December 2012 O.Henry

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December 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro







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BY SUZANNE KALAN 526 s. stratford road



N 336.721.1768

December 2012 Features

Lucky Bucks 61

Poetry By Deborah Salomon

62 A ChaparralGift Christmas

By O.Henry

Our annual O.Henry classic Big Dreamers 65 What if wishes really did come true?

departments & columns


Instrument of Peace By Stephen E. Smith

In craftsman Bob Rigaud’s hands, the ukulele becomes an instrument of peace

72 Bubba’s Annual Christmas Letter

the holidays

In a Cabinet of Lovely 78 Curiosities

By Ashley wahl

By Bubba Greene

Wreath on Earth 74 Four local florists interpret

He’s back. Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas. Sort of

Peculiar and obscure, a transformed ranch house comes alive each Christmas

December Almanac 91 By Noah Salt

A brief strange history of Christmas

9 Hometown By Jim Dodson

12 Short Stories Your Guide to the Good Life requested recipe 15 Most By David C. Bailey 17 the City Muse By Ashley Wahl 19 The Omnivorous Reader By Stephen E. Smith

Food for thought 23 By Deborah Salomon 25 gate city icons By David C. Bailey 31 Hop Head By David C. Bailey 37 Serial eater By David C. Bailey 47 Street Level By Jim Schlosser Home 51 Hitting By Dale Nixon 53 The sporting life By Tom Bryant 59 Life of Jane By Jane Borden 92 Arts Calendar 100 The GreenScene 111 Life’s Funny By Maria Johnson 112 O.Henry Ending By Stephen E. Smith

6 O.Henry

December 2012

Cover Photograph by Dhanraj Emanuel

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

oyster perpe tual milg aus s

速 1951 Battleground Avenue 336.292.8355


oyster perpetual and milgauss are trademarks.


The Spirit of Fezziwig By Jim Dodson


t was getting dark and I was cold, standing outside the music shop in Lawndale Shopping Center where I’d just taken my last guitar lesson for the year, waiting for my dad to pick me up after his office Christmas party. At age 13, the world I aspired to was a narrowly defined place. I had a dog named Hoss, never missed a broadcast of Carolina basketball, and was in love from afar with the music of George Harrison and a girl in my church youth group named Kristin, who was a year older and at least a head taller and didn’t appear to know I even existed. Mr. Weinstein asked me if I wished to wait inside and I thanked him and said no, my dad would be there any moment. He smiled, said goodnight, locked the door and pulled down the shade, switching off the shop’s interior lights, leaving only the blinking Christmas lights in the window, undoubtedly anxious to be on his way home. Hanukkah had begun and Christmas Eve was less than a week away, and I stood in the dim foxfire gloaming provided by the twinkling lights, holding my secondhand Gibson and wondering why the blazes my old man was so late. His office was only a short distance away and I considered walking that way. Suddenly there he was, his Buick 98 easing up. “Sorry I’m a bit late, Sport,” he said cheerfully as I got in. “We ran a bit longer than I expected and I stopped to speak to Santa Claus.” The car was warm and smelled pleasantly of something faintly spicy that turned out to be my mom’s leftover Christmas cookies on the front seat. My father made no apologies for his undisguised admiration for Christmas. Years later, when I read Charles Dickens’ novella A Christmas Carol for the first time, I instantly recognized a kindred spirit in the character of old Fezziwig, the generous employer to whom a young and impressionable Ebenezer Scrooge is apprenticed, a jolly and kind man who symbolizes the milk of human kindness and the communal values of an age under assault from an emerging Industrial Age that emphasizes profits over people. As much as Scrooge admires his wonderful old employer, he later adopts the corporate greed and indifference of the new era. “So you really met Santa, huh?” I gently needled my dad because, well, he was such an easy mark and often so unaccountably upbeat my brother Dickie and I sometimes called him Opti the Mystic. He nodded. “I did indeed. Unfortunately he was sitting on a bench, rather down on his luck.” I could see he was serious about this. “What do you mean he was down on his luck?” I asked. He smiled, though not with anything resembling amusement. “I’ll show you.” Instead of turning right on Friendly Avenue to go home where the Christmas lights burned and a warm meal awaited, he turned left on Market

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

to go back downtown where the streets were dark and deserted. We pulled up to an empty park near the old Confederate hospital and there on a bench — true to his word — sat a disheveled man in a Santa Claus suit. “I’ll only be a minute. You stay here.” He left the car running, got out and walked over to where the man was sitting. I saw a bottle of something in his hand. His snowy beard was missing. The two men conversed. I could see Santa waving his other hand animatedly, his angry voice fogging the frosty air. There was something in that hand, too. As the man got to his feet and started toward the car with my dad, I was alarmed to see he was holding a pistol. “Hey, Bo,” my dad said, opening my door. “Why don’t you jump in back. We’re going to give Santa a ride home.” Santa placed his empty bottle down on the curb and leered at me as I climbed out and he climbed in, still holding the pistol. In 1966 there wasn’t much public awareness of homeless people — at least in the safe world I inhabited. Before I could make sense of what was going on, Santa was rambling on about how he’d lost his job at Thalhimers simply for taking a holiday snort of Old Crow at lunch and now wouldn’t have a paycheck to buy his “old lady and her kid” something for Christmas. In the stream of profanities and proclamations that tumbled out, he mentioned that his girlfriend was pregnant and he just might have to hit the road if he couldn’t find a job and a decent place to live. Santa, who smelled like an old crow and faintly resembled one, suddenly jerked around and eyed me and my secondhand Gibson, silent in the back seat. “What can you play on that damn thing?” he demanded. I replied that I knew almost every song on Rubber Soul, the Beatles’ sixth album. “The Beatles!” snarled Santa. “They ain’t worth shit. How about some Hank Williams?” We pulled into Irving Park Delicatessen and stopped. My dad got out and motioned me to follow. The three of us marched into IPD and took a booth. The bar was decorated with evergreen and colored lights and the waitress recognized my old man, a frequent lunch patron. “Looks like Santa had a rough night,” she playfully declared. “Worse than you can guess, Sugar,” brayed Bad Santa, winking at her. “But I can still give you a good one!” Santa ordered an omelet and plate of spaghetti and apple pie a la mode. My dad just had coffee. I was half-starved and ordered a grilled cheese sandwich. We watched Santa wolf down his eggs and dive into the spaghetti like there was no tomorrow. He ranted on about a dozen different things and finally calmed down about the time his pie a la mode arrived. After this we drove him to a neighborhood of tiny box houses in Northeast Greensboro. The house where we dropped him off was dark, but a porch light was on. My dad got out, asked me to stay put, and walked the man up to the December 2012

O.Henry 9


door. In the half light, I saw him shake the man’s hand and give him something. The man walked him back down the driveway and came over to my side of the car. I’d reclaimed the front seat and discovered the gun on the floor where he’d forgotten it. He motioned me to roll down the window. Reluctantly I did so. He grabbed my coat’s collar with his bony fingers. My blood jumped. “Listen, kid. You got a helluva old man,” he wheezed. “He’s a real Southern gentleman. Hope the hell you know that.” I nodded dumbly. “Good. Don’t forget it, Junior.” He let go of my jacket and gave me a skeletal grin. “Feel free to keep that gun at your feet. I had planned to shoot myself with it. But it’s only a toy.” He let loose a howl of laughter I can still hear and ambled on up the yard to the darkened house. I never asked my father what he gave Bad Santa, though I suspect it was money for his lost wages. To this day, I’m not sure that was even Bad Santa’s home. But a year later when Greensboro’s Urban Ministry started up, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that my old man was one of its early enthusiastic supporters, marshaling volunteers and donations of clothing, food and money from his golf buddies and the Sunday School class he moderated at First Lutheran Church for more than the next two decades. Not long before he passed away in 1995, as we sat together in my childhood bedroom where he was under care from Greensboro Hospice, I asked Opti if he remembered the night we took Bad Santa to supper at IPD. He smiled at me. “How could I forget it? He hated the Beatles. And your mother wasn’t very happy about us missing dinner.” “Did you know that wasn’t a real gun?” “No. But it seemed like the thing to do at the time. Everything is connected, you know.” “Only my father would try to cheer up a suicidal Santa Cluas,” I needled him. Opti just smiled again. One year ago, my friend, the artist Bill Mangum, invited me to drive up to Hickory to a special celebration service at the Exodus Missionary Church. Days before, I’d attended a luncheon at Christ Methodist Church kicking off the 24th year of Mangum’s innovative Honor Card that has raised more than $4 million to battle homelessness, poverty and addiction in a dozen communities across North Carolina. Mangum got the idea for the Honor Card after buying lunch for a homeless man in Greensboro and developing a friendship and unexpected ministry from the relationship. There was no Bad Santa at the luncheon but there were dozens of people from the Triad who spoke movingly about their lost lives and the various local agencies that helped them regain equilib-

10 O.Henry

December 2012

rium and dignity, in some cases a job, sobriety, and a caring home. Up at Exodus Church, which does the Lord’s work providing homeless and addicted folks with a community of healing and the chance to put their lives back together, I sat with a man who had been reunited with his daughter after 20 years of drug addiction and alcoholism and sleeping rough on the streets from Charlotte to Cleveland, Ohio. They’d recently talked for two hours on the phone. “When I heard about this place from a man I just happened to meet while panhandling a few dollars,” he told me, “something told me I needed to come here. I realized that this might be my last chance at life. It took several weeks for me to get here but they took me in. That was fifteen months ago and I’ve been sober ever since and just found work at a local furniture factory.” As I looked at him — clean shaven, wearing a nicely pressed white shirt and leather jacket, a man who’d been lost but now was found — I realized I was looking at Bad Santa and the face of any of us who might fall between the cracks of life, a story as relevant today as it was in Charles Dickens’ day. As Exodus Church’s rocking choir — made up largely of former addicts and other souls who came in from the cold streets of a homeless nation — began a beautiful version of “Amazing Grace,” the man leaned over to me and whispered with an unmistakable tremor in his voice, “You know the best thing? Guess what I’m getting for Christmas this year? My daughter is coming here all the way from San Diego and bringing her baby daughter with her. I’m finally going to meet my granddaughter!” His brown eyes wobbled with emotion. It took me a moment to find my voice. “I’m getting to be with my granddaughter for the holidays.” That evening up in Hickory, in an old refurbished brick church beneath a full Christmas moon, a packed house with stunning gospel songs and personal testimonies, spoke powerfully to the transformative ‑power of one human being caring for another — and reminded me of the cold winter night long ago when a modern day Fezziwig and his son took Bad Santa to supper and I discovered not everyone had a warm home and loving family. This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Honor Card, which last year provided $240,000 of funding to Greensboro Urban Ministry. The cards (costing $5 apiece) will be on sale at various places around town through the holiday season including Fleet-Plummer, Brown-Gardiner Drug Store, William Mangum Fine Art, Greensboro Urban Ministry and many area congregations. For a complete list and more information call Crystal Mercer, card coordinator, at (336) 553 2638 If anyone asks, tell ’em Bad Santa sent you. OH Contact editor Jim Dodson at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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sh rt st ries

Your Guide to the Good Life in the Triad

Forget cookies

Homeland Creamery in Julian will definitely have its signature peppermint-studded ice cream for the holidays, “done by hand — like all of our ice cream — with the peppermint sticks crushed up and hand-stirred into it,” says Terry Bowman, co-owner. Also available until the end of the year will be the pumpkin-pie ice cream, she says, “and our apple-pie is so popular it’s available year round.” They don’t make egg-nog ice cream — yet — but look for Homeland Creamery’s everpopular bottled egg nog. How noggy it is will depend on your own hand-stirring: “I tell people, you have to add your own nog,” says Bowman. Tours, including a hayride, available for groups with reservations on weekdays. For more information, call (336) 685-6455 or visit — DCB

Welcome Home, Boys Blast in the New Year with The Avett Brothers’ show at the Greensboro Coliseum December 31 with brothers Scott and Seth Avett and Bob Crawford as they return to their home state. As The Avett Brothers tour to promote their new album, The Carpenter, their fame continues to skyrocket. Just eight years ago, the band played in Greensboro at The Green Bean for two bucks a ticket, selling out the 99 seating capacity. Next were sold-out shows at The Flying Anvil in 2006, War Memorial Coliseum in 2007 and 2008, and White Oak Amphitheater to 7,688 fans in 2011. Ticket sales are brisk, and even with a 14,000 seating capacity, fans are being encouraged to buy early. The opening act, Amos Lee, is pure bonus. — Carole Perkins

Gone nuts

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire aren’t just for dreamy Christmas songs. If you’ve got the fire, the folks at High Rock Farm can help with the rest. They sell homegrown chestnuts directly from the farm in southeast Rockingham County and at the Super G Mart at 4927 West Market Street in Greensboro. The nuts come from American-Chinese hybrid trees that owner Richard Teague planted shortly after buying the historic home and farm in 1990. Senator John McCain’s ancestors, Joseph McCain and Mary Polly Scales of Reidsville, built the Federal-style house in 1807. It later served as a tavern, post office and stagecoach stop. The grounds now support 500 chestnut trees and 400 pecan trees. Teague and company sell nuts, berries, gluten-free chestnut flour, jams, desserts and toasted pecans at the farm Mondays through Fridays, 8–11 a.m. The farm is at 960 High Rock Road. See highrockfarm for more info. — MJ

12 O.Henry

December 2012

What the dickens

Rah! Humbug! That’s what theater fans should be saying as A Christmas Carol caps a comeback year for the North Carolina Shakespeare Festival in High Point. Last year, the Yuletide classic was the only show produced by NCSF after a cut in state funding. This year, thanks to bulked up fundraising, visibility and programming, N.C. Shakes is gaining strength. Romeo and Juliet ran in September and the Dickens holiday chestnut will be up from December 5 through December 23. Advance tickets are discounted to $15 for Community Day performances — 2 p.m. on December 15 and 22; 7:30 p.m. on December 20. Or you can wait until an hour before the shows and pay what you like by cash or check. For ticket info, call (336) 887-3001 or go to — MJ

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Short Stories down and dirty with matt Hill

One thing about a Matt Hill show: Someone’s going to end up on the floor. And that someone is Matt Hill. He throws himself into his music — he calls it “deep fried rhythm and blues” — so hard, it’s impossible for him to stay upright. And while he’s down there, rolling around, he’s going to get a little dirty. In more ways than one. He’s often compared to the late bluesman Nappy Brown. Hill, who’s from Stokesdale, remembers seeing Brown play at a blues festival in Danville, Virginia: “He came out in a three-piece suit and by the end of the night, he was in his underwear, crawling around on stage, hugging the microphone.” Hill’s his first album, “On the Floor,” earned him the 2011 Blues Music Award for Best New Artist Debut, the industry’s top honor for rookies. This year, he and his band, Matt Hill and the Deep Fryed Two, released a second album, “Tappin’ That Thang,” with the title track climbing as high as No. 3 on XM radio. When Hill’s not churning through the clubs of St. Louis, where he and his wife, R&B singer Nikki Hill, a Durham native, moved after marrying last year, he’s going coast to coast, coaxing his Dodge Caravan toward a quartermillion miles. “Everybody’s struggling, so at least do something you love,” he says. Hill, 27, credits his family for getting him going. He was in third grade and living in Wilson when an uncle let him taste Creedence Clearwater Revival. Later, the same uncle gave him an electric guitar, and Hill spent a lot of time in his room with Sarah Vaughan, Howlin’ Wolf and Eric Clapton, especially after his father’s banking job brought the family to Greensboro. Soon his parents, Mark and Debbie, were carrying him to clubs where he’d test his chops in the first set so they could get him home at a decent hour. Hill went to school at Northwest Guilford High School, Weaver Academy and later GTCC, but he says the real learning happened while he was playing in bands and hanging out with local bluesmen Bob Margolin and Max Drake. “They are the ones who got me into the deeper stuff and turned me on to the old-school blues. That music is so primal. Deep down inside, we all know these feelings,” says Hill, whose frenetic stage presence belies a gentle manner. “I save a lot of my energy for the stage,” he says with a sly grin. His audiences are grateful. Just ask the man who stepped outside for some air after Hill wrapped up his first set at a Greensboro gig last year. Hill, with his badboy bangs, wooly sideburns, soul patch and tattoos, had just whipped off his belt and playfully smacked a speaker as he sang, “I just wanna love you, baby,” and a woman in a white sundress offered her backside. “I need a cigarette,” the man said with admiration. Matt and Nikki Hill will appear at Greensboro’s Zion Bar & Grille on Dec. 21. They’ll appear at Papa Mojo’s Roadhouse in Durham on Dec. 22. Both shows start at 8 p.m. Go to for info. — MJ The Art & Soul of Greensboro

sauce of the month

“My mom died when I was about 8 years old,” says Eric Henderson, reflecting on how he came to be bottling Big Daddy’s Marinade, the sauce his father, Charles Henderson of Trenton, developed. “They had four kids, so he had to learn how to start cooking right away, and I tell you what, the guy can put it together when it comes to good old country cooking.” Big (“like me, about 250 pounds”) Daddy was known for his pig pickings and his homemade BBQ sauce. About eight years ago, Eric bottled it and now he’s selling 500 12-bottle cases of it annually. Look for a classic Eastern N.C., sugar-free sauce, but a little rounder. Eric says that comes from using cider vinegar and soy sauce. The addition of garlic is a nice touch. “They add a little fullness,” he says. “I also marinate chicken and then fry it.” Available at Grove Winery and some area grocery stores. Recipes and store locator at www. — DCB

Best in show

No need to get your ears checked. You heard it right. The Greensboro Ballet’s Nutcracker is going to the dogs. “I wanted to cast all of them,” says artistic director Maryhelen Mayfield of the 25 dogs who auditioned for the ballet’s first ever MUTTcracker, a one-nightonly performance to promote the Guilford County Animal Shelter. On Friday, December 14, at 8 p.m. Clara Stahlbaum will share the stage of the historic Carolina Theatre with a dozen dazzling pooches, including an acrobat named Jasper, a breast cancer survivor named Pumpkin, and Louie, a retired greyhound. Lucky for the Mouse King, there won’t be any cats. “We have no idea what it’s going to be like,” says Mayfield, who has been with the ballet since its first Nutcracker production in 1980, back when the “mice had little pipe cleaner ears and the soldiers wore paper hats.” Traditional Nutcracker performances will be held December 7–9 and December 15–16, same place, 8 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets are $15–35, with discounts available for children, students, seniors and groups of 10 or more. Bring donations (dry pet food) for the MUTTcracker show. For more information, call (336) 333-7480 or visit www.greensboroballet. com. — AW December 2012 O.Henry 13

Meticulous attention to detail

is the pattern of excellence.

High Point

I Greensboro I Winston Salem

Most Requested Recipe

symphony to the tongue The GSO’s recipes of note

by DaViD C. bailey

roanoke Beef tenderloin

t was a warm, fall day, but it didn’t take Josie Gibboney 30 seconds to turn her thoughts to Christmas and the most requested holiday dishes within the pages of the Greensboro Symphony Guild’s Recipes of Note. For your main course? “Roanoke beef tenderloin,” she says without hesitating. “You must put that in there.” Of course there’s a story that goes along with it: “When Aycock auditorium was revamped about four years ago,” she says, “they had sort of a ceremony to celebrate the reopening.” The Greensboro Symphony Orchestra had, of course, been invited to play and after the concert, the guild hosted a Century Celebration Gala at the Weatherspoon Art Gallery. One of UNCG’s chefs was asked to prepare a dish from Recipes of Note, and he chose Roanoke beef tenderloin. “The story goes that he loved it so much, he replaced his tenderloin recipe with our recipe,” says Gibboney, a long-time, veteran volunteer with the Symphony Guild. Side dish? “Last year we had a Meet the Musician gala. The first one we had was an Italian thing with little red-and-white tablecloths.” But the star attraction wasn’t lasagna or wild-mushroom risotto, Gibboney recalls. It was slow-cooker macaroni and cheese. “It was a real hit,” she says. “It’s quite a favorite with men.” Salad? “There’s an absolutely delicious salad that you can’t miss. It’s worth the price of the cookbook, you can quote me on that.” It’s called crunchy broccoli pecan salad, and “Here’s the thing,” she says. “The dressing is a dressing that can be used on different salads, especially if they have cabbage in them. Make it and put it in your refrigerator and it lasts. It’s one of the top favorites and it’s because of the dressing.” Holiday parties are fueled by appetizers, and the Guild’s got you covered with spiced nuts. “Around the holidays, clubs are always selling pecans and a lot of us end up with a bag of pecans from a garden club or something. This is a great way to make a little treat for your party table or to give as a hostess gift,” she says. Dessert? Try devil’s food ice-cream sandwiches, spread with seasonal mint ice cream — Homeland Creamery’s Peppermint Ice Cream, for instance. “I make them for my bridge club and use Edy’s peppermint ice cream,” Gibboney says. “Kids love them, too.” Recipes of Notes can be purchased at the Greensboro Historical Museum, The Extra Ingredient or online at

1 (3 1/2�-pound) beef tenderloin, trimmed 1 tablespoon thyme 1 teaspoon white pepper 1 teaspoon garlic salt 1 tablespoon seasoned salt 1/2� teaspoon oregano �3/4 teaspoon salt (optional) 1 cup water 1/4� cup Worcestershire sauce


The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Place the tenderloin on a large piece of heavy-duty foil. Rub the thyme evenly over the meat. Combine the pepper, garlic salt, seasoned salt, oregano and salt in a bowl and mix well. Sprinkle over all sides of the meat. Seal the foil around the meat and place in a roasting pan. Chill overnight. Let stand at room temperature for one hour before cooking. Open foil and pour the water and Worcestershire sauce over the meat. Roast at 400 degrees for 35 minutes or to 125 degrees on a meat thermometer for rare to medium-rare. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

slow-cooker macaroni and cheese 8 ounces macaroni 1 1/3 cup milk 1 (5-ounce) can evaporated milk �1/4 cup (half stick) butter 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese 1 cup sour cream 1 teaspoon salt �1/4 teaspoon pepper �1/2 teaspoon dried mustard (optional) 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Cheddar cheese Cook the macaroni in a saucepan of boiling water for 5 to 7 minutes. Drain, rinse and drain again. Remove to a large bowl. Add the milk, evaporated milk, butter, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, 1 cup Cheddar cheese, the sour cream, salt, pepper and dry mustard and mix well. Pour into a slow cooker coated with nonstick cooking spray. Top with 1 cup mozzarella cheese and 1 cup Cheddar cheese. Cook on high for two hours -or on low for four or five hours. oH December 2012

O.Henry 15

We’re teaming up with a few of Santa’s helpers... the few, the proud. Help us support the United States Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots campaign. Bring a new, unwrapped toy or monetary donation to our offices to help make this is a Merry Christmas for underprivileged children in the Triad.

HOW YOU CAN HELP: Gift Drop-Off: November 29 to December 19, during regular office hours (8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.) Location: Ward Black Law offices at 208 W. Wendover Ave., Greensboro Kick-Off Event: Join us at our annual Toys for Tots kick-off

event on Thursday, November 29, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Drop off a toy, thank a Marine and enjoy the festivities!


Final Drop-Off Date: December 19, 2012

208 W. Wendover Avenue | Greensboro, NC 27401

The City Muse

Muse to Muse, Victory Rolls and Chasing Skirts By Ashley Wahl


icole Harvell isn’t wearing a costume. Those are her regular clothes. She doesn’t need a special occasion to wear her balloonsleeved Joan Crawford-era mink coat. Ditto her navy blue 1950s “New Look” dress, which has a full skirt and a stand-up collar. “A limited number of men appreciate the hair,” says the 27-year-old of her flawless victory rolls. “Guys say, ‘You look like my grandma.’” Unlikely that their grannies have legs like hers.


Although she’s an ’80s baby, Nicole is an old soul with more than just a flair for vintage fashion. She embodies it. The girl swears by girdles and crinoline, wears bright red lipstick and nearly swoons when she sees velvet veiled hats. This isn’t just a phase, either. “I raided my mom’s closet in grade school.” At home, she lounges in 1940s nightgowns and listens to the likes of Vera Lynn and the Andrews Sisters. Yes, of course she has a record player. And she’s wild over Mad Men. She sums up the storyline in three words: “guys chasing skirts.” Nicole chases skirts (and other vintage garments) too, and has been selling them on her Etsy shop, Forgotten Muse, for several years. Last May, the Muse used her savings to open Artemis and the Scavengers, a collective marketplace on College Road. Her booth, I imagine, looks a lot like her closet. “They just don’t make clothing like they used to,” says Nicole, slipping on a pair of blue semi-sheer gloves. “The quality of vintage is so much better. This coat is from the ’40s. Just look at it.”


In Greek mythology, Artemis was goddess of the hunt, lady of the wild beasts, and protector of young animals. Nicole may not have Greek blood, but she does make for a tenacious huntress of throwback threads and finds tremendous satisfaction in “rescuThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

ing” vintage furs. “I love finding old furs new homes,” she says. And she can’t walk past a stray kitten without taking it home. “I once owned seven cats.” And how many fur coats? Perhaps the Muse has forgotten.


Artemis is a treasure trove. Follow your nose and find Two Trees all-natural handmade soaps, lip butters and herbal teas. The lavender soap is rumored to have magical powers. “The woman who makes it swears it calms down the children,” says the Muse’s mom, Vicki Harvell, who works at the shop and sells consignment clothing. Vicki’s taste is more modern than her daughter’s.


Mosey along and find pens made in nearby Oak Ridge. “I’m having one custom-made for my fella,” says the Muse, who chose black wood for the barrel and a chrome bullet for the nib. Fitting gift from a gal who wears bullet bras. And what does the Muse want, besides clothes? “I’d like people to go back to giving the hostess a gift. That’s how it used to be. Now you go over and freeload.” From the shop, she recommends fabric wine bags by Golden Threads or Vintage Revival cake stands. Of course you’d buy local, organic wine or bake a from-scratch-yellow-buttermilk-cake to complete the package. There’s a booth for the boho-chic, and for those drawn to the coast, which no doubt draws folks from Flip Flops, the beach bar and grill next door. For men, find a museum-like display of World War II-era memorabilia, everything from Japanese sake cups to America’s World War II Monopoly. Although the history fascinates her, the Forgotten Muse will stick with fashion. You’d swear she’s from another era. Proof that time travel does exist. OH Our muse, O.Henry associate editor Ashley Wahl, is a born wanderer.

December 2012

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Sister, My Sister

A brave memoir of family loss explores the familiar terrain of grief with fresh eyes

By STePhen e. SmiTh


hen Thomas Wolfe’s Look Homeward, Angel was published, a North Carolina reviewer wrote that the novel was the work of a “cowardly” young man who hated his family, an observation which should have disqualified the reviewer from writing further literary criticism. Anyone who has read Wolfe’s great autobiographical novel understands that he loved his family with an unshakable commitment and that they were the source of his inspiration. By revealing them honestly, he wrote fiction that told the truth, and in the process he proved himself one of America’s bravest writers. North Carolina novelist, poet and memoirist Judy Goldman is as brave — maybe braver — than Wolfe. Her memoir Losing My Sister is a candid, forthright and often painful examination of the complex emotions surrounding the death of her parents and older sibling — daunting experiences that she confronts without the protective cloak of fiction and the shielding use of a third person narrator. Writing such a memoir is never easy. It requires courage, especially when the telling of the story forces the writer to expose his or her most intimate emotions and glaring inadequacies. As in Wolfe’s case, family, as well as the general reading public, will scrutinize every word of the narrative, weighing carefully their perceptions against those of the writer. One wrong utterance or faulty interpretation and the notion that the writer is telling the truth vanishes and can’t be recaptured. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Moreover, readers have come to expect a degree of authorial insight from such autobiographical writing. The exposition of grief, as mundane as it may be, implies that the writer has emerged from an intense emotional experience with a wisdom that’s transmittable to the reader and that the reader’s life will be lived more successfully thereafter. But all writing is an internalized reaction to a world over which we have little control, and if the reader’s expectations are high, if he’s seeking an easy formula for coping with grief, his reaction to the writer’s story is likely to be one of disappointment. No doubt Goldman understood this before she wrote the first sentence of her memoir, and yet she had the courage and commitment to produce what is a compelling story of loss, guilt and forgiveness, even if it doesn’t offer a painless panacea for an affliction that will eventually ail us all. Goldman is a native of Greenville, South Carolina, and her childhood was, by any measure, ordinary. The daughter of loving, middle-class parents, she is the second of three children. She graduated from college, married, moved to Charlotte, and began raising her children while becoming a writer. During this period she lived near her older sister, Brenda, and when their mother began to suffer the ravages of Alzheimer’s disease and her father fell desperately ill with cancer, the two sisters intervened to care for their dying parents. As is often the case, care giving occasioned more stress than their relationship could endure, and a riff developed between the sisters over what can only be described as a petty slight — who had spent more time and energy caring for their father. The estrangement had its roots in differences in temperament and family history, and was only December 2012

O.Henry 19


Reader complicated by the attempts of other well-meaning family members to heal the wounds suffered by the sisters. There was no mechanism in this seemingly normal American family that prepared them for even the mildest dysfunction. As sisters they were expected to have and maintain a family bond, and although Goldman and her sister worked at repairing the breach, the one true note they produced as children began to resonate with unfamiliar and annoying undertones. The sisters wrote letters and talked on the phone only to discover that they were far too sensitive to effect a true reconciliation. With the publication of her first novel, The Slow Way Back, Goldman was apprehensive about her sister’s reaction to the story of adult siblings who discover lumps in their breasts. One sister lives, the other dies. But Brenda’s response was positive and supportive. It was her reaction to the manuscript of Goldman’s second novel, Early Leaving, that occasioned bitter feelings. Brenda, who was ill with cancer of the bile duct at the time, was not effusive in her praise. So Goldman wrote her a letter: “. . . when you didn’t seem excited, I was disappointed and hurt. Maybe you didn’t mean it that way — and maybe my wishing for that felt to you like an expectation you couldn’t meet. I also want to add that Chuck’s [Brenda’s husband] response was a part of what I reacted to. When he returned the manuscript to me, he said, ‘Thanks. Good luck.’ I couldn’t tell if he’d read it or not.” Brenda responded: “With all my heart, I wish for you huge sales and literary awards! Good luck!” The response of a family member to a writer’s work is, despite the writer’s protestations to the contrary, a moment of intense sensitivity, and Goldman found her sister’s faint praise demoralizing and rationalized that she was being purposely spiteful. From there the chasm deepened and the range of emotions grew more complex. But Brenda’s cancer was terminal, and Goldman stepped in as a caregiver. Perhaps, as some critics maintain, autobiography is an attempt to triumph over death, preparing oneself for the moment when all that survives is the printed word. At the very least, it presents an opportunity for the writer to give himself all the best lines. Happily, that’s not the case in Losing My Sister. Goldman writes with objectivity and compassion and there’s no attempt at shade-tree philosophy, only the writer’s brave and honest response to human experience. OH

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Stephen Smith’s most recent book of poetry is A Short Report on the Fire at Woolworths. He can be reached at The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 21

Merry Christmas

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Food for Thought

Let There Be Light Hanukkah latkes even Bubbie would love

By DeBorah Salomon


bserve the reaction when a gathering of Jewish people hear he word “latkes.” Some will roll their eyes heavenward. Others might drift into a trance. The first spoken words will definitely be “my grandmother . . .” Or, given current socioeconomics, “my great-grandmother . . .” since Granny still sells houses, removes gall bladders and arbitrages. Latkes — pancakes made from shredded potatoes, onions, eggs and other stuff — are Hanukkah’s food icon, although anything fried in oil would do, since oil is the symbol. In Biblical times, Hebrew warrior Judah Maccabee recaptured the Temple from infidels. Enough oil remained to illuminate the holy light for only one day. Miracle of miracles — it lasted eight. Therefore, during the eight days of Hanukkah, Jewish people light candles and eat foods fried in oil Fat-reduced latkes browned in PAM, in a nonstick skillet — pure blasphemy. Besides, PAM doesn’t soak the upholstery with that once-a-year scent that lingers till Passover. Nobody knows how latkes came to be. Surely, credit falls to Eastern European potato-eaters who never heard of zucchini, a popular modern addition only slightly less blasphemous than PAM. But latkes have a downside — a greasy, gray, leaden underbelly that our great-grannies could not conquer. Hockey pucks, they were called, but not too loudly because great-grandchildren get very defensive; in Jewish culinary culture, everybody’s Bubbie (Granny) makes the world’s greatest latkes. Not so. I do. Cuisinart forever changed latke-making. Bubbie no longer grated potatoes by hand — a process taking hours, often resulting in bloody knuckles. Potatoes discolored while waiting to become pancakes. She bound them with flour, creating the texture of a manhole cover. They were thick. They oozed oil. Judah Maccabee himself couldn’t brag on these. Mine are small, light, crisp, lacy and yummy enough to make Martha Stewart wish she were Jewish. They are also ecumenical, since the Hanukkah story took place in Biblical times. Hanukkah runs from December 8 —16,- but I can see them at Christmas brunch, with scrambled eggs, or on New Year’s Eve with sour cream and caviar. Here’s how: You will need Yukon Gold potatoes, a Spanish onion, eggs, two lemons, The Art & Soul of Greensboro

matzo meal (in the tiny kosher food section of most supermarkets) — or, in a pinch, use pulverized saltine crackers, salt, pepper, canola oil and a food processor with a grating disc. Amounts aren’t graven in stone. Squeeze a whole lemon into a big basin of salted water. Toss in the lemon halves. Peel (or not, I don’t) about three pounds of potatoes. Cut them into chunks and submerge in lemon water for several hours or overnight. When ready to proceed, drain potatoes and squeeze the chunks in a terrycloth towel to dry completely. Peel and cut up a Spanish onion. Pour about ¾1/4 inch oil in two or three large skillets. Keeping three going at a time takes practice. Grate potatoes and onions quickly, in batches, scraping them from processor work bowl into another large bowl. When all are grated, add three beaten eggs, about 3/4 cup matzo meal, juice of the second lemon, generous salt and a little pepper. While doing this, heat oil to medium-hot and turn on exhaust fan. Spoon potato mixture into sizzling oil. Flatten latkes with a spoon; edges should be ragged. A 10-inch skillet holds about seven 3-inch latkes without crowding. Turn heat to high until they really sizzle, then back to medium. Cook until very brown, turning once. Add more oil to skillets as needed. Lift latkes out of skillet onto brown paper grocery bags to drain. If the potato mixture gets watery while you’re frying, stir in a little more matzo meal. The secret, of course, is the lemon, which keeps potatoes from graying while cutting the greasy afterbite. The frying can be tricky, I admit; worst scenario, you burn a few. Eat them immediately. Keep latkes warm in the oven until all are made. Sour cream and plain applesauce may be traditional condiments but I love salsa — or tart cranberry-ginger applesauce, homemade of course. Stir a spoonful of horseradish into the sour cream. For practical purposes, most cooks make a batch ahead and reheat. Sorry . . . reheated latkes don’t pack the same punch. If this sounds like hot, messy work, it is. But your name will be blessed by generations of progeny who will blacken the eye of persons claiming their Bubbie’s latkes are better than yours. They aren’t. Only mine are. OH Deborah Salomon is a contributor to O.Henry and PineStraw. She may be reached at

December 2012

O.Henry 23

Gate City Icons

The Perfect Christmas Dinner Gate City cooking maven Mary James Lawrence takes us in hand

By DaviD C. Bailey

PhotograPhs by sam Froelich


f you’re still recovering from having prepared turkey, dressing, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie for Thanksgiving, Mary James Lawrence wants you to know that “Christmas doesn’t have to be hard.” “I always want everything to be easy for people,” she says, whisking up a second batch of popovers as her oven timer beeps. With an infectious smile on her face and a brightly colored mitt in her hand, she whips six nut-brown popovers out of her oven, each sporting a sort of twisted turret on top. “You can make these in five minutes and they’re simply stunning.” They’re also beyond good, their light, buttery and crunchy-thin crust conveying the very essence of fresh baked bread as they dissolve in your mouth. “I don’t want people to think, oh my gosh, I’ve got to cook another big meal, so I try to find recipes that are versatile and can be done ahead of time,” says Lawrence, whose TV segments on WFMY-TV and cooking classes at Roosters Gourmet Market have emboldened several generations of Greensboro cooks to don aprons and create dishes that are easy, impressive and delicious. “Sometimes people try to put a twist on things during the holidays just to make them different,” she says. “I say stick with the old favorites. You don’t want to reinvent the wheel at Christmastime.” Start with a standing rib roast as your centerpiece, she suggests. A stand-

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

ing rib roast is basically a roast that comes from the same choice rib section of beef that gives us rib-eye steaks. “I know standing rib roasts can be expensive,” Lawrence says, “but, after all, it’s Christmas and it’s your time or your money. I frankly cannot think of a centerpiece this showy that’s so easy to cook.” “And it makes your house smell good all day long.” Lawrence gets her roast going in the morning, cooking it for an hour. “Turn the oven off and put a big sign on the oven that says, ‘Do not open under any circumstances no matter how good it smells.’ An hour or so before you eat, turn it back on for 40 minutes, and it will come out medium rare every time.” It is the bones of the roast that are doing the cooking even when the oven is turned off. For one of your vegetables, Lawrence recommends stir-frying easy-to-prepare and tasty Swiss chard, which will be readily available from the farmers market. “And you simply must have potatoes to keep the men happy,” she says. She suggests potatoes gratin, combining sweet potatoes and russets. Her version, which can be prepared ahead of time, is a classic French rendition featuring the duo of potatoes, Parmesan, heavy cream, butter and little else. Gratin refers to the crisply baked top. Add popovers, which can also be prepared ahead of time or can even be frozen and then warmed up at the last minute, and your feast is complete. Look for Lawrence’s suggested variations at the end of each recipe. “My number one goal is to give someone the basic information they need so they can create something on their own,” she says. “Make it yours, but also December 2012

O.Henry 25

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Gate City Icons

Wishing to all a holiday season filled with peace, love and joy...

make it simple.” “This is a time to enjoy your family.” For more recipes, including how to prepare your own spectacular Bûche de Noël, see SIMPLY DELICIOUS STANDING RIB ROAST 1 standing rib roast, with at least two ribs or more Fennel-Coriander Rub: ¾1/2 cup fennel seeds 2 tablespoons coriander seeds 1 tablespoon white peppercorns 1 tablespoon kosher salt In a dry 10-inch skillet, toast seeds and peppercorns until lightly browned and fragrant. Remove and allow to cool. Once cool, add salt and grind to a powder. Store in glass jar. You will have extra. Leave meat out of the refrigerator for two hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place in shallow roasting pan, rib side down, fat side up. Coat the fat side with 2–3 tablespoons of the rub. Place in preheated oven for one hour. After you turn the oven off, DO NOT OPEN THE DOOR! I usually do this around 11 in the morning when I’m cooking the roast for supper. At any rate, allow the roast to “rest” for at least three hours before the second cooking. About an hour before serving time, turn oven on again to 375 and cook for 40 minutes for rare to medium, or 50 minutes for medium. Let the meat rest for 10–15 minutes before removing ribs and carving. Roast is medium rare every time. Allow one rib for every two to three persons. A two-rib roast, for instance, will serve four meat-lovers or six people who always eat their vegetables. A three-rib roast will serve approximately seven to nine. Variation: My rub can be replaced with a rub of your choice. Or skip the rub and just season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

...and continued thanks for making The Right Move with

DUO OF GARLIC-HORSERADISH POTATOES 2 cups heavy cream 2 large cloves of garlic, minced 2 tablespoons prepared horseradish 1 1/2¾ teaspoons salt 2 ¾1/2 pounds russet potatoes, peeled 1 pound sweet potatoes, peeled Freshly ground black pepper to taste ¾1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan 3 tablespoons butter The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 27

Happy Holidays From tHe tr&m team

Marti, Katie, Alec, Charlotte, Frank, Jacalyn, Jill, Jim, Kathy, Patty, Stacey, Tom



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Gate City Icons In a small saucepan, combine cream, salt and minced garlic (using a garlic press is fine). Bring to a simmer, turn off heat. Add horseradish. Allow to steep while preparing potatoes. Generously butter a 9-inch by 13-inch ovenproof casserole dish. Set aside. Slice potatoes into 1/8-inch slices (a mandoline works well for this). Layer into prepared dish, alternating russet and sweet potatoes and ending with russet potatoes. Season between layers with freshly ground black pepper. Add infused cream making sure that it works its way to the bottom of the dish. Top with freshly grated Parmesan. Dot with butter. Bake in preheated 400-degree oven for 45 minutes to one hour. Potatoes should be thickened, brown and bubbly throughout. Tip: Only one oven? Then this dish can be done a day or two before. Reheat covered during the final cooking of the roast.

a good thing. Divide batter among chosen tins. Bake in the lower part of your preheated oven for ten minutes. Reduce heat to 375 and continue to bake for thirty minutes. Remove and quickly cut a slit about 1/2½-inch long on top of each popover and bake 8-10 more minutes. Popovers should be a deep golden brown. Remove from tins. Variations: Leave out black pepper or add 1/3 cup of fresh grated Parmesan or comté cheese. Add herbs such as rosemary or thyme. Popovers, which can be done ahead of time and frozen (reheat at 350–400 degrees until good and hot!), are incredibly versatile‑ — as a side with grilled and roasted meats, as an hors d’oeuvre with a glass of wine, or break them open and ladle on creamed chicken and vegetables or beef stew made from your leftovers.” OH

CLASSIC BLACK PEPPER POPOVERS 2 large eggs, room temperature 3/4¾ cup milk, room temperature 1/4¼ cup water 1 tablespoon butter, melted 1 cup, minus 2 tablespoons, flour 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper 1/2½ teaspoon salt Preheat oven to 400. Generously butter six 2/3-cup popover tins (for the true popover shape) or nine 1/2½-cup muffin tins. Measure flour, salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk to combine and set aside. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and water. Add melted butter in a stream, whisking. Do not overbeat. A little lumpiness is

please call today for appointment 4004 spring garden st suite e greensboro, nc 27407 336.855.0903 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 29

Pick up your copy of

at Greensboro & High Point Harris Teeter Stores and Whole Foods Market, (3202 West Friendly Avenue)

and from our blue boxes at the following distribution points: Café Europa/Cultural Arts Cent. — 200 N. Davie St. Junior League Bargain Box — Friendly & Elm Natty Greene’s — 345 S. Elm St. Across from the Carolina Theatre — 315 S. Greene St. Triad Stage — 232 S. Elm St. Across from Civil Rights Museum — 134 S. Elm St. Smith Street Diner — 438 Battleground Ave. Corner of Elm & Bellemeade UPS/FED EX — 102 N. Elm St. Guilford County Courthouse — 201 S. Eugene St. Old Town Draught House —1205 Spring Garden St. Fish Bones — 2119 Walker Ave. J’s Deli — 4925 W. Market St. NC Farmers Market (Colfax) — 2914 Sandy Ridge Rd. Lox Stock & Bagel — 2439 Battleground Ave. Mark Holder Jeweller — 211 State St. Sister’s Jewelry — 330 Tate St. US Post Office — 4615 High Point Rd. Greensboro College Admin. Office — 815 W. Market St.

For a complete list of distribution points, please visit our website at and click on the “Where’s O.Henry” tab. 30 O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Imperial Stout


So what do chocolate, sex and Catherine the Great really have in common?

By David C. Bailey

Photographs by Sam Froelich


e are going to make some fun stuff here,” proclaims David Gonzalez, the new pub brewer at Foothills Brewpub in Winston-Salem — which is saying something for a brewery that introduced Sexual Chocolate to the world. More about Gonzalez and his plans to take Foothills’ pub to new heights later, but first things first: What on earth is Sexual Chocolate, which will be available around February 1, just in time for Valentine’s Day? (Hint, hint.) Sexual Chocolate is Foothills’ version of Russian imperial stout, first brewed in London for the court of Russia’s Catherine the Great. And Foothills’ version has loads of chocolate in it — 3/4 pound per barrel. So much for the chocolate part. How about the sex, you’re wanting to know. Just how stimulating is Sexual Chocolate? That depends on whether you’re more like the Hop Head or his wife. Anne’s a chocolate lover and the idea of drinking beer is fine . . . on a hot day . . . when she’s dying of thirst . . . when everyone else is drinking beer . . . and we’ve run out of Cokes. Me? My fantasies involve IPA, ESB, even PBR. Talk about wet dreams! So what should a hopelessly hop-inhibited individual like Anne do when confronted with this chocolate bomb? Order a sample, not a pint. Why? To begin with, it’s blacker than coffee — and loaded with malt and hops, as in thick and bitter. And after being aged for months, it tastes way more like an uber-stout than chocolate milk. And, oh yeah, it’s nearly 10 percent alcohol, compared to 4.2 percent Bud Light. In other words, Russian imperial stout is a beer drinker’s beer.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro calls it “a velvety smooth beer that seamlessly blends together cocoa, a touch of smokiness, roasted coffee beans and bitter espresso.” Sigh. Slurp. Drool. One thing’s for sure, though: Sexual Chocolate has given Foothills a national rep. CNN even did a segment a few years ago about how people drive from other states to stand in line for hours to get it. Because of that — and because it makes some of the hoppiest and best beers on the East Coast — Foothills Brewing has grown in just a few years from a small niche player to a multi-brand, four-state (North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia) craft brewer with a national reputation. Last year, eight-year-old Foothills opened a 50,000-square-foot production facility, quadrupling its annual capacity to 25,000 barrels (775,000 gallons). It also bought the equipment and brands of Mooresville-based Carolina Beer & Beverages, adding the popular Carolina Blonde to its cadre of beers along with the respected line of Cottonwood Ales. Veteran brewmaster and co-owner Jamie Bartholomaus, however, insists Foothills will continue to do what he vowed it would do years ago: “Celebrate the diversity of beer and strive to make each beer unique and different. The last thing we want is for customers to think that our beer tastes like everyone else’s.” Triad beer drinkers aren’t likely to have any such thoughts as long as Bartholomaus keeps brewing beer personally and hires veteran brewers like Gonzalez. “We want this to become THE brewpub for the Southeast and the East Coast,” Gonzalez says. In hiring Gonzalez, Bartholomaus was looking for someone to take the brewpub out of the foothills and up to the next level: “Dave is a respected December 2012

O.Henry 31


brewer who is consistent, knows how to work with customers and has a professional demeanor,” Bartholomaus says. Gonzalez says he wants to see the pub become Foothills’ showcase. Customers, he says, can look forward to more pub events, such as tapping parties, beer-pairing dinners, beer schools and a beer engine so they can offer cask ales. Best of all, beer lovers can anticipate more choices and some really innovative batches. Draft offerings have already expanded from 10 to 15. “Beer geeks and beer nerds want something off-the-wall,” Gonzalez says, “something they haven’t tried, something that’s aggressively hoppy or super alcoholic or out there. We tend to do that more than other breweries.” That’s because having a production facility will free the brewpub up for experimentation. “We designed the brewpub to become our R&D facilty,” Gonzalez says. “We’ll do seasonal one-offs, like Jade IPA, and if they sell extremely well, we’ll do them again.” Or maybe even bottle them. Gonzalez is also thinking about some beers that take a lot of time and effort to make — a doppelbock or a barley wine, for instance. “They’re hard to make, they’re very labor intensive, and they take longer,” he says. “But we have the capacity now and the tank space to let a beer sit a couple of months.” Foothills’ Hoppyum IPA, available year around, has become a favorite all over the state. For instance, in the Raleigh-Durham area, where Foothills has more taps than any other city, 100 of the 300-plus taps run with Hoppyum, a 6 percent American-style IPA with pungent, citrusy and pricey Simcoe

32 O.Henry

December 2012

hops. Foothills self-distributes its beer, devoting eight trucks and ten employees to making sure its beer is fresh and its lines and taps clean. Beer-loving Asheville has more than 100 Foothills’ taps, Charlotte, 75, with 50 in Boone, Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Fifty in Winston? “With us having the bar here and the restaurant, a lot of the accounts see us as competition,” Gonzalez explains. “’Why would we have you on tap?’ they say.” Gonzalez came to Winston from Charlotte’s Rock Bottom, a unit operated by Craftworks Restaurants & Breweries, the nation’s leading operator of brewpubs. After eleven years at Rock Bottom, most of them as head brewer, Gonzalez says, “They basically decided it was time for me to move on. It was the saddest and happiest day of my life.” With a wife and four kids, “I sat there and said, ‘What am I going to do?’” That lasted five seconds, he says, “and total relief came up, telling me I didn’t have to work for a corporate company any more.” Within five minutes after the word got out, Gonzalez says, “Jamie was calling” to see if he was interested in a job. Gonzalez has a track record of sort of fortuitously stumbling into jobs in the brewing business, though his upbringing and education suggest he might have followed another path. Gonzalez’s father was a Puerto Rican immigrant who worked as a banker and IRS tax examiner. His mother taught special education. He grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Northport, on Long Island. With a degree in American history from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, he became a teacher in 1995. “I did everything ac-

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December 2012

O.Henry 33

HopHead cording to plan, very regimented, until I sat in college graduation and started thinking I can do whatever I want.” The summer before he started teaching, he saw a help-wanted sign in the window of a beer distributor. And though he didn’t see himself as much of a beer drinker, he applied for, and got the job. “We had hundreds of beers on the wall, and I’d go home every day with two or three. That really opened me up to craft beers,” he says. Gonzalez kept his beer job after he started teaching. His next job came while waiting in line to get one of the many cups of coffee he drank to fuel his two shifts of work. The person behind him in line noticed Gonzalez was wearing a sweatshirt from James Bay Brewing Company, of which it just so happened he was brewer and owner. The two instantly fell into some serious beer talk and Gonzalez was soon working a third job, helping brew beer. “That’s when I really got hooked,” he says. His boss persuaded him to go brewing school, Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago. Three years later, while vacationing in Maine, his mom dropped in on a brewery to say “Hi” to one of the guys Gonzalez had worked with at James Bay — and that led to a job for Gonzalez in Maine at Belfast Bay Brewing Company. About a year later, he interviewed for the job of assistant brewer at Carolina Beer & Beverage in Charlotte but couldn’t get a definite answer. “I walked into Rock Bottom and got hired on the spot,” he says. Like Gonzalez, Bartholomaus got into brewing in an oblique fashion. Graduating from the University of Georgia with a degree in anthropology and a minor in apartment-brewing, he volunteered in John Gayer’s now defunct Blind Man Ales. “That is where I learned to brew on a big system,” Bartholomaus says. Meanwhile, he was working as a field archeologist on Indian sites across the Southeast. In 1996, he got a job brewing a couple

times a week at Vista Brewing in Columbia, South Carolina, and from there went to Olde Hickory in Hickory for five years. After working at Blue Ridge Brewing in Greenville, South Carolina, he helped found Foothills on St. Patrick’s Day in 2005. Why did he leave archeology for brewing? “Archeology is a kind of gypsy lifestyle,” he once told a beer journalist. “You are out in the woods digging holes by yourself. Brewing is great because you get to produce a product and then watch people enjoy it.” Customers certainly enjoyed the products Gonzalez created at Rock Bottom — a Bourbon stout called The Yeti; a spiced pumpkin ale, “which I was really proud of. My boss hated pumpkin ales”; a Belgian witbier; a dunkelweizen; and The Mexican Devil, a pilsner kicked up a notch with jalapeños soaked in tequila. But those were the rare instances in which corporate would let him brew using his own recipes: “They called me a firecracker.” It was not that he questioned the chain of command, he says: “You sign my paycheck, I’ll do whatever you want me to do, but I’m going to question something if I think there’s a better way for it to be done.” In December, beer lovers can look for Frostbite, a black IPA. An American stout will also be on tap, as well as an India brown ale — “One hop short of an IPA,” he says. “We’re an East Coast North Carolina brewery that makes beer with a West Coast flair, meaning hoppy beers. We love hops. We make as many IPAs as we can. We have six on tap now.” And more to come, the hoppier, the better. Foothills’ is a great place to be a firecracker, Gonzalez says. “We love to push the boundaries, and we’re unbelievably passionate about what we do.” And then adds, “Our owner is a brewer,” as if that explained it all. And in many ways, it does. OH

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December 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Greensboro Children’s Museum Greensboro Historical Museum

MAGAZINE The Art & Soul of Greensboro

36 O.Henry

December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Serial Eater

Moveable Feasts Love ’em or hate ’em, mobility and versatility are the hallmarks of gourmet food trucks

By David C. Bailey

Photographs by Sam Froelich


t’s a dark and stormy morning, and The Great Escape is parked at Commerce Place on the edge of downtown Greensboro. In the second week of legalized food trucks in the center city, Greensboro’s government is wringing its hands over whether they’ll devastate the economic viability of nearby restaurants and spawn an epidemic of food poisonings. At ten minutes before noon, John Bohlen takes an order for a pimento-cheese-and-braised-pork crepe while rain is hammering the steel roof only inches above his checkety chef’s cap. As he squiggles a zigzag of filipino banana sauce across the top of the crepe, the generator gives an ominous cough, and the lights go out. Almost cheek-to-jowl with the lanky Bohlen in the narrow confines of the converted Lance delivery truck, big-boned Sam Shumaker is unfazed by the loss of electrical power. He’s firing an order of five-spice chicken noodles at an eight-top, industrial gas range, adding red cabbage, mungbean sprouts and enough ginger and garlic to infuse a halo around the truck. It’s hard to imagine that only a year and a half ago, Shumaker, Bohlen and Dallas Baker all had landed jobs at one of the city’s most chic and upscale eateries, Nico’s Restaurant and Bar. But earlier this year, the three of them walked away from Nico’s to strike out on their own, leaving over differences — philosophical, culinary and financial. But right now, even without electrical power, Shumaker is smiling as if he’d just won the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

lottery: “I hate to say it, but it’s frigging raining outside; it’s 50 degrees; and we’re doing more business than the average downtown lunch restaurant.” Bohlen is about to give a customer her food for free because they can’t get the cash register open when Baker restores power while fiddling randomly with the battery terminals. So why are three classically trained chefs — one a molecular biologist, another a rock-star wanna-be and the third a bass guitarist in a rock band — selling $4 crepes and $6–8 stir fries from what some derogatively call a roach coach? “I didn’t have $300,000 to open a bricks-and-mortar restaurant,” Shumaker says. Notes Baker, “It seemed like a way we could afford to operate our own business.” And then Bohlen adds, “If I cook for a living, I want it to be something I believe in.” “These three are taking the idea of a food truck up to a whole new level,” comments Mitchell Nicks, whose cooking at the former Muse garnered rave reviews — and under whom both Baker and Bohlen apprenticed at his innovative Pastiche restaurant. “It’s not just hot dogs and pre-made burgers anymore. They’re showing that you can get really great food at any locale if someone has the passion to do it.” Maybe downtown diners were drawn by food-truck fare they saw on the food channels — sizzling fish tacos or savory Korean bulgogi barbecue. Or maybe they were sick and tired of the same old “gourmet” hamburgers, blackened-chicken sandwiches and Caesar salads December 2012

O.Henry 37

Opus 2012-2013

Brought to you, FREE of charge!

by The Music Center, City Arts of the Greensboro Parks & Recreation Department For details about the concert programs, please visit our website at • 336-373-2549 •


GROUP Greensboro Percussion Ensemble Mike Lasley, Conductor

Greensboro Tarheel Chorus Greg Zinke, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Philharmonia of Greensboro Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor New, unwrapped toys are being collected for FOX8 Gifts for Kids.

Greensboro Oratorio Singers Jay O. Lambeth, Conductor

Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors New, unwrapped toys are being collected for FOX8 Gifts for Kids.

Philharmonia of Greensboro, Pillow Pops Concert Dancers from the Dance Project: the School at City Arts

Greensboro Big Band, Sweet Sounds Mike Day, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Saturday, October 13, 2012

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Friday, November 2, 2012

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, November 3, 2012

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, November 17, 2012

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Thursday, December 6, 2012

7 PM

War Memorial Auditorium 1921 West Lee Street

Saturday, December 15, 2012

7:30 PM

First Presbyterian Church 617 North Elm Street

Sunday, February 3, 2013

3 PM

Bur-Mil Clubhouse 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road

Thursday, February 14, 2013

6:30 PM

Bur-Mil Clubhouse 5834 Bur-Mil Club Road

Saturday, March 9, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Sunday, April 7, 2013

2 PM

Saturday, April 13, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Saturday, April 20, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Saturday, May 4, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

7:30 PM

Greensboro Cultural Center, Room 100 200 North Davie Street

Friday, May 10, 2013

7:30 PM

Dana Auditorium, Guilford College 5800 West Friendly Avenue

Friday, May 17, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Saturday, May 18, 2013

7:30 PM

Christ United Methodist Church 410 North Holden Road

Stepping Tones The Music Center will present an afternoon of music in the beautiful Greensboro Arboretum. Drop by anytime during 2-4 pm to hear talented ensembles from The Music Center.

Philharmonia of Greensboro Triad Pride Men’s Chorus Woodson E. Faulkner III, Conductor

Choral Society of Greensboro Jon Brotherton, Conductor

Greensboro Percussion Ensembles Mike Lasley, Conductor

Greensboro Concert Band Evan Feldman, Conductor

Greensboro Youth Brass Ensemble Greensboro Youth Chorus Ann Doyle and Nana Wolfe-Hill, Conductors

Greensboro Arboretum 401 Ashland Drive

Serial Eater that dominate downtown lunch offerings. Whatever the reason, they mobbed Commerce Place, standing in lines more than 20 deep on sunny days during the city’s two-month foodtruck pilot program that ended in November. Despite the moans and groans of restaurateurs about the here-today-gone-tomorrow nature of food trucks and how they’re able to skip around town and skim off the cream, in early November before the trial run was over, the city council approved their operating downtown as long as they’re on private property. Little wonder. In a major local show of support, 1,500 people RSVPed to a Facebook invitation to September’s Food Truck Festival at the corner of Spring Garden and Chapman. Thousands attended. “If you’re worried about competition, put out better food,” caterer Jason Chase says while waiting in line at Chapel Hillbased Baguettaboutit. “If you’re not as good as they are, it’s your fault, not theirs,” Nicks says, arguing that a rising tide lifts all boats. “They’re buoying the whole standard up and it’s raising people’s expectations.” For example, Baguettaboutit elevates the one-handed concept of eating into a culinary art form by hollowing out freshly baked, Europeanstyle baguettes and stuffing them with, for instance, Italian sausages from Greensboro’s Giacomo’s, slathered with roasted red-pepper sauce — for $6. Across the street, Hickory Tree B-B-Q serves popcorn chicken liver for $4 and turkey hot dogs for $2. Also there providing fish tacos were trucks from Taqueria el Azteca and 1618 Wine Bar. Though there were some complaints about the long lines and waits at the food-truck festival, The Great Escape (a reference to their leaving behind working for others) fills orders as quickly as any burger joint in town. And their ingredients are top-notch — Nova Scotia salmon

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 39

Serial Eater for the crepe with boursin-and-caper spread, spiked with pricey, aged Italian balsamic vinegar. “It’s $36 a bottle,” Shumaker says. “We’re using the best products we can get our hands on.” Although all three chefs attended Grimsley High School, their paths to being as happy as clams while packed like sardines in a small step van couldn’t have been more varied — one of them going into the culinary arts after a detour into molecular biology, another giving up the kitchen awhile for home construction and the third coming back to cooking after drifting around the country. Baker is the molecular biologist — with a degree from the University of Wilmington to prove it. After spending hours doing lab work, one day Baker says he realized, “I wasn’t going to use my degree. I wanted to be an entrepreneur and start my own business.” Having fallen in love with food working as a teenager at Kabuto’s in Forum VI and Li’l Dino’s Pizza on Tate Street, he went back to what was familiar, slinging hash — or in his case, duck breast graced with truffled polenta and lingonberries. Baker got his chops apprenticing in the Greensboro City Club under Nicks, who now runs Muse Catering. Bohlen tried hanging wallboard for a while after working for Nicks (and with Baker) at Pastiche and cooking at Southern Lights and 223 South Elm

Street: “I didn’t know how much I would miss cooking until I was painting walls white eight hours a day,” he says. “The rush and excitement of doing something so orchestrated is fulfilling.” And maddening at the same time: “It will tear you apart if you don’t love it,” he says. His title? Co-chef and entertainment director — a reference to his night job as bass guitarist with a touring rock band called The Leeves. Meanwhile, Shumaker was checking out the music scene in Boulder, Colorado. (“I really wanted to be a rock star but I didn’t have the chops.”) After he realized that wasn’t likely, nor was he going to fulfill his other dream of operating a rock ’n’ roll radio station, he moved to the beach to get his culinary degree from Cape Fear Community College. When his grandfather passed away, he came back to Greensboro and worked as a “staffing grunt.” Poking fun at Baker, Shumaker observes that “Dallas got his degree in biology and came back to Greensboro and started working in a kitchen. I got my culinary degree and came back and got a job in an office.” In October of 2006, Baker got on at one of Greensboro’s hottest boites, 1618 Seafood Grille. There under the tutelage of George Neal, he worked his way up from salads to pastry chef to the grill to sauté chef. “I learned an enormous amount and I loved it more


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December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 41

Serial Eater

than I hated it,” he says. By that point, all three of them were at the top of their game, veteran chefs ready to make their great escape and run their own restaurant — if only they could afford it. At that point, Shumaker says an “angel investor” called him and asked if he’d be interested in helping to start up Nico’s. Baker and Shumaker signed on as executive chefs and brought Bohlen on to help them. “At Nico’s we realized how well we worked together and communicated with each other,” Baker says. But no amount of formal education or kitchen experience could have prepared the trio for the trials of entrepreneurship and the marketing challenges of having a restaurant that switches locations as many as a dozen times a week. Their financing? “Every bit of money we’ve saved in our entire lives,” says Shumaker, who with Baker paid cash for the truck. “We get the joy of telling people we don’t owe a thing because we knew for years this is exactly what we wanted to do.” A new truck was out of the question. Used trucks ran from $30,000–90,000. They were eyeing a converted Mercedes-Benz bus when JoeQ in Lenoir, after only five months of selling barbecue on the road, found a permanent location for his restaurant. The price for the 1995 Chevy step van? Fifty grand. “It had passed inspection in Lenoir, so we thought we could drive it down here and it would pass.” Not so. More than $20,000 worth of upfits later, their truck was good to go, but what to serve? Experimenting with crepes, which are a hot trend right now, they realized, “You can do anything with them,” Shumaker says. “When I put barbecue and slaw on crepes, it was amazing.” And crepes lend themselves to popular vegetarian offerings — Nutella and bananas, or pumpkin cream with oatmeal-walnut-and-ginger crumb, or fig and camembert. “Are we offending some French purist?” Shumaker asks. “Hell yes.” Noodles were a

natural because of their popularity and versatility. The menu changes based on the other trucks present. “We adapt to what is around us,” Shumaker says. “We took jerk chicken with mango chutney off today because Taste of Creole is here and they do spicy food. It’s called being friendly with the other food truck people.” Marketing via Facebook, Twitter and other social networks is relentless and challenging, but it’s also something that’s become second nature to Bohlen because of his band. The real challenge is balancing food costs, gas and maintenance for the truck and the expense of using a commissary (Undercurrent) to prepare the meat, stock and batter. Business courses that Baker took in college help with finances. They’ve served as many at 200 plates a day. Their break-even point is well under 100 — an incredible number, Nicks says: “There are restaurants that can do it, but what you will find is one guy in the back who owns the place, working morning noon and night, seven days a week.” “It only takes three of us,” Baker says. “That cuts out the overhead. No servers, with three chefs interacting directly with their clientele.” Says Nicks, “When you’ve got three people who enjoy working together, the burnout level drops instantly.” By 12:30 the butt-bumping dance that the three guys perform back and forth along the steam tables, sizzling pans, sharp knives, prep counters, brimming sinks and swinging cabinet doors is as practiced as any military maneuver. What comes out on the plate, though, is art, says wanna-berock-star Shumaker: “Yes, what we’re doing is art, expressing yourself artistically — and without having to strap on a guitar.” OH David Bailey is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine.

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December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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46 O.Henry

December 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Street Level

O.Henry’s Last Christmas Clever endings were just the beginning for the boy eager to leave Greensboro in his past

By Jim Schlosser


he Greensboro Patriot weekly newspaper overlooked the obvious that Christmas, 1881. Working catty-cornered across from the Patriot office, at South Elm and Sycamore (what’s now February One Place), was a 19-year-old youth destined to become one of the world’s great short story writers, William Sydney Porter. He had yet to concoct the pen name under which he would become renowned, O.Henry. Porter spent that Christmas — his last in Greensboro — as a newly registered pharmacist and odd-job doer in his uncle Clark Porter’s drugstore. It stood in the 100 block of South Elm Street. A plaque commemorating O.Henry is mounted on one side of the storefront. During the ’81 Yule season, the Patriot published a short story by a Baltimore writer. The question is why reach to Baltimore when Will Porter was so close by? His creativity was known throughout the city of 3,000 people. He was a talented artist, who, with astonishing accuracy, sketched the characters who frequented the drugstore. He was also known as an excellent storyteller. Until the age of 14, he attended a school run by his aunt, Lena Porter. One of the routine exercises would be to have a student in the front row start a story. The student next to him would add to it and so on from seat to seat until the narrative finally reached the last seat, occupied by Porter. “The most difficult as well as the important role in this narrative game fell to the person who halted the wandering of the tale by an interesting and satisfactory conclusion,” wrote Ethel Arnett, in a brief biographical sketch of O.Henry in 1973. “Will Porter found his keenest delight in bringing the varied segments of the story to a dramatic ending.” Arnett believed it was this exercise that influenced Porter’s writing style, with his trademark clever endings. Porter regularly regaled customers at the drugstore with yarns about Greensboro goings-on. He was also well-read. “I did more reading between my thirteenth and ninetieth years than I have done in all the years since,” Porter once said, according to Arnett. He and buddies used to gather around a pond near downtown and make up stories based on what they had been reading. “Will’s were always the best,” writes David Stuart in a 1990 biography of O.Henry. Porter once completed the Mystery of Edwin Drood, an unfinished story by Charles Dickens. There are no known examples of stories Porter wrote during his Greensboro years. But he did put words to paper. Biographer Stuart writes that Porter was indeed writing but discarded “almost immediately” the finished product. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

With all these qualities so obvious, it would have just been a matter of the Patriot asking Porter to write a Christmas story. The New York World years later requested a story every week from him. The results include “The Gift of the Magi” in 1905, a Yule story second only to Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in international popularity. Porter could have found a wonderful story that December tagging along with a man who wandered into the Patriot office. The man was ahead of his times. He believed tobacco was dreadful for the health. He wanted to meet and convince every tobacco farmer in Guilford County of the need to stop growing tobacco. Porter also could have created a tale based on a man that Christmas season who stabbed himself in the neck and chest and tried to hang himself, failing each time to end his life. O.Henry the pharmacist probably had to mix up a prescription for the man’s wounds. That Christmas Porter joined others, young and old, roller skating in the late afternoon and evening at a warehouse that was converted to a roller rink. Porter was said to be among the most graceful skaters, just as he was the sharpest shooter at the range set up behind his uncle’s drugstore. Although there is no firm evidence to suggest he had taken up the habit of drinking that would contribute to his early death, Porter likely spent time at the William’s, a billiard, beer and oyster place in the basement of the Central Hotel, at Elm and Market streets, a half block from the drugstore. And there were, of course, girls to date, classmates at Lindsay Street School, where he enrolled after finishing Aunt Lena’s school, or students at the Greensboro Female Academy, now Greensboro College. His last year here he courted Sara Coleman, who nearly 30 years later would reunite with O.Henry and become his wife for the last three years of his life. Yet despite a busy social and work life, O.Henry apparently was itchy for change. The weather that December was dreadful, “rain, rain and more of it and heavy and more of it,” a local clergyman wrote in his diary. It snowed on December 30. Porter said he found work at the drugstore a grind. Some of his friends had already left Greensboro, including his best buddy, Tom Tate. He had gone to Washington to attend Georgetown University. While home for the holidays in 1881, he talked about how happy he was in Washington. Greensboro might not have been the best environment for Porter because his lungs were weak. Soon his family and friends were suggesting he move to Texas. Friends who had once lived in Greensboro had started a ranch there and had invited Porter to come be a ranch hand. He headed for Texas the following spring. There, in 1887, he married Athol Estes. The marriage was a happy one until Estes died in 1898. The two did have a daughter, Margaret, but like her December 2012

O.Henry 47

Street Level

mother and father, she would die young, in 1927. In Texas, Porter blossomed as a writer. He started a magazine, Rolling Stone, and later wrote for the Houston Post. When he went to prison in 1898 after being convicted on flimsy evidence of embezzling from an Austin bank, he wrote stories from his cell. They were published under the pen name O.Henry. Although Porter had used O.Henry a few times in the years before, the fake name became more important to him in prison. As an inmate and later as an ex-con, he feared someone might recognize him if he used his real name. He felt great shame because of his arrest and imprisonment. He didn’t even tell his daughter he was in prison. During that time, he wrote letters to her saying he was traveling the country writing stories. Years later, when famous, he told the same thing to a New York Times reporter after the reporter asked about a gap in his chronology. Released after serving three years, Porter eventually made his way to New York City. There, from 1902 until his death at 47 in 1910, he wrote hundreds of stories for the New York World and other publications. One historian recently opined that O.Henry never wrote about his old hometown out of fear that locals would put two and two together and figure out it was Bill Porter doing the writing — the guy who grew up here, moved to Texas and went to jail. The historian is wrong. O.Henry did write about Greensboro, in a disguised way. It became Elmville in one story. He wrote a story based on an old gristmill on Hamburg Mill Road that became a church, with a giant mill wheel still in place. He sprinkled last names of local people in stories, even those tales he set in New Orleans and Central America. He went to both places while on the lam from the law after being indicted for embezzlement. As absolute proof that O.Henry did indeed write about his hometown, consider the following opening to his story, “The Two Renegades”: “In the Gate City of the South, the Confederate veterans were reuniting . . . ” Where else? The nickname was coined in 1890 by a newspaper editor. Heavy train traffic had made the city a gateway to Dixie. Porter, Athol and baby Margaret visited Greensboro in 1890 and again in 1891. But after that O.Henry never returned, not even for Christmas among relatives and old friends. OH Jim Schlosser is a regular contributing editor of O.Henry magazine.

48 O.Henry

December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 49

Visit Southern Pines Nov. 19 - Dec. 31

Parade of Christmas Trees Decorated Christmas trees light up downtown Broad Street for a festive ambience for the holiday season.

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Hitting Home

Let’s Hear it for Mama Claus The real power behind the suit

By Dale niXon


believe in the statement “Behind every great man is a great woman.” And that prompts me to say, “Let’s hear it for Mrs. Santa Claus.” I, for one, think it’s time we applaud the woman behind the man who makes Christmas so special. Why do you think Santa is so jolly? Happy wife; happy life. Who do you think feeds and waters the reindeer? Who do you think takes them to the vet for their regular checkups and shots? Who do you suppose shines Rudolph’s nose so bright? And we all know who hand-washes the red-and-white Santa suit so the color doesn’t fade and bleed. Then, after Christmas, who do you think uses a Clorox Bleach Pen to scrub the soot from Santa’s white, fur-trimmed suit after his slides down the chimneys? Mrs. Santa Claus, of course. Who puts up Santa’s saw and drill after he uses them to make toys? Who sweeps the shavings from the floor? Who do you think prepared all the meals to get Santa to the size he is today? And just how many dishes and pots and pans did she have to wash before and after the preparation of these meals? Who do you think polishes Santa’s boots and belt buckles until his reflection is mirrored in them? When the sleigh bells lose their jingle, who takes them to the repair shop to restore the sound? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mrs. Santa Claus, clear and simple. Who do you suppose packs the toys for Santa’s ride? Mrs. Santa Claus. (Have you ever known a man to pack for himself?) And all of those elves! Who do you think they go to with their problems and concerns? Who feeds and clothes them? Who does their laundry? And who boosts their confidence every day, telling them that it is OK to be short — excuse me, height challenged? And that they are just as important as anyone else in the Claus Corporation? Mrs. Santa Claus. Mama Claus, as they probably call her. Who do you think handles all of the correspondence from the children and keeps up with the lists of toys for the elves to make? I am also sure that Mrs. Santa Claus is the one who checks the lists twice and keeps the address book up-to-date. Who do you think has to take care of Santa when he gets the sniffles after riding in an open sleigh all night in the dead of winter? Who fixes the warm toddies to soothe his sore throat? And, last but not least, who do you think had to give up warm climates and sandy beaches for the chill and snow of the North Pole? Do you see what I mean? The woman needs a pat on the back, a handshake, a hand-pump, a thumps-up sign or a cheer. So, let’s hear it for Mrs. Santa Claus — a great woman behind a great man. Merry Christmas. OH Columnist Dale Nixon may be contacted at December 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

The Sporting Life

The Road Home An adventure in an Airstream is unforgettable, but home is where the heart and friendships lie

By Tom BryanT


wenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the things you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. — Mark Twain Several years before I retired from my day job, my bride, Linda, and I decided that when I did leave the work force and had more discretionary time and hopefully financial reserves, we would hit the road and explore this great country of ours. My grandfather had owned a couple of small Airstream travel trailers that he would randomly park at some out-of-the-way sporting area and stay for weeks of fishing, hunting and exploring. I was lucky as a youngster to be able to visit him from time to time in those remote parts of the country; and at that young age, the desire to see what was over the next hill became foremost in my mind. I read constantly. Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, Lewis and Clark, and the great mountain men, Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett, became my heroes. I would often dream of them and of exciting adventures in faraway places such as the great Mississippi River and the wild tundra of the Yukon Territory and Alaska. Sometimes dreams do come true; and in the fall of 2006, I took off my official sales hat as advertising director of The Pilot newspaper and put on my favorite Foscoe Fishing Co. cap and looked toward the West.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

We purchased a small 19-foot Bambi Airstream travel trailer and a Toyota FJ Cruiser tow vehicle; and in the summer of 2007, we pointed our little caravan toward Alaska. It was the trip of a lifetime; and after two months and 11,034 miles, we returned to what we now call home base, Southern Pines, ready to rest, re-supply and hit the adventure trail again. We’ve also enjoyed trips to the Grand Canyon and parts of Florida, but since that first epic camp across our country and Canada, we have determined that long Airstream trips are fun but not always practical, considering the price of gas nowadays. So we decided to find places closer to home where we could still enjoy the camping experience in the little ’Stream, as we’ve started calling her, and not break the bank buying petrol. Ironically, the first state park we visited, Huntington Beach State Park in South Carolina, has become what we jokingly refer to as the site of our beach house. Of course, we tow our house behind us and have a different location in the park every visit, but last spring, summer and fall, we stayed at Huntington just about one week out of every month. And the beauty of this is when we head back home, we bring our house with us, out of the reach of harm and hurricanes. Located just below Murrell’s Inlet and right across from Brookgreen Gardens, the park is not only our favorite, but that of a lot of other campers as well. During the summer season, camping sites can be scarce as visitors make reservations well in advance. The park is over 2,500 acres and has three miles of pristine beach with no buildings on it whatsoever. This December 2012

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The Sporting Life stretch of natural coastline has been recognized as one of the finest in South Carolina. There is also a seawater marsh area and a fresh water lagoon, resting areas to hundreds of waterfowl and even a few alligators. Live oaks and myrtle bushes remind us how life used to be in the Low Country in the early days before development and so-called “progress” reared their ugly heads. Another big plus for Huntington Beach is its location. If a lot of restaurants, shopping and glitter appeals to you, Myrtle Beach is just twenty miles to the north. To the south, less than twenty miles, is Georgetown — South Carolina’s third oldest port city and a more laid-back type of town that Linda and I prefer to visit. The small antebellum village reminds me a great deal of Beaufort, South Carolina, and exudes the history of the Southern grander time that Margaret Mitchell captured so vividly in her epic novel, Gone With the Wind. During our last visit and before we decided to park our beach house for the winter months, we took in the Wooden Boat Show in Georgetown. The event is perfect for the locale. With five rivers dumping into Winyah Bay offering hundreds of miles of salt marshes, freshwater lagoons and cypress swamps, what could be more apropos than a big gathering of craftsmen dedicated to the art of building wooden boats? The mid-October day was perfect for the occasion with a Carolina blue sky and mild breezes wafting down Broad Street, Georgetown’s main thoroughfare and the site where numerous wooden boats were displayed from sidewalk to sidewalk. Much larger ones were docked on Sampit River right off Broad. Planning to make a full day of it, we arrived early, parked on Queen Street and began taking in the sights. The boats were unbelievable, from lapstrake canoes to cypress strip runabouts. Broad Street was wall to wall with boats that would qualify more as works of art than utilitarian modes of water transportation. After a morning of talking to the locals and getting the scoop on the boats, Linda and I decided to head to Ye Old Fish House, better known as the Big Tuna, for lunch. We got there just before the crowd and were able to get a table overlooking the harbor. Our waitress served us our favorite of the house, a grouper fish sandwich. That alone was worth the trip. During lunch we shared our observations of the day and were not surprised to come to the same conclusion: The event was only bested by the cordiality of the people who participated. Folks were dressed in comfortable Southern, country attire. Most of the guys were in khakis, oxford cloth shirts and topsiders. The ladies were also comfortably dressed for the occasion. Dogs, from big old black Labs to feisty Jack Russells, were having as much fun as their owners and added a little more variety and color to the occasion. As we were finishing lunch, hurrying so we could relinquish our table to others who were waiting, I said to Linda, “You know with this many people here I bet we’ll run into someone we know.” She laughed and said, “Not in this crowd. We can’t even find Andie and Bennett, who we know are coming down.” Andie and Bennett Rose are friends from Southern Pines, and we had tentatively planned to meet at the event. I laughed and agreed with Linda, and we decided to look around a little bit more and then head back to Huntington for a late day nap on the beach. As we were heading out the door, though, my prediction came true when we ran into Billy Powell and Wade Williamson, old friends from Burlington, whom we hadn’t seen in years. The world is indeed a small place, and the road always brings you home. OH Tom Bryant, who graduated from Elon and lived in Alamance County for decades, is a lifelong outdoorsman and O.Henry’s Sporting Life columnist. 8,500+ square feet at the corner of Main & Fifth in Downtown Burlington

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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December 2012


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O.Henry 57

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58 O.Henry

December 2012

Gifts Galore! The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Life of Jane

Spike, Interrupted

Who was that girl in long white gloves, leading the procession to adulthood?

By Jane Borden


’m trying to remember if I had any notion, at the time, that my appearance was comical. But self-awareness is largely, and blessedly, undeveloped in 9-year-olds. And so it struck me not as odd to don long white gloves. I’d spend the afternoon in wet Tretorns crawling through the underground pipe systems in Old Irving Park, entering, for example, at the corner of Sunset and Carlisle and popping back out at Briarcliff and Woodland, always with one of my father’s open umbrellas, in case of spider webs, leading the procession. And then I’d pull on long white gloves. Like this was a natural thing. As if it made perfect sense that my long white gloves and I — along with an unruly haircut that birthed the nickname Spike and thick opaque tights that sausage-cased my still unshaven legs — would be driven to the Greensboro Country Club to learn how to ballroom dance. And, of course, it was normal. To me, at least. Most of my friends were in cotillion. My sisters and their friends had been too. We looked forward to class, each an opportunity to socialize and awkwardly engage with boys who were suddenly a half-foot shorter than us, and whose nervously sweaty palms made us prize the thin barrier of long white gloves. I recall that they taught girls to cross our ankles when we sat, and boys to unbutton their jackets. I have an image of our teacher demonstrating a move, her arms up and out in position. And I remember recognizing, if dimly, that the current pop R&B tunes used in class were all thinly veiled homages to sex, and further recognizing that the idea of a group of preadolescent WASPs fox-trotting to it was very, very funny. So, I guess there was some degree of self-awareness at 9, albeit still as undeveloped as a half-foot shorter boy. Thinking back on these details, I find the experience remarkable, but that doesn’t make it abnormal. So why then, when I try to recall this child, does she seem so strange? The Art & Soul of Greensboro

It’s a tricky business, aging. I’m growing now beyond nostalgia, that longing for the past that occurs precisely because it’s fuzzy, the way one finds an Impressionist painting more romantic than a photograph. This new phase is different. I’ve now regenerated cells so wholly that parts of me are simply disappeared. If I had an inventory, I’d be alarmed. Instead, I’m unaware of what’s lost. Many images are now unrecognizable, have morphed from a rosy Impressionist rendering into some strange abstract art I never got the training to appreciate. I don’t know this child in the gloves. And I never will again. With which boy did she most wish to dance? The information is gone. That it previously existed is at best an assumption. There is a small section of the picture still clear, though, one memory that continues to regenerate itself: I hated not being able to pick out my own cookie. During the refreshment break, the girls waited in the circle of chairs, while their momentary dates journeyed en masse to retrieve two cups of soda and two chocolate-chip cookies each from a corner table, like some gaggle of sperm fighting its way politely to the baked-goods egg. I don’t like chocolate chips, so I always wished for a cookie with few in it. To ask as much from a boy I hardly knew, however, seemed unfair, the kind of request that gets one deemed spastic. And so, during each break, I silently wished I could retrieve my own, could open an umbrella, push through the boy blockade, and choose it myself. But I never did. Anyway, like the tunnel, it wouldn’t have been a new path, merely one I’d yet to traverse. I find myself wishing that lives themselves were less unique paths, because then they’d be well tread, and we could turn when we wanted to walk them in reverse. Instead, I approach this 9-year-old as a stranger, guessing not only at the details in her photograph, but also the shape and size of the frame, imagining her quietly fiddling with the extra material at the tip of the one gloved finger that was too long. Which one was it? Or perhaps it was too short. OH Jane Borden is a native of Greensboro and the author of the highly acclaimed memoir I Totally Meant To Do That. December 2012

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December 2012 Lucky Bucks Woe is me and woe is more Diamond earrings are a bore Neiman-Marcus, heretofore Now I’m at the dollar store. On my mortgage they foreclosed Down the drain my job was hosed Rome was burning, while I dozed What’s the hurry? I supposed. Hundreds spent on Yules of yore Now I’m hurting to the core The wolf is pounding on my door While I shop at the dollar store. Sweet-smelling soap for granny’s shower For Mom, an artificial flower, For Dad, a clock alarms the hour (Plus batteries to give it power). A ball for Rover, mouse for cat, For son a plastic baseball bat Sister wants a reindeer hat The dollar store has got all that.

You know, this isn’t all that bad Two bits times four is all I had Enough to make Kris Kringle sad But Christmas is for merry, glad. Without the dollar store I’d be Strung up on the Yuletide tree Ashamed and broke for all to see A hapless, helpless, gift-less me Instead, my list is all but done I didn’t have to spend a ton The war on poverty is won And winning it was half the fun. Because I’ve managed gifts galore Not big — but what is Christmas for? My foot stays planted in the door Of Santa’s trove — the dollar store. The dollar store, the dollar store Where each buck buys a whole lot more Commercialism I abhor The thought’s what counts at the dollar store.

— By Deborah Salomon

Tis the place for jingle bells Cologne (don’t ask me how it smells) Cases for your smartest cells Coin banks shaped like wishing wells.

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

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Chaparral Christmas Gift By O.Henry

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

“A Chaparral Christmas Gift” appeared in the December 1923 issue of Ainslee’s Magazine, published monthly in New York from 1897 to 1926. Billed A Magazine of Clever Fiction, Ainslee’s drew top talent. Other contributors included Stephen Crane, Bret Harte, Jack London, Edna St. Vincent Millay, P.G. Wodehouse and Dorothy Parker. Even though O.Henry lived in New York in 1903, he was inspired to write the story from his years in Texas, where he relocated from Greensboro in 1882. He was surrounded by cowboys and heard about, and then eventually met, gunslingers there and during a short stint living in Central America. One of his closest friends was Al Jennings, a train robber whom O.Henry met in Honduras. Jennings later served time with O.Henry in prison and became one of O.Henry’s biographers after the writer’s death in 1910. Texas was still very much a wild western locale during O.Henry’s time.


he original cause of the trouble was about twenty years in growing. At the end of that time it was worth it. Had you lived anywhere within fifty miles of Sundown Ranch you would have heard of it. It possessed a quantity of jet-black hair, a pair of extremely frank, deep-brown eyes and a laugh that rippled across the prairie like the sound of a hidden brook. The name of it was Rosita McMullen; and she was the daughter of old man McMullen of the Sundown Sheep Ranch. There came riding on red roan steeds — or, to be more explicit, on a paint and a flea-bitten sorrel — two wooers. One was Madison Lane, and the other was the Frio Kid. But at that time they did not call him the Frio Kid, for he had not earned the honors of special nomenclature. His name was simply Johnny McRoy. It must not be supposed that these two were the sum of the agreeable Rosita’s admirers. The bronchos of a dozen others champed their bits at the long hitching rack of the Sundown Ranch. Many were the sheeps’-eyes that were cast in those savannas that did not belong to the flocks of Dan McMullen. But of all the cavaliers, Madison Lane and Johnny MeRoy galloped far ahead, wherefore they are to be chronicled. Madison Lane, a young cattleman from the Nueces country, won the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

race. He and Rosita were married one Christmas day. Armed, hilarious, vociferous, magnanimous, the cowmen and the sheepmen, laying aside their hereditary hatred, joined forces to celebrate the occasion. Sundown Ranch was sonorous with the cracking of jokes and sixshooters, the shine of buckles and bright eyes, the outspoken congratulations of the herders of kine. But while the wedding feast was at its liveliest there descended upon it Johnny McRoy, bitten by jealousy, like one possessed. “I’ll give you a Christmas present,” he yelled, shrilly, at the door, with his .45 in his hand. Even then he had some reputation as an offhand shot. His first bullet cut a neat underbit in Madison Lane’s right ear. The barrel of his gun moved an inch. The next shot would have been the bride’s had not Carson, a sheepman, possessed a mind with triggers somewhat well oiled and in repair. The guns of the wedding party had been hung, in their belts, upon nails in the wall when they sat at table, as a concession to good taste. But Carson, with great promptness, hurled his plate of roast venison and frijoles at McRoy, spoiling his aim. The second bullet, then, only shattered the white petals of a Spanish dagger flower suspended two feet above Rosita’s head. The guests spurned their chairs and jumped for their weapons. It was considered an improper act to shoot the bride and groom at a wedding. In about six seconds there were twenty or so bullets due to be whizzing in the December 2012

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direction of Mr. McRoy. “I’ll shoot better next time,” yelled Johnny; “and there’ll be a next time.” He backed rapidly out the door. Carson, the sheepman, spurred on to attempt further exploits by the success of his plate-throwing, was first to reach the door. McRoy’s bullet from the darkness laid him low. The cattlemen then swept out upon him, called for vengeance, for, while the slaughter of a sheepman has not always lacked condonement, it was a decided misdemeanor in this instance. Carson was innocent; he was no accomplice at the matrimonial proceedings; nor had anyone heard him quote the line “Christmas comes but once a year” to the guests. But the sortie failed in its vengeance. McRoy was on his horse and away, shouting back curses and threats as he galloped into the concealing chaparral. That night was the birthnight of the Frio Kid. He became the “bad man” of that portion of the State. The rejection of his suit by Miss McMullen turned him to a dangerous man. When officers went after him for the shooting of Carson, he killed two of them, and entered upon the life of an outlaw. He became a marvelous shot with either hand. He would turn up in towns and settlements, raise a quarrel at the slightest opportunity, pick off his man and laugh at the officers of the law. He was so cool, so deadly, so rapid, so inhumanly blood- thirsty that none but faint attempts were ever made to capture him. When he was at last shot and killed by a little one-armed Mexican who was nearly dead himself from fright, the Frio Kid had the deaths of eighteen men on his head. About half of these were killed in fair duels depending upon the quickness of the draw. The other half were men whom he assassinated from absolute wantonness and cruelty. Many tales are told along the border of his impudent courage and daring. But he was not one of the breed of desperados who have seasons of generosity and even of softness. They say he never had mercy on the object of his anger. Yet at this and every Christmastide it is well to give each one credit, if it can be done, for what ever speck of good he may have possessed. If the Frio Kid ever did a kindly act or felt a throb of generosity in his heart it was once at such a time and season, and this is the way it happened. One who has been crossed in love should never breathe the odor from the blossoms of the ratama tree. It stirs the memory to a dangerous degree. One December in the Frio country there was a ratama tree in full bloom, for the winter had been as warm as springtime. That way rode the Frio Kid and his satellite and co-murderer, Mexican Frank. The kid reined in his mustang, and sat in his saddle, thoughtful and grim, with dangerously narrowing eyes. The rich, sweet scent touched him somewhere beneath his ice and iron. “I don’t know what I’ve been thinking about, Mex,” he remarked in his usual mild drawl, “to have forgot all about a Christmas present I got to give. I’m going to ride over tomorrow night and shoot Madison Lane in his own house. He got my girl — Rosita would have had me if he hadn’t cut into the game. I wonder why I happened to overlook it up to now?” “Ah, shucks, Kid,” said Mexican, “don’t talk foolishness. You know you can’t get within a mile of Mad Lane’s house tomorrow night. I see old man Allen day before yesterday, and he says Mad is going to have Christmas doings at his house. You remember how you shot up the festivities when Mad was married, and about the threats you made? Don’t you suppose Mad Lane’ll kind of keep his eye open for a certain Mr. Kid? You plumb make me tired, Kid, with such remarks.” “I’m going,” repeated the Frio Kid, without heat, “to go to Madison Lane’s Christmas doings, and kill him. I ought to have done it a long time ago. Why, Mex, just two weeks ago I dreamed me and Rosita was married instead of her and him; and we was living in a house, and I could see her smiling at me, and — oh! h—l, Mex, he got her; and I’ll get him — yes, sir, on Christmas Eve he got her, and then’s when I’ll get him.” “There’s other ways of committing suicide,” advised Mexican. “Why don’t you go and surrender to the sheriff?”

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“I’ll get him,” said the Kid. Christmas Eve fell as balmy as April. Perhaps there was a hint of faraway frostiness in the air, but it tingled like seltzer, perfumed faintly with late prairie blossoms and the mesquite grass. When night came the five or six rooms of the ranch house were brightly lit. In one room was a Christmas tree, for the Lanes had a boy of three, and a dozen or more guests were expected from the nearer ranches. At nightfall Madison Lane called aside Jim Belcher and three other cowboys employed on his ranch. “Now, boys,” said Lane, “keep your eyes open. Walk around the house and watch the road well. All of you know the ‘Frio Kid,’ as they call him now, and if you see him, open fire on him without asking any questions. I’m not afraid of his coming around, but Rosita is. She’s been afraid he’d come in on us every Christmas since we were married.” The guests had arrived in buckboards and on horseback, and were making themselves comfortable inside. The evening went along pleasantly. The guests enjoyed and praised Rosita’s excellent supper, and afterward the men scattered in groups about the rooms or on the broad “gallery,” smoking and chatting. The Christmas tree, of course, delighted the youngsters, and above all were they pleased when Santa Claus himself in magnificent white beard and furs appeared and began to distribute the toys. “It’s my papa,” announced Billy Sampson, aged six. “I’ve seen him wear ’em before.” Berkly, a sheepman, an old friend of Lane, stopped Rosita as she was passing by him on the gallery, where he was sitting smoking. “Well, Mrs. Lane,” said he, “I suppose by this Christmas you’ve gotten over being afraid of that fellow McRoy, haven’t you? Madison and I have talked about it, you know.” “Very nearly,” said Rosita, smiling, “but I am still nervous sometimes. I shall never forget that awful time when he came so near to killing us.” “He’s the most cold-hearted villain in the world,” said Berkly. “The citizens all along the border ought to turn out and hunt him down like a wolf.” “He has committed awful crimes,” said Rosita, but — I — don’t — know. I think there is a spot of good somewhere in everybody. He was not always bad — that I know.” Rosita turned into the hallway between the rooms. Santa Claus, in muffling whiskers and furs, was just coming through. “I heard what you said through the window, Mrs. Lane,” he said. “I was just going down in my pocket for a Christmas present for your husband. But I’ve left one for you, instead. It’s in the room to your right.” “Oh, thank you, kind Santa Claus,” said Rosita, brightly. Rosita went into the room, while Santa Claus stepped into the cooler air of the yard. She found no one in the room but Madison. “Where is my present that Santa said he left for me in here?” she asked. “Haven’t seen anything in the way of a present,” said her husband, laughing, “unless he could have meant me.” The next day Gabriel Radd, the foreman of the X 0 Ranch, dropped into the post office at Loma Alta. “Well, the Frio Kid’s got his dose of lead at last,” he remarked to the postmaster. “That so? How’d it happen?” “One of old Sanchez’s Mexican sheep herders did it! — think of it! the Frio Kid killed by a sheep herder! The Greaser saw him riding along past his camp about twelve o’clock last night, and was so skeered that he up with a Winchester and let him have it. Funniest part of it was that the Kid was dressed all up with white Angora-skin whiskers and a regular Santy Claus rig-out from head to foot. Think of the Frio Kid playing Santy!” OH The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Big Dreamers Illustrations by Harry Blair The holidays make us all kids again they say, and even world Photographs by Sam Froelich weary magazine staffers can’t resist the urge to dream big and hope if only Christmas wishes could come true . . .

Smoking Encouraged Most men are perfectly happy obsessing about bacon. My son-in-law, for instance, is always forwarding me emails about chocolate-covered bacon, Mexican hot dogs wrapped in bacon, candied bacon, bacon sundaes . . . you name it. That boy loves bacon, and so do I. But why stop at bacon? My grandfather had a smokehouse on his farm between Madison and Mayodan, and when we’d visit him, he’d always cut me a slab of bacon to take home. I remember looking up into the rafters of that house, and inhaling that sharp pork-fat and sweethickory aroma, and dreaming about what it would be like to have my own smokehouse. In this era, there’s a machine specifically made to help us at least realize our dreams, if not make them come true. It’s called the Internet. Tappety-tap. Clickety-click: There it was, a 20-by-12 log cabin just the right size. And wait. Don’t I pass Southland Log Homes showroom on the way to Burlington? 800309-1696 and I’m talking to Mike Doran, who tells me to come on out, and sit down with him. “We’ll design it the way you want it on paper and get one of our preferred builders to put it up for you,” he says. We’re only talking about nine grand for materials, he says, and another two-and-a-half grand in construction costs. There are certainly worse ways of seeing your money go up in smoke. — David C. Bailey

Come Up and See Me Sometime, or Not Blame it on an unfulfilled childhood fantasy. Call me a tree-hugging hippie. Say what you will. Nothing will stop me from asking for a tree house this year for Christmas. Imagine the sprightly musings that life would inspire, nestled in the strong, twisted branches of some ancient ash, oak or sycamore. Oh, that I might come to know that sacred tree as if she were Demeter, goddess of harvest, mother of the twittering songbirds who would wake me, gently, at the break of each day. As for the house? Think Swiss Family Robinson, complete with a charming wooden water wheel (yes, of course there would be a swift-flowing stream down below), and a thatched roof. A small structure would do. I’ll want to make sure the birds have plenty of room to nest up there, too, which ought to help keep the bugs down. I’d like space enough for a bed, a bookshelf, and perhaps even a small stove. Who needs television when you can watch the leaves dance in dappled sunlight? Until then, Santa, I’ll continue watering the herbs that struggle in their cracked pots on the fire escape of my third-floor apartment . . . But I promise I’ve been good. — Ashley Wahl The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Mama Kicks Asphalt If there’s anything better than getting a new bike for Christmas, it’s getting a new place to ride it. So all I want for Christmas is a big honkin’ Rails-to-Trails path that starts in Greensboro and goes waaaaaay out there. Greensboro has a nice jump on my wish with the 7.5-mile Atlantic & Yadkin Greenway, a paved trail that stretches from Markland Drive (near Target on Lawndale Drive) to a dead end north of Strawberry Road. The plan is to connect the south end of the A&Y trail to the Bicentennial Greenway near downtown. On the north end, the goal is to jump U.S. 220 and run the A&Y to the city limit, where Summerfield, Stokesdale and towns beyond will have to marshal the will (that’s spelled m-o-n-e-y) to extend the trail. That’s a tall order, but, hey, this is a Christmas wish. So let’s make that trail take a right at Stokesdale and follow a spur north to Madison. Heck, yeah. End the day tubin’ down the Dan River. Slap a few general stores, restaurants and wineries along the way, and Mama’d be set. Just look at Abingdon, Virginia, which is chockablock with cyclists who come to ride the Virginia Creeper Trail and recover at inns, restaurants, theaters and shops. C’mon, Santa. Get your asphalt in gear. — Maria Johnson

Have Pullman, Will Travel Bring me a set of wheels for Christmas. Not rubber ones, but steel. My heart longs for a Pullman sleeper rail car to call my very own. I’m not talking about a detailed model found in hobby shops. I desire the real thing. Like the one I saw recently attached to the rear of one of the 50 trains passing through the railroader’s paradise of Ashland, Virginia. I want a Pullman like those that fascinated me many decades ago when my grandfather took me to the downtown train station to watch trains arrive and depart. Give me, too, an endowment to pay for hitching my Pullman to Amtrak and for a porter in a crisp white jacket. George Pullman made a solid product, iconic among modern railroad buffs. I’m not asking for something as luxurious as “Doris,” the opulent custom-built rail car owned by Doris Duke and displayed at the N.C. Transportation Museum in Spencer. I don’t want to be accused of being ostentatious. Have my modest Pullman waiting at the Galyon Depot downtown. No need to wrap the long green car with a red bow, which might offend bedraggled travelers who must settle for ordinary Amtrak coaches and sleepers. Please stock the pantry with real food and beverages. And make sure the car is ready to roll. I plan to leave after Christmas Day to cross the continent to attend the Rose Bowl. I’ll soak up the surroundings and enjoy how my life has become a bed of roses in the “Jim,” my own Pullman sleeping car. — Jim Schlosser

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Economy Seat to Paradise Regardless of wherever I happen to be in the world, whenever I feel the need to hide out or roam a bit without actually traveling, I slip away to a good used bookstore. Few places can match the solitude, serendipity and unexpected adventure that awaits in the pages of a good used book. Not surprisingly, I’ve spent hours on end browsing and loitering in secondhand bookshops on several continents, and rarely come away from the experience with less than half an armful of good reads and a nicely restored spirit. We’re fortunate to have several good ones here in the Gate City, which I frequent and patronize — you might even say haunt — on a regular basis. The author in me appreciates the hard work that goes into making a new book. But the old book lover in me sometimes wishes I could have my very own small used book shop, a cozy end-of-the-alley place where I could converse with other book lovers and even lock the door on a slow winter afternoon, draw up a chair and settle into the stacks, taking off for parts unknown. — Jim Dodson

Coco and Me, Cherié If time and money and distance were no object — and why should they be? — my Christmas wish is to be flown to Paris on the Concorde and have Coco Chanel fit me for one of her iconic suits. Her designs are, in my humble opinion, timeless. An elegant frock that would be chic for years and years. Coco — I feel as if I can call her by her first name; after all, she will be fitting me for my suit personally — the famous French clothing designer and founder of the Chanel fashion house, was born into a peasant family and reared in a convent. She adhered to an unwavering principle of rising above her humble origins to become the definition of iconic French femininity and a fable patron of the arts — the only fashion designer to make Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people of the 20th Century. Given her precious time and my pressing deadlines, I’d like to fly there and back on the supersonic Concorde, s’il vous plait, though I guess it ceased commercial flights in November of 2003. C’est dommage. For that matter, Madame Chanel passed away at age 87 in 1971. But sometimes, as Coco herself proved, a girl’s dreams and Christmas wishes can come true — if only in her head. Now, since my dream is impossible, I’ll be more realistic and wish for a vintage Chanel suit that I hope can be found in one of the fabulous vintage clothing stores in Greensboro. — Andie Rose OH

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Instrument of Peace How the resurgent ukulele — mastered by Greensboro craftsman Bob Rigaud — is transforming the world, one song at a time

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


By Stephen E. Smith • Photographs by Cassie Butler limpsed from the highway, the exterior of the two-room, woodframe workshop behind Bob Rigaud’s modest Greensboro home isn’t particularly intriguing. The Southern sun has faded the beige siding, and half the shop is a converted garage dating from the 1930s. Riserless steps lead to a nondescript door. But once inside, once the door opens on the shop’s contents, creative energy radiates from the walls, ceiling and floors — and from Bob Rigaud himself. Rigaud is a luthier (a builder and mender of stringed instruments), and he’s crafted guitars for big-time singer-songwriters such as John Hiatt, as well as for a goodly number of strum-and-hummers down the block. Potential customers and first-time visitors to the shop can’t help but be amazed by

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the profusion of ukuleles framing the entranceway and walls — and they’re no less dazzled by the bodies of ukes in various stages of completion that are scattered about the workbenches. Tonewoods — fiddle-back mahogany, highly figured Hawaiian koa, tiger maple, Indian ebony, oldgrowth Brazilian rosewood, walnut — are stacked in every alcove, and chisels, clamps, calibers, fret levelers, etc., are neatly organized on the walls. “When Sandra Teglas from the music department at UNCG brought her ukulele to me, she noticed I had a lot of ukes around here,” Rigaud explains. “She’d come by for a repair. Her uke had a carbon-fiber brace across the top and all the way down the sides, and like all the ukes of that sort it had a crazy overtone. On certain frets, the instrument gave off an odd frequency. The ukes I’m custom making are much superior. I’ve been experimenting with various bracing to achieve the best possible sound.” Rigaud trained at the Roberto-Venn School of Luthiery in Phoenix, and relocated to Greensboro in 1979. After working as an instrument repairman at a local music store, he established a home guitar shop, and it wasn’t long before he was building a cutaway nylon string guitar for Nokie Edwards of The Ventures. Over the years he added customdesigned, carved electric guitars to his portfolio, one of which was featured in Guitar Player magazine in March 1985, and his guitars — acoustic and electric — are highly prized for their exceptional quality, sound and beauty. But these days Rigaud is focused on ukuleles, the diminutive four-string “jumping flea” of Portuguese and Hawaiian origins that has made a rip-roaring comeback in the last decade. Rigaud’s New Moon ukuleles are not intended as visual props for the Arthur Godfrey-Tiny Tim set or as Roaring-20s accoutrements for crazy-legged flappers and raccoon-clad college boys. Tchaikovsky has definitely heard the news — as have Bach, Vivaldi, Mozart, Beethoven — and the skill level of contemporary ukuleleists such as James Hill, Jake Shimabukuro and the late Israel Kamakawiwo’ole has lifted the diminutive instrument into the rarefied milieu of classical music. (Go to YouTube and check out Corey Fujimoto performing Pachelbel’s “Canon in D” or John King picking the dickens out of “Bach Prelude” — or King’s cover of Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean” in which an electric tenor ukulele is transformed into an entire rock band.) Technology has played a major role in re-popularizing the uke. Lessons by Ukulele Mike and original compositions and updated standards such as “Stormy Weather” and “Dream a Little Dream of Me” by singer-songwriter Danielle Ate the Sandwich attract hundreds of thousands of aspiring strummers. Flea Market Music, Ukulele Hunt, and Ukulele Underground are much visited community sites. eBay and other online sites offer hundreds of ukuleles for sale, and you can pick up a playable instrument for $50 or spring for a vintage 1930 Martin 5K ukulele that carries an asking price of $20,000. A new Collings UC3K concert uke will run $2,340 retail. Who has that kind of moola these days? Apparently uke fanatics do; they’re lining up to lay down their cash. For stringed instrument makers, the renewed popularity of the ukulele is particularly good news, more so since uke nerds tend to own more than one instrument. Ask an aficionado what type of uke he owns, and he’ll sound like “Bubba” in Forrest Gump: “I’ve got a sopranino uke, a soprano uke, a The Art & Soul of Greensboro

concert uke, a tenor uke, a baritone uke, a banjolele, a uke harp, a Tahitian uke, an electric uke, a resonator uke, a tiple . . . ” and given an opening, he’ll whip out his sopranino, and quicker than you can swat a fly, you’ll be grooving to “Ukulele Lady” or “Honky Tonk Woman.” Ukuleles are turning up in elementary school classrooms. The little four-stringed instrument is a perfect vehicle for fostering music literacy, and ukulele teacher’s workshops are all the snazz. Sandra Teglas, program coordinator for the Music Research Institute School of Music, Theatre, and Dance at UNCG, recently returned from a conference where participants focused on teaching the ukulele in the classroom, to community groups, and in studios. “Grad students at the university who study instruments such as saxophone and clarinet and don’t play stringed instruments, gather at the end of the week to decompress on the ukulele. And many teachers are using ukes to teach music to their students. It’s an accessible, versatile instrument.” James Hill, the instrument’s acknowledged impresario, sees the ukulele’s popularity rising out of opportunities for community. “When the radio came out, the ukulele got popular. When TV came out, we had Arthur Godfrey teaching ukulele on TV. Now we have the computer age and new opportunities for community. This is the third wave of the ukulele’s popularity, and I’m ready to see how it will be different.” Bob Rigaud is ready, too. On his workbenches, the bodies of ukes await the application of their necks, fret boards, and lacquer finish — but even in their incomplete state, their beauty is undeniable. “I’ve finished this prototype koa uke,” says Rigaud, holding up the instrument in the mid-morning sunlight. It shimmers iridescent. “I have a friend who lives on Maui, and he sends me photos of blocks of koa from his plantation. I’ve also considered using Spanish cedar, and I’ve got an order for a rosewood uke that I’ll make out of old-growth Brazilian rosewood that I’ve had since the ’70s.” He taps solidly on the back of an unfinished uke with his knuckle. “From what I’m hearing tonally on these ukes, they compare more than favorably with vintage Gibsons and Collings ukes of similar size. And I’ve been experimenting with three different bracings. One is a standard ukulele bracing that everyone uses. On another I’ve turned one of the transverse braces in order to bring out more of the bass, and I’ve braced another like an L1 Robert Johnson Gibson guitar. I’m bracing some of the ukes so they can withstand steel strings, which some players are beginning to use.” The proof is in the tone and playability — and Rigaud’s koa prototype surpasses all expectations: clear midranges, an ever-present bass and an A note that resonates sweetly. The intonation is dead on, and the action (the distance between the strings and the frets) is exceptionally comfortable. A Bob Rigaud New Moon ukulele floats beneath the player’s fingers. It’s a quality stringed instrument equal to the finest mandolin or parlor guitar. “I’m starting to get a lot of orders for my ukuleles,” admits Rigaud, “and it seems everyone wants this koa model.” The ukulele might not have the volume, range and panache of its big brother the guitar, but as ukuleleist Jake Shimabukuro tells the audiences that flock to his sold-out concerts: “The ukulele is underdog of all instruments, but I’ve believed that it’s the instrument of peace. If everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a much happier place.” OH December 2012

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Bubba’s Annual Christmas Letter Dear Friends,

It’s me, Bubba, again. To tell you the truth, I thought about stopping my Christmas letter this year. But when I told a couple of friends, they said, “Bubba, you gotta keep writin’ your letter. You are the only one who tells it like it is.” Well. All right. I’ll tell you some of what happened this past year. I’ll start with my daughter. Actually, I’ll start with the fact that I never thought I had no daughter until I picked up the phone one day. “Is this Bubba Greene?” said a lady’s voice. “Depends on who wants to know,” I said. “This is Bubba’s daughter,” she said. “Bubba ain’t got no daughter,” I said. “Yes he does. He just doesn’t know it,” she said. Well, I said what any man worth his salt would say: “Bubba ain’t here right now.” “When will be he back?” she said. “He’ll be here directly. Say, what’s your mama’s name?” I said. “Starla Murphee,” she said. “I’ll be damned,” I said. “What?” she said. “I said I’ll be right back.” Well, I pressed the phone against my leg and reached into my candy jar and chewed me a piece of licorice. I heard a TV doctor say once that whenever you get upset, chew yourself a piece of sticky candy before you say anything. ’Course, you got to weigh havin’ time to ponder against pullin’ your bridgework loose, but like they say, life is a balancin’ act. Well, I decided to talk, and the whole story come out. I thought, “Bubba, you got to do the right thing here.” So I invited her to come see me at the feed store. “Feed store?” she said. “Mama said you was head of an international agribusiness corporation.” And I said, “I am, girlie. Got all the deer corn and 10-10-10 fertilizer you need, right here.” 
And she hung up faster than a horsefly gettin’ sprayed with DDT. So much for family. Let’s see, what else? I voted in the big election. Oh, I didn’t vote for no president. I couldn’t vote for a man who straps his dog on top of a car. No, sir. I say put the dog inside the car, and stick that herd of kids up top. It’d be an adventure for ’em. And a lot nicer ride inside. At the same time, I couldn’t vote for a man who could break the budget keeping his ears clean. No telling how much tax money we spend on White House Q-tips every year. Lord help us if the man ever got itchy ears. The cortisone cream alone would flat ruin us. So in the end, I voted in the most important race there was: soil and water conservation. Way I see it, you can’t do much without soil and water. Can’t grow crops, raise animals, watch mud-wrestlin’, nothing. In fact, I’ve thought about running for that office myself. I even thought up a baby-kissin’ name — No-Bath Bubba. Just think of all the soil and water we lose taking baths. 72 O.Henry

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Speaking of taking baths, I got me a new phone this year. One day, my cousin Astrid said, “Bubba, let’s ride over to the Apple store in Greensboro.” And I said “Fine, I been thinking about making an apple crisp.” And she said, “No, they don’t sell apples at the Apple store.” And I said, “Why in the world not?” And she said, “’Cause it’s technology. Just shut up and drive.” So I did. Lawd, you never seen so many skinny people in your life. And I said, “Astrid, what do you want in a place like this?” And she said she wanted a tablet. I said, “Why did we drive into town for that? I got a BC powder in the car.” She shot me a seriously bothered woman-look, then she snagged a girl that looked like she was made of baling wire, and they commenced to talk chiggerbites of storage. I wandered around to see what I could see. Presently, this young feller wearing an undershirt that read “Genius” come up and asked, “Sir, what kind of phone do you have now?” And I replied truthfully, “I got me one of them Junebugs from the AARP magazine.” And he said, “Well, try this.” And he put this calculator-looking thing in my hand.
 “Press the button and ask it a question,” he said. So I put my mouth to the phone and said, “Why ain’t there no apples in the Apple store?” A lady’s voice come on and said, “I found 15 Apple stores fairly close to you.” And I said, “Do they sell Granny Smiths?” And she said, “I don’t know what you mean by ‘Do they sell Granny Smiths?’” And I said, “Bakin’ apples, honey.” The young feller shook his head ’cause even he knowed about bakin’ apples. And he said, “Do you like to take pictures?”
 And I said, “Yeah, I like to take pictures. I got a great picture of an eight-point buck in my backyard. But it’s at home.” And then the Genius said, “If you had this phone, you could carry around 1,000 deer pictures with you.” I thought, well, that would be a sight easier than shufflin’ through my desk drawer every time I feel like braggin’. “Press this button and take a picture,” he urged. I looked around until I found something about the size of a deer. I clicked the button, and there it was — Astrid’s butt. The young feller politely asked, “Would you like to enlarge that?” And I declared sincerely, “Lawd, NO, son! You want to scare off all your customers?” Well, the next thing you know, I’m carrying the myPhone out the door. But don’t any of y’all call me yet ’cause I’m still learnin’ how to use it. Every time I go to take a picture, I think, “Who’s that wrinkly old bastard?” Then I realize it’s me. Astrid says them cameras reverse so you can take pictures of yourself with other people at parties. Well, I don’t go to parties mainly ’cause they bore the ever-livin’ bug juice out of me, and besides, most of my friends look worse than I do. So, ho-ho-ho. Been kind of an interestin’ year after all, I guess. But just so you’ll know I have some Christmas spirit, I’m sending you the exact same photograh I accidentally took of myself with my new myPhone and mailed off to my new fully-growed baby daughter, the one I never thought I had till she found me in the Internets. Even if she don’t bother to call back, this long lost child, thought she’d at least like to know what her old daddy looks like. Talk about a Christmas surprise! So that’s about it for this Christmas letter. Gotta go feed the chickens and meet the boys over at the Sack’n’Go for a couple tall boys before I play the friendly donkey-keeper in the living nativity scene over at the church in the crossroads. Merry Christmas and such to you each and every one! Your friend, Bubba


P.S. There was a donkey-keeper at the first Christmas, wasn’t there? Hope so. If not, another first for Bubba Greene! OH

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Wreath on Earth Photographs by Dhanraj Emanuel In Colonial times, the seasonal tradition of hanging a wreath on the door, fashioned from the providence of field and forest, was meant to convey to visitors a sense of welcome and hospitality. In that spirit, we invited four local designers to show us how they would say welcome with gifts from the Earth.

Good will to men

Walk in the Winter Woods

Touches of ice and gold create a wintry feel for this holiday door spray, which is made up of seasonal greens, cones and berries. Chartreuse ornaments, leaves and foliage give it that magical holiday sparkle. _________

Designs North Florist & Interiors 504 East Cornwallis Drive, Greensboro

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Runaway Red

Christmas-red vintage skis add an authentic touch to this lush natural wreath of little gem magnolia, boxwood, Leland cypress, hemlock, eucalyptus berries, ilex berries, pine cones, dried mushrooms and dried pomegranates. _________

Randy McManus Designs, Inc. 18 Battleground Court, Greensboro Designer: Randy McManus

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Wintergreen Christmas

Sprigs of English boxwood, Leland cypress, Port-Orford-cedar and Eastern hemlock were used to create this traditional evergreen wreath, which smells as fresh and lovely as it looks. Hand-picked pine cones and a red velvet bow complete the package. _________

Plants and Answers 700 West Market Street, Greensboro Designer: Clark Goodin, NCCPF

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Holly and Jivey

This flashy 30-inch holiday door wreath was achieved by using red and green deco mesh, glittery butterflies, poinsettia blooms and ornaments, variegated holly and a gold bow made of twigs. _________

Grace Flower Shop 1500 North Main Street, High Point Designer: Scott Jackson OH

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Story of a House

In a Cabinet of Lovely Curiosities

From anonymous 1950s ranch house to a showplace of eclectic treasures, designer Jane Matteson’s West Cornwallis home is a study in aesthetic transformation — especially at Christmas By Ashley Wahl Photographs by John Gessner


ike barnacles coexisting on the skin of a whale, designer Jane Matteson’s encyclopedic collection of peculiar and obscure objects all but consumes the interior surfaces of the tiny ranch house on West Cornwallis Drive that she calls her cabinet of curiosities. Glossy tortoise shells occupy the greige walls in the living room. Family heirlooms and broken statuary are scattered across the sunroom mantel like ocean treasures. Roam the house and find empty bird nests, sea coral, antiquarian tomes, a nine-dragon screen, Dutch portraits, guinea fowl feathers, a Louis Ghost chair, one dead dove, two zebra rugs and a fur throw made from the skin of 32 red foxes. Look around. Every nook and cranny all but teems with life from this quirky assemblage of whimsy. For someone who spent ten years fantasizing about “how to sell this place and move into a proper house,” Jane seems surprisingly content among her growing

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Designer Jane Matteson amid her cabinet of curiosities. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The living room is alive with an eclectic collection of whimsy — including the furniture.

menagerie, which has taken to the house like kudzu. A lifetime ago, Jane was married and living the high life in a rambling Georgian mansion in Fisher Park that she and her former husband lovingly restored. When that perfect world crumbled, Jane and her 4-year-old son, Dillon, wound up here. “I hated it with a passion,” Jane remembers thinking about this classic 1950s ranch house with its unassuming presence and low-tothe-ground profile that seemed to somehow mock her twist of fate. In other words, the house was plain. “The biggest sow’s ear in town,” says Jane. But the house was on the market and Jane was in a crunch, so she swallowed her pride, signed the paperwork, painted the exterior beige — “I couldn’t stand to look at that pink brick one single minute more” — and shamelessly gave the 1,300-square-foot space a sense of grandeur, adding crown molding and arched doorways, and even French walls in the master bedroom. When life gives Jane lemons, expect lemon soufflé. Although the house was built in 1951, at the height of American subThe Art & Soul of Greensboro

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The dining area, which doubles as a library and reading room, was formerly a screened-in porch.

urban functionalism, it isn’t a stretch to say that Jane has been the chief architect for the past thirty years, extending the footprint of the house by 900 square feet and creating a space that perfectly suits her needs. Never mind that her needs require a certain degree of aesthetics. Jane can’t help that. Exquisite taste runs in the family. Ditto the unyielding confidence that she can do anything.


ane grew up in Greensboro with an architect father, Matty Matteson, whose business allowed the family to travel the world over. “At a very young age, I was able to help design my father’s offices,” says Jane. And her mother, Marjorie, took her to her first furniture auction before she was old enough to drive. They bought a chair, which Jane reupholstered. “I think we paid four dollars,” recalls Jane, who never has been afraid to take a risk.

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Dining area/library opens to the French country kitchen, where Jane keeps a 200-piece collection of copper cookware. Jane stands in the kitchen with her sister, Kate.

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Jane’s favorite room in the house is the added sunroom, with its vaulted ceiling, built-in shelving and ample natural light.

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In Jane’s world, the tragically beautiful reigns. Note the 17th century dove preserved beneath a glass dome.

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Case in point, she later spent one-seventh of her annual salary on an English wing wardrobe that looks as if it belongs inside the Highclere Castle. “I was making $7,000 [gross] my first year out of college,” says Jane. Imagine how she felt when she saw the same piece of furniture in Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville’s dressing room earlier this year. “Mother in Heaven,” she says with a laugh, “I knew what I was doing.” And she’s certainly taken a few risks with this house. Jane remembers when the living room felt dark and oppressive, which is why she chose to close in the screened porch and bump out the wall behind the lambsuede sofa. Now, the living room opens onto a whimsical dining area with French doors along the back wall and a built-in bookshelf that, paired with the chaise longue, allows the space to double as a reading room. Since the house only had two bedrooms, and Jane needed an office, down came the chandelier in the formal dining room. In the French country kitchen, which Jane stretched outward, charming wire-paneled cabinets replace the original St. Charles steel ones, and the words The Art & Soul of Greensboro

On the mantel: Jane’s father’s pipes and broken statuary. On the tree: ornaments as eclectic and varied as the home’s décor. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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Jane couldn’t do without her English wing wardrobe, which looks exactly like the one in Hugh Bonneville’s dressing room on the set of Downton Abbey.

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of French gastronome Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin are hand-painted on the wall tiles: To invite a person into your house is to take charge of his happiness. “I’ll have to stay with the house now,” says Jane. “I’m afraid I could never get the tiles out of the kitchen.” Besides, she’s enamored with the added sunroom, where maps of France and Venice claim the only wall space, and a Juliet balcony overlooks the terraced backyard and swimming pool. And every room is filled with the little bits and pieces that make up Jane’s life. Mementos from the places she’s been with her family or on business trips. Keepsakes from loved ones. Objects of her affection. When she decorates for the holidays — with a fanciful Christmas display and as many boughs of magnolia as she can get her hands on — her house becomes a memory theater. “Dillon used to find a bird’s nest for me every Christmas,” says Jane, whose nest collection began at age 12 when one of her sisters gave her one. “I guess there are three threads of bark and whatever else holds that poor little nest together, but it’s the first thing that goes on the tree.” She kept the ornaments her father made for her when she was a girl, which go on the tree right after the cricket cage. Big George, the lion sculpture that Jane’s parents bought while living in Greece, wears an evocative wreath. “Dillon used to sit on Big George all the time when he was young,” says Jane. “Not so much anymore.” Although he’s 34 and living in Raleigh, Dillon still calls the place home. The Art & Soul of Greensboro

And this is certainly where he spends Christmas. “We lie in front of the fire and watch The Christmas Story five-hundred-and-fiftythree times and cook like mad,” says Jane. They use the copper cookware, of course, which Jane and her parents collected from Greek souks and Belgian flea markets. “We have a great time,” says Jane, “and that time together is all we want.” Jane still doesn’t have her fantasy bathroom, although she does keep a picture of what that would look like taped to the French wall in her bedroom. But this house, she has realized, is all she needs. “I’m very content in this little nest here,” she says of the little house in which she raised her son. “I think he’s grown up with a tremendous sense of aesthetics.” OH

French doors and French walls for Jane’s niche of a bedroom.

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Happy Holidays to all our customers!

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December 2012

O.Henry 89

Life and Home Style Linda Palmer Realtor®, Broker

Phone 336.458.8433

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

A Brief Strange History Of Chistmas

By Noah Salt

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Where did Christmas come from? A close read of history suggests it’s only improved with age. The New Testament gives no specific date or year for Jesus’ birth, and the earliest Gospel — St. Mark’s, dating from 65 C.E. — only begins with the baptism of the adult Jesus, suggesting early Christians had no awareness of an actual birthdate. One early influential church figure, Bishop Clement of Alexandria (215 C.E.), determined Jesus’ birthdate to be November 18, prompting disputes that exist to this day. Based on existing historical evidence, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, professor emeritus at Catholic University and a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association, places Jesus’ birth on September 11. Whatever the truth of the matter, our traditional celebration of modern Christmas seems to evolve in part from a strange and violent Roman midwinter rite called Saturnalia, a weeklong period of lawlessness during which citizens were exempt from existing laws and encouraged drunken debauchery, designating a “Lord of Misrule” who was made to indulge in. On December 25, the birthday of the Roman sun god Mithra and the festival’s conclusion, each community executed its designated “Lord” as a symbol of purging the darkness of human nature. This human sacrifice ceased, more or less, in the 4th century when Christianity overspread Rome and convinced pagans they could still celebrate certain aspects of Saturnalia in exchange for accepting the divinity of Christ, hoping to seal the deal by assigning Jesus’ birthdate to December 25. This did little to abate certain popular Roman practices, however, including rampant sexual indulgence, feasting and nude singing in the streets — the origins, many scholars contend, of modern caroling. Kindler, gentler Christmas traditions developed when pagans — known for their love of the forests — were encouraged by Roman authorities to bring evergreens into the city and decorate their homes. The practice was adopted by Christian fathers. The tradition of kissing beneath mistletoe — a poisonous plant once used by the Druids in their ceremony of human sacrifices — subsequently evolved from the sexual license of Saturnalia and the Druidic sacrifice cults into a far more innocent practice. In Colonial America, wreaths were hung on doors as a sign of fellowship and welcome, often using fruits of the recent harvest as ornamentation. In 1809, novelist Washington Irving wrote a satire of Dutch culture in which he lampooned a bearded Saint Nicholas flying through the skies, calling him “Santa Claus” for the first time. It was left to Bavarian political cartoonist Thomas Nast to give us our modern picture of Santa Claus. Drawing on descriptions in Dr. Clement Moore’s popular 1822 poem “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” Nast produced more than 2,200 images of Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly, missing only the red suit to complete the modern image of commercial Christmas. The final touch — fittingly — came in 1931 when the CocaCola Corporation hired a Swedish commercial artist named Haddon Sundblom to create a Coke-drinking Santa, insisting that his garb be the familiar “CocaCola” red. The artist used a chubby-faced friend as a model and Santa was born — ancient giftgiver turned commercial icon. OH

December 2012

O.Henry 91

December 2012

Arts Calendar

December 1

December 1–7

December 1–31

Dog Farm Animal Rescue Network. Gallery open 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tyler White Gallery, 307 State Street, Greensboro. Info: (336) 279-1124;;

CHRISTMAS AT BLANDWOOD. 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. (Tues. – Sat.); 2 – 5 p.m. (Sun.) Celebrate an antebellum Christmas with the Moreheads. Museum closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Tickets: $8 (adults); $7 (seniors); $5 (children under 12). Blandwood Mansion, 447 W. Washington St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2725003 or

CHRISTMAS AT THE CAROLINA. 10 a.m. Free • • RED DOG ART SHOW. A portion of the promovie double-feature, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer ceeds from the art purchased will help support Red and Frosty the Snowman, plus the chance to meet Santa and Mrs. Claus. The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

COLLECTOR’S CHOICE FUNDRAISER. 7 – 11 p.m. Meet the artists and preview the Winter Show exhibit, which features over 400 pieces available for purchase. Tickets: $60 (members); $75 (non-members); $80 (at the door). Green Hill Center for NC Art, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or

December 2

JOLLY GINGERBREAD HOUSES. 1 - 2 p.m. Decorate gingerbread houses with candy and treats to take home for the holidays. Cost: $12 per house/ members; $15 per house/non-members.Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574- 2898 or

GREENSBORO JAYCEES HOLIDAY PARADE. 12 – 2 p.m. Parade features Macy-style balloons, plus bands, floats and drill teams. 300 W. Washington St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 908-3427 or


HIGH POINT MUSEUM OPEN HOUSE. 1 – 4 p.m. A day of reenactments, music, demonstrations, refreshments and hands-on activities like candle dipping. Free. High Point Museum, 1859 E. Lexington Ave., High Point. Info: (336) 885-1859 or

CELTIC POTTERY TRUNK SHOW & DEMO. 2 – 5 p.m. Meet the artists, Janet Gaddy and Timothy Moran. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2949 or

HOLIDAY OPEN HOUSE. 2 – 8 p.m. Celebrate the holidays with handmade, local art. Just Be, 352 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2212 or www.

CHRISMON TREE LIGHTING. 5 p.m. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or

TRANS-SIBERIAN ORCHESTRA. 2:30 & 7 p.m. The Lost Christmas Eve. Tickets: $29 and up. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: Info:

BEL CANTO COMPANY. 8 p.m. ’Tis the Season. The Piedmont’s premier chorus is joined by chamber string ensemble and the Greensboro Youth Chorus Cantabile Singers for a concert featuring excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and arrangements from holiday classics. Tickets: $20 (adults); $18 (seniors); $5 (students). Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2220 or Key:

• • Art


92 O.Henry

Performing arts

December 2012

ART EXHIBIT. Winter Show. Exhibit features over 400 pieces for purchase from over 100 North Carolina artists. Exhibit on display through January 13. Green Hill Center for NC Art, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or www.

Pecking by Carol Moates Red Dog Art Show

• • Film


• • Fun


Sports The Art & Soul of Greensboro

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 9 p.m. Featuring the UNCG Sapphires, a non-profit women’s a cappella group. Tickets: $5 (advance); $7 (day of show). The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 2729888 or

December 2 - 23

TRIAD STAGE PRODUCTION. A Christmas Carol. A faithful adaptation of Dickens’ story. Tickets start at $10. Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 579-8499 or

December 3

STORYTELLING PERFORMANCE. 6:30 p.m. A Not So Silent Night. Featuring internationally renowned storytellers Andy Offutt Irwin, Bil Lepp and Kim Weitkamp. Tickets: $20. Proceeds benefit Triad Storytelling Exchange. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-3617.

BEL CANTO COMPANY. 8 p.m. ’Tis the Season. The Piedmont’s premier chorus is joined by chamber string ensemble and the Greensboro Youth Chorus Cantabile Singers for a concert featuring excerpts from Handel’s Messiah and arrangements from holiday classics. Tickets: $20 (adults); $18 (seniors); $5 (students). Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2220 or

relives a series of less-than-merry misadventures in David Sedaris’ hilarious antidote for holiday havoc. Tickets: $12$20. The UpStage Cabaret at Triad Stage, 232 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 272-0160 or

December 5

TRIAD BEST OF BROADWAY. 7:30 p.m. Fiddler on the Roof. Tickets: $45-$55. War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info:

December 3 - 5

NUTCRACKER FANTASY CAMP. 4 - 5:30 p.m. Children ages 3 through 6 can dance their way through the wonder of The Nutcracker story as they learn dances from the ballet and create theme-related crafts. Two tickets to a Saturday matinee performance of The Nutcracker are included in the camp fee. Greensboro Ballet, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7480 or www.

December 4

LIVE MUSIC AT SOUTHERN LIGHTS BISTRO. 7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer. Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9414 or

December 4–22 Pictured: Gordon Joseph Weiss as Ebenezer Scrooge and Issac Feldmann as Tiny Tim. The Artby&VanderVeen Soul of Greensboro Photo Photographers.

UPSTAGE CABARET. The Santaland Diaries.. Meet the quintessential elf gone bad as he

• ••• •• • •

Key: Art Music/Concerts Performing arts Film Literature/ Fun History Sports Speakers

O.Henry 93 Winter Show. December 2 – January 13.

December 2012

December Arts Calendar

December 6

SUSTAINABILITY FILM. 6:30 - 8 p.m. Living Downstream. Film follows author and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber and tracks important progress of scientific investigation on environmental links to cancer and other health ailments. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or www.

December 7

FIRST FRIDAY INDIE MARKET. 4 - 9 p.m. Local artists and craft people gather for an open air market of handmade and vintage goodness. Corner of South Elm and MLK, Downtown Greensboro. Info: (336) 457-4507 or

STORYTELLING AT THE ATELIER. 6 – 7:30 p.m. Triad Story Exchange presents storytelling activities inside of the gallery, which features the Trial by Fire exhibit by Raleigh artist Eric McRay. Face painting also available for youth and adults. African American Atelier Inc., 220 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-6885 or

COMMUNITY THEATRE OF GREENSBORO PERFORMANCE. 6 – 8 p.m. Scenes and songs from The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Free. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7469 or

• ART EXHIBIT. 6 – 9 p.m. The Land of Misfits (a designer toy show). Exhibit on display through January 11.

Christmas at Blandwood December 1–31 Key:

• • Art


Center for Visual Artists, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7485 or

Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


FIRST FRIDAY. 6 - 9 p.m. Free self-guided walking tour of local art galleries, art studios, museums, alternate art venues, plus live music and more. Downtown Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-7523 or

FESTIVAL OF LIGHTS. 6 - 9 p.m. Greensboro’s annual holiday kick-off celebration featuring six blocks of live music pictures with Santa, children’s crafts, and more. Festival highlights include the lighting of the community tree in Center City Park and a holiday sing-along. Downtown Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-4595 or www.

FIRST FRIDAY AT GREEN HILL. 6 – 9 p.m. Musical performance by Laurelyn Dosset and Scott Manring. Cash bar and hors d’oeuvres provided by Fresh Market. Green Hill Center for NC Art, Greensboro Cultural Center, 200 N. Davie St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-7460 or

BLUE CHRISTMAS SHOW. 8 – 11 p.m. Join the United Arts Council for the third annual Blue Christmas show featuring Steady Rollin’ Bob Margolin and Piedmont Blues Preservation Society’s Blues Challenge Winners, Toot & The Longshots (with the UAC’s own Tom Philion on bass). Tickets: $10. Summit Station Eatery, 125 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3337523 ext 245 or

December 7 & 8

WALKING TOUR. 6 p.m. (Friday); 5:30 p.m. (Saturday). Follow the Star: A Walk to the Manger. A dramatic musical setting of events leading up to and including the birth of Jesus. Free event; donations appreciated.


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Christ United Methodist Church, 410 N. Holden Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 299-1571.

December 7–16

GREENSBORO BALLET. The Nutcracker. • Tickets: $15-35. The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

December 8

December Arts Calendar

December 10

CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 7:30 p.m. Home Alone. Rated PG. Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Joe G’s Coverband Explosion. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or

• CENTER CITY AM BRIEFING. 8 - 9 a.m. Bimonthly meeting provides information on develop-

December 16

• •

GREENSBORO YOUTH OPUS CONCERT. 7:30 - 9 p.m. Featuring Jubilate Chorale and Cantabile choirs. Free admission; donations welcome. First Presbyterian Church, 617 N. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3732549 or

December 11

ments, activities, growth and projects for downtown Greensboro. Guilford Merchants Association, 225 Commerce Place, Greensboro. Info: (336) 378-6350.

SANTA SAFARI. 8 – 10:30 a.m. Breakfast, crafts, games, an OmniSphere show, animal enrichment activities, special appearances from Santa and Mrs. Claus, plus exclusive access to the museum. Natural Science Center of Greensboro, 4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 288-3769 or

St., Greensboro Tickets: Info:

CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 7:30 p.m. Miracle on 34th Street. Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

NOON AT THE SPOON PUBLIC TOUR. 12 p.m. A 20-minute docent-led tour of the Art on Paper exhibit. Weatherspoon Art Museum, 500 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 334-5770 or

December 12

CHANUKAH WONDERLAND. 1 – 5 p.m. Experience Chanukah through hands on activities including Chanukah theater, latkes tasting, Chanukah crafts, face painting and more. Open to the community; free with admission or membership. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or

December 17

CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 1:30 & 7:30 p.m. Holiday Inn. Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

BIG SIP EXPO. 1 – 8 p.m. A showcase of local, regional and national beverages, including beer, wine, spirits, coffee, soda and homebrews. Proceeds will benefit The North Carolina Brewers Guild and Be the Miracle Network, a Greensboro-based, communityoriented, non-profit organization that assists youth by supporting Duke Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House food drives. Greensboro Coliseum Complex Pavilion. Tickets: www.greensborocoliseum. com. Info:

LIVE MUSIC AT SOUTHERN LIGHTS BISTRO. 7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer. Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9414 or CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 7:30 p.m. It’s a Wonderful Life (1947). Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 1:30 & 7:30 p.m. It’s a Wonderful Life (1947). Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.

TEA WITH CLARA. 1:30 - 3 p.m. Meet Clara from The Nutcracker. Enjoy tea and treats, make a special take-home craft, learn Clara’s lullaby dance and bring your camera and pen for photos and autographs. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 3332605 or

December 13–16 COMMUNITY THEATRE OF GREENSBORO. 7 p.m.; 2 p.m. (Sunday only). The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. Tickets: $10-20. Broach Theatre, 520 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info:

December 19

SWING DANCE. 7:30 - 11:30 p.m. Introductory jitterbug lesson starts at 7:30 p.m., followed by live swing music. No partner or experience necessary. Members: $8. Nonmembers: $10. Vintage Theater, 7 Vintage Avenue, Winston-Salem. Info: (336) 508-9998 or

seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.

• •

• •

TAPE PRODUCTIONS. 7:30 p.m. • MIXED Elf. Elf Rated PG. Tickets: $6 ($5 students,

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. • Featuring Imperial Blend, a four-piece elec-

December 14


December 20

LIVE MUSIC AT SOUTHERN LIGHTS BISTRO. 7 – 9 p.m. Bruce Piephoff, folk singer. Southern Lights Bistro, 2415-A Lawndale Dr., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9414 or

December 15

TEA WITH CLARA 10:30 a.m. - 3 p.m. Meet Clara from The Nutcracker. Enjoy tea and treats, make a special take-home craft, learn Clara’s lullaby dance and bring your camera and pen for photos and autographs. Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.

TWELVE GIFTS OF CHRISTMAS. 7 – 10 p.m. A fast-paced and varied evening featuring Christian performers, musicians, comedians and storytellers. Tickets start at $20. Greensboro Coliseum, 1921 W. Lee Key:

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

CAROLINA CLASSIC HOLIDAY MOVIE. 1:30 & 7:30 p.m. White Christmas (1954). Rated PG. Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or

December 9

HEIRLOOM CHANUKAH MENOR AH LIGHTING. 3 – 5 p.m. Menorahs from Greensboro families; display by the Greensboro Jewish Federation. Greensboro Historical Museum, 130 Summit Ave., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2043 or

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. Featuring The Family, a five-piece group based in Greensboro with folk, funk, bluegrass, rock and jam band influences. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.theblindtiger. com.

tronic group based in Greensboro. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.

11 a.m. – 5 p.m. Holiday gifts handmade by local artisans. Greensboro Farmers Curb Market, 501 Yanceyville St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 373-2402 or

December 18

• • Art


Performing arts

• • Film


• • Fun


December 2012


O.Henry 95

December Arts Calendar •

MIXED TAPE PRODUCTIONS. 7:30 p.m. A Christmas Story (1983). Rated PG. Tickets: $6 ($5 students, seniors, military). The Carolina Theatre, 310 S. Greene St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 333-2605 or www.

MOSCOW BALLET. 3 & 7:30 p.m. Great Russian Nutcracker. Tickets start at $28. War Memorial Auditorium, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Info: www.

December 21

WINTER SOLSTICE FOOD DRIVE. 10 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Celebrate the first day of winter with William Mangum. Bring five cans of food or non-perishable items for Greensboro Urban Ministry’s Food Bank and receive a beautiful 2013 William Mangum calendar. William Mangum Fine Art Gallery, 2166 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-9200 or

COOKIES WITH MRS. CLAUS. 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. Make cookies with Mrs. Claus in the Edible Schoolyard kitchen. Cost: $8/member child; $10/non-member child. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or

December 22

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. Piedmont Songbag. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or www.

December 28

BIG BANG BOOM. 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Ring in the New Year with Big Bang Boom. Make noisemakers, countdown to noon, and listen to great music. Greensboro Children’s Museum, 220 N. Church St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 574-2898 or

December 29

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. House of Fools. • The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro.

– William Mangum Key:

• • Art


Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or

Performing arts

A Gift From Leon’s...

• • Film


• • Fun



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December 2012

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The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December Arts Calendar

December 31


GREENSBORO SYMPHONY POPS CONCERT. 8 p.m. Steve Lippia, vocals; Nathaniel Beversluis, conductor. Simply Swingin’ with Sinatra and Friends. Westover Church, 505 Muirs Chapel Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 335-5456 x 224 or

MUSSELS, WINE & MUSIC. 7 – 10 p.m. Mussels for $15, wines from $10 to $15 a bottle, live acoustic musice by AM rodeo. Print Works Bistro, 702 Green Valley Rd., Greensboro. Info: (336) 379-0699.

• THE AVETT BROTHERS IN CONCERT. 8 p.m. New Years Eve show with special guest Amos

Fridays & Saturdays


JAZZ NIGHT. 7 p.m. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

Lee. Greensboro Coliseum Complex, 1921 W. Lee St., Greensboro. Tickets: Info:

BLIND TIGER CONCERT. 10 p.m. The Mantras. The Blind Tiger, 1819 Spring Garden St., Greensboro. Tickets/Info: (336) 272-9888 or

NIGHTMARES AROUND ELM STREET. 8 p.m. A 90-minute historical candlelit ghost walking tour of Downtown Greensboro. Open Year-Round. Cost: $15/adults; $13/ children 8-12. Children 7 and under are free. Group rates and online discounts available. Info:


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


JAZZ IN THE A.M. 11 a.m. Featuring saxophonist Alex Smith and friends. Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

• OPEN MIC COMEDY AT THE IDIOT BOX. 9 p.m. Local pros and amateurs take the mic. Admission:


LIVE MUSIC AT TATE STREET COFFEE. NC Hot Club (11 a.m. – 1 p.m.) Gavin & Friends (3 – 6 p.m.) Tate Street Coffee House, 334 Tate St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 275-2754.

$4 (includes one drink). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info: (336) 274-2699.


• • Art


Performing arts

IMPROV COMEDY. 10 p.m. (Fri. and Sat.); 8 p.m. (Sat.). Actors create scenes on-thespot and build upon the ideas of others. Performances based on suggestions given by the audience; each show is one-of-a-kind. Saturday 8 p.m. show appropriate for the whole family. Tickets: $10/$7(students). Idiot Box, 348 S. Elm St., Greensboro. Info/RSVP: 336-274-BOXX.

• • Film


• • Fun



MERIDITH MARTENS, artist Fine Art Animal Portraits 910.315.1214 The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 97

98 O.Henry

December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro



Photo: Tomas Castelazo



4301 Lawndale Drive, Greensboro

Ellie McFalls, MCHt.

Grief Recovery, Hypnosis, EFT-Phobias

Tracey J. Marshall

Monet and Mod Podge Ladies Night Out — Painting Parties

Body Essence & Energy

Fine Art

Rev. Brigitte Cutler-Fosque RM Robert W. Fosque RMT

Michael Gagliano OT/L, Reiki Master Treatments for: Pain, Stress, Trauma & Disabilities

Healing Touch, Reflexology, Wellness Coach, Aromatherapy

Workshops, Art Exhibits, CrEAtivity 101, Film & vidEo Arts, litErAry Arts, pErForming Arts, businEss ClAssEs, spAnish, spirituAlity, summEr CAmps, t EChnology, visuAl Arts, WEllnEss And morE 900 16th Street, Greensboro, NC 27405 • (336) 617-3328

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 99

GreenScene Casa Azul’s Día de los Muertos/ Day of the Dead Altar Exhibit Friday, November 2, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Joe Wheby, Mary Billotta

Bridget Summerlee, Romina Bastias, Marianna Bastias, Nicole Elliott Teri Wellendorf, Kathy Hinshaw

Maria Reyes

Bob Weston, Allen Broach

Erin Karpiovich, Amber Williamson

Peter & Judy Villella

Leah Roner, Courtenay Race

100 O.Henry

December 2012

Peter, Chelsea, & Addy Jeffrey

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Deck New Halls! 300 Parkmont Drive New Irving Park, Greensboro

4BR/3.5 BA -- Classic Brick Ranch completely updated. New roof in 2009. Hardwoods, Moldings, Master Suite with Dressing Area. Gourmet Kitchen/ Breakfast Bar/Stainless Appliances. Triple Zoned HVAC. Fenced Yard/Brick Patio. $499,000

5207 Bodie Lane Northern Shores/Lake Jeanette

4BR/3.5 BA -- Brick home in great condition with great location. MBR on main level. High Ceilings, lots of Hardwoods. Additional Space may be finished. Wired for Security. Screened Porch overlooking Fenced Back Yard. $449,000

306 Cornwallis Dr Irving Park, Greensboro

One acre, completely renovated. New kitchen with granite, stainless appliances, cabinets. Hardwood floors, oversized moldings, freshly painted. Master suite has walk-in closet, oversized shower & jetted tub. Heated saline pool with fountains and planters. Fenced yard. $585,000

Betty Bochilo

8 Loch Ridge Ct Provincetown, Greensboro

6 BR/ 5 full and 3 half baths. Located on a private cul-de-sac overlooking Buffalo Lake. 11,400 plus sq. ft. High ceilings, custom moldings, hardwood/ tile flooring. Master Suite on main with his & her closets. Heated pool, security system, generator. Price upon request.

Amanda Willendorf, Jeff Kropelnicki Brenda & Ken Osborne, Marianne Prady

“CLICK OR CALL… WE DO IT ALL” Xan Tisdale Kay Chesnutt 336-601-2337 336-202-9687

Yost and Little Realty

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 101

DOVER SQUARE Recognized by Esquire MAGAZINE

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GreenScene The March of Dimes Signature Chefs Auction The Empire Room in downtown Greensboro Thursday, November 1, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Hal & Jay Kenerly

Stephen & Kara Cox

Artist Connie Logan

Sharon Shoaf, Kit Hargett, Val Koone, Merrill Seyler, Suzanne Andia

Darrell Lea, Julie Lea, Leslie Conway, Laura Judy

Brittany North, Tiffany Galdany, McKenna Adams

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Allyson Tejeda, Tia Sweat

Chris Young, Abby Davis Wesley & Stephen Picklesiemer

December 2012

O.Henry 103

Fine Furniture Consignment & Home Fashion

336.378.6993 1736 Battleground Ave Greensboro

SUMMERHOUSE STORE TREASURES FOR THE HOME & GARDEN 1722 Battleground Avenue • Greensboro • 336.275.9655 Open Weekdays 10am-5pm; Sat 11am-4pm Like us at

Irving Park Clothing u Baby Jewelry u Lingerie Bath & Body u Tabletop Home Accessories 1826 Pembroke Road, Greensboro, NC 336-274-3307 (Behind Irving Park Plaza) Monday thru Friday 10:00–5:00 Saturday 10:00–4:00

104 O.Henry

December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Melissa Vogelsinger, Donna Lee, Mary Jones, Ashley Wall, Allison Morrisette and Celia Hooper

Alight at Tyler White Tyler White O’Brien Gallery on State Street Thursday, September 27, 2012

Angela Pray, Sara Carter Spencer, Donna Lee, Jill Berry Peggy Rial and Frances Bullock

Linda Ertel and Todd Vogelsinger

Mary Lou Williams, Kathy O’Brien, Donna Lee

Melissa Vogelsinger, Donna Lee, Ashley Wall, Allison Morrisette

Laura Herring, Melissa Vogelsinger, Terry Moore

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Mary Jones, Virginia Saslow, Melissa Vogelsinger

December 2012

O.Henry 105

hands-on Greensboro’s premier Montessori School... Serving children ages eighteen months through eighth grade, where students develop a love of learning through individually guided, hands-on discovery and exploration. Come discover the GMS difference for yourself! • Authentic Montessori curriculum, exceptional and caring faculty • Unparalleled environmental education programs • Low student-teacher ratios • Before & after-school care, enrichment programs & Middle School sports Open House Tours: January 18th & 26th at 9 am. Call today to reserve your spot!

Witness a


in your child.

The Piedmont School is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving students K-8 with ADHD and learning disabilities. Educating and inspiring students with learning differences since 1982.

Cookies and Cocoa OPEN HOUSE Bring your children to meet our teachers and visit our PreK-4 classrooms. Please Join Us Sunday, January 13th 3:00-5:00pm Fry Hall We'll keep the cocoa warm! Canterbury School is Greensboro's only PreK-8 Episcopal day school. Financial assistance and an extended day program are available. 815 Old Mill Road • High Point, NC 27265


106 O.Henry

December 2012

Challenging the mind. Nourishing the spirit. 5400 Old Lake Jeannette Rd. 336.288.2007 The Art & Soul of Greensboro


Lavernia Matthews, Twinkle Hester

United Way Handbags for Literacy Thursday, October 18, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Erin McDermott, Mary Margaret Hart, Elizabeth Freeze, Ophelia Moore

Karen Peterson, Karianne Hennington

Sam Ramsey, Kim Yount, Melanie Jones Jayme Waldeck, Meghan Radcliff, Ethane Gold

Phyllis Burke, Wendi Mason Malika Singh, Angela Gonzalez, Angie Bacibri, Alison Nolan, Laverne Lyon, Christine McLaurin

Amanda Bustle, Allison Potter

Peggy Johnson, Joe Lebauer

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

December 2012

O.Henry 107

Food –&– Dining

Now serving lunch!

Visit us online at

MJ’s Steak and Seafood and Catering 620 Dolley Madison Road Greensboro 336.852.4889

Open for lunch 11:30—2:00 Monday through Friday and dinner at 5:30 Monday through Saturday View our menu at

108 O.Henry

December 2012

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

GreenScene Greensboro Historical Museum’s Annual Dinner Greensboro Country Club Tuesday, November 13, 2012 Photographs by Sam Froelich

Tyson Hammer, Jace Strandberg

Charles Jones, Alexa Aycock, Bill Aycock

Dick & Ruth Douglas

Jim & Anita Schencks, Madeleine & Duane Dassow

Suzanne Walke, Monica Vaughan

The Jay Kirkpatricks Lois Brummitt, Mary Truslow, Judith Martineau

The Art & Soul of Greensboro

Jim & Kate Schlosser Bill Aycock, Susan Schwartz, Alexa Aycock

December 2012

O.Henry 109

Life’s Funny

Oh, Christmas Tree

Nothing like the real thing, but I wouldn’t mind one made of candy corn BY MARIA JOHNSON


ne of my favorite things about this time of year is Christmas trees. They are so Christmas-y. And tree-like. Good things by themselves, transcendent when you put them together. Much like Easter and bunnies. I have known many good Christmas trees in my life. The first ones I knew were artificial because I grew up in a fake-tree family. As I later discovered, most families are either faketree families or real-tree families. It’s a major cultural difference, as people in mixed-tree marriages will attest. More on this later. The first tree I remember was totally white. It sat on a table in the corner of our living room. My parents decorated it with shiny, multicolored balls. It was very lovely. And very white. No, it was not flocked — that is, covered with fake snow. I did not know about flocked trees until later, and I was delighted to learn of their existence, mainly because that meant flocked was a real word. Ah, the good times I could have had with that word at age 4. Our next tree was artificial, too. The dark green “needles” were bound by branches of twisted wire. The branches slipped into holes in the green dowel trunk. It was a beautiful tree, too. When fully assembled. I had no idea that other people had real trees until I went to a friend’s house and thought someone had just used the bathroom because the whole house smelled like pine-scented air freshener. What an epiphany to see a white pine sprouting from shag carpet. After college, I often went treeless, though I once participated in a newsroom tree-decorating contest. Our bureau was in Rockingham County. Thus, an evening that involved beer, my colleagues, beer, a saw, beer, a tree, beer, some lunch meat, beer, several dozen ornament hooks, and a wood pallet crudely fashioned into rockers. The result: a Rocking-ham tree. I know. Genius. But I am sad to tell you that we did not win the contest, a failure I attribute to insufficient nitrates in the ham, which had curled and darkened by the time we arrived in Greensboro with a plume of alley cats in our wake. Naturally, that soured me on the whole drink-beer-and-cut-a-real-tree-from-a-church-yard-under-the-cover-of-darkness experience. And yes, I am still doing good deeds to pay off that one. Then I met my husband-to-be. No matter where he lived, he bought and decorated a real Christmas tree. We compromised. We would buy a real tree as our main tree, but I could have as many small fake trees as I wanted. Actually, I didn’t want any, but it’s important to fight for these things. And that’s how we became a real tree family. I don’t regret it. During the holidays, our house smells like pine-scented bathroom freshener, which is nice. And the boys still enjoy going to the mountains to cut a tree. But real trees aren’t foolproof. One year, as my husband was pulling the The Art & Soul of Greensboro

tree off the car roof, it landed on the driveway with a loud crack. I will not tell you the words that escaped his mouth, but they were not “Ho, ho, ho.” The top third of the tree had snapped off, leaving us with two Christmas shrubs. I suggested duct tape. My husband frowned and shook his head in that “this isn’t going to work, but she isn’t going to let it go, so where’s the damn duct tape?” way he has. All right. I admit it. The duct tape didn’t work — which we would not have known unless we had tried — so Mr. Engineer swung into action. Hammerhammer. Drill-drill. Screw-screw. Glue-glue. A radiator clamp here. A radiator clamp there. Presto. Bionic tree. The police could have used it as a battering ram. Go to the city dump and see for yourself. I’m sure it has not biodegraded yet. Another Christmas, I was vacuuming around the tree, when I noticed what looked like a long-legged black spider on the floor. I gunned the Hoover. The next day, I saw a few more. On the third day, I knew how people in the Bible felt when the locusts descended. My husband called the tree farm. Don’t worry, they said. They’re harmless aphids. It happens sometimes. OK, I get that. Nature loves a bug. But ladies, when was the last time you read about Christmas aphids in a shelter magazine? Does Martha Stewart ever say, “These ornaments sprinkled with pixie dust and unicorn eyelashes are not only easy to make, they’re absolutely charming when covered by Christmas aphids”? She does not. So I have come full circle. I have invoked the made-in-China clause of our original Christmas tree agreement. Which means that, in addition to a real tree, we have a little tree with battery-powered lights behind the sofa where our beagle snoozes. It also means our sunroom is home to a little LED tree that changes colors every three seconds. Yeah, it’s trippy. Also, to ensure privacy in a house full of men, I recently purchased a pink tinsel tree for the room where I write. Mwahahaha. And I’m thinking about adding to the collection. The other day I was sniffing around a website with a great selection of fake, funky trees. My favorite: one that looks like a giant candy corn. What a great labor-saving device. Stand that sucker up on Columbus Day, and you’re set for three months. In October, you’d emphasize the candy part. In November, you’d hit the corn angle. Historical fact: Candy corn was created in the 1880s to resemble kernels of corn (as seen through the eyes of someone addicted to laudanum, perhaps). From there, it’s a short hop to Squanto, fish heads, bountiful harvest and all that. And in December, you’d use it as a Christmas tree — covered with black plastic spider rings left over from Halloween. A-phiding end to the season. OH Maria Johnson really does love duct tape. December 2012

O.Henry 111

O.Henry Ending


A moment when time and youth vanished in the winter night



eyond my dorm window, the landscape was unrecognizable beneath eight inches of new snow — and it was still falling, banking against the brick classroom buildings, drifting over the campus wall, and clinging in heavy knots to limbs of oak and sycamore. It was 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, January 26, 1966, the first day of exam break at Elon College. I’d planned on catching a ride north with a student from Baltimore, but when I inquired about our departure time, he explained, “I’m not going to play dodgem cars with a bunch of hicks who don’t know how to drive in snow.” So shortly before noon, I stuffed a $20 bill (an entire month’s allowance) in my coat pocket, grabbed the English 112 text in which I’d been reading The Great Gatsby, and struggled through waist-deep drifts to Williamson Avenue, where I caught a ride in a pickup truck slipping and sliding out to I-85. A UNC student in a four-wheel drive Willys panel wagon gave me a lift to Washington Street in Greensboro. There the old Southern Railway depot rose out of the whiteness, its Ionic columns supporting a pedimented portico, the building’s interior lights winking through the wind-driven snow. I hurried inside and slapped down my $20 bill for a ticket north on the Peach Queen. By the mid-60s, the railroads had fallen on hard times but the Greensboro depot was still impressive with its vaulted ceiling and bowlshaded alabaster chandeliers. Above the doors to the platform, a large color map of the Southern Railways System dominated the waiting room. On the far side of the lobby, ranks of back-to-back benches provided seating for forty or fifty determined travelers. “You’re going to have to wait a good while,” the ticket agent informed me. “Every college kid in the area is traveling in this snowstorm, and the train is running late.” I found a seat on one of the benches and forced myself to read Gatsby. I wanted to like the novel, but I didn’t know anyone like Nick Carraway or Tom and Daisy Buchanan. My family didn’t drive a snazzy automobile or live in a mansion with a swimming pool, and when a guy from Guilford College produced a deck of cards and asked if I’d like to play straight poker

112 O.Henry

December 2012

for pennies, I was anxious to oblige. As the evening waned, other travelers sat on their upended suitcases and joined in the game. “I won’t be coming back after break,” a junior from High Point College said. “They changed my draft status from 2-S to 1-A, and I’m going for a physical in February.” With that, the conversation turned to the military draft and the war in Vietnam. The previous March, Marines had landed near Da Nang, and already hundreds of young Americans had been killed in action. It was a difficult moment — the end of tranquillity as we’d known it and the onset of fractious times — but we were in agreement that the future, once determined by our generation, held only peace and harmony. The conductor called “All aboard!” at about midnight, and my new friends and I climbed onto an olive-drab heavyweight pre-war passenger car which had been added to accommodate the increased ridership. It was filled to capacity, but I lucked into a window seat. The heat wasn’t working properly and the lighting was poor, but I continued reading Gatsby as we lurched out of Greensboro and rocked into the countryside. By the time we’d left Danville, Fitzgerald was waxing poetic. He wrote: “When we pulled out into the winter night and the real snow, our snow, began to stretch out beside us and twinkle against the windows, and the dim lights of small Wisconsin stations moved by, a sharp wild brace came suddenly into the air. We drew in deep breaths of it as we walked back from dinner through the cold vestibules, unutterably aware of our identity with this country for one strange hour, before we melted indistinguishably into it again.” I finished the novel, rubbed a circle in the filigreed window glass, and watched as the lights of anonymous Virginia towns dissolved into the snowy night. At that moment — a moment in which I was blessedly ignorant of what lay ahead — I understood that Fitzgerald was correct. For his generation, as well as for mine, the future was already gone, lost in the vast obscurity where “the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.” OH Stephen Smith is the book editor of O.Henry Magazine. Illustration By Harry Blair The Art & Soul of Greensboro

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