompting Dano to explain that his mother was

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


American. She was interned, he went on to say, and he did not know her whereabouts. “Who is your mother and where is she from?” the officer asked. “Her name is Helen Gordon-Mann.” “I saw her at a cocktail party in Philadelphia before I was shipped overseas. She’s fine!” As coincidental — or implausible — as it all seemed, that’s how the family was reunited, or at least as was related to me a number of times over the years. Apparently it didn’t take long for Miss Helen to readjust to life stateside. Soon after the family’s arrival in New York with little else but the tattered clothes on their backs, she outfitted Gaby and Patty via a personal shopper at Saks Fifth Avenue. When asked her sartorial preferences, Miss Helen allegedly responded, “Let’s start with a mink coat!” It’s unclear to me how they settled in a stately stucco house in Southern Pines; Miss Helen may have visited previously and held an affection for the small burg, though it must have seemed tame to Dano and Danila after the upheavals of war. He would go on to Carolina — rooming with one of the Auman brothers — and study law. It was there that he met Aunt Bet, then a graduate student. Danila married and stayed in the Pines; many around town remember her as Dani Devins, noted for her equestrian paintings. Patty and Gaby settled in Philadelphia and Colorado, respectively. Every summer these stories would come flooding back as my mother would pack my sisters and me into the car for our own daylong pilgrimage to the scorching Aumans Orchard and some of the Seagrove potteries. Before heading back to Greensboro, we would meander through the piney landscape, and she would point out Miss Helen’s house surrounded by hydrangeas that Eddie had cultivated. But by then, we were eager to head home with our loot for we had all developed our individual peach preferences: sliced fruit for my mom, cobbler for my dad. For my sisters and me, the ultimate was peach ice cream, which we’d mix in a manual ice cream maker in the backyard on humid summer evenings, waving away no-see-ums, as we took turns cranking the contraption’s heavy metal handle. The excursions stopped once we all grew up and flew the nest. As a resident of the Lowcountry, my eldest sister Katherine has become a fan of South Carolina peaches — despite that state’s literal butt of jokes, the Peachoid water tower at Gaffney. S.C., peaches will do in a pinch, which is to say, before North Carolina peach season begins, and I have to admit that on a visit to my sister’s, in which I stopped at a rest center, I did enjoy a paper cup of freshly squeezed peach juice. It was light and refreshing, but not nearly as re-

freshing as my first Bellini on a trip to Venice. What a stroke of genius that Giuseppe Cipriani, owner of the original Harry’s Bar, thought to blend peach juice and prosecco? He named it after Renaissance painter Giovanni Bellini, known to use in his canvases pastel shades similar to that of Patty Gordon-Mann’s hat from all those years ago. I toasted old Giuseppe on that trip — and though Florence was his turf, Dano, too. He’s gone now, as are Miss Helen, Eddie, Danila and my childhood pal Margaret. After 80 years of operating, Aumans Ochard closed five years ago. On a recent chance encounter with Aunt Bet, Bill and Jeff, all a little grayer now, I thought I’d seen Dano’s ghost, for Jeff is the spirit and image of his dad. They’ll be top of mind later this summer when I pull into the Piedmont Triad Farmers Market and make a beeline for my current supplier, Candor-based Johnson’s. Manning the stall is a jovial fellow missing a tooth and a leg. “There’s peaches, and there’s Johnson’s peaches,” he once claimed, before wishing me a blessed day. He’s right. Their flavor heralds for me a new standard of peachdom, perfect for making smoothies — or Bellinis. Maybe I’ll take a cue from my niece, Liz, and try grilling them this year. Or maybe I’ll just slurp them down at the kitchen sink, letting their juices trickle through my fingers, unlocking the stories of many a lifetime with each and every bite. Bellissimo! OH Nancy Oakley is the senior editor of O.Henry

Improvised Peach Smoothie 1 peach, sliced 1/2 cup of whole fat Greek yogurt, more if you prefer a thicker consistency A dash of whole milk; more if you prefer a thinner consistency A few pitted and sliced dark cherries (optional) A dash of ground flax seeds if you’re a health nut Place fruit in a blender with yogurt and milk. Blend until everything is mixed together, no chunks of peach meat. Drink and ascend to heaven.

Liz Beavers’ Grilled Peaches 4 peaches, halved and pitted a pinch of cinnamon

Leave the grill on post-steak/burger. Place the peach halves on the grill until they are golden brown. Remove and sprinkle with cinnamon. Serve over vanilla ice cream. (Recipe also works with apples.) For a more elaborate recipe, check out Bobby Flay’s Grilled Peaches with Cinnamon Sugar and Butter at foodnetwork.com. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 49


A Visual Feast Area artists serve up a smorgasbord of food-inspired works

W

Chip Holton, untitled mural, Green Valley Grill

e eat with our eyes, the old maxim goes. For visual artists, truer words were never spoken. And what better muse for the visual imagination than the myriad shapes, colors and textures of fruits and vegetables: the jagged stripes on a melon’s rind, the pinwheel sections of an orange’s pulp, yellow corn kernels neatly aligned on an oblong cob, and a perennial favorite among artists, the curves of a pear sheathed in a smooth green — or sometimes rosy — skin? A still life of a set table can suggest familial harmony or discord, silent gratitude or the moment that a romantic spark ignites between two souls. A Falstaffian feast laden with game and fowl tells a story of prosperity, conviviality — or gluttony. The proverbial sweat on a wine bottle, the steam rising from a cup of coffee create quiet reflective moods. The red-and-white swirl on a candy cane, the wavy crimps of a pie crust elicit warm childhood memories, while the larger-than-life label of a tomato soup can raises questions about consumption. We invited several artists — many of them familiar to readers of the magazine — to submit works celebrating food. For, after all, to celebrate food is to celebrate life. And life, as you’ll see on pages that follow, is a banquet. Bon appétit! — Nancy Oakley

50 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Agnes Preston-Brame, Bosc and Anjou, 14.5 x 15 inches, charcoal on paper

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 51


Alexis Lavine, Good Fortune, transparent watercolor on cold pressed paper, 15 x 11 inches

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GREENHILL CENTER FOR NC ART

Rachel Campbell, Still Life with Bread and Confectionary After Flegel, oil on canvas 30 x 24 inches The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 53


William Mangum, Ham’s, oil

54 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GREENHILL CENTER FOR NC ART

Bethany Pierce, Cherries Macabre, 16 x 20 inches The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 55


COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GREENHILL CENTER FOR NC ART COLLECTION OF GIB MCEACHRAN; PHOTO BY TONI TRONU

Richard Fennell, Still Life, 2008, oil on canvas, 40 x 48 inches

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Rachel Rees, Untitled, oil on canvas, 8 x 9 inches

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 57


COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GREENHILL CENTER FOR NC ART

Scott Raynor, Study in Teals and Green, oil on paper

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro


COURTESY OF THE ARTIST AND GREENHILL CENTER FOR NC ART

Bethany Pierce, Happy!, 2011, oil on panel, 24 x 36 inches The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 59


The Stuff that

Dreams

are Made Of 60 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


W

Fantasy houses near and far By Cynthia Adams

Illustration by Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

hen I asked a wise and close friend who had just bought a townhouse whether she’s found her dream house, she replied: “Ha ha. My dream home fantasy comes with a secretary, or is self-vacuuming.” My own fantasy property is old enough to have weathered several epidemics, including the cholera outbreak in the 1830s. Its location is somewhere warm, where languid breezes lift the curtains at the French-style windows that open from the floor to nearly the top of the 16-foot ceilings. I picture it in the Garden District of New Orleans, home to some of the best Southern writers who have ever drawn breath. (With enough ruin, moral decay, absinthe and jazz to inspire volumes.) Limestone bearing the dint of age would extend from the foyer throughout the first floor, a light-flooded expanse thanks to an oculus at the top floor. The generous staircase would also feature limestone; worn by the generations of feet who have traveled it. This dreamscape has grounds to roam, reflect. Even a house landlocked on a city square like the Harper Fowlkes House in Savannah would do — the gardens are dense with plantings, and its stature elevates it above the fray. Sweet Savannah, with the largest historic district in the United States and Lowcountry cooking — and more than its share of turpitude, as revealed by John Berendt’s Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil.) House-lover Jackie O. visited nearby Mercer House when Jim Williams, the central figure in Berendt’s book, lived there. Williams was a huge preservationist and died in his downstairs library. Ironically, no Mercer ever lived there, but Williams saved it from ruin. In the blue hour of a Savannah evening, high above the Bonaventure cemetery, a dove cries as I pour myself another. As with any great fantasy, the grounds and setting are vital, recalling Jefferson’s Monticello or Vanderbilt’s Biltmore. Much of the dream builds on itself: tightly clipped boxwood hedges are involved; also, a pea gravel front courtyard. And burbling fountains, olive trees in ancient pots, and Floribunda roses. A reflecting pool lies at the end of a wending, mossy rill. The rill leads the eye from the stone terrace, which is beyond a generous pergola. Preferably, all flowers are white, much like the ones writer Vita Sackville-West preferred. Moonflowers open in the twilight. O.Henry 61


But meantime, my reality is not that vision no matter how much I squint my eyes. Dream projects never completed and dream houses haunt us. My father’s dream house, his home place, burned down before its restoration was finished. Even for some who’ve built their fantasy home, the dream lives in perpetuity. Take retired anthropologist Tom Fitzgerald, who built an architect-designed house with an inner courtyard in Sunset Hills. “This home about captures the fantasy,” he says. But he’s not hesitant to add a dream setting: “I would also have liked to be in a warmer climate and have a house facing the sea or a body of water, but like this house — open, airy, tall ceilings, small yard to look after.” Like Fitzgerald, Sharon James, who lives in Stoney Creek, is a house-lover and collector. James built a dream home when she lived in Chargin Falls, Ohio. From her home and garden in Whitsett, she’s quick to describe her imaginary abode in minute detail: “A beautiful early 19th-century Greek Revival, all white with columns and furnished perfectly of the period! Fourteen-foot high ceilings, heart-pine floors, beautiful windows that raise from the bottom. Wonderful crown moldings and door surrounds and gorgeous staircase to second and third floors,” James writes. As for the grounds? “Surrounded by beautiful lawns and French parterre. Large veranda front and back. How is that for starters?” Those of us who literally dream of houses, and by the way, I am one, thank you very much Sigmund Freud, hunger to glimpse how the other half lives. News junkies took advantage of a virtual oculus (Latin for “eye”) opened by Covid-dictated broadcasting from celebrities’ homes. Twitter’s Room Rater, developed by a bored Washingtonian who felt we needed a little laughter during quarantine, had over 200,000 followers at last count. Feeding a public obsession with fame — not to mention the human tendency toward voyeurism — the site ruthlessly rates celebrity spaces. Art, bookcases, light placement, even wall color determine a score on a scale of one to 10. As the site’s viewership

62 O.Henry

soared, celebs began to take notice and took measures — often in vain — to up their scores. Not unlike the novice Zoomer who inadvertently revealed her most private of privates when she carried her laptop along to the powder room, many A-listers demonstrated they were not quite ready for prime time. We Zoomers-and-doomer preppers, cats and kittens living in TV Land, discovered even our idols who hold a lofty position on a pedestal may or may not inhabit a dream house. News celebs had to strike a balance in their choices of settings: professional without being too aloof. Attractive without looking too personal. Or just less messy and distracting. Anderson Cooper fueled viewers’ home fantasies when he briefly broadcasted from what looked like his den/study. Design bloggers were in seventh heaven, commenting on the malachite wallpaper (or was it faux painting?) and the gold bound tomes on his bookshelves. CBS anchor Gayle King moved around her Manhattan apartment, plunking down at her ritzy dining room table, using real wallpaper — not virtual! — as her backdrop. The dining room’s beautiful yellow paper (Harlem Toile de Jouy) blew up the blogosphere. Sheila Bridges, the wallpaper designer, was thrilled when excited clients phoned, identifying the pattern. It continued to make ongoing guest appearances as King cycled through settings. Other broadcasters, like CNN’s Chris Cuomo, reported from the all-white and neutral basement of his Long Island home while in a fever dream state induced by COVID-19. The space was spotless — but more lab than fab. It lent a devastating veritas as Cuomo’s illness progressed. But it might as well have been a set from a sci-fi flick. We learned from these makeshift home setups how these people actually live. Without stylists, lighting experts and makeup artists, they’re just schmoes in their basements! And like Cuomo’s, uninspired basements at that. Talk about unfulfilled home fantasies! Over years, I’ve kept a file of clippings of houses I considered ideal. To review it is to travel back to a time when I thought living in a great English pile and swanning around in a Laura Ashley number was the peak of chic. (I still own a pink Laura Ashley jumpsuit, by the way.) Time was, when I would have given a kidney to meet Mario Buatta, the Prince of Chintz. Fans of Bravo’s Southern Charm and Charleston, South Carolina, maven Patricia Altschul know she was a devoted Buatta client. He died in 2018. But chintz, dear readers, lives on. Dreams, when realized, not so much. When I was younger, and going through a primitive furniture phase, I dreamed of owning a true saltbox — having taken too many trips to New England, Williamsburg and Old Salem. Tragically, I got my wish, building a version of a saltbox in a brand-new development. The outcome was rusticated, homespun madness, with interiors so dark they probably contributed to my need for counseling. The The Art & Soul of Greensboro


house sat on a cul-de-sac nicknamed Knot’s Landing after the 1980s melodrama, as one by one couples divorced and decamped. My rustic dream home on Knot’s Landing wore rough-hewn barn siding with actual knots in the “great room” and wide pine floors throughout the downstairs. The end effect was more of a Great Gloom. Coveting the dinged or dull pewter pieces of yesteryear I decorated with salt glaze pottery, rag rugs and quilts — except for the crazy quilts I inherited, which were too colorful. Distressed furniture, either real or reproduced, was my jam. It was a time when people actually beat floors and furniture with chains in order to achieve a weathered appearance. I owed much to Ethan Allen for inspiration and Country Living magazine whose interiors I memorized. New England’s Country Curtains provided the tab style curtains that I hung onto wooden rods, successfully blotting out the little light from the house’s very narrow windows. The result was unique in a way that had made my younger self proud. In retrospect, my tastes evoked Ethan Frome more than Ethan Allen. Sedgefield Realtor Pickett Stafford called me to candidly discuss the light-starved house after a showing when my marriage collapsed. “Were you depressed there?” she asked diplomatically, knowing it was a rhetorical question. Once the faux saltbox was sold, I escaped cul-de-sac purgatory, got contact lenses and realized I hadn’t been able to see very well for about five years. Designer Todd Nabors’ fantasies focus on a weekend/vacation retreat: “A vintage mountain cottage covered in chestnut bark at Linville.” Although the coast would also do as Nabors’ dream setting, specifically “one of the original shingled houses from the 1920s near the Carolina Yacht Club on Wrightsville Beach. I have the decoration for each all worked out in my mind’s eye!” And the designer also entertains fantasies about European villas. Then there is the ultimate fantasist: Furlow Gatewood, who lives the dream on a small compound. You may be in the Furlow fan club if you too own a copy of One Man’s Folly: The Exceptional Houses of

Furlow Gatewood, the book that fueled my own fandom. Gatewood is known mostly among preservationists like Pratt Cassity, who visited the designer in his home base of Americus, Georgia and praised Gatewood’s genius for a sense of place. “The middle Georgia landscape is one that is rewritten by the order of row crops, orchards, and engineered grids of small towns. Settled quietly in one of these ordered yet oddly natural landscapes is a collection of handsome architecture,” Cassity writes from splendid isolation in his own historic home in Athens, Georgia.

“The Gatewood residences,” he continues, “are each perfectly balanced but work as a whole much better. They support the total design of this little bit of evolved landscape. The interior design is the creamy and sweet surprise inside. Everywhere you look you see very familiar objects, art, views, plants and buildings but somehow you’ve never seen them this way before.” For Gatewood has moved not one, not two, but four formerly ruined homes to his 14-acre property and restored them. To perfection. I first read about them 13 years ago in a piece by Julia Reed for Veranda magazine and was instantly mesmerized. Because Gatewood is quite literally living out his dream. He has my heart. He resides in “the Barn,” which is anything but, and once a carriage house. The “Peacock House” featuring bewitching French doors and columns were chief among the reasons he simply had to have it.

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O.Henry 63


The “Cuthbert House” was trucked 65 miles to Gatewood’s compound in order to rescue the beauty from a wrecking ball. This mid–19th-century Gothic house had to be sawed in half in order to transport it. Where others saw a ruin worth trashing, Gatewood saw the faux stone exterior and beauty in its vernacular design, the 16-foot ceilings and moldings. He sponsored trucking the “Lumpkin House” a mere 40 miles to save it, as well. Again, Gatewood explains it had doors he could not resist. Also irresistible to him were the original transom windows. One should approach Gatewood’s compound driving a British Racing Green MG with the top down, a gentle summer breeze stirring, to best appreciate the potted blue hydrangeas lining the drive, their mop heads bowing in gentle greeting. Peacocks stroll through the property, the namesakes of said Peacock House. But even for someone like Gatewood, reality intrudes on the platonic ideal of home. Where he falls down: the kitchen. The one kitchen photographed for the book is nondescript. An afterthought. Ditto for baths. Having cooked considerably more in the past few months, I renew my wish for a proper AGA stove. Also, limestone flooring in the kitchen, which would not have fixed cabinetry but be outfitted like a room in the manner of the best European kitchens. A wonderful French table, bearing the scars of years of use would stand in for an island. Limed walls, perfectly aged would show patina, as would an enormous fireplace. Casement windows and French doors open to the rear garden. An antique greenhouse, painted deep green, does double-duty as entertaining space. Despite an initial cleaning, fluffing, and rearranging spate, during the shelter-at-home mandate, there were days when I strongly considered some kindling and a match. The downstairs bath’s ceiling plaster has begun a curious blooming; the gray tile walls need to go. My laboriously painted stripes above said tile now bore me stupid. Demolition is my current obsession. The thing most needing demolishing taunts me: our termite-riddled 94-year-old garage. Just imagine it transformed into a gabled board and batten carriage house featuring a Dutch door and ribbed metal roof! Envision the interior with a mini kitchen and sitting room, brick flooring, and

64 O.Henry

beadboard paneled walls! White-washed beams and salvaged architectural flourishes. An outdoor shower would allow for splashing off after tending an idyllic white cottage garden. There would be an outdoor fireplace and wisteria-heavy pergola for entertaining. Wait — make that exterior stone, with a moss garden, and a low wall perhaps? Can’t you just see it? OH Contributing Editor Cynthia Adams admires house-mad Edith Wharton, who wrote to “decorate one’s inner house so richly that one is content there, glad to welcome anyone who wants to come and stay, but happy all the same when one is inevitably alone.”

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


A L M A N A C

J

June n

By Ash Alder

une is the ink that flows from the poet’s pen — sweet as gardenia and ephemeral as a dream; the fountain of everlasting passion. If ever you have read the love letters from John Keats to Fanny Brawne, the girl next door who was to Keats “so fair a form” he yearned for finer language, then you can understand. “I want a brighter word than bright, a fairer word than fair,” Keats wrote his dearest girl one long-ago summer morning. And then, the famous line: “I almost wish we were butterflies and lived but three summer days — three such days with you I could fill with more delight than fifty common years could ever contain.” Imagine landing love-drunk in the thick of glorious June: The ecstasy of a world bursting forth with fragrant blossoms. The sweet nectar of each inhalation. The utter intoxication of existence. June is a medley of aliveness — brighter than bright, fairer than fair, and butterflies in all directions. Be still in the June garden, where love letters between hummingbird and trumpet creeper flow like honey, and you will learn the language of the heart. June is the poet and the muse. Keats and Fanny. Butterfly and bloom. Suppose you lived but three June days as rose, coneflower, poppy or phlox. What you might receive as the giver of such resplendence . . . the true delight of life.

Pick (and Fry) You Some

Something about edible flowers feels both deliciously wild and, well, just plain fancy. And since that bumper crop of zucchini comes with a holy explosion of yellow flowers, it seems fried squash blossoms are what’s for dinner — or at least the first course. If you’re a squash blossom newbie, here’s one thing to keep in mind: There are he-blossoms and she-blossoms. The male blossoms, which grow on long stalks, don’t produce fruit; they pollinate. Female blossoms grow closer to the center of the plant; you’ll spot them by their bulbous stems (they’re sitting on fruit). Leave them to grow. Pick the male blossoms but leave enough so that the harvest may continue. Another tip with the blossoms: Pick ’em the day you want to fry ’em. Check the petals for bugs and bees before removing the stamen or — if you picked a sheblossom — pistils. Wash, dry, and sauté or fry. Or if you want to take your summer dish to the next level, Google stuffed squash blossom recipes and see what happens next.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Victory Garden

Among the positive effects of stay-at-home orders, at least in this neck of the woods, is that more people are growing their own food (see page 21). Raised beds built from scrap wood and old pallets in late March are now turning out sweet peppers and pea pods, zucchini and summer squash, green beans, cukes, melons, eggplant, you-name-it. Haven’t started your own kitchen garden? It’s not too late. This month, sow bush, pole and lima beans; plant cukes, corn, okra, eggplant, peppers, basil and — your sandwiches and neighbors will thank you — tomatoes. Start Brussels sprouts and collards for midJuly transplant, and don’t forget flowers to call in the pollinators. When your bumper crops arrive — you’ll know when you can’t pick ’em fast enough — find ways to share and save the summer harvest.

Green was the silence, wet was the light, the month of June trembled like a butterfly. — Pablo Neruda

Blueberries

Blueberry juice is not blue — it’s purple. I recall making this casual discovery on a summer day in my youth when, not sure why, I smooshed a plump one into the page of one of my journals. But that isn’t the only magical quality contained within this wonder berry. They are slam-packed with antioxidant health benefits, for starters. One handful contains 10 percent of your dailyrecommended vitamin C, and did you know that a single bush can produce up to 6,000 blueberries a year? That’s 153 heaping handfuls. Among the many health benefits associated with eating blueberries (lower blood pressure, reduced risk of cancer, increased insulin response, reversal in age-related memory loss), they’re also known to brighten your skin. I’m not surprised that Native American indigenous peoples called these scrumptious berries “star fruits.” Father’s Day lands on Sunday, June 21 — the day after official summer. Consider planting a bush in Pop’s honor. Container; moist soil; full sun. Two or more bushes are better than one. OH O.Henry 65


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Life & Home

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.

STAY SAFE, STAY HOME. We will be with you, you don’t have to do this alone. • Transportation • Personal Care • Companionship • Meal Preparation • Light Housekeeping • Dementia Care

1515 W Cornwallis Drive, Suite 100 Greensboro, NC 27408

Phone: 336.285.9107 Fax: 336.285.9109

email: info@1stChoiceHomeCareInc.com

68 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Join the effort. Visit www.triadlocalfirst.com.


WELCOME HOME T O 8 14 BA SS L A NDING P LACE

COME SEE US IN OUR NEW LOCATION Battle Crossing 3741-E Battleground Avenue 336-292-9393 • 336-288-8011

Fabulous Living at Lake Jeanette. Stroll down the neighborhood path to the Dock/Gazebo and enjoy the sunset over Lake Jeanette. Gorgeous home with unlimited amenities. .83 acres fenced lot, Open Floor plan for ease in entertaining, Invitingly large living room that opens onto the brick terrace, Porch with Fireplace overlooks the private backyard, Main Level Master suite, Three additional Fireplaces, Every bedroom has a bath attached, Recent Kitchen update, Fresh Paint, Well maintained & MOVE IN READY!!

Mitzie.Weatherly@allentate.com | 336.314.5500

Life & Home

WE HAVE MOVED!

Mitzie Weatherly

M A R ION Tile & Flooring

CERAMIC TILE • MARBLE • VINYL • CARPET • HARDWOOD

We’re all in this together…stay safe.

ORDER YOUR ‘TO GO’ FRESH SUMMER PRODUCT

Forest Berry Cheesecake

Bathroom Remodeling Barrier Free Showers Kitchen Floors • Backsplashes and Countertops Porcelain & Ceramic Tile Marble & Granite • Brick & Stone Hardwood • Luxury Vinyl Tile • Carpet Monday - Friday • 9am-5pm

4719 Pleasant Garden Road, Pleasant Garden 336-674-8839 | www.mariontile.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

1310 Westover Terace, Suite 110, Greensboro, NC 27408 Sunday - Thursday 9 am - 8 pm | Friday - Saturday 8 am - 8 pm

O.Henry 69


INT R O D U C I NG

Named for William Sydney Porter’s preferred cocktail, we present a miscellany of curated stories, whimsies, curiosities and blithe entertainments from the writers, editors and artists who bring you award-winning O.Henry magazine. Each Friday, The Sazerac will hit your inbox just in time for cocktails. Relax with these fun bits intended to help you shake off the day.

Here’s what readers are saying… Keep up the good writing! We need things to keep our minds going during this unimaginable time. - Catharine S. I loved the article The Simple Life by Jim Dodson ! It meant a lot to me as I have been going thru old letters, pictures, etc reminding me of all my old treasured memories and how much an inherited old chair means to me! I have pictures of several generations of my family in the chair .This time if staying at home brings us closer to family, friends and our roots! - Suzanne A. I have really enjoyed this newsletter. Such a creative idea and perfect for these long days. I like the content and will continue to read. - Missy R. Hi! Just wanted to say thank you for the Sazerac. I’ve really been enjoying it week to week and especially loved Jim’s Snoopy Gardener video. It was a delight to see his beautiful garden! -April P.

Sign up at www.ohenrymag.com/sazerac


Irving Park LADIES CLOTHING, GIFTS, BABY, JEWELRY, GIFTS FOR THE HOME, TABLEWARE, DELICIOUS FOOD

1738 Battleground Ave • Irving Park Plaza Shopping Center • Greensboro, NC • (336) 273-3566

WE ARE NOW OPEN!

Habitat • Alembika • Cut Loose • Prairie Cotton Iguana • Parsley and Sage • Luukaa • Grizas • Chalet Oh My Gauze! • Honest Cotton • Shana Cheyenne • Heartstring • Et’ Lois • Flutter

Vera’s Threads Sizes: S,M, L & XL

336-288-8772

Sizes: 1X, 2X, & 3X

336-545-3003

Hours: M-F 11-6, Sat 11-5 2136 Lawndale Drive • Greensboro, NC

www.linneasboutique.com The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 71


Be your own kind of beautiful ...

Irving Park

Clothing, Accessories

Gifts & More!

1804 Pembroke Rd. • Greensboro, NC 27408 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) • 336.763.7908 Tues. - Fri. 11:00am - 5:00pm • Sat. 11:00am - 4:00pm www.serendipitybyceleste.com

Downtown Greensboro

VIVID

i n t e r i o r s interior design • furniture • art • lighting • vintage

513 South Elm Street , Greensboro, NC 27406 336.265.8628 www.vivid-interiors .com

72 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


modern furniture made locally

Preventive & Wellness Care • Hospitalization Medicine / Surgery • Dentistry Laser Therapy • And more ...

Dr. John Wehe 511 S Elm St. | Greensboro NC 27406 | 336.370.1050 areamod.com

120 W. Smith Street • Greensboro NC | 336.338.1840

Handmade

In House

Downtown Greensboro

We strive to provide complete care for our patients.

Specializing in doggie happiness

WE OFFER: DOG DAYCARE • SLEEPOVERS • GROOMING • WEBCAMS

705 Battleground Ave.

www.DogDaysGreensboro.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

121-A WEST MCGEE ST. GREENSBORO, NC 27401 WWW.JACOBRAYMONDJEWELRY.COM | 336.763.9569

O.Henry 73


Arts & Culture

C.P. LOGAN CONNIE P. LOGAN - ARTIST/TEACHER

www. CPLogan.com

74 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The

Experience the event online each Sunday in June at 2 pm! Four different episodes will stream on Facebook, YouTube, and GreensboroBeautiful.org

music & art unique performances virtual poodle parade online garden quest Info at 336.373.2199 or GreensboroBeautiful.org This event is made possible by Greensboro Beautiful through private donations from the community, and with support from the Greensboro Regional Realtors Association, the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department, 88.5 WFDD, and All Pets Considered

GREENSBORO

EVENTS 6/4

Greek Countryside Summer Dinner Cooking Class - Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm

6/9

Italian Alfresco Cooking Class - Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm

Arts & Culture

home edition

JUNE

6/16

Summer Fish Supper Cooking Class - Reto’s Kitchen 6:00 pm

6/22 - 6/26

Junior Chef Camp | Bonjour! French Summer Camp - Reto’s Kitchen 9:00 am

7/13 - 7/17

Junior Chef Camp | Ciao! Italian Summer Camp - Reto’s Kitchen 9:00 am

7/20 - 7/24

Junior Chef Camp | Mediterranean Summer Camp - Reto’s Kitchen 9:00 am

7/27 - 7/31

Junior Chef Camp | American Summer Camp - Reto’s Kitchen 9:00 am Before purchasing tickets, please consult with the event organizer to confirm the event. If an event is canceled, the organizer will communicate directly with ticket holders regarding future plans and/or possible refunds.

For more events, visit

TicketMeTriad.com TicketMeTriad.com is powered by

336.617.0090

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 75


Questions about the market? Call me!

ASHMORE RARE COINS & METALS

Stay Healthy!

Since 1987

Call for an appointment.

Yvonne Stockard Willard Realtor™, Broker, GRI

yvonne.stockard@allentate.com www.allentate.com/YvonneStockard

336.509.6139 Mobile 336.217.8561 Fax allentate.com

717 Green Valley Road, Suite 300 • Greensboro NC • 27408

• 30+ years as a major dealer of Gold, Silver, and Coins • Most respected local dealer for appraising and buying Coin Collections, Gold, Silver, Diamond Jewelry and Sterling Flatware • Investment Gold, Silver, & Platinum Bullion Visit us: www.ashmore.com or call 336-617-7537 5725 W. Friendly Ave. Ste 112 • Greensboro, NC 27410 Across the street from the entrance to Guilford College

Practicing Commercial Real Estate by the Golden Rule Bill Strickland, CCIM Commercial Real Estate Broker/REALTOR 336.369.5974 | bstrickland@bipinc.com

www.bipinc.com

Serving The Triad for 10 Years With Southern Hospitality

10% Off Commission

To Celebrate 10 Years as a REALTOR® in the Triad Area!! To say Thank You in 2020 and to help those affected during this difficult time, I want to Gift my Buyers and Sellers 10% off My Commission at Closing. Let your Family and Friends know and I will be happy to also extend this discount to them. Example: If the commission would be $5,000 - Your 10% discount would be $500 and this discount would be given as a “Closing Credit” towards your closing costs as a buyer and proceeds as a seller.

Tam Johnson, REALTOR® Owner, Broker-in-Charge Southern Living Realty, LLC Greensboro, NC 27455 info@southernlivingrealty.com Call Today (336) 337-3812 www.southernlivingrealty.com

“Consistently Exceeding My Client’s Expectations”

76 O.Henry

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


PIMENTO CHEESE RECIPE

You won’t find them in ordinary kitchens. Or at ordinary stores.

Mix first ingredients in medium bowl. Mash with fork to blend well. Season with salt and pepper. Cover and chill until cold, at least 2 hours and up to 3 days. Serve as sandwich or with crackers and celery sticks. Makes a great grilled cheese sandwich.

Sub-Zero, the preservation specialist. Wolf, the cooking specialist. You’ll find them only at your local kitchen specialist.

SHOP LOCAL FOR BEST PRICES

ANGIE WILKIE We Service What We Sell & Offer Personal Attention

336-854-9222 • www.HartApplianceCenter.com

1/2 cups, packed finely grated extra sharp cheddar cheese 1/2 cups, packed, finely grated extra sharp white cheddar cheese 1 cup mayonnaise 1/4 cup diced drained pimento peppers from jar, roasted red peppers or piquillo peppers 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional) Crackers Celery sticks Sliced white bread

2201 Patterson Street, Greensboro, NC (2 Blocks from the Coliseum) Mon. - Fri.: 9:30am - 5:30 pm Sat. 10 am - 2 pm • Closed Sunday

Broker/Realtor® (336) 451-9519

angie.wilkie@allentate.com

www.allentate.com/AngieWilkie

Business & Services

• • • • • • • •

Comprehensive and Attentive Care

Now Open with New Precautions for Coronavirus.

Gill Family Dentistry Serving the Triad Area

306 Muirs Chapel Rd., STE C | Greensboro, NC 27410

336.299.1379 | GillDentistryTriad.com

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

O.Henry 77


LIOR PARIS THINK! JUDY P BEDSTU GABOR MILLA Unique Shoes! Beautiful Clothes!! Artisan Jewelry!!! Shoes Sizes 6 - 11 • Clothes Sizes S - XXL

507 State Street, Greensboro NC 27405 336-275-7645 • Mon - Sat 11am - 6pm www.LilloBella.com

501 State Street Greensboro, NC 27205 336.274.4533 • YamamoriLtd.com

78 O.Henry

10:00-5:30 Monday-Friday Saturday 10:00 - 3:00 and by Appointment

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


The Accidental Astrologer

The Accidental Astrologer

Ground Control to Major Tom: Control Yourselves! June’s stars encourage restraint

By Astrid Stellanova Gemini (May 21–June 20) Sugar, you really oughta seal those lips. You cannot stop yourself, and impulse control is the thing you need most. Try a glue stick instead of ChapStick. Itching to take a frying pan to your lover’s noggin? Pop some bubble wrap instead. Cancer (June 21–July 22) Aunt Tipsy and Uncle Toasted have not exactly modeled good behavior for you. Bonkers, Baby. So now that you’re all grown up, you are finding your own way. You are wiser and stronger than you know. Leo (July 23–August 22) Just ’cause you’re a jungle cat, don’t mean you need to act like a house cat in the litter box. Right about now, you have dropped something stinky right in the midst of a situation that needs some air. Restrain from adding one more thing to a volatile mix, Pretty Kitty. Virgo (August 23–September 22) What was it, Honey? A sugar rush to the brain? Did you two have a magical connection over Cinnabons? Sugar and cinnamon are sheer bliss together, but not much more than a passing fancy that will melt away. Libra (September 23–October 22) It ain’t all that deep, Sweet Pea. Truly, all who wander are not lost. Some are just looking for the restroom. It is not a month for you to play traffic cop and be a master of the universe. It’s a month for you to just master yourself. Scorpio (October 23–November 21) Sugar, don’t be so judgy. Grandpa Hornblower used to say that even the good Lord had a great fish story. Someone close tells a lot of tall tales, but let it slide. They just want you to believe they’re worthy. Sagittarius (November 22–December 21) Cornbread ain’t square unless it’s store-bought, and best made in The Art & Soul of Greensboro

a seasoned cast-iron skillet. You’re as country as hominy grits but nobody knows because you polished all the rough corners and are seasoned just right. Capricorn (December 22–January 19) Let’s pretend you go to McDonald’s for the carrot sticks. That you like dressing up for church. And that you love being a grown-up. Stop pretending. Time to kick a can, twirl a hula hoop, be a kid, and get down and dirty. Aquarius (January 20–February 18) Slim chance, fat chance, pick the difference, Sugar. It don’t matter. Do the thing that is true, and stop the BS. If the virus taught us anything, it taught us that time is too precious to deceive ourselves. Risk something. Pisces (February 19–March 20) You’ve made yourself humorless with rule-keeping. Lighten up! A balanced diet is chocolate in both hands. Honey, cut yourself some slack because the one who needs to control themselves ain’t affected when you don’t. Aries (March 21–April 19) If you could make everyone happy in life, you’d be a wine box. But what you are is not exactly an endless fountain of joy juice. Baby Doll, sometimes you get so intractable that you lose yourself in the argument. Taurus (April 20–May 20) That thing that someone did really scrambled your eggs, didn’t it? They messed in your business and you don’t know if you can forget it. Sugar Booger, let it go. You have a much bigger surprise coming. OH For years, Astrid Stellanova owned and operated Curl Up and Dye Beauty Salon in the boondocks of North Carolina until arthritic fingers and her popular astrological readings provoked a new career path. O.Henry 79


O.Henry Ending

White Trash Banquet By Cynthia Adams

When I mentioned my long-held

dream of a White Trash Banquet in an O.Henry editorial meeting recently, I got shushed. Shushed! And some fingers actually wagged.

“B-b-b-b—but,” I protested. “I am white trash! I can say it!” I was shut down by the youngest among us who said, “You will die on that hill.” As they say in Hell’s Half Acre where I was raised, “It don’t matter.” Turns out, it don’t matter if I think I can say white trash even though I am white trash. Take my Georgia writing friend Lauretta Hannon, whose moniker is The Cracker Queen. Her beautiful memoir revolves around trailer park life and a mama who liked to buzz past chain gangs as Lauretta threw packs of ciggies out the car window. They may have been regarded as white trash, but they were lovable, thoughtful white trash. But that was 10 years ago. And the name, “Cracker Queen,” probably won’t fly now either. When Ernest Matthew Mickler’s White Trash Cooking hit the shelves in 1986, it was a publishing phenomenon. You could argue it was the equal and opposite reaction to the era’s Silver Palate Cookbook, and snooty restaurants that served up tiny portions — for big bucks. Sure, WTC had the support of local arts patrons Charlotte and Philip Hanes, but it wasn’t so much a rebuke as an homage to what most Southerners ate for generations. I had it for years until I lent it to someone. For the record, I want it back. Garden ’maters on white bread? That’s a “Kitchen Sink Tomato Sandwich.” Who hasn’t bent over a sink with Duke’s mayo and tomato juices streaming down their chin? One of my favorite observations about a tomato sandwich was when a farmer told me, “A ’mater sammich ain’t nothing but sunshine in your mouth.” He was proud of his ’maters that year. They were sunshine in the mouth. Say “white trash cooking” and most Southerners realize it isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It may connote fat ’maters, fatback or lard. But white trash cooking encompasses a world of things that ought

80 O.Henry

not be left behind. Beloved, if lowbrow. (Like Vienna sausages. Pork and beans. Or a fried baloney or livermush sandwich. Nobody actually says bologna, as spelled on the pack. That would be pure-t baloney. And we know Vienna is a place but who doesn’t say VYE-ee-na?) It is in the eye (and palate) of the beholder. My Mama thought frozen coconut pies were white trash. But she raised a daughter who loves them, along with honey buns and Little Debbie cakes. Little Debbie came of age during the Great Depression. Her oatmeal cream pie is unsurpassed. I kept brick-sized boxes of Velveeta in the fridge until my Charleston-born friend, Stephen Levkoff, ridiculed me into kicking my “liquid gold” habit. (“Liquid gold” is Kraft’s New South tagline.) I miss it. Velveeta was so handy for a grilled cheese sammich. Don’t believe me? Take a gander at White Trash Cooking’s list of ingredients for “Paper-Thin Grill Cheese.” Also, Velveeta’s unrivaled shelf life could see you through a bad break up or a pandemic. And if you think that’s gauche, consider my wealthy white trash friend who threw parties notable for the hors d’oeuvres: aerosol cans of Cheez Whiz served up bare as a baby’s ass with sleeves of Ritz crackers. Far be it for me to get above my raisin’; I squirted and scarfed with the best of them. For all I know, Cheez Whiz was developed by NASA for the moon probe. It squirts more than whizzes, but like Velveeta, it is good. So I stuck by my position on white trash vernacular until I read Chris Offutt’s buzz-killing essay in Oxford American, “Trash Food.” He made the excellent point that people can be hurtfully equated with trash because of what they eat or wear. That just saying white trash food can be hurtful. Finger-waggers, I do see the point. I do not intend to die on that hill. Certainly not without Little Debbie or Mrs. Smith right at my side, a good ’mater sammich in my hand. OH Cynthia Adams is a contributing editor to O.Henry with a perverse attraction to pickled eggs and pigs feet bobbing in gallon jars on country store counters. At her white trash banquet, Little Debbie, Frito-Lay, Lance and Cheer Wine would take top-billing. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ILLUSTRATION BY HARRY BLAIR

A feast fit for a king


cancer changed my life.

A SECOND OPINION SAVED IT.

Diagnosed with aggressive breast cancer, Dana Ingoglia feared the worst: Would she get to see her three little girls grow up? She wanted to know more about all of her options for care, so she got a second opinion from an expert in her cancer at Wake Forest Baptist Health’s Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The expert care and Second Opinion Program saved my life.” – Dana Ingoglia, Winston-Salem, NC

COMPREHENSIVE CANCER CENTER 888-716-WAKE | WakeHealth.edu/2ndOpinion

The National Cancer Institute officially designates select cancer centers in America as “Comprehensive” for meeting the highest possible standards. Research shows that choosing an NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center could increase your long-term survival rate by up to 25%.


#ThisIsYourTime

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